Tag archives: Family

Where Are the Dads? How Richmond, VA and FRC Are Working to Restore the Family

by Rob Schwarzwalder

June 5, 2012

Christianity Todays This Is Our City site is devoted to showcasing how Christians are helping to transform the lives of their fellow citizens in several cities around the nation. As the site notes, This Is Our City … seeks to spotlight in reporting, essays, and documentary video how … Christians are responding to their cities’ particular challenges with excellence, biblical faith, and hope.

As the articles in This Is Our City demonstrate, many of our cultures needs derive from the breakdown of the family. Recently, in Where Are the Dads? Treating Richmond’s Fatherless Epidemic, Katelyn Beaty writes about how believers in Virginias capital are building human capital through public health—one man at a time.

According to Beaty, The Richmond Family and Fatherhood Initiative (RFFI) uses ad campaigns, legislation, and partnerships with Richmond’s sizable Christian community to reach its goal: Decrease the nonmarital birthrate, reconnect fathers to their children, and foster strong two-parent families—all for the future health of Richmond.

The article quotes Danny Avula, the citys deputy health director, as saying, “If you look at health, education, and poverty indicators, people in stable families with a married mother and father have higher high-school graduation rates and income. It’s not only about the theological basis for the design of a man and a woman. When you look at outcomes, it’s a no-brainer.”

Mr. Avula sounds like hes been reading reports on fatherhood, marriage, and children found on FRCs Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI) website. As Dr. Pat Fagan, MARRIs esteemed director, has written, the intact married family that worships weekly is the greatest generator of human and social positive outcomes and thus it is the core strength of the United States.

To learn more about the importance of fathers to children and of strong families to the economic, social, and moral well-being of our country go to the MARRI Web site and read some of the leading-edge research produced by Dr. Fagan and his team.

Facebook Inc. valued above McDonalds Corp.: What does that mean for your kid?

by Family Research Council

May 15, 2012

Whether we like it or not, kids are now spending far more time with media and technology than they are with their families or in school — as much as eight hours a day on average in the United States alone. So wrote Jim Steyer, founder of Common Sense Media, a San Francisco think-tank focusing on media and families.

Facebook Inc is now worth more than Citigroup Inc. and McDonald’s Corp. But even when parents keep their kids off of the social networking site, numerous other apps and social media start-ups are vying for their use. The Wall Street Journal reported that 20 companies pitched online and mobile products for kids in Pasadena, Calif., at the 6th annual Digital Kids Conference, just last month.

The technological landscape is ever-changing and one mother-daughter team has an eye on the challenges of parenting in this brave, new world.

Concerned by the brevity of contemporary childhood and the crisis of premature sexualization brought on through “sexting” and related activities, Dr. Brenda Hunter and her daughter Kristen Blair have tackled these themes in a new book titled, From Santa to Sexting: Helping your Child Safely Navigate Middle School and Shape the Choices that Last a Lifetime.

Join us at noon on Friday, May 18th as Dr. Brenda Hunter and her daughter Kristen offer research, stories, and resources to help keep kids safe and strong in middle school.

RSVP today!

Digging for our Roots

by Robert Morrison

April 20, 2012

There was a blizzard on the East Coast in early 1977. That surely helped keep tens of millions of Americans housebound during the airing of the made-for-television dramatic series, Roots. Author Alex Haley scored a hit with his countrymen as he told the compelling story of Africans stolen from their homes, crammed into slave ships and dragged across the Atlantic in chains. The story of black Americans is a vital part of the enduring national fabric.

I thought of that series often as I attended the Genealogy Fair at the National Archives this week. Presenters from the Archives staff guided hundreds of amateurs and professionals who flock to these conferences inWashingtonand around the country.

There was great excitement about the recent release of the 1940 Census. Can there really be a hubbub about getting into musty old government forms? Yes. For these family tree surgeons, there is.

The 1940 Census is the treasure trove of information about an America we would hardly recognize. America was poorer then, to be sure. Millions of us were still without indoor plumbing, without electricity. Millions of us had never visited a dentist. Draft boards would be shocked in many instances by the poor physical shape of young men who had gone through ten years of Depression.

