Catholic Culture Liturgical Living
Catholic Culture Liturgical Living

In the war on family life, why are most American men neutral observers?

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Jan 08, 2016

What will it take to rouse the protective instincts of American fathers?

The role of a father is to protect his family. The role of a man—a real man, I mean—is to protect the vulnerable. Yet the vast majority of American men today are sitting idly by, couch-potato spectators, while their families are menaced and their vulnerable neighbors victimized.

For over 40 years now, we have tolerated the destruction of unborn children. We have averted our gaze as more and more elderly hospital patients succumbed to the effects of the steadily increasing morphine drip. We have allowed Planned Parenthood to encourage high-school students toward promiscuity, and homosexual activists to recruit adolescents to their cause. So is it any surprise that the vanguard of the sexual revolution has advanced further into our lives?

Let me cite just a few frightening cases:

These are admittedly extreme cases, which do not affect most of us directly. But we are paying a price—directly, in our tax support for various forms of perversion; and indirectly, in the continued decay of American family life.

Moreover, sooner or later, if the trend continues, we all will be affected directly. By now we know how the gender warriors operate, picking out their targets of opportunity. There are very few people who claim to be “transgender,” but they will descend on some unfortunate Christian employer in New York and hound him with lawsuits, just as homosexual activists have singled out bakers and innkeepers, driving them out of business. The chosen “enemies of the revolution” will be the first targets, and if we do not rally to their defense, eventually the revolutionaries will come for us.

So what will it take to break through the torpor that keeps John Q. Public on the sidelines? Will American men finally decide to speak out, to become involved in civic affairs, when boy demands entry to the girls’ locker room at their daughters’ schools? When their spouses are denied medical care because the doctors have decided that they are going to die anyway? When their employers are forced to lay them off, in order to pay the fines imposed by a commission dedicated to gender neutrality?

The problem is not confined to the US, of course. Dozens of German women were sexually assaulted in Cologne on New Year’s eve. Blame that outrage on immigrants if you like. But where were those women’s fathers, their husbands, their boyfriends, their brothers? Where were the police officers, sworn to uphold the law and keep the peace? This incident didn’t “just happen;” there was a sequence of events that created that temporary state of anarchy in Cologne. Did no one see it coming? If they anticipated trouble, did German men fret and complain—but do nothing?

The stunning emergence of Donald Trump as a viable presidential candidate can be attributed almost entirely to his willingness to say things that other candidates will not say: his all-out assault on political correctness. But bluster will alone not help confused adolescents; outrageous statements will not heal psychological wounds. A presidential candidate, and for that matter a president, is not a substitute for a negligent father.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: feedback - Jan. 11, 2016 11:11 PM ET USA

    Schools teach boys from their earliest age to be submissive and to avoid initiative. Follow orders or get in big trouble very quickly.

  • Posted by: pja - Jan. 09, 2016 10:05 PM ET USA

    Many men in the West, especially those under 40, have figured out that marriage and family life are not that attractive anymore. Marriage no longer confers status on men as in the past and via divorce women can quickly ruin a man financially and emotionally. Throw in easy, no-commitment sex for "alpha" males and unrestrained and socially accepted porn for the rest of men and what you get is a society that is every man for himself and just doesn't care what happens to its women - or anyone else.

  • Posted by: Bernadette - Jan. 09, 2016 9:55 PM ET USA

    Check out Phoenix, Arizona Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted's "Into the Breach" his Apostolic Exhortation to men:

  • Posted by: nix898049 - Jan. 09, 2016 11:02 AM ET USA

    As to bullet point 2, I'm reminded of a childhood game called Let's Pretend. It was fun and anyone could play if they wanted to. But even as children we knew it was make believe. We're moving to a fantasy culture where playing along isn't optional and no one will say or knows when the game is over. I heard it said recently when you lose morality, you lose common sense too. Darkened intellect grows ever darker. Christ, be our Light!

  • Posted by: jalsardl5053 - Jan. 08, 2016 10:46 PM ET USA

    It's really pretty simple. Roe v. Wade and subsequent hammerings of the liberals, feminists, et. al. have taught men that doing anything is ridiculous when it is now possible to sit on the sidelines and happily be as irresponsible as said groups have made him. It is my personal opinion that homosexuality has greatly increased simply because that relationship is devoid of any real responsibility. And yes, where were the Cologne men? Probably happily sitting in some bar while the cops looked away.