Jane M. Orient, M.D.
Some Woke activists suggested that Mother’s Day be called “Birthing Persons Day.” After all, some “pregnant persons” identify as men (or non-women) and don’t like being in a place called a “maternity ward.” If the birthing person’s pronouns are “he/him,” that person might identify as the child’s father though not contributing the paternal genetic material. Should “he” get a Father’s Day card?
What should we call the person who contributes the paternal material? In Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, family words like “mother” and “father” are viewed as obscenities. We’re not quite there yet, as babies can’t yet be grown in a bottle and decanted, but we can try to make progress in our language.
What would be the equivalent term for father? “Sperm donor” is even less personal than “birthing person.” The child will never call him “Daddy” and will have great difficulty finding out who he is. He might have been picked from a catalog, with anonymity promised. He probably does not know of his child’s existence.
In 2017, there was a proposal to rename Father’s Day “Special Person’s Day.” Or perhaps we should follow the precedent of President’s Day, which replaced Washington’s Birthday and Lincoln’s Birthday. We want to obliterate the memory of Washington’s defeating the British Empire and becoming the Father of Our Country, or of Lincoln’s abolition of slavery and desire to unite our country. Just lump them in with others who managed, by whatever means, to get inaugurated as president, no matter their effect on our nation.
How about Parent’s Day? Or Caregiver’s Day, or better yet Caretaker’s or Custodian’s Day? Such persons might not be special. They might not have a name or face, being interchangeable at a bureaucrat’s whim. They might be of any one of 50 or more genders. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DIE, no, DEI) is invading the family as well as the school, the workplace, and the church.
The family itself is perceived to be the problem, and radicals are targeting it for extinction.
Being orphaned is traditionally considered tragic. A beautiful, haunting song, from a genre that used to be called Negro Spirituals, is “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child.” There might be fewer sentimental tributes to fathers, but many Bible verses tell us to care for the fatherless, and a 19th century Christian hymn promises aid to “the widows and the fatherless.”
Is it fair for some children to have the privilege of having a mother and a father who love them and are committed to them for life? If not, why not orphan everyone? Or if mothers and fathers are imperfect and sometimes evil and abusive, why not raise all children in a socially engineered community, like in Lois Lowry’s novel The Giver? In that idyllic world, designated birthmothers (like surrogates) produce newchildren, who are assigned to appropriate “family” units with community-appointed “partners.”
We’re getting closer to the brave new world with genetic engineering along with social engineering, where people own nothing, not even their identity or family heritage, and are happy.
Father’s Day is on its way to becoming a relic during an epidemic of fatherlessness, most commonly due to abandonment. And what are the results of the breakdown in what feminists deplore as “patriarchy”?
Every social pathology among the young can be traced to the absence of fathers in the home and in the community: the violent criminality, substance abuse, truancy, poverty, and self-destructive disorders. The vast majority of mass shooters come from broken homes.
In civilizations that thrive or even survive, fathers don’t just plant the seeds of life and move on. They not only provide for and defend mothers and children, but they also build and preserve the culture. Fatherhood is about hope, writes Anthony Esolen, of a future beyond one’s own life. “Why do men work, says the poet Charles Peguy, if not for their children? The father throws himself away in hope, looking forward to the time when he will be no more on earth than a name or a rumor of a name.”
The collapse of our civilization is the collapse of fatherhood, writes Stephen Baskerville: the “revolt of the fatherless.” Welfare-state policies contributed, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan pointed out, but are not the only factor. The insurrection—deliberate and collective attack against actual fathers—has been building for centuries, states Blankenship. “It has accelerated with new sexual ideologies that target fatherhood (‘patriarchy’) directly: feminism, homosexuality, transgenderism, and more.”
Father’s Day needs to be more than a commercial opportunity. It is an occasion to thank the father or father figure in your own life. It is also time to recognize the critical need for honorable, courageous fathers, to celebrate them, and to oppose the legal, media, and cultural attacks on fatherhood.
Jane M. Orient, M.D. obtained her undergraduate degrees in chemistry and mathematics from the University of Arizona in Tucson, and her M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1974. She completed an internal medicine residency at Parkland Memorial Hospital and University of Arizona Affiliated Hospitals and then became an Instructor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and a staff physician at the Tucson Veterans Administration Hospital. She has been in solo private practice since 1981 and has served as Executive Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) since 1989. She is currently president of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness. Since 1988, she has been chairman of the Public Health Committee of the Pima County (Arizona) Medical Society. She is the author of YOUR Doctor Is Not In: Healthy Skepticism about National Healthcare, and the second through fourth editions of Sapira’s Art and Science of Bedside Diagnosis, published by Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins. She authored books for schoolchildren, and Professor Klugimkopfâ€™s Spelling Method, published by Robinson Books, and coauthored two novels published as Kindle Professor Klugimkopfâ€™s Old-Fashioned English Grammar books, Neomorts and Moonshine, More than 100 of her papers have been published in the scientific and popular literature on a variety of subjects including risk assessment, natural and technological hazards and nonhazards, and medical economics and ethics. She is the editor of AAPS News, the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness Newsletter, and Civil Defense Perspectives, and is the managing editor of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of Citizens Journal