America the Apostate--Shall we Repent or Surrender?
America 2013: Return of the Kinsman Redeemer?
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In the wake of Obama’s reelection, many patriotic citizens are asking themselves what is left of the America they believed existed before that fateful day. They were sure voters would hotly reject Barack and all his crazy failures. The hard reality is now beginning to sink in. America is apparently not as conservative as those on the right had hoped.
As confounding and scary as this reality may be, there is a silver lining in the whole situation—but one with a bracing message. America is not ruined forever, unless we—the intelligent, virtuous and educated—drop out and give up. We are still the envy of the world and the global hope for liberty. But we have become slothful, disengaged, and disdainful of our duties. Yet there is a way out of our current malaise and funk.
Obama delivered a beatdown in the electoral college, the Republicans are in disarray, and GOP members are beginning to cave on various issues, like taxes. So why are things not really over? Because where there is life, there is hope—or, as the Preacher says—better a live dog than a dead lion. The only deadly outcome from this election is for conservatives to give up our beliefs; or the conviction we can still be influential or even dominant players in the national debate. We must not give into the understandable impulse to surrender. Why? Because we have a responsibility the left cannot fathom: A non-delegable duty to be faithful to this nation in terms of keeping the message, in teaching, praying, etc. In fact, this incontrovertible responsibility is much like the duty of the Kinsman Redeemer, as described in the Book of Ruth, etc.
I. America’s Current State
America is currently in a state of deep flux, with a battle for hegemony now being waged between the forces of conservatism and progressives. At stake is ultimately who is the dominant society in the world, both in terms of trend setting, political persuasion and also for military influence. While conservatives mourn the reelection of a talentless socialist demagogue, we realize that our problems are much deeper and of our own making. Further, our economic, social, spiritual, foreign policy, and health problems all result from a refusal to accept facts that were once commonly held convictions in the US. In other words, we are suffering from a lack of faith and individual will.
The current state of America is startlingly bad and getting much worse, fast. Let’s take one example which highlights the effect of the loss of men of virtue standing in their traditional role—the breakdown of the American family. Let’s bear in mind that many of society’s ills result from fatherless children, including poverty, violence, and general dysfunction. Recently it was reported by the NY Times that more than half of children born to women thirty and under are born out of wedlock. So things are just getting worse. According to one source:
From 1901 to 1970, the divorce rate increased by 700%. In 1900 there were 56,000 divorces in America; in 1992 1.2 million, a 700% increase, adjusted for population growth. From 1970 to 1992, the divorce rate increased 279%; the number of children with a divorced parent increased 352%, the cohabitation population increased 533%, which means 2.7 million unmarried households, 40% of them containing children.
A. Being Fatherless Contributes to Violence
Violence statistics from broken homes reveal that:
- 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes
- 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes
- 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes
- 75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes
- 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes
- 85% of all youths sitting in prisons grew up in a fatherless home
Overall, fatherless kids are:
- 5 times more likely to commit suicide
- 32 times more likely to run away
- 20 times more likely to have behavioral disorders
- 14 times more likely to commit rape
- 9 times more likely to drop out of high school
- 10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances
- 9 times more likely to end up in a state-operated institution
- 20 times more likely to end up in prison.
B. Being Fatherless Contributes to Poverty
The single biggest cause of poverty in America is single-mother households. One source cites the following:
We know what the cause of poverty is in this country and, like it or not, it’s divorce and non-wedlock childbearing. We know that for every three divorces, one family ends up below the poverty line. The average woman with dependent children who ends up in poverty stays poor for eight months. The federal government pays for part of that, but states pay the balance. Divorce, by itself, is a major economic issue.
- The poverty rate for children living with cohabiting parents is five times that of children with married parents. The poverty rate for children living with single mothers is seven times that of children with married parents.
- The average married father annually contributes about thirty thousand dollars to the welfare of his children. The annual contribution of a non-custodial father averages about three thousand dollars yearly.
