By Dr. Michael T. RossThe Detroit News

For decades, Michigan’s leaders have trumpeted great plans to revitalize Metro Detroit.

Compelling physical structures have transformed the Detroit skyline, such as the Renaissance Center, Riverfront Towers, One Detroit Center, Lions and Tiger stadiums, 150 W. Jefferson, Greektown Casino Hotel and Westin Book Cadillac, to name a few.

Nevertheless, the birthplace of the worldwide automotive industry remains in shambles.

In 2013, Detroit earned the top spot on Forbes’ List of America’s Most Miserable Cities.

Since Detroit first became a top 10 American city in 1910, and grew to be fourth largest U.S. city for 30 years, Michigan leaders have lost their way, raising brick and mortar for money and power rather than building up the institutions that propelled the ascent of American greatness: marriage and family.

Motown grows ever more broken because the guardians, defenders and stewards of Lady Liberty broke fidelity with the declaration our founders vowed and enshrined in our U.S. Constitution, particularly Article I Section 10 and Amendments I, V, VII, IX, XIII, & XIV, that safeguard “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

The social welfare paradigm that yokes Metro Detroit citizenry is a one-two punch of state sponsored economic slavery setting man against woman: uniform No Fault Divorce on demand financed by Title IV Social Security entitlements.

The statistics overwhelm and depress even the religiously sanguine:

  • Since 1980 over a half million residents have left — 42 percent of Detroit’s population, and the city struggles through the worst municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.
  • Only 8.5 percent of Detroit households are married with minor children and just 21 percent of Detroit households are married couples.
  • Eighty percent of Detroit’s babies are born out of wedlock.
  • Only 17 percent of Motown’s babies will reach adulthood in a married household.


In Highland Park, home of the first Ford plant, 90 percent of babies are born out of wedlock.

In Michigan, the divorce/marriage ratio is 63 percent with unwed births soaring from 50 to 90 percent in many cities.

Today, El Paso, Texas, which is about the same size as Detroit, is the safest large city in America — four years running.

Its divorce rate dropped by 80 percent in five years.

Crime and violence plummeted.

A key aspect of the El Paso Miracle is how clergy of all faiths agreed to safeguard marriage and family life by recruiting and training married couple volunteers to mentor other couples with five marriage life ministries in their congregations: marriage preparation; marriage enrichment; crisis marriage restoration; reconciliation of separated and divorced couples; and step-family support.

Baptist business leader Barney Field, who initiated the interfaith effort to rebuild El Paso, will keynote our Metro Detroit leadership conference on April 7 with his address, “Restoring Marriage & Family Life in 2014.”

Other speakers address how the faith community can promote and strengthen marriages while preventing divorce and cohabitation.

We invite Metro Detroit to join us for renewal of our region, justice for children, and prosperity for all Michigan.

More information is available at our website, and one can register online there.

Michael T. Ross, president and founder of Defending Our Fathers House, which works “to establish the legal and institutional integrity of marriage and family.”