The Martian Zookeeper

The way things are going in our world today, could a Martian conclude that fathers aren't part of the human family? To answer that question, let's imagine there's a zoo on Mars with a collection of earth mammals, including humans. As the Martian zookeeper studies his menagerie, he sees that humans reproduce much differently from other mammals. First, he sees that a human baby is helpless compared to a horse's colt or a cat's kitten. In fact, a baby human can't even walk or talk for almost a year. Second, the Martian observes that the human infant requires its mother's attentions for many years. Since she can't easily provide food and shelter, obviously she and her child will need long-term help from another who loves them. What do you suppose our Martian zookeeper concludes about his human wards? Will he snap his little green fingers and exclaim, "Aha! This is a job for the Earthlings' government!"? Frederica Mathewes-Green relates this amusing story in her new book, Real Choices. She uses it to show that fathers are important in meeting the needs of women with children. But she notes the irony that, while the importance of a father's loving care would be obvious even to a Martian, here on Earth that truth has become positively alien. This is because the secularists who are entrenched in our federal government advance a notion that "Dad Is Dispensable." Many social programs actually try to do away with Dear Old Dad. And sadly, as Real Choices points out, even we Christians are sometimes guilty of the same mistaken idea. At Christian pregnancy centers, for example, some counselors are so desperate to save the unborn child that they'll encourage even decisions that permanently exclude the baby's father. As one maternity-home director told Mathewes-Green, "The [father] is usually a jerk and [the woman is] better off without him." But is that true? No, it's not. For example, 66 percent of all single women with children under age six live in poverty. And these children are much more likely later on to commit crimes or bear children out of wedlock, too. They need a responsible father. Of course marriage isn't always the answer, and some single mothers do overcome the odds and raise great kids. But Mathewes-Green recommends that Christians encourage unwed pregnant women to at least consider the option of marriage. Many fathers can be helped to fulfill their natural duties. Remember: Fatherhood is a role that God planned for men, not for government. Government can't provide a healthy role model for sons, or loving encouragement for daughters. And no government program can help a young mother walk the floors at night with a sick baby, or read and play with the kids. All the empirical evidence proves the biblical point that when men abandon their essential roles as husbands and fathers, women and their children rarely live full or even subsistence lives. As Real Choices points out, that's a lesson even a Martian zookeeper would understand.


Chuck Colson


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