Rutgers Church sent an overture to 220th General Assembly requesting some changes in the Book of Order which would unequivocally allow Presbyterian Churches to celebrate same gender weddings and thus fully embrace and support same gender families. This is a second short article from the perspective of biblical hermeneutics(interpretation of ancient religious texts). Earlier articles with the similar themes are Biblical argument for same gender marriage, Biblical hermeneutics and homosexuality, Family in the Bible and Family now and Reformers and Family Laws.
French anthropologist Emmanuel Todd developed an interesting sociological theory based on family structures. He found persuasive correlations between different forms of families and the social and political shapes of societies. For instance, he claims that there is a clear correlation between the number of endogamous marriages (marriages between close cousins) and a conservative totalitarian form of a tribal society ungovernable by modern means.
Marriages between first cousins in any given society in the late 20th century:
Sudan 57%; Pakistan 50%; Mauritania 40%; Jordan 36%; Saudi Arabia 36%; Yemen 31%; Egypt 25%; Iran 25%; Turkey 15%; West below 5%.
Also, predominant family models correspond to modes and strategies in which societies as a whole deal with periods of crisis or transition. Societies with a long tradition of authoritarian family models have a tendency to find authoritarian solutions to periods of instability. Societies with egalitarian models of family (for instance egalitarian inheritance) tend to find more equitable solutions in times of crisis. These characteristics persist for a considerable period of time long after the original family models have weakened and almost disappeared.
Our American societal discourse has been shaped most recently by advocates of the so-called “traditional family values.” When these values are analyzed they present only marginally different forms of patriarchal, autocratic, and inequitable/meritocratic models.
On the other hand, it has to be mentioned that although these advocates might be vociferous and well organized, thankfully they form only a minority. American families represent a wide kaleidoscope of different models based on the different cultural backgrounds of immigrants. This in itself creates a unique atmosphere of diversity and consequently tolerance (different models coexist side by side along one street and in NYC even on one floor of an apartment building). Our society in general does not allow abusive behavior even within families. Thus these “traditional family values” are in, perhaps prolonged, but inevitable retreat. The emergence and growing acceptance of nontraditional same gender families is just a logical continuation of the same unstoppable trend.
The defenders of the “traditional family values” got one thing right - the shape of families does influence the future of our society. And for that very reason we oppose them and strive for a tolerant, benevolent and egalitarian society.