Reflections on the disintegration of traditional marriage and the family

A staggering article by Rutherford Institute’s John Whitehead on the decline of marriage and its impact on children and culture.  An excerpt:

Sociologist Paul Amato estimates that 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 suicides every year.

These statistics tell some painful truths about America at the dawn of the new millennium. They show that our priorities have clearly shifted. Despite the billions we spend on childcare, toys, clothes, private lessons, etc., a concern for our children no longer seems to be a prime factor in how we live our lives. What are the consequences of all this?

First, the loss of the traditional family structure has led to a destabilization in society of “mediating structures” — neighborhoods, families, churches, schools and voluntary associations. When they function as they should, mediating structures limit the growth of the government. But when these structures break down, people look to mega-structures, such as the state, for help.

If we fully grasp these thoughts, we must think hard about the wisdom of committing our money and passions to battling gay unions, while our heterosexual marriages are disintegrating, and with them the well-being of our children, communities, and the social compact.



About Jim Jewell

I am a writer and consultant on faith and public life, active for many years in management and communications in the evangelical community. I now work as the director of the nonprofit practice at The Valcort Group ( Everything on this blog, however, is my personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. Opinions, conclusions and other information expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Valcort.
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