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Pushed to the Altar: The Right-Wing Roots of Marriage Promotion

By Jean V. Hardisty

After the 2000 presidential campaign, I felt a shock of recognition when I read that the George W. Bush Administration planned to use its “faith-based” funding to support organizations to encourage women, especially welfare recipients, to marry. The rationale was that marriage would cure their poverty. Wade Horn, appointed by Bush to be in charge of welfare programs at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), had been the titular head of “fatherhood movement.” Now inside the government, he morphed his fatherhood campaign of the 1990s – which promoted men as the God-given leader of families and obedient wives – into a government program to promote heterosexual marriage and fatherhood as a solution to the poverty of those who remained as welfare recipients.

Marriage promotion and fatherhood initiatives are just two examples of how the Right has moved from ideas to messaging to capturing political power, on to developing programs, and finally to policy implementation. The Right’s ideological focus on family, the free market, and minimal government touched a chord in the U.S. public that was, and often still is, in a mood of reaction against the 1960s and liberalism. But there was more to the Right’s success than its timely and resonant message. Its success has also rested on a keen understanding of itself as a movement and of the importance of nurturing movement infrastructure and promoting movement leaders.

In this case, the goal of the Right’s agenda is to replace “liberal” programs that are known to raise people out of poverty– such as education, jobs that pay a living wage, health care, child care, and subsidized housing. Further, by channeling money through faith-based programs, they diminish the separation of church and state. In 2005, Congress legitimized these conservative programs by funding marriage promotion and fatherhood funding at the level of $150 million annually for five years.

Attempts to raise low-income women out of poverty with marriage and fatherhood programs are hardly benign. They elevate a patriarchal version of family structure, denigrate the role and abilities of single mothers, endorse marriage only for certain people (excluding same-sex couples), and further the stereotype of female welfare recipients and their children as socially and economically handicapped without the presence of a male family head. Further, they demonstrate how the public has been encouraged by the Right to feel free to invade the privacy of lowincome women and manipulate them by threatening their subsistence income.

The Bush Administration sanctioned the use of federal welfare funds, already cut to an unconscionable level, specifically to fund marriage programs targeting welfare recipients. The Healthy Families Initiative of HHS’s Administration for Children and Families targets African-American, Hispanic, and Native American communities in particular for special marriage promotion and fatherhood projects. By supporting conservatism within these communities, the Right is building its movement and lending credence to its dubious claim of being colorblind. At the same time, it is promoting its political agenda and public policies from within the communities, rather than a less-subtle imposition of those ideas from the arena of white politics.

Framing Marriage, Fatherhood and Welfare

By definition, conservatives seek to conserve the status quo–present conditions. They see what progressives call “social change” as dangerous and destabilizing for society. But the contemporary U.S. Right is determined to return to the status quo ante–that is, a period before the present time. As a result, it is what is known in political analysis as “reactionary.”

The reactionary forces within the Republican Party gained control of the Party as a whole with the election of Ronald Reagan as President in 1980. At that historic moment, the Right–now calling itself the “New Right” to distance itself from the discredited Old Right of Senator Barry Goldwater, the John Birch Society, and the Ku Klux Klan–attained the ability to legitimize its ideology and implement some of the policies that flow from that ideology.

“Welfare” benefits have always been strongly symbolic within the larger agenda of the contemporary Right. The Right’s leaders and followers mock what they call liberalism’s habit of “coddling” the poor, claiming that it weakens the poor by providing the necessities of food and shelter, without which they would be harder workers. It is no surprise that “welfare reform” became an early commitment of the New Right in the late 1970s and 1980s.

Reagan himself repeatedly told a story of Linda Taylor, a welfare recipient in Chicago, who allegedly had defrauded the Illinois Department of Welfare of $8,000. With each telling the amount increased, until Reagan was reporting that she had defrauded the Welfare Department of $150,000.1

Since the creation of the New Right in the 1970s, the Right’s leadership has known the importance of avoiding the label “racist,” lest they show their roots in the discredited segregationism of the Old Right. By stereotyping welfare recipients as African-American and demonizing them as women of loose sexual morals who are prone to defraud government agencies, the Right was able to mobilize the racial resentment of large numbers of white voters against welfare recipients. In order to escape the label “racist,” the Right developed an analysis of virtue and achievement as “colorblind”–adhering to individuals regardless of race. Thus, a campaign against “undeserving” people is not racist, but simply corrects injustices done to “good, working people” who do not receive government assistance.