- Children who grow up with only one of their biological parents are three times more likely to have a child out of wedlock, 2.5 times more likely to become teenage mothers, and 1.4 times more likely to be out of school and unemployed.
- Daughters of single parents are 164% more likely to have a premarital birth and 92% more likely to have a divorce than daughters of married parents.
- According to a 1994 report in American Economic Review, those who leave welfare because of marriage are the least likely to return.
C. Being Fatherless Contributes to Danger to Children
One study indicates the radical danger being fatherless poses to children:
Father Factor in Child Abuse—Compared to living with both parents, living in a single-parent home doubles the risk that a child will suffer physical, emotional, or educational neglect. The overall rate of child abuse and neglect in single-parent households is 27.3 children per 1,000, whereas the rate of overall maltreatment in two-parent households is 15.5 per 1,000.
Daughters of single parents without a Father involved are 53% more likely to marry as teenagers, 711% more likely to have children as teenagers, 164% more likely to have a pre-marital birth and 92% more likely to get divorced themselves.
Adolescent girls raised in a 2 parent home with involved Fathers are significantly less likely to be sexually active than girls raised without involved Fathers.
Another study reported these facts:
Sexual abuse. A study of 156 victims of child sexual abuse found that the majority of the children came from disrupted or single-parent homes; only 31 percent of the children lived with both biological parents. Although stepfamilies make up only about 10 percent of all families, 27 percent of the abused children lived with either a stepfather or the mother’s boyfriend.
Child Abuse. Researchers in Michigan determined that “49 percent of all child abuse cases are committed by single mothers.”
- Married women are much less likely to be victims of violent crime than unmarried or divorced women. Only 14.4 married women per 1000 are victimized versus 60.6 never-married women per 1000 and 53.6 divorced or separated women per 1000.
- A cohabiting boyfriend is thirty-three times more likely to abuse a child than a married father who lives with the mother.
- A biological father who cohabits with the mother, but is not married to her, is twenty times more likely to abuse his own child than fathers who are married to the mothers of the child.
- Cohabiting women are more likely to suffer severe violence from their partners than are married women.
II. Outline of the Kinsman Redeemer
The notion of the Kinsman Redeemer is found in the Old Testament, both directly and by insinuation. The Hebrew term is described as, “The “nearest kinsman” or “kinsman redeemer” is a Goel. The word means to redeem, receive or buy back.” The notion is someone in a clan who is a wise overseer of means who is able and willing to stand in and help rescue the people of his own family when menaced. A splendid example is outlined in the Book or Ruth who resulted in a forebear in the line of Jesus. One author describes this role:
Male relative who, according to various laws found in the Pentateuch, had the privilege or responsibility to act for a relative who was in trouble, danger, or need of vindication. Although the term “kinsman-redeemer” is used only seven times in the NIV (all in the Book of Ruth) and “avenger of blood” is used twelve times, the Hebrew verb ga’al, from which both of these terms are translated, is used over 100 times and rendered by such additional terms as “redeemer” or “near relative.”
The idea here is that individuals in a family, even when making mistakes, or especially in a time of crisis, still have worth as individuals. This individual worth is by way of their tribal affiliation, and especially because of their standing as a child of Yahweh, God of the Old Testament. Another author describes this:
Provision was made in the Law of Moses for the poor person who was forced to sell part of his property or himself into slavery. His nearest of kin could step in and “buy back” what his relative was forced to sell (Leviticus 25:48). The kinsman redeemer was a rich benefactor, or person who frees the debtor by paying the ransom price. “If a fellow countryman of yours becomes so poor he has to sell part of his property, then his nearest kinsman is to come and buy back what his relative has sold” (Leviticus 25:25; Ruth 4:4, 6).
