Divorced: Policy to Protect the Children of Terminated Marriages
While the unity of marriage is largely viewed across-cultures as the transformation of a loving, adult relationship into the spiritually-supported formal organization of family, its institutional roots must be divided into two distinct subgroups of origin, that of the religious and that of the secular. In the Christian faith, marriage is the formal act of announcing monogamy in partnership on the evangelical path of righteousness before God; in the Jewish culture, it is the formal promise to perpetuate the religion of God's chosen people. Islam, Hindu, Native American, and traditional African cultures are among the multitude that claim a moral significance in the social celebration of religious marriage.
While the universal symbolism is undeniable, its legal application is more complicated. Despite the high esteem in which marriage is held through the lens of religion, in the eyes of the law where policy claims hold stead, its legal legs are only that of a binding agreement from which one can seek annulment. Because the legal strength of marriage, or the formal inclusion of separate assets into one cohesive unit before the Law, is on par with that of a property contract, its annulment as a legal tool is necessary.
"Marriage between two Christians is a public celebration of God's grace and blessing," writes the clergy at St. Jude's Catholic Church in Allen, Texas.
In the course of a romance, when marriage becomes the ideal for which both adults are striving, by making their promise before God to stand together through both the ease and struggles of the future, their commitment to each other is impenetrable -- in the eyes of the Church. The Catholic Church holds that Christianity, the religious roots for most modern Western social tenants, demands an eternal promise of each agent in the marriage process, making its annulment impossible.
Armed with such arguments in hand, the case for divorce becomes a power issue among the religious right occupying Washington, D.C.
At the same time, two facts become pertinent in the discussion of divorce policy. First and foremost, divorce is currently legal in America, all of Europe, Latin America, and most of the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. The legal framework for deciding the cultural mores by which the society of each nation must adhere falls on the backs of the constituting public and its expectations of its government; in America, as is true around much of the world in the ever-expanding global age, the public represented in law by its judiciary, legislative, and executive branches is not homogenous. To the contrary, it is the famous melting pot of cultures where each individual's religious expectations for social standards are represented and important. As such, legalizing the religious preference of anti-divorce lobbyists, like the religious right most symbolized in the St. Jude and other Catholic literature, is an inherent act of unconstitutionality. The separation of religion and government -- church and state -- provides for marriage as an act sanctified by a religious group but only recognized legally as a form of social nomination.
Nevertheless, in recent years, the prevalence of divorce has blossomed worldwide. In the United States, its numbers have so increased that where previously children from so-called "broken" homes were an anomaly in the classroom, it is now standard fare.
Growing up in the non-traditional, non-nuclear family no longer puts a child in the fringe of social make-up, in fact, it is almost normal. The line is drawn at "almost," though, because despite the legality of divorce, the harsh side effects of the detrimental disillusion of the sacred institution have long been protected by religious doctrine in the past. The interpersonal ramifications for which the religious rejection of the concept of divorce provide from an anthropological perspective are no less true today than before; commonality, in turn, does not detract from the problems of divorce, it merely promulgates them in a larger audience.
Among the side-effects associated with divorce are the struggling inner turmoil of the soul, depression, and social castigation. According to a study by the Coalition for Marriage, Family, and Couples Education, divorce offers no solution.
"The study found that on average unhappily married adults who divorced were no happier than unhappily married adults who stayed married when rated on any of 12 separate measures of psychological well-being. Divorce did not typically reduce symptoms of depression, raise self-esteem, or increase…