Letter to America’s next generation

Young Adults,

I recently read a blog named a “letter to the church”. It represented a young person’s voice on the subject of gay marriage. There was palpable frustration in that letter that the Christian church of today is alienating young people because of its stance on gay marriage. This letter is my response.

Today’s world is full of mixed messages. We’re told that America is the greatest nation on earth, yet the struggle of the poor class to reach out of its situation seems more difficult than ever. We’re told to show respect for women, yet we see women portrayed in every lewd and offensive depiction imaginable. We’re told that hard work will ultimately pay off, yet untold numbers are being paid billions from a bankrupt national budget for not working.

How do you interpret those messages?  How do you live a good life and follow the rules when it’s not clear those rules are based in something you can count on to be good and consistent?

One of the most painful mixed messages is the issue of violence in society.  We’re told that if we remove the guns or the ammunition or the violent games that it will solve the horrible news reports we get almost daily of innocent victims being gunned down. At some level we all know the shallowness of this argument. Society is fractured at a fundamental level. Violence has soared in the last fifty years. People are disturbed at alarming levels. Passing a law involving a gun restriction of some kind is not going to change the trajectory.

Of all the mixed and even hypocritical messages today, none are worse than the one society sends out today about the institution of marriage. The institution of marriage is precious, we’re told, even holy. We should cherish this institution and preserve it. Yet we see very little in the way of cherishing when it comes to marriage today. Men and women divorce readily when problems arise. Greater and greater numbers skip the old fashioned, quaint “ritual” of getting married at all when deciding to make a decision to live their lives together. What is the meaning of marriage?  Who even needs it?

Fast forward with me a few years into a fifteen year marriage. Lately I’ve been noticing things – small things, albeit – but important ones in the development of my children. Two days ago my nine year accidentally dropped a Cutco knife straight into my foot. How did Dad react?  Well, I could have done better, but I could have done worse too. It was embarrassing explaining the hobble I had in my gait at work the next day. But this was an opportunity for a young boy to see how a grown man handles pain and forgiveness (which I managed to pull off fairly quickly). Where else should he learn this?

A week or so ago, I had a “birds and bees” talk with my twelve year old. Again, the outcome wasn’t one for the record books, but it got the job done. Again, a young man and his father at a small, but key turning point in the child’s development.

Zoom back now to the “getting married” phase of life. When my wife and I were first dating I asked her how she would raise kids. She would learn along the way was at least part of the answer. I wanted something more meaty, an exact philosophy. But over the years I’ve found truth in that answer. How do you respond when your nine year old accidentally stabs you in the foot?  How do you give birds-and-bees talks to twelve year olds?  A proper answer posed to a twenty four year old young man would be, “I have no clue!!!”

But finally this is where the sanctity of marriage comes in. The answer undoubtedly involves being loving. Patience and humor play an important role. But at some level the answer is that it involves a man and a woman learning as they go. There’s no playbook. There’s no perfect formula. But the ingredients for success start with a mom and a dad.

My heart goes out to the victims of gun violence. But my heart goes out to the disturbed perpetrators too. What kind of dysfunctional homes were they raised in?  What did their dad do to them when they dropped a knife in his foot?  Was he even in the picture?

Marriage is still a vital institution today and always will be. It’s primary role is to safeguard the environment in which children are raised. Without being antagonistic toward the homosexual community, we must stand up for what marriage needs to be and work in our own lives to preserve it and be true to the role it should play in society.

8 thoughts on “Letter to America’s next generation

  1. NotAScientist

    Nothing in this letter demonstrates why homosexuals should not be allowed to be married as well, or be allowed to raise children.

    Unless you are arguing that homosexuals can’t be loving and understanding.

    Reply
    1. Brian Post author

      Absolutely homosexuals can be loving and understanding. They’re as capable as you and I and more so in many cases. I love and care about the homosexuals I know and there is good in their hearts. However, a Lesbian couple would be hard pressed to demonstrate to a 9 year old boy how a man responds to a painful situation. Or navigate the birds and bees with a male adolescent. Just as I would find it incredibly challenging to describe female bodily functions to a teenage daughter. As mentioned, these are small, every-day type occurrences, admittedly. But they demonstrate the point.

