- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 20, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

LETTER TO THE EDITOR:

Fathers have been demonized on television as well as in society, much to the detriment of society and our nation’s children. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 20 million children are now raised without a dad in the home. Also, according to the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 40 percent of all new births are to unwed mothers. This is a huge scar on American society.

The net effect of the demonization of men has been devastating to society. We now have a bubble of teen violence, teen suicides and teen pregnancies, and a bubble of teens with alcohol and drug problems. We keep putting Band-Aids to this situation. However, until we reverse these well-meaning but perverse federal laws and also get rid of demonizing TV shows, our society will remain dysfunctional.

What needs to be changed? Title IV-D of the Social Security Act should be amended to reverse the perverse incentives that make it more economical to keep a father our of the house. The Violence Against Women’s Act needs to be made gender-neutral, and we must make it a crime to present false allegations. One need only look at the Duke University rape case for an example. The Crime Bill of 1994 must be equally enforced on women and men. The Brady Bill must be made reasonable to fathers. Parental alienation should be made a criminal offense. States must pass Equal Shared Parenting bills, and we need to pass a National Family Rights Act that protects the role of the father.

In addition, we must stop putting fathers in jail for failing to pay child support when they are financially destitute. Putting a father in jail causes him to lose contact with his children who need their father’s emotional support and to lose what job he might have. Jailed fathers cannot possibly pay child support. We do not put in jail people who can’t pay their mortgage, can’t pay their credit cards and can’t pay their car loans. Debtors prisons were eliminated years ago. They should be eliminated for financially struggling fathers, too.

Lifetime TV should be ashamed for slamming the few men who might be struggling financially. For the sake of children, we have to stop demonizing their dads and help to keep their fathers in their lives. Thank you for your editorial.

PETER G. HILL

Weston, Mass.

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