The Dr J Show

Welcome to our newest project. The Dr. J Show is a weekly broadcast with an interview segment that features some of the foremost leaders and thinkers on issues relating to marriage, family and human sexuality. New episodes come out every Friday; catch them here or over at our YouTube channel.


The UN Sexual Education is Insane

Sharon Slater is the president of Family Watch International (FWI) and the chair of the UN Family Rights Caucus. She is a consultant to multiple UN Member States on issues of life, human sexuality, and family policy and the author of the book Stand for the Family: A Call to Responsible Citizens Everywhere, also known as the “Family Defense Handbook.” Sharon also serves on the board of directors of No Left Turn in Education and on the board of the Political Network for Values, a global platform and resource for legislators and politicians across the globe defending human life, marriage, family, religious freedom and conscience. Sharon co-chairs the U.S.-based Protect Child Health Coalition (ProtectChildHealth.org). Sharon has directed multiple widely acclaimed documentaries including “The War on Children: The Comprehensive Sexuality Education Agenda,” “Cultural Imperialism: The Sexual Rights Agenda,” and “Porn Pandemic: The Devastating Impact on Marriage, Children and Families.” She is currently the executive director of a series of videos on transgender issues (see at familywatch.or g/transgenderissues/). She and her husband Greg reside in Arizona and have seven children (three of whom are siblings adopted from Mozambique) and twelve grandchildren.

Resources


We Need to Look At What Happens to Society After Abortion

Eric Scheidler is the executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, founded in 1980 by his father, veteran pro-life leader Joe Scheidler. The League recruits, equips and trains pro-life Americans to put their convictions into action at the grassroots level through peaceful direct action. Under Eric’s leadership, the League’s headquarters city of Chicago has become “ground zero” for pro-life activism nationally.

Take part in the Pro-Life Action League's event on Good Friday, April 2, the Way of the Cross for Victims of Abortion. This is an annual nationwide prayer vigil and a "springtime rebirth" of the national public witness against abortion as the pandemic recedes.

Readings & Resources


The Grassroots Battle Against the Sexual Revolution

Peter Wolfgang joined the Family Institute of Connecticut as Director of Public Policy in 2004 and became Executive Director in 2007. Peter holds a Juris Doctorate from University of Connecticut School of Law and is a member of the Connecticut Bar. He also has a Bachelors Degree in International Studies from The American University in Washington, D.C.

Peter was born and raised in Manchester, CT. He and his wife, Leslie, live in Waterbury with their seven children.

Family Institute of Connecticut: ctfamily.org


When Did We Start Leaving Reality? The History of the Sexual Revolution

Carl R. Trueman is a Christian theologian and ecclesiastical historian. He was Professor of Historical Theology and Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary, and in 2018 he became a professor at Grove City College in their Department of Biblical and Religious Studies.

Among Dr. Trueman's books are John Owen: Reformed Catholic, Renaissance Man, The Creedal Imperative, Fools Rush in Where Monkeys Fear to Tread: Taking Aim at Everyone, and Republocrat: Confessions of a Liberal Conservative. An ordained minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Dr. Trueman contributes to First Things journal, blogs regularly at Reformation21 and co-hosts the Mortification of Spin podcast.


Trueman studied at Marling School, Gloucestershire, St Catharine's College, Cambridge and the University of Aberdeen, and previously taught at the University of Aberdeen and the University of Nottingham. He was editor of Themelios from 1998 to 2007, and is a council member of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.

Readings & Resources

 
Transcript

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.

Hi, everyone, I'm Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, founder and president of the Ruth Institute. My guest today on this episode of the Dr. J show is Dr. Carl Trueman, history professor at Grove City College in Grove City, Pennsylvania. And I think he's going to be especially interesting to the many people among our followers who are concerned about the transgender issue. Now, we're going to be talking about the self and modern philosophy and the development of the concept of the self. So, it's going to sound like it's very abstract. But I know that those of you who care about the transgender issue are going to be very interested in what he has to say. So, hang in there with us. And I think you'll get right to the point pretty quick, about why this topic is going to be very interesting for you. And I welcome everybody who is concerned about the transgender issue, including our friends across the religious traditions, our friends who are radical feminists, our friends who are lesbians, everybody who's concerned about this, and especially, I want to have a special welcome to those of you who are parents of trans children, and who are really, really struggling with how to deal with this issue and how to make sense of it. So, without further ado, Dr. Carl Trueman, I am so grateful that you've made the time to come and join us today.

Dr. Carl Trueman

It's a pleasure to be on. Thanks for having me.

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.

Great. Well, now you've got-- it was a book that caught my attention. Tell everyone the name of the book, and what got you interested in writing such a topic.

Dr. Carl Trueman

The title of the book is The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self. And it's really an attempt to look at the sexual revolution, and particular aspects of the sexual revolution in terms of broader changes in culture, and society over the last 300 years. The origins of the book are a little odd in that I'm really a 16th 17th century reformation historian, that's my training and my background. But I was approached a few years ago by Rod Dreyer, the American Conservative, and Justin Taylor, the senior editor at Crossway Publishing House, who asked me if I would be interested in writing a little introduction to the sociologist Philip Rieff thought. Philip Rieff famously wrote, The triumph of the therapeutic in the mid-1960s, which is a very intense prophetic book about the situation we now find ourselves in. And while doing research for what was originally intended to be a short introduction, I realized that a far more interesting book would actually be an application of Rieff's thinking to the current situation in which we find ourselves and coincided with the explosion of the trans question in the popular media, particularly with the transition of Bruce to Caitlyn Jenner. So, I decided it would be interesting to use Rieff in order to try to understand how it is that the sentence, I am a woman trapped in a man's body has come to make sense, not just to Philosophers in university seminars, but intuitively to the man or the woman in the street. So that was the origin and intention line behind the book.

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.

Well, and I think the main idea of your book is that the modern concept of the self is something very different from something that pre modern people would have thought of 400 years ago, 500 years ago from your preferred period around the reformation. Reformation man would never have thought of-- it would be incomprehensible to him to say that I'm a man trapped in a woman's body or whatever. But that the whole concept of the self now is quite different. Can you tell us a little bit, give us kind of a quick tour, if you will, of how the pre modern self-developed into the sense of self that seem to have today?

