“We strongly believe societies that allow the free expression of ideas tend to be the most prosperous and the most peaceful.” — President George W. Bush, in Beijing
“There are certain policies that will attract the blessing of God on the nation.…We have to align ourselves with the Word of God.” — Bishop Harry Jackson
“God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with him.” — Jim Elliot, missionary
As Marriage Declines, Church Attendance Falls
‘Marriage is a gateway into family life, and family life, in turn, is often a gateway into church attendance.’
A dramatic decline in marriage, particularly among young adults, has led to a decline in church attendance over the last three decades, according to a study by Robert Wuthnow, a sociology professor at Princeton University.
Men are 57 percent less likely to regularly attend church if they are not married. Single women are 41 percent less likely to attend church than their married counterparts.
“It exaggerates only a little to say that Americans in their 20s and early 30s divide into two groups of about equal size: those who are married, the majority of whom participate in religion; and those who are not married, the majority of whom do not participate,” Wuthnow said at a conference at The Heritage Foundation.
Brad Wilcox, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Virginia, said the biggest factor driving the decline in church attendance is delayed marriage.
“Marriage is a gateway into family life, and family life, in turn, is often a gateway into church attendance,” he said. “The longer people postpone marriage, the less likely they are to attend church at a given age, and also the less likely they are to attend church down the road.”
Wuthnow estimates in his book, After the Baby Boomers: How Twenty- and Thirty-Somethings are Shaping the Future of American Religion, that American churches would have 6.3 million more young adults today if young people started families at the same rate they did 30 years ago.
Wilcox said the Church needs to be more intentional about promoting marriage at an earlier age.
“One thing churches need to do is to really encourage their teenagers and their young adults not to buy into this culture of ‘hooking up’ and even the culture of dating or just hanging out,” he said. “(Churches need) to create a culture of courtship that puts them on a path to marriage, for those who are called to marriage.
“I think connecting young adults to families who have different priorities and different challenges and different joys would help them see the world a little bit differently, and hopefully grow in their faith at the same time.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION Learn why marriage matters.
Good News: Adult Cells Help Scientists Study Genetic Disorders
Stem cells created from adult cells are allowing researchers at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute to watch the development of 10 genetic disorders in a lab dish.
Scientists produced the stem cells by reprogramming skin cells and bone marrow from individuals with Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and Down syndrome. The technique could speed efforts to find treatments.
“What you might not hear in the media is that this new development actually uses ethical sources,” said Dawn Vargo, bioethics analyst for Focus on the Family Action. “Ironically, some of the main proponents of life-destroying research are turning their attention to ethical alternatives.”
Faster, Higher, Stronger Human Rights: The modern Olympic Games have always made politics and sport strange bedfellows. On one hand, the Games provide an opportunity for nations to cast aside their differences and compete on a level playing field. On the other hand, they often highlight the stark differences in the world’s geopolitical makeup. The Beijing Games of 2008 are no different. Though it boasts a massive population and booming economy, the Chinese government’s “improvements” on human rights have been miniscule. Forced abortion, censored speech, and religious persecution have been hallmarks of the communist regime. Even as government officials prepare to take President Bush on a tour of state-sanctioned churches, China Aid reports that House Church Alliance President Zhang Mingxuan, his wife and another pastor were arrested and detained this week — presumably for unregistered religious activity. Today in Beijing President Bush briefly addressed China’s human rights problem: “We must […] be candid about our belief that all people should have the freedom to say what they think and worship as they choose. We strongly believe societies which allow the free expression of ideas tend to be the most prosperous and the most peaceful.” We at FRC agree with the president, but as the Olympics seek to take us “Faster, Higher, Stronger,” the advance of human rights in China should live up to the same motto.
Good News: Christians Arrested in China Return to U.S. Safely: Three Christians arrested in China on Thursday are back in the United States after being kicked out for speaking about oppression, according to reports from Operation Rescue, which provided support for the outreach.
