|Religious leaders concerned about high birth rate among unwed mothers|
Guardian Staff Reporter
Published: Feb 21, 2012
Several religious leaders expressed concern yesterday about the high rate of births to unwed mothers, which has doubled since 1970, according to information in the Birth Report 1970-2010, compiled by the Department of Statistics.
“It is not a good thing to have this high rate of children born out of wedlock,” said Bishop John Humes, national overseer of the Church of God.
According to the report, which details birth rates from 1970 to 2010, births to unwed mothers remain “the largest annual natural increase to the Bahamian population”.
“Births to unwed mothers in The Bahamas escalated in the past 40 years, from 29 percent in 1970 to a high of 62 percent in 2009. For the period 1990 to 2005, the annual birth trend, though high, leveled at 57 percent,” the report said.
“Four years later, births to single mothers advanced by five percentage points and declined to 59 percent of the national total in 2010.”
While Bishop Humes said he is not happy about the high rate, it is an imperative of the church to offer support to those young mothers.
He also encouraged young people, especially women, to be more careful when dealing with men.
“We also try to encourage our young men to get married because it is a healthier relationship for children to be born in a home both parents are in,” he said.
“That is the pattern that God designed for the preservation of mankind.”
Former President of the Bahamas Christian Council (BCC) Bishop Ros Davis said the country is reaping the effects of “what liberalization and modernization brings”.
“We are seeing the effects all the time, every day,” Davis said yesterday.
“Much of what we are experiencing now is the fringe of undisciplined lives, and so when a person thinks it’s ok to ignore what teachers say and do exactly what he thinks, this is what happens.”
Others like Bishop Victor Cooper Jr., vice president of the BCC agreed, saying it “speaks to people moving away from the traditional values of the church”.
Cooper said it is incumbent upon the church to hold forums with people so as to expose them to the values that Christians prescribe to.
“We believe that the family is an ordained institution by God; so there is a prescribed way that children ought to come into the world, not in a single parent home, but with both parents present.”