Re: Family (a definition)
Wed, 24 Jul 1996 16:03:13 -0400

I knew some objections would be raised to my definitions.

David Bailey's example is a good one:

>When I was 10 and my brother was 8, our mother (widowed eight years
>before) died. We went to live with my father's best friend and his family.
>He and his wife soon became "Mom and Dad" to us.

>I would argue that we were a family, indeed, the so-called "nuclear
>family", even though we did not meet the requirements of Mike's

David is right in saying that his situation constitutes a family.
A part of the definition of a family that I overlooked was that, in
addition to ancestry and marriage, adoption establishes a family
relationship. I don't know if David and his brother were legally adopted
but I would certainly agree that they were family.
Thanks for pointing out the deficiency in my definitions David.
Did I overlook any other obvious cases?

Loren Haarsma added to the discussion:

>I also think it would be sensible for the state and/or federal governments
>to create another official category, which confers _some_ of those
>privileges (selected with an eye towards that "safety net" concept) for
>siblings or close friends living together (or living close to each other),
>regardless of whether the relationship is same-sex or different, sexual or
>This _seems_ like a way to care for people without weakening the
>institution of marriage or encouraging immorality. Can anyone foresee
>problems with establishing such a category?

Yes I can foresee problems. The big one is the idea of government
legislating categories of private relationships. The problem is summed up
in the verse "When the righteous rule the people rejoice, but when the
unrighteous rule the people groan." As long as we had truly good people
running government Loren's idea would work, but as soon as we had a
majority of bad officials they could use such legislative power to destroy
the whole fabric of the family and society. (And quite frankly we've had
more officials of less-than-sterling character than I'd like.)
There are some historical precedents to show us what happens when
government gets involved in regulating relationships. Old Rome provides
several such examples. Look up the real history of Saint Valentine
sometime to get an idea of how disastrous such things can get.
We would be much better off letting individuals and private
institutions work out such matters.
Of course my other problem with what Loren said is the whole
"safety net" mentality but I think that's a purely political issue we can
hack out off the list.

Mike Jaqua
7245 Balfour Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49024 <------------[Note change in zip code.]
(616) 327-6570 <---(New e-mail address. Old one still works. This new
one may change again in the next few months.
Eventually it will replace the old address.)