One thing I will be eager to learn from the 1940 Census is the state of the American family. There was no no-fault divorce then. Lets all remember Michael Dukakis, the 1988 Democratic candidate for President. It was Dukakis and his colleagues in liberal social experimentation who pushed hard for this liberal reform. The former Massachusetts Governor and his allies can claim credit for the millions of broken homes and impoverished mothers and children across America. If you seek the monument of elitist, post-moral governance, look around you.

I once read an article in Washingtonian magazine written by a realtor. He said divorce was driving up the home prices in the Washington metro area. Then, he added this poignant detail: A house is more than a house; its a home. And he had not been to a closing on a home in years where the woman was not in tears.

A home is where memories are born and, in these cases, where dreams go to die. So lets hear more about the conservatives and their supposed war on women.

The 1940 Census will show us, no doubt, what former HHSAssistant Secretary Wade Horn has taught us: That on the eve of Pearl Harbor, fully 89% of black children were born to married mothers and fathers.

Somberly, I realize that 420,000 of the young men who are listed in the now famous 1940 Census will not be listed in the 1950 enumeration. They will lay down their lives for this country in the intervening years in World War II.

My seatmate, Deniece, at one of these genealogy sessions in an open-air tent is from New York. She took off three days from her work with the New York City Department of Education. She had been in foster care as a girl. My new friend is searching for her family background. She tells me how a girl friend included her in her familys reunions. My new friend goes on to tell me about the institution of black family reunions and how she had been included as if shed been born into that family. Theyve been gathering on family land in South Carolina for fifty years.

I quickly learn that Deniece was born in Brooklynas I was. As my Dad was. And he, too, was in foster care. From these studies, I hope to learn how it came to be that my fathers father changed the family name from the German-sounding Mouritzen to the anglicized Morrison. Was it, as my father always joked, to avoid a process server? Or was it to escape the fierce anti-German prejudice of the 1920s that caused sauerkraut to be renamed liberty cabbage and led some states to ban the teaching of German language.

In addition to Census records, there are immigration and naturalization records, a rich source of information about families. Entire workshops are dedicated to combing through these and in the process you learn that, except for the Indian tribes, everyone was an immigrant at some point. If your ancestor was denied entry, their appeal will be on record somewhere and you can learn volumes from these.

Military records are vast. I learn a lot from Ancestry.coma for-profit firm that supports all these Genealogy Fairs at the National Archives. Already, I found out that I had a North Carolina ancestor who fought in the American Revolution. One of my distant relatives in 1929 dug up the facts for his application to join the Sons of the American Revolution.

[The Mormons are most active in genealogical research. Thats in large part because of their theology, which I obviously do not share. But its a useful service for the rest of us. Ill probably take advantage of some of their extensive resources. Theres a family history center in nearby Kensington, Md. Or, I can go online at www.familysearch.org.]

When I tell them where I work, people at the Genealogy Fair obviously think this may be a new group to help them dig up family roots. Family Research Council does not, I tell them, assist individual families to search their ancestors.

I might have said: Family Research Council exists so that your descendents will be able to have ancestors. I mean that seriously. Many of these sessions are run by folks you can guess are liberal. They just have that bright and irreverent PBS manner about them.

I wonder how many of them stop to think: if the liberal project in America succeeds, will there even be families to research a hundred years from now?

For example, birth and marriage records are essential. What does abortion-on-demand tell us about births? Would people willingly kill an unborn child if they knew who that childs ancestors were? Chances are, that unborn child is descended from heroes and pioneers at some point.

Marriage records are all about husbands and wives. They have been about this for centuries before Thomas Jefferson supervised the first Census in 1790.

Todays liberals want to overturn all of that. Will we start recording Parent No. 1 and Parent No. 2? Why not Parents 3 and 4? Why list any parents at all? Maybe we will get to specify the bar scene from Cheers or the cast of Seinfeld. Not that theres anything wrong with that.

