Cohabiting parents vs. married parents

Twenty years ago, Vice-presidential candidate Dan Quayle gave a much-ridiculed speech in which he warned about the dangers of single-parenthood, specifically attacking the way it was becoming socially-accepted through the example of TV shows such as Murphy Brown.  Today, writes Isabel Sawhill in the Washington Post (no less), it is evident that Dan Quayle was right.

You should read what she has to say.  The evidence abounds that children do much better when their parents are married to each other.  She cites many interesting facts, such as this seemingly-easy-to-follow plan to avoid poverty:

If individuals do just three things — finish high school, work full time and marry before they have children — their chances of being poor drop from 15 percent to 2 percent.

One point she makes I found particularly striking.  She says that even when children are raised by both parents, the children do much better if their  parents are married, as opposed to just living together.  The reason this is so, she says, remains a mystery.

Why do you think this is the case?

 

via 20 years later, it turns out Dan Quayle was right about Murphy Brown and unmarried moms – The Washington Post.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Michael B.

    The problem with the “evidence” is that causation is not equal to correlation. For example, where I live, you will see this sign that promoting marriage that says “married people earn more money”. Well, maybe so, but is that because a richer guy is more desirable, or because after he ties the knot he magically starts earning more money.

  • Michael B.

    The problem with the “evidence” is that causation is not equal to correlation. For example, where I live, you will see this sign that promoting marriage that says “married people earn more money”. Well, maybe so, but is that because a richer guy is more desirable, or because after he ties the knot he magically starts earning more money.

  • formerly just steve

    Michael, I don’t think desirability has much to do with it. Most everyone can get married; not everyone wants to get married or stays married after they do so. In that respect, I don’t think they very rich necessarily do any better than the poor.

  • formerly just steve

    Michael, I don’t think desirability has much to do with it. Most everyone can get married; not everyone wants to get married or stays married after they do so. In that respect, I don’t think they very rich necessarily do any better than the poor.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I think it is because promises were actually made publicly and in couples who stay married, they are obviously taking their own words and promises seriously. There is simply a stability to that equation that brings blessings and a safe place (usually) to both enter and to return to when there is trouble.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I think it is because promises were actually made publicly and in couples who stay married, they are obviously taking their own words and promises seriously. There is simply a stability to that equation that brings blessings and a safe place (usually) to both enter and to return to when there is trouble.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Of course, going to a Concordia University and marrying into a church-worker family sure doesn’t feel like the path out of poverty.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Of course, going to a Concordia University and marrying into a church-worker family sure doesn’t feel like the path out of poverty.

  • http://thinkingwithareformedmind.blogspot.com Steven

    I’ll echo Michael’s statements with five words every news reader should remember when reading these sorts of stories: correlation does not imply causation. I wholeheartedly agree that people should finish high school, work full time, and marry before having children. But one should make that case on principle, not via a poor carrot-and-stick act which only plays into a flawed utilitarian mindset.

  • http://thinkingwithareformedmind.blogspot.com Steven

    I’ll echo Michael’s statements with five words every news reader should remember when reading these sorts of stories: correlation does not imply causation. I wholeheartedly agree that people should finish high school, work full time, and marry before having children. But one should make that case on principle, not via a poor carrot-and-stick act which only plays into a flawed utilitarian mindset.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    It’s entirely correct to note that correlation is not equal to causation, but at the same time, it’s important to note that the difference between correlation and causation is simply a credible argument excluding other possible rationale for the correlation.

    OK, here we go; a legal marriage generally includes the assumption that this can be for life, an assumption not generally held by those living in sin. And as such, the time preference of those who are married will naturally be longer than that of those living in sin–a known factor in economic success, keeping out of crime, and more.

    Now of course to confirm this, you would need to do an experiment to establish this difference in time preference–debt levels, spending levels, saving levels, etc..–but it could be (perhaps has been) done.

