Thursday, March 20, 2008

Children Need Fathers

According to this data from the CDC, 38.5% of all children born in the United States last year were born to single mothers. 38.5%! That's a staggering total. Children need their fathers. (really good article)

If you read through all of the above data, it becomes clear that this is a complicated issue, but I can say that my personal opinion is that children DESERVE a father. Premarital sex, that leads to procreation, is selfish if there is no lasting commitment (e.g. marriage) between the two people. Separated parents are not the same thing as having a father in the home, and shame on any man who runs away from his parental responsibilities. This is the standard, I believe the Lord has set:

Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. "Children are an heritage of the Lord" (Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. (Gordon B. Hinckley, 9-23-1995)

This is the goal we should all aspire to. I am not saying that any two people who conceive a child should rush into marrying, rather I am saying that if you conceive a child out of wedlock, with no hope of ever marrying the object of your lust, you should have the personal fortitude to give the infant up for adoption to parents who are willing to love the child in ideal conditions. Furthermore, I make no claim that growing up in a house with both parents present is a guarantee of success, just as being raised by a single parent doesn't doom you to a life of poverty and unhappiness; there are countless successful single parents. What I am saying is that you are far more likely to see this outcome if you try and raise a child by yourself.

But, ultimately, we must somehow show all these young women the risks and consequences (besides diseases) of having children out of wedlock. Raising kids is hard work, and doing it by yourself is never easy. I want the freedom to be able to tell someone that their choices about conception, rearing, and mating partners is wrong and not have it be me who seems out of place. I'm not doing it to judge that person, no, not at all. Rather, I am thinking about the consequences facing the wee bairn. We've lost the old tag of "bastard" child, but poverty, neglect, and feeling unloved are far worse to a kid's psyche than having someone call you a bastard. I will not give up encouraging people who conceive out of wedlock to give their child up for adoption, just like I won't give up striving to help people see that kids need fathers. We can't just give up because the ideal has been beaten down by modernity.

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