The Reagan years also promoted the thinking of sociologist George Gilder about the poverty-fighting power of marriage. According to Gilder, monogamous marriage and family formation cause men to become productive by making them responsible for the maintenance of the family. Compared to the alleged lower productivity of bachelors, Gilder states that “A married man … is spurred by the claims of family to channel his otherwise disruptive male aggressions into this performance as a provider for a wife and children.”2

Gilder thus ties marriage to national productivity and asserts that laziness and lack of personal responsibility cause poverty. He goes to great lengths to negate the role of discrimination in creating poverty, and defends capitalism as offering prosperity to anyone who works hard.

This is one example of bad social science: The assertion that marriage and fatherhood will cure poverty is simply unproven.

While Gilder provided a blueprint during the Reagan years, it was only after the Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives under the leadership of Congressman Newt Gingrich of Georgia in the 1994 elections that they could more fully realize his vision. They delivered to President Bill Clinton’s desk the 1996 “Welfare Reform” act, which created Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) to replace Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). As its name implies, TANF is a welfare program that ends the federal government’s commitment to an indefinite safety net for poor women and their children.

Signed by Clinton, the law contains stunning victories for the Right’s agenda, including: 1) a “family cap” or “child exclusion” provision that allows the states to deny any increase in benefits to a mother who becomes pregnant and gives birth while receiving welfare; 2) denial of food stamps to most documented immigrants who are not yet naturalized; 3) a five-year lifetime cutoff of welfare benefits; 4) bonuses to states that remove the greatest number of people from welfare rolls; 5) reduced food stamp assistance to millions of children in working families; and 6) payment of a bonus to states that reduce the number of out-of-wedlock births (known among welfare rights activists as the “illegitimacy bonus”).

Often overlooked is the law’s emphasis on marriage as a means to improve childrearing and lift recipients out of poverty. The first three of nine declarative statements that introduce the provisions of the bill are:

1. Marriage is the foundation of a successful society.

2. Marriage is an essential institution of a successful society that promotes the interests of children.

3. Promotion of responsible fatherhood and motherhood is integral to successful childrearing and the well-being of children.

The remaining six statements address child support, single-mother families, teen pregnancy, and out-of-wedlock births. None of these statements addresses: poor housing; substandard education; lack of health care; institutional racism and sexism; lack of employment opportunities; or language barriers. The 1996 Republican Congress placed marriage at the center of its framing of the poverty the law is intended to address.3

In June 1995, President Clinton had launched a government-wide initiative to strengthen the role of fathers in families, which expanded HHS' efforts to assist men in their roles as fathers. But it was not until the election of George W. Bush in 2000 that this initiative was advanced, publicized, and given a large amount of funding, and the federal bureaucracy began to fully implement the marriage and family formation aspects of welfare reform. The Administration teamed up with the Heritage Foundation to develop programs now being implemented across the country with federal and state funding, including: advertising campaigns on the value of marriage and the skills needed to increase marital stability and health; education in high schools on the value of marriage, relationship skills, and budgeting; and marriage education, marriage skills, and relationship skills programs that may include parenting skills, financial management, conflict resolution, and job and career advancement for nonmarried pregnant women and nonmarried expectant fathers.4

As a result of the Administration’s commitment to funding faith-based organizations, much of the federal money for these programs has gone to religious organizations or to groups heavily influenced by conservative evangelical and fundamentalist Christianity.5 Although the federal government has long funded religious charities, it previously stipulated that they receive the money through a secular arm and adhere to strict rules for separation of church and state. That meant no prayer or other form of worship in the program, and no religiously-based discrimination in hir- Christian fatherhood campaigns of the 1990s promoted men as the God-given leader of families and obedient wives. ing. The Bush Administration has resisted these restrictions and implemented the $2 billion “Charitable Choice” program by administrative fiat since Congress has never passed Charitable Choice legislation.6

The 1996 “Welfare Reform” law had opened the door to the use of TANF money to promote “healthy marriage” through religious charities by allowing states to administer and provide welfare funds through nongovernmental entities. Arizona and Oklahoma were the first states to use TANF money to fund marriage initiatives, followed by Utah and West Virginia. Beginning in 1996, West Virginia notoriously provided a $100 monthly welfare bonus to recipients who marry, though the program has since been suspended.

