I was talking with Julie Fairey on her Facebook page about Peter Dunne recently commenting how children need to know who their fathers are. It got me thinking (yet again) about how utterly fucked up the new right is when it comes to family and relationships.
Their fixated on a particular idea of what a family is, of what parents are, and how relationships should be.
It has always struck me that there is only one central concept across all these things – love. And as much as I want to avoid sounding like Professor Dumbledore, love really is the greatest magic.
Dunne talked about a lot of good things – about how the Child Support Scheme should be a matter of last resort – that ideally the two parents sort matters out between themselves amicably. That knowing who the biological parents are allows both to make decisions about how they wish to proceed.
But it fundamentally dismissed all alternative parenting options. For the child, knowing who the biological parents are is not as important as being brought up in a stable and above all loving environment. It ignores cases where both parents are the same sex – whether this is a gay/lesbian relationship, or even any other form of relationship where a child is jointly brought up by two people. And it ignores cases where a child is adopted, where maybe the child also needs to know their birth mother.
I can’t help but think of organisations like Family First and Destiny who try to claim that the only valid family is man, woman and their progeny. And this is just so fucking destructive. It says “We don’t care about whether two people love each other or not. Unless they are the right kind of people, then it isn’t real love”.
What angers me most about this is that we need to foster more love. Different kinds. I love my wife in pretty much every way imaginable – utterly and completely. But there are also other people who I love dearly. Some of whom I have never met – my fellow bloggers and activists. This is a family kind of love. A good family. If these organisations focused more on fostering unconditional love, maybe, just maybe, the world would be a better place.
Love gives people a sense of belonging, a sense of worth, and a sense of shared power.
More recently, I was in a Facebook discussion about Destiny church. The comment has often been made “love the sinner, hate the sin”. The difficulty I have with this is, while it might sound good and noble, it means that the love is conditional. “I love you, but I expect you to change the way you are”. That ain’t love in my book. Love is “I love you, and I support you, no matter what – however you are”. It suggests that homosexuality is something separate from the person – the “sinner”. It demonstrates an abject lack of understanding of sexuality. But I am getting off track.