“I now pronounce you friend and friend”

Now that homosexual relationships are winning legal, binding status, some people are calling for similar laws ratifying friendship:

Now, a number of scholars are seeking to shore up friendship in a surprising way: by granting it legal recognition. Some of the rights and privileges restricted to family, they argue, should be given to friends. These could be invoked on a case-by-case basis – eligibility to take time off to care for a sick friend under an equivalent of the Family and Medical Leave Act, for example. Or they could take the form of an official legal arrangement between two friends, designating a bundle of mutual rights and privileges – literally “friends with benefits,” as Laura Rosenbury, a law professor at Washington University, puts it. One scholar even suggests giving friends standing in the tax code, allowing taxpayers to write off certain “friend expenditures.”

Such changes, proponents say, could contribute to a shift in how our society values personal relationships. In part, they say, the point is to acknowledge that society has already changed: as more people are living outside of marriage, friendships have become the primary relationships on which many Americans rely. But a broader aim is to recognize the universal social and psychological benefits of friendship, which rival those of other relationships, notably marriage, that receive active state support. New laws could elevate friendship’s status, recasting it as an essential part of our lives, rather than a luxury often sacrificed to other priorities.

Changes of this kind would “allow you to say, these are people who matter deeply to me,” said Rachel Moran, a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley who is one of the thinkers in favor of friendship law. “I want that to count, not only in my own intimate life, but in the eyes of the law.”

That’s all single people need! It’s hard enough to find someone to marry. Think of the agony of rejection when you can’t even find a friend willing to commit to you. Notice also how this ties into the deconstruction of marriage into its component parts that we blogged about recently.

This is also a creepy manifestation of the revived religion of the state, in which some people really do want the government to ratify, control, and regulate EVERYTHING. That is, to become “totalitarian”; from the word “total.”

HT: Motte Brown at Boundless

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    What faith in the law we have. How much safety–salvation–we think it will grant us. I guess we think it will sanctify us also.
    I think we think the law does Jesus’ work better than He did. Who needs a pastor when we have law professors?
    The devil was right in the book/movie the Devil’s Advocate. Lawyers are the new priesthood.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    What faith in the law we have. How much safety–salvation–we think it will grant us. I guess we think it will sanctify us also.
    I think we think the law does Jesus’ work better than He did. Who needs a pastor when we have law professors?
    The devil was right in the book/movie the Devil’s Advocate. Lawyers are the new priesthood.

  • http://www.simdan.com SimDan

    So if social networking sites are any indication, we should expect to see people to be flooded with hundreds of “friend requests,” right? If any good comes from this measure, it would be to restrain the definition of “friend.” As it stands right now, the definition seems to be “anyone whose name I recognize.”

  • http://www.simdan.com SimDan

    So if social networking sites are any indication, we should expect to see people to be flooded with hundreds of “friend requests,” right? If any good comes from this measure, it would be to restrain the definition of “friend.” As it stands right now, the definition seems to be “anyone whose name I recognize.”

  • Mary Jack

    I’ve heard the dream/idea of sharing insurance with a friend or roommate as a substitute for family benefits for the last ten years, as “poor,” idealistic college students see the pitfalls of medical insurance & the necessity of two-income households, even apart from marriage.

    But I think it’s sad that our society & growing big government thinks it’s standing up for the needy, finding new ways to provide & care, when we keep neglecting those who were originally to be protected: men, women, and children, who all need to learn responsibility and discernment in a dangerous, misleading world.

  • Mary Jack

    I’ve heard the dream/idea of sharing insurance with a friend or roommate as a substitute for family benefits for the last ten years, as “poor,” idealistic college students see the pitfalls of medical insurance & the necessity of two-income households, even apart from marriage.

    But I think it’s sad that our society & growing big government thinks it’s standing up for the needy, finding new ways to provide & care, when we keep neglecting those who were originally to be protected: men, women, and children, who all need to learn responsibility and discernment in a dangerous, misleading world.

  • Don S

    People desire security, but are unwilling to trust or believe in the almighty God, who is our ultimate security. So, what choice do they have but to create their own god — an “almighty” government which can provide them, they hope, a security net. Also at work here is the building of a substitute “family”, since God-ordained nuclear families have been devalued and destroyed in the name of rebellion against God.

  • Don S

    People desire security, but are unwilling to trust or believe in the almighty God, who is our ultimate security. So, what choice do they have but to create their own god — an “almighty” government which can provide them, they hope, a security net. Also at work here is the building of a substitute “family”, since God-ordained nuclear families have been devalued and destroyed in the name of rebellion against God.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Friendship law….I can imagine a bureaucrat in some nice office coming up with about 7000 pages of regulations, rules, and forms that people becoming friends would have to fill out to figure out whether their buddy was a “friend,” “acquaintance,” or “guy or gal who puts up with you because he’s too nice to tell you to get lost.”