Dr. Carl Trueman

Just on the way in which thinking about the self has changed. Obviously, the causes for that are very complicated, but primarily, we could say the big difference between the selves that we have today, the way we think about our identity, the way we think about what makes us who we are today and say, the view that would have been dominant 600 years ago is that today, we really give huge or authority to that inner space, that inner voice within us to determine who we are. A graphic example that would bring this home and it would be if let's say, 300 years ago, you'd gone to a doctor and it said, I'm a woman trapped in a man's body, or a man trapped in a woman's body, the doctor would have said, Wow, you have a problem with your mind, with your inner feelings, we need to work on those inner feelings to bring them into line with your physical body. If you go to a doctor today and ask that question, he'd say, well, we got a problem with your body, we need to bring your body into line with your inner feelings, that inner space. So, the story of the modern self is really the story of how we have come to give supreme authority to our inner emotions, sentiments, convictions, feelings, however you want to characterize them. And I see that as involving three basic steps. The first one occurs really in the late 18th through to the mid-19th century where the idea that the ‘true you’ is your inner feelings emerges, comes out of the thinking of a man like Jacques Rousseau, the Geneva philosopher and finds artistic expression. In the work of the romantics, you read romantic poetry or you listen to romantic music, Franz Liszt, for example. And you realize that it's different to Mozart, it plays on your emotions, what it's trying to do is get you in touch with that inner voice. So that's the first stage. The second stage is the transformation of that inner space into a sexual space. And really, Sigmund Freud is not the only figure in that, but he's the key most influential figure in that story where he sort of agrees with the romantics. Yeah, that the ‘real you’ is that inner space, that inner voice, but you know what? That inner voice is primarily a sexual voice, that inner voice is primarily shaped by your sexual desires. And in doing that Freud, the genius of Freud, if you like is he turns sex from being an activity, something we do into something we are no longer is sex, something we do with somebody else, by sexual desires are fundamentally determinative of who I am. And then the third phase which occurs in the early in the mid-20th century, and it's almost inevitable after one starts to identify oneself with one's sexual desires is that liberation, political liberation, personal liberation comes to be identified with throwing off the old sexual taboos and the old sexual codes because by definition, if I am stopped from fulfilling my sexual desires, or my sexual desires are not approved by society, then by definition, I'm being oppressed in some way. And that's why sex becomes so politicized. Why even in the week where we're recording in the week where the new president aside a couple of executive orders on the transgender issue, those orders only make sense once that inner space has been authorized and sexualized and politicized in a dramatic way.

Dr. Carl Trueman

Well, that's a very good summary that you just gave that is first authorized, then sexualized, then politicized, it seems to be one of the things that changes along the way is the understanding of human nature itself. And our mutual friend [08:23] Scott Yenor has talked a lot about that, how the concept of human nature becomes kind of disconnected from the natural order and becomes connected purely to something subjective. Talk a little bit about how we think of human nature, versus how your reformation era people would have thought about human nature.

Dr. Carl Trueman

Yes, I think Scott's absolutely hits the mark in in his arguments on that front. We could look at it in terms of the end. What is the end of being human being? What's the purpose of being a human being? And in the book, I draw a contrast between my grandfather and myself, it's always good to put yourself in the crosshairs in these things as you appear to be speaking about other people. If you could ask my grandfather, does he get job satisfaction, he'd have said something to the effect of, Sure, my job allows me to have money that enables me to put shoes on my children's feet and bread on the family table. My children are clothed and fed. My grandfather worked in a factory all his life, on a factory production line. Well, I would have regarded as very boring, tedious job, but he could have said no, it was satisfying because it allowed him to fulfill his obligations to others, there was an external direction to the purpose of his life. Once we allow that inner psychological space to become dominant, then the tendency is to regard the purpose of human existence as me feeling psychologically happy. And if you ask me the question, Trueman, do you have job satisfaction? I'm intuitively going to answer the question long lines of Yeah, I enjoy standing in front of a class, I get great personal satisfaction. When I see light bulbs going on in the students minds as they come to grasp a complicated idea. You'll notice the self referentiality of the answer.

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.

That's right. That's right. So, there's so there's nothing wrong with either of these answers. But what we're calling attention to is that-- and one might think that a well-balanced person would need to have some elements of both. But what you're calling attention to is the way that the balance has tipped way down to the inner life, as you say, and away from the exterior sort of lower objective, I don't want to say completely objective, but at least more objective standards of satisfaction. Is that right?

Dr. Carl Trueman

Yes. And I think the key move here that I didn't mention in my earlier summary is, in the 19th century, let's say beginning of the 19th century, Rousseau, the romantics, they may have given up on Orthodox Christianity, but they still assume that human nature has a moral structure, that it doesn't matter where you are in the world, if you get to that inner voice, it sounds the same as it does everywhere else, that human beings have a common nature and a common moral structure that gives them a common purpose. By the end of the 19th century, thanks to the critical theories of people like Karl Marx and Friedrich Nietzsche, that idea has been abandoned, there is no moral structure to human nature that all human beings need to discover and conform themselves to. As Nietzsche would have said, You're, you're a work of art, you need to go and make your own meaning and purpose in life. And that, of course, tends to default then on the therapeutic inner satisfaction.

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.

And, the part about Nietzsche in your book was apart one of the-- one of the parts that I found chilling actually, to see him take that and run it way down, you know, like this, pedal to the metal, all the way, where do you end up with that. And one of the things that's striking about it is that it appeals to a person's vanity to say, you can be the author of your own self. But on the other hand, no one ever thinks about, well, what would it be like to be the Untermensch? Everyone wants to be the Übermensch and make the world according to their precepts and to dominate and so on and so forth. That's appealing, but what would it be like to be on the bottom in that system? What would it be like to be used-- I often think of our sexual cultures as used and be used rather than love and be loved. And the used and be used, we all think about ourselves as the user. But somebody is going to be the 'usee' here somewhere along the line, they never thought of that. Talk to people a little bit about Nietzsche and his influence on this, because most people I think, are not used to thinking about Nietzsche as being somehow implicated in the sexual revolution.

Dr. Carl Trueman

Yeah, Nietzsche is interesting, in some ways. He's one of my favorite philosophers from the perspective that he calls it as he sees it, he's very consistent. And he's the man, really, in the middle of the 19th century, who turns around to the Enlightenment atheists and essentially says, if you've got rid of God, you have to build everything from the bottom up. You can't keep Christian morality and get rid of Christian metaphysics. And interestingly, you were commenting there that you found Nietzsche chilling, when Nietzsche talks about this, he's somewhat ambiguous. On one hand, he sees this as exhilarating, we've got to do it for ourselves. On the other hand, he also uses imagery about the Earth is unchanged from the sun, can we drink up the ocean, he uses language that also indicates this is exhilarating. Both, because it gives us power. But also, because it's terrifying. It brings with it, terrifying responsibilities. Nietzsche is the man who uncouples humanity from any moral structure, if you like it. And where he fits into the sexual revolution, I think it'd be on a couple of [14:06] fronts. One; clearly sexual morality for nature, the imposition of sexual morality becomes a power play, it becomes a contract pulled off by one group in society to keep another group subordinate to themselves. And so, the smashing of sexual morality, the smashing of all morality becomes key to finding yourself as an individual. Secondly, one of the things I say to the students in class is the big human dilemma is that we want to be free but we want to belong. Nietzsche is all about freedom. There's very little about belonging in Nietzsche. Nietzsche's view of human relations is a very stark and very bleak about Individual power, not love and self-giving as--

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.

Right. One word that kept coming to my mind throughout your book, not Just about Nietzsche, is narcissism, if we're all looking inside the self for all of the sense of meaning that you're describing in the grounding of morality and all the rest of it, is there any room for love? Is there any room to even take notice of another person? It seems to me this is the big cost of this exhilarating will to power that he's talking about.

Dr. Carl Trueman

Yes. It's interesting at the moment I'm rereading Michel Foucault's History of Sexuality, the great classic sort of post mortem critique of sexual mores in the ancient world. What's fascinating about Foucault and he draws very deeply on Nietzsche is he never mentions love. When he talks about sex, it's all about pleasure. Now, he's onto something there. Clearly, sex is about pleasure. But there's nothing about the giving of oneself for another. There's nothing about sex having a significance and intrinsic significance beyond the momentary pleasure. I looked up in the index of Volume One Love isn't mentioned. It's a very, very stark and bleak understanding of human existence that comes through in the post-Nietzschean world.