    And then there is another factor; perhaps the passages in the Bible where God says He will reward obedience to His Word are in fact true. Those who marry are, at least in a little part, doing exactly that.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    It’s entirely correct to note that correlation is not equal to causation, but at the same time, it’s important to note that the difference between correlation and causation is simply a credible argument excluding other possible rationale for the correlation.

    OK, here we go; a legal marriage generally includes the assumption that this can be for life, an assumption not generally held by those living in sin. And as such, the time preference of those who are married will naturally be longer than that of those living in sin–a known factor in economic success, keeping out of crime, and more.

    Now of course to confirm this, you would need to do an experiment to establish this difference in time preference–debt levels, spending levels, saving levels, etc..–but it could be (perhaps has been) done.

    And then there is another factor; perhaps the passages in the Bible where God says He will reward obedience to His Word are in fact true. Those who marry are, at least in a little part, doing exactly that.

  • Jon

    So …. now what?

    What sort of economic polices should state and federal government promote to make it easier for people (who make under $75K) to find full time work, stay married, and stay in school? Leave it all up to Ayn Rand’s free market, i.e., the Ryan budget? Child care subsidies? Extending family sick leave? What do we do about depressed wages? Lack of affordable health care for young people with children with pre-existing, uninsurable conditions?

  • Jon

    So …. now what?

    What sort of economic polices should state and federal government promote to make it easier for people (who make under $75K) to find full time work, stay married, and stay in school? Leave it all up to Ayn Rand’s free market, i.e., the Ryan budget? Child care subsidies? Extending family sick leave? What do we do about depressed wages? Lack of affordable health care for young people with children with pre-existing, uninsurable conditions?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    The problem with the “evidence” is that causation is not equal to correlation.

    That’s right. The question is which way the arrow points. In a society where people don’t have to get married and people don’t have to have kids, only some will marry and only some will have kids. But who and why? Nowadays we seem most comfortable looking at society and environment as the cause of virtually everything, but we need to save some room for considering the actual traits individuals have as a cause for behavior. Most parents see how different their children are from the moment they arrive. Same parents, home, school, values, rules, but totally different kids. One kid is artistic, the other conscientious, another athletic. From what I have seen, the factor that seems to jump out among individuals who get married and stay married is how agreeable they are.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agreeableness

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    The problem with the “evidence” is that causation is not equal to correlation.

    That’s right. The question is which way the arrow points. In a society where people don’t have to get married and people don’t have to have kids, only some will marry and only some will have kids. But who and why? Nowadays we seem most comfortable looking at society and environment as the cause of virtually everything, but we need to save some room for considering the actual traits individuals have as a cause for behavior. Most parents see how different their children are from the moment they arrive. Same parents, home, school, values, rules, but totally different kids. One kid is artistic, the other conscientious, another athletic. From what I have seen, the factor that seems to jump out among individuals who get married and stay married is how agreeable they are.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agreeableness

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I wholeheartedly agree that people should finish high school, work full time, and marry before having children. But one should make that case on principle, not via a poor carrot-and-stick act which only plays into a flawed utilitarian mindset.

    The case is made on principle. It is ignored by some. Now we are looking at why. It probably has more to do with the individuals who ignore good advice than with those that offer it.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I wholeheartedly agree that people should finish high school, work full time, and marry before having children. But one should make that case on principle, not via a poor carrot-and-stick act which only plays into a flawed utilitarian mindset.

    The case is made on principle. It is ignored by some. Now we are looking at why. It probably has more to do with the individuals who ignore good advice than with those that offer it.

  • DonS

    Michael B. @ 1: The article doesn’t detail the studies sufficiently to know the extent to which those studies evaluated correlation by correcting for other variables. How do you know they didn’t? The strength with which you assert your response indicates a visceral refusal to consider that the studies might be valid, because of a philosophical disagreement that they could possibly be true. This is even though this article was published in a liberal newspaper and the authors are employed by a liberal, but reputable think tank.

