Natalists?

Here’s a link to an interesting article about large families and their growing popularity among Christians. Back to the Future: The Growing Movement of Natalism Or read it below.

This article was posted by a fellow member on Christian Moms of Many Blessings. Enjoy!

Back to the Future: The Growing Movement of Natalism
By Paul Strand
Washington Sr. Correspondent

CBN.com – MCKINNEY, Texas – Is this the future face of American conservativism? Just ask Pastor Pat Hurd. He is a father of, count them, 11 children. They live in a growing suburb of Dallas/Fort Worth, called Weatherford, Texas. Ranging in age from two to 21, the Hurd family represents what some are calling a new demographic movement – Natalism.

Father Hurd says, “I think that’s what God commands us to do — to raise them to think biblically, and to see the world biblically. They’re going to vote biblically. They’re going to go out into society, and impact culture in a very few generations. It’s already happening. Even in our family we have three voters, so we have three registered voters — voting children, and it’s just going to keep increasing.”

Worldwide, birth rates are plunging in places like Western Europe, Latin America and many U.S. cities. Nationwide, people are marrying later and having fewer children. But in some of the fastest growing regions of the country, like the Great Plains and the Southwest, fertility is on the rise.

People are having three, four or more kids. Who are these people and what is causing them to buck the trend? They are a growing number of Americans that New York Times columnist David Brooks calls Natalists.

Rod Dreher is assistant editorial page editor for The Dallas Morning News, and a self-proclaimed Natalist. He says, “It’s an attitude, it’s a sensibility where families are open to life, open to children, open to large families.”

Dreher continues, “Because we’re Christians, we believe our commandment is to be fruitful and multiply. We think children are a positive good. They are not just another notch on the debit sheet. We believe they are given to us by God, and that big families are what God would have us to do.”

Dreher and his wife Julie have two children, for now. They moved to Dallas from Manhattan in 2003.

“We wanted to have more kids,” says Dreher, “and we wanted to have kids in an environment that was family-friendly, that supported our faith and our moral values, and, indeed, our political values. So we came down here to Dallas, which is my wife’s hometown, because we knew we could afford to live here. And we knew this is a place, a culture, where we could be openly Christian and be part of the mainstream. That’s not the case in NYC.”

He adds, “Finally, you think, why am I putting up with this? Let’s just go to ‘red’ America.”

In a world that is not always friendly to raising large families, it is easy to see why many Americans are fleeing the city for what the census bureau calls “micropolitan areas.” These are areas with at least 10,000 residents, but fewer than 50,000, areas that are quite simply, more in sync with pro-family/natalist values.

And judging from the 2004 presidential election, the political implications are obvious.

According to a Virginia Tech study, President Bush won 474 of the nation’s 573 micropolitan areas, taking 61 percent of the vote. What is more, the American Conservative reports that George W. Bush carried the 19 states with the highest white fertility rates, while John Kerry won the 16 states with the lowest.

For many moms like Melissa Husted of Fort Worth, what is most important is having a safe environment for her three kids to grow up in.

Husted says, “I think, even more, I would like to get even further away. I don’t want to isolate my kids from everyone, but I want to be very particular about who my kids associate with.”

More and more families like the Husteds are escaping the big city for towns like McKinney, population 90,000. The 2000 census identified McKinney as one of the fastest growing cities in the United States.

But McKinney is just one of many towns from the Southwest to the Sunbelt that are growing like gangbusters. Now what is fueling their amazing growth? They are simply a great place to raise kids.

Phyllis Davis works for Ebby Halladay Realtors in Collin County, Texas. She describes where she lives in McKinney as, “This little subdivision called Mayberry, of all things. So you have a real harkening back to roots, which is kind of all of McKinney looking for that home town atmosphere.”

She continues, “The idea of moving here, to have a place to raise a family, is probably uppermost in most peoples’ decisions.”

And if you are looking for a great place to raise big families, Davis says you cannot beat the lifestyle in places like McKinney.

According to the Web site realtor.com, a $100,000 salary in liberal Manhattan buys you only as much as a $38,000 salary in conservative Pinehurst, North Carolina. Likewise, a couple working in San Francisco earning $100,000 between them can afford just as much in Cedar City, Utah if the husband finds a $44,000 a year job, and then mom can stay home with the kids!

For Natalists like the Husteds, it is not just about issues like lower taxes. It is about attitudes, and priorities like home schooling and church attendance. And it is about what really is most important in life to them, preparing their children for the future.

Melissa said, “We are fighting a war, and it is cultural, but it is also spiritual in nature. We look at the world with a different mindset. We think generationally. We’re not going to win this culture war in our generation, but God is building his arm when you see your little four-year-old running around and putting things in VCRs and such as that. Those are the little soldiers and we’re going to grow them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and they will be the soldiers of the next generation who will fight the, you know, the coming hostilities that are apparent even now, toward Christianity.”

So people moving wherever they have to, wherever they need to, to get back to old-fashioned family values, seems to be the newest wave in American culture.

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