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This epidemic is America's modern civil rights challenge

OpinionThis epidemic is America's modern civil rights challenge

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Distracted by controversial political debates and foreign affairs, most Americans are unaware of the fatherlessness epidemic permeating our nation – a serious problem we have neglected at our doorstep.

It’s now six decades since the Civil Rights Movement, where icons fought for a better America and marched to ensure that families could leave their children with a better country than the one they inherited. Just as millions joined the fight for equality then, today we must recognize and address the civil rights epidemic of fatherlessness plaguing our nation.

In honor of our forebears and the future, it’s our responsibility to take up the mantle, battling fatherlessness and leaving our children with a better country to inherit.

child walking

In 2022, roughly 18.3 million American children – or one out of four children – were raised without a father in the home. (iStock)

While it’s largely overlooked, the fatherlessness epidemic is the civil rights issue of our time. Recent data by the U.S. Census Bureau on the number of two-parent households illustrate just how severe the problem has become. 

AMERICA’S CRISIS IS A LACK OF FATHERS

For example, in 2022, roughly 18.3 million American children – or one out of four children – were raised without a father in the home. Moreover, 80% of all single-parent homes are led by single mothers. Unfortunately, the effects of these startling statistics are even more devastating.

Children without fathers in the home are more likely to suffer from mental and behavioral health issues. For example, according to the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs, children who grow up without a father in the home are 63% more likely to commit suicide and 85% more likely to exhibit behavioral disorders. 

However, the issues with fatherless children are not simply confined to the home. These children are also more likely to underperform their peers in their educational achievements as well. For example, children with a father in the home are 33% less likely to repeat a class and 43% more likely to get A’s in class.

FATHERHOOD IS A ‘HEROIC ROLE’ FOR MEN, SAYS FILMMAKER AND DEFENDER OF DADS JOHN PAPOLA

For the children without a father in the home – given the unfortunate behavioral problems and poor performance in school, the criminal justice system becomes the paternal figure in their lives. 

It is no wonder that fatherless kids are 20 times more likely to be incarcerated, with one group of scholars remarking that “the strong link between adolescent family structure and delinquent behavior is not accounted for by the income differentials associated with father’s absence. 

Our results suggest that the presence of a father figure during adolescence is likely to have protective effects, particularly for males, in both adolescence and young adulthood.”

So, what are we to do about this crisis? The first is recognizing that while similar in magnitude to the issues of 60 years ago – jobs, freedom and equality – today, our generation’s civil rights issues start in our homes and with our families. 

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We first must realize that while the objectives of the Civil Rights Movement could be met with tangible solutions, many of the problems associated with our current epidemic are cultural in nature. As our society began to remove Christ from all aspects of society – most especially our nation’s schools – we have seen many of the results.

Yet, the problem is not confined to education. From the music flooding our ears to the values being championed by post-modernists and anti-Christian influencers, there must be a change. More importantly, we can be the change our country so desperately needs. 

At The Jack Brewer Foundation, we believe that a national revival of biblical truths will help reground our nation. This necessitates a comprehensive approach involving other faith-based institutions, nonprofits and legislatures across the country advocating for policies that empower fathers, support families and guide the fatherless. 

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With programs like these, we can galvanize a national reawakening that both puts a spotlight on this often overlooked epidemic and turns our country toward a nation worthy in Christ’s eyes.

As we push forward in this new year, let us not neglect this crisis and continue to live as Christ compels us.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM JACK BREWER 

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