Did you know that 35% of births in New Jersey are to unwed mothers? That's actually pretty good compared to Mississippi, which claims about 54% of out of wedlock births. New Jersey ranks near the bottom in this category which is generally good news.

I think more people are realizing that marriage in most states is a really bad financial contract and possibly avoiding it for that reason. Whether or not you decide to have the state 'sanction' your union is not the issue. It's whether the two people who came together to make the baby raise it in a stable home or give it to some couple who will.

The actress Rachel McAdams is rumored to be pregnant and not married. She has been seeing her boyfriend for a couple of years but she is taking some heat on social media for being an unwed mother to be. It's not that they are not married that caught my attention, but rather the comments in her defense. People (all younger women by the way) lecturing the rest of us about how "she doesn't need a husband to raise a child, she has plenty of money to do so herself."

It's not about the money at all. Although sadly, through the courts, we've reduced fathers to nothing more than a bank account. We have devalued fatherhood and the family unit to the point of social ruination.

I have a friend who teaches health to NJ high school seniors. Part of the curriculum in his course is marriage and family. Imagine that, there is still such a thing taught in public schools today. Sadly he will be retiring soon and I doubt whoever replaces him will have the balls to tell the truth like he does. That family is important. That having a stable relationship between a father and mother is key to raising a well adjusted kid. If they can't get along and split up, it's important for BOTH to be valued and active in the kid's life.

Now, if one partner abdicates his or her responsibilities and you're left doing on you own, you do the best you can. I know there are many single moms doing a herculean job on their own, and many same sex couples who've adopted unwanted children and are doing an amazing thing. But if you set out to do it on your own and deny the child a father, because "you don't need no man to make you whole", you're being selfish and stupid.

As you look around and see high teen suicide, opiate addiction, mass school shootings, gang violence and more, you may ask what changed? Is it the internet making people less connected to each other in a real way? Social media and cyberbullying? These things have their role in where we are today, but the real culprit is fatherless homes.

Some of it is the fault of those fathers who didn't take responsibility. Some is the fault of women who think a check from the government will do the trick. Most of the fault lies with the government for promoting and encouraging, sometimes the least capable of being parents by financially supporting them.

We've seen the denigration of men and dads in pop culture through commercials, sitcoms and media of all types. It's lead to a general disrespect or disregard for men's roles in society, but more important in the family. No, this isn't the 1950's and no one is asking anyone to turn back the clock for any of the 'progress' society has made, but eroding and devaluing the role of men and fathers is suicide for any society.

I wish Rachel McAdams a healthy and happy pregnancy and a healthy and happy relationship with her baby's daddy. That baby's future (and ours) is depending on it!

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Dennis & Judi are on the air weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tweet them @DennisandJudi or @NJ1015.

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