Update: I apologize if the initial draft of this post came across as too negative. First, I’m surprised to see that some people think I oppose adoption. It’s one of the most wonderful things that anybody can do and I am a 100% supporter of it. Many of my favorite people adopt or were adopted, and I admire and respect all those who go through the selfless sacrifice of adoption. I have never said anything against adoption and I think it’s a misreading of Kushiner’s post, which I cited, to think he’s down on adoption. Further, my post was NOT to bash single-parenthood or the diversity of situations that we end up in through the course of life. It was to challenge the idea that all “lifestyle choices” are equal. For example, some hold that a family with a mother and father is no better than any other form of raising children or reproducing. In reality, just as there are ideal ways to raise crops or animals, there are “ideal” situations that ought to be best for raising children or for maintaining relationships – not always possible, of course, as we all know – but to eliminate centuries of knowledge and experience to make all our “lifestyle choices” and divergent personal moral codes “equal” may be satisfying but is founded on error, especially for those choices that contradict basic moral standards. I cannot accept that all choices are equal.
That doesn’t mean we should detest the teenage girl who becomes pregnant, or the unmarried couple, the gay couple, or the polygamist commune (well, maybe I’ll make an exception for that one) – they all need love and friendship, even when we disagree with their choices. Even the man who abandons his wife and kids for a life of selfish excess. But somewhere along the way, there needs to be teaching from some source about right and wrong to help people make choices more consistent with God’s will and plans for them. Someone needs to stand up and say all these choices are not equal, they are not all innocuous, and some are disastrous. To say it all doesn’t matter really can be viewed as “stupid,” in my opinion. OK, citing Kushiner’s post probably wasn’t the right way to make that point.
(Ideal is far from where any of us are. There is much that is “stupid” about how I’ve lived my life. There is nothing stupid about seeking to live the Gospel that Jesus taught. OK, I have a goal of becoming less stupid in how I live.)
I extended Kushiner’s thought to the idea that there is also an ideal way for humans to live to have joy, and that ideal is based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ:
The scriptures teach that there is only one way to find true joy, and that the path is straight and narrow. Alternative choices can be made – oh, the terror of free will! (this does not mean that I am opposed to free will, but that it is a frightening and amazingly bold gift from God given how we all abuse it) – but they have consequences that are not easily avoided. They take us on other paths that lead to other destinations, to places where we are limited and less than we can be. The paths may start off with pleasure and attractions of all kind, but the hovel they lead us to is far from the mansions of eternal life that our Lord has in mind for us, if only we will choose Him.
There is only one path to Eternal Life, and that is through Jesus Christ.
You are free to disagree with that, but don’t get vitriolic.
Another update: I’m also rather surprised to see (elsewhere) that I’ve now been accused of destroying free agency by passing laws to forbid moral choices I disagree with. Hello?? I certainly didn’t say anything of the sort here. My general attitude is that once adults have made their choices, we should respect their decisions, though we may disagree. For example, one of my favorite people is gay. He’s left the Church and doesn’t consider himself Christian, and he knows that my moral views oppose homosexual behavior. But he’s got his life and I’ve got mine, and we respect the decisions we each have made. I have no intent of changing his mind or arguing about religion and morality with him. I enjoy the opportunities to spend time with him and enjoy it when he can spend a few minutes around my family, and my boys know I think very highly of him. The personal choice he has made – or perhaps it wasn’t truly a choice for him – is now none of my business. And let me tell you this: Based on who this person is as a whole, based on how he treats others, based on his integrity and kindness and love of other people, he is one of the best people around. That doesn’t mean I want laws changed to encourage or reward behavior that I consider immoral or to take other steps to weaken the traditional family, but I have not advocated more laws to areas of moral agency. We do need laws to protect the victims of some of the choices people make (e.g., the unborn), but that was not an issue on this post.