Love for people & structures for people

  • Sumo

Australia has many current debates about how to care for people. How to deal with illegal immigrants, refugees and asylum-seekers? How to define, or re-define, marriage? What’s the best way to provide care for the disabled and respite for their families? What about the effects global warming will/might/won’t have on the people of the world?

There is always the question of what structure to put in place so as to love people. It’s so easy to focus almost entirely on the structure and forget the care.

Structure can be  a law (a definition of marriage), or some defined action (moving people to Malaysia). Love is about people (those who get married, people seeking asylum, and the effect on the rest of our community).

What got me thinking about this was the recent announcement of a pregnancy. The child is to be born to lesbian couple Senator Penny Wong and Sophie Allouache. This has been reported on around the world: the UK, China, USA, etc.

The pregnancy makes us think about same-sex marriage, access to IVF, the rights of sperm donors to access children, and the rights of children to know their sperm-donor father. It’s clear that this story has a very political angle, and will be used to argue for or against various structures. Just see the letters to the editor to prove this point.

The $64 question: what should a Christian think, do and say about this pregnancy?

Some expect Christians typically to be angry and offensive. See this blog for an example of someone apparently being taken in by a deception that conformed to his prejudices.

Here’s my quick answer.

First, Christians should love the people involved. I don’t recall my initial reaction. I want it to be something like this: The wonder and joy of new life! I pray for this little one to have every blessing from God in physical and spiritual health.

Secondly – and deliberately second – we can consider what laws/structures/social policies do best for Australia. We can’t ignore it. Yet because it’s second, we remember that care is always first. Such care includes: respect in the manner we speak of Wong and Allouache; accepting that proponents of social change hope and aim to good, even though we consider their method to be wrong; not implying that those who disagree with us are crazy or senseless.

When structures gain priority, love departs. When love for neighbour is first, even structural discussions proceed with love at the centre.