by Diane Robertson
As the many marriage cases move through the court system supporters of marriage often find themselves in conversations in which they must defend their stance on marriage and family. This can be a very stressful conversation. Even the best and smartest debaters risk losing friends, isolating family members, or becoming victim to harsh words. Here are some ways that may be helpful while having the conversations and hopefully staying on the good side of family and friends.
- Ask a question before giving an answer. Catholic blogger, Jonathan Van Maren described a situation where responding with a question was the best answer. His story goes thus:
“One friend demanded to know why I wasn’t sleeping around. I responded with a question: ‘How many of the people that you were with do you wish you hadn’t hooked up with?’ After a pause, the thoughtful response: ‘Most of them, I guess. Maybe even all of them.’”
- Be wary of smoke screen or strawman arguments and use social science and reason to call them out. I had an encounter with a stranger online. I had posted this website which addresses conjugal view of marriage and why it is important for society to support mother/father families.
This man replied:
“Diane that whole article can be summed up in the conclusion: ‘if we are correct about the likely harms of redefining marriage,’ That’s a big if don’t you think? So what your saying is we should round up all families that are not Father, Child, Mother because they are bad for society?
So is it better to have a father who beats his kids or molests them than to send him away to jail and not have one present at all? If two parents are killed in a car accident and the kids are taken in by an Aunt who is single then that too is destroying the fabric of society?”
Here is how I replied to his nonsense:
“You are using smokescreen arguments to avoid the real points. Obviously most people are better off without an abuser and there are laws to protect victims of abuse as you well know.
Here are some honest arguments addressing your smokescreen.
- Has it ever occurred to you that denying a child of one of their biological parents for the sexual advantage of another is not its own kind of abuse? Biological roots are deeply ingrained into the human soul. Everyone desires to know who they are and where they come from. Adopted children fought for a long time to have adoption records open so they could more easily trace back to those roots. Donor children are currently fighting that same battle.
- Children whose parents have died are disadvantaged and they know it. It would not be fair to pretend their suffering at the loss of their parents is fake or wrong just because other people want to purposely inflict a similar situation on children for the sexual advantage of the adults.
- Fatherless children are indeed disadvantaged. If you do not believe fatherless children are harming the fabric of society then take a look at the statistics and then try to imagine what it will be like when a whole bunch of children grow up without a mother. Taxes will surely increase so that government can take up the slack where the parents failed.
Statistics of the Fatherless
63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (U.S. Dept. of Health/Census).
90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.
85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes (Center for Disease Control).
80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes (Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26).
71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes (National Principals Association Report).
70% of youths in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes (U.S. Dept. of Justice, Sept. 1988).
85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes. (Fulton Co. Georgia, Texas Dept. of Correction).
71% of pregnant teenagers lack a father. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services press release, Friday, March 26, 1999)”
- Speak the language of the person you are debating: If your conversation is with someone who has religious beliefs then use religion. If your conversation is with someone who does not believe religion, then use social science.
- Be prepared. Really know your topic and don’t be afraid to mimic the language of the pros. Spend time researching and reading the issues. Know the current events associated with marriage. (Personally, I think Ryan Anderson is a great person to read and learn from.)
- And remember no matter how hard or tense it gets. Remain calm, smile, and never, ever call names.