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Divorce - Christ's Stance, Paternity Fraud And The Role Of Government - Religion - Nairaland

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Divorce - Christ's Stance, Paternity Fraud And The Role Of Government by okosunehis: 9:58pm On Jun 14, 2020
DIVORCE – CHRIST’S STANCE, PATERNITY FRAUD AND THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT

The often trending issues of divorce and paternity fraud usually cause some division in societal dialectics. Although these very serious malaises are destroying homes, families and people’s lives, I hardly hear recognized religious authorities speak about them, especially the latter. We understand that our “men of God”, every so often, may be more concerned about “weightier matters”, so let some of us who are just after common sense and rational thinking attempt to give it some insight.

THE RELEVANCE OF CHRIST TO THE CHRISTIAN ARGUMENT

A lot of self-professed Christians fail to regard the stance of their supposed religious icon when it comes to pertinent issues concerning Christianity. As a keen student of the Bible (which I try to be), I consider the words of Jesus the Christ to be fundamental, paramount and the very foundation on which the biggest religion in the world stands. Every other religious authority, Biblical or contemporary; whether president, pope, general overseer, archbishop, apostle, prophet, pastor, bishop, minister, etc., stand secondary. Truth be told, some of Christ’s teachings were shrouded in unexplained parables and idioms, which left even his closest acolytes as bamboozled as his general audience; but that was not always the case.

CHRIST’S STANCE ON DIVORCE

Jesus Christ’s position on divorce was pretty straightforward; “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery…The one who can accept this should accept it.” – Matthew 19:8, 9, 12 (NIV)

Key points we can infer from the above statement are:

- For all the many reasons marriages are split today (irreconcilable differences et al), Christ only approved of one reason – a wife cheating on the husband
- Christ never said that a man must divorce a wife that cheated, hence the final decision lies with the man; to remain in the marriage under whatever situation(s) or just break up
- (A lot of people would argue this!) Christ also did not give a condition that would allow a woman divorce the husband. Christianity gives married men the authority over their wives; not to become tyrannical, but to cater to the needs of your wife like their own flesh. The supposed “head” of the union can let go of his wife on the terms of adultery but not vice-verse, because in a Christian marriage, the woman is neither the superior nor equal. So hypothetically, the power to dissolve the union should lie with the head of the union, i.e. the husband.

This divorce issue, as treated by Christ in this context, goes beyond forgiveness; it tries to establish some grundnorm for how a marriage could thrive successfully, or not. Even beyond an established case of adultery, a couple can remain in a marriage without forgiving (usually for some selfish reason) and just continue to be in each other’s throats. Likewise, a couple can split but forgive each other and move on peacefully with their independent lives. I have witnessed both scenarios. It’s complicated, I understand; it’s the reality called life.

FAMILIAL POWER DYNAMICS, RESPONSIBILITIES AND CONSEQUENCES

So how does this relate to paternity fraud? At this juncture, we may need to objectively weigh the consequences of a husband’s infidelity to those of the wife.

Women hold great power in the world: The power to be the site of fertilization and conception; the power to carry and nurture the fetus through its development and finally to birth the child into the world. Even our Saviour Christ could not be exempted from this. No man can contest these powers with a woman. With power, comes responsibility. In life, we may not always choose how power comes to us, but we can choose how responsibly we use it. A woman that appropriates the wrong father to her child has indeed corrupted this great power which God and nature has placed on her.

For all the atrocious acts husbands commit in marriages, one can identify a woman that has done similarly, whether in nature or enormity. But the responsibility of birthing a child into the world and into a home lies with the woman. As paternity fraud sadly demonstrates, any man can get the wife pregnant, but only the wife can bring the child into a family. In writing this piece, I made sure I did not do so hurriedly, and have tried to dialogue with several female friends to share their views on what sins a husband could commit in a marriage, that could not be repaid in kind by the wife. I will be glad if anyone reading this can provide such, as that would sway my bias and change this narrative.

The woman is called the weaker sex in the Bible. We know this to refer to the fact that women are generally not as physically strong as men. This sweeping categorization does not account for intellectual capacity, as our womenfolk are generally just as intelligent as the menfolk. It also does not account for the stronger women in their tribe who possess more physical strength than the weaker men in their own tribe. Hence, the not so common cases of husband-beating wives. So, in a developing world where physical strength seems to account for less by the day, (whether in professions or winning wars), the woman is actually shedding off more of the “weaker sex” toga.

