A recent Italian demographic study shows that in 2001 8% of the births were born to “Couples of Fact”, while the same voice in 2011 grew to a phenomenal 23.6% of the national births of that year. Meaning that in a single decade the children born to couples living together outside the matrimonial bond! In poor words: 1 child in every 4 is born to a man and woman sharing a living without any sort of official recognition to their relation, whether religious or legal.
This social trend is now a common practice all over the western free world, due to cultural, economic, social and even political changes which quickly conquered the collective civil, intellectual and institutional approval. And is still hardly confronting the religious address. Obviously since the phenomena is widely considered acceptable, it has then acquired various ‘adaptations’ in the fields of education, information and legislation.
The school, being obliged to accept the admittance of these cases because by law it cannot deny anyone his or her right for adequate education, must comply and tolerate; maybe even a good portion of the teachers are effectively sharing with a partner that sort of a relation.
The various information and cultural media vehicles also are following the stream. Through songs, books, TV and radio fiction, talk shows, news, publicity and films the issue is being profoundly validated and digested by the general public.
The legislative authority was forced to find new laws defending and protecting the rights of the child, the mother and the father with regard to heritage in property, insurance, pension or separation compensations…etc.
It’s quite amazing just thinking that little less than a generation ago, unmarried couples didn’t have any right whatsoever.. Not even to live under the same roof.
I don’t have the related figures for the rest of the European and American societies, but I don’t think they would differ much from what we have here on hand.. Meaning that abstractly should the trend continue its growth on the same ratio, then by 2021 it will inflate by another 300% reaching a majestic 75% of all births!!
Now, in a time where the web embraces the globe shrinking it into the size of a living room; such a trend is starting to sweep our shores.. First we saw the mad increase in divorces.. Then the frenetic escalation in rapid frequency to practice what is known as a “Customary Marriage Contract” which is an unofficial type of private contracting mostly handwritten and signed by two partners that practically have no legal obligations whatsoever.. And soon enough the “Couple Of Fact” fashion will show itself bluntly, and I’m afraid that it will catch us completely, and as usual, unprepared for such a challenge.
It goes without saying that a simple “Against the law” or a serenely firm ‘Fatwa’ declaring it “HARAM” will not do the job.. Sociologists, anthropologists, intellectuals, legislatives, constitutionalists, religious and secular scholars must step courageously inside the debate arena and accept the challenge.
The matter involves a massive economic effort to encourage the youth and adequately incentivise them to favour the matrimonial bond, by subsidising their basic needs for a decent life that would secure their future and that of their children. Also a solid and effective child policy must be designed, and financed, to support his health care, his education, and mostly his nutrition. And, in my modest opinion, that is where our Governing bodies must canalise the IMF loans and certainly not wherever the IMF “Structural Adjustments Programs*” would dictate as pre-conditions to approve the loan; the very same conditions that for decades have ruined Egypt and brought it to its knees.
We must review our habits and customs regarding the marriage rituals and practices, that are not only wasting our resources, but as well are exhibiting our social irresponsibility by aggravating the average family debts, and are standing tall obstructing our visual to a better practical way of life. A pragmatic approach to easing each other lives by sharing not showing, by tolerance not intolerance, by inclusion not exclusion, by moderation not exaggeration.
Everyone must face his responsibilities and actively take part in that defying challenge. A challenge that will attack us in the sacred name of ‘Freedom’.. But since those who are exporting their “Free Way Of Life” to our reach, and are encouraging us to consume it without even questioning “what’s in the pack?”; have made freedom become liberty, and mutated liberty into libertinism! They have long forgotten that the true limits bordering the term ‘FREEDOM’ and separating it from ‘LIBERTINISM’ are only two: “Discipline and Responsibility”.
I wonder whether our esteemed Religious References are aware of that social trend that is about to come in our homes passing over our thresholds? And if so, are they adequately prepared with the right arguing address to meet the fierce defiance of such a new type of “Cultural Challenge”???
Pass On The Word.