Ben Johnson

The New York Times reports marriage leads to economic prosperity

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NEW YORK, July 19, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The definition of marriage has long been considered a religious or legal argument. However, a growing number of economists, journalists, and social researchers are concluding that getting and staying married is a key to economic prosperity and domestic tranquility.

This reality became the subject of a New York Times article entitled “Two Classes, Divided by ‘I Do,’” which spanned nearly 3,900 words.

Citing a host of secular, liberal professors, the article came to the same conclusion as longtime apologists for traditional marriage: it’s not only good for the soul but also for one’s bank account.

Studies say skyrocketing rates of single parenthood account for some of the widening income gap between well-to-do and those who are struggling. Experts estimate new parenting trends account for anywhere from 10 percent (Harvard sociology professor Bruce Western) to 40 percent (Robert Lerman of the Urban Institute) of the differential.

Family marriage and childbirth patterns put families on “different trajectories,” according to Mindy Scott, a demographer with the research center Child Trends. Andrew Cherlin, a sociologist based at Johns Hopkins University, said, “It is the privileged Americans who are marrying, and marrying helps them stay privileged.”

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One reason is that married men who must provide for their family have greater incentive to be conscientious about their vocation.

Married men “enjoy an income premium of about 19 percent in the United States compared to their similarly credentialed peers,” said Dr. W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project and professor of sociology at the University of Virginia. They “work about 160 hours more compared to their similarly credentialed peers after they transition into marriage in that first year of married life.”

“Men who get married and stay married tend to be better workers,” he said in a lecture delivered at Acton University, hosted by the Acton Institute in June. “They work harder; they work longer hours; they work more strategically; and as a consequence, they tend to earn more money.”

He added that marriage benefits both partners economically. “Women who get and stay married by the end of their lives have a lot more in the way of assets – whether it’s a home or some kind of retirement account.” 

Parents share other economic incentives, including differentiation of labor, and they “are able to pool their income and benefit from economies of scale, in part,” said Wilcox.

Some marriage supporters believe the free market rests upon the foundation of a stable home.

“The family is absolutely necessary for the market to function,” said Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse of The Ruth Institute, a think tank dedicated to understanding and defending the traditional family in all its aspects.

However, the article noted this foundation is crumbling under the weight of discarded social obligations. Some 41 percent of U.S. births take place out-of-wedlock. However, these are not evenly distributed: 60 percent of women with a high school education or less have illegitimate births.

Out-of-wedlock births among white women with some college education have tripled since 1990.

One-third of women with a high school education or less had children to more than one man by their late 20s. This instability has a deleterious effect on everyone in the household. Scott said, “Having men in the house for a short time with ambiguous parenting roles can be really disruptive for children.”

Yet the survey, conducted by Child Trends, found not a single woman who finished college before giving birth did.

Those in the top one-third of income are more likely to have intact families. According to Western and his Harvard colleague Tracey Shollenberger, 88 percent of children in that bracket grow up with both parents. 

Wilcox noted in a separate Times article that only two percent of children born to white, college-educated women are born out-of-wedlock.

Illegitimacy “varies by education more than by race,” said Scott.

Charles Murray documents the same pattern in his newest book, Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010

The most important impact of differing marriage trends is not economic but social and spiritual, and it is visited not on the parents but upon the children.

Dr. Morse told LifeSiteNews that parents’ differences allow them to equip their children with a mix of skills and abilities beyond that available to either individual parent. Healthy socialization also increases the child’s opportunity to become a productive citizen.

On the other hand, those raised without family attachments fall victims to pathologies as widely divergent as gang recruitment and institutional autism. http://childsrighttothrive.org/topics/socioemotional-development/what-are-effects-early-severe-deprivation-attachment  

“The substitutes to the family are expensive and ineffective, and taxpayers end up paying the price,” she said during one of her own lectures at Acton University. A 2008 study found family breakdown cost taxpayers $112 billion a year, the equivalent of the GDP of New Zealand.

Statistics, though, cannot measure the human toll.

The Times story frames the statistics around the story of two daycare workers in Ann Arbor, Michigan – one married, the other unmarried.

The unmarried mother, Jessica, got pregnant her first year at William Penn University in Iowa. The New York Times reports, “her boyfriend, an African-American student from Arkansas, said they should start a family,” but they agreed to wait “until they could afford a big reception and a long gown.” Instead, they alternated between living with each set of parents, working on-and-off until their breakup. She was 25 and had three children.

