Another reason marriage is now a minority practice is the loss of social stigma. When I was growing up, "society" approved of certain behavior in hopes of encouraging more of it and disapproved of other behavior, expecting to get less of it. While some of that disapproval discriminated against racial minorities and women, social stigma generally was a good thing. It kept people like me from engaging in behavior that would not have been beneficial. I not only cared what my parents thought of me, I also cared about my reputation. Do many people care about such things today? Not when celebrities, politicians, lobbyists and boorish sports figures with bad reputations earn more money than those with good reputations. When was the last time you saw or read a story about happily married couples in the mainstream media?
The clergy have not always been helpful to marriage. Many - not all, but many - regularly ignore biblical instructions about marriage, divorce and remarriage because their congregations are populated with members who have divorced and they reason that their money in the collection plate spends just as well as that of married couples. Some people prefer to hear about the sins of others - or no sins at all - than about their own. The "fear of God" long ago was replaced in too many churches with the portrayal of God as a warm and fuzzy uncle who understands why you do the things you do and doesn't care all that much as long as you are happy and "fulfilled."
The Times article gives us two other reasons why marriage is suffering. Andrew A. Beveridge, a demographer at Queens College of the City University of New York, says of the decline in marriage among those 25 to 34: "It's partially fueled by women in the work force; they don't necessarily have to marry to be economically secure. You used to get married to have sex. Now one of the major reasons to get married is to have children and the attractiveness of having children has declined for many people because of the cost."
Life is all about me, the defining characteristic of this generation.
We've come a long way from "Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage" to Kanye West's "Gold Digger." Look up the lyrics. Most family newspapers wouldn't print them.
As a new minority group member, I think I'll start preparing my demands. The trouble is, to whom do I submit them?
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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