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Does Church Keep Black Women Single? - 4

Unlike liberal shibboleths, Biblical teachings on marriage actually work.

By Lee Tydings  |  September 10, 2010

This series started because of a romance counselor who claimed that black Christian women are foolish to restrict their marriage choices by refusing to date non-Christian men.  It continued by pointing out that the Bible places many obligations on husbands and that there's no reason why a woman should compromise on the support she should receive from a husband, particularly if she plans to assume the obligations the Bible places on a wife.

The third article delved into foundational existential philosophy: even though it is inherently impossible to either prove or disprove the existence of God in the scientific sense, many Biblical principles about health have been investigated by medical researchers and have been found to be true.  It turns out that marriage, child rearing, and family structure are being investigated by social scientists with results that occasionally surprise them.

Now, let's close the circle:  Completely disregarding the question of whether there is, in fact, a God or whether He did or did not, in fact, write the Bible, modern scientific studies strongly suggest that what the Bible says about marriage and families is objectively true; and these scientific facts have major implications for our society and our politics.

Biological Families Matter

The Bible assigns primary responsibility for children to their parents and urges churches to help families.  It assigns no familial responsibilities to government at all.

Despite the lack of either Biblical or Constitutional justification, state-chartered social agencies remove children whom they deem to be "at risk" of abuse of any form.  Part of the reason they do that is that state agencies get federal reimbursement when they remove children, and part of the reason is that they're convinced that child abuse is so monstrous that it's better to err in the direction of removing children who aren't at risk than to leave the slightest chance that they'd miss an instance of actual abuse.

Their view that removing children unnecessarily does no harm is contradicted by a long-term study of child care outcomes.  MIT researchers found that even when a child's biological family was in really bad shape, drug abuse, violence, whatever, removing the child to foster care just about always made the outcome worse. The MIT News1 article "Kids gain more from family than foster care" which was published on July 3, 2007, says:

An MIT Sloan School of Management professor has for the first time used the analytic tools of applied economics to show that children faced with two options - being allowed to stay at home or being placed into foster care - have generally better life outcomes when they remain with their families.

"While much has been written about the trade-off between family preservation and child protection, little empirical work has been able to support a greater emphasis on either one," said Joseph Doyle Jr., assistant professor of applied economics at Sloan. "My research suggests that children on the margin of foster care placement have better employment, delinquency, and teen motherhood outcomes when they remain at home."

Doyle, the Jon D. Gruber Career Development Assistant Professor of Applied Economics, said his study is the first to empirically demonstrate causal effects between placement decisions and long-term outcomes.

There is no doubt that government agencies do a poor job of raising children and that children should almost always be raised by their parents even when the parents are less than ideal.  This research finding flies in the face of all of modern sociology but is entirely in keeping with Biblical views of child-rearing, in which parents even held life and death power over a rebellious child.

Fathers Matter

The Bible expresses great concern for "the fatherless," and it's not news that fathers matter in raising children.  When Sen. Moynihan wrote his 1986 book Family and Nation he quoted anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski:

In all human societies, the father is regarded by tradition as indispensable ... no child should be brought into the world without a man - and one man at that - assuming the role of sociological father, that is, guardian and protector, the male link between the child and the rest of the community.  [emphasis added]

The obviousness of this statement of a father's importance notwithstanding, current feminist mantra is that a welfare check is a perfectly acceptable substitute for a father.  The welfare system cuts off a woman's benefits if the system becomes aware that she has a man in her life - in effect, they're paying women to ensure that their children have no father.

There is, however, a dire social and individual cost to fatherlessness.  According to A Survey of Youth in Custody, a 1987 Department of Justice study, 70% of habitual criminals did not live with both parents while growing up.  Science News reports that despite an overall decline in crime rates, a few mostly black neighborhoods are incarceration "hot spots" according to Harvard University sociologist Robert Sampson.

Mass incarceration in the United States has a deep local concentration in relatively few disadvantaged communities.

The important point was that neighbors could sometimes intervene and keep children from ending up in jail:

In earlier research, he and his colleagues found a link between reduced violence in some poor Chicago areas and a willingness among neighbors to act as mentors to local children and otherwise intervene on behalf of the common good.

The Bible assigns the major child rearing role to the mother.  The father is supposed to support the family while serving as the link between his children and the rest of the community.  That's precisely what these neighborhood "mentors" do - they're filling in for the absent fathers much more effectively than visiting social workers can.

Science News doesn't point this out, but the major characteristic of black disadvantaged neighborhoods is that so few women are married that there are very few fathers around to mentor anyone.  When there's no one available to filll the role of the absent fathers, a high proportion of the children end up in jail, regardless of their color; it is a sociological, not racial, travesty that blacks seem to be disproportionately prone to single parenthood.

Any black woman who knows the Bible well understands that God expects her not to have children unless she can find a man who can be trusted to father them.

Marriage Reduces Poverty

The Bible doesn't explicitly promise that being married reduces poverty, but it does say that a man is supposed to provide for his family.  In an era when women weren't strong enough to farm and depended on men to feed them, marriage was essential to escape starvation, not just poverty.

The fact that marriage reduces poverty today has become obvious.  NPR reports on a federal program which finds unmarried couples with children and encourages them to marry:

Research suggests that these couples - and their children - will be better off financially if their parents are married. Among other reasons, married couples pool their incomes and more frequently save for children's futures. And, the research says, married men tend to spend less time - and less of the family's money - outside the home.

