More than half of American teenagers do not live with married parents, and the family will be destroyed in this country if the U.S. doesn’t start championing marriage and stop rewarding people for having children out of wedlock, according to a new report from the Family Research Council’s Marriage and Religion Research Institute.
“The Fifth Annual Index of Family Belonging and Rejection” shows just 46 percent of American teens between the ages of 15 and 17 have grown up with their biological parents always married. For black adolescents, the statistics are far worse.
“This index is particularly acute at a chronic level in the African-American community, where only 17 percent of black teenagers, compared to 54 percent of white teenagers, are being raised in intact families, and this marks a 21 percent decrease in family belongingness for black teenagers since 1950,” said Ken Blackwell, senior fellow in family empowerment at the Family Research Council.
Blackwell said these worsening numbers carry a whole raft of negative consequences with them.
“It means that we are a nation at risk because there are so many positive benefits of children being nurtured and raised in intact families that too many of our people are missing,” Blackwell said. “It’s having effects socially, culturally and health-wise for too many of our youngsters. And it has an effect on criminality.”
He said this societal breakdown has happened before.
“We are going to be suffering from the same sort of family breakdown that we find in totalitarian, authoritarian and real major welfare states,” Blackwell said.
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Ken Blackwell:
“If you look at it across history, there are two things that totalitarian and authoritarian states have done. They’ve weakened or destroyed the family, and they have silenced the church, creating a greater dependency on government,” said Blackwell, who argued that the U.S. is barreling down this ill-advised road by different means.
“That is happening in our country, not through totalitarianism or authoritarianism, but through the rapid expansion of the welfare state,” he said. “It’s having the same disastrous effect in terms of the destruction of the family and the explosive growth in the number of people who are dependent on the government. What we know from historical experience is that the intact family is the incubator of liberty.”
Blackwell said the biggest problem with government dependency is that it encourages people to make bad decisions.
“The welfare state has an incentive system for families to separate, as opposed to encouraging the intactness of families or maintaining the intactness of families,” he said. “Welfare states tend to reward families that are not intact. As a consequence, if you want more of something, you reward it.”
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So how can the tide of broken homes be reversed? Blackwell said it will require all hands on deck.
“We know that if we reduce the number of out-of-wedlock births by encouraging young people to refrain from sexual activity until they are married, if we have every institution in our culture supporting a marriage between one man and one woman and if we encourage our young people to stay in school and get a decent education, then we know we can reverse this trend,” Blackwell said.
One of those key factors will soon be in front of the Supreme Court. Blackwell reiterated that the numerous benefits of intact marriages are directly linked to strong traditional marriages.
“We’re not going to reverse this trend if we redefine marriage as something other than the natural design of marriage,” he said.
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