Parenthood
Conservative Christian advocates of ‘traditional families’ ignore the example set in the Bible

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Penny Wong’s powerful speech about the dangers of the debate over a plebiscite on same-sex marriage has already drawn a response from the conservatives, who preposterously argue an equivalence between those who besmirch the LGBT community and those who criticise their self-righteous comfortable opponents.

And the religious right has also weighed in with its mantra along the predictable line that only stable, heterosexual parents can provide the bedrock of the family unit.

Not all of those who are opposed to same sex-marriage are committed Christians.  But many of the most zealous, such as the crusaders of the Australian Christian Lobby, certainly are.

Traditional marriage, they proclaim, is a sacrament divinely ordained by God. But even the most cursory examination of their own source literature will reveal that while they claim to follow God’s words (well, some of them) they are not in the least interested in following His deeds, because when it comes to parenting, God is not the best example.

God’s only known sexual encounter involved the seduction of a young married woman who, he insisted, must also be a virgin. He did not bother to court her himself; He simply sent a messenger to tell her that she was pulled, and she should get ready.

When He arrived, there were no flowers or chocolates, no invitation to dinner and a date; it was wham, bam, thank you ma’am. As soon as the deed was done He did a runner, leaving the woman pregnant and abandoned.

He offered no pre-natal support; that became the responsibility of the woman’s legitimate husband, who was also left to look after her through the confinement and the birth as best he could.

Strangers brought some christening presents, but God didn’t; the best He could manage was a choir to sing the news to some itinerant farm labourers. And God gave no maintenance for the baby; indeed, His illegitimate son was forced to flee the country in fear of his life. As he grew up, he had no direct contact with his Father except the odd call on the royal telephone.

Unsurprisingly, he became something of a rebel, and was in constant conflict with the local authorities. When it became too much for them, they handed him over the imperial power, which somewhat reluctantly sentenced to him to a slow and painful death. God gave him no comfort or solace and in the end His son accused the neglectful Father of having forsaken him.

The justification for this ostensible cruelty seems to be an obscure agenda involving God forgiving mankind (or at least those members who were willing to worship him), who had been condemned after one of their distant ancestors had eaten a forbidden apple some 4000 years earlier.

God then resurrected His son and later took him into heaven to sit beside Him – whether the son was altogether comfortable with this arrangement is not recorded. God later brought the mother to heaven as well, but not to sit with the blokes at the top table; her position is not known.

Presumably this is not what conventional Christians would regard as an ideal relationship. It is hardly the stable marriage producing healthy and well-balanced children that we are so often told, that is what God actually wants – indeed requires and demands, and those who defy His edicts will assuredly burn in hell forever. Are we missing something here?

Mungo MacCallum

Mungo MacCallum is a political journalist and commentator. His books include Run Johnny Run, Poll Dancing, and Punch and Judy. Visit his blog, The View from Billinudgel.

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