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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Where Is Daddy?

On this Father’s Day, we celebrate a dying role. With all of the problems currently plaguing our culture—crime, violence, promiscuity, poverty, divorce, drug abuse, and so on—the one thing that we as a nation could do to remedy such things most quickly would be to return fathers to their families.

You’ve almost certainly heard the sad statistics when it comes to fatherhood in America. However, the stats continue to shock: as a recent Drudge headline noted, 60% of all families in Richmond VA are led by single parents, with the vast majority being fatherless. For black families in Richmond, a staggering 84% are led by single parents.

The numbers are similar in dozens of large cities (pop. 50,000+) all across America. From Savannah to Atlanta, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Baltimore, Hartford, Buffalo, Cleveland, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Detroit, more than half of all families are led by single parents, with the numbers for minorities—especially blacks, being significantly higher.

The demographics have been trending this way for decades. This begs the question, why? Why are so many American dads not married to and in the home with the mother of their children?

There are two scenarios to consider: the dads who divorce and the dads who never marry. Increasingly, it is the latter that is more common. In December of 2011, Pew Research revealed that, according to U.S. Census data, “Barely half of all adults in the United States—a record low—are currently married, and the median age at first marriage has never been higher for brides (26.5 years) and grooms (28.7)… In 1960, 72% of all adults ages 18 and older were married; today just 51% are.”

What’s more, again according to Pew Research, since 1997 the percentage of men ages 18 to 34 who say that having a successful marriage is important to them dropped from 35% to 29%. While for women in the same age group, the numbers rose from 28% to 37%. According to family and feminism expert Suzanne Venker, many men have decided never to get married because “women aren’t women anymore.”

And neither are men “men” anymore. “Ever since the sexual revolution” adds Venker, “there has been a profound overhaul in the way men and women interact.” With its lies about sex, parenting, and gender roles, the modern feminist movement that “birthed” (pun intended) the sexual revolution has been devastating to men and women alike.

Many men have been deceived into thinking that, among other things, they can have all the sex that they want without any real commitment or other consequences. Thus, it is little wonder that so many men bought into the modern feminist lies. With the explosion of pornography and the hook-up culture, and with little societal stigma to engaging in such behavior, far too many men have allowed themselves and the roles that they were created to fulfill to be cast aside. Ironically, this has led to a “neutering” of the American male. 

Many women have been deceived into thinking that, among other things, they are no different than men and can have careers and children without marriage or devout motherhood. (Certainly not all women with careers are unfit mothers, but being successful at both can be overwhelming.) Thus we end up with women in combat and many attempting or being forced to be the “breadwinners” (the vast majority of whom are poor single mothers) of the family. For the first time in American history, women outnumber men in the workforce and more women than men are obtaining college degrees.

And many women today who do marry are doing so much later and are having one child (or at most two) as they attempt to postpone, or at least “balance,” motherhood with careers. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, in 1970 only 1% of U.S. births were to women 35 and older. Today that rate has increased nearly 10-fold.

Such data is especially true for white women. While the marriage rate in the U.S. is much higher for whites than for other ethnic groups, the childbirth rate is devastatingly low. So much so that, according to the U.S. Census Bureau for the calendar year ending 2012, for the first time in U.S. history more whites died than were born.

Thus, it’s not just fatherhood that is dying, but motherhood as well. And it’s not just the men and women (and the millions of children such relationships produce) who have been deceived into living such lies who suffer. What we are seeing here is the death of the traditional (biblical) family, and when the family dies, that will herald the end of our republic.   

(See this column on American Thinker.)

Copyright 2013, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World

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