Amid all of the ridiculous politicization of the gun angle in the wake of Sandy Hook, and even a few calls for a national discussion on mental illness (one more back door for tyrannies, many), why is there so little discussion—or even mention—of what acquaintances of Adam Lanza are calling the turning point in his life: his parents’ divorce?
The Daily Mail reports,
Family friends said Lanza’s problems started to escalate when his parents divorced in 2008 after 18 years together.
His father Peter, a wealthy executive for General Electric, who is believed to earn $1 million a year, moved out of the family home in 2006, citing ‘irreconcilable differences’. . . .
One of Lanza’s former classmates spoke of his ‘noticeable decline’ after his parents’ divorce. ‘He was a loner at school and hyper intelligent,’ he said. ‘But in recent years he disappeared off the radar.
[product id=”1230″ align=”left” size=”small”]’The word is that he was badly affected when his parents split and that might be what pushed him over the edge.
‘He was always weird but the divorce affected him. He was arguing with his mother. He was a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.’
There is very little public discussion, awareness, or education on the effects of divorce upon the children of divorcees. There may be tons of psychological research done on it, but if so, it hardly penetrates into the public sphere.
In this particular tragedy, several news outlets even combed through the parents’ divorce papers, but missed the elephant in the room. They gleaned all kinds of factual data about the mother and father from those papers, but made no point at all about the impact of the divorce itself.
Divorce rates began to spike in the U.S. in the mid-1960s. Feminist and humanist activism in law and the courts, not to mention culture in general, infused the atheistic, marxist attack on the traditional family into family law through the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) and the American Bar Association.
In 1969, NAWL wrote and pushed a “no fault divorce” law in California. It passed, and was signed by then-governor Ronald Reagan, making Cali the first no-fault divorce state. By 1985, all but one state (NY) had followed suit.
The divorce rate has since quadrupled. According to one researcher:
Married adults now divorce two-and-a-half times as often as adults did 20 years ago and four times as often as they did 50 years ago… between 40% and 60% of new marriages will eventually end in divorce. . . . Perhaps 25% of children ages 16 and under live with a stepparent.(1)
Even now, as we hear that this was the turning point for Adam Lanza—the tipping point, after which he went from odd and awkward to murderous—the new reports contain absolutely no discussion of this crucial factor. Why not? [product id=”1508″ align=”right” size=”small”]
We hear no discussion at all in the media of the need for the presence of a strong and loving father. None. The concept is laughed at, tossed aside in TV shows to be replaced by the portrayal of homosexuals, independent women, single mothers, and womanizing men as healthy lifestyles.
When a husband-wife couple is portrayed, inevitably the male is a dolt, a clown, or an adolescent in a grown man’s body, while the female is the smart go-getter who keeps him in line and holds everything together.
Today we tolerate easy divorce and don’t even stop to question the effects of this on the children involved or on society in general. We have tolerated it for so long the question has been forgotten and replaced by more “progressive” social questions. We—including Christians and conservatives—are culturally desensitized to divorce. Between work and home, I drive by billboards advertising easy divorce legal services for a few hundred dollars. You can buy DIY divorce software in a box for $49.95.
The legal system used to force struggling married couples to try to work through their differences. This meant confronting personality clashes, selfishness, stubbornness, and many other failures. This is the refining, sanctifying fire of marriage. Divorce would only be granted when one party victimized the other through abuse or adultery, and the other party sued for the fault.
This was Jesus’ position, and Paul’s. Old Testament law allows the death penalty for adulterers. God is far more serious about marriage and divorce than most modern Christians and conservatives are willing to hear.
When our former legal system was replaced by no-fault divorce, couples no longer have social pressure to improve themselves and their relationships. They can quit at the slightest quibble, calling it an “irreconcilable difference.” Thus, a powerful sanctifying power is removed from society. And this means that we have society composed of many people who, when confronted with certain personal deficiencies, rather than go through much soul-searching, gave up on psychological or spiritual growth—and thus, we have adolescents in grown-up bodies. This is a much condensed account of this phenomenon, but it must be said to begin with. [product id=”1244″ align=”left” size=”small”]
It’s time we reignited the discussion of the social importance of the traditional family. This discussion must begin with Christians and in churches across America. We are up in arms over the homosexual marriage question, and rightfully so. But that issue is merely the current wave atop a deep dark raging sea of social dysfunction. The roots of the problems lie in the way Christians and churches have allowed the state to redefine marriage and family already, and have willingly broken the power of their families through various means, including tolerating easy divorce, public education, wicked media, and more.
The personal and social effects of this are enormous. I can speak from experience, as a child of divorced parents. It’s time churches and Christian leaders make this a very loud and prominent social issue.
There is of course, much more that needs to be said here. My purpose at this point is to raise the issue to the fore.
- Brian K. Williams, Stacy C. Sawyer, Carl M. Wahlstrom, Marriages, Families & Intimate Relationships, 2005.(↩)