Marvin Olasky

At the conference NYU professor Lawrence Mead argued that "we must find a way to get the fathers involved." New York Times welfare specialist Jason DeParle said the "biggest surprise" to him as he wrote about poor communities was "just how much yearning there was among the kids and their mothers for the fathers." None of this is a surprise to those with a biblical worldview. In Genesis, God places us in families. In the last verse of the Old Testament, Malachi 4:6, God speaks of turning "the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction."

With over 40 percent of children born out of wedlock, we seem on the path to destruction. Can government (our modern god) do something to help, when so many men have become what writer George Gilder called "naked nomads"? At the conference, Jason Turner, who led the welfare reform campaign in Wisconsin and then took it to New York City, stated sadly, "There is no solution that I can think of that will fundamentally affect men at the moment."

Turner was right, thinking governmentally. We can do small things, such as eliminating the financial hit folks on welfare get when they marry: Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and others in Washington have proposed ways to reduce that marriage penalty. Still, I know from reading the Bible what many social scientists don't know: Only Jesus changes lives.

Back to my original point: Those who dismiss the Bible and create surveys that don't measure crucial factors are the ones who have closed minds. Sometimes the Bible gives us clear answers and sometimes it doesn't, but it always helps us to ask the right questions.

Marvin Olasky

Marvin Olasky is editor-in-chief of the national news magazine World. For additional commentary by Marvin Olasky, visit
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