Here is a report that should not be a surprise to any Bible believer and yet should make America sit up and think. It is about the modern phenomenon of cohabitation without the benefit or commitment of marriage and the dark threat that it poses to many of our most vulnerable citizens. This report comes not from any right wing think tank but from MSNBC, which is, I believe, a fairly liberal organization. Listen carefully.
Six-year-old Oscar Jimenez Jr. was beaten to death in California, then buried under fertilizer and cement. Two-year-old Devon Shackleford was drowned in an Arizona swimming pool. Jayden Cangro, also 2, died after being thrown across a room in Utah. In each case, as in many others every year, the alleged or convicted perpetrator had been the boyfriend of the child's mother - men thrust into father-like roles which they tragically failed to embrace. Every family is different. Some single mothers bring men into their lives who lovingly help raise children when the biological father is gone for good. Nonetheless, many scholars and social workers who monitor America's families see the abusive-boyfriend syndrome as part of a broader, deeply worrisome trend. They note an ever-increasing share of America's children grow up in homes without both biological parents, and say the risk of child abuse is markedly higher in the nontraditional family structures.
"This is the dark underbelly of cohabitation," said Brad Wilcox, a University of Virginia sociologist. ‘Cohabitation has become quite common, and most people think, ‘What's the harm?' The harm is we're increasing a pattern of relationships that's not good for children."