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.

And when they talk about unchaining and unshackling the self and then saying, well, the people who put the shackles on, they're conning us, they're tricking us and so on. One way to turn that on its head, you could say is that the people who were saying you have to repress your sexual desires, you can't act on all your sexual desires, they were reining in something that people with lots of power would use in a harmful manner. When I look at the me-too movement, and how sexual abuse and harassment seems to be endemic throughout so many different areas of society, and it's all patched over with Well, it was consent or you were really being liberated or whatever, it really is a preying upon the week. And the priests or whoever it was who were supposed to be holding his in and repressing it. Yeah, they were repressing it. They were repressing Harvey Weinstein, okay. They were repressing Theodore McCarrick, I'm okay with that. I don't know. I'm okay with that.

Dr. Carl Trueman

Yeah, I couldn't agree more. And I think, one of the good things about the hashtag me too movement is of course, that it's acknowledging that sex has some kind of significance. If I slap, perish the thought, but if I slapped you in the face, that'd be a very unpleasant thing to do. But it will not shape the rest of your life in a way that as a pastor, when I came across individuals who have been subject to sexual abuse, it shaped the rest of their life--

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.

Yes, yes, it does.

Dr. Carl Trueman

in a profound way. Yeah. And the hashtag metoo movement kind of acknowledges, or the irony is it's all Hollywood actors who spent their entire careers telling us that sex is just recreation. Now, they're telling us that it's just recreation, but it's also very, very serious as well.

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.

All right, right. And it's very confused, because it's been unmoored from any kind of grounding, it's become confused. One of the things that I found striking that we haven't brought up yet, which has to do with Philip Rieff, is the loss of the sacred. Sometimes I feel that, that here's the Ruth Institute, we think sex is sacred and a lot of our opponents think sex is natural. Right? And so that beginning orientation, tracks a lot of other things. So, say something to people about Philip Rieff, how he sees the move away from having a cultural sense of the sacred and, and how that plays into all of this?

Dr. Carl Trueman

Yeah, revisit interesting figures, actually, he was a Jewish scholar, but I think was a secular Jewish scholar. I don't think he had any belief in God Himself.

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.

Is that so?

Dr. Carl Trueman

I think so. But he sort of thought God was a good idea, even though he may not actually exist. But one of the things he observed about society was that societies of the past have, without exception, organize themselves with some sort of sacred authority. What do you mean by that? Well, go back to ancient Sparta. In ancient Sparta, the let's say, you're a teenager and you're rebelling against your parents and the parents say to you “don't do that.” And your teenager says, why can't I do that? Say, well, because the law says you shouldn't. And the law was given to Lycurgus, the first king by the Oracle Adelphi. In other words, the law has an origin outside of this world. It has a sacred origin and therefore an authority. Same applies in the Middle Ages or the Reformation only with Christian scripture, why shouldn't I be rude to my parents? Well, the law was given to Moses. Honor your mother and your father, and it comes with the authority of God. These are societies that look beyond themselves in order to justify their moral and ethical codes. Rieff's observation on late 20th, early 20th century Western society is we'd got rid of that sacred elements, we don't see that there's anything beyond society by which we might justify how to organize society. And then, well why shouldn't I be rude to my parents? The response becomes a kind of, “because I say so.” We all know that that's not a particularly persuasive argument. Extrapolate that to our cultures in general, and you have a situation where, really, all cultures, of course, have ethical codes, we have no firm way to ground them there, which means they will tend to degenerate into constant conflict. And ultimately, moral codes will be set by the arbitrary will of whoever happens to be the most powerful group within a society at one time, it's a recipe for instability, long term instability.

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.

It's also a recipe for the law of the strongest. That's what you just said, it's the law of the strongest. So, whereas in ancient times or in Christian times, medieval Christendom, Catholic or Protestant, a person could say, that's wrong and everybody would have an idea what that meant on what basis he said that. And a poor person could say, you can't steal from me, and everybody would get that there was something there, and that the lawgiver was not allowed to —The court or the executive or whoever the sheriff, they weren't allowed to redefine the law as they went along, just because they happen to be the top guy on the totem pole, there would be something illegitimate about that. And even the critical Legal Studies people can complain all day long about power and abuse of power, but having an outside perspective, put some limits on what the most powerful guy can do. And ironically, maybe it's not ironic, maybe it was purposeful. I can't really say but the people who are complaining the most about abuses of power are in fact tearing down the various structures that would allow abuses of power to be reined in, in some way. So, I found that part about the sense of the sacred to be really compelling, very interesting. And what medieval Christendom adds to the picture, it has a faith and reason element to it the whole natural-- I think you talk about natural law a little bit, that idea of natural law is to say that there's a harmony between what is and what ought to be. And we can link those two in some intelligible manner. Talk a little bit about that, because I think that'll be interesting to people.

Dr. Carl Trueman

Yeah, but I think the point of [23:04] natural order, various iterations of natural law, but the essential point is that moral codes should reflect in some sense the structure of nature. Without wanting to be too distasteful, one might say that the heterosexual sex reflects the structure of the male and the female body and their complementarity in a way that other sexual activities does not. So, there is something in the structure of nature that actually brings with it a certain gravity towards certain kinds of morality. We might put it this way, we might say that natural law asserts ultimately that the universe is not just stuff, the universe is a Cosmos that has an order. Human beings have an order there are appropriate uses for our bodies, and there are inappropriate uses for our bodies. And in order to flourish, we need to find out what those appropriate uses are, and conform ourselves to them. And I think this has certainly with a rising generation of younger Christians, this can be helpful in explaining why the church takes such a stand as it does on sexual matters. Because there could be a knee jerk reaction from young people saying, Well, okay, I see that God teaches this about sex, does God just teach that because he doesn't want people to be happy? Well, if you have a natural law perspective, you can say, well, it should be enough for you that God says this is wrong to believe it's wrong, but actually God doesn't behave irrationally or unreasonably. There are reasons why and in the issue of say, male homosexual sex, well could point to government websites where the health conditions that come about through inappropriate sexual activity are laid forth with some tragic statistics, and we'll point to those and say, that's a good example of why it's best to follow God's design for the body and not to balk at that.

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.

Right? Well, you know, there are two different directions we can go here, I want to start by talking about children a little bit. Because at the Ruth Institute, we always try to start with the child and say what is owed to children? And one of our themes that we like to talk about is the fact that children have a right to relationship with their parents, they have a right to know who their parents are, to know their own personal identity, and that they have a right to be loved and welcomed into life by two people who love them and who love each other. The people who give them life should be involved in their life. And we talk about that in terms of legitimate entitlements of children. And when you start thinking like that, then you realize that traditional Christian sexual morality, Traditional Judeo-Christian Sexual morality, I should say, protects those rights of children. Whereas the sexual revolution ignores those rights of children, the sexual revolution shunts all of those considerations to one side, and when I was reading your book, on the part where you were talking about Wilhelm Reich and some of the other figures. But particularly Reich, they're keen that children should be allowed to have sex, the children are sexual beings, and children should be allowed to be sexual, and the world should be reorganized so that children can have sex. That's what they think of as children's rights, we think of as children's rights as the right to be with their parents and to be loved by their parents. Can you say something about Reich and other thinkers and their thought process about children just because I think a lot of people won't be familiar with what these guys have to say.

