The Culture of Divorce

“Mawwiage, that bwessed awwangement, that dweam within a dweam.”

Sick. 70% of body composed of finely aged mucus.

Open thread. Discussion topic: conservative culture of marriage produces high divorce rats.

Edit: divorce RATES. Dunno what divorce rats are. Must be the opposite of the doves you release at weddings.

Here=s the evidence, a new study in the American Journal of Scoiology: Red States, Blue States, and Divorce: Understanding the Impact of Conservative Protestantism on Regional Variation in Divorce Rates:

Unpacking these variations, Glass and Levchak found that the high divorce rate among conservative religious groups is indeed explained in large part by the earlier ages at first marriage and first birth, and the lower educational attainment and lower incomes of conservative Protestant youth.

Explains Glass, “Restricting sexual activity to marriage and encouraging large families seem to make young people start families earlier in life, even though that may not be best for the long-term survival of those marriages.” In an earlier report to the Council on Contemporary Families, economist Evelyn Lehrer from University of Illinois at Chicago explained that every year a women postpones marriage, right up until her early 30s, lowers her chance of an eventual divorce.

And like me, it’s infectious:

But people who live in conservative religious counties have a higher risk of divorce even when they are not affiliated with a conservative religious group. There is more to the story, the researchers found, than individuals’ own conservative religious beliefs and background, although these factors do predict the likelihood of experiencing divorce. It turns out that people who simply live in counties with high proportions of religious conservatives are also more likely to divorce than their counterparts elsewhere.

Young people of every religious belief—or none—are influenced by cultural climate. Glass and Levchak believe that this comes from living in a cultural climate where most people expect to marry young and there is little support from schools or community institutions for young people to get more education and postpone marriage and children. Abstinence-only education, restrictions on the availability of birth control and abortion, support for marriage as the resolution of unexpected pregnancies, and distrust of secular education (especially higher education) among the populace in religiously conservative counties work to create an environment where young people of every religious belief – or none – tend not to pursue higher education or job training, and instead to engage in early marriage and child-bearing.

Prediction: whether or not they accept these findings, pro-marriage conservatives will still be facing a “divorce gap.” Expect to see them focus on the symptom and try to strengthen anti-divorce laws.

(“focus on the symptom” see what I did there? sweet fsm I’m punchy.)


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