In 2008, George Washington University Law professor Jonathan Turley spoke to a crowd at the Newseum, just a few blocks away. He acknowledged that critics say allowing men to marry men and women to marry women will lead to polygamy. Im for that, he said, and was wildly applauded by his liberal audience.

Edmund Burke is rightly revered as the father of modern conservatism. He said it well in the 1790s. Those who have no respect for their ancestors will have no regard for their descendents. The Founders of this republic were conservative about family formation. They sought the blessings of liberty for themselves and their posterity. We are that posterity.

Prior to this week, I had not understood how genealogy can be our ally in Americas great culture clash of today. But now I do. There is a whirlwind coming. And those trees that put down deeper roots will better withstand it.

Demography Is Economic Destiny

by Rob Schwarzwalder

September 28, 2011

The cost for businesses to buy health coverage for workers rose the most this year since 2005 and may reach $32,175 for a family in 2021, according to a survey of private and public employers. So reports Bloomberg News.

This is not news any family wants to read. The last thing our recession-bound country needs are rising health care costs, particularly when we know these costs will be augmented dramatically should the Obama health care plan go into effect.

Buried within the Bloomberg article is a story that is underreported but finally seeping-out into the mainstream press: Contributing to the rise in premiums are … fewer young and healthy people in the insurance pool. This assertion is being made by the respected insurance association president Karen Ignagni, but it is verified by cold data. The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the following:

… by the end of the 2004 to 2014 period, most of the baby boomers will have turned fifty-five. Consequently, the age fifty-five and older segment of the labor force is expected to grow most rapidly, increasing by 11.3 million, or 49.1 percent. Because of the aging of the American population, this segment of the labor force will increase at almost five times the rate of the overall labor force (10 percent). The numbers of those twenty-five to fifty-four years of age in the labor force will grow by only 3.4 percent, a significantly lower growth than in the previous decade (8.8 percent). The growth rate of the youth labor force, workers between the ages of sixteen and twenty-four, will actually decrease between 2004 and 2014 by 0.5 percent.

What does this blizzard of mathematical factoids mean? Simply that we have a shrinking number of people entering the laborforce, one that cannot sustain our so-called entitlement programs (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid) and that is too small to infuse the insurance pool with enough youth and health to keep it fiscally viable.

My colleagues Pat Fagan, Henry Potrykus and I have explained this in detail in Our Fiscal Crisis: We Cannot Tax, Spend, and Borrow Enough to Substitute for Marriage. We argue that our current economic slowdown, coupled with the increased numbers of dependent citizens, makes closing the deficit impossible for President Obama or anyone else who uses the present welfare state as the economic model to be sustained. It cannot be. This reality arises from two facts: 1) We have proportionately fewer children … (and) up to 20 percent of these children are unequipped to compete in the modern economy because of a lack of essential skills formed within the intact married family.

Whats the bottom line? Husbands and wives need to have more children and truly parent those children if our economy is going to thrive. However substantial our technology-driven productivity gains, they will not compensate for a steadily declining supply of capable, teachable young men and women.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the rate of population growth, referred to as the average annual percent change, is projected to decrease during the next six decades by about 50 percent, from 1.10 between 1990 and 1995 to 0.54 between 2040 and 2050. The decrease in the rate of growth is predominantly due to the aging of the population and, consequently, a dramatic increase in the number of deaths. In other words, we will have a larger population, but the rate of growth will slow to the point that existing citizens will live longer, not because of the size of our families.

For more on the crisis of Americas population and how it is grounded in the erosion of the family unit, visit the Marriage and Religion Research Institute at http://www.marri.frc.org/. Families are more critical to our nations economy, more than education or technology. As families fail, so fails our country.

Australian Report Shows Kids are Healthier, Wealthier…yet Worse Off

by Krystle Gabele

September 13, 2011

Are children better off growing up in a healthier environment and a higher socioeconomic class? This is all contingent on whom you ask. According to a recent study commissioned by the Australian Christian Lobby, this might not be the case.

The study, For Kids Sake: Repairing the Social Environment for Australian Children and Young People, noted that Australia ranks high on social development, education, and economic well being. However, there is something underlying: Increased reports of child abuse and neglect, as well as an increase in mental health disorders. These reports encompass all socioeconomic levels.

