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November 17, 2004

The Roe Effect « Stuff Important to Me »

James Taranto of Opinion Journal's Best of the Web has several tongue-in-cheek themes he vamps on often. One that seems sorta-serious, or serious in a facetious way, is his reminders of what he calls the Roe Effect.

In the 17 November edition of Best of the Web, he touches on it again. Let's tune in and see:

It's Catching On

The idea was born in this column in Jan. 2003, though we didn't name it the Roe effect until later. In the wake of President Bush's re-election, it's catching on. Creative Loafing Atlanta, an "alternative" weekly newspaper, features an interview with Ed Larson, a University of Georgia historian, who argues that religious people have an evolutionary advantage:

Who are the people having kids today? Immigrants, yes. That's one group. But among white, middle-class Americans, religious people are having children at a much higher rate. More and more and more children percentage-wise than non-religious people. There's a survival value in religious beliefs. They have a sense of purpose. They feel their mission in life is to multiply and be fruitful. The whole Darwinian concept--evolution--is on the side of evangelical Christians. They're growing by any measure.

National Public Radio's Eric Weiner has a report that makes the same point, relying largely on the work of Phillip Longman, author of "The Empty Cradle." Says Weiner: "Longman offers no specific advice for liberals about how to close the fertility gap, but if they don't know how to go about that, well, their problems probably extend well beyond the world of politics."

While I'm mostly convinced Mr. Taranto on to something, I do think he's putting the cart before the horse, at least with his citing of Mr. Weinar. See, having children has a profound impact on adults. First, you can no longer think of only yourself and your adult needs, you must start looking at the world as it will impact a toddler, a child, a pre-teen, an adolescent, and how you can minimize the negative influences, and how you can counter-act negative peer pressures. Then you start to think about what you want to teach your children about the world and the way it works. It's suddenly not enough that you have moral stances, you have to be able to justify and explain them to a child who really needs to know if they are going to internalize and accept. You begin to realize how powerful leadership-by-example is. The first time you hear your child use a curse word because you haven't been careful is humiliating and vexing.

The result of all this is that many people who went to church only casually when single or even married suddenly find weekly churchgoing a significant priority. I was struggling over how to teach my kids all about Christian concepts until my parents sent me our old family devotion book "More Little Visits With God". You'd be surprised how relevant 40-year-old Bible studies can be. Or maybe you wouldn't.

In any case, I guess what I'm saying is that it may not be that being religious and opposing abortion results in having more children, but rather it is entirely possible that having more children emphasizes to you the miracle of life so that you can no longer support abortion, and having children often leads one to rediscover or at least re-emphasize one's religious faith.

You heard it here first.*

*Okay, you probably didn't. But it makes a nice, emphatic closing statement. I'm all about emphatic closing statements.**

**Okay, I'm not, really. But I am today.

Posted by Nathan at 03:46 PM | Comments (1)

well Said!!

Posted by: Dean Crandley at March 1, 2005 07:14 PM
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