So common no one notices.

Several commenters have noted that their pastor doesn’t give anti-father sermons on Father’s Day*.  I don’t doubt this, as the church I attend doesn’t do this either.  But the anti-father sermon on a day reserved to honor fathers is just one of the more visible symptoms of the problem.  Other symptoms are more universal but harder spot precisely because they are so common they feel normal.

Christian films are a better way to see how universal the attitude is. Because the Christian movie market is a niche market, the films are carefully designed to have a message that appeals to a wide Christian audience, including Protestants and Catholics*.  Also, Christians have a trade off when they view movies.  They can watch a secular movie and get the best production qualities at the cost of a message they disagree with, or they can watch a Christian movie with a message they agree with at the cost of lower production qualities.

Christian movies are all about the message, and anti-married-father messages are extremely common in Christian movies.  What is often telling is the startled reaction secular reviewers have to the anti-father message in well loved Christian movies.  Mom’s Night Out was loved by Christians as just another good Christian movie about the family.  But the feminists at Dame were appalled by the anti-married-father message in Mom’s Night Out.

‘Moms’ Night Out’ may be a Christian movie, but it’s part of a long cinematic tradition portraying men as useless louts. And that’s not good for anyone.

As the Dame review noted, Mom’s Night Out was just a Christian retread of the common fathers-as-buffoons theme we see in secular entertainment.  But Christian films often have a much darker anti-father message than secular entertainment.  The widely popular Kendrick brother** movies are the obvious example of this darker message, with War Room being their most recent.  In War Room the married father is portrayed not as a hapless idiot, but as a truly vile man, devoid of any positive qualities at all.  As the reviewer from rogerebert.com observed:

The film’s centerpiece sequence occurs early on, as Elizabeth sits weeping in her closet while pleading, “God, help him love me again.” This moment is heartbreaking for all the wrong reasons. Since the Kendricks have mistaken one-dimensional caricatures for people who exist in the real world, they forgot to provide Tony with any redeeming qualities that would make us want to root for his marriage.

Neither of these movies caused controversy for their anti-father messages in conservative Christian circles, because they are simply “normal” Christian movies with a message that Christians love.

But the best example of all with relation to conservative Christians tearing fathers down on Father’s Day is the Kendrick brother movie Courageous.  In the first few years after it was released the movie itself and its accompanying resolution were widely touted as excellent Father’s Day gifts.  The message of Courageous is that married Christian fathers who seem like they have it together are actually terrible failures as fathers, and need to sign a pledge to man up. The movie is, as the description of The Resolution for Men explains, “an emotionally charged wake-up call to fathers”.

In order for Courageous to motivate good fathers to man up, it must first tear good fathers down.  This leads to a disturbing scene where the protagonists sit around a backyard barbecue complaining about their fathers.  For those who haven’t seen the movie, note that this isn’t something the characters are shown as having to repent of later in the movie.  On the contrary, it is the movie makers speaking in a very clunky way through their characters, and by doing so modeling how good Christians should speak of their own fathers.  Most astonishing is the fact that this scene (and the message of the movie) didn’t create a controversy in Christian circles.

From the movie script at Springfield Springfield:

I wonder where all the good fathers went.
Ain’t that the truth?
What? I remember you talking about your dad.
Wasn’t he an usher at your church?
Yeah, but that doesn’t mean anything.
Soon as the church service started, he’d step out back for a smoke.
You know, one time he says to me, “I better not catch you drinking. ”
Had a beer in his hand when he said it.
My mom used to nag him.
That is, till they got divorced.
Look, it’s not like I don’t love the guy, but it’s hard to respect a hypocrite.
What about you, David?
Um…
I had a good dad.
I guess.
I mean, the guy wasn’t perfect.
My parents split after he had an affair.
But I think he regretted it.

This movie, and it’s accompanying pledge to be a better father, was seen by conservative Christians as an excellent gift to give fathers on Father’s Day.  This movie that tears good father’s down, is seen in conservative Christian circles as a way to honor fathers!  In fact, Courageous, it’s resolution ceremony, and the other movies I referenced in this post are all offered as resources to honor fathers by Honor Your Father Today.

