Monday, February 15, 2010

Where are the dads?

So I have this thought...

Why is it that single moms are more committed to their religious views than single dads? I went to church yesterday (I know, I didn't go up in flames. A modern miracle) probably because it was Valentine's day and I'm a masochist that way. But what I noticed is, pew after pew of moms with children sitting alone. And I got to thinking... There are just as many dads out there as moms, because after all it does take two to make those creatures. Why is it that you don't see just as many pews loaded with single dudes?

Is it the fall of American Christian principals that the men in society don't provide a spiritual backbone for their families? Now, I'm a bit rusty on this subject, but if I remember correctly, they guy in a Christian home is supposed to be the alpha dog. His beta wife is supposed to be all floor mopping and yes-dear (do not throw me on a bonfire for making generalizations. we all know this is GENERALLY true for the overall picture of Christian faith). So, that being the case, where are all those men of strong moral principals and why are they such deadbeats that they not only are half the problem in a divorce (if not more), but they also don't show up to church even when they have kids they want going there?

Why is it always left to the mom? By law of averages, single men who've been divorced should still come out to be about the same number-wise as single moms, right? So where are they? And if they aren't around in the first place because they ARE deadbeats and the moms realized this and hence took off running, what does that say about the Christian male culture in our society? That they are turning yet another role, another responsibility over to their women because they can't hack it? That the women, who not only bear the burden of raising their children as chosen, must also let sloth-man be an ass about his ethical obligations too?

I hold no hope for Christian men across America. They're slacking off on the job and screwing up big time.

I think I'm too pissed off to go back to church for a while. Valentine's day is AWESOME.


Chris said...

*blink blink blink*

Heh, nice label on this post - do you anticipate using that one a lot?!

I think my SIL takes the niecelets to church now and again, sans my brother. I believe she figures him not bursting into flames during either of the niecelet baptisms was probably pushing her luck. :)

Oh, kinda fun veri word: fierbedd

Anny Cook said...

Sadly, in our society, men have pretty much abdicated the entire home leader it church, home, financial, or morals in general. There are a few out there who embrace their responsibilities. But they're usually single dads by default who have no other choice.

Personally, I think it has more to do with cultural acceptance of that as a norm than whether or not they're willing to take their part. We don't expect them to, so they don't.

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Also, more moms are the custodial parents--so are more likely to be the one with the kids at church on any given sunday.

Mia Watts said...

Chris-totally. :) It's a cornucopia of topic wealth.

Anny-I think you nailed it. I can think of a very few but mostly, they're just asses.

Cindy-yeah, but considering that whether or not they have children sitting beside them, they aren't there. There are single moms, their are single women, their are couples. But there are hardly ANY single dudes hanging out in church that I've seen. I think because it was yesterday all hearty and luuuurve that it pissed me off. Here they are, doing it alone, while the supposedly ethically strong backbone gents are sleeping away their beer buzz. I see it as the heralding of a downward water ride into the abyss of ethical depravity pool... if you're someone touting the practices of Christian faith and family values. C'mon, Cindy, this is totally your bag. Gimme your real thoughts.

Mia Watts said...

there and there. oops. ugh.

J said...

Wow. Guns ablazing. I'll let my own emotion-laden male perspective rant respond to yours:

As one of those deadbeat Christian dads who doesn't take his kid to church, from my perspective, your assessment is surface-level and filled with emotion, and not looking at the root causes.

After our divorce, my ex-wife and I agreed that spiritually I was the head of the household, and she was the one pushing for divorce, that I would take the kids to church. She had turned her back on God for a number of reasons.

After a year or so, my youngest daughter decided she didn't like getting up early for church and didn't want to go anymore. Her mother had stopped years ago. I said too bad, you need to go to church. My wife, who has custody, overruled me, and supported my daughter. I had no alternative. No input. No say. No legal recourse. She's the primary custodial parent, legally she gets to make that decision.

That daughter hasn't gone to church with me since. And because of this blowup over my insisting she go to church, my desire to assert my Christian Male Head of the Household Alpha Male Bullshit authority, my daughter decided she no longer wants to visit me. It's been 2 and a half years.

The "deadbeat" Christian dads in this country have little or no say at all in how their children are raised. They're little more than ATMs, giving piles of cash to women with absolutely no input or control over where that money goes, or how it's spent. The odds of a father getting custody over a mother, all other things being equal, are zero unless the mother is a drug addict or in some way a danger to the children. The only way other than that, is if the father tries to be a scumbag and puts the kids in the middle, trying to get them to "pick" him, assuming the children are old enough to choose.

In New York, there can only be equally shared custody if both divorcing parents agree that's what they want. If either parent decides that they don't want shared custody, then there cannot be shared custody. There is no negotiation or compromise. A dad cannot fight for shared custody because if there is a fight, there cannot be shared custody, legally.

So imagine the shoe is on the other fit, and let's see how you feel: Your husband comes home one days and says he wants a divorce, with no reconciliation possible. Doesn't want to go to counseling, doesn't want to try anything. He's been having an affair, and he's ready to move on to someone new. You have children. Legally, you can have video tape of your husband humping his secretary, and that has no bearing on his fitness as a father.

Your husband wants custody of the kids. You go see a lawyer. The lawyer tells you that if it goes to court, you don't stand a chance of getting custody of the children, because it always goes to the fathers. Your lawyer also tells you that you have to pay 25% of your gross income to your husband to support your children, and you have no say over how that money is spent. Not one bit of input, legally. You don't like something that's going on, too bad. You're told you'll get to see your kids every other weekend, the kids you've grown up with every day and raised, and loved and cherished.

