When you think of great fathers, several names come to mind.
When it comes to American pop culture, Hugh Beaumont in Leave it to Beaver is the archetype. When it comes to history Charlemagne was known as a devoted and doting father who even showed mercy towards one of his sons who tried to assassinate him. When it comes to religion, the Catholic Thomas More was a trendsetter in giving his daughters the same classical education he gave his sons, while the Protestant Jonathan Edwards had 11 children with the oldest following in his father's footsteps.
And, then, of course, there's Bill Clinton.
Wait...whoa...Bill Clinton? You mean that Bill Clinton?
Since it's apparently still too soon for it to be Tiger Woods, the National Father's Day Council has made the mystifying choice to name Bill Clinton it's "father of the year." Because, you know, nothing says "father of the year" like being a proven liar, serial adulterer, impeached, and publicly embarrassing your family on a national stage.
Nothing says "father of the year" like foolishly risking your family, your career, and your legacy just so that you can stain the blue dress of a troubled White House intern and inspire a generation of hormonally out-of-control teenagers to believe oral sex isn't sex.
What's next? The Animal Rescue League honors Michael Vick? Crime-Stoppers honors O.J. Simpson for finding "the real killers?" Lance Armstrong becomes a model for honesty and integrity?
There's no such thing as a perfect father, unless we're talking about our Heavenly Father. We've all made mistakes, and lots of them. I'm a father of three, and sometimes I feel like I did my job just as long as my kids turn out a little less screwed up than I am.
But, there is a such thing as a real father, and a real father does not demonstrate a pattern of selfish decision-making-let alone pursue policies that allow would-be fathers to kill their own children before they're born. A real father tells a young man who gets a girl pregnant to step like a man and accept responsibility for his actions, not selfishly drop the girl off at an abortuary to have his own child killed for his own convenience.
Then again, perhaps, it is only fitting that Bill Clinton is our culture's father of the year. A culture that kills 4,000 of its own offspring before they're born each day, saddles $17 trillion in debt upon its next generation before they can even count that high, and feminizes all of its cultural institutions (including the church) is symbolized perfectly by Bill Clinton.
A few years ago my oldest daughter asked me, "Daddy, what is a man?"
Over the years I've gone toe-to-toe with those running for the highest offices of the land, but this was the first time since my youth I felt like I was back on my heels. So, I did what any self-respecting parent does in that situation - I asked her to repeat the question so I could stall for enough time to pray for divine guidance to reveal to me the right answer.
"Daddy, what is a man?" she asked again.
I gulped, opened my mouth, and then these words came out: "A man is somebody who doesn't always do what he wants to do, but does what others need him to do because he loves the people he's doing it for more than he loves himself."
She seemed satisfied with that answer, and I thanked God for providing it to me. I then realized I was just challenged with a standard I now had to live up to. A standard a man that wins "father of the year" should've lived up to. A standard that too many men, Bill Clinton included, haven't lived up to.
You can tell a lot about a culture by the state of its men, and in a culture where Bill Clinton is "father of the year" that's a tell-tale sign your culture is in steep decline.