Why has this been occurring? According to the studys author, Patrick Parkinson, the increase in child abuse reports and mental health disorders can be attributed to one key factor: The breakdown of the family.

Living in a family other than that of the two biological parents before the age of 16 is well-documented as being associated with a wide range of adverse results for children’s well-being.

Some people consider that the reason for this is that the adults who form stable marriages tend to be more well-adjusted and better off economically, so it is not so much the question of family structures but rather the personal characteristics of the parents that is the deciding factor.

Although this might be true to some extent the report quoted research that said studies using sophisticated statistical controls, including genetic factors, point in the direction of family breakdown being a significant cause of problems for children, rather than it just being the quality of the adults.

There is no doubt that the breakdown of the family has been a key contributor to the rise in mental illness and child abuse cases. Poor family relationships, marital unhappiness, and divorce all have negative impacts on a childs well being. The statistics are alarming, and children in the United States are experiencing the same effects as well.

What can be done to prevent the breakdown of the family? Parkinson suggests stronger marriage preparation and implementing and providing greater support for organizations that help families.

However, Parkinson is also forgetting one important point: Encouraging families to attend religious services. According to FRCs Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI), children who attend religious services weekly tend to be less depressed and that marriages tend to be stronger and happier when couples attend church together. Perhaps the greatest way to combat the breakdown of the family is through faith.

Meet the Co-Parents: Friends Not Lovers

by Cathy Ruse

August 29, 2011

A few years ago the New York Times ran a story about a new social phenomenon: Couples, who claim to love each other, who have an exclusive sexual relationship, and who share financial expenses, are choosing not to live together. The arrangement is called Living Apart Together, and apparently its on the rise. The couples interviewed spoke of their need for alone time and personal space and a desire not to wait on the other person they claim to love. Why bother joining households and lose a great city apartment? one suggested.

Reading that story brought to mind how Woody Allen once described the perfect arrangement he had with Mia Farrow: separate apartments on opposite sides of Central Park where they could see each others lights go off at night. But we know how that ended. (For those too young to remember: Woody ended up having an affair with, and then marrying, his own stepdaughter, and in his defense famously said, The heart wants what the heart wants.)

Last week the London Telegraph reviewed another new social relationship trend: people who are neither married nor in love (nor, in some cases, even acquainted) are apparently having children together through the use of in vitro fertilization. Why?

The story leads with examples of homosexuals who wanted to have a child of their own partnering up with people of the opposite sex to share biological material. But also interviewed was this single heterosexual woman, approaching the end of her fertile years, who explained: In a worst-case scenario I would seek an anonymous donor, but Ive always thought a child needs a father. At the very least I wanted a donor who would visit regularly.

What kid wouldnt want Daddy Sperm visiting regularly? But why does little Johnny hide under the bed when the door bell rings?

WSJ: Britains Chief Rabbi on the Riots—Causes and Solutions

by Cathy Ruse

August 22, 2011

Here is an interesting piece from Saturdays Wall Street Journal.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks posits that it is the breakdown of the family and, even more fundamentally, a turning away from its Judeo-Christian faith, that has created a moral crisis in the West of which the London riots are a symptom.

I do not agree with everything he says (when he calls the rioters victims and says its not their fault, that is a bridge too far for me), but his broader argument for the moral reinvigoration that a return to religion can bring to society, and its necessity in bringing about a common good, is persuasive.

An interesting quote from the end of the piece:

One of our great British exports to America, Harvard historian Niall Ferguson, has a fascinating passage in his recent book Civilization, in which he asks whether the West can maintain its primacy on the world stage or if it is a civilization in decline.

He quotes a member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, tasked with finding out what gave the West its dominance. He said: At first we thought it was your guns. Then we thought it was your political system, democracy. Then we said it was your economic system, capitalism. But for the last 20 years, we have known that it was your religion.

In the Know…

by Krystle Gabele

September 30, 2009

Here’s some articles of interest.