The nearest of kin had the responsibility of redeeming his kinsman’s lost opportunities. If a person was forced into slavery, his redeemer purchased his freedom. When debt threatened to overwhelm him, the kinsman stepped in to redeem his homestead and let the family live. If a family member died without an heir the kinsman gave his name by marrying the widow and rearing a son to hand down his name (Deuteronomy 25:5; Genesis 38:8; Ruth 3-4). When death came at the hands of another man the redeemer acted as the avenger of blood and pursued the killer (Numbers 35:12-34; Deuteronomy 19:1-3). Yahweh is the great Kinsman of His people. When their liberty was lost in Egypt, He rescued them from bondage. “I am the LORD . . . I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments” (Exodus 6:6).
So what is the importance of the Kinsman-Redeemer? There are several key facts here. First, that the most successful male members of a family have a duty to watch out for the welfare of the entire group, by way of their wisdom and good fortune. This responsibility has been placed upon them by God. Second, that individuals are never solo-units, but belong to a family that gives them their identity and history, and also owes them a certain debt of protection and instruction. Third, that this Old Testament leader is still active today as Christ is a Kinsman-Redeemer who then becomes a model in his salvation and wisdom and instruction for all His followers. A New Testament explanation is found in Galatians 4:4-5:
...but when the completion of the time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born a subject of the Law, to redeem the subjects of the Law, so that we could receive adoption as sons.
And, lest any think that a Kinsman-redeemer is an infallible parachute or a perpetual get-out-of-jail-free-card, this does not follow. Recall the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) whom Christ taught it was proper for a Father or Kinsman-redeemer to step away from his ward for a season of judgment, when the situation calls for this.
III. Kinsman Redeemer in American Society
It would appear that America circa 2013 has fallen from excellence in a remarkable and precipitous manner. This is not unprecedented in history, although the manner in which it occurred is perhaps unique. America has fallen because of several obvious reasons, chief most being the liberalizing of government and society, that is—introducing humanistic standards—against the backdrop of the church refusing her role as cultural guardian and watchdog of orthodoxy. No issue in America’s decline looms larger than that of liberalism, in all its manifest incarnations, growing and poisoning each discipline it enters and envelops like a malignant, toxic weed.
So how would a Kinsman-redeemer work in the previously mentioned section where the American family is imploding? First, the KR would set a standard of excellence in his own life and nuclear family. Second, he would take aside young fathers and tutor them in the art of fatherhood. Third, he would act as a go-between or counselor, or procure one, should the couple experience difficulties. And the KR would also step in when the family had financial difficulties of some kind, offering advice or even aid.
Consider now what a society driven, directed and instructed by a Kinsman-redeemer core would resemble. First, it would be forward directed because of the very nature of guardianship, being the need to lookout ahead for dangers and menaces. Second, it would be a virtue movement based upon the very premise of the notion that the KR would mimic Jesus. Third, it would encompass a kind of civil federalism, being covenantal and social, and seeking to build a hierarchy of leaders. Fourth, it would be for the preservative of wealth and property given the rather onerous demands of acting as a safety net for his whole family, and also the need to show others how to build wealth. Fifth, the schools—undoubtedly done at home—would offer an educationally sophisticated and organically evolving curriculum. Sixth, it would demand a classic set of purity sexual morals, given the costs of social malfeasance. Seventh, it would be a faith-based movement. Eighth, it would be a wisdom-driven affair seeking to create more KR’s for the coming generations.
How would such a movement be launched? One assumes a Chautauqua (a quorum) developed and an action planned outlined. Next would be a national convention to instruct and call for commitments of individuals. Finally a signed national covenant would be passed. This is meant to establish and develop a self-sustaining core of wise protectors who can inculcate each successive generation, teach the meaning of success, illustrate the perils of non-compliance and overall offer a model of servant leadership. More than anything this group would be last a vast, national salt storehouse—acting as a preservative and counter-culture to a society increasingly caught in a stultifying death-spiral.
Bottom line—can we really afford not to act any longer? If we do nothing about the fall of our culture, and refuse to accept we are in the death throes of Christian observance and public policy, we are simply dooming our children to failure and apostasy.