• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Spotlight on Civil Society: "Courageous" Film Highlights Importance of Fathers

    One need look no further than the latest sitcom or celebrity pronouncement to witness the strained state of fatherhood in American culture. As men have become expendable in the eyes of pop culture, fewer adults see the necessity of ensuring their children are raised in intact, married families, where they can experience the unique benefits of both a mother and a father.

    More Americans are cohabitating; fewer are marrying; and if they do wed, it is at a much later age than previous generations. Although divorce rates have declined slightly over the past 20 years, no-fault divorce laws allow marital dissolution to continue separating children from their parents—especially their fathers. With four out of 10 children now born outside of marriage, thousands more children are growing up without the social and economic stability of married households.

    One church is doing something to reverse the trend by engaging the culture with the truth about the importance of fathers. On September 30, Sherwood Pictures, the movie production arm of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia, will release its fourth major motion picture. The movie Courageous follows the work and lives of four police officers who struggle with the idea that their strength and valor on the job pales in comparison to the courage needed to build strong relationships with their children. The men experience unique family situations—some emotionally or physically absent from their children’s lives, others having experienced a fatherless home themselves.

    The movie highlights the personal pain of absent fathers and the tragic societal consequences that so often correlate with fatherlessness. As police officers on the front lines of Albany’s streets, the men are daily witnesses to the delinquency and crime that tends to plague communities bereft of fathers. On the job, the officers are determined, focused, and wholly self-sacrificing to protect their community from senseless violence. At home, however, the task of building intentional relationships with their children proves to be a battle. But when tragedy strikes one of the officer’s own families, the men are forced to confront their misplaced priorities and rise to the challenge of becoming better fathers.

    Recognizing that changing culture’s opinion of men and fathers will take more than a trip to movie theaters, Sherwood Baptist has also developed individual and small group resources to accompany the release of the film. The curriculum and books are meant to encourage men in their roles as fathers and promote the benefits of stable families.

    Both government and civil society have a role to play in restoring a culture of family and marriage. Federal, state, and local policymakers should take steps to promote the importance of intact, married families to the well-being of children and communities. Civil society institutions like Sherwood Baptist Church, however, must shoulder the hard work of helping to personally rebuild marriages and teach men about the integral role they play in stable families. Such cultural engagement is necessary to remind fathers that one of the greatest achievements and most important contributions they can make to society begins around the kitchen table. As Courageous reminds viewers: “Honor begins at home.”

    Click here to watch the Courageous trailer and find showings at a theater near you.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    8 Responses to Spotlight on Civil Society: "Courageous" Film Highlights Importance of Fathers

    1. robert says:

      The problem with fatherlessness isn't the father, it's the family court system and the federal government "keeping" dads from their children. I've read hundreds of articles and several books on fatherlessness such as "Taken Into Custody" by Stephen Baskerville and the facts of fatherlessness as compared to what you read, like the one about this movie, makes you wonder at the delusion going on in this country. Fathers are routinely, daily, denied thier AUTHORITY over thier own children and in many cases are actually ordered, without cause, to talk to or see their children in family courts. The janitors of an elementary school have more rights to a man's children today than he does. The federal government gives millions to states to collect so much CS and the incentive is to keep dad gone from his kids. Also, the grandparents, ie., the maternal grandparents, can actually steal a man's children if mom doesn't want them. The court, you see, wants the money from the dad and this money driven system perpetuates fatherlessness. It's time for this nonsense of we need to show dad how to be a better dad ends. Why don't you get to the source of the problem and stop, as the Scripture says, be "ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" on this issue. Did you know, for ex., that 85 to 90 percent of divorce is "unilateral"? That is, 85 to 95 percent of divorces are iniated by the 'MOTHER' or wife when children are present. And what is your movie about? How to make dad better? Huh? It's really sickening out here to fathers who can daily get online and see fathers on a worldwide scale screaming their guts out just to get the basic right to even see their kids and then read something like this about this movie. The problem is the government has stolen fathers' rights to their children and it's as simple as that. All this movie is doing is making money off of fatherlessness and that's the cold hard truth of it.

