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Can Churches Save the American Family? What New Research Shows About Religion’s Effect on Fatherhood and Academic Achievement

Monday December 2001

Panelists: Byron Johnson, Ph.D., Adjunct Fellow, Manhattan Institute; Director, Center for Research on Religion and Urban Civil, Society, University of Pennsylvania
W. Bradford Wilcox, Ph.D., Author, Good Dads: Religion, Civic Engagement and Paternal Involvement in Low-Income Communities
Mark D. Regnerus, Ph.D., Author, Making the Grade: The Influence of Religion Upon Academic Performance of Youth in Disadvantaged Communities

Much of the recent debate over the President’s Faith-based Initiatives proposal focused on whether specific faith-based programs held much promise in curing our social ills. Too often the debate overlooked a simple, yet important, question: to what extent does religious belief and activity, in and of itself, encourage socially responsible behavior?

Recent research shows that religious youths are less likely to take drugs or commit serious crimes. Now two new studies document the positive effect of religious belief and activity on fathering practices and student academic achievement.

The presentation of this new research will be followed by a roundtable forum moderated by Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow John J. DiIulio Jr., the former Director of the President’s Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives. Please join Dr. DiIulio and the other panelists for an engaging and open discussion.