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Ray Barry on Traditional Families

18 September 2009 130 views One Comment

Ray Barry was interviewed on Premier Christian Radio today about the role of traditional families. The interview was about whether traditional family structures are still the best for bringing up children and for wider society at large. Ray (and the EPA) believes that they are. The interview lasted fifteen minutes but unfortunately we only have a one minute excerpt from it online.

Listen to a summary of the interview (about one minute).

One Comment »

  • Rosefather said:

    If the excerpt accurately reflects Ray’s views, I have to say I disagree in part, while agreeing with other parts.

    The traditional role of Dad as breadwinner and Mum as full time homemaker may work for some couples while they are together, but even then tends to limit the amount of time the father has to spend with the children.

    If the couple splits, these traditional roles lead directly to the idea that the only important role the father has is to provide money, while the woman goes on providing most/all of the loving support.

    In contrast, I feel we should be supporting the traditional idea of the family in terms of Dad and Mum being both involved, but at the same time challenging the post-Victorial division of roles.

    Another Christian tradition that, I feel, needs to be re-introduced is the idea of “Godparents” (or sponsors for those who have no religious ties). Traditionally in the CofE each child had a total of five parents: the two natural parents plus the three godparents, two of the same sex as the child and one of the other. These sponsors were responsible for supporting the parents in the spiritual, moral, emotional, and civic upbringing of the child. In more traditional times, the best godparents would remain in close contact with the child till age 21, rather than being merely present at the baptism and then drifting out of touch.

    If orphaned, a child had already a mutually loving relationship with the sponsors, and typically (though it was never automatic) one or more of the sponsors would take over the role of parent.

    This also seems to me to be an excellent idea for parents of other faiths, of no faith, or like me from a branch of the Christian faith that has never had godparents as we do not practise infant baptism.

    It also provides a way to provide for the rights of same sex couples to be both legal parents of their child, AND AT THE SAME TIME have the genetic mother, birth mother, and genetic father all recognised in secular law.

    What we call all these people (parents & sponsors perhaps) (or care-parent, gene-parent, birth-mother, sponsor) (or whatever) is not a big issue for me: the point is that society at large is moving away from the one-mum and one-dad model, whether we like that or not. In order to protect the child’s right to know, and have legal evidence of, their genetic heritage the re-introduction of sponsors, and the provision for them on the legal register, would be a better colution that any of those currently being discussed.

    In adoption proceedings there is currently a move towards adoption with some ongoing contact with the birth parents: again a birth certificate with space for more than one sponsor in addition to one or two adoptive parents would be a way to keep the birth link alive, when the courts felt that appropriate.

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