Dr. Carl Trueman

Yeah, well, Wilhelm Reich is a very significant figure, his book, The Sexual Revolution, which was written in 1936 could have been written last week. I mean, it's so stunning, in terms of what it is asserting as being good for human beings, which is essentially lots of sex all the time. It's a very prophetic book from that front. And of course, Reich is working with precisely that sexualized inner space I talked about earlier on. And when you think about that, when you think about, well, what does it mean that the self is really the inner space and is all about personal sexual satisfaction? It means that one thinks about the self as being in primarily an adversarial relationship with everybody else. Everybody else is a potential hindrance to one's happiness. So, when you say, well, you're we believe children have rights over their parents, children have a right, to parents have a right to a happy home, etc., etc., in the back of my mind is thinking yeah, that's true but the modern self sees children, actually, as primarily and first of all as a problem for parents because—

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.

That's right. That's exactly right.

Dr. Carl Trueman

-- children get in the way of careers, they get in the way of a regular sex life. There are all kinds of ways that children interfere with the personal happiness of their parents. So that's very much the background Reich's working with. Then one could say that if you have the view of Reich that human fulfillment is found, really through to finer point on it, found through orgasms, then having orgasms is key to human happiness, becomes key to childhood happiness. Where it gets difficult for Reich, of course, is he's very clear that he doesn't want to legitimate pedophilia. He says, it'd be wrong for an adult to do this with a child. But yeah, as I press in the book, why? Reich actually can't give you from his own thinking any rationale as to why that might not be good for children, beyond the fact that Wilhelm Reich himself finds it rather distasteful.

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.

That's right. It's all taste. When you've taken out the T loss, all you're left with is taste. Yeah. And so, I put this question to Scott [29:04] Yenor also because he talks about a number of the same figures. And to me, it looks like the pedophilia crisis that we're dealing with, it's like pedophilia is baked into the sexual revolution from the beginning. Because to make their worldview make sense, they had to kind of redefine childhood, they had to reimagine what it means to be a child. And so, for Reich, as I suppose for Freud, a child is a sexual being and so the priority is for the child to be able to have sex, but you don't think about what you're attracting when you do that. What other thoughts and feelings and actions are being encouraged by that kind of position?

Dr. Carl Trueman

Yeah. And it goes down to what we were talking about earlier on when you think that sex is purely pleasure and that any attempt to grounded in morality or grant it greater significance is just an ideological oppressive construct, you're missing something very important about sex, it is intrinsically something distinctive. And we intuitively know that that's what a slap on the face is treated differently at law than a rape. And again, one of the problems with Reich is he really wants to say that there's no-- sex acts have no intrinsic morality, they're just acts. What makes them moral or immoral is the issue of consent, whether the parties are consenting. And the problem with that relative to pedophilia is we don't actually respect the importance of children's consent for a whole heap of stuff in this life. At a trivial level, my kids, when they were small, they had to eat their greens and go to bed at a certain time, whether they consented or not, when they're a little bit older, they had to go to school. Consent is a spider thread thin string upon which to hang sexual morality. And as hashtag me too as revealed, consent is extremely difficult to pass a law. When you have adults versus children or powerful people versus weak people, how do you define consent in those?

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.

And how do you prove it in a court of law? I mean, it's a right that is difficult to honor in the court of law. When you think that through and you realize these poor women who have been abused by Harvey Weinstein or Jeffrey Epstein, or these seminarians who were abused by Theodore McCarrick and so on, what would protect them? Well, what protected them was the taboos. The whole system of taboos that makes certain things unthinkable. That's what protects them. It keeps them from ever being in these compromised situations where something just happened that's not right. And how do we get anybody to be able to intervene and do something about it? And the other thing, and you may have seen this too, Carl, since you have pastoral experience, I've talked to any number of people who have experienced childhood sexual abuse. And I have yet to talk to one who said, yeah, it was okay. It was no big deal. So, do you think it's fair to blame guys like Reich for our current pedophilia situation, directly or indirectly? I mean, I'm of two minds about it. What do you think about that?

Dr. Carl Trueman

I think as a historian, you're asking the question, is it ideas or is it material factors that really drive things? I think it's both. Reich provides a sort of rationale for this kind of thing. But I think if we wanted to ask why is pedophilia becomes such a problem, and why is it increasingly apparently moving towards some sort of legitimation? I think we'd have to throw into the mix, internet pornography. I mean, clearly internet pornography is huge. Very few people, was 70% of men use internet pornography. 70% of men have not read Wilhelm Reich, that's the 1% have read Wilhelm Reich. But internet pornography, I think is very significant in shaping how people think about sex.

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.

Yeah, I'm sure that's right. I have no doubt about that, that's right. But on the other hand, the thing that you're really calling attention to is that you can have a whole menu of intellectual ideas. But some ideas are more useful for certain people than other ideas. And those are people with a lot of money, or a lot of influence are going to pick up that ball and run with it and institutionalize certain things and stuff like that. And I assume that's part of when historians talk about material factors versus ideas. That's the kind of stuff you guys are talking about.

Dr. Carl Trueman

Yes, very much so. I mean, there's a sense in which technology makes things possible and plausible that would not have been otherwise. I mean, take transgender issue for instance, it would be impossible for transgenderism to be a powerful movement prior to the development of hormone, therapies and surgeries, etc., etc. You could have had the idea, "I'm a woman trapped in a man's body", but it would never have gained any traction because there is no wider framework within which that could have been speciously realized.

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.

Right, right. At the material level. So, let's go ahead and start talking about transgenderism a little bit because it you spend quite a bit of time in the book talking about that. And what you contribute to the discussion, I think is an understanding of how the changed idea of the self is really part of what makes that first statement that you started with, intelligible. I'm a man trapped in a woman's body, that becomes intelligible only after these whole successions of thinkers that you're talking about. So, talk to people a bit about that, Carl.

Dr. Carl Trueman

Yes. Well, if you think about the statements, I'm a woman trapped in a man's body, for that to have gained the popular traction in society that it has done so rapidly, really tells us that an awful lot of what we might call the philosophical assumptions that lie behind it were already intuitive in our culture. One of those assumptions would be; feelings trump the body. One of those assumptions is the real me is not my body, my body is something the eye inhabits. And it's interesting to hear this language about, you know, people will draw a distinction between the body and themselves. So, a third factor would be the idea that the gender is something that is constructed, it's not intrinsic to our physical bodies. As with a lot of this stuff that has a certain truth to it, we know that being a man, being a woman today is different to what it was before the advent of industrial machinery. Physical strength is of less significance in the workplace now than it was 300 years ago. We know that men and women in North and South Korea relate to each other differently than they do in the United States or the United Kingdom. We're aware that male and female roles look different around the world. But I like Scott [36:23] Yenor’s comment that gender differences always run along the grooves of sexual difference. That sexual difference, our physical and hormonal makeup provides a sort of a framework within which manhood and womanhood can look differently. Esau is a man who hunts, Jacob is the man who sits in the tent reading poetry, and even in the Bible, we see that knowledge. But that idea that gender, that being a woman is actually something that's kind of invented rather than intrinsic, that has to have become plausible to the popular imagination for transgenderism to become an intuitive truth.

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.

So, let me ask you this the distinction between gender and sex. This is again, something that is a recent concept. Is this a distinction that Christians ought to use? Or is there some better language to get at the subject matter that should be gotten out? I mean, there is a distinction. But should these be the words or there's some better words we could use? Talk it.

