When Angelina Jolie was 14, her boyfriend was allowed to live with her. The actress plans to raise her children the same way.
This fact introduces USA Today's column titled, "Let teenagers have their romantic sleepovers." The subtitle explains: "As youthful cohabitation rises, parents should see it as an opportunity to teach." The writer cites research indicating that by age 18, nine percent of women have cohabited. By age 20, the number rises to 26 percent. Since more than half of those ages 18-24 live with at least one parent, she believes the time has come to accept cohabiting at home.
In her view, allowing teenagers to sleep over will reduce sexual risks, teenage marriage, and teenage pregnancy. Of course, after Roe v. Wade, abortion advocates claimed that legalized abortion would lower crime rates, lessen child abuse, and guarantee fewer out-of-wedlock births. In each case, the opposite has occurred. Nonetheless, the USA Today writer claims that parents can either continue "the knee-jerk tendency to reject these youthful relationships and force kids to sneak around and keep secrets," or they can consider sleepovers or even cohabitation under their roof.
I wondered how Angelina Jolie's early cohabitation worked out for her. Here's what she says of her first sexual relationship: "I got knives out and had a night where we attacked each other." She says she still has scars from the episode, and continued cutting herself until she became a mother. At 24 she eloped with Billy Bob Thornton, who became her second husband. Rolling Stone magazine proclaimed theirs to be America's most dangerous marriage. They wore long silver chains with lockets containing each other's blood; for their anniversary, Angelina gave Billy Bob a grave plot.
After their divorce, she had a lesbian relationship. Her father once said publicly that she had serious mental problems: "She's my kid. And if she gets help, I pray that she will be able to know and to feel true love in this life." She and Brad Pitt have six children, but are not yet married.
If teenage cohabitation in the name of safety becomes commonplace, what's next? Will we see proms at hotels with rooms reserved by parents for teenagers and their dates? Some parents already provide alcohol to their underage children, reasoning that it's safer if they drink at home than on the road. Will marijuana and other illegal drugs be next? What will be the future consequences of our current moral trajectory?
Misused freedom grieves the One who gave us free will. By contrast, "the fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied" (Proverbs 19:23). God always gives his best to those who leave the choice with him.