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"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15

Divorce: Big Cultural Issue

Mona Charen

Divorce is the next big cultural issue to be faced by this society. After a bit of a rocky start (remember Murphy Brown?), we have now successfully established that unwed parenting is often harmful and destructive. You don’t hear today, as you did five years ago, cheery assurances that single-parent families are part of the “new family structure”. Instead, across the political spectrum, you find acknowledgment that the two-parent family must be restored and strengthened.

But while unwed child-bearing took center stage, divorce was relegated to the shadows. Why? Its footprints are everywhere. The application form for my son’s preschool asks for the fathers’ name, mother’s name, father’s address and mother’s address. When an American pilot is rescued in Bosnia, we find a young man who is every inch the central casting image of the American flyer, except for one new wrinkle — we hear from his mother and his father separately. Hallmark markets cards for divorced fathers to send to their children.

Divorce is such an accepted part of the national landscape that even cultural crusaders have sometimes held their fire. To condemn divorce is to rebuke not just strangers but your sister, your cousins, your best friend and yourself.

The wreckage divorce has created in the lives of children is too massive to be denied. Conservatives, particularly those who specialize in thwarting the aims of homosexual activists, must confront the truth that heterosexual divorce creates more havoc in our society than homosexual unions. I don’t believe that homosexuals should have the “right” to marry or adopt children.

But if you accept the statistic that homosexuals, gay and lesbian, amount to no more than 1% to 2% of the population — not the 10% they claim — and recognize that the subset of homosexuals who want to be parents is quite small, then their conduct (what ever you think of it) is really peripheral. Arguably, men have benefited from liberalized divorce laws and customs far more than women. For every woman freed from a tyrannical husband, there were 10 men who traded in their 40-something wife for a younger model. And while men’s incomes tend to rise following a divorce, women’s tend to fall.