The Obama administration is actively changing the cultural norms of our country. Equally troubling, the nation’s chief executive is doing so at the expense of our most vulnerable—the rising ranks of fatherless children.
I’m disappointed President Obama has marred an otherwise noble initiative designed to raise awareness of, and offer solutions for, father absence with a political tip of the cap to advocates of homosexual parenting.
This past Sunday, the 100th anniversary of Father’s Day, within the traditional White House proclamation, the president included a single incendiary sentence that not only undermines the unique and complementary roles of mothers and fathers, but also one which science simply does not support.
“Nurturing families come in many forms,” wrote the president, “and children may be raised by a father and mother, a single father, two fathers, a step father, a grandfather, or caring guardian.”
It was only last month, on the occasion of Mother’s Day, that the president offered a similar nod to lesbians by adding “two mothers” to the myriad of traditional parenting options.
Literally speaking, he is right, of course. Children can be, and are, raised by numerous combinations of relatives and other authoritative figures of various sexual orientations. But the inclusion of the reference to “two fathers” and “two mothers” is clearly a deliberate and strategic decision.
Even those most sympathetic and enthusiastic about the president’s agenda acknowledge that President Obama is very carefully and quietly transforming homosexual politics and policy on the federal level. With the use of his executive authority he is actively engaged in an attempt to normalize the public’s perception of homosexuality—from supporting the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, to extending and expanding health care coverage for homosexual partners of federal employees.
If Plato was right—that the beginning is the most important part of the work, the administration’s recent shift is especially perplexing and unsettling.
Last June, on the Friday prior to Father’s Day 2009, I sat in the East Room of the White House. I was an invited guest of the president and participated in what was then the administration’s first official celebration of fatherhood. It was a remarkably bipartisan event, free of political rancor and awash with a unity of purpose.
Despite having significant ideological and philosophical differences with President Obama on a host of other substantive issues, I was encouraged to confirm that which I had long hoped—that the president and I share a mutual commitment regarding the importance of a father in the life of a child.
In the days following my visit, I encountered criticism from some conservatives for accepting the invitation. Although good people can differ on strategy and tactics, I believe Christians who are committed to engaging and transforming the culture are wise to engage those with the authority to transform and reform public policy itself.
At the time, I commended the president because I thought he was right and that it would be wrong to remain silent. One year later, in suggesting that a family led by two fathers or two mothers is the moral and social equivalent of a family guided by one mother and one father, I must respectfully say that I think he is wrong.
In elevating and equating the influence of a two-father family to that of all other traditional forms, the administration is, perhaps unknowingly, depriving children of the opportunity to have the very thing the president has so strongly and eloquently suggested they need most: A mom and a dad.
As the product of a fatherless home myself, I am keenly aware of, and extremely sensitive to, the harsh realities of a home life that is less than ideal. In fact, the president and I share this common background, and so I immediately identify with his compassion and his desire to use the bully pulpit to ease suffering and meet the needs of the neediest among us.
But the fatherhood “effect” is not cumulative—two daddies are not better than one; nor is a mother dispensable or replaceable. Instead of expending precious (and finite) energy and resources on selling the merits of two- father or two-mother families, the administration would be wise to invest and encourage the loving presence of both a mom and a dad.
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