Awful Early-Marriage Promoting Editorial, ‘The Future of Christian Marriage,’ from The Christian Post that Actually Cites Deviant Mark Regnerus (December 2020)
Below: another article (this time from The Christian Post) seemingly advocating for the good ol’ days when, supposedly, most women got married by the age of 21 and popped out 10 kids apiece and lamenting at how folks just aren’t quite into marriage now as much as they used to be.
Such articles inadvertently suggest that being single and/or childless are somehow “wrong,” immoral, dangerous for society, or “second best.” They are sometimes (Link): intentionally or inadvertently singles-shaming.
Seems that about once a year, every year, some secular conservative or Christian group or person releases some kind of editorial bemoaning delayed marriage.
You can count on these things appearing regularly. Just like death and taxes, or the sun rising in the east tomorrow.
Some of these writers lament that people no longer marry right out of high school, as was the norm around the 1960s.
One of the things I’ve learned over the years, after having read a lot of other articles about marriage (and singleness), is that marriage, even in the Bible, is not given a clear structure by God, in the sense of
- God does NOT command anyone to marry at all (God actually says that (Link): remaining single is preferable to being married),
- God does NOT say in the Bible that (Link) “the gift of singleness is rare,”
- nor does God tell anyone who to marry or at what age to marry.
Marriage has always been bound by the culture in which it resides, and another tid bit I learned in articles years ago: for years, (Link): most people in the United States married at older ages; the 1950s and 1960s phenomenon of “people marrying young” (that is, in their late teens or by their mid-20s) was actually an abnormality in our nation’s history.
According to sources I saw (again, including (Link): ones like this), “early marriage” was not the status quo in the United States for most of our nation’s existence, as so many marriage-promoters and marriage-idolaters would have one believe.
The Bible may refer to the “wife of your youth,” at one point, but that is a descriptive, not a prescriptive.
The Bible did not and does not command all to marry, nor does the Bible say it is a “sin” to marry past a certain age – those are all cultural concerns and cultural preferences at work.
God does not give a hoot about any of this – if God is concerned, he’s pretty silent about it in the biblical text.
Mark Regnerus is a deviant. I’ve blogged about Regenurs before. Why do I say he’s a deviant? Explanation as follows:
This Regnerus guy is so obsessed with promoting marriage ((Link): as is Bradford Wilcox), that he even went so far a few years ago to instruct single Christian women in an editorial (Link): to go ahead and marry self-professing Christian men who they know to use pornography.
Regnerus told single Christian women that he’s alarmed at the lack of marriages among Christians, and so, if a Christian single woman keeps “porn use” as a “deal breaker,” on her list of reasons not to marry a guy, he says that factor leads to a lack of marriages, which he considers to be really bad.
So, (Link – once more): Regnerus wrote, women should ditch THEIR criteria in what to select in a mate so as not to impede the number of marriages, even if that includes “no porn use.”
This dude is instructing grown women as to what THEIR standards should be in husband hunting – he’s asking them to violate Biblical ethics and standards on multiple levels with that awful advice, and that is beyond insulting.
Christians should never, ever use Mark Regnerus as a source in their works. The minute I see names such as Regnerus or Wilcox (of “National Marriage Project”) show up as work or authors cited in a “pro marriage” article on any site, I am immediately suspect.
This editorial from Christian Post (way below) is a re-hash of so many articles before it – there is this constant worry over the fact that more and more people are not marrying, or are delaying marriage.
The Bible nowhere expresses worry over any of this, but so many Christians continue to guilt trip and shame singles for being single, which can create all (Link): sorts of problems (Link): for single adults.
The Bible no where says that singleness is a shameful status, or that marriage can “fix” a culture.
The Bible does not teach that marriage or having children are necessary to sanctify a person (it says the (Link): indwelling Holy Spirit does that, and un-Married people ALSO have the Holy Spirit), nor does the Bible say that being married makes a person more responsible, godly, loving, or ethical.
