Wednesday, December 29, 2010

dehumanization is an affront to God

Recently the national media picked up a local human interest story about a man arrested for tampering with his (ex-)wife's email. The national media raised the question about the legality of such tampering comparing it with other privacy protections and the impracticality of such charges.

Questions regarding that need or justification for snooping are plentiful. Excusing away inappropriate behavior and obsessive thinking is a national pass time. I places the investigator in a superior posture with the other in a subservient position. Citing fidelity  concerns or health and safety issue are the smoke screen for the dominance of one spouse over the other.

It is not as if I don't perceive the temptation for such behavior but my sympathies it is not relevant to the case at hand. Being a parent of two teenagers I monitor much of what they do to head off possible risks to their welfare. The Internet and this technological age presents a learning curve which is non-forgiving and can have long reaching impact. But this discussion is concerned with adults.

But I digress, the more fundamental issue here: Does a spouse have the moral, legal or ethical right to  violate the privacy or personal space of their significant other. The first red herring to be thrown into the argument would be: "If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear". This however doesn't address the issue at its core. But to avoid the question would appear as weakness to my position so let us first explore the parameter issues.

Attorneys, law enforcement, doctors, therapists, priests, professors, board members, CEO's protective servic workers, etc. can't discuss their cases or work in detail with their spouses as it violate the tenants of their professions. It would be unethical, illegal and immoral to do so.  What is more it is unnecessary and unreasonable to maintain such an expectation. Such privacy issues do present certain stressor and can strain the marital relationship if partners are only a half of the whole.  Similarly in the personal arena, the confidence of a trusted friend or extended family, should not be betrayed in some fained attempt to appease one's spouse. Such an overture would be misplaced loyalty and again unethical.

Now that those arguments have been put forth let's explore the core of the issue. When individuals marry they commit themselves to the sovereignty of the marriage and in doing so pledge complete fidelity; forsaking all interests that would be contrary to the marriage. Understanding fidelity over simplified terms like with regard to the martial bed negates the nature of the matter. Now back on point, these individuals to not suddenly become two halves united; but two are rather two whole autonomous individuals with distinct roles and personalities, coming together for their union. Each remains autonomous and unique and unconfused. The need to demand an unhealthy codependency is driven by misunderstanding and insecurity.

This need to overly extend or encroach on the independence or autonomy of the other is an abomination. IN the not so recent past women were so objectified that they were passed from father to husband along with their worldly pocessions.  It objectifies the partner and reduces them to marital property. This dehumanization is an affront to God as we are all from our creation made in the image and likeness of God and this is never surrendered or forsaken. To objectify another individual as a mandate of a Holy Mystery is a gross misunderstanding of the Rite. If one cannot trust the other all the control in the world will not alter that fact. Very often it has the contrary effect pushing the partner into a deep internal secrecy where communication is further hampered by the need to prove one's honesty. At what point does the individual legally, ethically or morally forfeit their right to privacy? Never. The liberty of being an citizen in the broad sense does not cease.

No comments: