What Is a Dad?
“What is a dad?” that is the prompt that I gave Midjourney, an AI image generator, to create the images above. I did this because of a recent calendar that is sweeping the conservative movement titled: “Conservative Dad’s REAL Conservative Women of America”.
The AI images generated by the question had no hint of smut or sexualized images in the background. No Sports Illustrated calendars decked the halls; no pinups in the garage while father and son worked on a car; the images were macho, masculine, and showed tender hearted care of kids. The characteristics AI used to generate these are the same virtues we all know are essential to being a dad.
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Now take a moment to look at this photo here:
Imagine this father and daughter are sitting there on Christmas morning, all the gifts have been opened except for one final little present under the tree. The gift says
“To: Hubby ❤️
FROM: ❤️ Your loving wife ❤️ ”
The camera zooms out, and you begin to see the full frame. The wife is clearly some version of Poison Ivy based on the amount of plants she has in the living room (AI needs to work on that). As the camera zooms out, the man opens his gift, but you can’t see what’s in his hands yet. He looks at his wife, grins like a teenage boy and looks at his wife with a “you-know-me” look. Right as he’s about to “play with his knew toy”, his daughter runs up and says “Daddy, can I have a snuggle?”.
“Sure, snuggle bug.” He plops the gift on the coffee table, and the camera continues to zoom out, as they sit on the couch for the image below. Then suddenly you see it: It’s the calendar every dad needs and wants…
…a calendar of half-naked women, but they are real and they are conservative.
The daughter looks up at her dad and says, “Daddy, who’s that pretty girl on your gift?” The daughter’s loving and protecting father chuckles and says, “Well honey, that smokin’ hot conservative woman is one of my favorites. She’s doing a lot of good for women’s sports and dads around the country. And one day, you can be just like her…”
The wife walks in, “Honey, are you enjoying your gift?”
The father responds, “Oh yeah, just telling our little one here about all the great things she can be when she grows up.”
— End Scene—
Allow me to submit to you, that saying dads can ogle women is an undermining of what it means to be a dad in the same way feminism undermined what it meant to be a mother. So in the spirit of Matt Walsh, I ask, “What is a Dad?”
Conservatives and Christians
To be fair to Seth Weathers, the founder of Ultra Right Beer and the man behind the “genius” idea, it seemed like the logical thing to do. After all, Victoria’s Secret has been equating obesity and beauty for quite some time. The fat positivity movement has been an attack on actual feminine beauty for quite some time. Further more, Bud Light had taken things a step further when they propped up a “woman” with a five-o’clock shadow as a marketing stunt that will go down as one of the biggest marketing flops in history.
Now, all Christians should be conservative, but not all conservatives are Christians, especially these days as the left has gone so crazy that even members of the LGBT+ movement are joining the conservative ranks. So obviously, if you’re an entrepreneur and you see Bud Light flop by putting up a man dressed as woman for their campaign, the obvious solution is to get beautiful women, strip them down to almost nothing, take pictures of them, and sell it to your fellow soccer dads at the youth soccer league. The problem states itself as reality asserted itself. Marketing sexualized content to dads commits the same sin as the left: it implicitly undermines the nature of fathers, in the same way all these other companies have undermined the nature of mothers and women.
Stepping aside from the moral issue of the calendar, if Seth had asked me for advice and he was hell bent on the idea, I would have at least suggested that he market it to men, and not dads. Seth would have been far wiser to change the title to “Conservative Men’s REAL Women of America”. If he had, then he would have still accomplished his goal without undermining something as sacred as a father. Morally, he would still be implying that this behavior is appropriate for men, which it is not, but in another sense he would be affirming something true about reality, which is “sex sells”. I mean just look at some Christian Music Cover art, like this one…doesn’t it just scream “It’s time to pray?”
Christian Cowards and Brave Conservatives
In the end, the responses from the conservative secularists prove that they want freedom but that they want it on their own terms. The reaction from Christians is what it has always been, criticize sincere efforts in order to legitimize their fatalist view that there is nothing they can do. Seth was wrong, but nature abhors a vacuum and the church has left a massive moral vacuum for anything but Christian values to fill.
It’s important for the Christian right to understand that conservativism is not “their” party any more. Christians, in general, stopped being courageous and instead sought comfort at the expense of their integrity. The reason that these fights are breaking out among conservatives and the left gained so much ground in the US is because Christianity has abandoned its moral authority in the public square. Privately, Christians will talk about sin in a very sensitive and egg-shell way, but very rarely do we hear from the pulpit moral prescriptions. Instead, the church kept downplaying the moral confusion of the country because they were too busy wondering if Jesus would come back before they would have to experience the inevitable moral fall out from their apathy.
When gay marriage was an issue, they said “it won’t last. It will be years before they come for our churches.” When Transgenderism and Transspecies became headliners, they said “it’s gonna phase out.” When Disney says they have a “gay agenda”, they continue to decorate their homes with souvenirs from their family vacations to the largest institution that seeks explicitly to undermine parental rights and pervert their children.
Then when COVID hit, many Christian voices said, “We must love our neighbors as ourselves and shut down church.” When you allow the government or business to dictate to you what is good, true, and beautiful, do not be surprised when God gives courage to the secularist in order to condemn your apathy.
Now, a few conservative women decide they want to pose for a calendar the way that women used to pose, and you think you have the moral high ground to condemn it? You are correct to condemn, but because you failed in the big things, no one is going to listen to you on this little thing. Keep telling the truth, but don’t just tell the truth, start getting more involved. Show the world that when Christians stand up for what’s right, it’s better and more attractive than half-naked women.
Similarly, the secularists need to stop acting like Jesus was ok with lust. The Christian dad is the ideal man for society and religion. In a sense, he is the priest of his home, advising the moral and spiritual development of his children so that “when they grow old, they will not depart from it.” Ogling women, especially women half your age, is not conducive to the virtuous life, let alone to the vocation of fatherhood. It’s up to every man to choose the law he will submit his eyes and heart to, the law of the flesh or the law of God. Secularists that tell Christians they need to loosen up are naive to the fact that a stable country requires stable homes. And stable homes find their prescription in the Church and its teachings, not the first thing that arouses their most carnal instincts.
Targeting fathers and leading them astray in this way was a blunder pragmatically and morally. Pragmatically because the conservative movement views fathers and men differently. There are men out there with pinups in their garage, and most people tolerate this as a part of men being on a journey of getting their act together. Had they just targeted men, they would have had a larger audience, made more money, and most likely not caused a division the left can exploit.
Morally speaking, Fathers are a sacred thing in God’s plan, not just in the conservative movement. Most people understand that dads are supposed to be men who recognized the error of their ways and have put their past behind them so that they can prepare their kids for the future. Whether secularists of any variety recognize it or not, fathers are the pinnacle of masculinity. All men are called to fatherhood in some sense. This calendar explicitly targets fathers and beckons them back into their pre-pubescent ways, which St. Paul explicitly says to put behind you. Secondly, men, whether father, brothers, or sons, are to respect and protect women, not lust after them. Christ said if you lust after a women in your heart, you commit adultery. Flee from these temptations, and woe to those by which these temptation come.
To Cancel or Not to Cancel?
Does this mean that we should cancel Seth Weathers, Riley Gaines, and the other women who participated? No. We must recognize that alienation is not the same as evangelization. Politics requires us to unite with people that don’t see the world the same way we do, but that share a common desire and goal. Both groups want to return to a normalcy of femineity and masculinity. And we Christians should recognize that this Calendar was a sincere attempt at doing just that. It was a mistake, but I’ll take effort over apathy any day of the week. So we call it what it is: it was a bad idea, and then we move on.
Let’s recall that there is an open border, a fentanyl crisis, a human trafficking crisis, a divorce crisis, a having babies crisis, and, most importantly, a religious crisis in this country. Judgment begins with the house of the Lord, says St. Peter (1 Peter 4:17). We must get our own house in order if the heroes of our movement, who are non-Christians for the most part, are going to think creatively and morally.
In the end, the only hope we have for our country and for our churches is if we recognize that our homes are the first church. That dads are the only ones who can open pickle jars, and that they are the moral compass of the home.
What is a Dad? They are the moral knight of the home. They are the heroes that defend their kids spiritually and physically. They are to be a bastion of wisdom for their children, helping to avoid evil and pursue virtue. If our dads become teenage boys, then actual teenage boys will become monsters.
“It is the bosom of the family that parents are ‘by word and example. . . the first heralds of the faith with regard to their children. . . It is here that the father of the family, the mother, children, and all members of the family exercise the priesthood of the baptized in a privileged way “ by the reception of the sacraments, prayer and thanksgiving, the witness of a holy life, and self-denial, and active charity.” Thus the home is the first school of Christian life and “a school for human enrichment” Here one learns endurance and the joy of work, fraternal love, generous — even repeated —forgiveness, and above all divine worship in prayer and the offering of one’s life.
— Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 1656-1657
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