The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

Poisonous Parenting and the Procreative Imperative

This entry is part 9 of 26 in the series poisonous parenting

On those married death row inmates I mentioned in the previous post, I wanted to add that they’d pass muster with the Maryland Court of appeals too, because of the possibility that they could reproduce if they weren’t on death row. And that — and only that — is what marriage is all about, after all.

It’s not love we’re talking about here, it’s grinding out the next generations. What the Maryland judges remind us is that marriage is mainly the business arrangement to keep baby creation somewhat orderly in humans. That sure takes a lot of the romance out of it, doesn’t it? Not all of it mind you, because reproduction can be pretty damned nice for a few minutes or so, depending on one’s, uh, skill. But again, I digress.

Of course no one has ever come up with a satisfactory answer to why a man and woman who plan to remain childless can legally wed.

Well, they can, but then they usually lapse into reverie of magical thinking, and start spouting about the “symbolic” union of people with a specific combination of genitalia.

What we get instead is something like “Marriage between man and woman is sacred and must be protected.” Period. Funny enough, that’s a battle that’s already lost. Men and women divorce and it’s probably because they shouldn’t have tied the knot in the first place, had they not been shamed or propagandized to doing so. Got to keep those offspring coming after all. Never mind that the kids caught up in the shambles of the breakup suffer mightily while they grow up and get ready to procreate.

That is if the procreate at all. Some people seem to have convinced themselves that if gay couples can get married people might stop making babies altogether.

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Prejudice against gays will probably be the roughest oppression to overcome. Because, whether they know it or not, the homophobes are really scared humans won’t procreate. Just ask those Maryland judges. It’s a mighty primitive way to define morality. Some might argue an immoral way.

Sound far fetched? What person, with any grasp of reality or even the most tenuous hold on logic and reason could really convince themselves that if gay couples can get married heterosexuals would stop having babies?Maggie Galleger, for one.

What will happen to American civilization then? Marriage is a universal human institution. We do not know of any culture that has survived without a reasonably functional marriage system. Perhaps stray reproduction by single moms plus immigration can sustain America over the long haul. A look at Europe, however, does not make one sanguine. The attempt to substitute the state for the family leads not only to gargantuan government, but to miniscule families: If marriage and children are just one of many private lifestyle choices, people stop getting married and they stop having children in numbers large enough to replace the population. (One child is enough to make you a mother. When marriage is unreliable, just how foolhardy do you expect women to be?). The U.N. is now issuing urgent warnings about European depopulation.

No surprise, of course, if you consider that these are the same people who have convinced themselves that if gays are protected from discrimination and harassment, etc., everyone will just up and turn gay all of a sudden. Because we’ll be free to seduce them into it.

But the specter of gay marriage still serves a function. Christian conservatives take pains to distance themselves from the sexism of their forefathers. Every Christian man-guide emphasizes the claim that women play just as important a role in the maintenance of what evangelicals view as society’s all-important unit, the family, and it’s more than dishwashing, suckling, and sex (though what else they are to do is not often discussed). Women must submit to their husbands, but their husbands in turn must commit to “serving” their wives. The phrase that comes to mind is “separate but equal.”

But with Christian womanhood restored and redeemed, a crucial character in the Christian conservative morality play has gone missing: the seductress. It is no longer acceptable to speak of loose women and harlots, since sexual promiscuity in a woman is the fault of the man who has failed to exercise his “headship” over her. It is his effeminacy, not hers, that is to blame. And who lures him into this spiritual castration? The gay man.

Of course, people are having children without getting married, and getting married without having children. But the point is something I called “the procreative imperative” a while back. And the basic point is this: everyone must make babies. Everyone. At least according to this diatribe against childless marriages.

The church should insist that the biblical formula calls for adulthood to mean marriage and marriage to mean children. This reminds us of our responsibility to raise boys to be husbands and fathers and girls to be wives and mothers. God’s glory is seen in this, for the family is a critical arena where the glory of God is either displayed or denied. It is just as simple as

The church must help this society regain its sanity on the gift of children. Willful barrenness and chosen childlessness must be named as moral rebellion. To demand that marriage means sex–but not children–is to defraud the creator of His joy and pleasure in seeing the saints raising His children. That is just the way it is. No kidding.

One wonders: Why the imperative? Well, perhaps it’s not for everyone. There’s no “underpopulation” problem. In fact, there’s an overpopulation problem. But the “wrong” people are doing the populating.

Maggie sounded the alarm about “American civilization” earlier, and it was a not so subtle reminder that perhaps not everyone should reproduce. Just some.

The future belongs to people who do the hard things necessary to reproduce not only themselves, but their civilization. Marriage is not an option, it is a precondition for social survival. Not everyone lives up to the marriage ideal in this or any civilization. But when a society abandons the marriage idea altogether as a shared public norm, do not expect private individuals to be able to sustain marriage.

Because if America gets “gayer” with the help of same-sex marriage, it will also get “browner” just like Europe.

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One Comment

  1. I think it’s way more important for parents to love their children and to want what’s best for them. It’s sad, too, when the state is the one who can tell us who our family is. :-/

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