One of the commenters here often connects changes in modern Western societies, and in the churches of those societies (but maybe, especially, Anglican/Episcopalian churches) with 'cultural Marxism.' In this phenomenon, Marxist theory identifies the importance of changing cultures as part of fermenting revolution which overturns capitalism. One such theorist, Gramsci, introduced the concept of 'cultural hegemony' to describe the means by which the state maintains control in a capitalist society. The flip side of cultural hegemony is that it can be undermined by an attack on culture, particularly, in Gramscian thought, by undermining the institutions which support culture. By tackling these institutions one by one, bit by bit, revolution is introduced. Although the phrase was apparently coined by another thinker, Dutcshke, Gramsci's proposal for Marxist action against capitalism via culture can be described as "the long march through the institutions." Get the Maoist allusion?
One of those institutions is marriage. It has been under particular attack since the 1960s. Aided and abetted, of course, by ordinary human failure and frailty, the breakdown of marriage as a bedrock institution of society, ironically, has been hastened by various economic moves made by both socialist and capitalist governments in the West.
But when we read this article by Jason deParle (published in one of the 'useful idiots' of cultural Marxism), our eyes are opened to the paradox of cultural Marxism in Western democracies (i.e. countries which have never quite abolished capitalism): those who marry and stay marry are generally materially better off. Except this article makes a further point about the amalgam of education, marriage and money: the gap between the 'marrieds' and the 'not/no longer marrieds' is getting bigger, not smaller, in America. Anecdotally, I would say the same is happening in NZ. (Nice Marxist touch, by the way, to use the word 'classes' in the title of the article!)
A further irony abounds here. Within Anglican and other churches, notions of 'traditional marriage' are under attack (for a variety of reasons, including the reason of seeking a new theology of marriage). One criticism of 'traditional marriage' is that it is associated with the exchange of livestock. That misses the point. Marriage has always been about property, including the just manner in which property may be exchanged through the generations. All the 20th and 21st century romanticism in the world about marriage does not change brute facts about inheritance (when the marriage stays together, together the couple receive whatever is passed on from one generation to another) and property (when the marriage falls apart, property is divided between parties). Jason deParle's article is a timely reminder that the relationship between marriage and property is a blessing: children benefit from the accumulation of the material benefits of traditional marriage.
Although I am not a Marxist, one thing I appreciate about Marxism is that it presses us to "follow the money" in understanding society. Marriage's benefits are not just about romance and eros. They are about property and money. The ultimate benefits of traditional marriage, to society in general, and to children in particular, are worth fostering. The Gramscian march through the institutions should be resisted. It will be interesting to see over the next two years what shape the debate in our church about marriage takes. I for one will be combining a Marxist alert to the material aspects of marriage with a Popperian resistance to Gramsci!