Earlier this month, the city of Chicago made headlines when 74 people were shot in a single weekend in numerous incidents and neighborhoods. As of today, 12 of those wounded have died.
Sadly, rampant crime in the Windy City is not a new phenomenon. During the July 4th holiday weekend in 2017, 101 people were shot, 14 of whom died.
For years, liberal commentators have been attributing the rise in violence to guns – or easy access to them, inadequate laws, insufficient government spending, drugs and the proliferation of gangs. Few, if any have raised the specter of the disintegration of the home as a major culprit in the city’s cultural collapse.
But Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, under extreme pressure for all side for his failure to curtail the crisis, finally said what many of us have been saying for years:
“This may not be politically correct,” he said, “but I know the power of what faith and family can do. … Our kids need that structure. … I am asking … that we also don’t shy away from a full discussion about the importance of family and faith helping to develop and nurture character, self-respect, a value system and a moral compass that allows kids to know good from bad and right from wrong.”
He went on to say: “If we’re going to solve this … we’ve got to have a real discussion … Parts of the conversation cannot be off-limits because it’s not politically comfortable … We are going to discuss issues that have been taboo in years past because they are part of the solution.… We also have a responsibility to help nurture character. It plays a role. Our kids need that moral structure in their lives. And we cannot be scared to have this conversation.”
Now, Rahm Emanuel is on the wrong side of many of the most important issues of our day. He has served two of our nation’s most liberal presidents – Mr. Clinton and Mr. Obama. He supports unfettered access to abortion and does not believe in a conservative biblical sexual ethic. Ironically, he has long championed politicians and policies that undermine the family. But in this instance, the Mayor is precisely correct – and he’s getting lambasted for his opinion.
Kwame Raoul, a Democratic candidate for state attorney general, chastised Mayor Emanuel this past week, saying, “I think for the mayor to make a generalization about a community is more than just misspoken, it’s outright wrong.”
With all due respect to Mr. Raoul, Chicago’s mayor is simply stating a fact. Social science continues to affirm that children of every race, creed and neighborhood fare better when raised in stable, loving households with a married mother and father.
Generally speaking, kids join gangs in search of acceptance and companionship. Since they don’t feel like they belong inside their homes, they find it outside – and bad things follow. It’s a similar story with drugs and other unhealthy behavior. Our children crave attention and a sense of significance. When it’s missing, they chase harmful forms of stimulation, like drugs, sex and violence.
Thank you, Mayor Emanuel. Focus on the Family stands ready to expand its outreach to the citizens of Chicago. Our team just returned this past weekend from there training 18 people in an effort to further expand our Raising Highly Capable Kids program. This outreach helps parents understand what foundational building blocks their children need to exhibit the positive behaviors – and avoid the negative behaviors – that will ultimately help them do well in life.
We would love to continue partnering with Chicago area churches, ministries, schools, community-based programs and government officials to bring our commonsense help to parents of the city.