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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.

2 Responses

  1. I guess I don’t see why he should be treated here with disdain. Although his anecdotes are extremes, what Baskerville describes is fairly normal, as any man who”s been through the system can attest. It should be noted, though, that not all judges are so vile; I do believe that most of them are doing the best they can. Still, the bottom line is “What Mama wants, mama gets.”

  2. I’m sure there are some men who have suffered unfairly. But I think that Baskerville’s argument that this is due to a conspiracy of “big government”, feminists and (now) homosexuals is demagogic, and that his financial backers raise questions of credibility.

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