Dr. Carl Trueman

I think it's hard not to use those words now because they are the pervasive words of discussing this--

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.

And just define them carefully for everybody. So, everybody knows what we're talking about.

Dr. Carl Trueman

Sex typically refers to biological difference. Men and women have different hormones, different physiology. There are some people we call intersex who are born with hormonal or physiological distinctives that make it's somewhat difficult at times, for doctors to know, is this a boy or is it a girl? But by and large, boys are born boys, girls or girls, we have certain physiology, complimentary physiology, different physiology. That's what we mean when we talk about sex. When we talk about gender, we're typically talking about the roles that people play in society. And right up until sort of the day before yesterday, it seems there was a very close connection in any given society, between the sex of a person and the gender, the role they played. Really from the mid-20th century onwards, starting with the great French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir, in her book, The Second Sex, she begins part two of that work by saying, No one is not born a woman, one becomes a woman. And it's the idea that being a woman is actually a performance. It's a set of behaviors that are learned that society just happens to have somewhat arbitrarily almost mapped onto human beings who have a certain physiology. And that's where that gap between sex and gender starts to open up. Now Christians, we do need to be careful because-- we need to be careful as Christians that we don't make our particular society's view of what it means to be a man or means to be a woman the absolute biblical norm for everybody. John Wayne works in certain parts of America, he doesn't work in South Korea, he doesn't work in in Britain. And it's not because South Koreans or British men are somehow feminists or not biblical. It's because gender is real that there are ways we perform. The difference, I think, is as Christians, we need to remember that these may differ but they're not arbitrarily connected to the sex differences again, Scott [39:48] Yenor's language of gender runs along the grooves set by sexual difference.

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.

And in my conversations with a lot of parents of young people who have decided that they were born in the wrong body, these parents are struggling. I mean, they're in agony, Carl, I can't tell you how painful this is for a lot of them. But one of the things that we have come up with together, I don't know if I invented this or I saw somebody else invent it, but I use it all the time now. So, whoever invented it, it's great. That’s to say, number one, no one's born in the wrong body. And I've counseled people to say this, and I think people can, they can grasp that you and your body are okay. And number two, there are lots of ways to be a boy, there are lots of ways to be a girl, just because you like things that are not gender conforming or something like that, don't worry about it. There's nothing wrong with your body, there's nothing wrong with you, that's okay, that you're doing something that's not gender stereotypical. And what I find is that helps people relax, it helps the parents relax, it helps the children relax. And on the point that you made about some Christians being kind of insistent on certain gender roles, you know, that you've got to have some flexibility about that. You've just got to have some flexibility about it, because that's just not going to work for everybody.

Dr. Carl Trueman

Yeah, well, as I say, the Bible itself points that. My personal diary, I'm just reading the book of Genesis, and I'm struck out Esau as a hunter, dad liked him because he was a hunter. Jacob was a man of the tent, I imagine him sitting, composing poetry in the tent. But the narrative doesn't condemn either of them for those things. It doesn't say one's a man and the other one's a bit deviant. They're both sort of set forth as, hey, some men are bookish, some men love hunting. It's the way it is.

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.

And it's okay. And also, as part of the Christian tradition that we have the idea that each person is created by God uniquely, every single person is absolutely utterly unique, created in the image and likeness of God to image some aspect of God. And God wants you to live the life and the mission that he has for you. You don't need to be looking to the left and the right all the time to figure out if you're conforming or your head or you're below or whatever, you don't need to be worried about that. But to accept that your body and your mind, you're okay, it really is okay. Christianity actually has an elevated view of the body. We're not denigrating the body or saying there's something evil about the body or we're certainly not saying you have to manipulate the body in order to become who you really are. There's a profound respect for the human body there. So that brings me to another wonderful word that you use, which you use the word gnostic, you used the word nominalism. And I have often thought that what we're dealing with here is kind of-- the sexual revolution is kind of a gnostic death cult. Tell people what nominalism is, and why it's relevant to our current situation.

Dr. Carl Trueman

Yeah. nominalism is a word that has a variety of uses. And often when you refer to somebody as a nominal Christian or their Christianity is very nominalist, we tend to be not very committed. That's not how I'm using the word here. Here, I'm really referring to a broad philosophical tradition that places great Stark in the importance of words as being constitutive of reality. And again, we might say, transgenderism, I don't want to pick on the transgender movement all the time. But trans ideology provides us a great example of this. That the person who says I'm a woman trapped in a man's body is essentially saying, "by saying that I am a woman, I am making it so". The empirical reality of my body is actually not the ultimate reality is my statement. And of course, this plays over then into the demand that you use appropriate pronouns about me, I may have the body of a male but if I say I'm a woman, you better call me she and you better you she and her". And there's a sense in which what one has there is the material essence of the person, that which would traditionally have been regarded as making the person they are, is seen as almost irrelevant. If not irrelevant, what really matters are the words used, the names used. Now, words are powerful, we use an epithet, a racial epithet, a racial slur. We heard somebody, we are aware that words can create realities, they can put people down, they can build people up. So, words do have a power to them. But what they don't have is the ultimate creative power of making you into something you aren't simply by demanding that somebody uses certain words to refer to you.

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.

And you know, this is one place where you can really see the LGBT coalition breaking down, that the Ls and the T's are open warfare with each other. And this is something that we are very much aware of here with the Ruth Institute, because we're in communication with a lot of those women. Talk to people a little bit for who maybe are not familiar with it, about the conflict between the lesbians and the transgenders and what that's about. And it's based on this philosophical point that you just made.

Dr. Carl Trueman

Yeah. Well, the Lesbians and Gays essentially accept what we call the gender binary. They accept that biological sex is significant that there’s a difference between men and women. I could probably illustrate the problem by using an anecdote that I use in the book that I drew from a feminist, a pro trans feminist text, actually, where Testament is given by a lesbian woman who's been in a stable, monogamous lesbian relationship with her partner for 10 years. And the partner suddenly comes out as a trans male. In other words, she's a woman, but is now identifying as a man. And this means the partner is plunged into crisis because her friends and are telling her that she's straight, because she's living with a man, somebody identifies as a man. But she still feels that she's a lesbian. She's not attracted to men, but she's attracted to her partner. And she's left with this sort of, on the one hand kind of comic, on the other hand, deeply tragic, because there are human beings involved here. Dilemma. Does she deny her own identity as a lesbian in order to affirm the identity of her partner? Or does she deny the identity of her partner in order to affirm her own identity as a lesbian? It's a tragic scenario, we have a similar situation recently, where Andrew Sullivan, the gay journalist who said, it's not transphobic that I as a gay man, I'm not attracted to women who are claiming to be men. And then you get to the heart of the real difficulty, lesbians and gays, except that there are fundamental differences between men and women biological differences, and they're attracted to one group and not the other. The Trans movement and the queer movement denies that. Raises the question of well, how did they all get together to be part of the safe lobby group? And the answer is victimhood and marginalization, and opposition to what they call hetero-normativity, making heterosexuals the norm. Now, they've kind of won the culture war on that front, I suspect, we'll see, as you've already alluded to, we will see cracks, and then chasms emerging within this alliance as the various groups fall out with each other.

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.