*Based on feedback from Catholic readers the anti-father Father’s Day sermon is either uncommon in Catholic churches or doesn’t occur at all.  However, the movie Courageous was supported by at least 10 Catholic organizations.  You can see Catholic reviews of the movie here, here, and here.  You can see a discussion on Catholic Answers Forum here.  You can also see Catholic reviews of Moms Night Out here, here, here, and here.  You can see Catholic reviews of War Room here, here and here, and a discussion of the movie on Catholic Answers Forum.

**Stephen Kendrick is featured in my post A radical Father’s Day proposal where he urges fellow Christians to honor their fathers.  His brother Alex plays the role of the pastor in Mom’s Night Out.

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This entry was posted in Attacking headship, Catholic Answers Forum, Christian Films, Courageous, Disrespecting Respectability, Father's Day, Fatherhood, Honor Your Father Today, Kendrick Brothers, Mom's Night Out, Traditional Conservatives, War Room. Bookmark the permalink.

45 Responses to So common no one notices.

  1. Pingback: So common no one notices. | @the_arv

  2. Wood Chipper says:

    During my frivorce, a pastor got involved and pushed counseling. On multiple occasions, he told me that the men in these situations are generally the ones being knuckleheads and boneheads who just aren’t servant leading enough. While I get that a lot of successful and intelligent men fail in relationships because they don’t “get it,” he looks down on these men while not getting it any more than they do.

  3. dpmonahan says:

    Catholic preaching is generally piss poor so the presence or absence of an element should not be taken as indicative of anything (which is fine by me, Catholics don’t go to Mass for the homily.) If someone wanted to understand the attitudes of Catholic clergy on these issues he would have to report on pre-Cana, annulment processes, or the advice people get in the confessional.

  4. Damn Crackers says:

    What are the good movies, secular or Christian, promoting good father role models? The Lion King?

  5. Mineter says:

    About the closest thing we get to a good father in any movie is Liam Neeson’s character in the “Taken” series. Sure, he may not be a good man, but he is good at being a man.

  6. Salt Potato says:

    I strongly disagree that the anti-Father sermon is uncommon in Catholic Churches – I heard that same basic homily for about two decades before that – as well as other issues within the church – led me to leave the Catholic Church in order to find a more suitable spiritual home.

    It may be less common in other areas of the country – but in the Northeast I’d bet money walking into any Catholic Church on Father’s Day that I’m going to hear a “bash on Dads” homily.

  7. DrTorch says:

    I suspect that Christians don’t react b/c they’ve been saturated w/ this message from their youth.

    The berenstein bears are the books I abhor the most. It’s quite possibly the first exposure of “buffoon dad” for most kids. I think they set the tone for everything to come.

    Maybe they’re not that popular, I can only hope. But have you ever heard anyone in the church criticize these books? Far more harmful than the witchcraft presented in Harry Potter.

  8. anonymous_ng says:

    @Damn Crackers – I just finished watching The Accountant. The father isn’t soft and comforting. He’s more like the father from the Johnny Cash song A Boy Named Sue. The mom leaves because she can’t handle the special needs kid and that dad is pushing him. Very well done with minimal feminist claptrap.

  9. thedeti says:

    Wood Chipper:

    This is common in divorces among Christians. Marital trouble is seen as almost always the husband’s fault, caused by the husband’s faults and failures, and therefore his responsibility to fix. If the marriage fails, it is his fault. “He must have done something awful to her for her to want to divorce him.” “She’s so nice and kind and sweet and loving and giving. How could anyone do something so terrible to her to make her want to leave him?!” “We all know wives don’t cause these marital problems. Women are just better at relationships. They’re more moral, more spiritual, better at worshiping God, better at living out a Christian life, and just better overall people than men are. So it must be his fault.”

  10. Gunner Q says:

    “Most astonishing is the fact that this scene (and the message of the movie) didn’t create a controversy in Christian circles.”

    Come to think of it, almost nothing causes controversy in Christian circles. They didn’t even react to public schoolchildren being taught sodomy.

