This artist’s conception shows what it might be like to live on a planet inside a stellar nursery in galaxy NGC 604, nearly three million light years from Earth. Image courtesy NASA.
Seen on Facebook:
“Shacking up and having a baby is not ‘cute’. Speak plainly and biblically about the soul-damning seriousness of fornication.”
“Fornication.” Ewwww. What a horrible, dirty, terrible word.
But wait: let’s start by focusing on the initial portion of this particular individual’s statement. “Shacking up and having a baby is not ‘cute’.” Ostensibly it ought to properly be described by some other adjectives, like “regrettable” or “ugly” or “stigmatizeable”.
Hold on. Shacking up and having a baby is exactly what my wife and I did, and I’m pretty darn sure he’s quite cute.
Of course, my wife and I had a sheet of paper with our names, birthdates, and social security numbers on it, signed by a judge, certifying the present permanence of our relationship. We had also just wasted an enormous amount of money on a Public Display of Affection otherwise known as an Honest-To-Goodness Church Wedding. (Note: I say “wasted” not because I regret the experience, but because my side of the family completely ruined the whole thing. But that’s a different story.)
But the fact that my wife and I were married before we had our son isn’t what makes our son cute or our relationship as new parents a special and beautiful thing. Had he been conceived before our wedding, he wouldn’t be any less cute. If we weren’t yet married when he was born, we’d be foolish and irresponsible, but our joy at being the parents of a new human being would be just as legitimate.
I can just hear the protests. “If we acknowledge that there can be beautiful and admirable qualities present in a situation involving sin, then clearly we are condoning that sin, which will only lead to more sin!”
This line of reasoning ultimately leads to the belief that the value of a particular person or relationship or situation is dependent on the genesis of that state of affairs. But this approach is soundly rejected in other spheres.
For example, take abortion. At present, it’s politically expedient to be pro-life…but maintain an exception for rape and incest. After all, who would want to force a woman to carry her pregnancy to term when it’s only reminding her of such a traumatic event? As the conservatives are quick to point out, this misses the point: if the basis of the pro-life position is the intrinsic value of a human person, then the value of that person is the same regardless of the manner in which they were conceived. Someone or something is not more or less valuable according to the accident of its genesis.
And that’s what makes the original line of reasoning so hypocritical. This brand of conservatism is willing to say (rightly) that a child conceived by rape is no less valuable than any other child, but it shows no such equity with respect to children conceived and born out-of-wedlock by otherwise loving and caring parents.
Don’t get me wrong: it’s incredibly irresponsible to have a kid out of wedlock. Seriously. Though marriage clearly isn’t as valued as it once was (arguably due more than anything else to the divorce rate among Southern Baptists), it still offers inestimably more security to the child than having two parents who are merely cohabitating. But the notion that we ought to treat the relationship between the parents and the child differently because the parents are short-sighted or ill-prepared—that the absence of a marriage certificate makes the family less worthy of generating joy and happiness and thankfulness—is flat wrong.
It’s not “godly” or “biblical” for Christians to turn up their nose at an unmarried couple with a baby. Announcing that “fornication” is “soul-damningly serious” is really just an excuse for hypocrisy…the chance to look down on someone else, to justify prejudice. That’s not okay.
Part 2 here.