Family Research Council to issue “Index of Family Belonging and Rejection”
Indices are all the rage these days. In his recently published and thought-provoking “Why the West Rules — For Now,” historian Ian Morris has created an “index on social development” which, among other things, attempts to measure the West and East’s “energy capture.”
There are of course plenty of other examples (and future historians will no doubt see it as a sign of our times — as Morris notes, ages get the “thought they need”). The latest addition to this swelling modern family of indices will come on Wednesday when the conservative, Washington-based Family Research Council (FRC) releases its first annual “Index of Family Belonging and Rejection.” The index is a product of its Marriage and Religion Research Institute.
The details of the index will be released at 10:00 EDT on Wednesday but FRC has already made public the fact that it finds that “less than 50 percent of American children have spent their childhood belonging in an intact family.” It defines an “intact family” as one where “a child’s birth mother and biological father (were) legally married to one another since before or around the time of the child’s birth.” The study will also rank all 50 states and America’s 25 largest cities.
(Family Research Council President Tony Perkins addresses his group’s “Values Voter Summit” in Washington October 19, 2007. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES)
The FRC is an influential conservative Christian lobby that is overtly evangelical and its president, Tony Perkins, has become one of the leading voices on the religious right. It has long been a target of liberal critics and its findings will no doubt be seen in some quarters as biased from the get go. The promotion of “family values” and a stable, traditional mother-father family is a big part of what FRC is about, and the index should certainly be read against that backdrop. That doesn’t mean it won’t be of interest.