It may be too easy to overlook the major shifts in Western values in recent decades. Some of the trends were spotlighted by James Dobson
and Gary Bauer in their article titled “Children at Risk” (Word, 1990, pp. 104-107). Here are highlights:
“In 1960, … most children were cared for by their parents, and most politicians knew that any effort to strengthen the family was a good idea.
“In 1990, politicians can’t even agree on what ‘;traditional’ families are or whether they are worthy of special assistance. Indeed, a major movement is underway to redefine ‘;family’ to mean any group of people which merely thinks of itself as a family.
“A sizable minority of children is supervised by professional caregivers, while some children, called ‘;latchkey’ kids, are left with no adult care at all during much of the day …
“In 1960, there was a general consensus that religion was a positive influence in American life and that it should be encouraged … Today a militant secularism prevails. Any public display of religion … is immediately attacked by civil liberty attorneys.
“Recently several government officials in Washington, D.C., called on citizens to join in a day of prayer to ask God to lead the city out of its quagmire of drugs, crime, and suffering. They were immediately attacked by a local ACLU [American Civil Liberties Union] official who told the Washington Post , ‘;It is always inappropriate for government officials to ask citizens to pray.’
“In 1960, out-of-wedlock pregnancy was a matter of shame. When it happened, couples often did a quaint thing—they got married, so that the child would have a name and the influence of a father. Girls who ‘;slept around’ were often ostracized by fellow students. A pregnant teenager was sent away to have the child rather than risk the censure of the community.
“In 1990, one out of five babies born in America was conceived out of wedlock. In Washington, D.C., illegitimacy was an alarming 55 percent! In many schools, the virtuous girl was considered odd, and was subjected to the same scorn and ridicule once reserved for the ‘;easy’ date 30 years earlier. Surveys revealed that many of our sons and daughters were embarrassed to admit their virginity.
“In 1960, … most couples stayed together for life. Now more than one million children are affected by divorce every year. Mates are traded in for newer models as if they were cars. For each of the last 15 years, there have been more than one million divorces compared to less than half that many in the early ‘;60s.”
Such statistics and facts help us gain perspective on the cultural drift that has taken place in only a single generation’s time. How much has your thinking, and that of members of your family, been affected by such havoc wreaked by the degradation of the culture around us? GN