The principle of parliamentarians making consultations over the Marriage and Divorce bill is great. It compares with the story recorded in Matthew 10:16-22 of a young rich man who consulted Jesus about gaining eternal life.
For the leaders to make fruitful consultations, they need to pick a leaf from this young man’s consultation approach:
The young man chose to go to the right person for the question. Because Jesus is the author of eternal life, He was the right person to consult about life. Our leaders have gone to the wrong people to consult about the Marriage and Divorce bill. The right people to consult in this matter are the legally and happily married and the children of Uganda.
Unfortunately, there is no legal provision for the children to air their views on such matters that heavily impact their lives. To seek an answer to a crucial social question from a people, the majority of whom have failed to resolve their relationship conflicts, will only provide a popular position but not a progressive solution. The children who suffer the most from the adults failure to live in harmony need to be heard and considered in this debate.
The young man asked the right question: “Teacher, what good thing must I do to gain eternal life?” The current phrasing of the consultation is wrong. It implies that marriage cannot work and neither can the people in relationships resolve their conflicts without breaking up and fighting over property. It also presupposes that adultery is right because of the failure of many to practice the right principles of human sexuality. The right question ought to be what must we do to establish strong and happy marriages that form the basis for strong and healthy societies?
The answer to establishing strong and healthy marriages is not in equitable distribution of wealth.
Jesus makes this recommendation: “But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments. If you wish to be perfect, go sell your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
A new bill on top of the many beautiful laws of life will not necessarily accomplish the assumed goals. If we, the people of this nation, have set ourselves on a journey that ignores the laws of God, we will not profit from the laws of man. Law breakers are law breakers in spite of the laws in operation. When the majority of the people are like the young man, they will continually live in sorrow, not because there is no legal provision for their situations, but because their hearts are hardened towards one another.
The prophet Malachi judged the high rate of divorce in Israel as an act of violence committed by the nation. And for sure, no amount of reasoning takes away the violence in divorce. Divorce may be a legal victory for the adults but it remains an act of violence against the children, which may cause irreparable damage.