Jessica “has trouble explaining, even to herself, why she stayed so long with a man who she said earned little, berated her often and did no parenting,” the reporter wrote.

Now working in a daycare, she sees her friend’s children “swimming and karate and baseball and Boy Scouts, and it seems like it’s always her or her husband who’s able to make it there,” she said. “That’s something I wish I could do for my kids. But number one, that stuff costs a lot of money and, two, I just don’t have the time.”

She was deprived even of the time to heal after a major surgical procedure. After treating cervical cancer last year, she was told to take six weeks off but went back to work after one week’s rest, because she could not afford to give up the paycheck.

Single mothers “have no back-up,” Morse told LifeSiteNews.

That leads to frayed nerves, guilt-tinged memories – and leaner pocketbooks.

Jessica’s exhaustion rings through the written word. “Two incomes would certainly help with the bills, but it’s parenting, too. I wish I could say, ‘Call your dad.’”

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TLC pulls ‘19 Kids and Counting’ from schedule following Duggar molestation allegations

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By Ben Johnson

SPRINGDALE, AR, May 22, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The television network TLC has removed the Duggar family's reality show, “19 Kids and Counting,” from its schedule, at least temporarily.

Multiple news outlets have confirmed that the show, featuring the large and expanding evangelical Christian family, will not be on the air until the network makes a final decision about the program's fate.

The network had previously removed “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” from its network after “Mama June” Shannon had been seen associating with convicted child molester Mark McDaniel, possibly exposing her children to a sexual predator. Shannon has told the entertainment news outlet TMZ that she would sue the network for unfair and inconsistent treatment.

TLC has not made a final determination as of yet and aired a Duggar marathon Thursday evening as the controversy brewed.

Friday's move comes after media outlets obtained police records showing Josh Duggar, as a young teenager 12 years ago, inappropriately touched as many as five girls, often while they were sleeping. The police records show the incidents began in March 2002, the month the oldest Duggar child turned 14. He admitted the incident to his parents that July, but another incident took place in March 2003. At that time, the family sent him to a program that required counseling and hard physical labor.

Three years later, a letter containing details of the molestation was found, and its recipient notified police, who launched an investigation.

One of his victims told police, after Josh returned in July 2003, he had clearly “turned back to God.” No further incidents have been alleged.

Duggar's wife of six-and-a-half years, Anna, said Josh revealed the painful episode to her two years before they got engaged.

Since the allegations have been made public, Josh Duggar admitted his long ago wrongdoing, calling his teenage actions “inexcusable.” He also resigned his job at FRC Action, a pro-family lobbying organization.

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Some figures have offered the Duggars their reassurance that, whatever sins Josh committed as a teen, he can be – perhaps has been – forgiven by God.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, now a presidential hopeful, said that Josh “and his family dealt with it and were honest and open about it with the victims and the authorities. No purpose whatsoever is served by those who are now trying to discredit Josh or his family by sensationalizing the story.”

He said those who leaked the story were motivated by “insensitive bloodlust” to destroy the Duggar family. “There was no consideration of the fact that the victims wanted this to be left in the past, and ultimately a judge had the information on file destroyed—not to protect Josh, but the innocent victims.”

God, Huckabee said, forgives all sins.

“In my life today, I am so very thankful for God’s grace, mercy and redemption,” Josh wrote.

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Rebecca Kiessling of Save the 1 - United States Steve Jalsevac/Vatican City
Rebecca Kiessling

I told her I was conceived in rape. She told me to prove I shouldn’t have been aborted.

Rebecca Kiessling
By Rebecca Kiessling

(Savethe1) - Why should I have to prove my worth and my right to life? When I first learned at the age of 18 that I was conceived in rape, I instantly felt targeted and devalued by our society because I’d heard what people said about pregnancy “in cases of rape.” Right away, I felt I was in a position where I would have to justify my own existence – that I would have to prove to the world that I shouldn’t have been aborted and that I was worthy of living.

I’ve since found my own value, identity and purpose in Christ, being created by God, in His image, and for a purpose, so I no longer feel I need to prove my worth to others in order to feel worthy. Instead, I share my worth out of gratitude for my own life being spared and in order that others may see the value of those who are still at risk – those who are in harm’s way as yet unborn and being targeted for abortion in the clinics, in legislation, and in people’s hearts and minds.

