Wouldn’t you do anything for your children? Your grandchildren? Is not their wellbeing important to you? To our culture? To our society? And yet, political policies advocated by some within the Christian community are damning to these precious souls.
We have created a political social order that, like in the times of Molech (1 Kings 11:7), sacrifices our children on an altar of family values so that the wealthy few can enjoy an abundant life.
Christians consistently trump family values as an excuse for voting for certain politicians. Along with libertarians, Tea Party advocates and those who politically represent them, these Christians consistently oppose safety-net programs like Social Security, welfare, Medicare and more recently the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare.
They claim such government programs interfere with the private market, even though the dismantling of other safety-net programs has proven to have devastating effects on the family, and especially children.
Research shows that a rising number of children, especially black children in metropolitan areas, live in no-parent households. The lack of adequate childcare has forced many single parents to leave their children with relatives, friends or foster families.
Since the Welfare Act of 1996 was enacted, the number of black children living without parents doubled from 7.5 percent to 15 percent. Their parents may be working in retail and service industries that pay a fraction of what they used to earn at manufacturing jobs.
While these parents put in long hours to earn a wage below the poverty line, their children are growing up without a parent present. Welfare experts predict these children will perform significantly worse in school than children in single-parent homes. They will experience higher rates of school failure, mental-health problems and delinquency, thus contributing to the downward spiral of despair.
From 2000 to 2010, the number of children living in poverty increased by 41 percent. Of all the industrial countries throughout the world, we — the richest nation humanity has ever known — is among the few that has a higher percentage of its children living in poverty.
Among the 34 nation members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United States’ poverty rate in 2008 was 21.6 percent, significantly above the 12.6 percent average. Only Chile (22.4 percent), Israel (26.6 percent), Mexico (25.8 percent) and Turkey (23.5 percent) fared worse.
The American dream that children will enjoy a better standard of living than their parents no longer exists. Today’s children will be financially worse off than their parents, but providing greater tax cuts for the richest 1 percent continues to be the main focus of so-called “family values” politicians.
By 2010, the poverty rate of U.S. children rose to 22 percent, representing 16.4 million Americans. Children represent only 24.4 percent of the U.S. population, but they disproportionately represent 35.5 percent of those living in poverty. One out of every four children under the age of 6 now lives below the poverty line.
First Published in Baptist News Global