A raw deal for families in the UK and Yemen

I ran across both of these today while reading through my reader.google.com collection of feeds. (If you read more than three or four blogs, and are not using Google Reader, i highly recommend you give it a try.)

First we have some bad news about marriages in the UK:

UK loses interest in marriage
By: Matt Cresswell.

THE DECLINING interest in marriage, revealed in official figures last week, has been blamed on economic pressure by leading Christian marriage experts.

Financial worries are a particular concern, with fewer and fewer young couples even able to afford a wedding after battling rising house prices and student loans.

Their comments come after the figures released by the Office of National Statistics revealed marriage rates in England and Wales for 2006 are the lowest since records began in 1862.

Various factors are blamed, especially the high price of housing and the UK's tax system which actually treatss a cohabitating couple more favorably than a married couple.

And on the other end of the spectrum, some news from Yemen, which I was not surprised to learn:

Yemen is ranked number one in the world in gender inequality. One study found that rural women work 17 hours a day on average. Domestic abuse is not considered a crime nor is it socially unacceptable. Women are required by law to submit to their husband’s sexual demands-ie, there is no such thing as marital rape in Yemen. Rape is a largely under-reported crime because social mores blame the victim.

The laws do not criminalize underage marriage. In rural areas, the marriage age for females is often 10 to 14. In cities, the marriage age rises to a whopping 14 to 16. Children over the age of seven automatically are awarded to the husband in a divorce, and many wives stay in an abusive marriage in order not to lose their children. Efforts to change the laws are repeatedly thwarted by the government which relies on the support of Salafi hardliners in order to retain power. Some fundamentalists advance the idea that women should leave their homes only twice, once to marry and once to go to the graveyard.

Women often have problems taking possession of their legal inheritances, which are confiscated by male relatives. Genital female mutilation is a regular practice, found mostly in the countryside. One method includes placing hot stones on an infant girl’s genitalia for several weeks. Women in the work place face discrimination and harassment. Few women work outside the home, except for domestic farming which is the primarily an unpaid position. Women less than fully veiled face discrimination and harassment. Female activists are regularly slandered by the government media as immoral.

The title of that story is "Eight-year old seeks divorce" over at the irrepressible www.ArmiesofLiberation.com.

All this to say that the health of a civilization is, I think, directly related to the health of its families. In God's design for humanity there are ultimately only three indispensable institutions: the state which safeguards the temporal good, the church which safeguards the eternal good of the people, and the family. The human family is engineered right into the biological fabric of Creation and is the cornerstone and foundation of everything else.

The examples above show that the governments of the UK and Yemen are doing the same thing: they are actively harming themselves (as governments) by promoting unjust models of the human family. If I became president of the US or Prime Minister of the UK or what have you I would I would model my entire policy around the question: what can I do to make life better for families?

Our governments in the West are declining because they assumed they would always have the base of strong families, so they asked, how can we take care of the weak who are not in families, like single mothers and co-habitating couples and gay partners and so on. The answer to that question: take care of your strong base of traditional families.

That is Abu Daoud's ONE post for Friday. On Saturday or Sunday I will get around to posting a new installment of blogging evangelii nuntiandi.


Odysseus said…
-That is Abu Daoud's ONE post for Friday.-

Do you promise? LOL
southerncanuck said…
Good post and great commentary. I'll nominate you for president!!

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