Bucks County Courier Times

Thursday, March 2, 2000

No Headline.

Fathers have become obsolete today.

By Joseph J. Duome, Bucks County Courier Times

Fathers have become obsolete today.

But this should not come as a hot news flash if one has been keeping up with current events. It is sad but true. Look about us and we find that a large segment of the female population has increasingly negated the role of the father in family life.

Madonna, who long ago abandoned all moral parameters in her daily living, was determined to have a baby. She "yearned" to mother a child of her own, choosing her physical trainer for the exercise. He willingly obliged. No marriage; no, it would have been considered too traditional and "gauche." We ponder if Lourdes, the result of this "union," will ever get to know the nurturing warmth of a father's guardianship and love...or even its moral impact. But, so what? She's already seeking another sperm donor for another child!

A group chorister, David Crosby, recently admitted proudly that he "fathered," with the generous donation of his sperm, two children for the lesbian vocalist Melissa Ethridge and her lover. Ms. Ethridge jubilantly exclaimed that her "children would want for nothing." No, here too, not even guy around the house to offer security and a love only a male presence could offer.

Rosie O'Donnell has adopted two children. There is no doubt that Ms. O'Donnell will shower these infants with inestimable love and affection, in addition to all the niceties of life. But, where in this scenario is a father for these children - the brick and mortar needed in the creation of a complete family, a mother and a father? Lest Ms. O'Donnell forget years ago she had been beget by a union of a woman and a man, an integral part of a real family.

Other female entertainers have been taking diverse routes to fulfill their "motherhood" roles: artificial insemination, adoption or the Madonna route to spawn a child. Can cloning be far behind? Jodie Foster, an actress of consummate skills, opted to have a baby. A very private woman, she never disclosed whether she had opted to use Column A or Column B to find her sperm donor. We will probably never know but Ms. Foster did have her child. Sandra Bernhard maintains that "having a baby without being hooked up in a conventional relationship is wonderful if you're financially independent...and willing to take the risk. It's all about commitment." (She has a fatherless child of 1-1/2.)

In Philadelphia, last year, an unmarried female anchor joyfully revealed to her audience on the 11 p.m. news of her impending motherhood via artificial insemination. She was especially euphoric in this pronouncement, promoting this important "motherhood" in a lengthy four-minute news piece. She exulted with: "I guess this kid has a future in television," that she is a role model for young black women and like herself, should get as much education as possible and thus, be able to support a baby. "We're pregnant and proud of it," she beamed. She and her co-anchor failed to mention the fact that the crime rate for homes without fathers was 43 percent higher in 1999 and mounting.

Father's Day, a day dedicated to those who stand by their vows as married men who responsibly shepherd their families with loving care, is slated for June 18. Why designate such a day when fatherhood is held in disdain or irrelevant by feminists? Too many single women are trying to raise their children without fathers. Too many turn thumbs down on seeking a man, opting instead to go it alone and/or leaving their offspring in the care of rented nannies, or relatives. It is an apocalyptic sign of our cultural decline. The role of a compact family unit in building a culture of moral life is decisive and irreplaceable. The family - mother, father and child - in essence, is truly the sanctuary of life. It is the place in which life - the gift of God - can be properly welcomed and protected against many attacks to which it may be exposed.

A daughter writes: "I love my dad...a dad is a person who cares, who helps and inspires and shares...who always can find special ways to be kind...a person who knows how to give..." We will always cherish those words. The selfless love, the strength of a man - a father - is vitally needed today...and for the tomorrows of their lives.

Joseph J. Duome, a free-lance writer and former newsman, lives in Newtown.

Thursday, March 2, 2000