Evangelicals & Fatherhood

It is a near certainty if you prescribe the improper diagnosis, you will invariably arrive at the wrong prognosis.

You cannot take any people, of any color, and exempt them from the requirements of civilization — including work, behavioral standards, personal responsibility and all the other basic things that the clever intelligentsia disdain — without ruinous consequences to them and to society at large (Thomas Sowell).

Or how can someone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house (Matt. 12:29).

In one of my last blog posts, I dealt with the topic of Motherhood, hopefully looking at the matter from a strictly Judeo-Christian worldview. I pray that blog post, first and foremost, brought glory to God and edified those who read it. This is why I engage in this endeavor. Despite the tepid response, I realize that when I stand before God, God will judge me not on my output but solely on my labor’s input. I share this not as an occasion for pity but as a sense of encouragement to those who do happen to take the time to read my post. You, too, must remember God is solely responsible for the outcome of our stewardship, so all you do in the name of Jesus Christ do heartily unto the Lord and always for an Audience of One.

My Sunday School class is just finishing up Hebrews 11, which many Bible readers will readily recognize as the great Faith Hall of Fame. We see famous and familiar names like Father Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and King David. We know their stories and can easily regale their stories, almost on demand, but the Writer of Hebrews, still under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, writes by God’s command the following in verses 32-38,

And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah,  David and Samuel and the prophets— 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two,[a] they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. [emphasis mine]

Seamlessly the Writer of Hebrews goes from mentioning prominent names like Gideon, Samson, and Jephthah to the reference of some in verse 35, the nameless others in verse 36, and the general classification of they in verse 37. Every Evangelical who understands they will likely never gain the platform of prominent Evangelicals like a Dr. John MacArthur or Dr. Voddie Baucham, to mention just two names, should be mightily encouraged to cherish the realization if they are found faithful in the face of trials and tribulation, they will share the same commendation a fellow Evangelical who God has blessed with a bigger platform.

So no matter the audience God sovereignly grants, I will continue using my meager gifts and calling because I am deeply troubled by the pathology I see from too many in the professing Evangelical community and the professing AA Evangelical community in particular. I believe I have sufficient biblical warrant for constantly directing my gaze towards the AA community, though I understand much of what troubles me and I blog about can readily apply to other ethnicities. Still the same, I am persuaded to stay on this course because the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 9:3,

For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.

Although God commissioned Paul to be the Apostle to the Gentiles because Paul was an Israelite, his heart most earnestly yearned for the salvation of his people. Thus, I believe a person can do both without inherent biblical infidelity: they can be legitimately concerned about the general welfare of all in a general sense yet maintain a unique yearning for people they share a close affinity, whatever that affinity is to them.

I am now well into the second page of this blog post so let me hurry onto today’s topic. The AA family, in particular, is rapidly deteriorating in this present generation. Let me attempt to arrest your attention with these troubling truths:

  • Homicide is the leading cause of death for young AA men, and 90% of their preparators are AA
  • 98% of black shooting deaths have no police involvement. Yet, the Summer of 2020, in particular, saw major cities in America exist in a state of wanton mayhem because of alleged police brutality. This false narrative birthed the ignorance cries to defund the police
  • AAs constitute 13% of the US population, yet between 1976 and 2005, AAs committed more than half of all murders in America
  • AA arrest rate for most offenses – including robbery, aggravated assault, and property crimes—is typically two to three times their representation in the population
  • AAs make up 37.5% of the population in state prisons, which house nearly 90% of the nation’s inmates[1]

Contrary to the false narrative fed to the masses by Race Hustlers like Ibram X. Kendi, Ta-Nehisi Coates & Joy Reid, as recently as the early 1960s, two out of three AA children were raised in a two-parent household. Yet, what do we see today? We see the number inverse to 70%, some reports as high as 77% with no father present in AA homes.

Every human capital marker reveals life for the average AA was on a steady positive trajectory up until the 1970s

  • the poverty rate among AAs fell from 87 percent in 1940 to 47 percent by 1960
  • the murder rate among AAs in 1960 was one-half of what it became 20 years later
  • the poverty rate among AA married couples has been in single digits every year since 1994
  • the AA/Caucasian ratio of high school completion improved dramatically between the 1940s and the early 1970s. College completion followed the same trajectory until the 1970
  • the life expectancy gap between AAs & Caucasians narrowed most rapidly between 1905 and 1947
  • income by race converged at the greatest rate between 1940 and 1970. 
  • the racial gap in homeownership steadily narrowed between 1900 and 1970[2]

Shalyn Romney Garrett and Robert D. Putman, in an insightful article published by the New York Times: Why Did Racial Progress Stall in America, most assuredly not a Conservative stalwart, still must acknowledge the following undeniable truth

These data reveal a too-slow but unmistakable climb toward racial parity throughout most of the century that begins to flatline around 1970[3]

Let me repeat for those who might be intellectually asleep at the wheel. Until 1970 there was an undeniable climb in the quality of life for AAs in America. What should come as no surprise to anyone paying attention to my AA worldview analysis is that I vehemently demur from Garrett and Putnam’s explanation of the principal cause. They lay the blame on non-supportive Caucasians. I subscribe to two principles to guide my reasoning. The two principles are

1) The Doctrine of Subsidiarity

2) The Logic of Occam’s-Razor

Subsidiarity teaches principles function best at their lowest level. The Doctrine of Subsidiarity is why Evangelicals understand Human Government, though ordained and implemented by the wise counsel of the Triune God, is never in the best position to rear children. Evangelicals rightly understand and passionately defend God’s ordaining the family, principally the father and mother, to rear children. The principle of Occam’s Razor gives precedence to simplicity: of two competing theories, the simpler explanation of an entity is to be preferred.

