While standing in line waiting to check out earlier today I happened to notice that the family in front of me were in the midst of their second annual family reunion. They had it written on the back of their matching shirts. Just as I was about to go back to listening to some music one of the younger ones ran past me with an adult in hot pursuit.
That’s when I saw what was written on the front of the shirt. Right under a pair of praying hands was the sentence “the family that prays together stays together”. Now I’ve heard that sentence more than a few times over the years, but today was the first day I really paid attention to it. I was struck by exactly what is being implied towards us non-believers.
If we don’t pray not just as individuals, but with our families, we run the risk of seeing or causing the destruction of our families.
I suppose it’s meant as benign, but since most believers are taught from the cradle to the grave that we non-believers are one step from being axe-murderers, I’m not too sure. So, I looked up where the sentence came from and how the believers use it.
It seems to have started with a priest back in 1943 and is always used to to degenerate non-praying families and cast blame for anything that goes wrong in family life and society. It’s not benign IMHO.
The funny thing is, guess who’s more prone to divorce. Conservative Christians who also tend to be the ones who throw this sentence around.
A recent study by the Barna Group concluded that 34 percent of non-denominational conservative Christians are divorced as are 29 percent of Baptists. Other Christian groups weigh in around 20 to 25 percent.
To top matters off, one author has said that nearly 90 percent of divorces amongst conservative Christians happens after they’re “saved”.
On the other hands, we non-believers have the lowest percentage of divorces when compared to Christians and Jews. We weigh in at 21 percent.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against divorce. I’m divorced from my first husband and frankly wish one of my sisters would leave that louse she’s shackled to. Divorce is not, IMHO, a bad thing by default. It can be the best thing to happen to some one or some couple.
What I have a problem with is being told in so many words that I’m doing something harmful to my family by not praying to a being I do not believe exists. That’s pretty offensive in my book.
I wonder what they’d think if we all started wearing shirts that say “the family that sleeps in different beds ends up sleeping in different houses”. Group sleeping is the thing to do in some parts.