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Is America really ready for a world without good fathers?

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #154 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.


Fathers, or at least good fathers, are an endangered species in America. 

In the book Fatherless America (1996), David Blakenhorn notes that from 1960 to the 1990s the percentage of children not living with their biological fathers increased from 17.5% to 36.3%. These figures have increased into the high 40% levels and indicate that our nation is replete with citizens raised quite differently than generations born prior to 1970, in which over 80% of children were raised by their biological fathers.

So, we could ask, are fathers still important? Much has changed in our culture in my lifetime. The radio program, 1949-1954, “Father Knows Best” became a popular television series when I was a kid, 1954-1960. The actors were the well-dress, well-spoken, upstanding at least on air Robert Young and Jane Wyatt.

I also remember “Leave It To Beaver” with Ward Cleaver and “Ossie and Harriet” in which the married couple were shown retiring for the night to twin beds.

Then something changed, big time, in the 1960s. “Research has shown that the “patriotic” and “heroic” images of working-class fathers — i.e., the men who rebuilt America after the Great Depression and World War II — have been replaced by images of immature buffoons and schemers who need constant rescuing from their competent wives.”

Now there is nothing wrong with assured, competent wives, but in contemporary terms, this usually means the husband is a bumbling father like Fred Flintstone, Archie Bunker, Al Bundy, or Homer Simpson. Indeed, gaining speed in 1970s sit coms, if a Dad was in the house, he’s an idiot, or a goofball, or superfluous. He gives bad advice or burns the house down.

In the 1980s we had “The Cosby Show,” which, despite Bill Cosby’s later moral crash and burn, featured an upper middle class urban Black family wherein the father’s, the parents’, and the grandparents’ carried weight.

In the 1990s, we got “Home Improvement” with Tim Allen, Tim the Tool Man Taylor. This was an enjoyable family sit com that my boys, who were young then, and I watched regularly. But “The Cosby Show” of the 1980s and “Home Improvement” of the 1990s contrasted how American culture had changed in just ten years. In the Huxtable household on the show, misbehaving children always got a comeuppance from some family adult. In other words, lying had consequences. In the Taylor household on the “Home Improvement” show, misbehaving children sometimes resulted in parental discipline, but usually what the kids did was laughed off. No comeuppance. He lied, Ha Ha, and the lie was joked away.

In one later series episode, Tim was out one night at a bar, playing pool, and in walks a young woman wearing revealing clothing, who then makes a play for Tim. At first, this surprise flirtation appeals to and bolsters his male ego, but eventually he backs off. He never says or does anything overtly inappropriate toward the young woman signaling her interest. When he gets home, wife Jill asks him where he has been, and he lies to his wife about where he was and who he met. This lie is never corrected in the episode, just laughed off. Why? Why did a husband feel it appropriate to lie to his wife? This I don’t know, but I do know this is what American culture was becoming in the 1990s – lies are OK if they meet our needs of the moment. Dads no longer are paragons of virtue.

Think for a moment about world class gold medalist decathlete Bruce Jenner, once called “The World’s Greatest Athlete,” a “man’s man” and a “hunk” for sure, who went through marriages until he wed Kris Kardashian and became the father of two of the five Kardashian family sisters featured on “Keeping Up With The Kardashians,” 2007-2021. In the course of this programs run, Bruce was gradually portrayed for what he had become, an unnecessary and an emasculated pretend father. Infamously, in 2015, on the cover of “Vanity Fair” magazine he was portrayed in a woman’s hairstyle wearing a woman’s white swimsuit under the title “Call Me Caitlyn.” This was his coming out party as, he claims, a woman.

That same year, 2015, in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges, “that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.”

This is just nine years ago, but since that time our culture has gone over a cliff.

A Father has now morphed into a woman, men can marry men, women can marry women, and soon thereafter, they began adopting children, ostensibly “fathering” these innocent children in the context of immoral relationships.

But we know fathers matter, not only because God said so but we now know from watching our own culture’s decline:

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2020:

  • 7 million children (33%) in the United States live in fatherless homes.
  • Children living in fatherless homes have increased by 25% since 1960.
  • 6% of Black children lived with their mother only in 2021.
  • 85% of children with absent fathers get involved in crime.
  • 70% of children in fatherless homes have dropped out of high school. 
  • Children living in fatherless homes are 4 times more apt to live in poverty.
  • Girls raised in fatherless homes are 8 times more apt to become a teenage mother.
  • 85% of all children living without a father experience behavioral disorder.
  • 63% of Suicides Among Children and Teens Are from Fatherless Homes. 
  • Teenagers with positive and nurturing fathers are 80% less apt to go to prison.
  • Children with Involved Fathers Are 40% Less Apt to Repeat a Grade in School.
  • 75% of Minor Children Who Are Patients in Chemical Abuse Centers Came from Fatherless Homes. 
  • 70% of Runaways, Child Murderers, and Juvenile Delinquents Come from Fatherless Homes.

Children who grow up in fatherless homes are more likely to experience a variety of challenges, including:

  • Poverty
  • Crime
  • Educational problems
  • Dropping out of school
  • Teenage pregnancy
  • Incarceration as an adult

So the presence of a good father, especially a Christian father, in the home when kids are young is a crucial, divinely-appointed contribution to the protection, stability, and potential of that family.

Not everyone, as we’ve noted here, was blessed with the experience of a good father. But if that is your experience, remember that if you are a believer, you have a good Heavenly Father, one who walks beside you, is always there, always ready to hear and engage with you, one who has spoken in his Word if we but listen.

I am one who was blessed with not only a good father but good, present, and engaged grandfathers on both sides of my family. My grandfathers were Christian men, they were upstanding, and therefore they were an outstanding model for me.

My father was a quiet personality, one who led more by example than by leadership up front, though he did some of this too when he was called upon. 

One small remembrance. I do not know when this took place, but I was very young, and I witnessed my Dad, finding 2-3 abandoned kittens. Now I remember men who thought it was admirable to spout their dislike of cats. And they took it to the next level, regaling us kids with tales of what they did to these innocent animals. I do not remember those incidents with respect.

But back to Dad, I do remember him picking up those kittens, speaking gently to them, petting them carefully, and then taking steps to find them a safe home. Why I remember that I do not know, but I’m glad I do for it is a good example of Dad’s quality.

What did my father/grandfather give to me?

  1. Introduced me to faith in Christ and the Christian faith.
  2. Loved my Mother.
  3. Rock solid values.
  4. Faithful in church.
  5. Modeled incredible work ethic.
  6. Finished well.

They are all in heaven, and now the baton has passed. It’s my turn now. 


Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s 

And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2024   

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