Well, it's a marriage of convenience up until now. And the convenience has kind of gone away. Well, more than kind of gone away. What I'm seeing among the lesbians and many strands of feminists who are involved in this debate, is they deeply, deeply resent men saying they're women. And simply by saying, I'm a woman, they now have access to women's spaces. And the sex segregated spaces, which in some cases that feminists and lesbians have fought very hard to achieve and to maintain, in some cases, they were there all along. So, for instance, one of the grossest ones is women's prisons. There are cases of men who are in prison for sex crimes, claiming now that they are women, and demanding to be housed in women's prisons. Well, the lesbians and the feminists are the ones who are pounding the table saying, heck, no, we're not going along with this. This is a man. And they will not fall for the nominalist trick. They're not believed, they're not intimidated. This is a man who says he's a woman. And they don't care whether he's deluded or whether he's opportunistic, or whether he's-- they don't care. He is a man; his reasons don't matter and therefore he does not belong in women's spaces. So, it's very interesting to me that a kind of reversion to the more-- what's the opposite of nominalism?

Dr. Carl Trueman

Essentialism or realism. Yes, realism.

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.

Yes. They're reverting to that. It's almost like that norm has a gravitational pull to it.

Dr. Carl Trueman

You can only fight nature for so long, and then you get mugged by reality. It doesn't mean you can't do a lot of damage when you fight nature, you really can. But ultimately, nature has the last laugh, nature has the last word.

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.

Yes. And it also it takes a lot of power to fight nature. It takes a lot of power to try to do something that's impossible, and it requires a lot of propaganda. And this is something we emphasize that the Ruth Institute also the whole sexual revolution has resulted in vast accumulations of power for people who already had power actually, a lot of cases, right? In order to proceed with this agenda that it cannot be, it cannot be. Do you have any thoughts about the recent appointment of Dr. Levine as Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Levine, who was born Dr. Richard Levine, who now has changed his name to Dr. Rachel Levine, do you have any thoughts about this appointment and what it means?

Dr. Carl Trueman

On a purely professional competence level? I would say Dr. Levine didn't do a very good job in Pennsylvania, in the COVID crisis. So, I'm surprised that Dr. Levine has been appointed at federal level. That's right.

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.

You live in you. Oh, yeah. You live in Pennsylvania?

Dr. Carl Trueman

Yes, yes. Yeah. I've had firsthand experience of Pennsylvania health policy over the last 12 months. I can't read President Biden's mind. Anything I say is pure speculation. But one has to ask the question, “is this based on professional competence? Or is it sending a signal to the LGBTQ lobby?" and given within hours of being sworn in as president, President Biden signed an executive order on transgender issues and public schooling. One has to think that the fact that Dr. Levine as transgender may well have been a significant factor in the choice.

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.

Yeah, no kidding.

Dr. Carl Trueman

I'm trying not to judge lest I be judged. But it's hard not to be pointed in that direction.

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.

And it points to the fact that far from being a marginalized group, the transgender lobby, and the LGBT lobby, generally, but now that the LGBT lobby is a powerful lobby, it is a political force to be reckoned with, they've got lots of money. And now that there's this rift between the T's and everybody else, the tees have kind of taken over a lot of the high leverage points. I have my own theory about the situation, Carl, my theory is that having Dr. Levine in that very prominent position, means he is now a litmus test, and everyone must call him her, everyone must state an obvious untruth. And when you say something that you know to be untrue, you are morally weakened somehow, right? You're now morally compromised. And when you're morally compromised, it's easier to break you down on other areas. And honestly, I think that's the whole point of the appointment.

Dr. Carl Trueman

Yeah. And it's reminiscent of course of Solzhenitsyn saying —that my friend Rod Dreher has picked up as the title of his new book, Live Not by Lies. And so, we made to live by lies, that's a catastrophic situation to find yourself in.

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.

That's right. And so, by putting this particular person in a very prominent position like that, they're forcing the issue. Yeah. And they're basically daring people to say that-- to tell the truth. They're raising the stakes and telling the truth. So, I'm just gonna say, Dr. Levine can change his name to Rachel, that does not make him a woman. He could change his name to Daffy, and that would not make him a duck.

Dr. Carl Trueman

You've been reading Germaine Greer; I can tell that.

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.

Oh, is that so? Did she say that?

Dr. Carl Trueman

Well, she said-- she used an expletive. But she said, if I have extensions, liver spots and wear a brown coat, it doesn't make me a beagle. She said it in a slightly cruder way. But I'd say one of the footnotes in my book, actually got one of my research assistants dug that up for me and said, Dr. Trueman, you need to use this. And I said, Yes, that's a really good statement.

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.

You know what? Speaking of Germaine Greer though, there was a quote from her in your book that I posted on one of these groups that I'm in, and it was her quote, Germaine Greer's quote about the mother and the position of the mother and the live for the transgender person. Do you remember that quote?

Dr. Carl Trueman

Yeah, it's essentially Greer is saying that transgenderism is all about erasing the mother, getting rid of the mother, killing the mother, if you like, in the narrative of identity. And I think she's correct. When you think about what transgenderism is it's about creating an identity for yourself that detaches you from, I would say from both parents. Not just the mother, but it detaches you from both parents. It’s an erasure of the past

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.

Yes. And in that sense, it brings us full circle to the definition of the self, because your grandpa would have just defined himself in terms of who he was related to. And who his parents were. And modern man wants to cut loose from all of our connections to the past, all of our history. Because all of those things are then confining. Yeah. And identifies too closely. We can't remake ourselves in any further than that, Dr. Trueman, this has been really, really pleasant, tell the people again, the name of your book and where they can get it and anything else you want to tell people about how they can be in touch with you and your work.

Dr. Carl Trueman

The name of the book is The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution. It's published by crossway. You can still get it from Amazon, I've not been cancelled, you can still get it from Amazon or from crossway themselves. I do most of my writing these days at first things online, firstthings.com and occasionally at public discourse. And I would recommend that the listeners check out those websites, it's not so much for my writing, but you will find very good articles there on the culture. Keep you up to date, the good intelligent way on cultural developments. I teach at Grove City College, and you can find my website, my email via the Grove City College website.

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.

Well, Dr. Carl Trueman, thank you so much for being my guest today on the Dr. J show.

Dr. Carl Trueman

Thanks for having me. It's been a pleasure.

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Your Spouse Leaves You and The State Takes Possession of Your Kids. What Next?

Since 2004, Bai Macfarlane has been upholding the dignity of marriage in light of no-fault divorce. Under no-fault divorce, the party that still loves his or her spouse and wants to keep the family together is virtually defenseless. Mary’s Advocates is a voice for faithful spouses, and provides resources to equip those in positions of authority and influence to encourage reconciliation and denounce marital abandonment and unjust separations.

This episode is also available as an audio podcast. More resources & readings after the cut.


Bai spoke in Rome for Human Life International Rome about the marriage crisis and the Code of Canon Law. Her paper was distributed to the delegates at the Synod of Bishops. Mary’s Advocates work has been publicized by Homiletic and Pastoral Review, National Catholic Register, the United Stated Conference of Catholic Bishops, and LifeSite News. She’s been a radio guest on Relevant Radio, Ave Maria Radio, and EWTN.

