On Father's Day, Americans should ponder the appalling fact that an estimated 40 percent of our nation's children are living in homes without their own father. Most of our social problems are caused by kids who grow up in homes without their own fathers: drug abuse, illicit sexual activity, unwed pregnancies, youth suicide, high school dropouts, runaways, and crime.
Where have all the fathers gone? Some men are irresponsible slobs, but no evidence exists that nearly half of American children were voluntarily abandoned by their own fathers; there must be other explanations.
For 30 years, feminist organizations and writers have propagated the myth that women are victims of an oppressive patriarchal society and that marriage is an inherently abusive institution that makes wives second-class citizens. Feminists made divorce a major component of women's liberation and their political freedom.
For three decades, feminists have toyed with the question that Maureen Dowd chose as the title of her forthcoming book, "Are Men Necessary?" That's just the latest version of Gloria Steinem's famous line, "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle."
College textbooks portray marriage as especially bleak and dreary for women. Assigned readings are preoccupied with domestic violence, battering, abuse, marital rape and divorce.
During the Clinton administration, feminists parlayed their hysteria that domestic violence is a national epidemic into the passage of the Violence Against Women Act. This created a gigantic gravy train of taxpayer money, known as feminist pork, that empowers pro-divorce, anti-male activism.
Not satisfied with several billion from the U.S. Treasury, 67 feminist and liberal organizations supported a lawsuit to try to get private allegations of domestic abuse heard in federal courts so they could collect civil damages against men and institutions with deep pockets. Fortunately, the Supreme Court, in Brzonkala v. Morrison (2000), declared unconstitutional VAWA's section that might have permitted that additional mischief.
However, VAWA's billions of dollars continue to finance the domestic- violence lobby, and there is a deafening silence from conservatives who pretend to be guardians against federal takeovers of problems that are none of the federal government's business. Local crime and marital disputes should not be subjects of federal law or spending.
Billions of dollars have flowed from VAWA to the states to finance private victim-advocacy organizations, private domestic-violence coalitions, and the training of judges, prosecutors and police. This tax-funded network is, of course, staffed by radical feminists who teach the presumption of father guilt.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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