Illuminating Current Controversies in American Family Law with Theology of the Body
Dr. Helen Alvare
One needs to read Theology of the Body – cover to cover
And bring it to what you are doing everyday
41% of children in the USA are born out of wedlock
- 7 out of 10 african american women
- 50%+ of hispanic
- over a third of non hispanic, white women
Family Lawyers: Suspicious of sex differences, and therefore marriage. Protective of a view of freedom that does not see a God. See freedom as license, not interpersonal.
Current Family Law is generally opposed to what Theology of the Body espouses.
In the USA, 1 out of every 300 has HIV.
1 out of 4 teenage girls have STD.
There is later and less marriage. There is more cohabitation.
Family Law good points:
- There is equality in the law for man and woman, both inside and outside the home
- Great progress for dealing with domestic violence
- Big strides to make parents accountable for their children (saving the parent-child relationship)
Mostly, Family Law is being molded to fit the secular reality
- Cohabitation used to be a legal problem, now law is regularizing it; and being recognized just as good as marriage
- Marriage, commitment, sex, babies etc – which were considered united before; are now being separated.
- Now there is a Constitutional Right to use birth control, end the life of your child, have same sex marriages,…
How does Theology of the Body come in?
- What about human nature, as TOB understands it, is being violated in this problem?
- Explain the problem, in the light of TOB
- TOB combined with data: “Yes, now that’s a story that rings true!”
“The law can’t make men moral, but can stop tempting them to be immoral” – Can incentivize morality
54% of marriages start with cohabitation
74% post-divorce cohabit
40% of these couples in cohabitation are raising kids
Triple the domestic violence in cohabitation. More STDS, more abortions
Women do not generally choose to cohabit, but they will in order to get married.
- if a cohabit relationship is when the partners have not had a sexual relationship with other partners previous to the relationship; and enter while engaged – there is a lesser divorce rate: 40%
First serious intimate serious partnership age hasn’t gone up even though marriage is happening later: (mid-20s).
A lot of sex is coercive, with men over 20 and women under 17.
There seems to be an epidemic of depression. Depression followed the girls decision to have sex, did not precede it.
Babies out of wedlock are being more accepted, and are increasing. Especially with women in their late 20s until 34 years old.
7% – College educated out of wedlock births
more than 50% – HS educated or less out of wedlock births
7/10 – African American wedlock births
3/10 – non Hispanic white wedlock births
African American and Hispanic Single moms:
- Want relationships, but distrust men (will sleep with them, cohabit with them and have children with them)
- Really want babies (over 40% are planned, or somewhat planned; “my baby saved me”)
- Hate abortion (only have it when they feel they have no other choice; African Americans have 31% of abortions, but are 13% of the population)
- They want to be “gift” to others
Communion, being part of something, helps lessen babies out of wedlock
Regular member of Church or sports team decreases pre-marital sex and cohabitation.
- Sex is seen as an act, not as an interpersonal relationship
- Maximize your potential, so swallow this or put this on: All about you, not about relationships
Set up an alternative, competitive, well expressed, empirically sound institutions and make our mark!