The End of Mothers and Fathers

Men can’t be mothers. Women can’t be fathers. The fact of it is so self-evident, that it seems wholly unnecessary to state. And yet, even as I write this, I’m struck by the inescapable impression that many among us now not only disagree with this proposition, but actually believe it to be “immoral” to maintain.

Demonstrating just how widely this new viewpoint is being embraced, just a few weeks ago, Dove, a household name in skincare products (also my former soap bar provider), produced this ad about mothers, wherein it features a couple – a male and a female – and their new baby. In the ad, the man (with long hair and a tank top, but otherwise clearly a man) explains how both he and the woman are the child’s biological parents but that both of them “are the moms.” The camera focuses in on him cradling his baby suggestive of a typical new mother, and then later films him saying “there’s no one right way to do it all.” Amazingly, Dove picked the hashtag “#RealMoms” for its agenda-driven campaign.

The problem is that there’s nothing “real” at all about this man being his child’s “mother.” The moment this man contributed his half of the child’s DNA, he indisputably became the child’s father. Meanwhile, that child – like all children – critically needs him to live up to his fatherhood role. Yet Dove seems to be doing its best to legitimize and normalize a destructive falsehood – one that will have devastating consequences for that man, his family, his child, and for society at large. Sadly, Dove is not alone. It is but one of many examples in this recent push towards mass delusion.    

Unfortunately, throwing science and reason to the wind has not been limited to select private entities or even to a rapidly changing culture. This pervasive disavowal of fundamental truths is permeating all levels and every branch of civil government.

Consider Knox County, TN, whose courts for the first time last week granted a woman all the legal rights of a “husband” in her same-sex “divorce” proceedings. Despite Tennessee’s clear statutory language of a “husband” and a “wife”, the judge determined that because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergefell opinion eviscerating the definition of civil marriage, the “law” required him to designate the woman as a “husband”, without regard to the fact that only males can be husbands.

But it’s even worse than that. Because the woman was granted all the legal rights of a “husband,” she was also legally recognized as the “father” of the child that her partner birthed through artificial insemination. In the “law” it seems, women really can be fathers after all. Or, at least in the imaginary world we’ve created for ourselves in post-Obergefell America. 

The problem is that when both the culture and the law nullify all meaningful distinctions between moms and dads to make them essentially interchangeable, then any and all significance of moms and dads evaporates along with them. Consequently in such a world, moms and dads no longer matter. And suddenly what we once celebrated as being intrinsically unique and worthy of being set apart, cherished, and encouraged is now no more special than any other person or thing. And since a mom and a dad are no longer considered a necessary and complementary part of a whole, there is no reason to be concerned about the absence of one or both in the life of a child.

Yet the fact remains, no matter what anyone says and no matter how fervently the culture strives to exchange the real world for a pretend world of its own making, kids will always need a mom and a dad. Many decades of social science leave no doubt about it. And even when that isn’t possible for every child, it’s still true that every child has the best opportunity to flourish when they have both a mom and a dad who play a central and distinct role in their lives. And not only that, but women will continue to be best suited for the nurturing role that only mothers can uniquely fulfill in their child’s life. And likewise, men will continue to be best suited for the corrective and affirming role that only a father can uniquely play in the life of his child.   

Thus, despite this new movement’s relentless pursuit to shatter these notions, it can never actually succeed in doing so. That doesn’t mean, however, that it won’t have the effect of shattering a whole lot of lives in the process of trying. We have a responsibility to help ensure that doesn’t happen, because moms and dads are treasures of incomparable worth, and nothing and no one could ever take their place in the life of a child.  

If ever we took that for granted, let this be our wake-up call.