Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, the founder of BOND, knows from real-life stories the tremendous impact that work, wedlock and worship have on breaking the cycle of brokenness. He laments and boldly condemns the "moral crisis in black America" where out-of-wedlock child-bearing now tops 70 percent. Peterson preaches a strong message of self-reliance and honesty -- one that urges his fellow blacks to stop hunting for someone to blame but, rather, to embrace another powerful force in their lives -- the power of forgiveness. Since 1990, BOND has operated a home for boys and held workshops for inner-city youths whose lives are marred by broken families, crime and hopelessness. In addition to teaching life skills, providing job training, and introducing the revolutionary power of faith, BOND teaches boys how to free themselves of the destructive anger that the heartbreak of rejection breeds.
Peterson's BOND does it one life at a time -- without a dime of government money. His work is a model for any organization or church that seeks to better the lives of those caught up in the nightmare and great American tragedy that is the modern "inner city". I urge you to visit www.bondinfo.org to learn more about the BOND program.
These simple words -- work, wedlock, worship...and forgiveness, are not just slogans created for some clever marketing campaign. Nor is the proof merely anecdotal. They are basic principles that, when practiced, are proven to conquer myriad ills.
The data that reveals their effectiveness in reducing human suffering is available for all who care to know in a free website, FamilyFacts.org. www.FamilyFacts.org is a clearinghouse of useful, reliable information distilled from numerous studies and academic journals worldwide. The findings from lengthy reports are boiled down into bite-sized blocks that even the most jaded citizen, lofty politician or pontificating pundit can understand.
The following finding about fathers, for example, shows why BOND’s mission is so critical. It was published in the journal “Child Development” and compiled from samples of girls in the United States and New Zealand (followed from age 5 to about age 18):
“Even when controlling for differences in family background, father absence was associated with the likelihood that adolescent girls will be sexually active and become pregnant as teenagers. This association was strongest for daughters whose fathers were absent when they were younger. Compared with the pregnancy rates of girls whose fathers were present, rates of teenage pregnancy were 7 to 8 times higher among girls whose fathers were absent early in their childhoods and 2 to 3 times higher among those who suffered father-absence later in their childhood.”
If that doesn’t prove the need to rebuild the family by “rebuilding the man,” nothing does. And unless each of us is willing to play an active role in changing America back into a Culture of Belonging, we can expect more brokenness, more poverty, more shattered hearts and lives -- more rejection.
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