The number of childbirths in the world each year is somewhere near 200 million. The number of abortions each year is more than 50 million. In previous parts of our study, we looked at how Christians can present reasoned, informed and thoughtful responses to that part of the war on children.
We move now to the next phase of the war: the disruption (destruction) of the nuclear family.
Disruption Of The Nuclear Family
You may remember that Black Lives Matter (BLM) famously deleted a page from its website a couple of years ago that addressed the “nuclear family.” I saw it on their website one day and the next day it was gone. Fortunately, it is still available to read through webarchive.org.
We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.
We foster a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking, or rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual (unless s/he or they disclose otherwise). Black Lives Matter – What We Believe
While this may seem like a strange idea, disrupting the nuclear family structure, it’s actually been around for a long time.
Let’s begin by defining “the nuclear family structure,” then we’ll look at the history of disrupting it.
a family group that consists only of parents and children — Merriam-Webster
a social unit composed of two parents and one or more children — Dictionary.com
a group of people who are united by ties of partnership and parenthood and consisting of a pair of adults and their socially recognized children — Britannica.com
Christians recognize this as how God designed the family structure:
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24
This nuclear family (from the word “nucleus”) has been the core unit of society for thousands of years. It is sometimes referred to as the traditional family. As we look through family histories in the Bible, we find the family unit described as a father, mother and children. As explained in Genesis 2:24, a child grows up, becomes an adult, leaves their father and mother, marries, and begins a new nuclear family. That process is repeated throughout history and generations are brought into existence.
A generation is defined as – “a body of living beings constituting a single step in the line of descent from an ancestor” (Merriam-Webster). We understand the generational family from having grandparents and one day becoming a grandparent. Members of the generational family can influence a nuclear family, but the nuclear family is primary to raising children.
Immediate family is often viewed as being those people who are those family members who are immediate (close) to you. That can include spouse, children, siblings, half-brother, half-sister, grandchildren, grandparents, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, step-family, mother-in-law, father-in-law, etc.
Extended family is often viewed as aunts, uncles, cousins, great-uncles, great-aunts, etc.
So, back to the nuclear family, when did the disruption begin and who was behind it? As for who was behind it, we saw in an earlier part of this series that Satan attacked the nuclear family almost immediately in the Garden of Eden. That attack continued and led to the first murder – brother killing brother. More murders would occur until the entire world was full of violence and God cleansed the earth and started again with one nuclear family. The sons of Noah and his wife grew up, married and had children of their own. The nuclear family grew generationally into immediate families and extended families.
That brings us to the present time. Why the war on the nuclear family? What’s wrong with it? Why would anyone have a problem with a man and woman getting married and raising children? The war on the nuclear family is also a war on children.
God’s Design For The Family
Christians believe (or at least they should) that God’s design for the family structure is better than any competing design. God’s design for the growth of children is the nuclear family. Immediate and extended family members have a role to play, but nuclear family is God’s primary plan.
God’s plan is more than the physical structure of the nuclear family. Relationship within the nuclear family is vital to the health and wellbeing of every family member.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate. Proverbs 127:3-5
Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you. Exodus 20:12
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. Colossians 3:18-21
My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother. For they will be a graceful ornament on your head, And chains about your neck. Proverbs 1:8-9
A wise son makes a glad father, But a foolish son is the grief of his mother. Proverbs 10:1
Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
Children’s children are the crown of old men, And the glory of children is their father. Proverbs 17:6
Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. Deuteronomy 11:18-19
God’s design for the family is clear from His Word. However, the enemy and enemies of the family oppose His design and have done everything they can to thwart it.
What The Enemy Wants
The enemy of the nuclear family wants something. Jesus Christ explained it this way:
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. John 10:10
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8
You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. John 8:44
So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Revelation 12:9
The enemy wants to steal, kill and destroy. The enemy is looking for people he can devour (destroy). The enemy uses lies and deception to get what he wants. That includes children and their parents.
Knowing that’s what the enemy is doing, how should Christians respond to the war on children and the family?
We need to arm ourselves with facts about the family. We want our responses to be reasoned (logically valid) and informed (fact-based).
The “Western-prescribed nuclear family structure” that BLM and other organizations and movements want to disrupt (destroy) is on the decline and has been for the last 60 years. Pew Research did an extensive analysis of census data in 2014 and found that fewer than half (46%) of U.S. children younger than 18 years of age were living in a home with two married heterosexual parents in their first marriage. That was down from 73% in 1960 and 61% in 1980. Expectations for the 2020 census are that the percentage will drop even lower. Why? Pew researchers found several reasons.
More young adults are delaying marriage. Pew reported that while 68% of people in their 20s in 1960 were married, that number dropped to 26% by 2008.
The percentage of children born outside of marriage increased from 5% in 1960 to 41% in 2013. Pew found that 15% of children are living with two parents who are in a remarriage and that 34% of children are living with an unmarried parent. That’s up from 9% in 1960. About 7% of children are living with cohabiting parents (unmarried). Pew also found that 5% of children are not living with either parent. Most of those children are living with a grandparent.
About 16% of children are living in what the Census Bureau terms “blended families” (step-parent, step-sibling or half-sibling). The National Center for Health Statistics reports that 63% of women in remarriages are in blended families. About half of those remarriages involve step-children who live with the remarried couple.
Pew Research also reported the family percentages by race:
- Asian children — 71% live with two parents who are both in their first marriage .. 11% live with remarried parents .. 13% live in a single-parent household .. 3% live with parents who are cohabiting
- White children — 52% live with two parents who are both in their first marriage .. 19% live with remarried parents .. 19% live in a single-parent household .. 6% live with parents who are cohabiting
- Hispanic children — 43% live with two parents who are both in their first marriage .. 12% live with remarried parents .. 29% live in a single-parent household .. 11% live with parents who are cohabiting
- Black children — 22% live with two parents who are both in their first marriage .. 9% live with remarried parents .. 54% live in a single-parent household .. 7% live with parents who are cohabiting
As for same-sex households, the Census Bureau reported that the number almost doubled in the ten years from 2008 (slightly above 500-thousand) to 2018 (one million). The Family Equality Council reported in 2017 that between two million and almost four million children under the age of 18 have an LGBTQ parent and about 200-thousand are being raised by a same-sex couple. The report also stated that many of the children are being raised by a single LGBTQ parent or a different-sex couple where one parent is bisexual. Other studies show that as many as nine-million children in the United States have at least one parent who is gay or lesbian. Pew Research in 2019 found that having children was a very or somewhat important reason for same-sex couples to get married (total of almost 70% of respondents).
Those are some facts about family, but how should Christians respond to those facts? We’ll look into that more deeply as our special series continues.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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