By the Bush years, the funds were flowing. In Dallas, the Friendship West Baptist Church won $546,025 per year from 2006 to 2011 in African American-targeted funds for a media campaign, marriage education and a teen program. Another $550,000 a year distributed through a ministers' network is supporting the pastoral teaching of a Keys to a Healthy Marriage curriculum to black youth in 25 cities over the same time period.

It is difficult to know exactly how much state and federal money goes to support marriage promotion programs. The 2005 Deficit Reduction Act has authorized $100 million per year for five years for a total of $500 million. But, according to Timothy Casey of Legal Momentum, it is not possible to name the exact figure. One complicating factor in researching the amount of money awarded to programs and states for marriage promotion is that some marriage promotion grants are made not only through separate funding streams within HHS, such as the $30 million Compassion Capital Fund, but also through Executive Branch departments other than HHS, such as the Department of Justice.

Together, federal and state faith-based funding, as journalist Jason DeParle said, “seeks a third way between cold government and cool indifference [to those in need]. Yet with much of the money flowing to conservative supporters of President Bush, the [Compassion Capital] fund is also a tool of realpolitik.”7 The funds advance a systematic Republican courtship of conservative African-American and Latino voters by providing government funding to explicitly African-American and Latino organizations, showcasing support for a segment of those communities.

The Christian Right’s marriage and fatherhood activism of the 1990s provided a solid base for the Bush Administration’s redirection of poverty programming in the first decade of the 21st Century.

Pro-Marriage Activism: From Grassroots to Government

Although ideas have consequences, they do not become policy unless there is pressure brought to bear by institutions, organizers, activists, and voters. This network of national and local institutions, informal groups, and fellow-travelers constitutes a movement “infrastructure.” Attention to nurturing and strengthening this network is usually called “movement building.”

During the 1990s, the Right presented its family values theme as an antidote to the social changes that had occurred during the preceding thirty years, especially the rise of feminism. In 1995, the rate of divorce stood at approximately 50 percent, presenting a challenge to the traditional inviolability of marriage vows. Families had become increasingly “melded” – made up of two divorced parents and their respective children. Single motherhood had increased dramatically, growing across social classes, and had lost much of its social stigma. At the same time, the number of gay and lesbian families was beginning to grow, presenting perhaps the most serious challenge of all to the traditional heterosexual nuclear family model. The Right’s leadership blasted all these social changes and blamed them on liberalism, especially the women’s movement and the gay rights movement.

One movement response from the Right was massive Promise Keeper rallies. These evangelical Christian revivals, for men only, were launched in 1990 by University of Colorado football coach Bill McCartney to teach men the importance of their role as husbands and fathers. They were also intended to recruit men to the ranks of the Christian Right and lure them back to conservative Christian churches, which for decades have been attended and maintained predominantly by women worshipers. Specifically addressing the role of a woman within a marriage, Rev. Tony Evans of the Promise Keepers states in Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper:

I can hear you saying “I want to be a spiritually pure man. Where do I start?” The first thing you do is sit down with your wife and say something like this: “Honey, I’ve made a terrible mistake. I’ve given you my role. I gave up leading this family, and I forced you to take my place. Now I must reclaim that role.”… there can be no compromise here. If you’re going to lead, you must lead. Be sensitive. Listen. Treat the lady gently and lovingly. But lead. (Emphasis in the original.)8

The stadium rallies held by Promise Keepers across the country were a media sensation for at least two years. They were huge, professional productions, with a soundstage and production values to rival a large industrial convention. The Promise Keepers’ budget midstream in its organizing in 1995 was estimated to be $22 million. The budget peaked at an estimated $117 million in 1997, then declined following the successful Million Man March on the National Mall in October 1997, which seemed to sap its coffers. Still, the Promise Keepers continues to host regional events–19 in 2006 alone–as it continues to promote an anti-abortion, antigay, conservative fatherhood agenda.

