In a recent message, I referenced Senator Mike Lee’s January 2015 Heritage Foundation address wherein he focused on a matter of critical importance.
There are many pressing issues that deserve our attention and require action – so many in fact that it can sometimes be difficult to keep them straight.
But as I see it there is one issue – one challenge facing the American people today – that rises above the rest in its complexity, its magnitude, and the reach of its consequences. Directly or indirectly it affects nearly every other public issue you can think of, and should therefore be placed squarely at the center of our reform agenda.
… that issue is the family – its increasing importance and its declining stability – and I believe it may be the single defining challenge of our time.
The family is the first and most important institution of our society – and the foundation of American exceptionalism. …
The family has always been the linchpin of American life, but today more than ever the health of the family is indivisible from the destiny of our nation. (“Putting Families First,” delivered January 13, 2015, at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.)
Underscoring the importance of these concerns is information and data presented at the Wheatley Institution Roundtable on the Family, hosted March 19 and 20 at BYU. Recapping the conference, Deseret News writer Wendy Leonard reported that
The decline of the family in America is real, and researchers hope that a better understanding of what is happening to the fundamental unit of society will help to turn the trends.
“Marriage is viewed as a capstone rather than a cornerstone, as it used to be part of setting up your adult life,” said Sam Sturgeon, a senior research manager with Bonneville Communications and president of Demographic Intelligence. …
He said more people marry when they are finished with school or are well into their careers, and that fewer are having children.
According to U.S. Census Bureau data, fewer people ever marry, including 20 percent of men and 5 percent of women; and more people cohabit – a more than tenfold increase in the past 50 years.