America's Prima Nocta
The news from England about a father going to court in an attempt to
save his unborn child from abortion has gained worldwide attention.
The British court temporarily postponed the abortion to make sure all
the proper forms were filled out, but, made it absolutely clear that
British fathers have no legal rights to protect their children as long
as their children are unborn.
This situation reminded me of a scene in Mel Gibson's movie Brave
Heart. People who have seen it will remember that the pagan King,
Edward the Longshanks, had given his English Noblemen land in
Scotland, and then granted them the right of "Prima Nocta" (Latin for
"First Night") stating, "When any common girl inhabiting their lands
is married, our Nobles shall have sexual rights to her on the night of
All of you Brave Heart fans know that the King's civil decree
against the institution of marriage in Scotland is what led to the
rebellion and their subsequent freedom from English tyranny. For
those of you who did not see the movie, Prima Nocta was used by
heathen feudal governments as a means to control the population of
countries they ruled by bastardizing the first born males and
therefore cutting them off from any lawful claim of
I think people can agree that the attack on the marriage institution
here in the United States is more subtle than the feudal decree of
Prima Nocta. However, subtle intrusion by the State does not
necessarily mean it is any less harmful. In fact, the way U.S. Court
decisions have stripped fathers of the freedom to protect their unborn
children is far more treacherous and controlling than bastardizing the
first born males.
For example, before 1973 our civil laws recognized that when a husband
and wife conceived a child that: the husband was the father; the wife
was the mother; and together with their child they constituted a
"nuclear family." However, with decisions like Roe v. Wade it is the
court's opinion that there is no child at conception. Today,
States call the child in the womb a "potential life," and as long as
the child is in the womb the husband is called the "prospective
In effect, these court opinions allow the states to strip husbands of
their legal right to be recognized as the fathers of their children
until the children are actually born. By defiling the marriage bed at
the moment of conception, the State destroys both marriage and the
family at their core.
By usurping the headship of the husband, the State assumes the role of
the husband and transfers to the wife the authority "to choose"
between life and death and, whether or not she wants the "usurped man"
to be co-parent of her future child.
Since our civil government began usurping the proper headship and
authority structure of husbands and fathers, we are witnessing a total
degeneration of our society. We see the breakdown of the
administration of discipline in the family concerning children, the
breakdown of the administration of discipline in the Church concerning
sin, and the breakdown of the administration of discipline in civil
government concerning Justice.
So the question is, since Christian men have surrendered the headship
responsibility of being the legal husband and father at the moment of
conception, then what makes us think we can claim that freedom after
the child is born? Or, to claim any freedom that is related to
being husbands and fathers?
The answer is, men cannot claim a freedom they do not have. It either
can be granted to them like a servant receives a privilege from his
master -- the State, or, men can be men and take back from the usurper
what is rightfully theirs.
God established the divine ordinance of marriage in the very beginning
after the creation of Adam and Eve, (Gen.2:24). The preeminence of
the marriage institution is confirmed by Christ, (Matt. l9:4-5). Upon
this institution God stamped His own name and excellence, making it a
glorious and honorable state under the stewardship of His Church (1
Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:22-33). God created life, then He instituted
marriage, then the nuclear family, with the husband and father as the
head of the family, and with Christ as head of the man.
Now here is the key point that Christians in America need to
understand about the catastrophic effect these U.S. Court decisions
have in stripping husbands and fathers of their legal rights at the
moment of conception. Since the fundamental Law of marriage and its
authority structure was instituted in the very beginning of mankind's
existence, then the Family, Church, Society, and Civil Governments
are successionally dependent on the marriage institution.
Without the marriage institution being based on God's ordained
authority structure all other subsequent institutions -- Family,
Church, Society, and Civil Governments, will degenerate into chaos,
and then oblivion.
Husband and wife, being joined together by the ordinance of God, are
not to be put asunder (separated) by any ordinance of man. "What
therefore God hath joined together," Christ tells His Church, "let not
man put asunder." (Matt. 19:6)
When we look at this situation as a whole -- the defilement of the
marriage bed -- the usurpation of both the headship of men as
husbands, and their legal right as fathers to protect their children
-- the State as the surrogate husband providing for mothers to murder
their children, we can see how Christian leadership is failing in
their duty to "let not" the ordinances of man "put asunder" the
marriage institution and, therefore, continue to allow the State to
usurp God's ordained authority structure at the moment of
Christian husbands and fathers must stand up and order the Usurper to
get out of their bedroom! Men must demand that their state governors,
legislators and the President of the United States pass laws which
recognize the Unalienable Personhood of every human being from the
moment of conception until natural death. For every unborn child has
the Unalienable right to be protected by his father.
Washington, D.C., Director
Christian Street Preachers Alliance