Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Relationships

A week ago I had the opportunity to attend an "Author's Tea" at my grandson's school. It was a gathering of the students in his first grade class who read books they had authored to their parents and grandparents and assembled other "guests". The cafeteria was set up in areas of 4 "authors" chairs with an audience grouping of chairs in front of them. Each child then read his illustrated book, to us rapt attendees, and shared the pictures by holding the book up and passing it in a back and forth motion before our eyes. After the readings everyone mingled, shared refreshments and the children laid their books out on tables nearby so that comments could be written in the comments page at the very back.

One young lady, aged 6, with fiery red hair wrote a wonderful story about losing her hamster and imploring her dad to help her in looking for it. Dad helped to look but, so did Poppy, when he too discovered the missing rodent.
Dad and Poppy...her two dads. Wow! I thought and immediately thought about all the negative remarks I have heard about homosexuals raising children. How horrible for the children of straight couples to have to come up against the fact that a classmate has two parents of the same sex. Until; that moment I had no idea that my grandson had a classmate that was the child of a gay couple. Later that night, when I was discussing the day with my grandson, I mentioned his classmate to see what sort of response I might get. He very casually said, "Oh yeah, K***, she has two dads." Obviously this situation had in no way impacted negatively on him, and he thought nothing of it. Oh well, he more or less said, that's her family, and he saw nothing out of the ordinary with it.

I think we tend to forget that children accept things that we have only been conditioned to reject, or have taught them to reject. If nothing is said, children sort things out for themselves. The trouble with kids is adults.

Relationships, even among the most committed of people, take time and energy and lots of stroking. A certain level of maturity is a must, and a healthy does of humor cannot be beat. When a relationship blossoms into a willingness to commit oneself to another human being, marriage is usually considered the resultant step. Who has not looked at a bride and groom and envied their seeming endless joy in each other, and marveled at how lucky they were to have found each other. Their vows, a symbol of staying committed to one singular person, is something none take lightly. The caveat to this endless bliss seems to be, however, that it is reserved for one man and one woman.

The clergy will tell you that Jesus blessed the marriage at Canna, however, little, if anything, is known about the participants in that ceremony. One man and one woman? Two men? Two women? Someone, at some point has decided that it was a man and a woman. Was it? For those who choose to believe that that is exactly what it was fine, but no one knows with any amount of certainty. None of us having been privy to the actual event, we have taken what has been written, after the fact, about these things, as well, gospel.

Now we have a President who just knows for a fact that it was one woman one man. After all, shouldn't he know? He has a direct line to God, or so he would have you believe. At any rate, things other than what he considers right, are not to be tolerated and therefore we must alter the Constitution to reflect his beliefs. And, if this were not an election year, would we even be having the discussion about what constitutes a real marriage? I think not. It has not even been a topic of discussion since it became a hot button issue in the Presidential election of 2004. It has screamed from the pulpits of many churches. The sanctity of marriage must be protected and preserved for mixed gender couples only! Why? Of all those who see this as a religious issue and use the Bible to point out their belief, you may want to reconsider your stand on that basis.
Let us look at some facts about the institution of marriage which our President feels so strongly about.

We have all heard the old saw, "The family that prays together, stays together>" It may surprise you to learn that this is not necessarily so, and we see statistics which indicate that there is a much higher divorce rate among conservative Christians than for other faith groups or even for Agnostics and Atheists. Also, surprisingly enough, the very lowest divorce rates can be found in the Agnostic/ Atheist group. Donald Hughes who has written a book entitled The Divorce Reality said: "In the churches, people have a superstitious view that Christianity will keep them from divorce, but they are subject to the same problems as everyone else, and they include a lack of relationship skills. ...Just being "born again" is not a rabbit's foot>" and he also notes that 90% of the divorces among born again couples occur after they have been "saved.

When I looked at my grandson's classmate's two dads what I saw was a committed relationship. Not a "gay" couple but two human beings who have committed not only to each other, but to raising a strong, independent little girl, no different from the other little girls in her class who are living with one parent and a step-parent, or with two parents or a single mom or for that matter a single dad. How they choose to live their lives should not be a political issue. and those who would alter the Constitution to reflect a bigoted, biased agenda should look to their own relationships first.
Susan B. Goodwin
Related Reading:
uwnews.org | University of Washington News and Information
U.S. divorce rates: for various faith groups, age groups and geographical areas

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