Author of new book on Christianity and culture pegs family as the key to renewal
By Brian Caulfield, FFG Editor
If the right timing can make a bestseller, then the new book by James Robison and Jay W. Richards has hit the literary jackpot. Though they couldn’t have planned it when the publication date was set last year, their book Indivisible – about the need for Christians to stand up against an aggressively secular culture – was released just as the controversy between the U.S. bishops and the Obama administration was heating up over a mandate for providing contraceptive services in health insurance plans. Catching the winds of the media storm, the authors wound up on numerous radio and TV shows to talk about Indivisible, and now they are engaged in a nationwide bus tour to promote their book.
Robison is an evangelical Protestant and Richards is a recent convert to the Catholic faith. Reflecting that diversity, the book was released by Christian publisher Faith Words (New York) and Ignatius Press (San Francisco), the Catholic media giant. A preface to the Ignatius edition was written by Jesuit Father Joseph Fessio.
Fathers for Good caught up with author Richards by phone while he and his family were in New York for a “Fox & Friends” TV appearance, and as they prepared for the national bus tour. We spoke about a series of chapters in the book related to family, marriage, fatherhood and bringing up children in a secular culture. His main point in the book, Richards explained, is that the social and economic issues cannot be conveniently separated in the real world.
“The fundamental institution of our society is marriage between one man and one woman,” he claimed. “We have always treated marriage as a social institution, and it is, but there is a wide range of studies now indicating that it is also the underpinning of our economic life as well. There is a huge positive economic effect when a man and woman bond together and stay together as they bring children into the world. In fact, the health of families is the Number One predictor of childhood poverty, based on whether there is a father living in the home.”
Richards was a well-known evangelical writer for many years before he and his wife of 21 years, Ginny, entered the Catholic Church three years ago. He said that once he began studying the history of Christianity and the writings of Church Fathers, he realized the context for Scripture that he never saw as a Protestant.
“I have come into the fullness of the faith,” he said. “There are many things that I owe to my evangelical upbringing, but I knew I had to follow the fullness of truth into the Catholic Church.”