In The Name of the Father

Several bloggers (in particular Sadly No!) bring to our attention bearded patriarch Stephen Baskerville, Howard University political scientist and “fathers’ rights” champion. Baskerville has a huge stack of anecdotes to raise your righteous wrath, in which wayward wives use no-fault divorce laws to abandon their husbands, taking the children with them and then proceeding to fleece their hapless exes for everything they have while threatening them with prison if they dare even to give their children Christmas presents. Civilisation itself is in peril: an interview with Baskerville, linked via World O’Crap, includes the following (although not directly quoted from him):

Social thinkers throughout history, including the most influential thinker of the 20th Century, Sigmund Freud, have affirmed that the patriarchal family, with the father at its head, is the basis for civilization.

The danger is all, of course, due to the workings of feminism and big government, but his latest WorldNetDaily piece expands his moral crusade further:

Could your kids be given to ‘gay’ parents?

Not sure why “gay” has quotation marks around it. Anyway, his argument is that as homosexuals cannot reproduce, they seek children from other sources:

Governments that kind-heartedly bestow other people’s children on homosexual couples also have both the power and the motivation to confiscate those children from their original parents, even when the parents have done nothing to warrant losing them…Child abuse is overwhelmingly a phenomenon of single-parent homes. Government and feminist propaganda suggest that single-parent homes result from paternal abandonment. In fact, they are usually created by family court judges, who have close ties to the social service agencies that need children. By forcibly removing fathers from the home through unilateral or “no-fault” divorce, family courts create the environment most conducive to child abuse and initiate the process that leads to removal of the children from the mother, foster care, and adoption. Gay adoption is simply the logical culmination in the process of turning children into political instruments for government officials.

Actually, I do recall a time when many children were unfairly taken into care, both in the USA and the UK: back in the 1980s and 1990s, when Christian fundamentalists, heads full of bogus “Satanic survivor” paperbacks, instigated a mass panic over Satanism. But that’s not what Baskerville is concerned with. The “two evils” for him are “the child protection gestapo and the even more formidable ‘no-fault’ divorce machine.”

So who is he? Baskerville constantly mentions his PhD from the University of London (I’ve got one of those too, as it happens, although from a different college of the university), but biographical detail is scattered. WND notes that he is

Charlotte and Walter Kohler Fellow at the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society and president of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children.

Another site adds his media appearances, and that

He is a regular radio commentator for the Free Congress Foundation…He is an advisor to the American Coalition for Fathers and Children and the Men’s Health Network and spokesman for Men, Fathers, and Children, International, a coalition of 12 fatherhood organizations from 9 countries. He also serves on the board of affiliates of Gendercide Watch, a human rights organization that monitors gender-selective atrocities.

As well as his academic work, Baskerville has written articles for a number of media outlets:

the Washington Post, Washington Times, Liberty magazine, Women’s Quarterly, Catholic World Report, Crisis magazine, Insight magazine, World Net Daily, Family Policy, the American Spectator, The Spectator, American Enterprise magazine, National Review, Human Events, the Salisbury Review, the Sunday Independent, and others.

Many of his columns are reproduced on various anti-feminist and “pro-father” websites. World O’Crap also links to an account of his ideas and activities by Trish Wilson.

Baskerville is cagey about his religious affiliation, although The Howard Center  (unrelated to Howard University) is linked with the World Congress of Families, and the two organisations share the same definition of the family:

We…affirm that the natural human family is established by the Creator and essential to good society…The natural family is the fundamental social unit, inscribed in human nature, and centered on the voluntary union of a man and a woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage. Whether through pornography, promiscuity, incest or homosexuality, deviations from these created sexual norms cannot truly satisfy the human spirit. They lead to obsession, remorse, alienation, and disease…Religious institutions have the crucial cultural-leadership role of affirming that: the natural human family is established in creation and is essential to a good society…the family is sacred and has the unique authority, responsibility and capacity to provide for its members’ education, health care and welfare; and all social institutions should respect and uphold the institution of the family.

The World Congress of Families is also an official US NGO delegate to the UN, and works with the Family Research Council.

