Dads Against the Divorce Industry

DA*DI is devoted to reinstating the societal valuation of Marriage and the traditional, nuclear American Family, with particular emphasis on the essential role of FATHERS.

DA*DI offers contemporary reports and commentary on culture; its aberrations and its heroes.









What Father's Rights 'Movement'?

Gerald L. Rowles, Ph.D.
January 6, 2003

Movement: "A series of organized activities working toward an objective; an organized effort to promote or attain an end.
Born in 1993, the Promise Keepers exploded on the scene as the first publicly visible evidence of a cohesive Fatherhood Movement. On October 4, 1997, PK reached its zenith with the gathering of more than a half-million men on the Mall in Washington. Roundly denounced by Christian, feminist and lesbian groups, it was nonetheless a hugely successful effort to bring a large number of husbands and fathers together.

Christians railed that PK fostered sectarian division, and was antithetic to the New Testament and they cried, "The Promise Keepers Movement is Dangerous." Patricia Ireland, president of NOW, pledged that "feminist activists (we)re working to unmask the religious political extremists organizing its rank and file troops." The Lesbian Avengers prowled the PK rally, pulling off their t-shirts to display their breasts. They placed phony parking tickets on cars, which cited the offense "Illegally parked in a hate free zone."

A male feminist, Donald Kaul wrote of the PK rally: "If they quit chasing around and stop beating their wives and pay more attention to their kids, I look at that as a plus. ... My fear is that, if that many men can get together just to hear speeches and feel their collective strength, sooner or later it's going to occur to them they can use that strength to change things: to stop abortions, mandate prayer in schools and get them to stop promoting homosexuality and sexual promiscuity through 'permissiveness'."

However, in a stunning turnabout some four months after the Washington gathering, the Promise Keepers organization announced that it was downsizing and cutting back on its scheduled events. Six years later, there has been no similar massed public display of masculine bonding and commitment to fatherhood and family.

In December 1999, Kathleen Parker wrote of a hopeful gathering that took place in November of that year when "at the Lincoln Memorial's Reflecting Pool, dads from throughout the country tossed in their divorce and child-custody decrees." Did you hear about that? No? Neither did anyone else apart from the readers of the Parker column. A similar attempt to bring dads together in Washington on Father's Day 2000 was met with resounding silence.

So to date, Donald Kaul's fear of men's "collective strength" has proven to be illusory. What is more rationally frightening is that in the intervening years homosexual predation of our kids, rates of abortion, and youthful sexual promiscuity are rampant, while a mere whiff of religiosity is quickly eradicated by the PC hazmat teams. And where are the fathers, the protectors, and their collective strength?

About two years ago, Dr. Wade Horn asked, Will Fathers become extinct in the next century?
"The challenge we face as we head into the next century is to turn attitudinal change into behavioral change. If not, future generations will go to the Museum of Natural History to view a display entitled 'The American Father' right next to a display of the Wooly Mammoth. That won't be good news for either fathers or the children who come to stare."
Not so ironically, Dr. Horn is now a member of the George W. Bush administration at DHHS. The organization of which he was a former Director, "The National Fatherhood Initiative", remains the most heavily trafficked website of its genre, and was the first to capture the coveted 'fatherhood.org' URL. Now apart from the somewhat disingenuous concern expressed in the foregoing quote, Horn has never been a fatherhood supporter. He has made it clear that he, and NFI are children's advocates, not father's advocates. Why is this important?

Well if there is one detestable flaw evidenced by the Bush administration, it is their commitment to the continuing devolution of fatherhood. Throughout 2001-2002, the offices of DHHS and General John Ashcroft's Justice Department have combined forces in cynically conducting numerous sweeps to ferret out the infamous 'deadbeat dad' and bring him to justice.

On December 19, 2002 DHHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson announced a new initiative to assist "custodial parents and guardians who wish to use private collection agencies to assist them in the collection of child support." DHHS Assistant Secretary for Children and Families Dr. Wade Horn, led the cheering section with this comment: "We want to make clear that, for those who wish to hire a private agency to assist them in collecting child support, state child support agencies should cooperate with the private collectors that parents have hired."

In Colorado, the state DHHS office announced it is taking similar steps to distance dads from the protection of the courts, and to make determinations about the collection of child support a mere bureaucratic function:
"Aggressive Automated Enforcement Balanced with Fairness to Obligors; Goals: Reconstitute the child support obligation into a consumer credit presentation, taking into account that consumer credit reporting rules and realities are very different from child support financial rules and realities."
Here's one key passage from the Colorado declaration: "The amount set by the technician for the monthly amount due on arrears is then displayed on the FCCS screen for enforcement purposes." The language is positively Orwellian, is it not? In plain English, this is just a codified automation of the Child Support Industry wherein the NCP is one step further removed from legal remedies, and is now being dictated to by some anonymous clerk in a collections office.

What of the controversial but much anticipated Bush administration plan to strengthen families through faith-based charities? In October, 2002, DHHS awarded thirty million dollars to "faith-based and community charities". One of the largest awards was two million dollars to that management top-heavy, pro-homosexual, anti-Boy Scouts organization, The United Way. Meanwhile, The United Way of Ventura County California has just defunded the Boy Scouts of America to the tune of $50,000.00, after 57 years of support, because of their policy prohibiting homosexual scout leaders. How is that going to strengthen fathers and families, and protect children?

