Find the Father

Progressive societies tend to quickly impose restrictions on behaviors that are considered dangerous to ‘society’.  Occasionally, this goal of providing security for society is achieved at the cost of people’s freedoms but progressive voters don’t doubt that the exchange is a worthwhile one.

For instance, some people, many of them thoughtful and educated parents, choose not to vaccinate their children for various reasons.  Progressive politicians like New York’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, have little hesitation in imposing mandatory vaccination orders with fines of $1,000 for violators.  This sounds logical and seems to be prudent public policy. In the name of public health government trounces parents’ freedoms.

Years ago the freedoms of a private citizen to open a restaurant that allowed smoking were abrogated.  By that time, the rights of people to smoke in most public areas had long since been trampled.  How was this achieved?  By government addressing what it saw as its duty to provide health for all.  But wait, then surely government should have banned not only smoking but also mountain climbing and bungee jumping along with all other life-threatening activities?  “No,” answered big-government progressives. “While climbing and other high risk activities imperil only the participant himself,”  they insisted, “smoking jeopardizes everyone because smoke exhaled by the smoker pollutes all the air for all living things.”   Again, the greater good was achieved with a corresponding loss of freedom judged by many to be a worthy exchange.

To be clear, then, we are comfortable restricting the freedom of parents to make their own health decisions for their children and we are okay with restricting the freedom of restauranteurs and of people who choose to smoke tobacco.  Yet, at the same time we utterly reject the notion of restricting the freedom of people who engage in a certain activity which imposes great public health penalties along with other costs on us all and which significantly increases the likelihood of us becoming the victims of criminal violence.

What is this damaging activity?  It is conceiving and giving birth to children without the partners being married.  Why is this as or more damaging than second hand smoke or unvaccinated children?  As the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and other studies show growing up without a father in the home dramatically increases the likelihood of teens engaging in criminal behavior.  The National Center for Education Statistics points out that 71% of school dropouts are fatherless.  Children in fatherless homes are four times as likely to be dependent on welfare.

In America, about one-third of all children born this year will live in homes without their father present.  This adds immeasurably to the likelihood of you becoming a victim of a violent crime perpetrated by a man who grew up without a father.  It guarantees you having to help underwrite the more than a hundred billion dollars a year that this growing trend costs. 

Up until the 1960s in no group in the United States was a teenage unmarried mother a common sight.  Since then, government and culture have methodically removed all the impediments to having children out of marriage.  Well-intentioned government programs have eviscerated those social attitudes and economic realities that used to be such an effective barrier to this destructive conduct. The cost to the health and safety of individuals and the public have been enormous.

Whenever a group of people suffers from the pathologies of crime, poverty, and homelessness, the main culprit is nearly always fatherless families.  After two hundred and ten years, Egyptian slavery had undermined the role of the Israelite father.  Before any tiny spark of freedom could be ignited that would lead to a healthy nation, father-led families needed to be restored as a normative pattern.

Speak to the whole community of Israel and say that on the tenth of this month each of them shall take one lamb to each father-led home…They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts… of the house in which they are to eat it. They shall eat the meat that same night…roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs.
(Exodus 12:3-8)

Aware that in years to come, the word ‘family’ will come to lose much of its meaning, the Hebrew text prophetically avoids the word mishpachah—family.  Here it uniquely stresses the father-led home.

The inescapable point is that before a damaged group of people can attain real freedom, they must first restore the foundational pillar of a healthy, functioning society, namely the father-led home. 

Why does a government that compels its citizens by force to vaccinate their children against measles not at least check the health of illegal immigrants arriving from countries with comparatively high prevalence rates of tuberculosis? 

One might also ask why a government that shuts smokers into small designated areas never quarantined AIDS carriers even while that deadly disease was considered to be highly contagious?

The answer surely is that to a government whose driving values are secular liberalism rather than the American constitution, some things are just more important than public health.  Not impinging on the ‘rights’ of all to enter the United States is more important than public health.  Not casting any aspersions on the demographic group whose sexual choices were then believed to be behind the spread of AIDS was more important than public health.  And since the 1960s, not even criticizing anyone’s sexual behavior even when that behavior will bring a child into a fatherless home is more important than defeating poverty and crime. 