The Charlotte and Walter Kohler Charitable Trust, which is providing Baskerville’s fellowship, is a slightly mysterious outfit. Although it has no website that I could find, it contributes to a number of conservative organisations that aim to influence the thinking of the powerful. This includes the Center for Military Readiness, which battles the agenda of “Pentagon feminists” in the American armed forces; the Institute of World Politics, which offers a graduate curriculum for leaders “based on recognition of the necessity for education in natural law – deriving from the Western, Greco-Roman, Judeo-Christian moral tradition” (they mean anti-left, but waffle around it); and the The Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment, which runs seminars to explain “the importance of secure property rights and economic freedom to the efficient and sensitive use of environmental resources” (i.e. freeing business from environmental regulations will improve the environment).

Trish Wilson also has lots of other stuff on the “Fathers’ Rights” movement.

Mars Attacks

ASSIST Ministries is an unusual mix: some decent reporting of religious news and profiles unavailable elsewhere amid some mildly conservative cultural analysis and a spattering of credulous items on faith healings and such. However, I’ve just noticed that it also provides a platform for NewsMax pundit Tom Marsland:

Former heavyweight wrestler, corporate CEO and major market radio talk show host, Tom Marsland’s been a guest of both the White House and the West Wing Press Corps. Tom’s a volunteer for Pres. Bush’s Faith Based Initiative and is U.S. correspondent to New Zealand’s Nation-wide Radio Rhema.

Marsland’s topic this week is Michael Moore, and he asks, with great subtlety:

Is Michael Moore the New Leni Riefenstahl?

…Like Riefenstahl, Moore claims to seek the very truth he often violates. This is indeed curious, as lying is what he endlessly castigates Pres. Bush for. Perhaps he is familiar with the art of prevarication himself? Just as the Nazi film maker claimed that “reality does not interest me,” perhaps it doesn’t interest Moore either. Lastly, like Frau Leni, Moore too calls his film op-ed a documentary.

So Moore is just like a Nazi! This inspired me to look up some of Marsland’s other critiques. Also on his hate list is the Minneapolis Star Tribune, which promotes gun control. In May 2003 Marsland hilariously showed (piece reposted from an uncredited site) what the paper really stands for with crushing mockery of the paper’s name, which should really be the:

Minne-soviet Star & Sickle

In an undated piece for ASSIST (also only available via a reposted site), atheists are attacked for their, er, Islamic fundamentalism:

How can anyone silently stand by and watch, much less participate in the murder of children and the elderly? Ask an atheist. They’re often in ideological league with folks who have no problem with sacrificing children, whether on the streets of Jerusalem, or in Roe-V-Wade abortion mills.

Though these anti-religionists claim absolute ‘non-belief,’ they just happen to ‘believe’ very strongly in the essential goodness of man, a humanist value. I guess they must have slept through the whole Hitler thing in Mrs. Johnson’s history class. Their eyes apparently remained closed through Mao Tse Tung, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Stalin, and even the most recent batch of mass murderers, as in Arafat, Saddam, and Osama. Fools educated to the point of ignorance, plain and simple.

Last February in NewsMax he also denounced Dan Rather, for his interview with Saddam Hussein just before the war on Iraq:

He called the mass murderer Hussein “Mr. President” and disrespectfully referred to his own President Bush as simply “Bush.”

Marsland, drawing again on his extensive historical knowledge, pointed out that Hussein is like Hitler, so Rather was like someone fawning to Hitler.

Around the same time, Marsland also weighed and found wanting Europe, in thrall to secular humanism. Europe should know that:

The abbreviated list of secular humanist failures in the past century have included the former USSR, Communist China, Hitler’s National Socialism, Castro’s Cuba, Central American communism, Japanese imperialism and Mussolini’s Italian fascism.

Marsland concludes that:

Europe is now first hog at the secular humanist trough, with little appetite for our Creator. If I lived in Europe, I believe I’d duck every time I heard thunder and lightning strike.

But I fear Marsland’s advice on how to appease a roaring, wrathful deity comes to late: due to the godless European education system, people there take thunder and lightning for natural phenomena caused by static electricity, and merely avoid carrying umbrellas on hilltops during storms.