Focus on the Family "Refocused"
I just came across this article from WORLD magazine about Focus on the Family's shift in focus concerning marriage:
We're winning the younger generation on abortion, at least in theory. What about same-sex marriage? We're losing on that one, especially among the 20- and 30-somethings: 65 to 70 percent of them favor same-sex marriage. I don't know if that's going to change with a little more age—demographers would say probably not. We've probably lost that. I don't want to be extremist here, but I think we need to start calculating where we are in the culture.
Where are we? We've got to look at what God is doing in all of this. . . . Have we done such a poor job with marriage, is He so upset with our mishandling of it in the Christian community, along with our lust of the flesh as a nation, that He is handing us over to this polygamy and same-sex situation in order to, perhaps, drive the Christian community, the remnant, into saying, "OK, there's no no-fault divorce in our church"?
So churches would have a standard of marriage higher than the state's? We'd say, "The piece of paper that you get at the state to recognize your marriage is worthless. It's like registering your car. But if you're going to be a part of this church and you're married, you're going to be committed to your marriage. There's no easy way out." What if the Christian divorce rate goes from 40 percent to 10 percent or 5 percent, and the world's goes from 50 percent to 80 percent? Now we're back to the early centuries. They're looking at us and thinking, "We want more of what they've got," because we're proving in front of the eyes of the world that marriage in a Christian context works.
What's the current perception of gay activists about Christian marriage? I sat down with one. He said, "You guys haven't done so well with marriage. Why are you upset about us having a try?" We've got to look at our own house, make sure that our marriages are healthy, that we're being a good witness to the world. Then we can continue to work on defending marriage as best as we can.
It does seem that many of our national symptoms go back to the failure of marriage and the absence of fathers in the home. . . . One researcher found that it costs the government $300 billion a year because of the impact of dads not being in the home. In looking at the social problems we face, we should start with how to get dads reconnected to the family and committed to their marriages. If we could do that, we could achieve a lot in this country.
Do family problems contribute to poverty? Journalists will say to us, "If you're a Christian organization, why don't you fight poverty directly?" My response is, "We do." The No. 1 predictor of poverty is a divorce. Women and children land below the poverty line most often after divorce.
Some European governments, noting the costs of having children, are providing large child subsidies, in essence paying couples to have children. . . . But on the back end you have to tax families to pay for that. This then creates the need for both parents to have salaries.
Can't we just print more money? Seriously, do you recommend some non-financial ways for governments to help marriage? Make divorce more difficult. Have mandatory waiting periods. Have 90-day mandatory counseling for people so it's not just "we don't like each other any more." There are different things to do that do not involve taxing other families to pay for them.
So ~ the "refocus" of FOTF is shifting away from opposing same-sex marriage and instead focusing on making it more difficult to obtain a divorce.
Does anyone else think this is scary? ... and I was seriously pissed when I read Jim Daly's remark, "... so it's not just 'we don't like each other any more.'" WTF? What woman is ever so flippant about divorce?
Truthfully ~ filing for divorce for me did mean a major step down financially ~ my income and assets took a huge hit ~ and we actually were already living close to poverty level before the divorce. BUT ~ IT WAS SO TOTALLY WORTH IT!!!!!! I'll take poverty over abuse any day.
If FOTF and similar "pro-family" organizations succeed in reducing the Christian divorce rate to 5% ~ that's going to represent a huge increase in misery for a lot of Christian wives who are already seriously oppressed in their "traditional" marriages ~ with husband as patriarchal head of the home and wife as subservient "helpmeet."
These women do not need divorce to be more difficult ~ it's already almost impossible to leave an abusive marriage when it's supposedly God's will and the domineering man is simply fulfilling his biblical role as head of the home.
Daly's thinking is that by reducing the divorce rate among Christians and holding up the "Biblical family" as the key to marriage "success," the secular world will have to admit that God's way is truly the best way ~ and somehow, that's supposed to convince gays to repent of their deviancy, I guess. Ugh. As though the only reason gay people are gay is because they've never seen a long-lasting heterosexual marriage.
Some days, I seriously want to become an outspoken divorce advocate ~ kinda ironic considering that I spent 16 years publishing a "pro-family" Christian newspaper with the message that "God hates divorce." Of all the women I've encountered through No Longer Quivering who have divorced their abusive husbands, the only regret has been not filing years sooner ~ not one woman has told me she wished she'd had to wait a little longer or gone to another counseling session to try to make it work. They do regret the extra years their children suffered because they kept holding out hope that somehow the Lord would work on their husbands' hearts.
Focus on the Family's concession on marriage is not progress and the group's shift in focus will not benefit families ~ Christian or otherwise. It's never helpful to value the institution of marriage over the individuals ~ the men, women and children ~ real people, living in real families.