Thursday, January 8, 2015

Can a Baby Be Illegitimate?

What is an illegitimate baby? This phrase was once a regularly used expression in American culture, but its use has fallen out of popularity. The Free Dictionary defines an illegitimate baby as "the condition before the law, of the social status, of a child whose parents were not married to each other at the time of his or her birth." Society at one point assigned a stigma to such children. These children were considered dirty or unclean. Many cultures still feel this way. Illegitimate children held no rights as children when it came to claiming the name or inheritance of their fathers.

The frequency of children found in this situation is occurring more and more in our culture, but because of cultural changes the old sentiments of illegitimate children are not the same. Last year CBS News posted an article that reported half of all first babies are born to unwed mothers in America. Furthermore, with the rise of reality television shows about teen pregnancies such as 16 and Pregnant, Teen Mom, and Fifteen and Pregnant. The concept of illegitimate children and such is not longer taboo.

Another great insight from the article from CBS is that many young people have changed marriage from a "cornerstone event" in their life to a "capstone event" in their life. In other words marriage is the last thing on their list of accomplishments instead of one of their accomplishments. Young people are holding off such commitment levels until they are secure financially, socially, and relationally. Their line of logic is that if they must constantly shift in their career and education until they are ready to be settled why not be relationally as well. This means they are willing to try out various relationships like jobs, degree majors, and where they want to live. The article further reported that the women who are not getting married are the ones without economic stability. This led to the most revealing statistic of 45% of women will have given birth by age 25 but only 38% of women are married by that age, and by age 30, two thirds of women will have had a child out of wedlock.

When I survey this question, the real question is not about illegitimate children but of illegitimate values and morals. As the father of a daughter, I am worried for the future of my daughter. I want my daughter to experience the greatness of having a great man of a husband. I want her to experience the joy of having a child together that is desired and welcomed into an already existing family unit. However, this is not the trend.

Parents, I strongly urge you to talk with your kids about the value of marriage. Christian parents, we have no excuse but to raise our children according to a pattern that is the antithesis of our culture.
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