  11. Emperor Constantine says:

    thedeti says:
    June 15, 2017 at 10:17 am

    “Marital trouble is seen as almost always the husband’s fault, caused by the husband’s faults and failures, and therefore his responsibility to fix.”

    Can confirm, from clergy to annulment tribunals to lay staff, very few Catholics understand hypergamy. I once asked a priest about how to stop arguments from happening with my wife; his white-knight solution was to always say “you’re sorry” no matter what. I’ve said it before, will say it again: if you want to stay married, do the exact opposite of what pastors, priests, “Christian” counselors and “Christian” culture tell you to do.

  12. patriarchal landmine says:

    when an edgy cartoon about a time traveling sociopathic scientist is more pro marriage than your standard christian fare, you know something is really wrong.

  13. ianironwood says:

    This is one of the reasons I left the Christian church in my youth: the denigration of fatherhood. When I saw great dads getting browbeaten for their “shortcomings” (most of which revolved around not honoring and obeying their wives enough – this was the 80s, the first stab at the divorce-fueled Third Wave Feminism, remember) and pastors preaching about their “toxic influences” and generally berating them as a class of unrepentant Archie Bunkers, I was disgusted.

    What’s going on in the Christian denominations now is a fulfillment of that long and persistent denigration. With no respect allowed for paternal influences, and a consistent overriding of paternal spiritual authority that increasingly alienated the men of the church, there’s no wonder that the few butts in the pews these days are in skirts. I can understand the economic incentives behind the message, especially with declining attendance and increased competition.

    Problem is, while the message can attract female parishioners, men give more, institutionally speaking. That is, while you might get a few more bucks in the offering plate every weak, and your numbers look up, when it comes time to foot the bill for building a new fellowship hall or something, the intact paternal families that provided the financial base for a thriving parish are gone. Single moms just don’t write checks for $1000 or more to gratify their egos. As a result, the churches may have sustained themselves short-term, but at the expense of institutional permanence and social effectiveness.

    Incidentally, colleges are facing this same dilemma: as more and more women enter university and graduate, it becomes increasingly difficult for schools to get the really large institutional gifts that they used to. Men tend to give far more than women, statistically speaking, and are far more inclined to grant bequests in their wills to their colleges. That’s starting to be a huge crisis in University Land, particularly when men are dropping out and failing to complete degrees at all.

    Good series, Dalrock.

  14. Red Pill Latecomer says:

    Some films do offer sympathetic portrayals of patriarchal fathers. I love this scene from Gallipoli, which demonstrates patriarchal tough love. A stern father trains his son to be a runner, and offers only taciturn approval when the son does good, which is enough to please the son. No tears or touchy-feely New Age stuff.

    The son’s speed takes on significance when he become a messenger during World War I, running amid the trenches, carrying military orders to and fro.

    Today the above father would be attacked for being overly demanding and uncommunicative.

  15. Red Pill Latecomer says:

    Here’s a longer clip from that above scene:

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  17. Keith says:

    Presbyterian church I’m a member of does not do any thing for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. On Memorial Day or veteran day they may make mention of the sacrifice and cost of a free society. The church I was raised in was very different they would always make a big to do about Mother’s Day and then on Father’s Day go around bashing fathers and making them pledge this or that. Quite laughable now that I think about it . I always thought honor ment obedience as in honor your mother and father. And obedience being more inmportant than sacrifice. ( 1sam 15 :22 ) to take a day to honor a man for just being a man seems silly to me. If a man has obedience from his family then every day is Father’s Day

  18. Lost Patrol says:

    Christian movie version.

    A prophet father is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.

  19. One of the biggest problems I see with Christian culture is that it’s largely just a contrived version of secular pop-culture that often comes up about 2-3 years after a particular trend goes out of style.

