Over the last few weeks I think we’ve all noticed a new trend taking over our Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds; that is, the famous white equal sign on a red background. Actually, it varies. I’ve seen bacon strips equal signs, two sticks of butter, and basically anything else that helps prove their point. They want marriage equality for homosexuals, and they want it now.
Although I say this, my intention for this blog post is not to discuss gay marriage in America and why it should or shouldn’t be legalized. I’m sure there are many other blogs, articles, papers that have or are conducting lively discussions regarding the topic. What I want to say is that this whole social media phenomenon really made me think about what serious inequalities exist in today’s world.
As I kept scrolling, I found this picture:
Beneath the picture, this was written:
If most of my Facebook friends are going to support people who are gay by posting the red equal sign, I am going to post two feet, the feet represent the millions who never get to breathe the air of this world, who never feel love let alone get married, those who never have the chance to have children or go to school or do anything many gays are afforded the privilege to do. They are never given this chance because a human decides that their life is unimportant because of a defect or coming at an inopportune time for the person who conceived them. This is for the millions of children aborted yearly. Talk about rights being denied.
As a person—not just as some ‘pro-life blogger’— I believe the most fundamental right in question today is the right to life. I don’t know, maybe I say this because I’m American and I know the First Amendment—my right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—like my ABC’s. Yet, growing up as the third of eight children, it means more than something written on parchment 229 years ago by our founding fathers. I’ve seen how every child in my family was welcomed with open arms, and each of my siblings has their own personality, problems, talents, accomplishments, and we all share the same need to feel loved. I think that life—in all its difficulties, joys, and confusion—is the one right that no mother, government, agency, or clinic should ever have the right to take from any living person, at any stage, from conception until natural death.
It’s true that some children aren’t welcomed the way my siblings and I were; however, I think what is permeating our society and popular thought is the solution of death. The person disappears and is no longer a problem and a burden. Left out of so many human rights discussion at the UN and at Planned Parenthood International, and cut off from their source of life because they were despised before they were ever loved; the unborn are a marginalized population who are denied of their most fundamental right. What is scary is that many of the same people that want the legalization of same sex marriage are those that endorse the right for a woman to abort her child.
Yesterday FRC released their Third Annual Index of Family Belonging and Rejection.
The report, by Pat Fagan, Ph.D., Henry Potrykus, Ph.D., and Nicholas Zill, Ph.D, grants comprehensive evidence for the continued and critical importance of family structure today.
As Dr. Pat Fagan explains: “This year’s new derivative study from the ‘Index of Family Belonging and Rejection’ shows that the intactness of the family is immensely important in determining the success and failure of a child, a state, and our nation itself… Family structure has profound effects on an area’s economic wellbeing. There is no more important factor in determining dependence on welfare programs that aim to fix organic poverty, such as TANF and food stamps. Our analysis shows family intactness is the second most important factor in an area’s level of poverty among women and children, as well as the top factor in determining an area’s teenage out-of-wedlock birth rate – a source of poverty itself. Family strength is as important in determining an area’s employment rate among men as the fraction of its adults that have completed high school… Many, if not most, public spending streams decrease family intactness. This is totally irrational as a long-term strategy for the social infrastructure of the nation and guarantees decreased productivity and education attainment and increased dysfunctions in every measured area of social concern… The biggest challenge facing the nation is solving the problem of how broken families (where mother and father no longer raise their children together) can raise children who will have intact marriages. If we do not learn how to solve this problem, the U.S. will continue to decline.”
Some of the report’s main findings include:
- “The Index of Family Belonging for the U.S. is now 45 percent, meaning only 45 percent of U.S. teenagers aged 15 to 17 have grown up with both biological married parents. The biological parents of the remaining 55 percent are no longer together.
- In the average large city, just over three in ten teenagers have grown up with both married parents (36 percent) – significantly lower than the national average Family Belonging Index.
- In the five cities scoring lowest on Family Belonging, fewer than two in ten teenagers have been raised by both married parents. These cities were Cleveland, Ohio (15 percent); Baltimore, Maryland (16 percent); Washington, D.C. (17 percent); Memphis, Tennessee (17 percent); and Detroit, Michigan (18 percent).
- Utah has the highest state Index of Family Belonging, and Mississippi has the lowest.
- Portions of Middlesex County, Massachusetts; Bergen County and Hunterdon, New Jersey; and Nassau County, New York, have the highest Index of Family Belonging. In these areas, the Index of Family Belonging is around 70 percent.
- Portions of Cuyahoga County, Ohio; Baltimore, Maryland; Bronx County, New York; the District of Columbia; and Shelby County, Tennessee, have the lowest Index of Family Belonging. In these areas, the Index of Family Belonging is just over 15 percent.”
To read the full report, a related study or to view the release event click on the links below:
Full Report: ”Index of Family Belonging and Rejection”
Related Study: “U.S. Social Policy: Dependence on the Family”
Report release event: Index of Belonging and Rejection Press Conference.
If you’ve ever stood for anything in your life, then at some point, you’ve probably debated a hot-button social issue. In America, abortion and gay marriage are the perennial controversial topics on which people refuse to agree to disagree—which is good, because they’re important. Debating and discussing these issues, however, is intellectually tiring and emotionally draining.
A successful conversation requires that both sides communicate effectively not only by means of solid evidence and logic, but also with mutual respect and understanding. Unfortunately, widespread ignorance and emphasis on rhetoric have made a challenging task considerably more daunting, especially in the case of the current marriage debate.
Fellow youth and talented blogger Marc Barnes provides remarkable insight on these challenges in a recent post titled “4 Ways the Gay Marriage Debate Has Been Rigged.” It’s a must-read for anyone who has felt overwhelmed trying to defend marriage between one man and one woman, since understanding the characteristics of the marriage debate can help one see things from a fresh perspective. Barnes regularly writes about social issues, and I highly recommend his blog to our American and international readers alike.