In a few past posts, I have pointed out the biases that pop culture, the church, and society in general have towards the nuclear family. Today it struck me that this is part of the problem, with my own critique as well. Why have not extended families and older traditions going back to pre-Reformation Era been lifted up? Perhaps that is a post for another day. I still have to do some research on it, which would require me to read up on an era I have little tp zero-interest in, the Middle Ages. No disrespect, just not invested in that era right now.
The real concrete impact of what theologians call the idol of the family is in the way that singles are discriminated against economically, starting, but not limited to unjust federal government tax policies. In the United States, over 1,000 laws “provide overt legal or financial benefits to married couples. Marital privileging marginalizes the 50 percent of Americans who are single. The U.S. government is the main perpetrator, but private companies follow its lead.” The High Price Of Being Single In America by Lisa Arnold & Christina Campbell in the Atlantic. From the article linked: “In 2010, our single woman earning $40,000 paid $6,181. Her married peer paid more than a thousand dollars less: $5,162. The contrast became more dramatic as our subjects’ incomes increased: our single woman earning $80,000 paid $16,125, whereas her married counterpart paid almost four thousand dollars less per year. (The numbers for 2011 were similar: our marrieds paid $963 and $3,875 less”
And Social Security?: “If a single person dies without children, her money will—must—go into the system to be provided to whomever needs it most, which is good because that was the original intent of Social Security. However, if a married person dies, the money can be routed back to her family. This is good for the married person, but fails to account for the important people in singles’ lives.”
From housing to insurance policies, singles are discriminated against. It is odd that one group of people is asking for marital rights in this country, but no one talks about the economic rights of single people, on EITHER side of the aisle. While there may be benefits in terms of freedom and vocational choice for singles, say like in the Academy, I don’t think a person can speak up for the oppressed in the United States context without talking about singleness and the privilege of married persons.