 

Readings & Resources

 

Before marriage, Bai earned earned a bachelor of science from the University of Notre Dame. She was a stay-at-home mom raising four children under the age of 12 just prior to beginning her marriage work.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Hi, everyone. I am Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, founder and president of the Ruth Institute. Welcome to this edition of the Dr. J show. My guest today is Mrs. Bai MacFarlane, who is the founder and president of Mary's advocates, and I am going to let her tell you all about Mary's advocates and what they do. Bai welcome to the Dr. J show.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Jennifer, Thanks for having me.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Tell people a little bit about yourself, and how you got involved in advocating for divorce reform of various sorts.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Ok sure. I was always a Christian, I am Catholic, raising a Catholic family and my husband and I got married after college, and I was living the good life. And then about 12 years into our marriage, my husband, for reasons that are not even worth talking about decided that he needed to have our family go through divorce. So, I had a quick education about what no-fault divorce was. And I was ignorant. I did not know anyone close to me who had gone through this. So, having been a defendant in no-fault divorce, I had an eye-opening education. And you have talked about no-fault divorce. You have written about it in your book, The Sexual State

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Yes. The Sexual State, there is a big chapter in there on divorce.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

So, it was obvious that something unjust was happening because the person who didn't do anything grave that would justify a separation of spouses, as if I had lost my mind, or if there was a husband who's committing adultery, The other spouse has a legitimate reason to be separated, because a person's breaking their marriage promises in a big way. It does not matter if one party goes to the state and says, I want a divorce. Essentially, what they are doing is saying to the state, take over my children, take over my property, you decide. If my spouse and I don't decide on how we want to split everything. I give the court the power display everything. So, anyone who has been a defendant or close to someone who's a defendant knows exactly what I'm talking about.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Yes, that is right.And let's stop right there to say that the Ruth Institute does have a lot of resources about this very topic, because there are a lot of people who have been through this, and most of them are kind of socially invisible. So, it is very important that you are coming forward and talking about this a little bit more. Yeah, go ahead Bai.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

And the perspective that I take is someone who believes in marriage. And we understand that when two people marry, they are married, you cannot unmarry somebody, just like you can't unmake somebody, your actual biological son. I mean, it's just a fact of nature. It is true. So, in the —there is a lot of pressure for people who are defendants in divorce to accept that your marriage is over. Why would you want to stay married to somebody that does not want to be married to you anymore? Your spouse doesn't love you anymore. You need to move on. Even nice things. You are good looking, you are nice. I'm sure you can find someone who will appreciate you. You need to do all these things. So, there's tons of pressure to say that one's marriage is not in existence anymore, and your marriage is over just because of a civil divorce. So what Mary's advocates does is we support those who are unjustly abandoned, who recognize that they're still married. And it’s like what?

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Right. You are married. You are definitely a countercultural radical. Okay, let's give it to you Bai. You are a countercultural radical for sure. This is what radical looks like in 2020 people.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Some of my friends are dead saints that I have on my wall, so it's like St. John Fisher was a countercultural radical

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Yeah, that's right. So, you know, I want to back up just a little bit, because we're gonna talk about Mary’s advocates. That's what we're here to talk about in a way. You used a word and I want to kind of come back to that. There's kind of a natural level at which all of this happens. There's a natural law basis. For this, that should be the basis of civil law and church law. That there's a natural reality here that a man or a woman have come together, they have made promises solemn promises, and they have created children together. And you can't unmake yourself a mom, you can't unmake yourself a husband. So, draw out for us the natural law basis of all of this, because I think this is a new thought, for people, people are used to thinking you can end a marriage, and they haven't really thought through necessarily, what exactly you're saying when you say that.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Okay, well let's look at what is the purpose? Or what's needed in making a child capable of participating in society in a functional way.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

I guess I could just start with that. Well, they need to know how to talk, they probably need to have some manners, they need to know how to share, they need to know how to communicate, they need to know how to work, I mean, all these kinds of things that you would want your children to know how to do. And by nature, long before there were governments, the way that cultures were doing this, is that a Mom and a Dad who have extreme interest in their own children —You know, people would sacrifice their own lives for their children. It's innate, so that's what I mean by nature. Yes, it can be done outside of that, yes, someone can grow up with only one parent because one of the parents died, or one of the parents abandoned. Yes, you can do that. But is that by nature, the way that it was designed, the way that works best? I'm sure you can look at study after study after study that show the results. It’s sad to say, it's like self-confidence, performance in the work world, ability to trust, all these things that children of divorce are kind of suffering.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

That's right.And so, if you look at it, just from the natural perspective, it takes a man and a woman to make a child, and that parental relationship is lifelong. And the cooperation between the parents is an essential aspect of the child's ability to thrive. So, if mom and dad hate each other, that means the two halves of who I am, are at war with each other. A five-year-old can't figure that out, and you probably have had people say this, if you're going through divorce, you should sit them down and tell them, “mommy and daddy don't love each other anymore. We still love you, honey, but we don't love each other anymore.” Well, that's half of who you are. And then the little kid is like how does this even work? And of course, it doesn't even work. So, the natural order of things for mom and dad to cooperate for a lifetime for the benefit of each other and for the benefit of the children. And that cooperation system we call marriage, and to abandon a promise of that solemnity, without a just reason, is unjust, it's unjust to abandon that promise. And if civil law doesn't take account of that you got a big problem. There's something really wrong. So that's what I want to get out on the table that is for people to really think this through because we're so cavalier in this culture,

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Or people are people are used to trusting. Well If something happens in a civil court, well, Justice occurs, that's what courts are for. Courts are for administering justice.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Right

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

So, there's talk about how the courts decide. Well, that would be great if we lived in an era where the government system supported marriage and family, but now we have the absolute opposite. I remember going through, in our divorce situation, I was a person who wasn't able to sign saying I agree to split my children and property because that is a lie. I don't agree to any of this. I think we should have an intact home and you should get the right kind of professional help and whatever our issues were, we're not even that different than issues I read about being common in lots of marriages. It's like, let's get humble and get down to hearing it out, and it would have been fine. But when moms and dads don't agree, the court will decide what happens to children. And sometimes the court will assign other paid government entities to decide what happens. So, they can appoint a Guardian Ad Litem who's a children's lawyer, or they can appoint a court psychologist. And then these two have a vested interest in getting more clients. And the way to get clients is when someone files for divorce. So, you've got these hangers on who earn good incomes, by taking assets from parents who are in divorce court. So, if you're the defendant, there's a lot of pressure to just sign on that dotted line that you agree to be divorced. And I remember a meeting with our guardian Ad Litem, and he was talking about how divorce is just like going through a tornado. And people recover and you rebuild your house. No, it's not. I mean it's my family, divorce and even the separated faithful, Divorce is the gift that keeps on giving.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

But let's go back to that tornado analogy because I just lived through a hurricane. And yeah, everything gets destroyed and you rebuild. But the difference between a hurricane and a divorce is that there's no moral agency here. Nobody's singled me out and blasted me with a hurricane. When your marriage is destroyed by your spouse, and by agents of the state. There is human moral agency at work there. And you look there, and you go, there's culpability here. This didn't have to happen. Somebody decided to make this happen. Down here in Lake Charles we're dealing with act of God. Okay, God, we got a hurricane. Thank you very much. I don't know what you're trying to say, but we accept it. That's not the same case with some —with the judge and the guardian Ad Litem, and the financial planners, and the court appointed psychologists and the people who supervise your visits. Sometimes that comes into play, where somebody makes an allegation and there's some kind of problems. So, there's some non-family members supervising the visits so there are many agents of the state that get involved in managing divorces. Now, Bai you made it clear from the outset that you didn't want the divorce. Did you ever sign the paper that they were asking you to?

