Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when individuals realize that society benefits from marriage and healthy families. Since the family is the basic unit of society, it is good that the evidence on the importance of marriage and family is so clearly seen. Even though the data is evident, the way to promote marriage and family has been politicized.
David Brooks, a New York Times columnist, posted an article about the difficulty of bringing about positive changes in the nation because of the hostile political environment. He is mainly speaking of the political divide between conservatives and the never Trumpers. He says that one can no longer be a conservative and a Republican but must choose one or the other. Even though there is disunity among the Republicans, there is an even greater divide between the conservative elements of the nation and the liberal elements, particularly where marriage and family are concerned.
Brooks writes that conservatives consider the place where individuals are formed to be a “sacred space” while liberals are prone to believe that government programs are the most important. He says that “individuals emerge out of families, communities, faiths, neighborhoods and nations. The order comes first. Individual freedom is an artifact of that order.” Brooks seems to be saying that the order found in the environment in which a child lives determines his/her view of freedom.
Since freedom and the opportunity to use one’s agency is important to Heavenly Father, is it any wonder that He places His children in families when He sends them to earth? It is within the family – headed by a married man and woman – that children receive their first lessons about the importance of family, love, obedience, unity, and many other righteous principles.
It is interesting to note that the family is the only unit of society that will continue beyond the grave. There will be no government agencies in the next world. The order will be based on family units. Since the family unit is so crucial to both this world and the next, it is imperative that all other organizations support the family.
A Deseret News editorial says that conservatives, never Trumpers, and liberals need to learn how to work together to promote the family. It gives some suggestions on how to do so in its final paragraph.
When it comes to reaping the benefits of strong families and promoting solutions to increase marriage rates, the real heroes will be the policymakers who resist the false choice of either-or policies and draw on the best wisdom of both conservative and liberal ideas. Social norms will inevitably evolve, but that evolution should not devalue the desirable pro-social benefits of marriage. Meanwhile, government policies must create an environment where newly married couples have a credible prospect of achieving self-reliance and financial security. Either solution alone likely will leave society worse off.
The two articles quoted above leave little doubt of the importance of marriage and family to society. Politicians have the grave responsibility to create policies that will promote marriage and family life. In 1995 the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles published a document titled “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” It contains much information about the importance of the family unit and closes with this statement: “We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”
There are many words that describe the family as being an important unit of society. Some people use fundamental, while others use basic or core to describe this unit. At any rate, the family is the foundation of society and must be promoted, protected, and preserved in order for our society to remain strong. Therefore, we can strengthen our communities and nations by strengthening the family.