While media coverage of Promise Keepers’ activities in the 1990s was intense, the press paid little attention to various conferences and meetings that were simultaneously organizing a rightist “fatherhood movement,” largely made up of white leaders and members. The movement is focused on issues such as divorce, custody of children, child support payments, “false” accusations of abuse, and control of access to children (for instance, by blocking the mother and child/children from moving out of state).

The fatherhood movement represents a serious attack on divorced women, women who are single parents, and samesex families.

The titular head of the movement was Wade Horn, leader of the largest and most powerful of the fatherhood organizations, the National Fatherhood Initiative. Other prominent leaders included David Blankenhorn, David Popenoe, and Don Eberly.9

As Wade Horn acknowledges, these sectors were not all on the same ideological page:

Religiously oriented advocates believe fatherhood is part of God’s plan, without recognition of which the institution of fatherhood will not be recovered. Fathers’ rights advocates consider the current focus on deadbeat dads inaccurate and counterproductive and lobby for divorce and child custody reforms. Advocates for low-income men believe poor economic circumstances are a primary cause of fatherlessness and see the solution in job training and education programs for disadvantaged and minority men. Culturalists believe fatherlessness is a failure of our culture to reinforce a compelling fatherhood script and seek the definition of one. Marriage advocates believe only a restoration of the institution of marriage will lead to a renewal of fatherhood.10

This diversity of ideology and agenda within the fatherhood movement allows the movement to present many faces to the world. Its most militant wing calls itself the “fathers’ rights” movement and is led by fathers on a crusade to put right the injustices done to them by: 1) the divorce court “system;” 2) their “vengeful and spiteful” ex-wives (who were inevitably abetted by “the system”); or 3) “man-hating feminists” and welfare workers who have stolen their children after their wives brought false accusations of battering or incest against them.

The debut of the slightly more moderate center/right fatherhood movement occurred at a “National Summit on Fatherhood,” held in Dallas, Texas, in October 1994. It was sponsored by The National The Public Eye THE PUBLIC EYE SPRING 2008 24 Federal marriage promotion funds advance a systematic Republican courtship of conservative African-American and Latino constituents. Fatherhood Initiative, the largest and most respectable of the fatherhood groups. This meeting was followed by a 1996 conference convened in Minneapolis by the movement’s leadership. The Minneapolis conference resulted in the definitive statement of the ideology and agenda of the fatherhood movement, titled “A Call to Fatherhood,” published in a collection of essays titled The Fatherhood Movement: A Call to Action.11 Marvin Olasky, a principal architect of the Bush Administration’s faithbased initiatives, was an original signer of this Call.

While A Call to Action is a comprehensive introduction to the movement and required reading for anyone interested in the Bush Administration’s family policy, it tends to present the movement as selfinvented by its leadership. The movement actually owes a great deal to several intellectual and activist predecessors, especially: Daniel Patrick Moynihan of the wellknown and controversial “Moynihan Report” (1965); George Gilder and the “family values” agenda developed by the New Right during the Reagan and George H. W. Bush Administrations; the mythopoetic men’s movement headed by Robert Bly and captured in his book, Iron John: A Book About Men; and the national activism of Promise Keepers.12

The 1999 book, The Fatherhood Movement, edited by Wade F. Horn, David Blankenhorn, and Mitchell B. Pearlstein, pulls together the movement’s major articles and serves as its guidebook. When Horn was appointed Assistant Secretary for Children and Families at HHS and put in charge of the Bush Administration’s programs for welfare recipients, the centerpiece of his policy implementation was to fund marriage promotion and fatherhood programs, putting the federal seal of approval on the importance of a father in lowincome families.

Despite its ideological diversity, a few basic tenets run throughout the predominantly white fatherhood movement. Underlying every rightist sector of the movement is a conservative Christian reading of the nature and role of the family. Christian Right theological principles are central, and adherents often refer to Christianity as the basis for the movement’s legitimacy. The movement explicitly supports patriarchy, asserting that it is damaging to children for them to grow up without a father present in the home.

