Who Cares About Marriage?
The attacks on marriage and the family affect every area of our lives.
When I wrote to you On the Splendor of Marriage, I mentioned the United States Senate’s consideration of a bill meant to paint a target on anyone holding a true definition of marriage as created by God. The bill passed this week with bipartisan support by a vote of 61-36, with three senators not voting.
All Democrats present voted for the bill. The Republicans who voted for it were Senators Roy Blunt of Missouri, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Susan Collins of Maine, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rob Portman of Ohio, Mitt Romney of Utah, Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, and Todd Young of Indiana.
Of course, none of these senators would describe the bill as targeting people of faith; they would say they just want to “respect all people.” But consider that Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) proposed and got a vote on an amendment making it clear that government would not retaliate against people of faith and religious institutions for their sincerely held religious convictions about marriage under this bill, and the vote actually failed. All the Republicans who voted to pass the (Dis)Respect for Marriage Act (except Collins) voted for the amendment. Those who voted for the Lee Amendment protecting religious freedom even included Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. But the Lee Amendment failed.
Once again, an amendment prohibiting the Federal Government from retaliating against schools, businesses, organizations, and individuals who ascribe to a true definition of marriage as espoused in the Scriptures was rejected in a 48-49 vote. And that still did not raise a red flag clearly enough to move these senators to vote down this deceptive legislation. Instead, they went right along with it.
I write that as an update and alert for you. If you are a Christian, expect more pressure on you to conform to the culture in matters of marriage and sexuality. Expect to hear about more cases of Christians being harassed by government officials, as it happened to Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop (he is still fighting government harassment) or Barronelle Stutzman of Arlene’s Flowers, or Lori Smith of the upcoming Supreme Court Case 303 Creative v. Elenis.
But the public policy concerns about marriage are much bigger than these serious religious liberty concerns. The attacks on marriage and the family affect every area of our lives, though most elected officials cannot connect the dots.
A recent survey found that nine out of every ten adults believe we have a mental health crisis in the U.S. today. That’s 90 percent! Are you not feeling that? “Data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that drug overdose deaths reached record levels in 2021, and suicide rates were back near a record high after two years of decline. And in 2020, mental health-related visits to emergency rooms jumped 31% among adolescents ages 12 to 17.” Undoubtedly the mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated all of this, but the roots of the problem are much more profound than many realize.
A Harvard report found “36% of all Americans—including 61% of young adults and 51% of mothers with young children—feel ‘serious loneliness.’” Very interesting. Why would this study refer to “mothers with young children”? Motherhood is undoubtedly challenging (my wife and I have four; we know), but mothers have more resources today than at any other point in our history. And the terminology is interesting, no? “Mothers with young children,” not parents.
I beg you to pay attention to the incredible map and chart in this report from the Pew Research Center. Did you know that the United States has “the world’s highest rate of children living in single-parent households”? I hope that floors you if you have not seen it before. “Almost a quarter [23%] of U.S. children live in single-parent homes, more than in any other country.” We do worse than some of the poorest countries in the world, like Haiti or Uganda. The report states, “Globally, 38% live in extended-family homes, but in the U.S. only 11% do.”
What do we think are the consequences of these facts? What are the implications of continuing to degrade marriage in our society? Is it any wonder that an increased number of young people report they don’t want to get married or have kids? They can’t seem to connect their current mental state to the tremendous loss of family and community we have experienced in recent years, but lawmakers should know better.
There is certainly hope. My colleague, Concerned Women for America’s Director of Government Relations, Alexandra McPhee, has an uplifting recount of our Young Women for America leaders standing up against the culture on this issue. But there is no question that we are looking at a long, arduous, and painful road back to treasuring the beauty, splendor, and innumerable benefits of God’s created order.
Contrary to the image of the Jewish community as decidedly liberal Democrat or single-issue voters for Israel, the culture war is the #1 issue for religious Jews in America. I have been involved in this movement. Theologically, we cannot condone, sanction, or abide by any same sex unholy union. Thus, the proposed religious exemptions would force our rabbis into agreeing with the part we don't agree with by agreeing with the part we do.
I think the biggest reason not to codify living in sin is because it is a vehicle for gay adoption. Adoption is never a "right." There is at least some evidence of kids being warped in such an environment and that should outweigh the desire to play house. Adoption is intended to provide needy children with safe homes, not to provide needy adults with children. People tend to forget that.
Thank you for writing this and bringing perspective on and to our lonely, hurting world.