The Decline of Fatherhood In America

by Mike Willis

The United States is rapidly becoming a fatherless society. Dan Davenport reported, “In 1960, 5.8 million American kids lived in single-parent families. Today, that number has more than tripled, to an astonishing 18 million. Another figure is equally startling: nearly 40 percent of our children do not live in the same home as their biological father” (Better Homes and Gardens [June 1996], 46).

David Blankenhorn re-ported, “About one-third of all childbirths in the nation now occur outside of marriage. In most of these cases, the place for the father’s name on the birth certificate is simply left blank. In at least two or every three cases of unwed parenthood, father is never legally identified” (Fatherless America 10). Another wrote that “27.1 percent of all American children are born into single-parent homes, a number that is on the rise. In the black community, that figure is an astounding 68 percent” (Critical Issues [I:2], “Family Values,” Web address: http://www.leaderu.com/critical/family.html).

When Dan Quayle called our attention to this issue by commenting on the Murphy Brown sitcom in which the leading character decided to bear a child outside of wedlock, he was soundly attacked by Hollywood. The New York Daily News headline that reported on Quayle’s Murphy Brown speech was titled “Quayle to Murphy Brown: You Tramp!” However, more and more sociologists are reaching the same conclusion — Dan Quayle was right!

The Impact of Fatherless Homes

Enough time has elapsed since the social revolution of the 1960s that sociologists are able to critically analyze the impact of the breakdown of fatherhood on the lives of the children. Here are some of their findings:

• Poverty. “Over half of all children living with a single mother are living in poverty: a rate five to six times that of kids living with two parents.”

• General Health Problems: “An Australian study of over 2,100 adolescents found that teens from disrupted families had more general health problems, were more likely to display signs of emotional problems, and were more like to be sexually active than kids from intact families.”

• Child Abuse: “Child abuse is significantly more likely to occur in single parent homes than in intact families. In a study of 156 victims of child sexual abuse by the U.S. Department of Justice, the majority of the children were found to come from disrupted or single-parent homes. Only 31 percent of the children lived with both natural parents.”

• Crime: “Children from single parent homes are more likely to get involved in crime than those growing up in traditional homes. Robert Rector, a policy analyst for the Heritage Foundation, has found that across the economic spectrum, children from single-parent households are more involved in crimes and drug than kids form two-parent homes. `The most accurate indicator of future delinquency in children is whether they are reared in one or two parent homes’ (Critical Issues [I:2], “Family Values,” Web ad-dress: http://www.leaderu.com/critical/family.html).

These conclusions concur with those of Blankenhorn in his book Fatherless America.

• Violence: “. . . fatherlessness is a primary generator of violence among young men… Surveys of child well-being repeatedly show that children living apart from their fathers are far more likely than other children to be expelled or suspended from school, to display emotional and behavioral problems, to have difficulty getting along with their peers, and to get in trouble with the police” (31). “Boys raised by traditionally masculine fathers generally do not commit crimes. Fatherless boys commit crimes” (30).

• Poverty: “In married-couple homes in the United States in 1992, about 13 percent of all children under the age of six lived in poverty; in single-mother families, about 66 percent of young children lived in poverty — a ratio of 5 to 1” (42).

• Domestic Violence Against Women: “Of all violent crimes against women committed by intimates during this period, about 65 percent were committed by either boy-friends or ex-husbands, compared with 9 percent by husbands” (35). The situation of a divorced woman con-trolling the husband’s right to see his children, a live-in boyfriend (or husband), resentment for the divorce and child support payments, feeling powerless to change it — all of these created a combustible atmosphere that frequently results in violence against women.

• Child Sexual Abuse: “A number of studies have shown that girls living with non-natal fathers [boyfriends and stepfathers] are at higher risk for sexual abuse than girls living with natal fathers” (41). “. . . a young child left alone with mother’s boyfriend experiences substantially elevated risks of abuse” (Idem.).

• Adolescent Child Bearing: Garfinkel and McLanahan’s study of fatherless homes reported that “daughters of single parents are 53 percent more likely to marry as teenagers, 111 percent more likely to have children as teenagers, 164 percent more likely to have a premarital birth, and 92 percent more like to dissolve their own marriages” (46).

Messages We Are Sending About Fatherhood

Our culture is sending distinct messages about father-hood in a number of ways. Television portrays fatherhood in a number of ways. Consider the role of fathers as portrayed in the following programs:

*Murphy Brown: The man is only necessary for sperm to conceive a child. After the child has been conceived, the man is not needed or wanted in the life of the mother.

*The Cosby Show: The man is portrayed as a “Father Knows Worst” type of guy, with the brains for knowing how to run the family clearly residing in the mother.

*Archie Bunker: The man is portrayed as an ignorant, prejudiced tyrant over the family.

We are sending the message to our children that divorce is a normal part of life. In divorce, the mother gets the custody of the children, the father sends child support payments and visits on every other week-end, and the divorced mother and father go on happily in their lives. Parents who divorce with hostility are encouraged to learn how to have a happy divorce. Not ever is the message being sent that divorce is not the solution to family problems. Even in the best divorces, both parents remarry and go their separate ways. The father is consumed with the responsibilities of his new family and his children see less and less of him. Within a couple of years, his children will rarely see him.

Restoring the Role of Fatherhood

In the darkness created by the deterioration in the home, Christians have a wonderful opportunity to display the light of the gospel, both in word and by example.

