Death of the family

By Joseph Farah

Dr. James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, had some surprising news on a recent visit to the nation’s capital.

The move for a federal marriage amendment to the Constitution to define the institution as one between one man and one woman is faltering in Congress.

“Some members of Congress are running to the tall grass,” he told a gathering at the National Press Club. “They’re scared to death of this issue. They don’t want to touch it with a 10-foot pole, and they’re giving all kinds of answers for why not, and most of them are just phony. Well, one of them that a lot of Republicans are giving is that we ought to leave it to the states – it’s a states issue.”

It’s not easy to get an amendment to the Constitution approved. Getting congressional approval should be the easy part. But, surprisingly, that’s not been the case.

Dobson made clear in his talk that the federal marriage amendment is the only way to safeguard the institution today. And I think he’s right.

“You know and I know that it only takes one decision by the Supreme Court to overturn everything the states do,” he continued. “That’s not going to protect it. It doesn’t even have to be the Supreme Court. It can be a lower federal judge that could make this decision. The only way to protect the family and the institution of marriage is with a federal marriage amendment. And that’s why we are fighting for it every way we can, and why I see it as the latest in a long line of tampering efforts with the institution of marriage.”

Dobson called the push for same-sex marriage “the most dangerous national policy being considered.” He said it would “completely redefine what constitutes marriage.”

“Marriage has been the bedrock of civilization for 5,000 years,” he continued. “People say that marriage is an outmoded Christian idea. Well, not true. First of all, it started with the Garden of Eden and started with a Jewish perspective. But it is neither Christian nor Jewish; it is universal. It is every continent on Earth. It’s Asia and has been. On all recorded time, Asia and Africa and Europe and North America and South America and Antarctica, everywhere where humankind has taken root, marriage has been what it has been.”

Dobson said we throw the institution of marriage on the ash heap of history at our own peril as a civilization.

“This is the most serious social experiment that will ever have been perpetrated, and if it occurs, it will have incredible effects on the family,” he said. “In fact, it will destroy the traditional family.”

He cited as evidence such experiments in the Scandinavian countries.

“Norway, Sweden, Denmark in the ’90s began permitting homosexual unions,” he said. “And so we’ve got this experience. What’s happened? Marriage has been destroyed. It’s essentially gone. In Norway, there are some areas where 80 percent of the children are born out of wedlock. And for the Scandinavian countries generally, it’s 60 percent born out of wedlock. When given a choice, when you change the definition, people don’t marry, they cohabit. And that’s what is taking place in the Scandinavian countries, and it will also happen here.”

Dobson said more than 10,000 studies have confirmed that children do best when they have a committed mother and father.

“Social scientists argue about everything,” he said.

They don’t agree about anything. This one they agree about, that children do best under those kind of stable circumstances. And when you change it, well, let’s put it this way: The findings have revealed that a child who has those characteristics at home – mother, father, committed – are less likely to be on drugs later on, they’re less likely to be held back in school, they’re less likely to drop out, they’re less likely to be in juvenile crime.

For the girls, they’re less likely to get pregnant as teenagers and they’re more likely to be healthy emotionally and physically. That’s what the research shows. And yet we’re going pell-mell into a social experiment with, at the very best, unpredictable results. But some of us think we know where that is going.

Dobson said the institution of marriage in the United States was already under attack because of public-policy decisions made with little debate beginning in the 1960s. He cited:

  • no-fault divorce laws now in place in all 50 states;

  • the marriage penalty tax;

  • the Supreme Court ruling that removed parental authority over children’s abortion decisions;

  • the once-popular notion that men and women are really the same except for the ability to bear children;

Dobson says scientific arguments contending men and women think alike ended with new technology – MRIs, CAT scans and PET scans – that could view brain activity.

“You may know that at about eight weeks of age, testosterone flows over the male brain and changes it forever,” he said. “It even changes the color. It gets a grayer look to it. And especially it changes the ability of the left brain to communicate with the right brain. And that linkage there, that rope of fibers, is called the corpus callosum, and this testosterone damages that so that never again will a boy or a man be able to feel the same things that a woman feels. And when a woman says that men are brain damaged … there’s some validity to that. But we’re different. We are very, very different. It’s not patriarchal methods of child rearing. We are very, very different.”

Personally, I don’t have to see the inside of someone’s brain at work to know that men and women are different.

But, evidently, members of the U.S. Congress remain unconvinced. They don’t think we need to protect the most basic, foundational institutional building block of Western Civilization – the family.

Dr. Dobson is making noise. Maybe it’s time for you to weigh in.