Your assessment of why it's always left to the mom is tied to our social system of "justice" that deems that women are better caregivers to children than men are. Our social system neuters men during divorces. Nine times out of ten, if a divorce occurs, women get custody. So that's who they go to church with.

It has a lot less to do with "deadbeat" dads and a lack of "true Christian men" than it does with a screwed up legal system that pushes for equal rights for women but refuses to recognize equal parental rights for dads.

Blame all the Christian men across America if you like, but as with everything in life, there are two sides to the story.

Mia Watts said...

But were YOU sitting in the pew alone? Even without your kids were you there, for your own religious purposes or among the many missing single "christian" guys who don't bother to show week after week? That's the point of this post.

The women come, with or without their kids (the kids and single moms are merely what got me thinking). The single guys don't come to church alone in the same numbers as the women do.

So where are they? And what does that say about the head of the household role in christian males for our society?

J said...

Yes, I was there alone, without my kids. And I still am. That's how I met my second wife. And for some crazy reason they made me president of the congregation. I have to say, in our church, there's no imbalance between single men and women, with or without kids. In fact, we have a number of elderly men whose wives are physically incapable of coming, or whose wives have passed away, who come to church by themselves. But they're a different generation and that doesn't really count in the context of your argument, since I'm guessing you're targeting the 25-45 year old group.

I'll add this for the sake of intellectual discussion. In general, men in our society are lauded for not being sheep, for being independent, for being rebels. All our media heroes are self-absorbed assholes and not at all like Jesus. Our movies glorify men who kick ass and take names and treat women like objects and get laid and get drunk. The number of times any child in the last 40 years has seen someone held up as a role model for turning the other cheek, forgiving others, suffering in the face of adversity, or being meek and serving others, is few and far between. It's not the way the American Way is portrayed anymore. My dad was a shining example of that. My mom raised us Catholic. My dad didn't give a shit, and still doesn't. As my male role model, church and trying to act godly was something I did to appease my mom, and because I didn't have a choice.

As soon as I was old enough to make my own decision, I followed in my dad's footsteps. Church was for pansies, guys who needed someone else to tell them how to act. I knew the difference between right and wrong, and I didn't need some hypocritical, holier than thou child-molesting priest to tell me how to live.

It is a sad, corrosive fact of our world. Just as sad and corrosive as generations of women who are taught that it's more important to be sexy and attractive than virtuous, that the way to get a good man is to wear a low cut blouse and a push up bra, and some tight jeans, and then wonder why guys don't treat them with respect. And if you think it's men who are pushing that agenda, think again. We have generations of mothers teaching their daughters to think and act freely, whose morality comes from daytime soap operas, US Magazine, and romance novels, while an epidemic of teen pregnancies and young single mothers rages.

It's Satan's moral plague and it's chewing us up one generation at a time, bit by bit, piece by piece, because we let it and lack the collective will to say no.

mwv: pineupsy

Susilien said...

Hi Mia,

Love ya!

I am a Single woman with no children and have observed this:
Out of 150 people who attend my local church on a weekly basis (we have more members that don't show up regularly)60% are couples of varying age with children. 20% are senior citizens who are single by widowhood or other means, 15% are single women of varying age with children, 4% are single women of varying age without children and the remaining 1% are single men with or without children who are dating someone.

VAwitch_myrrhibis said...


Ok - as one of said single moms, my turn.

While I'll grant J that in NY there's no shared custody, in other states, there is. I'll speak from VA, as that's where I'm born & raised, married & divorced. It's auto-joint custody unless a parent is a real piece of work. I wanted sole custody - was told by my lawyer that even his behavior during separation was no-where near the level state looked at.

Anyhow - he has our son on alternating weekends. I'm not Christian, yet I *know* he has taken our son to church (both he & son have told me). He's even taking son to his new-wife's church - which is a ultra-conservative one I really haz issues with. But - I respect that he wants to show our son that religious path.

Likewise, son will start to accompany me to UU, and has been & will continue to participate in Sabbat & Esbat rituals w/ me & my parents (and they became Wiccan after me).

So while I respect J's POV & circumstance that in his state women can easily have sole-custody, in many other states that's not the case. And religion is often one of the areas that can be addressed (how do I know? I have read multiple cases of Wiccans & Pagans losing custody and even visitation b/c the ex disapproves of their religion - even if they were practising while married while they were non-practising).
I've met far fewer practicing single men (of any faith, other tham Islam) than single women, leaving kids out of the equation.
As for it being the moral slide... perhaps - though that goes off on a different tangent I don't want to start here XD

Mia Watts said...

Yep, that's exactly what I mean. Regardless of faith I suppose, because it looks like we have to open it up given the observations of other religions, men seem to lack the initiative to go to church alone, to learn to lead, to learn to be better men, leaving all of it to the women.

I fully respect that J is different, and I happen to know this tidbit from off blog comments over the past year. J does practice as his ethical responsibility is strong like that. But J, you are an exception.

Seems to me like more and more responsibility is getting dumped on the women in our society. Not that we can't handle the challenges of life, but considering that the role of men is dropping off drastically, I think it is ridiculously lacking in balance.

And hypocritical, which I guess was my point the whole time.

prashant said...

o are more likely to be the one with the kids at church on any given sunday.

your healthy choice