Teen Births Down – Out of Wedlock Births at Record High; Salvation Army’s Faith-Based Service

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Thursday, July 26, 2001

Newspapers around the nation are trumpeting the news that teen births are down, obscuring the fact that the number of out-of-wedlock births has reached an all time high. The increase in out-of-wedlock births has been “steep and unrelenting for 60 years” reports the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Nevertheless, the bold headlines were reserved for the good news that the birthrate for teens has fallen nearly 22 percent since 1991. [Births per 1,000 teens ages 15-19 in 1991 = 62.1. Births per 1,000 teens in 2000 = 48.7]

Analysts are sugarcoating reality by attributing the increase in unwed childbearing to two trends-the growth in the number of single women of childbearing age and cultural acceptance of single parenthood and cohabitation. The reality is harsher than that. BLI’s report, Gaining Ground: A Profile of American Women in the Twentieth Century, reveals that cohabitation has increased 73% over the past decade in all age groups. Few women are aware that these relationships are notoriously unstable with break-up being the norm. The end result is that these women end up living alone-one in five live in poverty and more than one third of those with children under 18 live in poverty. Women who buy into the myth that sex is “free” find that they pay an exorbitant price-sexually transmitted disease, abortion, cohabitation and lack of connection (in 1940 less than 8 percent of households were people living alone, compared to nearly a quarter in 2000).

Salvation Army’s Faith-Based Service
The media, armed with half-truths, have blasted the Salvation Army in recent days. It is a sad day when political operatives use attacks on an institution like the Salvation Army to score political points. The coverage sent the wrong message. Here is the truth-The Salvation Army meets the human needs of over 36 million Americans a year without discrimination regarding their race, religion or sexual orientation. In addition, the Salvation Army fully complies with all hiring laws that are applicable to religious organizations. They employ 45,000 people of all races, religions and sexual orientations. They, like all religious organizations, take their beliefs into account in making personnel decisions, but they do not ask prospective employees about their sexual orientation.

In addition to sending the wrong message, the media coverage also missed its mark. The Salvation Army is a strong supporter of the President’s faith-based initiative because of a fundamental principle-faith based efforts will change lives and achieve results. The National Commander of the Salvation Army, Commissioner John Busby, frequently states that they are “spiritually bound to a passionate, unconditional love for the last, the least and the lost.”

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