Importantly, there is a liberal sector of the fatherhood movement that is often called “profeminist fatherhood.” These groups, such as Dads and Daughters, the National Center for Fathering, A Call to Men, and the Fathering Program of the Men’s Resource Center for Change, organize men to be better fathers while taking on problems of male dominance. Rightist fatherhood groups have stereotyped these groups as not representing “real men.”13

Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama, who himself grew up with little contact with his father, has urged fathers in the Black community to be more responsible and has linked their absence to family poverty.14 Because he is considered a liberal on social and economic issues, his voice is one strain of the liberal pro-fatherhood position, one often expressed by Democrats in the House and Senate.

Ideological common ground between liberal and conservative fatherhood groups is elusive at best. The best recent effort to achieve some degree of unity was a moderate statement, signed by fifty participants at a multiracial 1999 conference held at Morehouse College and cosponsored by the Morehouse Research Institute and the conservative Institute for American Values.15 The statement, whose signatories ranged from conservative to liberal, cites declining economic opportunity for inner-city Black men, racial discrimination, and a culture that increasingly has become uninterested in marriage. But clearly that unity has not held.

The most important institutionalization of the conservative fatherhood ethos prior to the George W. Bush Administration was the 1998 Southern Baptist Convention’s resolution on marriage. It maintains that wives should voluntarily yield to their husbands, following Saint Paul’s words to husbands and wives. The Southern Baptist Convention is the largest Baptist group in the world and the largest Protestant denomination in the United States. It is second only to the Roman Catholic Church in U.S. membership. Its marriage resolution drew substantial media attention because its adoption followed a hard-fought battle in backrooms and on the convention floor.16

Despite the Right’s support for the principles of the fatherhood movement, neither the Christian Right nor The Heritage Foundation envisioned using federal funds to promote its principles. It took the election of George W. Bush in 2000 for this to happen.

Fatherhood and Marriage Promotion in Black Communities

White marriage and fatherhood promoters see low-income communities of color as their most challenging project. Because many families in these communities do not conform to the model heterosexual, nuclear family configuration, they are identified by rightists and also many liberals as “problem” or “unhealthy” communities.

However, to effect change in lowincome communities of color, the primarily white fatherhood movement must gain access to them. Under Horn, HHS' primary strategies involved awarding grants to both faith-based and select secular organizations, publishing a newsletter, and sponsoring convenings that target specific communities of color.17 By gaining access and building trust with federal grants, the Ideological common ground between liberal and conservative fatherhood groups is elusive at best. white fatherhood movement (through its allies in the federal bureaucracy) has an opportunity to recruit men and women in low-income communities of color to collaborate in the Right’s “cure” for their poverty.

HHS itself often points out that it is particularly concerned with promoting marriage within the African-American community. The justification for this racial “marriage promotion affirmative action” is that, according to the 2000 U.S. Census and 2003 National Center for Health Statistics Report, African-Americans have the lowest marriage rates and the highest divorce rates of any group in the United States, the highest rate of households headed by single mothers, and the highest rate of childbirth to single mothers. These statistics have given rise to events such as “Black Marriage Day,” put on in 70 cities by the Wedding Bliss Foundation, with direct assistance from HHS.

By targeting African-Americans for marriage promotion, HHS is responding to the statistics cited above, claiming that marriage promotion must, logically, be most active in the communities with the poorest record on marriage. In this stealth logic, marriage is elevated to the status of a community asset, while the lack of robust marriage statistics is seen as a community deficit (the word “pathology” is no longer popular); therefore the African-American community receives a disproportionate share of marriage promotion efforts. The entire argument rests on the association of a low marriage rate with a lack of community health–such that the government can justify intervening.

Conservative activists in communities of color, often adhering to the rightist notion that issues of race and racism should be “colorblind,” tend to focus on the community itself as the cause of fatherlessness. They argue that blaming poverty, white racism, or joblessness allows the fathers in the community to shirk their responsibility to provide for their children. Traditionalist African-American organizations, such as the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Responsible Fatherhood and Family Revitalization, and new publications, such as Proud Poppa, promote the nuclear family model that emphasizes the father as the principal determinant of the success of children and the family. They encourage fathers to be heavily involved in the rearing of children. Many of these more conservative African-American organizations talk very little about the challenges of poverty or the crucial role of the mother in childrearing. Their message is that “fathers make the family.”

