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Leadership for America

Family & Religion

To sustain freedom and the common good, family and religion are central

Read more about Family & Religion

Statement of Purpose

The married family plays an important part in promoting economic opportunity: children raised by never-married mothers are seven times more likely to be poor when compared to children raised in intact married families. Meanwhile, religious institutions and individuals form the backbone of America’s thriving civil society, providing for the welfare of individuals more effectively than government programs. Yet the role of these institutions in maintaining ordered liberty is poorly understood, and policy and social developments have factored in undermining their important contributions.


  1. 1.Cultivate an environment in which the permanent institutions of family and religion can flourish and fulfill their role in maintaining ordered liberty in America.

  2. 2.Develop the best research and accompanying rhetoric that will strengthen and unify the current pro-family constituency and win over new target audiences to preserve the institution of traditional marriage and restore the family to its central role.

  3. 3.Unite religious and economic conservatives more effectively around the goal of restoring the family to its central role, both legally and culturally, and reviving religious liberty.

  4. 4.Shape a healthy public discourse that appreciates the historic and continuing significance of religion and moral virtue in American civic life.

Experts From This Initiative

  • Jennifer A. Marshall Jennifer A. Marshall

    A vice president of The Heritage Foundation, Jennifer A. Marshall runs the think tank’s Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity. In...

  • Robert Rector Robert Rector

    Robert Rector, a leading authority on poverty, welfare programs and immigration in America for three decades, is The Heritage Foundation’s s...

  • Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D. Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D.

    Ryan T. Anderson researches and writes about marriage and religious liberty as the William E. Simon senior research fellow in American princ...

  • Katherine Bradley Katherine Bradley

    Katherine "Kiki" Bradley focuses on family and societal issues, with particular attention to welfare policy, as a Research Fellow in...

  • Thomas M. Messner

    Thomas M. Messner researches and writes about religious liberty, right of conscience, nondiscrimination laws and the definition of marri...