By Jane M. Orient, M.D.
Some Woke activists suggested that Mother’s Day be called “Birthing Persons Day.” After all, some “pregnant persons” identify as men (or non-women) and don’t like being in a place called a “maternity ward.” If the birthing person’s pronouns are “he/him,” that person might identify as the child’s father though not contributing the paternal genetic material. Should “he” get a Father’s Day card?
What should we call the person who contributes the paternal material? In Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, family words like “mother” and “father” are viewed as obscenities. We’re not quite there yet, as babies can’t yet be grown in a bottle and decanted, but we can try to make progress in our language.
What would be the equivalent term for father? “Sperm donor” is even less personal than “birthing person.” The child will never call him “Daddy” and will have great difficulty finding out who he is. He might have been picked from a catalog, with anonymity promised. He probably does not know of his child’s existence.
In 2017, there was a proposal to rename Father’s Day “Special Person’s Day.” Or perhaps we should follow the precedent of President’s Day, which replaced Washington’s Birthday and Lincoln’s Birthday. We want to obliterate the memory of Washington’s defeating the British Empire and becoming the Father of Our Country, or of Lincoln’s abolition of slavery and desire to unite our country. Just lump them in with others who managed, by whatever means, to get inaugurated as president, no matter their effect on our nation.
How about Parent’s Day? Or Caregiver’s Day, or better yet Caretaker’s or Custodian’s Day? Such persons might not be special. They might not have a name or face, being interchangeable at a bureaucrat’s whim. They might be of any one of 50 or more genders. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DIE, no, DEI) is invading the family as well as the school, the workplace, and the church.
The family itself is perceived to be the problem, and radicals are targeting it for extinction.
Being orphaned is traditionally considered tragic. A beautiful, haunting song, from a genre that used to be called Negro Spirituals, is “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child.” There might be fewer sentimental tributes to fathers, but many Bible verses tell us to care for the fatherless, and a 19th century Christian hymn promises aid to “the widows and the fatherless.”
Is it fair for some children to have the privilege of having a mother and a father who love them and are committed to them for life? If not, why not orphan everyone? Or if mothers and fathers are imperfect and sometimes evil and abusive, why not raise all children in a socially engineered community, like in Lois Lowry’s novel The Giver? In that idyllic world, designated birthmothers (like surrogates) produce newchildren, who are assigned to appropriate “family” units with community-appointed “partners.”
We’re getting closer to the brave new world with genetic engineering along with social engineering, where people own nothing, not even their identity or family heritage, and are happy.
Father’s Day is on its way to becoming a relic during an epidemic of fatherlessness, most commonly due to abandonment. And what are the results of the breakdown in what feminists deplore as “patriarchy”?
Every social pathology among the young can be traced to the absence of fathers in the home and in the community: the violent criminality, substance abuse, truancy, poverty, and self-destructive disorders. The vast majority of mass shooters come from broken homes.
In civilizations that thrive or even survive, fathers don’t just plant the seeds of life and move on. They not only provide for and defend mothers and children, but they also build and preserve the culture. Fatherhood is about hope, writes Anthony Esolen, of a future beyond one’s own life. “Why do men work, says the poet Charles Peguy, if not for their children? The father throws himself away in hope, looking forward to the time when he will be no more on earth than a name or a rumor of a name.”
The collapse of our civilization is the collapse of fatherhood, writes Stephen Baskerville: the “revolt of the fatherless.” Welfare-state policies contributed, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan pointed out, but are not the only factor. The insurrection—deliberate and collective attack against actual fathers—has been building for centuries, states Blankenship. “It has accelerated with new sexual ideologies that target fatherhood (‘patriarchy’) directly: feminism, homosexuality, transgenderism, and more.”
Father’s Day needs to be more than a commercial opportunity. It is an occasion to thank the father or father figure in your own life. It is also time to recognize the critical need for honorable, courageous fathers, to celebrate them, and to oppose the legal, media, and cultural attacks on fatherhood.