Today my family was attacked for their history.
There is a truth that my parents were first cousins. It’s not illegal, it’s not against the teachings of the Church of England and even the Catholic faith do not hold against it as an instruction from God, in many situations they would approve such a union.
Today my parents relationship was challenged and said to be wrong. It was described as incest and their union was mentioned as the likely cause for having disabled children myself.
Moral aspects aside, that’s my mum and dad. Me and dad never particularly got along but I was so close to my mum who died in 1986. I cannot imagine listening to anyone attacking her decision to marry my dad. Seeing the hurt on her face which I am sure there would be is a little more than I can reasonably deal with. I saw that sort of hurt on her face, it broke my heart.
When accusations like that are made it’s often forgotten that those about who the accusations were made are or were real people. It is so easy in this Facebook generation to think others are perhaps just virtual, that they don’t have feelings or that these things can be resolved with a ‘smiley’.
The context in which this was raised was someone trying to tell me that they would actively discourage their own children from forming a loving relationship similar to my parents. They were trying to say that because they would discourage them is not the same as disrespecting the relationship my parents had because my parents relationship was in the past, we should agree to differ whether what they did was right or wrong. To me that sounds like so many justifications for prejudice. They are not prejudiced because they are not talking about anyone that matters only someone else.
Well, my parents matter to me just as many parents matter to others. The word ‘incest’ is a horrible one.
The definition of Incest is:
1. sexual relations between persons so closely related that they are forbidden by law or religion to marry.
2. the crime of sexual relations, cohabitation, or marriage between such persons.
However, it is worth noting that most Christian religions hold quite strong that sex and procreation before marriage is a sin and should be punished. In other words, they class it as a sin (wrong) and it is mentioned in the Bible as such yet a relationship between cousins isn’t actually a sin, not quite ‘wrong’ they’d just rather it didn’t happen but accept that it does and they will, with a tiny little shove, marry cousins, in the Church of England, they want even blink about it. In this day and age, and thankfully for some people, Catholics don’t argue too much about sex before marriage either or living in sin. This is because we moved on, society generally realised that this, in the great scheme of things, is no big issue, doesn’t constitute a game changer any more than cousins marrying does.
As far as the negatives of cousins marrying go they are many and varied. There is an increased risk that if a family has a history of inherited illnesses then that risk is increased with cousins having children. That’s the biological risks. The greatest risk is to their children from others who feel it’s OK to comment that they do not approve. Those children will go their entire lives being told they are the children of sick and twisted parents. I can tell you, it’s not the best feeling in the world. If there are any health issues AT ALL then it will be blamed on their parents relationship. This doesn’t stop with children it carries on throughout generations. Neither church or country sees fit to actually legislate against it but yet, some will be so scared by what they don’t understand they will see the need to make a strong stand no matter who it hurts in the process.
Many do still class hostility toward cousins marrying as discrimination. When a law was proposed in the UK against first cousins marrying it was because some believed that the Pakistani community, about 1.5% of the population who tend to marry within family, needed educating. Seems so very few were advocating legislation to criminalise the practise more to ensure that genetic education was enshrined in law.
The increased risk of first cousins marrying having a defective child or still birth are around the same as a 40 year old woman having a child and no one is suggesting a ban on that.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:CousinMarriageWorld.svg shows the % of the planet who is for or against cousins marrying. A large part of Africa is missing though it appears much of Africa would not be opposed. So, the trend in the world is not to oppose it. Those US states who oppose it, many also oppose gay marriage, some homosexuality and some still have rather bad records on race as well. If this map was an election forecast then it would be a landslide for those who had no legislation banning cousins marrying.
As always it’s a minority who still discriminate and demonstrate prejudice. Ironically, in this case, it was some people who should understand all too well how damaging prejudice and discrimination are.
I’ve been hurt a great deal in recent years but I never thought the attacks would come from this particular direction about this subject. It just keeps going over and over in my mind hearing what I heard earlier.
I cannot back down on this one, I see no reason to. For me, backing down would be like telling my late mother personally that I think her marriage was wrong. I saw first hand how broken she was when her marriage fell apart. Even if I thought it was wrong, and I don’t, I’d have the common sense not to ever mention it knowing how much it would hurt.