Political correctness (PC) first it hit college campuses. Now it's hitting television. The networks are using prime-time programming to promote politically correct issues. In PC TV, we're treated to programs like "The Torkelsons," a show about single-parent families. What a contrast to the 1950s, when millions of Americans gathered around their black-and-white television sets to watch Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, with their two sons. Ozzie and Harriet became a symbol for the traditional family. But now, we're told, the traditional family is gone. Television must portray what are called "new social realities." "The Torkelsons" executive director told reporters that, after all, only 1 in 10 American families is traditional anymore. One in 10? Statistics can be used to prove anything, it is said. And this is a prime example. Because that statistic is just about as cooked as any I've seen. Let's analyze it. According to the Family Research Council, the 10 percent figure is based on an artificially narrow definition of the traditional family: one where Dad works, Mom's a housewife, and they have two--just two--children at home. That definition excludes all kinds of people who aspire to traditional family values. It excludes young couples, whose family is still in the planning stage. It excludes families where the mother works part time. It excludes people like President and Mrs. Bush, who are quite traditional but have more than two children. It excludes grandmothers and grandfathers whose children are grown and married. What about you? Does your family fall within the narrow definition of breadwinner, full-time homemaker, and precisely two children at home? If not, you and yours are lumped in the same category as homosexual couples, unmarried partners, and communes. My own family suffers the same fate. I have three children instead of two; and they've married and moved out. After the sexual revolution of the `60s, the number of traditional families did decline. But it remains a whole lot higher than 10 percent. So why was that statistic cooked up? It seems almost deliberately contrived to make people think the traditional family is dying out. There's no doubt that certain folks would like to see the family die out: gay rights activists, radical feminists, sexual libertines. And if they can make it look that way, well, they've won half the battle. Because people are less motivated to fight for a losing cause. If people think traditional families are only a fraction of the population, then government policy and public opinion will become more accepting of alternative life-styles. Even Christians may find it harder to sacrifice to do what's right if they think they stand all alone. So the next time you hear some expert cite that 10 percent statistic, don't be taken in. Remember it's based on an artificial definition of the family. The fact is that a majority of Americans hold traditional values regarding family life. The good news is, that majority seems to be growing. Fortune magazine recently ran a computer analysis and discovered a burst of stories about the comeback of the traditional family. As the baby boomers mature, it seems they are rediscovering the wisdom of committed, stable family life.


Chuck Colson



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