The Rev. Pat Mahoney, Brandi Swindell and Michael McMonagle were detained when Chinese police broke up a press conference in Tiananmen Square where the group was attempting to address China’s forced abortion policies, religious persecution and other human rights violations.
“We are relieved that these brave Christians have returned to freedom safely,” Operation Rescue President Troy Newman said. “We are proud to stand with these courageous Christians, who were willing to risk their freedom to speak out on behalf of those who have none.”
The Christians were threatened with lengthy jail sentences, and authorities demanded they pay $2,000 apiece for plane tickets out of China.
Eventually, the Chinese government paid for the tickets and put them on a flight to Los Angeles. Their luggage remains in China.
Additional Resources China Aid: House Churches Ready to Welcome President Bush; Deeply concerned over President Bush’s Second Visit to Government Sanctioned Church
The White House: Remarks by President Bush at Dedication of United States Embassy Beijing
CDC: HIV Rate in U.S. Higher than Estimated
Transformation and personal responsibility are keys to stopping the AIDS epidemic.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently said it had underestimated the HIV rate in the U.S. over the past 12 years.
The U.S. saw approximately 56,000 new HIV infections in 2006, 40 percent more than the estimated 40,000.
The CDC said a better blood test and new statistical methods led them to revise their numbers.
Male-to-male transmission accounted for almost 60 percent of new infections in 2006, with 4 percent of those men also engaging in intravenous drug use. About one-third occurred among people ages 13-29, according to the CDC.
“I feel great compassion for these men, because I’ve had different friends who are HIV-positive, friends who have died with AIDS,” said Jeff Johnston, gender issues analyst for Focus on the Family Action. “Outside of a faithful marriage between a man and a woman, there is no ‘safe sex.’ It is irresponsible to teach people that you can have ‘safe sex’ or ‘safer sex’ outside of marriage.”
Linda Klepacki, sexual health analyst for Focus Action, said: “Our health is not just physical health. It’s also mental, emotional, spiritual and social. In order to be healthy, we have to take personal responsibility for our behaviors.”
She said the numbers will not improve as long as businesses are forced to normalize homosexuality and grant gay employees special status.
Johnston added: “For years, the gay community has been calling for approval of gay relationships, for promotion of homosexuality as a person’s core identity, and for so-called sexual freedom.
“What they are finding is that there is a cost. Gay activists want the public to bear the cost of their behavior. People must take personal responsibility for their actions.”
Johnston said the church can provide a safe place.
“It has been a transforming community for many,” he said, “including those living with HIV and AIDS.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION Focus on the Family’s Love Won Out ministry offers hope to those with unwanted same-sex attractions.
CBS’ Big Brother Airs Profanity During Prime Time: The Parents Television Council (PTC) criticized CBS for allowing profanity onto this week’s Big Brother 10, which airs during prime time.
“There is absolutely no justification for allowing an ‘F-word’ like this to air unedited on prime-time broadcast television,” PTC President Tim Winter said in a news release. “There can be no question that this was an intentional act on the part of the network; someone actually had to edit the scene with the word into the show.”
Last year, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that television networks essentially can air profanity at any time of day. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case in November.
“Last week, CBS said they wanted indecency laws overturned, and today we found out why,” Winters said. “Based on their behavior, it would appear they feel the law no longer applies to them, anyway.”
TAKE ACTION If you witness profanity and/or indecency during prime-time television, you can file a complaint with the FCC.