It is these few organizations, and a number of conservative pastors and ministers, that tend to work most closely with the Healthy Marriage Initiative of the George W. Bush Administration. For example, as part of its outreach to African-Americans, HHS’s Administration for Children and Families hosted a 2004 conference in Chicago to spread the word in the African- American community about the government’s efforts to promote marriage. The Forum’s title was, “Why Marriage Matters: The Role of Faith-Based and Community Organizations.”19Approximately one third of the attendees identified themselves as pastors from around the country.

At the conference, one workshop leader, Rev. Darrell L. Armstrong of Shiloh Baptist Church in Trenton, N.J., illustrated the gap between the more conservative marriage analysis promoted by rightists at HHS and a more liberal analysis of marriage when he warned participants to be wary of two groups that would oppose their efforts: advocates against domestic violence, who are concerned that marriage initiatives will encourage people to stay in abusive relationships; and gay and lesbian groups that are fighting for access to marriage.

Although liberal fatherhood and marriage organizations of color are equally dedicated to strong families and involved fatherhood, they are less attached to the traditional nuclear family model than are conservative fatherhood organizations. In the words of Ronald Mincy, a scholar who studies African-American fathers, these organizations “encourage fathers, whether married or not, to become more involved in their children’s lives, both emotionally and financially, and to develop a better relationship with the child’s mother.”20 They explicitly promote marriage and fatherhood within the reality of a world where low-income men of color face barriers in employment, housing, and access to health care.

Senator Barack Obama, for instance, in his comments chastising “absentee Black fathers,” also notes that the federal government has “gone AWOL” as low-income families deal with unemployment and lack of health care.21These organizations, activists, academics, and politicians appropriately emphasize poverty as the cause of family distress, and then help fathers develop a healthy relationship with their families. More researchers are pointing out that the statistics showing most low-income black families are headed by single-mothers don’t reveal the larger truth that some young men of color are involved with the mothers of their children, sometimes live with them, and even are active in their children’s care.22 Yet the couple may decide not to marry.

Another ideological sector of the fatherhood movement within the African-American community is nationalistic fatherhood, almost single-handedly represented by the National of Islam, which has long emphasized the importance of the family. Its call for a million African-American men to come to Washington, D.C. on October 16, 1995 to stand up for “unity, atonement, and brotherhood” resulted in one of the largest marches ever seen on the Mall, drawing many who were not affiliated with the Nation of Islam, but wanted to make a statement in support of African- American empowerment. Speakers from the podium called on African-American men to “clean up their lives and rebuild their neighborhoods.”


Whatever critique liberals and progressives justifiably make of the Right’s ideas and methods, nearly all students of the Right will agree that its leadership had a remarkable understanding of the importance of movement building. In The studying the specific area of marriage and fatherhood promotion, it is clear how strategically the movement’s organizations molded and mobilized public opinion against single mothers and, most especially, against single mothers who are welfare recipients. Simultaneously, they elevated the role of “father” to make the presence of a father necessary for the formation of a healthy family.

The Right points to the success of its policies in shrinking welfare rolls and the numbers of welfare recipients who have gone to work. Then shouldn’t the poverty rate in the United States be at an all-time low? But the U.S. Census Bureau’s report for 2005, released in August 2006, details a grim picture of poverty in the U.S. The report finds that the percentage of people living in poverty in 2005 (12.6 percent) contains the highest percentage of people living in “deep poverty” since the government began keeping poverty statistics in 1975. That’s because nearly half (5.4 percent) of those living in poverty are living below half the poverty line of $17,170 for a family of three, according to 2007 Health and Human Services Guidelines.23

Much of the public does not know the extent of deep poverty in the United States or the expenditure of federal money to promote marriage among low-income women and to promote fatherhood in family formation. Even if they did know, they might assume that the program was driven by solid evidence from the social sciences that marriage does indeed result in a higher income for poor women. But there is no such evidence (as I will document in a forthcoming article). This is a program driven by right-wing ideology, a backlash against the social reforms of the 1970s and 1980s, and a commitment by the Republican Party to “restore” the idealized “father knows best” family model of the 1950s. If this were a harmless pursuit of a fantasy ideal, that would explain why it fairly often garners bipartisan support. But on close examination, it is more accurately a cynical social experiment, using as its subjects the low-income women of the early 21st century.

