By Guy Page
Delano Squires of the Heritage Foundation described the problem of the Prodigal Father in the morning session of the Restoring Our Faith Summit Tuesday, October 10 (see video, above). In the afternoon, he urged that positive societal change begin in the Church House, the Government House, and the Movie House.
Squires, a Research Fellow in Heritage’s DeVos Center for Life, Religion, and Family, provided practical ideas designed to reverse the ongoing dissolution of the American family. He delivered his remarks to a crowd of about 200 people at the gathering at the DoubleTree hotel in South Burlington.
In the Church House, pastors and teachers must speak out strongly against the increasing acceptance of divorce. Studies show divorce produces religious non-affiliation among children, he warned. Church leaders should also be among the loudest voices saying that androgeny is not equality.
Government house – Municipal governments should allocate a fraction of their public education funding to mount a pro-marriage public education campaign. If social justice advocates use public money to promote behavioral change – and they do – why shouldn’t supporters of the traditional family, especially given its financial and emotional benefits?
Squires suggested two ad campaign slogans – “Give her a ring before she gives you a baby.” “In this city, we believe that marriage comes before carriage.” Professional athletes could be asked to publicly espouse these values, just as they now proclaim more ‘progressive’ ideals to young adults.
Squires got really warmed up talking about cities promoting marriage with education and financial support. Programs could teach unmarried couples financial management and conflict-resolution. If they successfully complete these courses, their marriage license and fees would be waived and they would be eligible to participate in a mass wedding event. Afterwards they could receive a significant monetary loan, say $10K, which would become an outright grant for couples that survive the seven-year itch.
The bottom line is this: church, government and media need a strategy to reduce the 40% rate of birth outside of marriage. “We need a cultivation strategy that includes repair and restoration, not just rhetoric.”
Movie House – We need more positive images of intact American families rather than the current fare of bumbling dads and disrespectful kids, Squires said. “Young men need to know that marriage and children give them something to live and die for,” Squires said.