Now, we finally get to the crux of this blog. I submit to you Garrett and Putnam are dead wrong in looking at external causes for the downward spiral of the AA family. They are so because they look outside the most direct influencers upon the family. Additionally, subscribing to Occam’s Razor, if I am dissecting pathology in a family unit, it is most prudent one looks first at the most direct actors. Much like when a spouse is murdered, the most obvious suspect to be vetted first is the surviving spouse.

I agree with political scientist James Q. Wilson when he said,

If crime is to a significant degree caused by weak character, if weak character is more likely among children of unmarried mothers, if there are no fathers who will help their children, acquire jobs, and protect their neighborhood, if boys become young men with no preparation for work, if school achievement is regarded as a sign of having sold out—if all these are true, then the chances of reducing the crime rate among low income blacks anytime soon is slim.

Wilson’s analysis would have never been controversial in previous generations, but nowadays, there are two likely outcomes for anyone who dares to mimic the thoughts of Wilson. If you are Caucasian and agree, you’re classified as a bigot. If you are an AA like me, then you are targeted and marginalized as a sell-out.

Well, I believe truth is what conforms to reality. The truth is, until 1970, even in the face of overt Jim Crowism, public lynchings, and governmental sanction discrimination, all the human capital markers for the AA were on an upward spiral. I most heartedly agree with Garrett and Putnam the climb was all too slow. Still, it is undeniable that AAs were making steady progress in all the areas that mattered for Americans to realize the nation’s promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You will never hear this admission from the ever-growing Race-Hustlers company that garners all the media attention and AA devotion.

Daniel Moynihan represented New York in the United States Senate from 1977 until 2001 and published an earth-shattering report in 1965. Moynihan issued his research in 1965 under the title The Negro Family: The Case For National Action, now commonly known as The Moynihan Report. Moynihan’s report fueled a debate over the proper course for government to take with regard to the economic underclass, especially blacks. Critics on the left attacked it as “blaming the victim,” a slogan coined by psychologist William Ryan.[4]

Moynihan postulated the AA family was crumbling, and unless America implemented a course correction immediately, the pathology would continue to implode and soon become a national crisis. I submit that Moynihan was correct then, and history has acquitted him quite handsomely.

In 1965, despite cries that Moynihan was merely blaming the victim, i.e., being a bigot, Moynihan prophetically wrote,

  • Quoting E. Franklin Frazier, “Moreover, family disorganization has been partially responsible for a large amount of juvenile delinquency and adult crime among Negroes. Since the widespread family disorganization among Negroes has resulted from the failure of the father to play the role in family life required by American society, the mitigation of this problem must await those changes in the Negro and American society which will enable the Negro father to play the role required of him [emphasis mine].
  • In the beginning [1935], the number of AFDC families in which the father was absent because of desertion was less than a third of the total. Today it is two-thirds [emphasis mine].
  • In an earlier age, the Carpenters, Wainwrights, Weavers, Mercers, Farmers, Smiths acquired their names as well as their trades from their fathers and grandfathers. Children today still learn the patterns of work from their fathers even though they may no longer go into the same jobs. White children without fathers at least perceive all about them the pattern of men working. Negro children without fathers flounder — and fail [emphasis mine].
  • The influence of the father’s presence was then tested within the social classes and school grades for Negroes alone. They found that “a consistent trend within both grades at the lower SES [social class] level appears, and in no case is there a reversal of this trend: for males, females, and the combined group, the IQ’s of children with fathers in the home are always higher than those who have no father in the home [emphasis mine].
  • In predicting juvenile crime, Eleanor and Sheldon Glueck also found that a higher proportion of delinquent than nondelinquent boys came from broken homes. They identified five critical factors in the home environment that made a difference in whether boys would become delinquents: discipline of boy by father, supervision of boy by mother, affection of father for boy, affection of mother for boy, and cohesiveness of family [emphasis mine].
  • Since the widespread family disorganization among Negroes has resulted from the failure of the father to play the role in family life required by American society, the mitigation of this problem must await those changes in the Negro and American society which will enable the Negro father to play the role required of him [emphasis mine].

So, call me a sell-out all-day, errday and twice on Sundays, but I will not waste my ever-increasing fleeting time left on Planet Earth looking without when the collective wisdom of Subsidiarity and Occam’s Razors has an excellent track record that necessitates I should be looking within.