Whenever I speak, I share this aspect of my journey, but people are shocked to hear that I actually do get challenged to prove my value, to demonstrate my positive contribution to society and to justify my right not to have been aborted. This recent e-mail is a case in point. It was a tough inquiry to receive, but you’ll see my hopefully patient (and prayerful) responses below, and the ultimate outcome of the exchange:

I’m feeling sad and skeptical about rape babies.  I’d love to consider myself pro-life due to biblical reasons, but I just don’t really see what good can ever come out of a rape baby. I still think that it sometimes furthers the victimization of a rape victim. And it’s also because I’m very sad and disturbed by your blog.

I just think sometimes that it would be better if these babies never existed -- that every single one would naturally be miscarried by God’s will, so no one could bully them for their skeleton in their closet. Like I said, the subject manner disturbs me to the point where I vomit. I wish that every child was conceived in love and not violence because that's the way it should be. And I'm sad to say that the only way I could fully believe all of you rape mothers and children is if you were to pray for the peace of God that transcends all my futile understanding and my volatile, overly-sensitive emotions. 

There is no story in the whole world that can fully change my mind. The only way I could ever is if I were to befriend a victim or become the Bride of a man whom was the product of abuse. I'm so sorry to be brutally honest; it's just that my heart grieves to the point where I feel the struggle to overcome the sin of prejudice. I'm so angry at God that he allows this to occur.

Dear __, I appreciate you going to our blog and taking the time to reach out to us.  Your concerns are the most common, but research shows that rape victims are four times more likely to die within the next year after the abortion vs. giving birth. Dr. David Reardon's book Victims and Victors: Speaking Out About Their Pregnancies, Abortions and Children Resulting From Sexual Assault explains this.  So it's a myth which gets perpetuated -- that a rape victim would be better off after an abortion, that her child would be a reminder of the rape, and that she would even see her child as a "rape baby," as you put it.

I understand a lot of what you're saying.  You would definitely feel differently if you knew someone personally.  I wished I wasn’t conceived in rape, but I do believe now that God definitely brings good out of evil, and uses tragic situations to bring healing.  He doesn't intend the evil of course, but his trademark is redeeming really awful situations.

-- Rebecca

Her reply (again, challenging for me to read, but I think she candidly articulates a lot of what most people really wonder or think):

What has God done in your life personally besides this blog that has made your tragic family life worth the pain? Tell me what you have been doing: like marriage, dating, children, jobs, friendship, volunteer work; any of that. I am curious to see how God has given your life joy and purpose. I'm sorry if I have ever been difficult to handle. I'm emotionally impulsive when I hear something sad.

First of all, my birthmother and her husband legally adopted me 3-1/2 years ago because my adoptive family was really screwed up (long story of abuse and abandonment.) My own adoption by my birthmother was our fairy-tale ending.  She says I'm a blessing to her, I honor her and I bring her healing! I love adoption -- my two oldest are adopted (very open adoption,) and we adopted a baby with special needs -- Cassie -- who died in our arms at 33 days old. It was an honor to take care of her and was definitely one of the most important things I'd ever done in my life. She died because of medical malpractice.

Married for nearly 17 years, we have 5 children now – two adopted sons and our three biological daughters.  Here's my son's story. He wrote it last September at 12 years old.

Besides being the president and founder of Save The 1, I also co-founded Hope After Rape Conception. I'm a family law attorney, though I closed my law practice to have my children and to home school until 2-1/2 years ago.

I make baby quilts which I donate to pregnancy resource centers and I give to moms in unplanned pregnancies. My birthmother taught me to sew! I also taught my children to quilt, as well as many of my friends and their children. I've volunteered with orphan care, Sunday school, feeding the disadvantaged, free legal work, volunteer work for a maternity home, and helping in various ways with pregnancy resource centers. I changed the hearts of Gov. Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich on this issue during their presidential campaigns!

A large part of what I do is helping others to understand their value, identity and worth because lots of people struggle with these issues -- not just those conceived in rape. I hope this helps!  -- Rebecca

Her final response – from someone who said “there is no story in the world that can fully change my mind”: 

Dear Rebecca, thank you so much for your time to straighten out my emotional acting out -- I'm really glad you told me about your life. I really think I'll be okay now. I still wish that men wouldn't rape, but at least the world knows a lot more than they used to and I can say that I'm pro-life to my college professors without paranoia or anxiety. I even talked about helping people like you with my mom and dad. They told me I'm too sensitive in personality to be involved directly in domestic politics; yet, I'm praying about being a free English tutor for troubled families as well as being an anti-pornography informant or activist. After all, the porn industry has been statistically linked to the sexual violence pandemic. I'm so glad that you are living life well and to the best of your ability; keep telling people that just because your birth father was an evil scumbag doesn't mean that you are. Thanks Rebecca, you have really touched and strengthened my heart. With much sincerity.

