Word from the Center: Friday, October 19, 2018
Welcome to “Word from The Center” FRIDAY, a Two-Kingdom, practical reflection on the issues of the day from the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s topic/issue….
When the Good News still Isn’t Good News!
Virtually every problem we face in culture today can be linked back to the destruction of the institution of the family in society. The libertinism of the 1960’s unleashed a destructive bomb in relationships that is continuing to devolve into social anarchy to this very day. Or is it? Lyman Stone in his research on the family notes that there might be some good news to share on the marriage and family front. Ready? The number of children born to out-of-wedlock parents is declining. Yay! Stone, in his article, “Decades Long Rise in Non-marital Childbearing Reverses,” says, “While a recent report from Child Trends highlights how high current levels are versus 1990, we are actually approaching a decade of falling births to unmarried moms.” But that good news is overshadowed by the overall bad news; we are having less babies. And the good news is further overshadowed by the fact that each social class is actually trending higher in unmarried births despite the overall lull at the moment.
Why is this so important? It’s important because it goes to the issue of why marriage is vital to our society as an “institution,” not merely as a “relationship.” The defense of traditional marriage is not merely the defense of one relationship over several others. It is the defense of the institutional nature of marriage between a man and a woman for their lifetime that is physiologically, psychologically, and sociologically unique compared to all others. Marriage, if well practiced, undergirds a healthy society. When there are moms, dads, and their children in a home that strives to maintain the fidelity of the family, there is less poverty, less crime, and a more stable community. (For more information, see https://www.heritage.org/crime-and-justice/report/the-real-root-causes-violent-crime-the-breakdown-marriage-family-and). That’s because marriage by design was meant to be foundational to a stable and healthy society. In this case, the numbers don’t lie. Why? Because marriage is more than our relational choice for the moment. It is something rooted in our need as pro-creative, family-focused, community-driven people. It’s something that a culture dismisses to its peril.
That’s why Stone’s article tells us to look deeper into the numbers. The “good news” numbers can sometimes become bad news when people discount the enduring nature of marriage as an institution. Honoring the bigger meaning of “family,” namely, that it’s more than merely relationships for the moment, posits an institution that protects, preserves, and enhances one’s community as moms, dads, and children commit to each other and love each other. Only then will this good news about marriage and family indeed be good news!