    This is what I call Christian Kosher; take any secular trend that’s making waves, repackage it in scripture to make it relevant to a Christian market, slap a ‘Jesus Fish’ logo on and bam! You give that market a contrived feeling of cool with the security that you wont go to hell for enjoying it. It’s Christian Kosher in the same way a Rabbi can hand out a Kosher designation for any product Jews might have a moral issue with. So we see Christian Kosher in the media, music, movies, literature, etc., but that Kosherness goes deeper into secular-but-kosher mindsets, ideology and world views. Have a look through the Relevant Christian blog, see if you can pick out all the secular trends that have the Christian Kosher licensing:

    https://relevantmagazine.com/

    Christian fish in anti-male/anti-father water don’t know that their wet. Churchies are raised in a church that denigrates men, but they cannot recognize it because the secular-but-kosher influence of male ridicule is a foundation of church culture now. They don’t recognize the church’s hostility toward anything conventionally masculine, while at the same time pedestalize the Feminine Imperative as an article of faith because Christian feminism, Christian feminine-primacy is kosher.

    So we get the Kendrick brothers’ Christian kosher movies and the niche market of Christians laughing along at the ridiculous, deplorable or failed Christian males. But they don’t get that the mindset that they predisposes them to laugh, even the mindset that motivates the Kendricks to make the movies in the first place, is a secular ideology that’s been accepted as kosher.

  20. Tipsy says:

    Our priest gave our anti-Male sermon on Mother’s day. TL,DR: Men are bad to women and we need woman priests. I’d be looking for a new parish if it weren’t for a fact that I live in a rural area and this is the only Catholic church in the area.

  21. I would speculate that the hype for the Kendrick’s movies is there simply because they are overtly Christian. People are quite grateful for that. I myself detested them because I am a faithful father, as was my father, as was my grand-father. And, this is a normal situation, since almost all fathers are good ones. So the movies’ anti-father messages were repulsive.

    I have never heard an anti-father message from a catholic priest. Doesn’t mean it isn’t out there but I haven’t seen one. Such a thing would require an incredible self destructive urge…

  22. Red Pill Latecomer says:

    One of the biggest problems I see with Christian culture is that it’s largely just a contrived version of secular pop-culture that often comes up about 2-3 years after a particular trend goes out of style.

    Yeah, I’ve seen that. The 1990s saw the emergence of Christian Metal music, in answer to Heavy Metal. Every Halloween, Christian haunted houses are a thing. I’ve also read about Christian chick lit books.

  23. Oleaginous Outrager says:

    One of the biggest problems I see with Christian culture is that it’s largely just a contrived version of secular pop-culture that often comes up about 2-3 years after a particular trend goes out of style.

    There’s a whole lot of “hello fellow young people” to the modern Christian culture.

    Have a look through the Relevant Christian blog, see if you can pick out all the secular trends that have the Christian Kosher licensing:

    I did, and I couldn’t even begin to figure out what this is:

    https://relevantmagazine.com/article/spiritual-reason-were-drawn-to-disney-remakes/

  24. Emperor Constantine says:

    @Rollo said:

    “Have a look through the Relevant Christian blog, see if you can pick out all the secular trends that have the Christian Kosher licensing:”

    In 10 seconds I found three, best one had the following title:

    “Study: Having Sex Might Deepen Belief in God for Men”

    and, of course, no mention of marriage. How “cool” of them.

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  26. modsquad says:

    As far as the Catholic church is concerned, they are the father and the congregation are the children. Naturally, they want to break the legs of the men so there’s no competition for their own seat.

  27. Dismal Farmer says:

    As a Catholic convert, I think what most heretics (er, good and godly Protestants) don’t understand is that most parishes and most parish priests do not care a rat’s backside about what “Catholic organizations” say about a subject. If the Bishop says something, that matters. If the Pope makes a ruling ex cathedra (which is almost never) that matters.

    There are plenty of heretic priests so there surely are anti-father homilies, but those Papists who follow your blog probably self-select to not attend those parishes.

  28. BillyS says:

    RPL,

    Christian metal was out before that. Rez Band (formerly Resurection Band) was in the 1980s, for example. Perhaps not identical and they were certainly odd birds, but some Christian music didn’t just follow the trends.

  29. Boxer says:

    RPL/Billy

    Terrible of me to troll this comment section this way, but since you guys brought up Christian metal, check out Stryper.

    One of those covers that’s way better than the original imo.

