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What about the Children?

Children are the all-but-forgotten innocents in the marriage wars.

This article was submitted in response to Dr. Margaret Somerville's, It's All about the Children.

Isn't it curious, amidst the abundance of rhetoric about marriage today that children, the normally expected outcomes of marriage, are so rarely mentioned? Curious, did I say? No, it is tragic—even disastrous.

Having them … is the most important task we will ever have …

The total concern on both sides of the marriage question, is about the rightness or wrongness of consenting adults' living arrangements, their desires, welfare and enjoyment. "Children?" I hear you say, "Ha-ha, yes of course, children. What about them?" Well for a starter, if our parents had not had children, you and I wouldn't even be! Right?

Let's get real. Having children is important. The original and fundamental reason for marriage was and is the survival of the human race. All of us are mortal. If the human race is to continue we must replace ourselves—a yes even more than replace ourselves. God's command, "Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth " is a self-evident necessity. Because of low birth rates, Canada and virtually all other industrialized nations face the threat of a steady depopulation, which is being held at bay only through immigration, mainly from the two-thirds world.

Children are our most precious possession. Having them, protecting, nourishing and training them in a loving environment, is the most important task we will ever have and is what marriage and "family" is really all about! Don't get me wrong. Marriage is not only about raising children. It is also about the growing, intimate, satisfying, loving relationship of a husband and wife that is meant to last a lifetime. Where we get it wrong is in forgetting that it is not just this latter.

In contrast to the offspring of every other living creature, the human baby is more dependent and for a longer period of time. Some animal offspring are literally "born running." Others require weeks or a month or so of minimal care. Children are born helpless and need constant care in a family for years. For balanced nurture and training they also need the influence of both a mother and a father. Hence, in the very nature of things, it is to society's advantage to do everything possible to aid and abet marriage and keep families intact, a fact the Supreme Court of Canada itself has already affirmed.

How important is the family in God's eyes? In the Ten Commandments no other human to human relationship is covered so thoroughly—in the fifth: "Honor your father and your mother … .", the seventh: "You shall not commit adultery", and part of the tenth: " … you shall not covet ( i.e. cast greedy eyes upon) … .your neighbor's wife … ."

In contemporary society divorce is the great destroyer of children and young people. Children need to feel secure in their family life in order to mature and become positive and productive members of the community. Sad to say, no-fault divorce is the order of the day and has become the easy-out for self centered adults who have fooled themselves that "the kids will survive okay." Some do. Most carry the scars for life!

I wish I could say that in the community of faith children fare better. They don't. To our shame, divorce is just as rife in our churches as in society in general. So much for our being the "light of the world" and the "salt of the earth". Forgive us, children, forgive us!

What about the children? Listen to Jesus; " … . whoever causes one of these little ones (children) who believe in Me, to stumble, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck and that he be drowned in the depths of the sea" (Matthew 18:6). If these words don't jolt us awake, they should!

Bert Warden is a retired Christian & Missionary Alliance pastor and freelance writer based in Abbotsford, BC. He can be reached at

Originally published in the Abbotsford Times, August 26, 2005.




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