Another Significant Sign of Moral Decline
The government organization that monitors health issues in America, the National Center for Health Statistics, has reported the latest dismal stats on the state of marriage (“Almost 40%...,” 2006). Whereas in 1950 the average age for people to marry was 23 for the man and 20 for the woman, now the ages are 27 and 25 respectfully. It is true that some people are now waiting longer to get married. But in many cases, they have chosen to live together without getting married. In 1970, the number of unmarried-couple households with children was under 200,000. That figure now has soared to 1.7 million and climbing.
Most alarming, out-of-wedlock births in the United States have climbed to an all-time high. Indeed, 37% of the babies born last year—nearly 4 in 10—were born to unmarried parents. Such a figure is seismic in its implications—not to mention absolutely shameful and disgraceful (Proverbs 14:34). If we were to contemplate that 10% of the babies born in America were without married parents, that figure would be tragic. Or if we were to consider that 20%, one fifth, of all babies, or even 25%, one fourth, of all babies were without married parents, our forefathers would not believe it. But no, the figure is now at nearly 40%! Forty percent of the children in this country are born to people who are not married to each other! And that figure is just for one year; the stat has been nearly that high each year for quite some time. No doubt, much of the population of our nation is so morally and spiritually desensitized that they do not consider such stats to be a problem: “what’s the big deal?”
The “big deal” is that the God of the Universe established the home at the beginning of the Creation. The home as God created it consists of a man and woman married to each other for life (Genesis 2:24). Hence, by divine design, the very fabric of human civilization, the basis of any nation, is the home. In order for society to function in a civil fashion, its citizens must be raised in stable homes consisting of both scriptural parents. The home is the incubator for developing mature, unselfish people. As the number of such homes decline, society itself will destabilize and unravel. Lack of concern for others manifests itself in cold, cruel apathy, and treating others discourteously and rudely. Crime rates inevitably will increase and prison populations will expand. The list of aberrant behaviors goes on and on.
Few Americans are aware that the Founders of the Republic warned against neglect of the Christian principles of morality—including those pertaining to marriage—principles they deemed indispensable to national survival. Consider one sampling from the pen of one acclaimed as a “Father of American Jurisprudence,” Joseph Story, who was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by President James Madison where he served from 1811-1845:
The promulgation of the great doctrines of religion, the being, and attributes, and providence of one Almighty God; the responsibility to him for all our actions, founded upon moral freedom and accountability; a future state of rewards and punishments; the cultivation of all the personal, social, and benevolent virtues;—these never can be a matter of indifference in any well ordered community. It is, indeed, difficult to conceive, how any civilized society can well exist without them. And at all events, it is impossible for those, who believe in the truth of Christianity, as a divine revelation, to doubt, that it is the especial duty of government to foster, and encourage it among all the citizens and subjects (III.44.1865:722-723, emp. added).
Indeed, in a republic, there would seem to be a peculiar propriety in viewing the Christian religion, as the great basis, on which it must rest for its support and permanence, if it be, what it has ever been deemed by its truest friends to be, the religion of liberty (III.44.1867:724-725, emp. added).
Indeed, since Bible teaching on marriage and the family is being ignored by a sizeable percentage of Americans as they reject the responsibility to God for their actions, how can America as a civilized society continue to exist? By rejecting the moral principles of Christianity, how can the Republic be perpetuated? According to those who founded this nation, it cannot.
But the solution to our nation’s ills is available:
He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8).
Therefore know this day, and consider it in your heart, that the LORD Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. You shall therefore keep His statutes and His commandments...that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land (Deuteronomy 4:39-40).
See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land.... I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days (Deuteronomy 30:15-20).
And now...what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good? (Deuteronomy 10:12-13).
If America does not wake up and recover its moral sanity, only one possible fate awaits the nation: “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Psalm 9:17).
“Almost 40% of Children Born in the U.S. in 2005 Were Out of Wedlock, an All-Time High” (2006), Associated Press, November 21, [On-line], URL: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,231183,00.html.
Story, Joseph (1833), Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, Boston, MA: Hilliard, Gray, & Co.), [On-line], URL: http://www.constitution.org/js/js_344.htm.