Households across America marked Family Day on Monday as the nation was reminded of the importance of family and as more threats against the family have continued to chip away at the very foundation of American society.
According to the latest survey by the Census Bureau, more than half of American couples who married in the late 1970s did not stay together long enough to see their 25th wedding anniversary, marking the first time since World War II that married people had a less than even chance of still being married 25 years later.
Also, one third of babies born in the United States today are to unmarried parents, up from just 5 percent in 1960, according to the Council on Contemporary Families. And out of those parents who were unmarried, most do not end up marrying. Five years after the baby is born, only a quarter of the cohabiting couples have married, while fully half have broken up.
Furthermore, while children still rank as the highest source of personal fulfillment for their parents, they have dropped to one of the least-cited factors in a successful marriage, according to a national survey conducted by the nonprofit Pew Research Center.
Adding to the list of pro-family woes is, of course, the increasing acceptance of homosexual relations, which parallels with the increasing acceptance of out of wedlock cohabitation.
"Marriage today, like the rest of our lives, is about personal satisfaction," commented Andrew J. Cherlin, a sociology and public policy professor at Johns Hopkins University, according to the Washington Post.
In addition to "personal satisfaction," Pew survey respondents who said they think of marriage and children separately – not as a package deal – also listed "mutual happiness and fulfillment" as what they believe marriage is all about.
"Do you see what's missing here?" posed prominent Christian conservative Chuck Colson in responding to the results of the survey. "Nothing about putting someone else first. Just marriage as something that makes you feel good – which, as anyone who's been married will testify, isn't an idea that works for very long.
"It's no wonder that more and more couples have trouble committing to marriage, and that many who do are having trouble making their marriages last," he added in a commentary in July.
These trends alone should be enough to bring any believer to their knees in prayer and prompt greater efforts to protect the most basic unit that God has set up to build society.
"Parents and family members are the first and most important influence in a child's life," as President Bush pointed out in a statement marking Family Day. "Families offer a stable and nurturing environment by providing love, guidance, support, and comfort … by caring for and spending time with their children, parents instill lifelong values and help build a better America."
Families are the "cornerstone of our Nation," stated Bush.
If so, then the president and all else who believe this must know that America is in trouble.
As strongly as America is opposed to terrorism, this nation has to be just as strongly – if not more – opposed to the very things that threaten to break away at its "cornerstone."
Immorality, corruption, violence, and all that is evil ultimately becomes the product of a society that does not cherish, honor, and protect its families – not to mention our relationship with our Heavenly Father.
According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, teens who never ate dinner with their families were 72 percent more likely than average to delve into alcohol, tobacco or illicit substances.
Furthermore, CASA's more than 10 years of research have consistently found that children and teens who have three or more dinners at home with their families each week are more likely to do better in school and to say they can confide in their parents.
And, of course, the list of statistics goes on. But really, do we need any more figures to prove to us the integral role families have in society? Can we point the immorality presented on television or internet or magazines without ultimately pointing to a person whose values have been set by everyone and everything else and not the family, not the Church, and not God?
As great as it may be that America promotes human rights, religious freedom, democracy, and many other essential blocks of society here and overseas, what good is it if the cornerstone is not set correctly? The very piece that strengthens society can also weaken and destroy society when gone astray.
And, as Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, has noted: "If America dies, she will perish from self-inflicted wounds."
"It has always been the case and always will be that nations, great nations, die from within, not from without," he wrote in a column last month, drawing from a verse in Jeremiah 6.
Looking at the aforementioned stats once again, America has to realize that there are more fearful numbers than 9/11.