This week we will take a look at what can be done to recover these children of ‘drowning families’…future crew members of our ‘ship of state’ i.e. those who will have the responsibility of saving this nation from the failures of their parents. The statistics regarding children from these three atypical family structures (out of wedlock, divorces, or incarcerated) makes a strong case that the best arrangement for all involved is what is called the ‘nuclear family’ – that is, a family built around a central nucleus of a father, a mother, and children. This is going to make the church a very important player in the recovery…from imbuing Christian Principles into all family members to standing up to government policies that would destroy the family and the sanctity of life. Silence will not do it nor fancy slogans signifying nothing. Pastors and ministers must take up leadership positions…as they have done in the past…and congregations must give their full support to the standing up for Biblical Principles. Statistics regarding the typical traditional family arrangement make the case for this proposition even more airtight.
- Married adults have better health, including fewer accidents or injuries, have less depression, live longer, and enjoy greater happiness [The Witherspoon Institute, “Marriage and the Public Good: Ten Principles”, August 2008].
- Married women have lower domestic violence rates and are victims of fewer acts of violent crime [Ibid].
- Children from intact families have higher literacy and graduation rates, lower teen pregnancy and juvenile offender rates, and higher rates of marital success [Ibid].
- Children from intact homes are five time less likely to live in poverty [Robert Rector, “Reducing Poverty by Revitalizing Marriage in Low-Income Communities: A Memo to President-Elect Obama”, The Heritage Foundation, January 13, 2009″].
- Significantly, only 22% of children in married households experience one year of poverty in their lives compared with 81% in other households [Mark Rank & Thomas Hirschl, “The Economic Risk of Childhood in America: Estimating the Probability of Poverty Across the Formative Years”, Journal of Marriage and Family 61, no. 4, November 1999]
- Nearly all the increase in child poverty since the 1970’s can be attributed to family breakdown [Wilcox, “The Evolution of Divorce”].
- Direct public costs due to family breakdown now exceeds $112 billion a year [Ibid]
- In traditional intact families, children are less likely to be abused; end up in jail as adults; suffer depression; be expelled from school; repeat a grade; have behavior problems; use drugs; carry weapons; and be sexually active [Patrick Fagan et al., “The Positive Effects of Marriage: A Book of Charts”, The Heritage Foundation, April 2002].
- Statistically speaking, “If the United States enjoyed the same level of family stability today as it did in 1960, the nation would have 750,000 fewer children repeating grades, 1.2 million fewer school suspensions, approximately 500,000 fewer acts of teenage delinquency, about 600,000 fewer kids receiving therapy, and approximately 70,000 fewer suicide attempts every year” [Wilcox, “The Evolution of Divorce”].
The modern experiments to change the traditional family ignore the well-being of those involved, especially children and mothers, and thus weaken the long-term strength and health of the culture. Not surprisingly, as the traditional family has now been rejected in preference for other ‘arrangements’, the definition of family has correspondingly changed. In law dictionaries at the beginning of the 20th century, family was defined as a “father, mother, and children [John Bouvier, Bouvier’s Law Dictionary and Concise Encyclopedia, vol.2, pgs. 1186-1188, West Publishing Company, 1914]. By the start of this century,a family had come to mean “two or more people who share goals and values, have long-term commitments to one another, and reside usually in the same dwelling place” [The American Heritage Dictionary, 4th ed., Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006]. This is known as the “postmodern family”.
What do these new trends concerning faith and its formerly positive impact on the family mean for the future of American culture? Clearly many parents of these younger adults, many of whom have moved away from the foundation of traditional family, failed to transmit to them a vibrant and useful faith, which was largely because the parents themselves lacked a vibrant and useful faith. Although eight out of ten Americans ‘claim’ to be Christians…many ‘cross on a necklace christians’…only 9% of the ‘Christians’ agree with the six most elementary non-negotiables of the Christian faith. (1) Absolute moral truth exists; (2) The Bible is totally accurate in all the principles it teaches; (3) Satan is a real being or force, not merely symbolic; (4) A person cannot earn his or her way into Heaven but rather it comes by God’s gift of grace: (5) Jesus lived a sinless life on earth; and (6) God is all-knowing, all-powerful Creator of the world who still rules the universe today [Barna Group, “Barna Survey Examines Changes in Worldview Among Christians Over the Past Thirteen Years”, March 6, 2009. So poorly equipped are Christian young people by their minimally believing Christian parents that 61% of Christian youth who now attend college abandon their faith as a result [Ken Ham & Britt Beemer, Already Gone: Why Your Kids Will Quit Church and What You Can Do to Stop It, pgs. 23-25,30, Master Books, 2010]. While most millennials say that they are indeed tempted by porn, lying, cheating, alcohol, drug abuse, and outside sexual involvement, most do not see temptation as something to be avoided [Barna Group, “New Research Explores the Changing Shape of Temptation”, January 4, 2013]. These attitude shifts have already had major devastating effects on our nation, foundational families, our society, our churches, and our government. God can fix it but as Christians we had best be ready to roll up our sleeves as there is much work to be done. The ‘shoal waters’ are closing in on our ‘ship of state’; damage is already being done. It would appear that our ‘damage control parties’, while willing, are just not numerous enough. And this is all because our ‘ship of state navigation crew’ started to doubt the ‘charts’…God’s Word.
Next week we will take a look at how government (politics)…the ‘ship of state navigation crew’…has been a major contributor to our ending up in ‘shoal waters’. The government started out well intentioned but lost interest; now the nation is in serious trouble. Who will step up and take charge? The Church, as in the past, may be our only savior.
– Bob Munsey