    To answer Jon’s question @ 7, we already know that massive government anti-poverty programs have taken us in the wrong direction. More of the same, with its accompanying ruinous debt, clearly is not the answer. We need to diminish the ever-increasing influence of amoral and secular government in favor of our traditional faith and cultural institutions. One thing we can do, as a society and a culture, is to stop undermining faith institutions that are trying to instill an objective standard of morality within their communities. We can also uplift worthy role models as exemplars, instead of the trashiest and least moral pop figures we can find. Restore vibrant education in the trades and stop forcing everyone into a college-bound career path. Restore good middle class manufacturing jobs by taking action to improve the business climate, by promoting abundant energy availability and eliminating job-killing regulations. Note that the study says full time employment, not necessarily high income employment. We need to help our young people understand the importance of building a resume of various job experiences, without gaps, and that everyone needs to work their way up from the low-paying unglamorous jobs to their career aspirations. Restore the notion of hard work, and ensure that our society rewards it again, and we will begin to see a revival of our historic cultural values and success.

  • DonS

    Michael B. @ 1: The article doesn’t detail the studies sufficiently to know the extent to which those studies evaluated correlation by correcting for other variables. How do you know they didn’t? The strength with which you assert your response indicates a visceral refusal to consider that the studies might be valid, because of a philosophical disagreement that they could possibly be true. This is even though this article was published in a liberal newspaper and the authors are employed by a liberal, but reputable think tank.

    To answer Jon’s question @ 7, we already know that massive government anti-poverty programs have taken us in the wrong direction. More of the same, with its accompanying ruinous debt, clearly is not the answer. We need to diminish the ever-increasing influence of amoral and secular government in favor of our traditional faith and cultural institutions. One thing we can do, as a society and a culture, is to stop undermining faith institutions that are trying to instill an objective standard of morality within their communities. We can also uplift worthy role models as exemplars, instead of the trashiest and least moral pop figures we can find. Restore vibrant education in the trades and stop forcing everyone into a college-bound career path. Restore good middle class manufacturing jobs by taking action to improve the business climate, by promoting abundant energy availability and eliminating job-killing regulations. Note that the study says full time employment, not necessarily high income employment. We need to help our young people understand the importance of building a resume of various job experiences, without gaps, and that everyone needs to work their way up from the low-paying unglamorous jobs to their career aspirations. Restore the notion of hard work, and ensure that our society rewards it again, and we will begin to see a revival of our historic cultural values and success.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Speaking of the direction of cause/effect, the New York Times has an article touching on technology. Now that tech is cheap and accessible, some people use it to be productive and creative, others lean heavily toward destructive or at least slothful utilization. But what causes that? Does it come from the user or from the gadget or something else?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/30/us/new-digital-divide-seen-in-wasting-time-online.html?_r=1

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Speaking of the direction of cause/effect, the New York Times has an article touching on technology. Now that tech is cheap and accessible, some people use it to be productive and creative, others lean heavily toward destructive or at least slothful utilization. But what causes that? Does it come from the user or from the gadget or something else?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/30/us/new-digital-divide-seen-in-wasting-time-online.html?_r=1

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I don’t often agree with Michael B. (@1), so I’ll take this opportunity to do so.

    A “seemingly-easy-to-follow plan to avoid poverty”? Is there a society in the world, in all of history, that has eliminated poverty? If not, does that tell us that it’s a near-certainty that, you know, we’ll always have the poor with us? And if that’s true, then isn’t it also true that poverty isn’t something that everyone can avoid?

    Of course, those people who are in poverty will have some things in common, and I suppose we who are not in poverty can comfort ourselves by identifying those statistical outliers and say “Aha! This must be the cause. How clever we were to avoid these things, and so to avoid poverty!”

    But if finishing high school were some panacea, then one would expect to see poverty rates taking a nosedive from a century ago, as more people complete high school today than did back then. Likewise, vastly more women work full time than did a century ago. Has the number of women in poverty also taken a nosedive since then, because of that? Just guessing here, but I doubt the data will back up either assertion.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I don’t often agree with Michael B. (@1), so I’ll take this opportunity to do so.

