I heard an interesting statement made on the radio by Bill O’Reilly. He was commenting on the fact that Britney Spears had filed for divorce from Kevin Federline (with whom she has two children) and he was discussing what each were trying to do to the other in terms of belongings and children. He made a couple of statements that I disagreed with, and that’s what I remember most.
First, he said that all couples should have a pre-nuptial agreement– since Mrs. Federline made sure she had a prenup before the wedding and timed the filing to the terms of said agreement for maximum monetary benefit.
The second statement that he made that I believe was incorrect was that he believed that marriage was a recent invention primarily invented for the upbringing of children going so far as to say that in the Bible times they did not have marriage, but instead hung around and shacked up with whomever they wanted.
I disagree with this on two counts. In fact there was marriage, and it was more of a strict engagement where the husband and the wife actually were betrothed, and learned to love someone despite of who they were instead of being emotionally based, but– I will agree with him on one aspect.
The government has co-opted marriage to serve a purpose in society: to help raise children that are good citizens. If I have mistaken O’Reilly and this is his point, then I will take back my objection.
I believe that this entanglement of marriage and government has pluses and minuses– just like any entanglement in government has. On the one hand, as long as the government supports and gives deference to marriages (seeking to strengthen them and encourage them), then the entanglement is a good thing. Once government seeks to subvert, redefine, or even encourage divorce, the ties should be broken.
Such a case of the latter happened recently in China where a policy was made that single parents were guaranteed jobs teaching in schools where those that were married were possibly in line to be cut. This resulted in 41 teachers filing for divorce in one week in order to guarantee that they had a job. This mass divorce convinced officials to rescind the plan and encourage those that divorced to remarry their spouses.
Government is powerful, and should encourage good things, but if it starts to reward bad things, or attack the very foundations of marriage itself, it would be better to have no benefits than to have people encouraged to remain single parents or become them.