Jean V. Hardisty, a political scientist, is senior scholar at The Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College and President Emerita of Political Research Associates. This article is excerpted from a report of the same name published by PRA and the Women of Color Resource Center.

End Notes

1 Michael Lind, Up From Conservatism: Why the Right is Wrong for America (New York: The Free Press, 1996), 193.

2 George Gilder, Wealth and Poverty (New York, NY: Basic Books, 1981), 69.

3 110 STAT. 2105, PUBLIC LAW 104-193, Aug. 22, 1996, 105th Congress.

4 See: “Marriage Promotion: At What Cost?: New Federal Marriage Promotion And Fatherhood Program.” Accessed at: http://legalmomentum.org/legalmomentum/programs/
sexualityandfamilyrights2006/06/new_federal_marriage_ promotion. php on July 26, 2007

5 Anne Farris, Richard P. Nathan, and David Wright, “The Expanding Administrative Presidency: George W. Bush and the Faith-Based Initiative,” The Roundtable on Religion and Social Welfare Policy, August, 2004, executive summary, 1.

6 Elisabeth Bumilller, “Bush Says $2 Billion Went to Religious Charities in ’04,” New York Times, March 4, 2005,

7 Jason DeParle, “Hispanic Group Thrives on Faith and Federal Aid.” New York Times, May 3, 2005, A1.

8 Tony Evans, “Spiritual Purity,” in: Al Janssen and Larry K. Weeden, eds. Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper (Colorado Springs, CO: Focus on the Family Publishing, 1994), 79-80.

9 See: Wade F. Horn, Father Facts, 3rd ed. (Gathersburg, MD: National Fatherhood Initiative, 1998); David Blankenhorn, Fatherless America: Confronting our most urgent social problem (New York, Basic Books, 1995); David Popenoe, Life Without Father: Compelling new evidence that fatherhood and marriage are indispensable for the good of children and society (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996); and Don E. Eberly, Restoring the Good Society: A new vision for politics and culture (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1994).

10 Wade F. Horn, “Did you Say ‘Movement’?, in: Wade F. Horn, David Blankenhorn, and Mitchell B. Pearlstein,
eds., 7-8.

11 See in: Wade F. Horn, David Blankenhorn, and Mitchell Pearlstein, eds., The Fatherhood Movement: A Call to Action (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 1999), 169-175.

12 Robert Bly, Iron John: A Book About Men (New York: Vintage Books, 1990).

13 Anna Gavanas, Fatherhood Politics in the United States: Masculinity, Sexuality, Race, and Marriage (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2004), 15-19. Also see: Tom Digby, ed., Men Doing Feminism (New York, N.Y: Routledge Press, 1998).

14 Mike Dorning, “Obama Urges Fathers to be Responsible,” Chicago Tribune, June 16, 2007, p. 4.

15 Carol Browning, “Crisis of Fatherhood: ‘Turning the Corner on Father Absence in Black America’ Report,” Christian Century, August 25, 1999

16 For an account of the manipulation of the vote on the resolution on ordination, see Carolyn Weatherford Crumpler, “Foreword,” in Carl L. Kell, ed., Exiled: Voices of the Southern Baptist Convention Holy War (Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 2006), xviii.

17 Outreach strategies appear on the HHS Healthy Families website: http://fatherhood.hhs.gov/index.shtml.

18 For 2000 census data, see: http://www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/censr-5.pdf and for the 2003 National Center for Health Statistics report, see: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/howto/w2w/w2welcom.htm.

19 Claire Hughes, “Chicago African-American Health Marriage Initiative Conference,” The Roundtable on Religion and Social Welfare Policy, May 17, 2004, accessed at: http://www.religionandsocialpolicy. org/news/article print.cfm?id=1514.

20 Ronald B. Mincy, “What About Black Fathers?” The American Prospect, vol. 13, issue 7, April 8, 2002.

21 See Dorning.

22 Jonathon E. Briggs, “For Black Fathers, A Changing Picture,” Chicago Tribune, June 15, 2007, p. A1.

23 Federal Register, Vol. 72, No. 15, January 24, 2007, 3147-3148. Also see: “Downward Mobility,” New York Times editorial, August 30, 2006, A20; and “Pushed into Poverty,” The Miami Herald, February 28, 2007, A1.