Our society seems increasingly to view fathers as sperm donors . The very concept of fatherhood is being lost, replaced by the part-time dads of divorce and – worse still – the so called “baby daddies” who assume little or no responsibility for their offspring.
The men who might actually want to raise their children – to love and support them (and their mother); to teach them right from wrong; to protect them from harm; to stand by them faithfully, through thick and thin – are rapidly going extinct.
A Lifelong Bond
First and foremost, responsibility for a child rests with the man (and woman) who elected to conceive that child and/or failed to take measures to prevent conception.
Claiming “surprise” at a pregnancy that resulted from unprotected sex between healthy adults is disingenuous, to say the least. Offering a partner the funds for an abortion is not sufficient to satisfy the parental burden.
Though it changes over time, the parent-child connection is a lifelong bond. The children deprived of it – even if well cared for materially– are left with a great emptiness.
The major factors contributing to the problem of absent fathers include a change in sexual mores, which eliminated or greatly reduced the stigma of illegitimacy; the vanishing nuclear family; children having children; and certain aspects of culture unique to the inner city.
The Sexual Revolution
“But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons” (Heb. 12: 8).
The sexual revolution of the 1960s made pre-marital sex and cohabitation acceptable, while removing the ignominy of children born outside marriage (much to the benefit of such children, thankfully).
At the same time, a radical shift took place in African-American culture. From 1890 until the 1960s, African-Americans over the age of 35 were more likely to be married than whites. However, during the 1960s, that statistic was reversed.
Between 1980 and 2010, the number of African-American adults never married increased by 150% . In 2014, only 29% of black Americans were married, as compared with 48% of all Americans.
Some blame the decreased number of black marriages on the unavailability of well-paying jobs in the inner city . That cannot, however, be the whole explanation. The rate of black marriages is now less than it was during Reconstruction, when economic conditions were far worse . Of course, every time period has multiple forces at play.
The Welfare System (Aid to Families with Dependent Children, and related programs) is another culprit often blamed for the nation’s shift away from marriage. But that is still disputed [4A].
Means testing does “favor” single parent households (whatever their race, color, or ethnicity) as these are more often in dire financial straits than two-parent households [4B]. That can act as a disincentive to marriage .
Whatever the combination of reasons, 4 out of every 10 American children are born out of wedlock today .
 This is ironic since the children conceived by artificial insemination are now seeking out the sperm donors who were guaranteed anonymity.
 Black Demographics, “Marriage in Black America”, http://blackdemographics.com/households/marriage-in-black-america/.
 Centers for Disease Control, National Center for Health Statistics, “Report to Congress on Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing” by Dept. of Health and Human Services, 9/95, https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/misc/wedlock.pdf.
[4A][4B] The Heritage Foundation, “How Welfare Undermines Marriage and What to Do About It” by Robert Rector, 11/17/14, http://www.heritage.org/welfare/report/how-welfare-undermines-marriage-and-what-do-about-it.
 Patheos, “What’s the Problem with Black Fathers?” by Rick Banks, 9/29/11, http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/Problem-with-Black-Fathers-Rick-Banks-11-29-2011.
 University of Dayton, “Becoming a Citizen: Reconstruction Era Regulation of African American Marriages” (excerpt) by Katherine Franke, Summer 1999, https://academic.udayton.edu/race/04needs/family03.htm.
 Washington Times, “Welfare discourages middle-class marriage, study finds” by Bradford Richardson, 8/3/16, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/aug/3/welfare-discourages-middle-class-marriages-study-f/.
 AEI, “Do welfare programs discourage marriage?” by Angela Rachidi, 7/27/16, https://www.aei.org/publication/do-welfare-programs-discourage-marriage/.
 Single Mother Guide, Single Mother Statistics, https://singlemotherguide.com/single-mother-statistics/.
This series will continue next week with Absent, Part 2 – The Nuclear Family
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