      • stephanie says:

        I believe that you mean well with what you are saying and for the most part I agree with you. I feel led to say this about your post…I never met my father. He was alive and well and knew how to find me until he died of cancer when I was 15 years old. My mother left him when I was a baby, just over 2 years old so I have no memory of him. He was a Marine and had served 3 tours during vietnam and came back very violent, drinking, gambling exc…. They had been married over 22 years with 6 children when she left him. For her there was no choice. She was given broken ribs, had teeth knocked out, and was told my his mother (apparently, my grandmother) that it was her fault she made him angry. After getting no help, keeping us safe from him was her only choice. Even after this, when we were older she was going to take us to meet him. Unfortunatley for him, he got sick and died a few months before the meeting ever happened.

        • stephanie says:

          If a movie like this had been shown to my father, maybe it would have made a difference to him. Maybe my father would have become a different man. If it makes one man a better father or keeps one family together, it will be worth it!! It is too late for me and my father but that is not the case for many other families. There will always be women who take advantage of the system. And these women should be avoided. God has good advice on relationships and he is always right so if you are following his will, you just may find that the women you end up marrying would not be the kind of person to put you through the ringer in the family court system.

        • stephanie says:

          If a movie like this had been shown to my father, maybe it would have made a difference to him. Maybe my father would have become a different man. If it makes one man a better father or keeps one family together, it will be worth it!! It is too late for me and my father but that is not the case for many other families. There will always be women who take advantage of the system. And these women should be avoided. God has good advice on relationships and he is always right so if you are following his will, you just may find that the women you end up marrying would not be the kind of person to put you through the ringer in the family court system.

    2. Harry Hoss says:

      Men in general are abdicating their God ordained role as leader pr their households, as described in Genesis. He made women as helpmates to love each other, love each other, love each other. I agree our courts have shut men out of the lives of their children and saddled men with so much child support payment that they had no life if they paid it all. I have seen men take their lives because of a divorce that saddled them with so much payment they saw their lives were ruined so no use to to on. Death to them was an easier way out. I have heard many women say they wished their husbands would have an opinion and assert themselves. This made women not respect them as they should. So they found another. I say this from 45 years as a practicing family doctor. If you listen to the last talk in church it sums it all up. Men step up to the plate and be a MAN AS GOD ORDAINED.

    3. Lynne says:

      robert
      It sounds like you've had a very bad experience with the court system, and I'm sorry for that. But I'm wondering if you saw one of the preview screenings of Couragous as I did, and if not I'd advise you to see it in the fall before posting along these lines again.

      1. You argue that the problem with fatherlessness is that the courts usually give control of children to the mother or her realatives insted of the father. Part of this is because younger children need a lot of time with their mom. The way fathers tend to be excluded at the courts descretion is part of an underlying thought of our culture, that every child needs a mom, but dad's really are not important, Couragous is actually arguing your side, the whole point of the movie is that dads are important and make a great deal of difference in how a childs life turns out.

      2. Also you seem to assume that they mean fathers who have no contact with their children. Without giving anything away, let me say that at least two of the fathers are in stable happy marriages and the "fatherlessness" is simply, that they are not connecting with their children to a have a relationship with them.

    4. Lynne says:

      Continuing the above comment….

      3. You also argue that divorces are initiated by mothers most of the time, I have no idea if that percentage is right, but again that is never really a point of the movie. Even if that was the case, I would hope that a man could walk away with some encouragement. The reason behind having four central characters, is so they could show a variety of situations and how each father can learn to become a better dad in his unique circumstances.

      I'm very sorry for any dad who wants to see his kids and can't, but I don't think it's fair to trash a movie that you may not have seen, on arguments that are not even valid with the content the movie displays.

    5. loaura says:

      I agree fathers are needed; however, most men today are "father" or "man" material, and in the past, many weren't as well. Porn, strip clubs, flesh mags, booze, the professional sports culture, you name it are all considered to be activities of Real Men according to many guys. These activities are destructive and keep the "boys will be boys" culture going, which is really anti-family or just plain anti grow the hell up! Many women are just plained tired to trying to "train" or "tame" a man; we have so many other things to do. MEN have to decide to man up. Men wanted out of responsibility and they got it. As the saying goes, be careful what you ask for.

      As far as marriage, it has to be revisited. I support marriage, but not as a safe haven where a man can have his cake and eat it too. Too many guys think that is the way it is.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×