Hey, Justice Kennedy: You don’t need to shame singles to uphold marriage by L. Bonos
The following secular editorial responding to the recent SCOTUS decision in favor of homosexual marriage (which I don’t agree with), is the same situation that occurs among conservative Christians in regards to heterosexual marriage and singleness.
Even putting homosexual marriage aside, a lot of conservative Christians get upset by things like the high rate of divorce among heterosexuals, and they lament that heteros are not marrying anymore or not until later in life.
Therefore, you will find these incredibly rude and obnoxious blog posts, radio commentary, or magazine articles by Christians who seek to defend and encourage marriage by insulting singleness. (I would encourage you to scroll down to the bottom of this post, under the “Related Posts” section to see links to examples of that.)
There are Christians, preachers, and churches who think they can make singleness sound so horrible that they can scare singles into getting married.
Part of the problem with this odious approach is that it misses the problem – a lot of people would like to get married, they are simply unable to find the right partner. Such singles are not “anti marriage.” They want to get married but cannot.
Then you have Christians, preachers, and churches who think the way to encourage singles to marry is to say all manner of disrespectful, awful, or fear-provoking things about singleness, and to repeat bogus studies (which have been refuted by Bella DePaulo – see (Link): this page (off site link) for but one example; she has many other pages debunking anti-singleness studies ) stating that singles get sick more often, are unhappier than, or die sooner than their married counter parts.
There is really no need to defend or build up marriage by slighting singleness. For a Christian to do so is even more insulting, since the Bible fully supports singleness (see 1 Corinthians 7), and Jesus Christ never married and never had children.
Regarding the discussion below about singles being lonely: some singles are. I find myself lonely at times. However, I was also in a long term serious relationship years ago for several years, and I was lonely while IN that relationship. There were times I sat in the same room as my fiance’ and felt all alone anyway.
So, being in a relationship is not going to make loneliness totally disappear. There are a lot of boyfriends or husbands who emotionally neglect their sweethearts, which leaves those women feeling lonely.
It’s not necessary to defend marriage by insulting singleness.
(Link): Hey, Justice Kennedy: You don’t need to shame singles to uphold marriage by L. Bonos
- You’ve probably read the (Link): last paragraph of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion holding that same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry. It’s a beautiful description of the love and companionship that can be found in a happy, thriving marriage. It also contains a sentence that insults unmarried Americans ( (Link): about 44 percent of U.S. adults [update by Christian Pundit: the figure, as of 2014, is actually (Link): about 51%]]) of all sexual orientations.
- [Kennedy’s comment]:
- “Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions.” This plus another line, about midway through Kennedy’s opinion, casts the unmarried as lonely: “Marriage responds to the universal fear that a lonely person might call out only to find no one there.”
- …Yes, loneliness is a universal fear, but marriage isn’t the only cure — nor is it always a cure. If it were, (Link): the divorce rate would be a lot closer to zero.
- The word “lonely” isn’t what’s so hurtful in here. Everyone — married or single, gay or straight, celibate or the opposite — has pangs of loneliness. The offensive part is that it casts marriage as a full life and singles’ lives as doomed to sadness.
- Loneliness is not a permanent condition that all unmarried people suffer. Anyone who has a close friend, or even one reliable family member, has a person to call out to when and if they’re lonely.
- (Link): As I’ve said before and feel the need to say again: The single and childless have families; some of us were even born into them.
- Loneliness isn’t a chronic condition either, something you’re “condemned to,” as if serving a prison sentence.
- Every time I encounter single-shaming — which feels like a weekly ritual after the reaction to Lindsey Graham’s presidential bid, this Supreme Court decision and the simple fact that it’s wedding season — I reach for Sara Eckel’s book: “It’s Not You: 27 Wrong Reasons You’re Single.”
- In a chapter about how she learned to manage her own loneliness while single in her late 30s, she writes: “People talk openly about their alcoholism, depression, eating disorders, and sex addictions. But who besides widows of long and happy marriages admits to being lonely? It’s the ultimate shame.”
- “By adding those feelings of shame,” Eckel writes, “I doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled my pain.” But once she realized that an individual bout of loneliness would eventually subside, “I treated my discomfort the way an athlete does, feeling the burn.”
(Link): Singles Advocate DePaulo Responds to Right Wing, Conservative Critics of Singlehood, Who Blame Singles For Breakdown of The Family (reminder: I myself am right wing)
(Link): “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” – one of the most excellent Christian rebuttals I have seen against the Christian idolatry of marriage and natalism, and in support of adult singleness and celibacy – from CBE’s site