    Boxer

  30. Boxer says:

    Dismal Farmer:

    As a Catholic convert, I think what most heretics (er, good and godly Protestants) don’t understand is that most parishes and most parish priests do not care a rat’s backside about what “Catholic organizations” say about a subject. If the Bishop says something, that matters. If the Pope makes a ruling ex cathedra (which is almost never) that matters.

    Now that you’ve insulted the author of the original article, along with nearly everyone in the audience (including and especially other Catholics), perhaps you could explain to all of us heretics why Catholic organizations would be endorsing these films? If it truly doesn’t matter, then why do they bother?

    Corollary: if you think we should shut up, listen and believe, and quit criticizing Catholic organizations, then you clearly think that these same organizations have some sort of spiritual or moral authority. From where does this authority derive?

    It’s not at all true that most parish priests don’t care about what’s going on in Catholic lay organizations. Priests are, after all, people, and they have to deal with cultural trends in the same way anyone else is forced to confront them.

    There are plenty of heretic priests so there surely are anti-father homilies, but those Papists who follow your blog probably self-select to not attend those parishes.

    I’m not a Catholic but I hit vigil mass almost every Saturday. I get a lot more out of it when the homily isn’t edging toward a lecture on domestic violence, male infidelity and masculine responsibility. That’s not infrequent, and it seems like I’m not alone.

    Regards,

    Boxer

    P.S.: What you’ve got is common among Mormon converts, who often get into my face about coming to meetings and other such stuff. I doubt your Catholic peers find this sort of zeal to be cute or entertaining. FYI.

  31. Gunner Q says:

    Dismal Farmer @ 6:01 pm:
    “As a Catholic convert, I think what most heretics (er, good and godly Protestants) don’t understand is that most parishes and most parish priests do not care a rat’s backside about what “Catholic organizations” say about a subject.”

    Most Protestant churches do not care a rat’s backside about what “Focus on the Family” says about a subject. In both cases, ranking clergy are turning blind eyes to the teaching of dangerously false doctrines and beliefs. That’s not a sign of health for either Prots or Cats.

    Sounds like you conversion to Catholicism let you escape nothing at all.

  32. Emperor Constantine says:

    Brother Boxer says:
    June 15, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    “perhaps you could explain to all of us heretics why Catholic organizations would be endorsing these films? If it truly doesn’t matter, then why do they bother?”

    “Corollary: if you think we should shut up, listen and believe, and quit criticizing Catholic organizations, then you clearly think that these same organizations have some sort of spiritual or moral authority. From where does this authority derive?”

    I don’t think Dismal Father disagrees with you at all, Boxer, or Dalrock in the slightest degree. He is in full agreement. What he is saying is that the RCC is deceptively distributed, the doctrine that you absolutely MUST follow as a local Church is limited to primarily insuring the eucharistic Mass is properly adhered to, and beyond that, local Churches can do what they want.

    That said, I would challenge Dismal Farmer on his perception that Red Pill, masculine priests somehow ignore the culture and Catholic organizations on this issue. In my personal experience as a Catholic, I have never met a priest who actually is Red Pill: understands hypergamy, masculinity, the Old Books. Actually gets it that God chose an incredibly patriarchal culture and society (Jews of Abraham’s time) to initiate his direct interaction with humanity. The challenge back to you Dismal Farmer is this: has any priest in your experience, publically called out a Catholic wife for divorcing her husband, and then made it very clear if she continues in her divorce and adultery (90%+ of women divorcing their husbands start fucking other men within a few weeks of the separation, in my experience, that’s hypergamy for you) that she is not welcome in the Church. This literally NEVER happens, ever, today.

  33. dvdivx says:

    I would like to see pastors honor the father, our father in heaven. That he would offer us his son to cleanse us of sins when we have nothing to offer him in return. That his son can provide the light when we are lost in the woods and comfort when we have fallen short of his glory and am too tired to even stand. I can fall short as a father but at least know that God through his grace can forgive me. That’s fathers day in my eyes.

  34. Boxer says:

    I don’t think Dismal Father disagrees with you at all, Boxer, or Dalrock in the slightest degree. He is in full agreement. What he is saying is that the RCC is deceptively distributed, the doctrine that you absolutely MUST follow as a local Church is limited to primarily insuring the eucharistic Mass is properly adhered to, and beyond that, local Churches can do what they want.

