A Further Sign of Family Disintegration


A Further Sign of Family Disintegration

What is the “new norm” in childbirth?

Richard Hollerman

A sure sign of societal decay and personal degeneration is the breakdown of the family.  From the very beginning, God’s will declared that, under normal circumstance, a husband and wife would have children and they, in turn, would have children of their own (cf. Genesis 2:18, 24; Deut. 6:5-7; Psalm 128:6).  In keeping with this, the traditional family in the United States consisted of a husband and wife (father and mother) and they would have children, generally a large number of them.  (In some instances, the extended family would also be part of a home.)

America in the twenty-first century has strayed far from this divine arrangement.  While divorce and remarriage was exceedingly rare one hundred to one hundred and fifty years ago, it has become increasingly common.  Few families are without the blight of divorce and subsequent remarriage on the part of at least one member.  Scripture declares that most of these remarriages are adulterous (cf. Matthew 19:3-9; Mark 10:2-12; Luke 16:18; Romans 7:2-3).  Thus, children are brought up in a defective relationship and environment.  How can sons and daughters have a Biblical and healthy view of the marriage and the family when their own parents are living in adultery and should not be together?

Yesterday I was shocked to read a piece in the local newspaper, one that should touch the hearts of all of the readers.  It was entitled, “Nonmarital births becoming the norm” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Feb. 18, 2012).  Let’s notice a few quotations from this article:

It used to be called illegitimacy.  Now it is the new normal.  After steadily rising for five decades, the share of children born to unmarried women has crossed a threshold: More than half of births to U.S. woman younger than 30 occur outside marriage.

Do you find this finding as shocking and dismaying as I do? Instead of a child having a father and mother, living together, these children have only one parent—the mother.  Keep in mind that this refers only to births. We also know that even in families where the child does have both parents, many of these families will later disintegrate through divorce.  The article continues:

Once largely limited to poor women and minorities, motherhood without marriage has settled deeply into middle America.  The fastest growth in the past two decades has occurred among white women in their 20s who have some college education but no four-year degree, according to Child Trends, a Washington research group that analyzed government data.

This indicates that in the past, poor women sometimes had illegitimate births, as did minorities. Now, white women also (those without a degree) are having children without marriage.  We know that some 70% to 80% of black children are born to single mothers. This statistic is utterly distressing for we know this perpetuates countless problems found in this segment of the population.  When children are not raised in an orderly, structured, and hierarchical family, they will lack the context for their own sense of what is right and wrong.

We might also point out that if there were not the abortion of a million babies each year in America, the percentage of births to unmarried women would be even higher!  Further, the rate of abortions among the African-American mothers is higher than other ethnic groups. It has been suggested that Planned Parenthood, the pro-abortion provider, seems to be promoting the killing of black babies to the extent that a large population of the black community is being decimated.  We continue with the article:

Among mothers of all ages, a majority—59 percent in 2009—are married when they have children. But the surge of births outside marriage among younger women—nearly two-thirds of U. S. children are born to mothers younger than 30—is both a symbol of the transforming family and a hint of coming generational change.

Thus, a slight majority of older mothers are married, whereas a slight majority of women younger than 30 are unmarried.  The article then mentions college-educated women:

One group still largely resists the trend: College graduations overwhelmingly marry before having children.  That is turning family structure into a new class divide, with the economic and social rewards of marriage increasingly reserved for people with the most education. “Marriage has become a luxury good,” said Frank Furstenberg, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania.

Isn’t it sad that this can’t be said of professing Christians? Instead this point is made of those with college degrees.  Why shouldn’t it be said that Christians don’t have illegitimate births before they are married?  Why can’t it be stated that followers of Christ don’t have such unmarried births because they remain pure and have absolutely no sexual contact before marriage? Finally, the following paragraph finishes the article:

Almost all the rise in nonmarital births has occurred among couples living together.  In the United States those relationships are more than twice as likely as marriages to dissolve.

At the present, more than half of couples have lived together in fornication before they are married!  And these couples are very likely to break up.  These “live in” women are the ones that account for some of the rise in unmarried pregnancies.  These women are willing to live in fornication and then have children without wedlock.  They are willing to relate to immoral and selfish men—and give more interest to them than they do to the dear children who are the outcome of their selfish and fleshly indulgence.  Sadly, the example of their immorality will have a devastating effect on their children.

What can we say about the rise of children being born into single parent homes?  First, they will not have the nurture and care that they deserve—and need.  Scripture says, “Honor your father and mother” (Ephesians 6:2).  Sadly, these children will not have their father near to honor.  (We are not casting reflection on those cases in which a mother is innocent and a father has either died or departed from the family.)

Second, fathers play a key role in the teaching and training of their children.  Scripture says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).  Without the father’s presence, children will only have their mother for this instruction (and often the mother is so pressured by work, she is unable to devote the time needed to properly teach and train the children).

Third, a child forms concepts of marriage and family life by observing the interaction of both father and mother.  When this is not present, the children will be at a decided disadvantage in their learning and personality development.

Fourth, sexual immorality is usually associated with these births to single mothers.  The child conception generally came through fornication or adultery.  Surely the children will come to understand this situation and their own concepts of right and wrong and what is normal will be influenced by this immoral behavior.  How can one treat their children with this kind of defective example?

Surely there are other negative effects of childbirth to single mothers but these are sufficient for us to realize the devastation this brings to the parents, to the children, and to society at large. The only positive aspect to this is that the mother has not chosen to kill her unborn baby—as a million mothers a year choose to do.  One wrong (fornication) often leads to another wrong (murder).

May God save us from this horrible situation that has become the “norm” in America!  We know that it is a problem around the world in other countries as well.  God will not hold us guiltless in this very serious matter. “He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished” Exodus 34:7). Let us repent and do all we can to live pure lives ourselves and promote wholesome sexuality, parenthood, and family life in the world.  As the Hebrew writer reminds us, “Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (13:4).




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