Does It Matter That 40 Percent of All U.S. Births Occur Out of Wedlock?

New societal norms are leading to a familiar fate.

A study published by the United Nations Population Fund has found that 40 percent of all births in the United States happen outside of marriage. In 1970, the figure was as low as 10 percent. The quadrupling of out-of-wedlock births within a couple of generations is a major societal shift.

With millions of babies being born to unmarried couples and single mothers, the need for marriage itself is being questioned.

Is this just the normal progression of our modern culture? Is it perfectly acceptable, hardly warranting a second thought? What will be the result of this trend? The answer is that this trend is a sure sign of societal breakdown and national collapse!

That is not a conclusion that many people today would make, but it is founded on historical, logical and sound evidence.

The U.S. Census Bureau released a report detailing figures that perhaps contribute to the rise of out-of-wedlock births: From 1950 to 2017, the percentage of women who married fell from over 65 to just over 50. Throughout the same span of time, the percentage of women who never married rose from 20 to about 30. In the late 1990s, the percentage of women who were divorced overtook the percentage of women who were widowed.

This plummet in the percentage of couples marrying has not corresponded to a drop in couples engaging in sexual activity or living together outside of marriage. From 2007 to 2016, the number of cohabiting adults in the U.S. rose from 14 million to 18 million. More than half of cohabiting couples today (8.9 million) are 34 years old and younger.

Of course, not all children born out of wedlock are born to cohabiting couples. Out of the nearly 12 million single parents in the U.S. in 2017, about 81.4 percent were single mothers. That means nearly 10 million families, many with multiple children, do not have a father in the home!

This is the result of the “New Morality,” caused by a shift in government and economics, education and religion, and especially the relaxation of morals that changed the world throughout the 1900s.

Herbert W. Armstrong saw the early fruits of this New Morality, writing God Speaks Out on the New Morality in 1964, which he then updated in 1981 and retitled as The Missing Dimension in Sex. In this one-of-a-kind book, Mr. Armstrong wrote:

Why world acceptance of the New Morality?

What, until 1914, had been the Western world’s standard of morality? Was it good or bad? Has a whole world in revolt brought anything better? What have been the facts? What have been the causes? …

The world, since the First World War … has been deluged with books, pamphlets and articles in magazines and newspapers about sex. Still, the most necessary dimension in knowledge of the subject has been missing—unpublished until this book! …

The world began throwing off the restraints. The revolt was on, against prudery, repression and ignorance. The new sensual knowledge—with its most-needed dimension missing—quickly began to be gulped in by curiosity-hungry minds.

World War ii shot morals into the gutter. And now they have plunged all the way into the cesspool.

That was back in the 1980s. What would Mr. Armstrong have to say of our society today?

Television shows, movies, books, educational institutions and private organizations like Planned Parenthood have promoted this lifestyle of lasciviousness and immorality for decades. We are now at the point where 40 percent of all live births in the United States happen outside of marriage. And that is not even counting the hundreds of thousands of abortions that occur every year, most of which are the consequence of sex outside of marriage!

What happens when a society reaches such a tragically momentous point of immorality? What happens when the family, the foundational and most basic unit of a strong nation, falls apart? When the foundation crumbles, the whole structure collapses.

Once again, that is a strong claim, but it is backed up by the testimony of history. All major societies and empires in the history of the world have collapsed. Why? The Roman Empire provides a supreme and relevant example of the cause.

In his article “A Lesson From Rome,” Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry analyzed the similarities between the factors that caused the Roman Empire to fall and the situation America is in today. Among those causes are an insatiable craving for pleasure, the decay of religion, and the breakdown of the family. As Mr. Flurry wrote, “Don’t the conditions surrounding Rome’s fall sound eerily similar to the conditions prevalent in the United States and British Commonwealth today?”

When Rome abandoned its moral principles of strong families with the father at the head, it marked the beginning of the end. At its founding, America was held up by strong families, but just like Rome, it has now lost its most foundational cornerstone.

History gives us a sober warning, especially when coupled with prophecy. The Bible prophesies of a time when the modern-day peoples of ancient Israel will be so rebellious that God will take away the strong leaders from their governments and families and allow the families to be turned upside down:

“For, behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water. The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient, The captain of fifty, and the honourable man, and the counsellor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator. And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them. And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable” (Isaiah 3:1-5).

With our families today being ruled by women and oppressed by children, that is exactly what we have.

But God promises to restore America, as well as Britain and the other nations of Israel, to prosperity if and when they repent (Jeremiah 31:8-10, 12-17, 31-34). To receive those blessings, America must realize that the foundation of a strong and blessed people truly is the family.