Category archives: Family

No wedding, no benefits

by Jared Bridges

June 25, 2007

FRC’s Vice President for Policy, Peter Sprigg, pens an op-ed in today’s edition of USA Today on the benefits of marriage to society. Here’s an excerpt:

The legal and financial benefits of marriage are not an entitlement for every citizen regardless of lifestyle. They give an incentive to enter into the socially beneficial relationship of authentic marriage and give protection to the social institution of marriage.

Awarding such benefits to the unmarried makes no more sense than giving veterans’ benefits to people who never served in the military.

Read it all here.

Survey Says? Divorce Ranks Second In Morally Acceptable Acts

by Tony Perkins

June 11, 2007

Here’s today’s Washington Watch Daily commentary from FRC Radio:

When asked, most Americans would put cows before vows. Marriage vows to be exact. According to a new Gallup poll, a majority of people think that animal testing is more unethical than divorce. Divorce topped gambling, cloning, and premarital sex as the most tolerable act. Sixty-five percent said divorce was morally acceptable while only 58 percent said the same about buying fur. In other words, dissolving your marriage is less important than what you wear to divorce court. Of course, if the country cant understand the importance of marriage, how can we fight to preserve it? For years, theres been resistance to legislation that helps couples keep their commitments. Last week, when Texas passed a law that doubled the price of a marriage license to $60 for couples who dont have premarital counseling, some people were outraged. Its none of the governments business, said one. Well, frankly, it is the governments businessparticularly when the cultural and social cost of divorce far outweighs the licensing fee. Taxpayers are forced to foot the bill for family breakdown by fighting poverty and juvenile delinquency. The bottom line: marriage matters.

To download this commentary as an MP3, follow this link. For an e-mail subscription to the Washington Watch Daily radio commentary, go here.

The Disney Family Model

by Family Research Council

May 19, 2007

Jae Ran Kim applied a “social workers perspective to the wholesome characters in popular Disney movies” and asked, “How many of these beloved characters live in a married, two-parent (hetero) household?”

  • Aladdin (Aladdin) orphaned and homeless; petty crimes for food and shelter
  • Annie (Annie) orphan adopted by rich single dad
  • Ariel (The Little Mermaid) dead mother, rebellious teen who runs away to be with a man
  • Aristocats Marie, Berlioz and Toulouse three kittens raised by a single mother
  • Bambi (Bambi) raised by single mother who is murdered, has never met his absent father
  • Belle (Beauty and the Beast) dead mother, raised by single father
  • Cinderella (Cinderella) dead mother, raised by abusive Stepmother and neglectful, absent father
  • Dumbo (Dumbo) raised by a stigmatized, depressed single mother
  • Elliot (Petes Dragon) orphaned, runaway from abusive foster parents, adopted by single mother
  • Hercules (Hurcules) son of gods transracially adopted by humans
  • Lilo (Lilo and Stitch) orphaned, raised by older sister
  • Mowgli (The Jungle Book) orphaned, raised by 2-male heads of household (bear and panther)
  • Mulan (Mulan) cross-dressing teen girl with intact, multi-generational family unit
  • Nemo (Finding Nemo) dead mother, raised by single overprotective father
  • Oliver (Oliver & Company) orphaned kitten transracially adopted by rich girl
  • Peter Pan (Peter Pan) orphaned, troublemaker and gang leader of Lost Boys
  • Penny (The Rescuers) orphaned girl kidnapped from orphanage
  • Pinocchio (Pinocchio) wooden toy adopted by aged creator Gepetto
  • Pochahontas (Pocahontas) dead mother, raised by single father
  • Quasimoto (The Hunchback of Notre Dame) physically disabled male adopted by evil church minister Frollo
  • Simba (The Lion King) father murdered by uncle, raised by 2-male heads of household (meerkat and warthog)
  • Sleeping Beauty (Sleeping Beauty) parents transferred custody to 3 fairies
  • Snow White (Snow White & the 7 dwarves) dead mother, raised by abusive Stepmother and neglectful father
  • Tarzan (Tarzan) orphaned, transracially adopted by gorilla family

Law Firm Held In Contempt For Glamorizing Divorce

by Tony Perkins

May 10, 2007

Here’s today’s Washington Watch Daily commentary from FRC Radio:

