Marriage Changes 3

From the Pew Research Center:

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • Tim

    Wow, 34% of individuals rank a same-sex couple with children as “not a family” while only 18% rank an unmarried couple with children as “not a family.”

    I’ve got to tell you, if I was one of those same-sex oriented individuals out there with (or aspiring to have) a monogamous life-long partner and children, I’d be pretty pissed-off at 34% of the population.

    Oh well, hopefully in time our public will become less closed-minded, as apparently 63% have managed to do so far.

    Anyone care to guess what the defining characteristics are of the 34% that don’t consider a same-sex couple with children a family?

  • http://restoringsoul.blogspot.com Ann F-R

    In a strictly biological sense, a same-sex couple does not have descendants from their union. (This would also apply if a single parent married another spouse & had no children with him/her.) If we define the word, family, outside of the strictly biological relationships, giving it a meaning other than a group of related people living together, we can use it to describe any affinity group. Jesus, Paul & other NT writers certainly considered the spiritual family characterized by godliness and love for God & one another to take precedence over the blood family.

    Tim, you criticize people as closed-minded for not defining same-sex couples with children as not being “families”, when you could choose to understand that many are thinking of biologically-based & progeny-creating relationships. That criticism, from my POV, evidences sloppy, if not uncharitable, thinking.

  • Tim

    Ann F-R,

    Yes, we do define family outside of strictly biological relationships. Infertile heterosexual couples can adopt, for instance. I am simply arguing that same-sex couples adopting (or using artificial insemination) are just as much families as those heterosexual couples that adopt or rely on donor eggs or sperm to procreated via artificial insemination.

    If you want to define family in strictly biological terms and exclude those with adopted children or those less than 100% genetically related to the couple, be my guest. I don’t agree with it, but everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. Of course, I’m free to have an opinion about those who withhold recognition of a family status to so many nurturing households in our society along such narrow grounds.

  • http://restoringsoul.blogspot.com Ann F-R

    How did what I said generally become “If you want to define family in strictly biological terms…”? It seems that you jump to conclusions that suit your biases in both your responses.

    I commended defining the word, family, better. My “family in Christ” maintains closer relationships than most of my biologically-related relatives.

  • Tim

    Ann F-R,

    OK Ann, substitute “you” for whichever people you are referencing when you said:

    “Tim, you criticize people as closed-minded for not defining same-sex couples with children as not being “families”, when you could choose to understand that many are thinking of biologically-based & progeny-creating relationships.”

    If one accepts a unit as family that includes adopted individuals, then I do not see where the hang-up is in same-sex families.

    If you are trying to provide these people with some sort of defense in their perspective, I don’t see how you’re doing a good job at it (for the reasons specified in my previous post).

  • Ann F-R

    Tim, why would they need “some sort of defense” if you’re not attacking them? The way we approach one another is quite different. I commend understanding and finding a basis for dialogue, not making an assumption that people who differ from our own perspectives are, ergo, “closed-minded.”

    You’re operating from the basis that those who define family differently than you must be closed-minded and fit a set of “defining characteristics.” My, how closed-minded of you! You seem disinterested in dialogue with them, with understanding their perspectives and engaging them in helping them to perceive what informs your POV. You want to force them into a legalistic form that is called “open-minded”, from which they’re currently excluded. (They should feel appropriate guilt for not being in that open-minded club, too, I surmise?) That legalism – whatever its regulatory shape – is the antithesis of what informs the name of this blog, “The Jesus Creed.” You commend living according to your law, as defined by you and your community, and not by their current law, with its “defining characteristics.” It seems, indeed, to fit what I named it to be: “uncharitable thinking.”

    Let me know how much success you have in that endeavor, with that approach! :D Most of us who participate regularly here have eschewed that MO, and find living according to the Jesus Creed to be a blessing to others and to our own families.

  • Tim

    Ann F-R,

    Part 1 (Patheos spam-filter is catching this, and I have to break up the message to figure out where it’s triggering the filter):

    I am making the “assumption” that people preclude same-sex partners with children from family status due to the same-sex aspect and not the biological aspect. I think the national dialog on same-sex civil unions, and all the talk about threats to the “traditional” unit of family support such an assumption being made. I obviously find such a notion “closed-minded.” But even if you were to reject that assumption and instead pin it on the biological aspect, then families with only adopted children wouldn’t really be “families” either. In which case, I would also find that “closed-minded,” not to mention extremely insulting to those families with adopted children (and to the adopted child, who would be essentially told that they aren’t part of a family).

    Family isn’t just a definition. It’s not some linguistic curiosity that we banter around lightly and doesn’t really have fundamental meaning or relevance to us as a society. It’s actually the fundamental social building block of our society. To deny someone family status is to marginalize their social unit and its place in our society.

  • Tim

    Ann F-R,

    Part 2:

    So, any same-sex couple with children (and those children themselves) would be perfectly justified in feeling marginalized by those 34% that refuse to acknowledge their unit as a family. And I don’t think that my refusal to “tolerate” or remain “open-minded” to other people’s intolerant or narrow-minded views makes me in any way intolerant or narrow-minded myself. Unless I should then tolerate those views that deny inter-racial couples with children as perfectly acceptable.

    If you think that definition is in the eye of the beholder Ann F-R, then how would you feel if I told you that you weren’t a Christian, as perhaps I define Christian in a way different than you do. Or maybe I could tell you that you don’t love Jesus, as perhaps I define love differently than you do. Or maybe I could tell you you’re not a nice person, as perhaps I define “nice” differently than you do. Definitions are not entirely in the eye of the beholder. And family is no exclusion.

    But in any event, maybe you could answer a simple question set of questions for me, do you consider:

    1) A heterosexual married couple with biological children a family?

    2) A heterosexual married couple with only adopted children a family?

    3) A monogamous, firmly committed same-sex couple with a domestic partnership or civil union with adopted children a family?

    I really hope you answer this question, and not hide behind caveats or obscurities, or decline all together. In fact, I don’t honestly see how I could (or at least would want to) continue meaningful conversation with you without answers to these questions.

    So have at it Ann F-R.