The word of the gospel is that God ordained that children be raised in the home of their natural mother and father. When God created the world, he created the home. Children were to be raised by Adam and Eve, not some state agency, a day-care center, a grandparent or close friend, but by the biological parents who conceived them (Gen. 2:18-25). The home is not a temporary arrangement for sexual gratification that is cast aside when the “new” wears off. Rather, the gospel announces that marriage is a life-time commitment between a man and woman (Rom. 7:1-6). It is to last “until death do us part.” This stable home is the best environment in which to rear children. Christians need to be preaching at every opportunity what God reveals about the home. The darkness of the world around us with reference to the family should cause each of us to preach what God reveals on the home to our friends and neighbors.

We can display the light of the gospel in our own homes. When father and mother love each other, accept their respective roles of husband/father and wife/mother in the home, and bring up God-fearing children, their home will be a refreshing oasis in the midst of troubled homes. Their children will not be troublemakers at school; they will show respect for their teachers and principals. They will learn their lessons and move on into higher education or specialized job training so that they can assume the roles of parents in their own homes. In contrast to the children of broken homes, this family will be an exemplary role model for others. Non-Christians will see the family of Christians and be drawn toward the God of the gospel who revealed how to have Christian homes.

Other messages about manhood emphasize that father-hood is being respectfully discharged so long as the child support payments are paid in a timely fashion and occasionally the father makes time to visit his children. The father is especially good if he is a “Disney World Father,” one who takes his child to an amusement park on week-ends or otherwise buys the children things the mother cannot afford. Can the role of “fatherhood” be satisfied by a man who visits for a few hours every other weekend?

Guardian of Truth XLI: 12 p. 1
June 19, 1997

Did The Jews Kill Jesus?

Harold Fite

In the Houston Chronicle, Saturday, May 23, 1997, under the heading, “Roman Catholics Reassess Biblical Portrayal of Christ,” Julia Duin wrote of the efforts of the Roman Catholic Church to absolve the Jews of responsibility in the death of Christ.

To believe that the Jews crucified Christ is to be accused by them of anti-Semitism. The Catholics are feeling the pressure, and for the past several years have been withdrawing statements from Catholic textbooks that could be construed as anti-Semitic.

Continue reading “Did The Jews Kill Jesus?”

Non-Traditional Marriages

by Heath Rogers

In Matthew 19, Jesus was asked a question concerning divorce. In responding to this question, Jesus went back to the beginning (Gen. 2) and taught God’s law concerning marriage. “And He answered and said to them, ‘Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning “made them male and female,” and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate'” (vv. 4-6). Notice the application of Jesus’ teaching to some common practices among us today.

Same-Sex Marriage. A couple of years ago, a handful of states began to recognize same-sex unions. While we acknowledge the fact that individual states may define and redefine marriage from a legal standpoint, the Bible teaches that marriage is a right that is given to us by God-not the state. As such, God has the final say concerning what constitutes a marriage. Jesus said that God “made them male and female.” God intended for marriage to be between a man and a woman, not between two members of the same sex. Same-sex or homosexual marriage is contrary to God’s law. As such, it is a sin.

Polygamy. This is the practice of having two or more wives at one time. In the passage quoted above, Jesus showed that polygamy was not a part of God’s marriage plan either. Jesus said that a man shall be joined to his wife (singular) and that the two (not three or more) shall become one flesh. Thus, marriage is between one man and one woman.

I have had people challenge this conclusion by pointing out the fact that there were men in the Old Testament who had multiple wives. King David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 13:14), and he had multiple wives. Solomon was the wisest and wealthiest king of Israel, and he had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3). How can one claim that polygamy is against God’s will? For one, the Law of Moses clearly stated that the kings were not to multiply their wives (Deuteronomy 17:17). The fact that some of them disregarded this instruction does not mean that it was right before God. Secondly, the example of Solomon is far from an endorsement of the practice. Solomon’s wives turned his heart away from God. Third, when we go back to the beginning, we are told that God designed marriage to be for one man and one woman.

Living Together. While this arrangement is not recognized as a marriage from a civil point of view, it takes the place of marriage in the lives of many people today. A man and a woman live together as husband and wife, enjoying all the pleasures and benefits of marriage, sometimes even raising children in their home, without actually being married. It is so common today that one struggles to remember why we used to think it was wrong. Jesus taught that such was wrong. He said that a man was to leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, not live with his girlfriend outside the bonds of matrimony. Sex outside of and prior to marriage is sinful (1 Cor. 7:2). The practice of living together makes a mockery of God and his divine marriage law. Such will not go unpunished. “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Heb. 13:4).

The non-traditional “marriages” that we have discussed in this article are growing in popularity. However, when examined in light of Scripture, we can see that the word “non-traditional” could (and should) be replaced with the word “sinful.” The moral foundations of our nation are being chipped away piece by piece. The elemental building blocks of our society (marriage and family) are being redefined to please a perverse minority, and our nation is paying the price. Jesus said that marriage is one man joined to one woman for life. That settles the matter.

Reprinted from Truth Magazine March 09

Should I Celebrate Christmas?

David A. Padfield

Evansville, Indiana

Christmas is just around the corner and already we can see signs telling us to "Put Christ back into Christmas." People everywhere are saying Christmas is too commercialized and that we are overlooking the real meaning of Christmas. Some preachers are asking, "What are you going to give Christ on his birthday?" Most churches are organizing Christmas plays, cantatas and programs.

Since Christmas is recognized by most people as a religious Holy Day, it would be good for us to study its meaning. Considering Christmas has the word Christ in it, it should have some connection with the Lord. If there is a connection with the Lord, we should be able to turn to the New Testament and read of this observance. However, upon a careful examination, we fail to find a single reference to this day in the word of God.

Continue reading “Should I Celebrate Christmas?”