The above fact is fast changing the dynamics in the society as much as in homes. It is now commonplace to see a Christian home where, though the man remains the figure head, the woman actually brings more or all of the money home. Women have always been just as relevant as men in a home, probably more so today than it was ever in human history. But in a union of two, one party must have the upper hand.

I believe by now you are beginning to get my drift. If the power to birth a child into the home completely resides with the wife; she generally shares equal relevance with the husband in the daily functioning of the family; then also holds equal authority with the man, it means that in actual sense, the wife is superior in the home. The next question is; why would the woman being superior be such a bad thing?

THE HOME NEEDS THE MAN AS MUCH AS THE WOMAN

The moment a woman sees a man as being not more than a sperm donor, even the husband loses his place in the home. One of the fundamental purposes of a family, is not just birthing children, but to nurture them to become the best of what they can be. If the relationship between a husband and a wife was all about social and sexual partnership, then there would actually be no need to tie each other down in the socio-cultural legalese called marriage. Why the hassle of jumping into one marriage, divorcing at the first opportunity and moving to the next? Is that not what is becoming a trend in the society? But when the overall welfare of the children produced in this sacred union is considered, divorce, as it should be, would be a very last resort; an almost inconceivable choice.

To bring this matter home, countless research has shown the many undesirable consequences that children raised in single-parent homes suffer. In most of these broken homes, the father is the absent figure. The data on how persons raised in fatherless homes fare in the society is without contestation, the home needs the man. He is not just a sperm donor, he is or should be a guiding beacon of strength in a home, partnering the mother in effectively bringing up the human products of their love trysts. There is even research data that shows how badly children who are brought up in communities with less fathers present, fare.

Talking about father absenteeism in American homes, Obama, America’s first black president had this to say; “We know that more than half of all black children live in single-parent households, a number that has doubled since we were children. We know the statistics — that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and twenty times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.”

THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT

In this age where tribal conflicts between men and women are rife and the argument for equality of both sexes in a marriage is dominant in sociological circles, the concomitant challenges that paternity fraud throws on the society are largely underplayed. For a vice that adorns a multilayered garb of deceit, treachery and infidelity, from when it is conceived and then perpetrated; to the birth of the offspring and then the parenting of the child with the psychological, social, economic responsibilities it bequeaths on the supposed father, to be overlooked by governments, sometimes even receiving a pat on the back, surely spells undesirable long-term consequences for the society. It only goes to reinforce the school of thought which presupposes that government should never take the role of religion in our lives (religion being the axiomatic principles by which we conduct ourselves and not necessarily the belief in a deity).

I understand the need that governments have to sometimes step into homes and attempt to take over the role of bad parents. Inasmuch as this is not avoidable, governments should be very careful about it. It is always better to aid the person who is directly responsible for something than to usurp that role. The attempt to relieve such a person of his/her responsibilities, no matter how well-intended and how advantageous it may appear in the short-term, has always proven to produce long-term adverse results.

If the government is truly out to aid individuals, from childhood to adulthood, becoming useful and productive in the society, then they should be very careful how much they aid the business of divorce and single parenthood. Governments should not encourage paternity fraud. Though their intentions might be to ensure the woman is supported financially in catering for the child; which would indeed be beneficial in the short-term, studies however show that a majority of these children, eventually, are worse off in the society than their peers who benefited from a more stable family structure. This is one of the banes of black communities in the U.S. today.

CHRIST’S STANCE PROTECTS BOTH THE HOME AND THE CHILD

Jesus Christ was very emphatic about the need to protect the sanctity of the marriage union. Forget about the posture of governments and their laws. Often times their good intentions do not lead to good decisions; other times such intentions have some devious and hideous agenda underneath. Jesus Christ loves us and knows what is best for us. We need to learn to appreciate why marriages should not be dissolved carelessly. If you went into a marriage thinking happiness is your first goal, then you are living in a dream world. Happiness in a marriage, as in life, should be a momentary product of some sacrifice you have put into a project. If you get it often enough, then you are doing great! There is no one-rule that works for all marriages. Remember that in this partnership, the husband is first among equals. Protect your marriage, protect your home. Whether you are the husband or the wife, keeping your marriage intact will serve you better, your partner better, your child/children better; both in this life and the one to come!

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