Glenn Sacks has made an excellent point here about the Marriage Movement and Non-custodial fathers. Once you are branded an ncp, you really aren’t considered a parent in the same way that the custodial parent is, and the child support and custody laws reflect this. Your primary role becomes financial, and to support the custodial parent in their role.
I’m quoted on the marriage movement and federal marriage programs in Mary Meehan’s recent article Marriage as social medicine (Lexington Herald-Leader, 9/25/07). According to the article:
“[Sacks] said the pro-marriage movement has become ‘kind of a mania’ and is ‘very dismissive of non-custodial fathers.’ It makes the assumption, he said, ‘that no man will take responsibility unless the government coerces them to do it’ and puts responsible fathers on the defensive.”
One of my criticisms of the marriage movement and its influential thinkers–including David Blankenhorn, author of Fatherless America: Confronting Our Most Urgent Social Problem, and Elizabeth Marquardt (pictured), author of Between Two Worlds–is its view of divorced fathers.
It has always amazed me how the writers cited by Sacks, in addition to many more opinion makers, seem to be blind to what most people on the street seem to know: it’s not the fathers who are abandoning their children. It is the social policy of family destruction that is exiling them, driving them away, alienating them, and in the end dehumanizing them to the point where there are many fathers who are broken men. It’s a policy that rewards people for being bad, for comitting adultery, for lying in court, for making false claims of abuse. It’s a national disgrace.
When our government says, “Hey, if you do THIS, we’ll get you some money.” Guess what, a whole lot of people start doing THAT. It seems insane to push for marriage programs, while at the same time offering money, lots of money (alimony, child support, and many social benefit programs for “families”, defined as mother and child) to people who deliberately destroy families.
The day will come, far in the future I imagine, when people will look back on these times as insane and barbaric.
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