In the Windy City people are getting blown away all right, but not by the weather. A controversial new billboard is mocking marriage to turn a profit. The ad features photos of a woman in lingerie, a mans muscular chest, and the message, Lifes short. Get a divorce. The ad, sponsored by a Chicago law firm, hopes to attract new clients by encouraging couples to trade in their spouses for a newer model. Fetman, Garland, and Associates have taken a lot of heat for their approach, and rightfully so. Divorce isnt a product that needs marketing especially in America. At a time when half of all couples split, these lawyers hardly need to drum up more business. Partner Corri Fetman said the ad promotes happiness. But happiness for whom? Not the adults, who suffer physically and financially from divorce. And certainly not the children, who grow up with deep emotional scars. Come to think of it, the only people who benefit from divorce are lawyers. The real irony of their billboard is that its true. Studies show that life is shorter for couples who dont stay married.

To download this commentary as an MP3, follow this link. For an e-mail subscription to the Washington Watch Daily radio commentary, go here.

More children “fine” by some Chinese

by Jared Bridges

May 8, 2007

Many urban Chinese kids are discovering for the first time the meaning of sibling rivalry—and the government is taking notice. Since the late 70s, China’s family planning policy has dictated a one-child policy for city-dwellers (two children for rural citizens), with fines for those who do not comply. The BBC reports, however, that due to China’s rising wealth, many couples are opting to pay the fines and proceed with more children:

[China] is keen to curb its population growth, and the controversial family planning policy, implemented in the late 1970s, is meant to limit urban couples to one child and rural families to two.

But rising incomes mean that some newly rich couples in urban areas can easily afford to break the rules and pay the resulting fines.

In fact, last month, a survey by the National Population and Family Planning Commission found that the number of rich people and celebrities having more than one child was on a rapid increase, and nearly 10% of people in this category had three children.

The story also brings to light a fact of which I was previously unaware: the Chinese government prohibits early marriages. In the United States, the oldest marriageable date without parental permission is 19 (Nebraska). In China, men are permitted to marry at 22, and women can tie the knot at 20.

Granted, that’s well below the average age of marriage in most in developed countries, but it’s also a much higher legal age than any other developed nation. This late marriage policy is also becoming increasingly ignored:

But according to [a spokesman for the PRC’s National Population and Family Planning Commission], “early marriages are still prevailing in some parts of the country, especially in rural areas, which goes against the family planning policy”.

Part of the reason why rural families refuse to comply is because of the traditional preference for sons.

Experts say this preference has led to the under-reporting of female births, as well as abortion of female foetuses and female infanticide.

As we have written here before, when mixed with a cultural preference for sons, a maximum child policy can be lethal. Now that the Chinese government has seen that its systems of fines is failing as the economy grows, it will face some tough decisions. While we don’t know whether or not the government will stiffen or loosen its penalties, it is good to see that some families see that no matter what the fine, the value of life and marriage is priceless.

The Great Divorce?

by Tony Perkins

April 19, 2007

Here’s today’s Washington Watch Daily commentary from FRC Radio:

For years, theres been big money in helping people tie the knot. But a new trend shows theres also a small fortune to be made untying it. For the two million people divorcing this year, theyll have several options for commemorating it. One woman made headlines by manufacturing wedding ring coffins. Apparently its one way you can literally bury your past. Another trend is throwing divorce celebrations. In other words, its your party and you can cry if you want to. How about turning new singles into happy campers? In Minnesota, Jennifer Morris runs Daisy Camps to help kids and parents heal. And while youre there, pick up a copy of Divorce Magazine. Their goal is to add some comedy to this stressful milestone. Thats rightmilestone, as if divorce were a coming-of-age landmarklike getting 12-year molars or graduating from college. And maybe for Americans it is. Unfortunately, these days, marriage seems more like a legal contract than a sacred union. But even legal contracts arent taken this lightly. And if we dont act quickly to restore some meaning to our vows, we wont need the wedding ring coffin. Traditional marriage will have dug its own grave.

To download this commentary as an MP3, follow this link. To subscribe to the Washington Watch Daily radio commentary, go here.

Marriage and Caste in America

by Family Research Council

March 29, 2007

Kay Hymowitz has an excellent article on the “Marriage Gap” in America:

We are becoming a nation of separate and unequal families that threatens to last into the foreseeable future. On the one hand, well-educated women make more money. They get married, only then have their children, and raise them with their husbands. Those children are more likely to grow up to be well-adjusted, to do well in school, to go to college, to marry and only then have children. On the other hand, we have low-income women raising children alone who are more likely to be low-income, to drop out of school or, if they do make it to college, go to a less elite college, and to become single parents themselves.

