The family has been under attack for decades. It has been especially harmed in the past two years; the “Respect for Marriage Act” led many to proclaim the culture war permanently lost. But be of good cheer. The fight has just begun.
Today, Rep. Mary Miller and co-chairs Rep. Diana Harshbarger and Rep. Brian Babin are establishing the Congressional Family Caucus to defend the natural family from attempts to undermine and erode it.
“The natural family, a man and a woman committed for life to each other and to their children, was ordained by God as the foundation of our society,” Rep. Miller’s letter inviting members to join the caucus states. It continues:
The natural family is essential for a nation to prosper because the family is the root of self-government, service, community, and personal responsibility.
Today, we have too many hearts without God. Too many homes without fathers. And too many conservatives afraid to speak up. I believe we have a moral obligation as servant representatives to protect and conserve the family.
This is a groundbreaking development, if not the beginning of a counterrevolution.
Caucuses serve as a vehicle for like-minded members to meet, be educated on issues, hatch legislation, and act together to block actions detrimental to their cause. Other caucuses are dedicated to freedom, the unborn, or child abuse. But the new Family Caucus differentiates itself from existing caucuses with overlapping mandates by considering all Congressional action through the lens of the family—and not just any family, but the family under the authority of God, where marriage is between a man and woman committed to one another for life and the procreation and education of their children.
Well-intentioned members of Congress often lack the language, sometimes the courage, to confront the progressive anti-family, anti-natalist narrative. Many others are confused, as evidenced by “pro-life” politicians supporting the “Respect for Marriage Act.” The Family Caucus will be a platform for pro-family thinkers to share ideas with legislators, instilling them with self-confidence to better articulate a defense of the family.
The Family Caucus will bring forth legislation to chip away at programs that undermine the family as the basic cell of society, obstruct subsidiarity, and divide children from their parents. More importantly, it will be playing offense: supporting alternatives to abortion, building a pro-family economy, protecting families from government speech in education, and protecting the vulnerable. In the years ahead, new possibilities to defend and strengthen the family will become evident.
Viewing the family as part of God’s plan of creation tethers all its aspects to that plan: marriage, procreation, education, health, and more. It also demarcates legislators who want to act within the context of God’s plan for creation from those who choose to ignore it. Family is not conservative-versus-liberal football. Family is a matter of accepting God’s plan for creation or rejecting it. Legislating according to God’s plan does not pertain to one political party. It is incumbent on all.
We would like to imagine that the family is a bipartisan concern, but for the time being this will remain a far-off goal. The divergence among the political parties is reflected in The American Family Project’s “Family Sentiment Scorecard,” issued last September. It is questionable whether, in the long term, a political party identifying as anti-family can long endure.
Many years ago, Pope John Paul II wrote, “The well-being of society . . . [is] intimately tied to the good of the family.” Strong families teach love. They teach peace. They teach respect for others. What better remedy for our current civic discord?
As the mother of seven and grandmother of twenty, Rep. Miller is the ideal chair for the Family Caucus. Behind her infectious smile lies a strength of character to confront the battles ahead. Her co-chairs, Reps. Harshbarger and Babin, are equally pro-family. What about your representative in Congress?
Tom McDonough is executive director of The American Family Project, Inc.
First Things depends on its subscribers and supporters. Join the conversation and make a contribution today.
Click here to make a donation.
Click here to subscribe to First Things.
We launched the First Things 2023 Year-End Campaign to keep articles like the one you just read free of charge to everyone.
Measured in dollars and cents, this doesn't make sense. But consider who is able to read First Things: pastors and priests, college students and professors, young professionals and families. Last year, we had more than three million unique readers on firstthings.com.
Informing and inspiring these people is why First Things doesn't only think in terms of dollars and cents. And it's why we urgently need your year-end support.
Will you give today?