One of the brightest lights in America these days on issues of the family is University of Virginia sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox. His latest article in the Wall Steet Journal addresses the “real pregnancy crisis” in America, and why the ongoing chatterings about Bristol Palin miss the point.
Wilcox shows there are other factors at work in out-of-wedlock births in this country, including a changing of the meaning of marriage. He writes: “As sociologist Andrew Cherlin has noted, marriage used to be the ‘foundation’ for adulthood, sex, intimacy and childbearing. Now, marriage is viewed by many Americans as a ‘capstone’ that signals that a couple has arrived — financially, professionally and emotionally.”
I think this is exactly right, and not just in “the culture” (which is often Christian-speak for “not us”), but in even the most conservative Christian congregations. A move toward Christian family structures must start with this question, and that will take more courage than we’ve seen in our pulpits and pews in a long, long time.