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And a little child shall tell the truth

Our cultural insanity blows up big time at Mother’s Day


Davide Zanin/Getty Images

And a little child shall tell the truth

Mother's Day tends to bring out the very best in our culture—and simultaneously to bring out the very worst. The nation’s recent experience of Mother’s Day requires us to look back a bit at the blessings of motherhood and the wreckage of our culture. Brace yourselves, for we need to look honestly at both.

On the happy side of the ledger is the bare fact that enough moral sense survives so that the vast majority of Americans can commemorate Mother’s Day without irony. Apparently, multiple millions of our fellow citizens managed to do so. From coast to coast little faces held up hand-drawn Mother’s Day cards in eager little hands and moms fought back tears. Husbands struggled to find the right words to express gratitude, honor, and the sheer wonder of motherhood they see lived out in the constant acts of faithfulness that wives and mothers just do. Mother’s Day is awkward, but it’s just downright necessary, beautiful, and right.

It’s also a catastrophe. Our cultural confusions are never more evident than when we turn something as simple as Mother’s Day into an unmitigated disaster. Just consider an opinion column published by The Washington Post as the day approached. The headline tells you everything about our current catastrophe: “Our daughter wanted a mommy, so she picked one of her dads.” You have already figured the situation out, but understand that the little girl, just 3 ½ years old at the time, realized that “every other kid she knew had a mom.” The writer simply concedes: “My husband and I, two men, had known this moment might come.” They had stocked up on two-daddy children’s books and thought they were ready, but they were not ready for a 3 ½ year old who saw the pictures and understood the problem.

To the surprise of the two men, the little girl just appointed one of them to be the “mommy” and promptly demanded that all pronouns match her designation. The deputized “mommy” decided to play along, right down to parent events for the little girl. The writer then related that he and his husband did have second thoughts about the whole thing: “Wasn’t this too big a concession to heteronormativity?” Seriously.

Later, the writer said that he worried that the temporary situation in their home might be way too conventional. “What about nonbinary parents who aren’t reflected in the mom-dad dichotomy?,” he asked. He further suspected that their “liberal East Coast community” was still marked by too much “unnecessary gendering.”

The radical redefinition of the family is a disaster headed towards catastrophe.

The big lesson here is that the 3 ½ year old sees what the others will not see. She is not wrong. Her instinct is exactly right. She needs a mommy and a daddy, and she knows it. We should all be thankful that she is fed and cared for and undoubtedly loved by the two men who she now knows as Mommy and Daddy, but she deserves a mother and a father and our society is committing a form of moral insanity by trying to argue out loud that two “daddies” are just fine. They are not just fine, and the radical redefinition of the family is a disaster headed towards catastrophe.

Christians must look at this kind of argument and realize that the fact that the article appeared as the nation turned to observe Mother’s Day tells us just about everything we need to know about The Washington Post and the dominant media class in Washington. This is yet another exercise in being hammered with what we are supposed to think.

But it’s not enough for Christians to refuse the Kool Aid. We must recognize that this level of confusion and contortion underlines the fact that our current cultural warfare is now at the level of an ontological crisis and an outright rebellion against creation order. The Creator intended for a man to marry a woman and for the family to be the most foundational unit of society, with children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren and on and on and on, each family unit reflecting the glory of God and centered in a unique and monogamous conjugal union of a man and a woman, united in the covenant of marriage and faithfully open to the gift of children.

Our society is now at war with that creation-order conception of marriage and the family. And yet, Mother’s Day reminds us of the cultural contradictions of our age. Mother’s Day is all too filled with kitsch and sloppy sentiment, but it turns out also to be a powerful affirmation of the truth. Those handmade cards held up with sticky hands tell the truth. And a 3 ½ year-old longing for a mommy is telling the truth. All around us is a society desperately trying to convince itself that our longing is for an escape from “heteronormativity” and gendered imaginations. In truth, our longing is for the glory of God in the simplicity and obedience of creation order. Articles like this one just underline the insanity of our times, and the stakes in our struggle. In an act of unmitigated and unembarrassed sanity, just go hug a real mom. You don’t even need to tell her why. Just do so as an act of defiance—and do so on behalf of a little 3 ½ year-old girl you don’t even know, but you just can’t get off your mind.


R. Albert Mohler Jr.

Albert Mohler is president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Boyce College and editor of WORLD Opinions. He is also the host of The Briefing and Thinking in Public. He is the author of several books, including The Gathering Storm: Secularism, Culture, and the Church. He is the seminary’s Centennial Professor of Christian Thought and a minister, having served as pastor and staff minister of several Southern Baptist churches.


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