You’ve probably seen that The Family: A Proclamation to the World has received a lot of air time in the nearly 20 years it’s been around. In fact, many throughout the church consider it scripture.
I was reading it for the umpteenth time the other day, and I noticed two things:
- It doesn’t say that mothers should stay at home
- It doesn’t say that women should do all the housework
There are some parts where one could extrapolate the assumptions that women should stay home. For example:
“. . . fathers . . . are responsible to provide the necessities of life . . . for their families.”
One could assume that because fathers are singled out here that mothers must not have that responsibility. It’s just that, however: an assumption. Here’s another example of an extrapolation point:
“Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.”
One could assume here that this implies a mother must stay home, especially when combined with the previous sentence. Again, however, this is only implicit and not explicit. Nowhere in the proclamation does it actually say that women must stay at home. Even the responsibility of nurturing the children doesn’t require the parent to be at home 24 hours a day.
Consider the next sentence in the proclamation:
“In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.”
So, if fathers have an obligation to help mothers as equal partners in nurturing children, and they decide (as cultural tradition dictates) to work out of the home, how can they nurture their children? If fathers can nurture their children without having to be home 24 hours per day, certainly mothers can, too.
On my second point, there is just nothing anywhere that can be reasonably extrapolated to support the idea that women must do all the housework. There isn’t much else to say about that.