    Was I reading him uncharitably? Appy Polly Loggies. Too much free time and excessively warm weather has done a number on the old gulliver. (Seriously I’m sorry. I should have read it a bit more evenly – he was obviously being sarcastic, and I’m a humorless dork.)

    Anyway, there is a common theme over the years (and not just on this particular blog) for Catholics to show up and denounce anyone discussing the contemporary phenomenon that is the feminist/homo priest, with unbelievers and heathens on the internet. Such signalling probably serves a number of purposes, and I’d agree that a protestant blog is probably not the optimal place to discuss; but when the only alternative is freakin’ Catholic Answers, then by necessity this place must serve.

    Best,

    Boxer

  35. BillyS says:

    Older than Stryper, at least I think so. I do remember hearing Stryper on a radio station in Phoenix or someplace like that sometime in the 1985 to 1987 time frame. It was rare, but existed.

    Glenn Kaiser seems to still be going:

    https://twitter.com/glennkaiser?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

    Really old as well, if not as rocky

  36. cynthia says:

    @Boxer

    There’s quite a bit of Catholic bashing that goes on online, and given the de-personalized nature of such conversations, it’s easy to become sensitive to it.

    Most Catholics don’t get that involved in parish politics, community organizations, or third-party advocacy groups. Most Catholics also don’t go in for this Evangelical entrepreneurial BS; Christian rock never took off with us, and I suspect that most Catholics wouldn’t bother going and seeing this Kendrick brother crap either. There’s a divide between Protestants and Catholics, and this irritating pop culture churchian crap is a product of the younger Protestant churches. It stinks of it. I’m sure some Catholics partake from time to time, but it’s not really compatible with Catholic culture (for lack of a better word). At least, that’s been my experience.

    You typically don’t know your priest in some kind of personal way, where you would be able to tell if he’s a homosexual. If somebody’s offended by that charge, it’s because the Internet likes to pretend that every priest is a child molester. It gets irritating to the point that it’s hard to have a discussion over it.

    You get a mixed bag of personalities with priests, too. The oldest priest at my parish is always droning on about refugees, while the youngest is a fire-breather who gave homilies during the election about how voting for a pro-abortion candidate was a sin. I would agree that I’ve never met one who is really “red pill” but I would argue that’s not their job. They’re there to talk about that day’s readings and give you guidance on the faith, not solve the country’s social or political problems. Too, I can’t imagine most priests have a lot of experience with women in any romantic or sexual capacity.

    If generational attitudes come into play with the next crops of young priests, we’re going to end up with some limp-wristed pussies but hopefully, more like our Millennial, who seems to be more aware of how much rot is out there.

  37. Emperor Constantine says:

    @Cynthia said:

    “I would agree that I’ve never met one who is really “red pill” but I would argue that’s not their job. They’re there to talk about that day’s readings and give you guidance on the faith, not solve the country’s social or political problems.”

    In general, that’s true, but it’s the core issue for the family today, and the family is the core unit of the Church and it is under dire threat. Prior to feminism, they might not have needed this knowledge, but in a world dominated by the Feminine Imperative, they do. Even something as basic as the connection between abortion, child support, and no-fault divorce (driven by hypergamy and the need to optimize the female dual mating strategy) isn’t that obvious without the Red Pill.

    Christianity is patriarchy. Until priests understand that, I fear they cannot understand, teach and promulgate their faith properly.

  38. Salt Potato says:

    @Cynthia said:

    “I would agree that I’ve never met one who is really “red pill” but I would argue that’s not their job. They’re there to talk about that day’s readings and give you guidance on the faith, not solve the country’s social or political problems.”

    How can you possibly guide people in their faith, if you lack basic understanding of human nature? The reality is they can’t, because the priests I’ve encountered in my lifetime all preach from a blue-pill mindset…and as a result they have given horrifically bad advise to their congregations (both men and women).

  39. BillyS says:

    I would agree. Life is political. Ignoring that let us get to where we are today.

  40. Jim says:

    I hate stereotypes, but typical of a lot of women to be so oblivious.

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