ON-Lion Letter
Patrick Fagan is the founder and director of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI).  Once a practicing psychologist, he moved into the field of public policy as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Family and Community Policy at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under President George H. W. Bush.

Fagan and MARRI recently announced the launch of Marripedia, an online social-science encyclopedia that makes research related to marriage, the family, sexuality, and religion accessible to the public.

"We're like a middleman between the academic research world and the lay public," Fagan told columnist Marcia Segelstein during an interview published in the Spring 2016 issue of Salvo magazine.  "Social science that's well done, using rigorous methods, large samples, and replication -- all the usual scientific criteria -- cannot but illustrate the way God made man.  It cannot but illustrate human nature, is another way of putting it.  There are variances across cultures, but there are also patterns that hold across cultures, across time, across families, across nations.

"There are two big lessons that come out of all the work on marriage, family, children, and child development that are sine qua non," he continues.  "The one that will be universally accepted is that children need love, which is attention and time.  Love is one of the key dimensions within the family.  Now, for love to be in the family, you need love between the parents.  The greater the love between the parents, the more likely there will be plenty of love within the family.  The second one is that the more people worship -- whether they're Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists -- the better they do on every outcome that we measure.

"I would reduce it to the two great loves:  the love of God, which in sociological terms would be frequency of worship; and the love of neighbor, the closest neighbor, of course, being spouse and children," Fagan says.  "So the two great loves would be religion and marriage.  When you look at all the different outcomes in the federal survey system -- and we looked at 140 different social outcomes -- you find that the intact married family that worships weekly is the core strength of the country on every outcome."

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee supports MARRI.
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