The Ring Does Matter, by Mike Ramey

Lots of good news was broadcast over the nation’s airwaves during the past few months. Drug use among young people decreased. More young adults are discovering the joys of marriage. The number of out-of-wedlock births is also trending downward.

Of the three, the social custom of marriage becoming increasingly “acceptable” shows that the social engineers, Washington think-tankers and liberal supporters of free sex without esponsibility were given a major black eye yet again.

No government programs are responsible for booming marriage rates. No filibusters occurred on the floor of the U.S. Senate to make this achievement possible. No proclamations from the White House encouraged people to step up to the altar.

Marriage is more acceptable now simply because too many people found the alternatives are not all that they are cracked up to be.

In my local church, one couple recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. Of course, the congregation gave these veteran honeymooners a round of applause. More important than the applause, however, was how the couple looked at one another with love and admiration.

A local insurance company recently began a campaign to promote marriage. Billboards are colorfully dotting the landscape, bearing the simple slogan: “Families: The Strength of the Community.” Right above the slogan are caricatures of a husband and wife holding a baby and two children nestled close to their parents.

In cities across the country, churches are forming coalitions to teach on the subject of marriage, and their teachings have been well received by hundreds of couples planning to take that trip down the aisle.

For a long time, it seemed our communities were shifting away from marriage. With this good news, however, it seems the message of “The Ring Does Matter” is getting out in force.

There is one problem yet to be solved. The current federal tax code actually penalizes married couples by making them pay more in taxes than an unmarried couple. A tax policy must be created that makes the institutions of marriage and family priorities rather than luxuries.

I am hopeful that, with all of us married couples letting Washington know we exist and that we can and do vote, our tax burdens will be reduced.

(Mike Ramey, a member of the National Advisory Council of the African-American leadership network Project 21, is a minister and columnist in Indianapolis, Indiana.)

Note: New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21.

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