Restoring the “Gold Standard” for the Traditional Family in America
Earlier this month, my pastor, Dr. Bob Loggans at Calvary Baptist Church in Watertown, preached a great message entitled simply, “Family Life.” As a part of the introduction he mentioned a book published in 1947 by Carle Zimmerman that included a list of traits that happened to nations and cultures shortly before their demise. Virtually all of the traits or “forms of behavior” deal with God’s plan for the family.
I tracked the book down and bought it because the list was staggering and I wanted to see it for myself. Carle Zimmerman was, in his day, a renowned professor of sociology at Harvard University. He wrote a number of books in addition to Family and Civilization which is the one my pastor cited.
So, here’s Carle Zimmerman’s list of behaviors that precede the fall of such empires as Greece and Rome, written in 1947.
1) Increased and rapid easy “causeless” divorce. (Guilty and innocent party theory became a pure fiction.)
2) Decreased number of children, population decay and increased public disrespect for parents and parenthood.
3) Elimination of the real meaning of the marriage ceremony.
4) Popularity of pessimistic doctrines about the early heroes.
5) Rise of theories that companionate marriage or a permissible looser family form would solve the problem.
6) The refusal of many other people married under the older family form to maintain their traditions while other people escape these obligations. Zimmerman notes the Greek and Roman mothers refused to stay home and bear children.
7) The spread of the anti-nuclear-family mentality of the urbane and pseudointellectual classes to the very outer limits of the civilization.
8) Breaking down of most inhibitions against adultery.
9) Revolts of youth against parents so that parenthood became more and more difficult for those who did try to raise children.
10) Rapid rise and spread of juvenile delinquency. And, last but certainly not least,
11) Common acceptance of all forms of sex perversions.
I doubt I have to connect many dots for you on this. I am sure your mind is reeling with the reality of how many of those eleven traits describe modern America.
Professor Zimmerman wasn’t a fatalist. He didn’t believe America is doomed to repeat the same mistakes and suffer the same tragedy as other once-great, now gone nations and cultures. But, he was warning us. Throughout the book, he makes the case for cultural and government changes to restore at the most basic level in our society a standard for family—with that standard being what we call at Wisconsin Family Council, the Gold Standard—or better said, God’s Standard. That very clear standard that has never changed and never will change is a man and a woman married to one another in a lifelong, monogamous relationship, typically with children—either biological or adopted.
Nations that are vibrant, strong, and that last are built on a strong foundation. If that foundation changes or begins to be destroyed, the nation begins to slowly, but eventually perceptibly, decay. America is no different from those nations that have preceded us. We are much the same as countless others who have come before. Like them we refuse to learn from history. We believe we can erode the foundation of traditional, nuclear, domestic families and survive. We can’t, we won’t, we aren’t.
So what do you do in the midst of this? How can you help buck the trend, change the course? Strengthen your family unit—intentionally, purposefully. Pray together, worship together, play together. Talk, teach by example and word, take time, invest in your family. Make them a priority, not an afterthought. Make sure your children know marriage between a man and a woman is beautiful and biblical and that children are a gift from God—not a nuisance.
You can also counter the lies that are so prevalent in our culture. Stand up for God’s plan for family. Don’t just silently disagree when others make it seem that all forms of family are equal. They aren’t and you know that. Politely, lovingly, respectfully challenge their thinking. Demand that elected officials respect the traditional, nuclear married mom and dad family in their policies.
We are not doomed. But we must be educated and energized to make a difference lest one day America is included in such a book as an example of a once-great nation that fell because the family, the foundation of it all, disintegrated.