Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case—the things that have to do with salvation~ Hebrew 6:9
Monday night I tuned into the news just in time to see a rather spirited interview with a woman who wants tax incentives for traditional (two parent) families eliminated from the U.S. tax code. This woman is convinced tax incentives that encourage couples to marry before they have children are fundamentally unfair to “other kinds of families”.
The man conducting the interview (a moderately conservative guy) seemed to be more than a bit perplexed by her line of reasoning. He made repeated attempts to explain to her those incentives were intentionally placed within the tax code to promote two parent families as anti-poverty and pro-family measures.
After she rebuffed his valiant attempts at dragging reason into their conversation, the interview quickly devolved into a verbal cage fight. He was on one side attempting to goad her into admitting out loud that some family structures are better than others, and should therefore be encouraged. She stuck to her guns and proclaimed repeatedly and vehemently that the current tax code is “unfair to other kinds of families”.
The exchange (fascinating as it was) left me feeling discouraged and peeved. My irritation was not just due to the fact that the woman being interviewed gave every indication she is a clueless nitwit.
It’s the bigger picture that’s bugging me. In one sense, the woman has a valid point. It really is unfair for government to use the tax code to promote and encourage one kind of families over other kinds of families. If fairness is always the end-all-be-all objective of everything, then tax incentives for those who are married with kids and not those who are single with kids is unfair and the practice ought to be stopped.
Should fairness always the objective in every situation? Should fairness be the objective in this situation?
The clear answer is “no” and “no”.
There is a bigger issue at play here than fairness. That issue is the overall health of our society. Common sense, empirical evidence and numerous social studies have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that society is demonstrably benefitted in a multitude of ways when people get married before they have kids and stay married for life.
But that pesky set of facts is really nothing more than a side issue in my mind. The bigger picture leaving me peeved is the fact we have devolved to a place where it is no longer okay to say some things are better than others. Even when facts clearly demonstrate some things really are better than others.
It’s not okay to say it’s better for kids to be raised in a two-parent home than by a single mom. It’s not okay to say that a committed marriage is better than hooking-up. It’s not okay to say that marriage is better than divorce. It’s not okay to say it’s better to help people (especially children) embrace the gender they were assigned at conception rather than help them to physically transform into a gender they can never really become from a genetic standpoint. It’s not okay to say that a religion that promotes peace and love is better than one that does not.
Even some Christians have bought into this silly drivel. We have become so convinced that God does a happy dance every time He sees us (no matter what we’ve been up to) that it is no longer okay to say God teaches us some things are better than other things. It’s not okay to say that going to church on Sunday mornings is better than going to brunch on Sunday mornings. It’s not okay to say going to a Bible Study is better than going to a bar for a couple of drinks. It’s not okay to say that having sex in marriage is better than having sex outside of marriage.
It’s not okay to say much of anything anymore (even in the church) unless, of course, our words are unswervingly positive and affirming.
Insert eye roll here.
Scripture is clear, some choices are better than others not because the people who make those choices are better people, but rather because the choices have demonstrably better outcomes (Proverbs 16:8, Proverbs 28:6, Matthew 5:29, Mark 9:42, Romans 14:21, 1st Peter 3:17). The world needs those of us who believe this to be true to live that truth and proclaim that truth loudly and proudly.