    A “seemingly-easy-to-follow plan to avoid poverty”? Is there a society in the world, in all of history, that has eliminated poverty? If not, does that tell us that it’s a near-certainty that, you know, we’ll always have the poor with us? And if that’s true, then isn’t it also true that poverty isn’t something that everyone can avoid?

    Of course, those people who are in poverty will have some things in common, and I suppose we who are not in poverty can comfort ourselves by identifying those statistical outliers and say “Aha! This must be the cause. How clever we were to avoid these things, and so to avoid poverty!”

    But if finishing high school were some panacea, then one would expect to see poverty rates taking a nosedive from a century ago, as more people complete high school today than did back then. Likewise, vastly more women work full time than did a century ago. Has the number of women in poverty also taken a nosedive since then, because of that? Just guessing here, but I doubt the data will back up either assertion.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Veith also said:

    She says that even when children are raised by both parents, the children do much better if their parents are married, as opposed to just living together.

    I find it interesting — or, perhaps, troublingly unexamined — that one of the metrics for children’s “doing better” presented in the article is “earn[ing] more as adults”. Whatever.

    Does anyone really think it’s going through the ceremony or the certificate that confers magical benefits to the children? Don’t you consider it far more likely that it’s the kind of people who choose to get married (or not) that makes the difference? That is to say, if all those parents of “doing better” kids hadn’t bothered to get officially married, had skipped the ceremony and the certificate, would their kids have turned out any different? Likewise, if all those cohabitating parents had taken a few hours to visit their local justice of the peace, would it have resulted in a sea change for their children?

    I really doubt it. Imagine a world in which marriage was compulsory for those having children. We’d have to look at different statistics for why some kids earned less, got arrested more, and so on. But some kids would still earn less, get arrested, and so on.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Veith also said:

    She says that even when children are raised by both parents, the children do much better if their parents are married, as opposed to just living together.

    I find it interesting — or, perhaps, troublingly unexamined — that one of the metrics for children’s “doing better” presented in the article is “earn[ing] more as adults”. Whatever.

    Does anyone really think it’s going through the ceremony or the certificate that confers magical benefits to the children? Don’t you consider it far more likely that it’s the kind of people who choose to get married (or not) that makes the difference? That is to say, if all those parents of “doing better” kids hadn’t bothered to get officially married, had skipped the ceremony and the certificate, would their kids have turned out any different? Likewise, if all those cohabitating parents had taken a few hours to visit their local justice of the peace, would it have resulted in a sea change for their children?

    I really doubt it. Imagine a world in which marriage was compulsory for those having children. We’d have to look at different statistics for why some kids earned less, got arrested more, and so on. But some kids would still earn less, get arrested, and so on.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Imagine a world in which marriage was compulsory for those having children.

    Check. Sounds a lot like what they (try to) do in India; pretty much universal marriage.

    We’d have to look at different statistics for why some kids earned less, got arrested more, and so on.

    Yup, because societies with near universal marriage aren’t fabulously successful.

    But some kids would still earn less, get arrested, and so on.

    That’s right.

    Going back to utility theory, it is fair to ask what policies benefit the most people in a given context. That is not the end of the discussion, but it should have some place in the discussion.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Imagine a world in which marriage was compulsory for those having children.

    Check. Sounds a lot like what they (try to) do in India; pretty much universal marriage.

    We’d have to look at different statistics for why some kids earned less, got arrested more, and so on.

    Yup, because societies with near universal marriage aren’t fabulously successful.

    But some kids would still earn less, get arrested, and so on.

    That’s right.

    Going back to utility theory, it is fair to ask what policies benefit the most people in a given context. That is not the end of the discussion, but it should have some place in the discussion.

  • Michael B.

    @sg@8

    “Nowadays we seem most comfortable looking at society and environment as the cause of virtually everything, but we need to save some room for considering the actual traits individuals have as a cause for behavior.”