I believe the data convincingly reveals that Satan has astutely attacked and bound the strong man (remember Mark 10:29). Over 77% of AA homes do not have a father present. Yet we spend inordinate amounts of time blaming AA pathology on systemic racism and police brutality.

Despite the cries from Race-Hustlers like Joy Reid as just one example, overt racism and overt police brutality were on full display for much of the nineteenth & twentieth century. However, AAs still experienced steady, if not, all too slow, growth in all essential human capital markers.

White Liberals and progressive AAs will continue to prescribe the improper diagnosis. It is not racism nor police brutality that cripples and maims the AA family. I do not dispute for one scintilla of a second these maladies occur, but they have always occurred, and guess why? They will always occur, right up until the physical return of Jesus Christ to establish His Millennium Reign. Editor’s note: this reality is why the cry of every Evangelical must always be “Come, Lord Jesus. Come quickly!”

The wisdom of the Serenity Prayers admonishes one to ask God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Personal Agency teaches no father will be able to stand before God and blame an outside factor or force as to why he failed in his God-mandated responsibility to shepherd the children God blessed him to sire.

I cannot control the actions of racists, be they individual citizens or the police or whomever but one thing I can do and have done is control my actions. Never flawlessly and with many missteps along the way, grant you, but I learned from the School of Hard Knocks that life is neither fair nor easy. My parent’s marriage was not idyllic, but my father stayed, and I am a better person because of my father staying, even when the going became tough. Similarly, my marriage is far from picturesque, and there have been many, many times that the easy answer would have been to throw in the towel. Always enabled with God’s grace and mercy, I am resolved to understanding my assignment and completing it.

One never goes wrong by ending any dialogue with the words of Thomas Sowell. Sowell so elegantly hits the nail on the head when he said,

You cannot take any people, of any color, and exempt them from the requirements of civilization — including work, behavioral standards, personal responsibility and all the other basic things that the clever intelligentsia disdain — without ruinous consequences to them and to society at large.

The AA family, in particular, and many families of all other ethnicities are falling for one simple reason. God ordained it to be so that boys need a strong male presence in their lives. No one should conclude I mean to imply by my emphasis on the necessity of a father that mothers are not instrumental. Mothers most certainly are (see the aforementioned Eleanor and Sheldon Glueck reference), but fathers are a first among equal partners in God’s means for human flourishing.

I most readily acknowledge I do not possess the best nor final word on the subject, but this is a hill I will plant my flag on and never retreat. Dr. Glenn Loury famously says, “No one is coming to save us.” Thus, the AA community must accept responsibility, especially the AA Evangelical community. As it has been said, no real change will take place until the AA father takes his rightful place in the AA family. That place is at the head of the table, leading as a servant-leader, no doubt, but doing so seated at the head of the table, in the same household as his wife and children. Wow! That is a blog post topic in itself.

As usual, let me know what you think. Until then, keep your hands to the plow and seek to serve for an Audience of One.

With fear and trembling,

Ricky Kyles, DEd.Min


[1] All references to historical data are taken from a speech delivered by Jason Riley on January 30, 2015, at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C., as part of the AWC Family Foundation Lecture Series

[2] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/04/opinion/race-american-history.html

[3] ibid

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Patrick_Moynihan

3 Comments
  1. Thanks Rick, this is a powerful blog and I haven’t read one yet that isn”t.
    “The battle belongs to the Lord” 2 chronicles 20 applies to every situation that we face where we are powerless to do anything about it. I can’t control, nor do I care to, the actions of others. I have enough on my plate keeping my own actions in check before God. That battle belongs to the Lord.
    Christianity requires that we consistently self reflect using Christ as the standard of measure. Secularism encourages a solid focus on the behavior of others using ourselves as the standard of measure. So that the things I can control go neglected as I focus on the plank in ones eye that I can’t help you with because the plank in my eye is growing ever larger.
    END RACISM. The sports world has adopted this mantra believing I suppose, that it is not simply a lofty goal but actually attainable. In Christ we understand that it is not attainable this side of heaven. In Christ we speak truth and live by it.
    AA have become so secularized, even as we profess Christ, that we don’t know the value of self reflection and faithfulness to the principles of an almighty God who is able to fight our battles.

    I pray that this present course of self reliance ends and reliance on all mighty God becomes the chosen path.

    Like

    • Brother,

      First thanks for the affirmation. I was just speaking with Pamela McKinney. One one hand it is so disheartening there are no more AA who posit a distinctly Evangelical worldview.

      We are a small minority but we must not shrink back from proclaiming Gospel truth, yet humbling remembering but for the Grace of God go I.

      Keep your hands to the plow and seek to serve for an Audience of One.

      Like

  2. I can not over emphasize how influential my father was in my life. He was a deacon as was my “Poppa”, his father. The first thing I learned from my daddy was a work ethic. I’ve never seen anyone out work my daddy. He always gave his best, it’s my hope that trait has carried over. I would wish for any boy to have a father present like mine. He hand typed on a very small piece of paper and placed it under pictures of myself and two brothers, “A boy is the only thing God can use to make a man”.

    Like

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