Fathers’ Rights Society
Lead article published in CACN, Spring, 1997
Gentle readers, we ask your pardon for the great chasm of time which has separated us from our last communication (we utterly failed to produce a winter issue). But we have been busy with many good deeds, not the least of which is growing the population. The month of May heralds the birth of our seventh daughter as well as the sixteenth birthday of our firstborn.
I am seeking a worthy husband for Elli, though I have opted not to provide an image of her countenance in this advertisement. Beautiful as she is in appearance, it should be sufficient for any suitor to know that the beauty of her excellent character is the prize to be won; she has been reared under the example of her noble mother, Jayne.
The suitor must possess enough wit to have mastered a trade and stored some wealth. (The actual price to be paid is negotiable depending upon the earning power of the gentleman’s profession and the social security he shall provide his bride’s parents in their old age.) In the event that he wishes to present himself as a penurious devotee, set apart unto extraordinary ministry, and thus worthy of exemption from the normal pecuniary qualifications of a worthy husband, we shall suffer a sacrifice of personal comfort accept, to the greater glory of God, a bonafide special dowry; viz., one hundred philistine foreskins.
The modern equivalent of the Near East Philistine is, of course, the American abortionist. The Philistines generated great wealth through commerce, particularly papyrus. They were open-minded multi-culturalists, worshipping many gods among which was Moloch to whom they offered living children as sacrifices. The neo-Philistine is located conveniently in cities throughout the nation and is easily found by walking fingers through the yellow pages.
Here in the west, we are more familiar with the idea of scalping heads than with the disseverment of foreskins. Nevertheless, we ought not to despise this alternative, if not more biblical, accountantship. Let us respect diversity and the wisdom to be found in other cultures.
Actually, we are joking a little bit.
On a more serious note, we want our suitors to be willing and able to secure protection for our grandchildren. The willingness to seek justice as well as mercy for one’s own offspring is essential to responsible fatherhood. A father ought to be prepared to defend his children from attack -from without or from within the household. Should his wife, afflicted with amentia, determine to kill their child, he must stop her and any she has conspired with to murder. He must defend his own children. It is his duty.
He must also have a particular commitment to seeking justice for his family. What if he is unable to protect his own but discovers the murderer of his child? What is his duty then? We want our son-in-law to be ready to judicially execute the one who kills his child, if he cannot get justice from the civil authorities.
(Scholars differ as to whether the “kinsman” (Josh. 20) or “blood avenger” (Num. 35) is an immediate relative or a local tribal authority. We can accept the possibility that the responsibility for seeing that a murder is prosecuted lies primarily with the local authorities rather than the immediate family. But in our time when authority is bantered between state and federal powers and mostly usurped by an unaccountable, centralized, federal authority, justice is rarely to be found. In the absence of real power in local authorities, a re-assertion of true principles and the practice of justice may best come from the prosecution of murder-that most profound and heinous of crimes – by the nearest of kin. We think it, therefore, quite patriotic to require that our son-in-law make such a pledge.)
Consider again the issue. If it is the kinsman’s job to see that justice is done (albeit with patience as he waits to have the evidence examined regarding the case), what is he to do if the judges refuse to properly prosecute a guilty murderer? Does it fall on him to mete out justice and “take the law into His own hands”? Have not judges, who refuse to prosecute murderers and exact from them the death penalty, spurned the Law and taken up another law into their own hands?
Who is the real vigilante?
The last exhortation given in the older Testament before the coming of the Kingdom of God is addressed to fathers. May their hearts of fathers be turned toward their children.
Go get your dowries, gentlemen! Make your pledges! Turn your hearts toward your own children. From this band of suitors we may establish the Fathers’ Rights Society. And should there be a mere 50 of you, we can expect a rapid end to the advertised slaughter of innocents. There are less than 5,000 philistine butchers in the land. Let them return to the darkness of back alleys where robbery, fornication, and murder belong.