    I completely agree. Whenever we find some sort of underachievement, Americans always assume it must be some external factor, and we’re never allowed to consider the possibility that the person might be lazy or just stupid. I suspect there are 2 reasons for this. First, there is the idea of the American Dream and that you can be anything, and if we put people into categories, this limits your potential. Second, in the past we tended to wrongly classify people, and now we are over-correcting our mistake. Not only in terms of race or sex either. Actually my father and I were just talking about this. He was telling me how in his high school, all kids in 7th grade or so were put into an intellectual class from A to J. A through C were the very bright kids. D, E, F, and G were around average. H was pretty dim. And I want to say J was borderline retarded. The problem is that once you were put into one of the tracks, it was very hard to escape. So let’s say you went to a bad elementary school — you could be put in the wrong track and pretty much stay there.

  • Michael B.

    @sg@8

    “Nowadays we seem most comfortable looking at society and environment as the cause of virtually everything, but we need to save some room for considering the actual traits individuals have as a cause for behavior.”

    I completely agree. Whenever we find some sort of underachievement, Americans always assume it must be some external factor, and we’re never allowed to consider the possibility that the person might be lazy or just stupid. I suspect there are 2 reasons for this. First, there is the idea of the American Dream and that you can be anything, and if we put people into categories, this limits your potential. Second, in the past we tended to wrongly classify people, and now we are over-correcting our mistake. Not only in terms of race or sex either. Actually my father and I were just talking about this. He was telling me how in his high school, all kids in 7th grade or so were put into an intellectual class from A to J. A through C were the very bright kids. D, E, F, and G were around average. H was pretty dim. And I want to say J was borderline retarded. The problem is that once you were put into one of the tracks, it was very hard to escape. So let’s say you went to a bad elementary school — you could be put in the wrong track and pretty much stay there.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “So let’s say you went to a bad elementary school — you could be put in the wrong track and pretty much stay there.”

    I dunno, I got put in the average track because I changed schools so often and had lots of gaps and would sometimes get poor marks because the teachers in the new schools did things differently (it was the 70′s, so they were really experimenting with education). Then my teachers would be stunned at my standardized test scores and final exam scores. I was once in a school long enough to get moved up to the upper group, but then we moved again and I had lots of trouble adjusting. Being a non-conforming jerk didn’t help either. So, SAT/ACT saved my biscuits for going to college. Without standardized testing, maybe more of what you are saying would indeed hold true.

    As for low ability people, their ability isn’t zero. They deserve the free appropriate education that we all pay for. They need the dignity of being trained to do something useful, valued and rewarding. That is why the college for everyone is so abusive. It creates perceptions that cause some good people and some pursuits to be denigrated and devalued even though they have inherent value. The diligent sanitation worker provides a valuable service. He is not less valuable than an HR worker with a sociology degree. Society needs him and society needs to reward him for his contribution. Education is to serve the needs of the individual and society.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “So let’s say you went to a bad elementary school — you could be put in the wrong track and pretty much stay there.”

    I dunno, I got put in the average track because I changed schools so often and had lots of gaps and would sometimes get poor marks because the teachers in the new schools did things differently (it was the 70′s, so they were really experimenting with education). Then my teachers would be stunned at my standardized test scores and final exam scores. I was once in a school long enough to get moved up to the upper group, but then we moved again and I had lots of trouble adjusting. Being a non-conforming jerk didn’t help either. So, SAT/ACT saved my biscuits for going to college. Without standardized testing, maybe more of what you are saying would indeed hold true.

    As for low ability people, their ability isn’t zero. They deserve the free appropriate education that we all pay for. They need the dignity of being trained to do something useful, valued and rewarding. That is why the college for everyone is so abusive. It creates perceptions that cause some good people and some pursuits to be denigrated and devalued even though they have inherent value. The diligent sanitation worker provides a valuable service. He is not less valuable than an HR worker with a sociology degree. Society needs him and society needs to reward him for his contribution. Education is to serve the needs of the individual and society.

  • Michael B.