The effect of marriage on child poverty is striking.  The Heritage Foundation reports:

The lack of progress in reducing child poverty since 1965 can be explained in part by the erosion of marriage and the growth of poverty-prone single-parent families. Two sets of facts make this point clear:

  • The poverty rate for all children in married-couple families is 8.2 percent. By contrast, the poverty rate for all children in single-parent families is four times higher at 35.2 percent.  [emphasis added]
  • The number of single-parent families has grown considerably since the onset of the War on Poverty. In 1960, less than 12 percent of children lived in single-parent families. By 2000, that figure had more than doubled, rising to 27.6 percent.

The masters thesis Key to Reducing Poverty Among African-Americans: Revive Marriage presents a great deal of evidence that increasing marriage rates among blacks would have substantial beneficial effects on poverty.  The reasons that child poverty is so persistent are well known: unmarried women have a lot less money available than married women.

Given that children born outside marriage are so much more likely to end up in poverty than children who are born after marriage, shouldn't our leadership elites be teaching more about the advantages of marriage?  Would that sound too old-fashioned?  Or do they prefer to sponsor massive government programs which have no observable effect on the underlying problem?

Attending Church Fights Crime

Attending church also has a provably positive influence on inner city youth.  Richard B. Freeman reports:

Using data from the NBER survey of Inner City youth and the National longitudinal survey of young men this paper examines the effect of church-going and other aspects of the background of youth their allocation of time, socially deviant behavior, and labor force behavior.  Church-going is associated with substantial differences in the behavior of youths, and thus in their chances to 'escape' from inner city poverty.  In addition to church going, the background factors that most influence 'who escapes' are whether other members of the family work and whether the family is on welfare.

In other words, a black woman who wants to keep her children out of poverty and out of jail should hold out for a husband who'll hold a steady job as an example to her children and who'll help her take them to church.

Attending Church Boosts Marriage

Given that marriage is such an effective way to fight poverty, what if a wealthy, bottom-line oriented foundation wanted to fight poverty by promoting marriage?  What should the foundation do?  Promote church attendance, marriage, and traditional values.  The Center for Marriage and Families reports:

Churches are bulwarks of marriage in urban America. Analyses of data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study indicate that urban parents who attend church frequently are significantly more likely to marry before the arrival of children or to marry in the wake of a nonmarital pregnancy, and they are more likely to experience higher levels of relationship quality. ... Religious attendance appears to foster behavior among urban fathers that makes them more attractive mates and better partners. ... Indeed, the racial gap in marriage rates in urban America today would be even larger were it not for comparatively high levels of African American religiosity.  [emphasis added]

There are two important points in this research report:

  1. Churchgoers are significantly more likely to marry than unchurched people, therefore children born to churchgoers are less likely to end up in poverty than children born to the unchurched.
  2. Going to church makes a man a "more attractive mate and better partner."

Thus, when black Christian women restrict their dating to church men, they're not only being sensible; they're doing good things for society as a whole.

The Bible Is Worth Reading No Matter Who Wrote It

Once again, there is no proof whatsoever whether there is in fact a God or whether the Bible is or is not His Book.  What modern science can and does prove, despite the horror of America's liberal intellectual establishment, is that Biblical familial and child-rearing patterns work and hedonistic liberal values don't.

Presumably, a desire to see kids leading useful, productive lives instead of languishing behind bars is a value shared by all Americans regardless of their religious beliefs or lack thereof.  Thus, the available science strongly argues for a very peculiar conclusion:

A rational, humanitarian atheist should logically want other people to lead moral, religious lives, even though he himself considers their religious beliefs ridiculous, because their doing so will provably lead to a more successful, peaceful, law-abiding, well-ordered society.

Think about it: Atheists as well as the religious must pay massive amounts of taxpayer dollars to lock up inner-city hoodlums, and are at risk from their predations.  If black women en masse chose to follow the teachings of the Bible and demanded that their mates do likewise, the problem of black crime could be solved in a single generation: our current gangbangers would have nobody willing to reproduce with them, and the next generation of black youth would be raised by their genetic fathers and mothers in intact, functioning families, thus making successful lives vastly more probable and saving taxpayers a great deal of money in the bargain.

Instead of a society of leeches and crooks, black culture would once again be productive and hard-working as it was in the 1950s and early 60s before the modern welfare state and the sexual revolution - and in those days, unlike now, the economic gap between white and black was closing rapidly.

To the extent that Americans choose to ignore what the Bible teaches about life, they're basing their lives on falsehoods, as independently proven by atheist social scientists.  As more and more Biblical principles are verified through scientific inquiry, it seems that the "culture wars" are caused by people preferring to substitute unresearched, attractive-sounding modern notions for principles that have been found to be successful over thousands of years.

We at Scragged hope that at least a few of those who have been taken in by modern fallacies will take heed and return to the once-again-proven basics.  You can disbelieve gravity all you like, but when you jump off a cliff you'll still go splat.

For a half-century, our society has chosen to disbelieve in traditional family values; we can see the ongoing, expensive, and bloody splat on our TV news every night.  Maybe we'll learn the lesson from this failed experiment and go back to what works?

1 Doyle, Jr., Joseph J. "Kids gain more from family than foster care" published in MIT News, July 3, 2007, available online