Marriage, I think you can argue when you look at the numbers, now poses an even larger social divide than race.

(HT: Mere Comments)

Study on Day Care Hits Close to Home

by Tony Perkins

March 27, 2007

For years, stay-at-home parents have been trivialized by feminists who wrongly believe that a mother or father’s care is replaceable. However, a new study by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at NIH proves the feminist ideology wrong. The most expansive research of its kind, the Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development found that putting a child in day care for a year or more increases the chances that the child will become disruptive in class—a trend that persists through the sixth grade.

Perhaps most telling is the fact that these tendencies were evident despite the child’s sex, family income, and even the quality of the day care center in question. The news will be particularly disappointing to day care advocates who have insisted that any negative effects are entirely contingent, on the “quality” of the care. In the U.S., experts estimate that 2.3 million kids under the age of 5 are in day care, while 4.8 million are in the care of a relative or nanny, and 3.3 million are at home with their parents. Despite the large number of stay-at-home parents, the government is often lopsided in its support of families who choose out-of-the-home care for their kids. Research shows that most parents would prefer to tend for their kids themselves. If that’s the case, why do government policies undercut parental choice and care?

There is no substitute for the contributions that at-home parents make to the development of their children, often at financial sacrifice. In light of the obvious benefits to kids, we urge Congress to pass Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kans.) and Rep. Lee Terry’s (R-Nebr.) Parents’ Tax Relief Act. Through the bill’s equalized tax treatment of stay-at-home parents, families would have the freedom to care for their own children.

A Bad Day for Kids

by Tony Perkins

March 24, 2007

Yesterday, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D) announced that he wants to end state funding for abstinence education, a move that would eliminate about a half million dollars’ worth of positive programs. Strickland said, “Over the long term, there’s no data that show they prevent, in a statistical sense, sexual activity outside of marriage.” However, stacks of peer-reviewed research are showing the direct impact of abstinence education, including a peer-reviewed study on America’s largest and oldest abstinence program, Best Friends.

In Adolescent and Family Health, Dr. Robert Lerner’s analysis of urban D.C. participants found that, “Despite the fact that [these students come from schools that]… are located in Wards that have higher rates of out-of-wedlock births, girls who attended the program are substantially less likely to…have sex than a comparable sample… The relative odds of 120 to 1 of a [high school] Diamond Girl abstaining from sex is a result so strong that it is unheard of in practically any empirical research.”

Elsewhere, a U.S. District Judge has decided to strike down a 1998 law, supported by FRC, that protects children from online pornography. Judge Lowell Reed, Jr. suggests that parents invest in software filters because they are “far more effective than the [Child Online Protection Act].” Following the judge’s advice would be like dispensing with water treatment plants and asking every family just to filter their own drinking water.

Family Hangs in the Balance of New Budget

by Tony Perkins

March 22, 2007

As you fill out this year’s IRS paperwork, enjoy your family tax breaks. If the new Senate leadership has its way, they may be among your last. This week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) unveiled a resolution that calls for a balanced budget by 2012. While it seems like an insurmountable task, liberals have found an easy solution. They’ll simply reverse every GOP tax cut and raise an extra $900 billion in revenue.

As part of the plan, Democrats would reinstate the tax penalty on married couples, causing the standard deduction for joint filers to shrink from 200 to 167 percent by 2011. Also, liberals recommend slashing the child tax credit in half, reducing it from $1,000 to $500. Although Congress has managed to whittle the death taxes down to nearly nothing under the current code, Democrats would resurrect them in four short years. Unfortunately, the tax rates would rise substantially in every bracket, even among low-income taxpayers who would be forced to pay Uncle Sam at a 15 percent rate. Under the measure, taxes on both dividends and capital gains would increase by January 2009.

Although painful, this would help erase the U.S. budget deficit, right? Wrong. Reid’s legislation actually increases spending for health care, education, and transportation projects. Republicans are understandably frustrated by the proposal, which could lead to the biggest tax increase in history. Families, who were finally experiencing some tax relief under President Bush, would again be forced to shoulder a heavy financial burden—not to ease American debt—but to pay for Democrats’ pet programs. As Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) said, “As we [start to debate] the budget… we shouldn’t begin with a plan to grow an even more massive bureaucracy on the backs of the American taxpayer.”