    “That is why the college for everyone is so abusive”

    Agreed. Colleges are also graduating many people without any kind of marketable skill. For a lot of college graduates it’s kind of a kick in the butt when they see some blue-collar guy getting paid more than they are.

  • Michael B.

    “That is why the college for everyone is so abusive”

    Agreed. Colleges are also graduating many people without any kind of marketable skill. For a lot of college graduates it’s kind of a kick in the butt when they see some blue-collar guy getting paid more than they are.

  • Joe

    tODD said “Don’t you consider it far more likely that it’s the kind of people who choose to get married (or not) that makes the difference?”

    I agree with what you are saying, but it seems to me that the course of action is to preach the Word and catechize our kids so they become the kind of people who would naturally choose to get married.

  • Joe

    tODD said “Don’t you consider it far more likely that it’s the kind of people who choose to get married (or not) that makes the difference?”

    I agree with what you are saying, but it seems to me that the course of action is to preach the Word and catechize our kids so they become the kind of people who would naturally choose to get married.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Jon asks a good question, and the simple answer I’ve got–one that would hurt no one currently cared for by any welfare program–is to take a close look at the incentives towards unwed parenting that current law establishes. I know two couples, for example, who delayed marriage because of Pell grants directed specifically at unwed mothers. In the same way, there are still marriage penalties in the tax codes of our country, we are still subsidizing daycare for the middle class, and so on.

    In the private sector, I think churches need to take a look at coaching the poor in life skills. Having helped people move periodically, I am always astounded at the amount of “stuff” even the poor possess, and at the amount of packaged food they buy. I wonder if we might do incredible good by teaching many how to cook (start with daily bread–get rid of bags of bread, tortillas, pancake mix, etc..) and how to create an appropriate wardrobe. The savings in food and clothing costs alone could lift many out of poverty.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Jon asks a good question, and the simple answer I’ve got–one that would hurt no one currently cared for by any welfare program–is to take a close look at the incentives towards unwed parenting that current law establishes. I know two couples, for example, who delayed marriage because of Pell grants directed specifically at unwed mothers. In the same way, there are still marriage penalties in the tax codes of our country, we are still subsidizing daycare for the middle class, and so on.

    In the private sector, I think churches need to take a look at coaching the poor in life skills. Having helped people move periodically, I am always astounded at the amount of “stuff” even the poor possess, and at the amount of packaged food they buy. I wonder if we might do incredible good by teaching many how to cook (start with daily bread–get rid of bags of bread, tortillas, pancake mix, etc..) and how to create an appropriate wardrobe. The savings in food and clothing costs alone could lift many out of poverty.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Define poverty.

    People are literate and whose kids are vaccinated and live in a real building with hot and cold running water and electricity would more properly be called rich, not poor, by any reasonable standard. We are talking about dysfunction not poverty.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Define poverty.

    People are literate and whose kids are vaccinated and live in a real building with hot and cold running water and electricity would more properly be called rich, not poor, by any reasonable standard. We are talking about dysfunction not poverty.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Joe (@18), yes, “preach the Word and catechize our kids”. Of course. I guess I’m not sure what part of my comment you feel you’re addressing or correcting with that statement.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Joe (@18), yes, “preach the Word and catechize our kids”. Of course. I guess I’m not sure what part of my comment you feel you’re addressing or correcting with that statement.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bubba said (@19):

    I know two couples, for example, who delayed marriage because of Pell grants directed specifically at unwed mothers.

    But see, this is the “magical” thinking about marriage I was talking about before — that it is the certificate, not the people, that makes the difference in families and society at large. After all, these people clearly value marriage, they clearly want to get married, and, if I’m reading your statement correctly, they did get married. Thus, they are very unlikely to be the kind of people this post was addressing.

    I think churches need to take a look at coaching the poor in life skills.

    Hey look! It’s the “conservative” version of church-promoted “social justice”! Personally, I think the church would do better to study the Scriptures on the topic of the rich and the poor, and to remember what is said about both groups. But, you know, that’s just my opinion.