    That’ll do the trick. Exactly what trick, I’m not quite sure, though.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Friendship law….I can imagine a bureaucrat in some nice office coming up with about 7000 pages of regulations, rules, and forms that people becoming friends would have to fill out to figure out whether their buddy was a “friend,” “acquaintance,” or “guy or gal who puts up with you because he’s too nice to tell you to get lost.”

    That’ll do the trick. Exactly what trick, I’m not quite sure, though.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    That’s a good one, Bike Bubba, and the logical offshoot of this (although I think it’s too late to apply ‘logic’ to our legalism system).
    I imagine the IRS will work overtime writing those intricate stipulations of friendship, to make sure I’m not just trying to shoehorn someone in for financial benefit. Because, without regs and rules, how will I ever know who’s a real friend?
    I guess a friend is someone who saves me on my taxes and my insurance.
    ‘You’re more than a friend; you’re a deduction.’
    Then, of course, such friendship will have to be legally dissolved…calling for lawyers, of course.
    Soon, all households will be corporations and vows will be contracts.
    ‘The Smiths, LLC’

  • Susan aka organshoes

    That’s a good one, Bike Bubba, and the logical offshoot of this (although I think it’s too late to apply ‘logic’ to our legalism system).
    I imagine the IRS will work overtime writing those intricate stipulations of friendship, to make sure I’m not just trying to shoehorn someone in for financial benefit. Because, without regs and rules, how will I ever know who’s a real friend?
    I guess a friend is someone who saves me on my taxes and my insurance.
    ‘You’re more than a friend; you’re a deduction.’
    Then, of course, such friendship will have to be legally dissolved…calling for lawyers, of course.
    Soon, all households will be corporations and vows will be contracts.
    ‘The Smiths, LLC’

  • Bruce

    I don’t know what the fuss is about. I got an email telling me someone on Facebook had invited me to be her friend. I clicked on “accept”, and Facebook announced that “we were now friends”!

    Presto.

  • Bruce

    I don’t know what the fuss is about. I got an email telling me someone on Facebook had invited me to be her friend. I clicked on “accept”, and Facebook announced that “we were now friends”!

    Presto.

  • http://viz.tumblr.com Tickletext

    Inanity of inanities, saith the commentator.

  • http://viz.tumblr.com Tickletext

    Inanity of inanities, saith the commentator.

  • fw

    this is not so far fetched. with the disappearance of the nuclear family. (the extended family. gramps , aunts uncles…. kids….)

    maybe “marriage” civilly speaking needs to be defined legally as any two adults who need to enter in to a social contract that binds them in the same way as two married people.

    it is nice to uphold ideals of mom and dad and 3.2 kids…

    It is similarly dangerous, in clinging romantically to the true ideal, to ignore the chaos of reality and for the government not to at least attempt to wrap some sort of structure around all that legally to at least protect the innocent.

    This is exactly what God Himself did in his Theocracy. he wrapped laws around the sinful practices of polygamy and other things…. legalizing something is not necessarily “condoning” sin (f you want to accuse God of condoning sin… well….).

    It is really regulating (in the perfect sense of that word), containing, and controlling the extent and free reign of sin that WILL happen whether the government does something or not.

  • fw

    this is not so far fetched. with the disappearance of the nuclear family. (the extended family. gramps , aunts uncles…. kids….)

    maybe “marriage” civilly speaking needs to be defined legally as any two adults who need to enter in to a social contract that binds them in the same way as two married people.

    it is nice to uphold ideals of mom and dad and 3.2 kids…

    It is similarly dangerous, in clinging romantically to the true ideal, to ignore the chaos of reality and for the government not to at least attempt to wrap some sort of structure around all that legally to at least protect the innocent.

    This is exactly what God Himself did in his Theocracy. he wrapped laws around the sinful practices of polygamy and other things…. legalizing something is not necessarily “condoning” sin (f you want to accuse God of condoning sin… well….).

    It is really regulating (in the perfect sense of that word), containing, and controlling the extent and free reign of sin that WILL happen whether the government does something or not.

  • fw

    I could think of a friend caring for an elderly friend. a niece caring for an elderly aunt or an incapacitated relative….. any combination could go and get a “marriage” license that would confer on them all the social priviledges AND responsibilities of a married person. hospital visitations, inheritance rights, immunity from having to testify against , immigration priviledges, tax benefits, etc….

  • fw

    I could think of a friend caring for an elderly friend. a niece caring for an elderly aunt or an incapacitated relative….. any combination could go and get a “marriage” license that would confer on them all the social priviledges AND responsibilities of a married person. hospital visitations, inheritance rights, immunity from having to testify against , immigration priviledges, tax benefits, etc….

  • fw

    what gays want should probably be made to extend to any two consenting adults.

  • fw

    what gays want should probably be made to extend to any two consenting adults.


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