15 thoughts on “Find the Father”

  1. rhenechia jones

    Interesting that Dr. Tony Evans has been teaching a series titled ‘Kingdom Men’ where he focuses specifically on the role of the man in the family. He states that until the man assumes his rightful, God-given responsibility for the family, then our society and culture will continue to suffer. Same thoughts from two brilliant men. Thank you.

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Thank you Rhenechia.
      If something is the truth then it is the truth regardless of where we find it.

  2. And the same people that make and pass these laws to supposedly protect the children supposedly are pro-abortion. I am not against vaccines.

  3. Sir,
    You always seem to explain the Word very well. I enjoy that tremendously. I was enlightened recently by Nehemiah 8:8 “So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.

  4. Agree wholeheartedly with many of the comments already espoused, especially the commenter who mentioned the dystopian nightmares envisioned by Huxley and Orwell. Fatherhood is indeed the bedrock of families, and rightly so. It is a man’s responsibility to make a commitment to his wife and the mother of their children; he is the anchor, and without him, she is like a ship adrift on the ocean. Unfortunately the society we live in in the West today has championed female ’empowerment’ as a way of weakening the family unit and obviating the role and responsibility of the father, upon which paradigm every achievement and success of the West has invariably been built. It’s almost as if the same-race, nuclear family unit is anathema to those malign forces invested in government, and especially the deep and super states; who wish to promote same gender, and mixed-race marriages and tout them as some kind of ideal we should all be striving for, rather than for reluctantly accepting them for the exceptions that they are, but certainly not promoting them as the norm, which they are doing in the present state of affairs.

  5. When California, where I live, banned smoking in restaurants in 1995, and in bars in 1998, I had no choice but to comply. I’m sure that all the professional anti smokers who rammed that law through the legislature—the public were never given a chance to vote on it—presumed that all the smokers would carry on as before, except there would not be all that nasty smoking. My way of following the law has been different: I quit going to restaurants and bars. All such businesses no longer get any of my money—for more than twenty years now! (Except for the very rare social or professional obligation that I can’t avoid.) The way I look at it is, why should I spend my hard earned money at a business that does not offer a product or service I want? There are still restaurants and bars that would like to allow smoking, it is state and local government that is at fault, but nevertheless they have lost me as a customer. I even quit smoking cigarettes a few years ago, I only smoke a pipe now, but I still won’t go. My social life has suffered, but I’ve saved a lot of money! My cooking skills have also markedly improved.

    1. Elize, the Torah obligation is to ‘guard your life.’ How that translates in reality is, like so many other things, to be weighed up, studied and acted upon. Similarly, there is an obligation to the community and also to one’s family. Mindlessly following a trend – either pro or anti – would be discouraged, as personal responsibility is important.

      1. Ah, personal responsibility…… We have lost sight that we all need to use our brains and think. Think about what our values are and what our behaviors will be.

  6. Well! I have been following your teaching for yours, Rabbi Lapin, even close to decades. I do not remember such a daring, controversial stand! Kol Hakavod.

  7. You dig deep into the Scripture, discovering amazing things i’ve never known before. It’s so wonderful! Thank you.

  8. You have laid bare and exposed the rampant hypocrisy of a wanton Mega-Government which exercises ‘benevolent’ caution in many respects and yet in other respects throws all caution to the wind, with the bitter result that citizens are deprived of basic freedoms that our noble Constitution founded upon Biblical bedrock sought to protect. Thank you, Rabbi. And alas! for our coming generations! How many times have I heard from a starry-eyed Millennial that our Constitution is a tired and worthless old document that ought to be discarded! And in favor of what, may I ask: of a brilliant new manifesto that grants all power and authority to an almighty State? They will tell us whether and when we can be born, how we must live, using what, with and without what we must live, and when we must die. In some ways, as you point out, the State is doing so already. The futuristic nightmare visions of Aldous Huxley and George Orwell assume frightening new meaning as we see the toxic heads of noxious new weeds popping up among the grass…

  9. Hi Rabbi,
    Thank you for your many insightful thought tools, it gives me food for thought.
    I was wondering about why Israelites call the Feast of Unleavened Bread the Passover when it tells us in the Bible the Passover is on the 14th day and then the next day 15th The Feast of Unleavened Bread begins, why are the two events now rolled into one. Very curious and thank you for your time.

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