    I am always astounded at the amount of “stuff” even the poor possess…

    But are you astounded at the amount of stuff the rich possess? Or does it not matter because they’re rich, so they’re okay?

    It’s quite possible that the rich know how to cook even less than the poor. A (relatively well-to-do) friend of mine has parents who, I believe, couldn’t prepare anything besides drinks. Certainly many rich people do not know how to create an appropriate wardrobe.

    But, you know, they’re rich. So it’s okay. It’s the poor people who have issues!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bubba said (@19):

    I know two couples, for example, who delayed marriage because of Pell grants directed specifically at unwed mothers.

    But see, this is the “magical” thinking about marriage I was talking about before — that it is the certificate, not the people, that makes the difference in families and society at large. After all, these people clearly value marriage, they clearly want to get married, and, if I’m reading your statement correctly, they did get married. Thus, they are very unlikely to be the kind of people this post was addressing.

    I think churches need to take a look at coaching the poor in life skills.

    Hey look! It’s the “conservative” version of church-promoted “social justice”! Personally, I think the church would do better to study the Scriptures on the topic of the rich and the poor, and to remember what is said about both groups. But, you know, that’s just my opinion.

    I am always astounded at the amount of “stuff” even the poor possess…

    But are you astounded at the amount of stuff the rich possess? Or does it not matter because they’re rich, so they’re okay?

    It’s quite possible that the rich know how to cook even less than the poor. A (relatively well-to-do) friend of mine has parents who, I believe, couldn’t prepare anything besides drinks. Certainly many rich people do not know how to create an appropriate wardrobe.

    But, you know, they’re rich. So it’s okay. It’s the poor people who have issues!

  • Joe

    tODD — I wasn’t’ trying to correct anything, just observing that you are correct that it is not the magic paper that matters rather its the commitment of the parents to each other and the kid that makes the difference and therefore we need to make sure the church is preaching and we are teaching our kids about their future vocations as spouse and parents.

  • Joe

    tODD — I wasn’t’ trying to correct anything, just observing that you are correct that it is not the magic paper that matters rather its the commitment of the parents to each other and the kid that makes the difference and therefore we need to make sure the church is preaching and we are teaching our kids about their future vocations as spouse and parents.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    tODD, neither couple has married, and per my earlier comment, I would argue that the state is pushing them into the kind of short term thinking that adversely affects one’s life. The key thing that the state can do for marriage is to stop working against it.

    And you have completely missed my point about churches teaching basic life skills. It is, per Olasky’s “The Tragedy of American Compassion”, really at the core of effective charity. Effective charities don’t simply give out money or food without insisting on learning basic life skills–work, marriage, etc..

    And the rich? Well, those without basic life skills like marriage, work, and control of one’s spending–wardrobe and dining being two big issues– tend to end up in the very group I’m suggesting that churches would do well to help.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    tODD, neither couple has married, and per my earlier comment, I would argue that the state is pushing them into the kind of short term thinking that adversely affects one’s life. The key thing that the state can do for marriage is to stop working against it.

    And you have completely missed my point about churches teaching basic life skills. It is, per Olasky’s “The Tragedy of American Compassion”, really at the core of effective charity. Effective charities don’t simply give out money or food without insisting on learning basic life skills–work, marriage, etc..

    And the rich? Well, those without basic life skills like marriage, work, and control of one’s spending–wardrobe and dining being two big issues– tend to end up in the very group I’m suggesting that churches would do well to help.

  • Michael B.

    @Todd

    “Personally, I think the church would do better to study the Scriptures on the topic of the rich and the poor, and to remember what is said about both groups. But, you know, that’s just my opinion.”

    You mean the part where it says God wants us to be rich? :)

  • Michael B.

    @Todd

    “Personally, I think the church would do better to study the Scriptures on the topic of the rich and the poor, and to remember what is said about both groups. But, you know, that’s just my opinion.”

    You mean the part where it says God wants us to be rich? :)


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X