Steven Malanga has written an article in City Journal called “City Without Fathers.” He comments on the out-of-control crime rate in Newark, New Jersey by pointing out that the rate of fatherlessness in that city is also out of control:
According to 2005 figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, only 32 percent of Newark children are being raised by their parents in a two-adult household. The rest are distributed among families led by grandparents, foster parents, and single parents??mostly mothers. An astonishing 60 percent of the city’s kids are growing up without fathers. It isn??t that traditional families are breaking up; they aren??t even getting started. The city has one of the highest out-of-wedlock birthrates in the country, with about 65 percent of its children born to unmarried women. And 70 percent of those births are to women who are already poor, meaning that their kids are born directly into poverty.
Most interestingly though, he notes how not only are politicians and policy makers are silent on the subject, but also our religious leaders as well:
The starkness of these statistics makes it astonishing that our politicians and policy makers ignore the subject of single parenthood, as if it were outside the realm of civic discourse. And our religious leaders, who once preached against such behavior, now also largely avoid the issue, even as they call for prayer vigils and organize stop-the-violence campaigns in Newark. Often, in this void, the only information that our teens and young adults get on the subject of marriage, children, and family life comes through media reports about the lifestyles of our celebrity entertainers and athletes, who have increasingly shunned matrimony and traditional families. Once, such news might have been considered scandalous; today, it is reported matter-of-factly, as if these pop icons?? lives were the norm.
The obviousness of this problem would seem to be a screaming opportunity to preach the gospel, and to reassert a little paternity. “Oh well,” we say, “pass the remote.”
Are we awake yet?