I’m going to take this from “hot-button” to radioactive. Children deserve a resident father. Women do not deserve to have children simply because they want them. … There’s a difference between what adults want and what children need, and children’s needs trump adults’ wants.
(from Are Fathers Optional?)
In case you hadn’t caught the clue, I’m what most people would call a social conservative in almost the strictest sense of the word. When we make decisions that affect other people, we should consider their needs. When we’re thinking about bringing life into the world, we need to be especially sober. Twelve years ago, Dolly was created and cloning became something that people began to think about as a possibility. Articles were written about the possibility of men and women having themselves cloned so there would be mini-me‘s running around — blatant testaments to their parent’s vanity. Imagine! I could raise my genetic offspring without having to put up with a woman! seemed to be the gist of some of them. But I do not recall the obvious narcissism being discussed. Suppose it is possible in a few years to have a child who shares all my genetic characteristics without the bother of first developing a lasting relationship with someone else — or, for that matter, having much of any interaction with anyone else at all. The narcissism seems so obvious. Perhaps it is because we celebrate narcissism in our culture that this doesn’t bother us. Even many “christian” leaders seem to have discarded the idea that pride is the root of all sin and promoted their face and personality more than they’ve demonstrated humility. I suppose it shouldn’t be any surprise that, here in America, men and women feel the right to pursue their desire to have children, without intending to have any sort of relationship with the child’s other parent. This is, after all, the land of individuality and self expression. Why not buy a child to raise as my own if I can? I don’t think it would be profitable to start legislating my morality — how far would an anti-pride/anti-narcissism ordinance get, and would I be the first one charged? When I read the statistics of how many people are being voluntarily raised by a single parent, whether that parent has 14 children or one, I feel like I am, as Father Stephen writes, standing on the edge of cultural disaster. We’ve been here before and we’ll move on. Life will continue despite a world that seems to be falling apart around us constantly, whether the immanent danger is climate change, abortion, or economic collapse. (Update: The quote that started this post used to include a bit about “stigmatizing women” who choose to have children without fathers. People ended up responding to that, thinking I was directing my ire to women in particular, instead of anything else I said, so, even though I liked the responses, I took it out. I want to make it clear that anyone, man or women, who sets out to have children by themselves, intentionally depriving them from the start of their other parent, is wrong.) Added: No one “deserves” to have children. No one has the right to have children. Parents have an obligation to provide the best household they can for their children. Going into parenting intending to short-change your children by eliminating one parent is not in their best interest and is an avoidable decision.