A Family Crisis
I saw an alarming graph in USAToday last week charting the unwed pregnancy rate in the United States. In 2009, we officially topped the 40% mark in babies being born into homes where the mother has no husband. This is the highest this rate has ever been in our country and marks a trend over the last 6+ years of 1% growth per year. If this trend continues, by the time we do another census, the majority of babies born in America will be to single women. And we are not talking about just teen pregnancies either. About 75% of the above number includes women 20 years of age and older with a substantial percentage being women in their 30s and 40s. The stigma of being unmarried and pregnant is gone.
As a pastor this is alarming to me for many reasons.
1. As a culture, we have jettisoned the idea that God’s way is best. One man and one woman having babies within the security and commitment of marriage is now outdated. We seem to want to mimic the lives celebrities who want to partner but never marry and still have lots of kids, i.e. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (by the way, how’s that going these days?).
2. There is an inherent problem in couples having babies and intentionally not wanting to marry. Can you really commit to raising another life if you can’t commit to another life within marriage?
3. Economically, this trend is devastating to our culture. I am on the front lines of this crisis on a weekly basis. As a pastor, I see many, many single women coming to our church with children and no husband. And they need help! And we are ready to help them. But the stability they desperately need in the home and the financial security that comes from one parent being a caretaker of the children while the other parent focuses on bringing home money is absent. It is instead a survival culture. I also see many couples who are unmarried with children come to our church and the vast majority of them are in some sort of financial hardship. We work very hard to love all these people and where there is a couple we steer them toward marriage as quickly as possible. We do counseling, do the wedding, etc. free of charge. Our desire is to get people within God’s plan for their life.
4. This trend also has enormous impact on our culture as a whole as the financial burden of taking care of children when one parent has limited resources falls in all our laps. God’s plan is just the best. Period. When a man and a woman marry and have children, the child has the stability of TWO parents, one of each gender, to model love and care to them and to each other. It is the best financially for the family as there are TWO people to take care of the families needs. It is the best for society because the rest of us don’t have to carry that burden. And in those crisis cases where a young teenager becomes pregnant, or a spouse dies, God has built in the presence of the church. It is the church’s role to pick of the slack and help, with our resources, these people who need us most.
When you have a blatant disregard for God, and for the plan He has given us, a plan that will lead to true happiness and fulfillment, then everything falls apart. And that is exactly what is happening in our country today. The family is designed to be the foundation of any society. When you knock down the family, or try and re-define family, a society is in jeopardy of collapsing.
And the real tragedy is that we want so badly to be the one’s in charge of our lives instead of God, that we will happily let it happen.