APA Fatherhood Report

July 26, 1999

Well, the American Psychological Association is at it again. A few months ago they published an article about "adult-child sex" that caused a stir because it seemed to give some legitimacy to pedophilia. Now they have published a new report that describes fathers as not "essential to child well-being."

The researchers in the current issue of the American Psychologist say that "we do not believe that the data support the conclusion that fathers are essential to child well-being and that heterosexual marriage is the social context in which responsible fathering is most likely to occur." A rather breathtaking statement, you might agree.

What exactly is going on here? Well, a couple of things. You can't help but wonder if the researchers have an agenda. The article talks about implementing governmental programs like: governmentally financed day care, paid family leave, and family subsidies. And the comment about heterosexual marriage makes one wonder if they want to use this article and others in the future to begin to endorse homosexual marriages and family.

But the real issue is what Daniel Patrick Moynihan called "defining deviancy down." Faced with a mountain of social statistics that show we are in the midst of cultural collapse, Americans have tried to lessen the shock by defining deviancy down. The illegitimate birth rate has quadrupled since 1960 and the number of kids in single parent homes has tripled. So we begin to say "maybe having a father in the home isn't so important after all." Or, to use the APA phraseology, fathers are not "essential to child well-being."

Of course, millions of single mothers doing a good job of raising kids testify that good parenting can be done without fathers. But the APA report goes far beyond that common sense conclusion. It's an attempt to define deviancy down and make us feel good about broken homes and difficult circumstances.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.