Saturday, June 18, 2005

Christian Fathers and Husbands

By Alexander Samuels

W. Bradford Wilcox, a sociologist at the University of Virginia and author of Soft Patriarchs, New Men: How Christianity Shapes Fathers and Husbands, has become an expert on the effect Christianity has on men and how these men compare with those of another faith or those who have no faith at all. (See a speech he recently gave on behalf of The Heritage Foundation.)

According to the research Wilcox has studied, Christian men are much more . . . attentive to their families than husbands without faith. In a recent column, the Heritage Foundation's Rebecca Hagelin, author of Home Invasion, wrote:

Professor Wilcox . . . has taken a cool-headed look at the data -- and found that it makes a strong case for religion as a positive force for families. Indeed, religion is a primary predictor of how men approach the world, fatherhood, household labor and marriage -- more than education, location or other factors. (Note: Although his work focuses on Protestants, Wilcox says similar patterns exist for traditional Catholics and Orthodox Jews.)

In an article last year published in USA Today about evangelical Protestant fathers, Wilcox said, "[Religion] domesticates men in ways that make them more retentive to the ideals and aspirations of their wives and children." The National Organization of Women, however, as Hagelin reports, has criticized Christian male-dominated organizations such as Promise Keepers. NOW believes these organizations are a "front" for activities that violate the rights of women, lesbians and gays.

Wilcox has found that men who attend church on a regular basis with their family are not only more involved with their families, but are also more affectionate and less likely to become violent. The only interesting downside I could find in his research was that religious males tend to be less likely to do housework.

In his book, Wilcox also focuses on the family as being the most important institution in society and maintains that family members have responsibilities to one another. He also concludes that males should be the primary breadwinners in their families.

Give us here at Carolina Christian Conservative some feedback on this: Do you think religious males make better husbands and fathers than non-religious men? Do you think men should be the primary breadwinners in the family? Do you think men's organizations such as Promise Keepers, which is holding forth at the Greensboro Coliseum this weekend, just do more to suppress the rights of women?

And Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there.


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