Being married or being a parent (Link): are not prerequisites to “being human.”
(I actually have a (Link): long running list on my blog, with many real life news examples, of married Christians and married Non-Christians, who have been arrested for manufacturing child abuse imagery (ie, child porn), having sex with animals, selling or using illegal narcotics, molesting children, or abusing their wives, and engaging in all sorts of other illegal or disgusting behavior.)
The title of the article below is “the future of Christian marriage.” Why oh why do Christians NEVER express ANY concern of single adults, as in “The Future of Christian Singleness”?
Instead of bemoaning lack of marriage, (Link): why not ask how you can serve the divorced, never-married, or widowed adults in your community with their practical needs?
For the singles you know that would like to be married, (Link): what steps are you taking to ACTUALLY help them get married?
Dating sites are filled with creeps, (Link): serial rapists, and other assorted losers and weirdos, so not all singles can or will meet an eligible Mr. or Ms. Right on a dating site – so don’t sit back and advise your single friends who are tired of being single to (Link): “just try a dating site, it’s how my friend Debbie met her husband Frank.”
Do you (Link): assume (oh so wrongly) ALL singles who are single past age 30 are single BY CHOICE, or do you acknowledge there are a lot of singles who’d like to be married, but they (Link): simply don’t have a lot of potential mates in their dating pool… maybe they are (Link): too busy with a job and don’t have much time to date.
Are you (Link): personally helping single adults who’d like to be married to actually get married – are you, with their permission and input – fixing them up on dates with other single adults, and so on?
If you’re not, you are part of the problem, and you really need to shut up about “oh dear me, isn’t it worrisome that people either aren’t marrying, or they’re waiting until they’re past age 30 to marry.”
Well, you need to shut up anyway, even if you are actually helping singles get married, because all this pearl-clutching about “oh noes, folks aren’t getting married these days” is suggesting that there is something wrong about singleness, (Link): which is very insulting
Here are excerpts from the editorial on The Christian Post:
(Link): The Future Of Christian Marriage
By John Stonestreet and G. Shane Morris, Op-Ed Contributors
[The authors describe how many Americans previously would marry quite young in decades past.]
….Beneath these stories is a view of marriage as a foundation of life, a starting point for other goals. Today, this view has been replaced by a different one, what some call the “capstone” view of marriage. In the “capstone” view, marriage is a finishing touch to add to a life after individual careers have been achieved, personal goals have been checked off, and we’ve discovered “who we are.”
This massive shift in our ideas about marriage has all kinds of consequences, from delaying weddings (for many people, into their 30’s) to cratering the fertility rate in most developed nations to normalizing premarital sex and cohabitation. Still, the most consequential changes might be occurring within the Church
—- end excerpt—
Side note here: there it is, the (Link): false assumption that if people are single, they are committing sexual sin. Not true. I’m a single – but I am celibate.
Often times, married people commit sexual sin, but I seldom hear pastors and “pro family” type conservatives acknowledge that (Link): marriage does not make people immune from sexual sin.
Continuing with more excerpts from the Christian Post:
University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus tracks these changes in his new book, The Future of Christian Marriage. Regnerus not only described his findings to Shane Morris on the Upstream Podcast, but he also described the dramatic steps that will be required if a culture of marriage is to be restored within the Church.
….Tragically, far fewer practice, or even try to practice, this design. The average age at first marriage is nearing historic highs in nearly every country Regnerus studied, and cohabitation is quickly becoming a common lifestyle choice, even for young people within the Church.
—- end excerpt —-
How can the authors declare remaining single and childless is ‘tragic,’ when the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 7 that remaining single is preferable to being married?
Is it “tragic” that (Link): Jesus of Nazareth remained single and childless?
