I have spent the last year or so listening to Bryan Fischer’s daily radio program and reading his regular blog posts on the American Family Association website and have to admit that sometimes I wonder if he isn’t really a left-wing performance artist masquerading as an ultra-conservative right-wing zealot in order to make the movement look foolish or else is just someone who concocts ever more ridiculous pieces in an effort to generate attention for himself.
Because, honestly, how else do you explain things like this in which he says that both “the Jews” and Iranian president Mahmoud Admadinejad are right: we need to start demanding that our children be ready for marriage and work by the time they turn 16 … oh, and that criminals as young as twelve should be expected to get the death penalty:
This has implications for juvenile law enforcement, by the way. Any individual over the age of 12 should be held personally responsible for violations of the law. We shouldn’t punish his parents, and we shouldn’t impose softer penalties just because of his age. Young adults are adults, and should be expected to behave as adults and accept the punishment we dish out to adults who break the law.
There are implications in this for our system of education. We should roll back secondary education to the point where our students are graduating from high school by age 16. We can teach them everything they need to learn at the secondary level by then, and prepare them for the next stage in life, which could be further education, apprenticeship, or vocational education. We should expect them to be launching into some kind of career trajectory by the time they are 16.
There are implications in all of this for the institution of marriage. By idolizing adolescence, we have artificially prolonged the age at which people enter in marriage. The average is now, according to 2007 figures, about 27.5 years for men and 25.6 for women.
But the young men and women whom God has created become sexually mature by their mid-teens. The bodies that God has created are ready for sexual intimacy by the time they are 16. Unless God has made a mistake in the way he has designed our sexuality, then we need to rethink our whole understanding of the optimum age for entering into marriage.
We know that sex is good, and that it is designed by God for marriage. It is his design that all of our sexual energy be channeled into the marriage relationship. Now if God has designed our bodies so that they are prepared for sexual union by age 16, then perhaps he is telling us that we should be emotionally, mentally, and spiritually prepared to enter into marriage at about the same time or shortly thereafter.