THE Scottish Parliament still refuses to put marriage above other relationships in teaching in the countrys schools. Community Minister Wendy Alexander has stated, “The term stable family life is an inclusive one which reflects the diversity of family composition in Scotland today.” The Scottish Executive is obviously putting homosexual couples on a par with married couples and is steering further away from scriptural family values.
Another recent attack on the family was by the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS). Its vice-president stated that traditional family life should not be promoted in the classroom above other relationships. Scotlands schools were once renowned for instilling Christian values in their pupils. Now we see the vice-president of the EIS telling a committee of the Scottish Parliament that teachers should not emphasise the value of marriage above homosexual relationships or single-parent families.
The Government in London, with its benefits system which discriminates in favour of single parents rather than married couples, is another culprit in undermining family life. One newspaper comments, “How curious that a Government which spares no effort to send out the right signal on gays will not lift a finger on behalf of the family. Indeed, far from offering support, New Labour seems to feel uncomfortable with such old-fashioned, uncool institutions as marriage. There could be no more telling example than the lamentably ignorant suggestion by Home Secretary Jack Straw that marriage is not especially important in building family stability.” We need not wonder that the Government disparages marriage when of the 22 members of the Cabinet, six are divorced, three are homosexuals, and two are cohabiting.
On the other hand, William Hague, the leader of the opposition, states: “Conservatives want to see the tax system taking account of the extra costs that families face as they raise their children.” His party is determined, he said, “to reintroduce a recognition of marriage into the tax and benefits system”. However, it now appears that the shadow chancellor, Michael Portillo, is backing off from this key plank of Conservative family policy.
An indication of the serious decline of the family is the grim figure revealed by the latest General Household Survey one in four families is now headed by a single parent, unmarried or divorced mothers being in the majority. One analyst states that “the figures confirm the pattern of ever-rising numbers of children living without two parents, in family circumstances which mean they are more likely to suffer poverty and neglect, more likely to have a poor education, and more likely to fall into crime, drugs, unemployment and single parenthood themselves.”
In the face of numerous and increasing attacks on the family it would be well to remind ourselves of the great importance of the family unit in the eyes of God. The Word of God teaches that the family unit consists of one man married to one woman, with any children which may result from that union. The importance of the family is shown throughout Scripture especially in the books of Moses, the Book of Proverbs, in the teaching of the Saviour, and in the epistles of the New Testament. Not only the duties and responsibilities of family relationships (husband to wife and wife to husband, parents to children and children to parents) are set forth but also the great benefits of maintaining family life.
One of the main purposes of marriage is “the increase of mankind with a legitimate issue”, as the Westminster Confession of faith states. In commenting on Hebrews 13:4, “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge,” William Plumer says, “Under all dispensations God has honoured marriage. It is an institution of Eden itself. It is designed to preserve a godly seed upon the earth, and to prevent those lawless and vicious crimes which utterly corrupt society and destroy domestic love and peace.” A society that promotes homosexuality, or is even complacent about it, is following a most dangerous course. Not only does it draw down upon itself the displeasure of the divine Creator and Lawgiver, but puts itself into a self-destruct situation.
There is greater need than ever before for Christians to live up to the obligation laid upon them to witness prayerfully against unscriptural, sinful life-styles and to promote the God-appointed family unit. “Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord.” While it is true that both the Government and the Scottish Parliament appear to turn a deaf ear, for example, to parents concerns about the repeal of Section 28 (which prevents the promotion of homosexuality in schools), there is evidence that the continued voicing of these concerns is having some positive effect.