      Reply
      1. NotAScientist

        “However, a Lesbian couple would be hard pressed to demonstrate to a 9 year old boy how a man responds to a painful situation. ”

        Define what you mean when you say ‘man’ here. Because I think you are implying more than ‘male’. A lesbian couple would be more than able to demonstrate to a 9 year old boy how a rational, loving and balanced person responds to a painful situation.

        ” Or navigate the birds and bees with a male adolescent.”

        Why?

        “Just as I would find it incredibly challenging to describe female bodily functions to a teenage daughter.”

        Why?

        I’m not saying it wouldn’t be difficult. I’m sure it will be. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it, and do it well. You may be culturally opposed to being honest and open to a female about her bodily functions, but not all of us are.

        I think your issue is cultural. Which is fine. I’m not saying you should change who you are.

        But a lesbian couple (for example) would be no worse at raising a child than a straight couple. And nothing you have presented seems to indicate otherwise.

      2. Brian Post author

        You make some interesting and well-thought-out points – it’s definitely given me a lot of food for thought. You clearly feel strongly about this and I respect your point of view.

        As I see it, at some point we have to make a distinction between what’s “cultural” and what’s “natural”. The Prophet of the LDS Church put out a proclamation about 10 years ago to clarify the fact that men and women have distinct roles in God’s plan:

        https://www.lds.org/topics/family-proclamation

        What’s significant about the statement they made is the distinctive roles that fathers and mothers both play in the rearing of families:

        “By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. ”

        It goes on to say that responsibilities are to be equally shared and that death and other extenuating circumstances may require adaptation. But God put a plan in place where a man and woman each bring unique abilities to the table in a way that offers the best chance for the successful raising of a family.

      3. Brian Post author

        I think we can continue to discuss the question on the merits of the “non-religious” aspects. But there’s an element of core beliefs surrounding who we are and why we’re on earth that influences our attitudes and outlook on the issue. I have strong faith in God and that shapes my world view. I know He lives, that He loves his children and wants the best for all of us. The teachings of Jesus have led me to believe this, combined with the powerful influence of the Book of Mormon. In God’s plan, marriage between a man and a woman play a central role.

        Either way, society will benefit from living God’s laws, even when missing the aspect of belief in Him.

  2. NotAScientist

    “But there’s an element of core beliefs surrounding who we are and why we’re on earth that influences our attitudes and outlook on the issue”

    I know there is.

    But, as we live in a secular country, why should we base legislation on your religious beliefs? Particularly when the only real objections (as far as I can tell) are religious objections?

    “Either way, society will benefit from living God’s laws, even when missing the aspect of belief in Him.”

    I disagree. But more importantly, I disagree on several laws and the supposed benefits of them.

    Reply
    1. Brian Post author

      Whether we accept it or not, the laws of any nation are ultimately based on the beliefs of that nation, as they pertain to God, the purpose of life, and the other “big” questions. It’s not based on universal fact or logic. There is no such thing separate from religion. There are giant holes in the scientific answers to the big questions of life.

      The laws of the United States were built on a Judeo-Christian ethic. It’s misguided to believe that any society can be purely built on the “logic” or the sum total of scientific findings that have been currently achieved. Western countries today are convincing themselves that they are more enlightened than the rest of the world and can achieve some standard not based on anything as primitive as religion. At the end of the day, our laws are simply a reflection of our belief system which, while just as much a belief system as anything else, increasingly reflects a belief that God doesn’t exist.

      Take something as “universally” accepted as a law against theft. In the US, if you walk into some stranger’s home and take something, you’ll get thrown into jail. That law is based on our concept of ownership and belief system that someone can’t take what I own without my permission. Let’s assume in some country in Africa, there is no such belief system. There’s no concept of ownership. You can come and take what you need as you please. Is there a scientific fact that proves the superior nature of our laws surrounding theft?

      What system of values would your ideal legal system be built on?

      Reply

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