The First Day of the Rest of My Life

Saturday, November 25, 2006


Me: "So, apparently, almost 40% of all births last year occured out of wedlock."
Co-worker: "I don't see what the big deal is. That's what happened with both my kids."

That reaction, and the reaction on a Catholic message board I sometimes read, have stuck in my head over the last few days. I appreciate honesty and openness as much as the next guy, but to have someone just blurt that out was a bit shocking to me. I get the feeling it's because of her feelings on the subject.

Over on the aforementioned board, the topic of shame came up. One poster, a 32-year-old man who could easily pass for 45, broke out the term "bastard," saying, "I'm not going around mocking children, but I'll say it to their parents. The social stigma needs to be returned to illegitimacy, abortion, divorce, homosexuality, premarital sex, etc. Love the sinner and all, but knock some shame back into people."

I'm the last person to shame anyone else, but is this really something that needs to be done in order to rectify a situation?


  • Well, this is coming from someone with a non-religious background (well, I renounced my religion several years ago, after spending much of my life trying to convince myself I was a Christian)... but I'm sick of people assuming that the modern American version of a legitimate family is some kind of organic structure that is and always was. Family as we know it is a construct, and there's no reason to assume that it can't assume a form that's NOT 2 married parents and their children and still not perform the functions of love, support, nurture, instruction and all the other things that family can be. Families come in all forms.

    Moreover, it's not very Christian of the jerk who wants to "shame": everyone to forget that people in their pasts have made mistakes and shouldn't be shamed because 5 years ago they had children out of wedlock.

    Sounds like he's been very lucky in his life to not have to face the difficulties imposed on so many others by gender, poverty, race and life in general, but he shouldn't assume that everyone else has been so priviledged and should thus be ashamed of not being able to achieve the same normative lifestyle he claims.

    Off my soap box.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:20 AM  

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