The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is the family forms the core unit of society and thus determines the strength of our communities, states and nations. The family is under assault and must be strengthened and protected in order to protect our society.
America was developed and built by people who believed in marriage and the family. They loved God and read their Bibles regularly. They came to America in order to have the freedom to live their religion without governmental influence.
The French writer, Alexis de Tocqueville, visited America and made the following observation: "There is no country in the world where the tie of marriage is more respected than in America, or where conjugal happiness is more highly or worthily appreciated…. But when the American retires from the turmoil of public life to the bosom of his family, he finds in it the image of order and peace. There his pleasures are simple and natural, his joys are innocent and calm; and as he finds that an orderly life is the surest path to happiness, he accustoms himself easily to moderate his opinions as well as his tastes. While the European endeavors to forget his domestic troubles by agitating society, the American derives from his own home that love of order which he afterwards carries with him into public affairs" (Democracy in America, 1:315).
America became a great nation because its citizens understood the importance of marriage and family. They understood that "Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 11:11.) They understood that even though the husband acted as head of the home, both partners held equal status. They understood that the man was to protect the family and provide for the daily needs while the woman was to nurture the children and provide a wholesome environment for her family.
The Proclamation on the Family proclaims, "… marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God. Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children…. The family is ordained of God."
London has suffered through several days of rioting, robbing and burning, and several cities in the United States have endured "flash mobs" - spontaneous groups of mostly young African-Americans who attack people at random. After his city endured the results of a recent flash mob, Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter told the marauding black youths, "Take those God-darn hoodies down, especially in the summer. Pull your pants up and buy a belt 'cause no one wants to see your underwear or the crack of your butt.
"If you walk into somebody's office with your hair uncombed and a pick in the back, and your shoes untied, and your pants half down, tattoos up and down your arms and on your neck, and you wonder why somebody won't hire you? They don't hire you `cause you look like you're crazy. You have damaged your own race."
Mayor Nutter clearly understands the place of family in the lives of our young people because he did not stop at chastising the youth. He went to his Baptist church and delivered a thirty-minute sermon to parents about taking responsibility for the behavior of their children: "The Immaculate Conception of our Lord Jesus Christ took place a long time ago, and it didn't happen here in Philadelphia. So every one of these kids has two parents who were around and participating at the time. They need to be around now."
He told the parents, "If you're just hanging out out there, maybe you're sending them a check or bringing some cash by. That's not being a father. You're just a human ATM. … And if you're not providing the guidance and you're not sending any money, you're just a sperm donor" (Dave Boyer, The Washington Times, Monday, August 8, 2011).
Mayor Nutter took a courageous stand to tell both the youth and their parents to step forward and accept responsibility for their behavior. Parents must recognize that they hold a unique place in their homes and in society and have a powerful effect - for good or bad - on how their children behave. Because the family is the core unit of society, it is vital that families are strengthened and protected by individuals and communities as well as state and federal governments. As we have seen by the recent flash mobs, the very foundation of society is threatened, when the family is weakened.
Some of the ideas and quotes for this post came from W. Cleon Skousen in The Five Thousand Year Leap, pp. 199-204.