Social Issue Insecurity: A new Rasmussen Reports poll released this week found that 40 percent of voters trust Republican candidate John McCain (R-Ariz.) over Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on the issue of abortion. Earlier polls suggested that Obama was ahead on the abortion question. The same poll found 26 percent of voters unsure, which means that a large number of voters are unaware of the candidates’ pro-abortion record. Rumors are now circulating that Obama will allow Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D-Calif.) to speak at the Democratic convention in Colorado. His father, the late Gov. Robert Casey, Sr., was barred from speaking at previous conventions because of his pro-life stance. Sen. Casey, Jr., however, is not identical to his father on the issue of life and has voted in the past to use taxpayer funds for programs that support coercive abortions. In marriage news, the Illinois senator has just reiterated his stance for “equality in relationship, family, and adoption rights” for homosexuals. He did this in a letter to the Family Equality Council, a homosexual advocacy group heavily funded by Rosie O’Donnell and Tim Gill’s foundation. Sen. Obama’s support for same-sex “marriage” makes him the first leading presidential nominee to support this radical redefinition.
Beer Ads Continue to Ale NCAA: College sports and alcohol make a bad mix. If you watch college sports on TV, you know the pitch. Just buy some Bud, sip some Sam Adams, chug some Coors-and you’ll be the funniest and most popular guy around. The women will swarm and swoon. Drink responsibly, the ads say, after they’ve shown the fridge stocked wall to wall with beer bottles. These ads are a charade, but they’re big money to college sports-and that’s a scandal. Now more than 100 college coaches are petitioning the NCAA to phase out alcohol ads on sports telecasts. Athletic directors and college presidents are signing up too. It’s the right move. Alcohol abuse takes lives on our college campuses and on our highways. The NCAA can’t stop all of this, but it can stop glamorizing it. This fall college football should kick-off something else-the sleazy beer ads that pollute a great game.
Speaker Pelosi’s Energy Embargo (From Aug. 6): Today marks the House Republicans’ fourth day of protest over Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) refusal to deal with high gas prices and America’s growing energy problem. Politico reports that Pelosi is providing cover for vulnerable Democrats, allowing them to say one thing about energy, while knowing full well that she won’t allow a vote on proposals to ease the current crisis. Yesterday, Senior Vice President of FRC Action Connie Mackey and Vice President of Government Affairs Tom McClusky visited the House floor to watch democracy in action. They reported back that it was inspiring to see so many members sacrifice time from their vacations to address issues important to the American people. Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Texas) told onlookers how the protest began. He said that a handful of Republicans approached C-SPAN about broadcasting after the normal session was closed but were informed that C-SPAN could not, by order of the Speaker’s office. In the past, it’s been routine to allow such speeches from the floor. President Bush, perhaps distracted by the Olympic Games, has refused to call a special order of Congress. As a result, the decision now lies with Speaker Pelosi. Please contact her today at (202) 225-4965 and ask her to let the House vote!
Happily Never After: Jim Henson once said, “Television is…teaching whether you want it to or not.” Unfortunately, the majority of networks aren’t teaching kids the values that most parents would prefer they learn. Primetime vulgarity is skyrocketing, as are lawsuits to keep the FCC from regulating it. While liberals focus on shutting down the government’s watchdog, the Parents Television Council (PTC) is doing its best to warn families about the latest trends in programming. The newest research shows that the networks have very little to be proud of. This week, PTC announced the findings of its latest study, “Happily Never After: How Hollywood Favors Adultery and Promiscuity over Marital Intimacy…” In the first month of the 2007-08 television season, PTC watched over 207 hours of “scripted entertainment” on ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, and the CW. It became obvious that “network TV likes sex, but not in marriage.” The glorification of adultery and other misbehavior was almost universal. On every network, PTC found that the references to non-marital sex outnumbered the references to marital sex by nearly 3 to 1. Hollywood’s assault on morality wasn’t reserved for late-night viewers either. “The Family Hour-the time slot with the largest audience of young viewers-contained the highest frequency of references to non-married sex (3.9 to 1). On NBC alone, the remarks about “incest, pedophilia, partner swapping, prostitution, threesomes, transsexuals, bestiality, and necrophilia combined outnumbered references to married sex by a ratio of 27 to 1.” Is it any wonder that we’re fighting to save marriage when most Americans are ingesting a steady diet of Hollywood’s contempt for it? The networks’ fascination with this sexual revolution should bring nothing but sexual revulsion.