Wednesday, October 18, 2006

As promised...

As I promised, I went ahead and did some independent research on the response made by Michael Medved to the claim of 49.7% marriage rates in the U.S. As expected, I confirmed his results. A massive number of the people not in marriages are simply people living alone - 26.9%, in fact. Comparing that to married persons puts the number of married persons in the US at almost 4 times higher than that of those living alone, unmarried. It's simple math, but math that the media has chosen not to do in the interest of supporting the idea that traditional marriage is outmoded and fading - that is, in the interest of supporting the redefinition of marriage.

What is perhaps most frustrating to me is how little people have done to clarify their understanding of the actual data. Websites like this one simply present the data in a raw form, without any context, historical or otherwise, and then irresponsibly misconstrue the information:

In 1930, fully 84 percent of American households included a married couple.

The 20th century, however, saw momentum build within such anti-marriage trends as fornication and out-of-wedlock parenthood, cohabitation, divorce, single parenthood and homosexuality—at the same that the stigma against all of these phenomena shriveled. Thus, over that period, the number of marriageless households increased, and the percentage of married households dropped: By 1990 it was 56 percent; in 2000 it was still 52 percent.

This is - or rather, ought to be - unacceptable treatment of something as important as the truth about the situation of American families. While the analysis has a certain amount of truth in it, it ultimately ignores essential facts that make the comparison rather fallacious. In the 1930's, it was hardly common for widowers and widows to live on decades past the deaths of their spouses. Today, it's quite common. I agree that there has been cultural erosion against the institute of marriage, but between the reality of the numbers given by this data, and the fact that marriage is actually stabilizing and in some ways becoming more important to people (cf. this years State of Our Unions report), we need to realize that the situation is not nearly so dire as it might be - as indeed it is in other parts of the world. And for that we ought to be immensely grateful.

On a related note, many states have constitutional amendments and or ballot provisions regarding marriage coming up this fall. I ask you to pray about exactly how God wants you to vote for candidates in terms of their support for (or opposition to) the defense of traditional marraige. I believe it's already clear how we ought to be voting on the aforementioned amendments (Amendment 43 and Referendum I in Colorado; I don't know the information for elsewhere).

- Chris

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