Continuing – here quoting Regnerus from some book he wrote (as excerpted on The Christian Post page):
This is new. Historically, marriage was never considered an optional feature of the Church’s life, nor was it a trophy you won after reaching “adulthood.” God clearly calls some to the single life and elevates their potential for ministry. At the same time, marriage is the picture the Apostle Paul uses when to illustrate the love between Jesus and His redeemed. Marriage reorients our energies and affections away from ourselves and toward others in a way nothing else, other than parenting, can.
—- end excerpt—-
So many errors here.
Most Christians today (Link): do in fact equate getting married and/or (Link): having sex and/or having biological children to be a marker of adulthood, and in their books and sermons, continually suggest that being single is a mark of immaturity, an attempt to dodge responsibility, and some Christians suggest that perhaps God is angry and punishing the single adult for something, and so is with-holding a spouse from the single adult.
Regnerus’ claim that “marriage reorients our energies and affections away from ourselves and toward others in a way nothing else, other than parenting, can” is (Link): absolutely false, as studies have found. Also see (Link – off site): this page.
Continuing with excerpts from page:
If we want Christian marriage to have a future, we’ll need to change this capstone view. Much of the problem that Regnerus describes in The Future of Christian Marriage is a failure of the imagination and the inability to see marriage as attainable.
You know who makes marriage unattainable, and who makes it sound unattainable? Christians who are strongly pro-marriage, that is who (ironic, ain’t it?)
I could go on and on about the reasons and the why’s, but I will summarize it here by saying, that in American culture, if one wants to marry, one will have to date the opposite sex, which means meeting that person one on one alone at a cafe or restaurant, perfectly normal behaviors which most Christians never the less discourage, because they believe it will lead to sex.
Further, Christians began brainwashing Christian singles from the time they are children to think they have to have (Link): super nit-picky, (Link): unrealistic mate-selection criteria
– until some of them wake up and realize that this keeps singles single too long, then they go the opposite route and drop any and all moral and other standards from mate criteria (which is just as ill advised, counter effective, and disturbing as encouraging singles to have super nit picky “must haves” and “cannot stand” lists).
The Christian insistence that single Christians only marry other Christians also (Link): has led to perpetual singleness for Christian woman who’d like to marry, and maybe a few single Christian men along the way (this seems to be more an issue for women, though, since there are more women in churches than men).
Lastly, Christians seldom acknowledge that there has existed for decades now a gender imbalance in most churches, where single Christian women out-number single Christian men.
Most American churches consist of women, and the men that do attend are either too young, are married, or are over the age of 80 and widowed – and no unmarried woman who wants marriage who is between the ages of 25 and 75 wants to marry an 80 year old man.
This (Link): common- place gender imbalance in Christianity, at least in the United States (I’m not sure if this is a world wide problem), factors into prolonged, unwanted singleness for a lot of Christian women who’d like to be married.
I’ve had it with these worry-wart, pearl clutching articles, books, pod casts and editorials where-in a conservative Christian “freaks out” and worries about declining marriage rates.
You marriage- promoting jokers don’t give a rat about helping singles in their singleness, you inadvertently re-enforce the marriage-obsessed culture that already exists in most churches (which marginalizes single adults), and you never actually help singles who’d like to marry to actually get married.
You marriage worshipping, over-enthusiastic marriage-extolling Christians act as obstacles to single adults who’d like to get married.
Why don’t you support singles in their singleness, and for the ones who’d like to marry, why don’t you either help them to actually get married, or step aside already?
Related (More Posts On This Blog):
(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
(Link): Typical Erroneous Teaching About Adult Celibacy Rears Its Head Again: To Paraphrase Speaker at Ethics and Public Policy Center: Lifelong Celibacy is “heroic ethical standard that is not expected of heteros, so it should not be expected of homosexuals”
(Link): Stop Believing God Told You to Marry Your Spouse by G. Thomas
(Link): Seven Truths About Marriage You Won’t Hear in Church by F. Powell
(Link): Update on Christian Rapist Man Who Used Christian Mingle Site To Pick His Victims (he liked to discuss Jesus and the Bible with them before raping them – other details in update) Equally Yoked Teaching IS A FARCE