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Commentary: As a Husband and Father, I Endorse Harrison Butker’s Speech

by Kurt Mahlburg


In February, Harrison Butker kicked the longest field goal in Super Bowl history—a massive 57-yard three-pointer—to help carry the Kansas City Chiefs to a rollicking win over the San Francisco 49ers.

Recently, he’s made headlines again—this time, arguably, for far more profound reasons.

Butker was invited to give the commencement address at Benedictine College, a private Catholic liberal arts college an hour’s drive up the Missouri River from Kansas City.

His speech was popular and countercultural enough to prompt the NFL to distance itself from Butker. It is a rather ironic move given the league is generally silent when players get arrested for drug scandals, assault, or domestic violence—at a rate of approximately 50 players per year.

Butker is currently undergoing a trial by media and has even been doxxed online by the Kansas City Chiefs’ own X account.

What Butker said during his 20-minute speech has obviously upset the powers that be, though he has received widespread praise from everyday Americans. As reported by OutKick, Harrison Butker’s number 7 jersey quickly climbed the best-selling rankings at the NFL store, and the women’s jerseys were all sold out shortly after.

So, what did Butker say to garner so much attention?

Butker began by highlighting leadership failures in the culture at large, as evidenced during the COVID years: “As a group, you witnessed firsthand how bad leaders who don’t stay in their lane can have a negative impact on society.”

In turn, he offered some wise words for both the young men and the young women present in his audience.

“As men, we set the tone of the culture,” Butker urged. “And when that is absent, disorder, dysfunction and chaos… plays a large role in the violence we see all around the nation.”

His solution?

“Be unapologetic in your masculinity. Fight against the cultural emasculation of men. Do hard things. Never settle for what is easy. You might have a talent that you don’t necessarily enjoy, but if it glorifies God, maybe you should lean into that over something that you might think suits you better.”

Butker’s advice for the women present is what drew particular ire. After congratulating the graduates, he observed that, though many of them would go on to lead successful careers, the majority of them would be more excited about being married and having children in the future.

And he reflected on his own life and marriage as evidence of this fact:

I can tell you that my beautiful wife Isabelle would be the first to say that her life truly started when she began living her vocation as a wife and as a mother.

I’m on this stage today and able to be the man I am because I have a wife who leans into her vocation. I’m beyond blessed with the many talents God has given me. But it cannot be overstated that all of my success is made possible because a girl I met in band class back in middle school would convert to the faith, become my wife, and embrace one of the most important titles of all: homemaker.

She’s a primary educator to our children. She’s the one who ensures I never let football or my business become a distraction from that of a husband and father. She’s the person that knows me best at my core.

As a husband and father, I couldn’t agree more with Harrison Butker—whether on leadership, cultural chaos, masculinity, responsibility, and men and women’s complementary roles as husbands and wives.

With a beautiful 10-month-old daughter, I can say that one of my biggest lessons has been the role I play as a provider, protector, and emotional rock in my family. I don’t always succeed at it, but I have caught the vision of which Butker speaks.

I don’t consider myself particularly traditional when it comes to the roles of men and women in modern society. Case in point: When my wife and I talk about her working part-time to supplement my income during these tough financial times, it is generally me encouraging her to consider it, and her waxing lyrical about her calling as a stay-at-home mother.

I’m happy either way. But our conversations prove the point that Butker makes—that a love of homemaking is an innate trait in women that our culture has tried, but still largely failed, to expunge from their hearts.

Like Butker, I am beyond blessed by the role my wife plays in the home. And becoming a father has brought into sharp relief so many of the culture-wide issues he has raised. I no longer view the existential threats facing the West as fodder for argument. They are my battlefield since they will determine what kind of future my daughter will inherit.

Butker is correct in observing that the Christian faith “has always been countercultural.” Indeed, it is this quality that has enabled the values inherited by Western culture to endure despite the rise and fall of countless empires.

May we be the men to preserve those values.

– – –

Kurt Mahlburg is a contributor for Intellectual Takeout.
Photo “Harrison Butker” by Benedictine College.



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