 

BIO: Rebecca Kiessling was conceived in rape and nearly aborted, but legally protected by law in Michigan pre-Roe v Wade.  She's an attorney, pro-life speaker and blogger, and President of Save The 1. Her own website is www.rebeccakiessling.com

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Boy Scouts president: We need to allow open homosexual leaders

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By Dustin Siggins

May 22, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Boy Scouts of America president Robert Gates says the youth organization must change with the times and allow open homosexual men to serve as Scout leaders.

Gates, the former U.S. Secretary of Defense and CIA Director, said in a speech at the 2015 Boy Scouts of America (BSA) National Annual Meeting Thursday that the Boy Scouts would have to adjust to "the social, political, and juridicial changes taking place in our country -- changes taking place a pace this past year no one anticipated."

According to Gates, the way to balance the religious affiliations of "some 70% of our scout units" and avoid "a broad [court] ruling that could forbid any kind of membership standard" is to offer individual troops a flexible membership policy. 

"For me, I support a policy that accepts and respects our different perspectives and beliefs, allows religious organizations -- based on First Amendment protections of religious freedom -- to establish their own standards for adult leaders, and preserves the Boy Scouts of America now and forever."

"I truly fear that any other alternative will be the end of us as a national movement," said Gates, who said that BSA should "seize control of our own future, set our own course, and change our policy in order to allow charter partners -- unit sponsoring organizations -- to determine the standards for their Scout leaders."

This is not the first time that Gates, who led the military to end its two decades-long Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, has supported gay Scout leaders. Last year, he said that he "would have supported having gay Scoutmasters, but at the same time, I fully accept the decision that was democratically arrived at by 1,500 volunteers from across the entire country."

In 2013, BSA allowed openly homosexual scouts for the first time. That policy reads: "No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone,” and took effect on January 1, 2014.

A year ago, Gates said he "was prepared to go further than the decision that was made" to allow gay Scout members, but decided that "to try to take last year's decision to the next step would irreparably fracture and perhaps even provoke a formal, permanent split in this movement - with the high likelihood neither side would subsequently survive on its own."

This week, though, Gates said that "events during the past year have confronted us with urgent challenges I did not foresee and which we cannot ignore."

"We cannot ignore growing internal challenges to our current membership policy, from some councils... in open defiance of the policy," said Gates. 

However, Gates' remarks may have come too late to prevent internal challenges from splitting BSA. Due to the 2013 vote, a number of Scouting alternatives launched, including the organization Trail Life USA. The latter group says it aims "to be the premier national character development organization for young men which produces Godly and responsible husbands, fathers, and citizens." 

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In January, Trail Life USA said it has "over 540 Troops in 48 states and the registration of nearly 20,000 adults and boys..."

Furthermore, the decision by BSA to allow gay scouts has led to criticism from people on both sides of the debate. Homosexual activists say the group did not go far enough, whereas many Christian parents and organizations say BSA is bowing to public pressure from homosexual advocates to affect its membership, despite its Christian roots.

Corporate pressure has also been aggressive. Last year, Walt Disney World threatened to not allow employees to volunteer for BSA as part of its VoluntEARS program in 2015 if the organization does not allow gay Scout leaders. Diversity Inc. reports that Merck & Co., Ernst & Young, Major League Baseball, and AT&T are just some of the other companies that have pressured BSA to further change its policies.

LifeSiteNews asked BSA whether Gates' comments indicated support for a totally flexible scout leadership policy, or just related to gay scout leaders, as well as whether BSA would take a stand against state and local laws that deny First Amendment rights to people who oppose same-sex "marriage."

BSA declined to comment, telling LifeSiteNews in a statement: "Dr. Gates’s remarks speak for themselves. ... It is important to note that no decisions were made during the National Annual Meeting. A decision is expected no later than the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board meeting in October."

A video of Gates' remarks is below. The comments about membership standards begin at 8:40.

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