Amsterdam Becomes Green-Light District for Pro-Family Activists

by Peter Sprigg

September 9, 2009

When the World Congress of Families gathered in Amsterdam in the Netherlands last month, it was not considered friendly territory for the conservative, pro-family principles espoused by most of the international delegates. The city has museums devoted to sex and drugs, and its red-light district is treated as a major tourist attraction. Radical feminist groups decried the event, and the offices of one Dutch organization involved in planning for the WCF were even vandalized, with obscenities and anti-Christian slogans being painted on the walls. The Dutch media sought to stir up controversy over the participation in the Congress by several members of the Dutch parliament and one cabinet minister (who sent a video message the opening day). Five scheduled Dutch participants withdrew from the Congress shortly before it began over concerns that anti-gay messages would be promoted.

In the end, protests against the Congress mostly fizzled, and the delegates focused on issues such as the problem of depopulation in the countries of Europe. The Congress featured the European premiere of The Demographic Bomb (a sequel to the film Demographic Winter), which had its world premiere at Family Research Council on June 17.

Peter Sprigg and Pat Fagan represented Family Research Council at the event, with Dr. Fagan making two presentationsone at a breakout session on day care, and one major address on Family Diversity and Political Freedom. He spoke of how the culture of the traditional family, based on lifelong monogamy, is now being challenged by a competing culture rooted in a sexual ideal that is in some sense polyamorous, in that it is built on the expectation of multiple sexual partners through the life course. Dr. Fagan explained some of the political implications of these competing cultures, and offered a suggestion as to how they might be able to co-exist in a free society by insuring that all parents, of any viewpoint, have greater control over the education and upbringing of their own children.

Although liberals claim to place a high value on dialogue, one of the few who actually came to the Congress to engage in it was a Dutch judge and U.N. official, Jaap Doek, who defended the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CROC) and expressed dismay that the U.S. has failed to ratify it. Pro-family activists are concerned that the rights of children established by the treaty would undermine parental authority in the home, but Doek contended that it only imposes limits and obligations on the state, not upon parents.

Austin Ruse of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, or C-FAM (and the husband of FRCs Cathy Cleaver Ruse) offered a darker vision of the impact of the U.N. and international agreements. He delivered an address describing how radical elites have attempted to establish a right to abortion in international law. The soft law strategy involves inserting code words for abortion (such as reproductive health) in international documents and then asserting (falsely) that it is a matter of customary international law. The hard law strategy involves United Nations committees charged with monitoring compliance with actual international treaties and conventions. Although no right to abortion has ever been established in the text of such treaties, these committees will often tell member countries that they must protect such a right to be in compliance (for example, with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, or CEDAW). Ruse declared bluntly that such new norms are being forced upon nations undemocratically through treachery, lies, deceit and raw power.

At times it was striking how much people from different countries had in common. For example, at one session, an American state senator from Georgia, Nancy Schaefer, and a lawyer from Sweden, Ruby Harrold-Claesson, both decried the abuses sometimes engaged in by child protective services.

However, there was one notable difference evident in the way American conservatives and Europeans see pro-family policy. Most Americans take a more libertarian approach, believing that the best thing government can do for families is to stay out of their way. Yet it was evident that pro-family politicians from Europe and other countries see government intervention on behalf of the family as the best pro-family policy. For instance, Andre Rouveot, the Dutch cabinet minister who addressed the Congress by video, touted the creation of his Ministry for Youth and Families as a great step forward. Yet most American conservatives do not see the creation of a federal Department of Education as something that improved American education. Australian Member of Parliament Kevin Andrews discussed efforts by some countries to provide child care and family leave as pro-family because they make it easier for working women to become mothers; whereas many Americans would argue what is needed is to make it easier for mothers to stay home.

The Congress ended with the adoption of the Amsterdam Declaration, which cited as its touchstone the statement in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society, and is entitled to protection by society and the State. Several countries are already in contention for the honor of hosting the next World Congress of Families, which has clearly established itself as the premier international gathering of pro-family scholars and activists.

Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

June 4, 2009

Here’s what we are reading today.

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