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Illegitimacy remains a curse on society

By Scott Tibbs, July 11, 2011

Ann Coulter wrote a provocative column last week, using the Casey Anthony mess as a jumping off point to address the destructive impact of illegitimacy on society. Her editorial should provoke thoughtful discussion about this issue.

There is one point where I disagree with her presentation, and that is the laser-like focus on single mothers rather than fathers. We must not ignore the destruction left by absent fathers, especially morally depraved men who impregnate multiple women and then do nothing to support the children they have created. Our society has become so debased that there is actually a movement ("Choice for Men") to give men the legal right to abandon their children, using abortion rights as an excuse.

Letting immoral men off the hook and directing scorn only at single mothers only deals with half the problem, especially when it is men who almost always initiate and pressure their girlfriends into sex. Many single mothers at least make an effort to rear their children properly, while the fathers vanish into thin air.

But the statistics are clear: Children reared by single mothers are much more likely to be involved in crime, abuse drugs and alcohol, or engage in any number of behaviors destructive to society. Children reared by single mothers are also much more likely to produce illegitimate children themselves, perpetuating this destructive cycle into the next generation. While there are exceptions, this is a general truth and we should not hide from this reality.

There was a time when being born out of wedlock was a shame, and "bastard" was one of the worst things you could call someone. There was a point in my lifetime when having sex outside of marriage itself was considered immoral by a majority in our society, and I am only 37 years old. Within my lifetime, a man who got a woman pregnant was expected by society to marry and care for her and their child. That's simply not the case any more.

Part of the blame goes to government, which has implemented programs that have placed the state as the father of the home, allowing morally depraved men to abandon their responsibilities. The liberal cultural elite has derided marriage for decades and claimed that alternative lifestyle choices are just as valid, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary.

But the real failure here is that the church of Jesus Christ has completely failed to uphold Biblical sexual morality as the standard, with all other expressions of sexuality labeled as deviant. Children need to grow up in the rich black soil of a mother and a father, not with one or the other. The church has failed to discipline its own members for sexual sin, has failed to preach on Biblical sexual standards and has failed to warn even its own members about how God's gift of sex can be incredibly destructive when misused.

The solution is obvious. It needs to be very clear - starting with the church - that the only appropriate avenue for sexual expression is within a lifelong, monogamous marriage between one man and one woman. We need to reemphasize what two thousand years of church history has recognized, that out of wedlock births are a shameful thing. The church needs to lead, but where are the shepherds with the courage and integrity to proclaim the truth?