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From fathers flow all good for children

Mother’s Day is dear to our hearts. In comparison, Father’s Day seems a bit of an afterthought. It’s time to think again.

We are experiencing a crisis of fatherlessness. The statistics are alarming and depressing. Today, 40 percent of all children, 50 percent of Hispanics, and 70 percent of blacks are born outside of wedlock. Too many of our young people are left without fathers; the results are heartbreaking. Without fathers, young men are often aimless and prone to violence. Girls often lack self-esteem and drift toward self-destructive lifestyles.

Young men need fathers as role models so they can learn what it means to be men of commitment, sacrifice and integrity. Young women need fathers who care for them, value them and treat them as precious, worthy of dignity and respect.

For too long, our society has downplayed the role of fathers. TV shows depict fathers as weak and clueless buffoons. The radical elements of the feminist movement haven’t helped. Many try to drive wedges between men and women.

Today is a good day to say we need one another. As men and women, we are equal, but we are also different. Instead of being a battle between the sexes, we really complement one another. Only a woman can bring that special love of a mother, and only a man can provide the kind of protection, leadership and guidance our children so desperately need. That is why we as Shepherds United have spent much of our time and energy promoting traditional marriage. It has little to do with outdated religious morals. Instead, it has to do with the simple fact that every child comes from the union of one man and one woman, and every child should have a reasonable expectation that she will be nurtured by her mother, and cared and provided for by her father.

We don’t celebrate “Parents Day,” but we have a day for mothers and a day for fathers. Each has a special role. For that reason, we have marriage. Marriage is the institution that binds a biological father to his child. More than ever, we need to honor fatherhood as a noble calling, to challenge our young men to be husbands who care for and love their wives and children. This is no small task, nor is it an easy one. But it is worth every ounce of our effort. We recognize that some fatherless homes are unavoidable. However, men can be mentors for those who have no father at home. We must inspire our young men to lead with integrity and honor.

Government programs will never solve our problems. All the money in the world cannot make up for a missing father. Marriage is good for men, and men are good for families. Married men are much less likely to be in trouble with the law, and live longer and more productive lives. Simply put, marriage makes men better. An intact marriage reduces the likelihood of poverty by 80 percent. Statistically, children whose fathers live at home do better in school, have lower dropout rates, and are much less likely to be incarcerated later in life. A good father can make all the difference.

Traditional marriage is also one of the best ways to protect the innocent unborn.

Many women come to abortion clinics alone and lonely. We are left to wonder, where is the woman’s father? Knowing that the child in the womb also has a biological father, we ask, “Where is that dad?” As a society, we need to say to our young men, “Do what’s right.” To our young women, we must say, “You are not alone, we are on your side, and we will help you and your child.”

It’s Father’s Day, and we are all in this together. We in the churches must play our part. We must be the kind of men who will shape our youth. Fatherhood is noble, and traditional marriage is a very good thing indeed.

Happy Father’s Day.

Dr. Rev. Peter Scaer is an associate professor at Concordia Theological Seminary, and Jimmie Ruffin is pastor of New Life Community Church. They wrote this for The Journal Gazette on behalf of Shepherds United, a local clergy group of more than 140 members focused on life, traditional marriage and religious liberty.