On January 4, 2003, DHHS Secretary, Tommy Thompson announced another $2.2 million in awards to 12 faith-based (4) and community (8) programs. According to Thompson, his "agency is giving out more than $2.2 million in grants to improve child-support enforcement and, in some cases, promote healthy marriages. The biggest single grant $414,574 is going to South Carolina to improve a data-sharing computer system that 14 states use to track people who owe child support." Once again, the federal behemoth is incentivizing divorce and single-parenting under the guise of strengthening the family. In the process, the feds are corrupting faith-based initiatives with more dollars-for-divorce.

So where is the so-called Fatherhood Movement? Is there any indication that the federal behemoth has become fossilized? Are dads / men marching in the streets to demand repeals of the Violence Against Women Act or the Child Support Enforcement Act? Obviously not.

According to columnist Wendy McElroy, "We can expect the cry for 'fathers' rights' to ring loudly throughout 2003, as men demand that society reconsiders such issues as child support and child custody." Well, McElroy scores a direct hit in her assertions that "men are confronting a governmental Goliath," as evidenced by the DHHS and Justice Department news releases. But the notion that the "father's rights" movement "may be the best chance North America has to return sanity and decency to family law, policies and procedures" is more likely the product of wishful thinking.

One might also take exception to McElroy's claim that, "It will not necessarily be women who men oppose in this fight." Who does she think is running the federal bureaucracy, and cowing male legislators who attempt to enact father-friendly legislation? In 2002 alone, more than a dozen states attempted to enact legislation for presumptive joint physical custody. All of these bills were defeated.

We've seen the results of the federal behemoth's devolution of fatherhood in the black community. The Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson of the B.O.N.D. organization sums it up best: "The emasculation of the young black man by the dominant black women has destroyed his drive. His innate sense now is to lust after a woman. In doing so, the black man is forever subject to 'momma.' Meanwhile, young black girls do as their mothers do and adopt the same vicious, emasculatory techniques."

Are white males any less emasculated by the courts and dominant women and single-mother 'families'? Hardly. Consider the evidence. The annual rate of more than a million abortions has continued virtually unabated in both the white and black community. Who is it that is creating those slaughtered babies? We can hardly condemn the aborting mother without implicating the male sperm donor. Has the fatherhood movement achieved the containment of male lust and in its place instilled respect for life and chivalry? There's no apparent 'movement' in this venue.

A million or more of our kids are divorced from their fathers every year. And that carnage continues unabated. Having been on the front lines of the fatherhood movement for a decade, and having communicated directly with more than eight thousand divorced dads, let me tell you what I most often hear; "Can you help me?" Only on the most rare occasions am I asked, "What can I do to help?" What 'movement' does that produce, when men are so preoccupied with their individual skirmishes that they fail to see the carnage of the battlefield?

There is another oddity out there that men are unwilling to discuss or to acknowledge. And it is served by the relative anonymity of the Internet. The men who have been damaged by the courts and the federal mandates; those who should be on the street demanding justice and confronting their legislators, are apprehensive about actually coming face to face with their fellow combatants. They fear that they will encounter their worst nightmare - the real jerk. They fear the anger will get out of hand, and that they will land in jail because somebody else lost control. But mostly, they have lost the ability to trust one another.

Such is the divisive effect of vicious, emasculatory techniques. Columnist Alessandra Eakin reports, "Men are losing their ground as they endure blatant abuse by women day after day, decade after decade."

If by the "father's rights" or "fatherhood" movement, Wendy McElroy is referring to internet chat groups and blogs and email flurries, then yes, there will most likely be a cacophony of hand-wringing cries for justice - on the Internet. And there it will be contained, just like it has for the past ten years. And the reason for this is that the mainstream print media will continue to decry deadbeat dads; so-called conservative media hosts such as Bill O'Reilly will continue to label father's rights advocates such as Dr. Stephen Baskerville "conspiratorial" and deadbeat dads as the "root of all evil." And the grassroots will continue to submit to the elite agenda of the village.

The so-called National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI) continues to dominate the fatherhood scene because they are funded, largely by federal grants. A visit to their web site would make one think that they are doing some serious lobbying and that they have influential, effective programs operating throughout the country. Have you read of a class action suit they have sponsored to restore the constitutional rights of fathers?

Have you ever seen a billboard, friendly to fatherhood, that NFI has sponsored? Have you seen newspaper ads or billboards that support and promote joint-custody? (But if you live in anything resembling a major city, you probably have seen one or more billboards promoting "The Vagina Monologues.")

But you haven't seen father-friendly, grassroots billboards, or ads, or lawsuits because for nearly ten years NFI has preferred to safely mingle among our elite elected representatives to promote "responsible fatherhood" - a code phrase used collectively and despicably to condemn and demonize the irresponsibility of men. Do you know who those men are? Let me suggest to you what I personally suggested to Dr. Horn several years ago. Perhaps, just perhaps, there is a sniff of racism in that coda. Could it be that this code is what has sustained the deadbeat myth? Does it surprise anyone that the vicious, emasculating feminists who rode to power on the back of the civil rights agenda are now the willing perpetuators of a myth rooted in the racist chimera?

When you look at your support-shrunken paycheck, does the phrase "responsible fatherhood" leap to mind? Or does it resonate with the pleasure of biting into a bone chip in your ninety-nine-cent burger?

To rephrase Donald Kaul's lament, until a great many men can physically get together and feel and exhibit their collective strength, and trust that they can and will use that strength to change things; to demand their civil rights; to protect their children, there will be no 'movement.' There will only be impotent 'momma' cries for justice.
"Let us therefore rely upon the goodness of the Cause, and the aid of the supreme Being, in whose hands victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble actions." George Washington




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