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May 7, 2015
Column #1,758
Needed: More Chastity & More Marriage
By Mike McManus

We have all seen the horror of Baltimore – looting, the arson of CVS and a new elderly center, and the police seemingly impotent. However, there is a deeper issue not reported upon by the TV networks – liberal or conservative.

Only 16% of Baltimore kids age 15-17 have been raised by both of their married parents, according to the Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI) of the Family Research Council. Cleveland, Ohio is the only major U.S. city that has a lower family intact rate (15%).

Result: Baltimore had the fifth highest murder rate and the seventh highest violent crime rate in America – and criminal activity is only increasing.

Bishop E.W. Jackson, FRC Senior Fellow for Church Ministries and an African-American, asserted, “There is a profound crisis in the black community, not just in Baltimore, but nationwide. The crisis is in marriage and family. Seventy-two percent of children are born out of wedlock. Too many fathers are missing from the home, and an alarming number of mothers are still children themselves."

“Boys in these circumstances are inculcated with the values of the streets, and become susceptible to every negative influence. Instead of pursuing education, many embrace the attitude of victimization. Instead of seeking employment, too many prefer to hustle. Race and poverty become excuses for criminality. These social pathologies are perpetuated from one generation to the next.”

What has been unreported is the crisis in black America has an ominous parallel in millions of white homes. In Maryland, which is 61% white, only 47% of 17-year-olds have grown up in intact families with their married mother and father, according to MARRI.

More than half of Maryland’s families are missing a father. That is a more important fact than whether a child is black or white.

“Among broken families, with their chaotic, 'dysfunctional' relationships, whether white or black, the crime rate is very high. Among married two-parent families, whether white or black, the crime rate is very low,” reports MARRI.

This data suggests solutions for both black and white families. Remain chaste before you marry and get married before you have children.

Sound familiar? It is the traditional biblical standard which Christians say they affirm.

However, Dr. Patrick Fagan, President of MARRI, takes a tough stand: “On matters of marriage and family, Christians have stopped following Christ. Christ was a radical sexual revolutionary. He introduced the sexual paradigm that is so difficult, the Apostles said it is better for a man not to get married: No remarriage. If you remarry you are committing adultery.”

MARRI research proves the value of Christ’s tough standard of chastity before marriage. “Of all who have gotten married who only had their spouse as their sexual partner, five years into their marriage what proportion are still married? 95%,” says Fagan.

However, if the woman has had one extra partner before marriage, only 62% are still together after five years. And if she had two partners, only 50%.

Have you ever heard such data from your pastor? I bet not. In the many sermons you have heard on love, do you remember chastity even being mentioned? Surely, Scripture is clear: “Flee fornication,” Paul wrote to the Corinthians (I Cor. 6:18).

Why is this hot button issue ignored?

Fagan says “Pastors are afraid. One of the big reasons pastors won’t talk about this is that people will walk out of the church. Christians don’t want to hear this. They say, `I will go somewhere else.’ It is a big and practical reason.”

The situation is most acute in the black church. While a higher percentage of blacks attend weekly services than whites, they are mostly female. The New York Times reported recently that there are 1.5 million missing black men in America. About 600,000 are in prison, but another 900,000 have disappeared.

In 2011 6,329 black men were murdered. From 1980-2011 138,000 black men were killed. What happened to the other 762,000? Apparently, they lead such dangerous lives that they suffer early deaths. In 2010, for example, black men were 50% more likely to die from all causes than black women.

What can be done to reverse these trends?

  • First, more chastity is needed. While 72% of blacks are born out-of-wedlock, so are 36% of whites.
  • Second, more should marry. America’s marriage rate is down 57% since 1970.
  • Third, churches must begin to preach on these issues.

 

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