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

No, I didn't. And what happened in our case is —for reasons that would take too long to explain— a constitutional law professor got involved like nine months into it. And he was challenging that no-fault divorces is unconstitutional, based on the principle that people who marry in accordance with a religious right, or a religious doctrine or dogma, that both people going into a marriage and they contract a marriage according to certain rules, the state can't come in years after the fact and usurp the rules and the obligations, which the parties agreed that are in line with their church. Does that make sense?

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Yes, yes. So, he was making a First Amendment type of an argument.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

That and contract. Due process and religious liberties kind of argument. And we ended up losing on a technicality having to do with timing, because we were designating the church as a third-party arbitrator. So, it didn't bear any fruit in my case. But one of the resources that Mary's advocates has, is that we wish people would do but I haven't figured out how to market it in a way that people jump on board. What are they agreeing? Are their obligations? Because everyone who marries right now in a pure no-fault divorce state, you're agreeing that the government can you have control of your property and children, when one of you, for no reason, decides I want out.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

That's right. What no-fault divorce really means is that the government will always take sides with the person who wants the marriage the least. That's what it actually means. And so, this resource that you have, is it a document for people to sign going into it? Tell us about this document that you have in mind

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

We call it our true marriage proclamation set. Or covenant agreement and it's language that's available, anyone could go on the website and find it today. They could download a PDF, it’s something that could be signed just prior to marriage. The goal would be that it would have the weight of a prenuptial agreement legally, because there's certain things you have to do to have a prenuptial agreement be legal. You have to have an option for a lawyer to review it with you, and the lawyer could sign saying I explained this to you, I explained this to the other side. Or they could sign it after marriage, and it could have the weight of a post-nuptial agreement. That's the goal. And the big thing that happens is it designates a third-party arbitrator. You know you buy a $30 software item, and they have you read that long contract before you say yes, I agree to buy this $30 item. There's lots of times where you're agreeing that if I'm dissatisfied, I won't go to a civil court and sue the seller. I will go to a third-party arbitrator and there are entities that exist, where churches, for example, non-Catholic churches, could designate that we want all of our contracts with our employees to have this clause in here about if there's a conflict, we're going to go with third party arbitrator. And there's a Christian arbitration association that exists right now, that is recognized in the civil forum for handling different kinds of disputes between a pastor and an employee. And for Catholics, one could sign the way our agreement is written, is that there is a designating the Roman Catholic Church and the Catholic code of canon law, and those authorized to implement the Catholic code of canon law.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

So, in other words, you would make it explicit ahead of time, that you do not wish to use the civil authorities. That you both agree to be subject to this form of arbitration, in your case, that Canon Law, but it could be a Christian arbitration service. But to make it explicit, so that people have thought that thing through.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Over the years what I have found my focus to be. It is to support the people who already understand, and they already get what we're talking about. Because we need to get more of those people feeling comfortable and confident and assured that what you're saying makes good sense. It's actually from a Roman Catholic perspective, it's supported by long standing church teaching, and we just need to hold our ground. Amongst the people that you know, I mean, I'm an unusual circumstance. And maybe it's my personality —it is my personality. It’s my ability to hold my ground, regardless of what somebody says. I just can't not hold my ground. So, my work is to try to figure out as much as I can discern, to get some good done on this, but some people in the no-fault divorce situation are sort of drowning. You're barely keeping where you live, your house is lost, your kids are all over the place. They're going back and forth, trying to raise and discipline and teach a child who goes back and forth. It's just not fair.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Yes. It's not fair to the kid.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Enforcement mechanism, you teach them something here, they get something different over there. You try to have some kind of consequence for behavior and just normal stuff, like, how many hours a day, are you going to be allowed to be on your cell phone?

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

That's right, that's right.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

At mom’s house she says this, but at dad’s house —So these kinds of things.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

And these are problems which couples in a functioning marriage solve and confront every single day. Mom and Dad may have different opinions about different things, but they'll look at each other and they'll solve it. They don't bring agents of the state in, or kick each other under the table. “We'll talk about this later,” whatever little conflict we have as parents in an ongoing marriage you don’t bring in the guys with guns. I mean, because let's face it, the state has guns and they put people in jail, and they seize property, and they do all that kind of mean stuff. And once you go into divorce court, you are involving the guys with guns. That's just fact.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Yeah, and a sad pattern that I see a lot, because people talk to me, who are the separated faithful, who don't want the divorce, who want to keep the marriage together. They're humbly admitting that I never said I was a perfect spouse. I said, “I want to work on it. And I can let me know, what is it that I'm doing that's causing issues. If I'm at fault about whatever it is, —and we're not talking about reasons for separation, we're talking about just things that are annoying, or whatever else. Fine, I'm willing to grow in virtue.” But the person on the other side refuses to cooperate with people who are expert helping couples, I just see that as a telltale pattern and to me. That concludes that someone is not genuine.

Or they say, I tried counseling and it didn't work. Well, the reason it didn't work is because you refuse to cooperate and then there's nothing that defendant can do about it. So, it sounds kind of hopeless, but the hope is, as Christians, I mean, as a Catholic, what are we to do when we're faced in a situation where we're experiencing injustice?

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

So far, we've been talking about all this on the civil side of things. And the Ruth Institute has talked about this a lot on the civil side. We've had other abandoned spouses speak at our conference and things. We've had Dr. Stephen Baskerville speak at our things, who is in my mind a great theorist on this subject. Really unmasking the injustice of the state. And then we've had Layla Miller speak who's written a compilation of First-Person accounts from adult children of divorce and the impact that their parents’ divorce had on them. But what you bring to the table Bai, that is unique, and I think will be helpful to a lot of people is canon law.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

The most exciting thing that I've uncovered that I publicized with Mary's advocates, is the church's law on separation of spouses. In Scripture, when it says, if your brother sins against you, you bring your concern to him directly. And if you don't get anywhere you bring some friends witnesses, and if you don't get anywhere you bring it to the church? That principle is written into our canon law about marriage. And I've gone back to the Council of Trent in 1563, where it's talking about how, for Catholics, keeping a family together is of public interest. It's not a private little thing between you and the person you're buying your car from. And it's not a private little thing where one little spouse is supposed to decide all on her own, to give her family to the state. We have protections written into our canon law about separation of spouses, where they're supposed to be a Canon Law investigation prior to anyone going to the civil forum. And this is a thing that I uncovered.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

So Bai, I have looked at some of your debates on this subject, and so on and so forth. And this is a really complicated area and a very controversial area. And I want to say I appreciate the research and diligence that you've done on it. But I can't say to my viewers that this is a settled issue, because obviously, it's not, you know, led to a lot of controversy about, but there's some things you're doing that relate to annulment. And some things you have thought about, that are not controversial, I think. And one of the important things that I've seen you do is that you assist people who are going through the annulment process, who don't want their marriage to be annulled. In other words, people who think this is a valid marriage. No! Just like you wouldn't sign the paper in the civil court, there are people who don't want to go along with it in the in the ecclesial courts as well. So, tell somebody a little bit about how that might work. Because we may have people watching. There are all kinds of situations with that, so tell people a little bit about how you and your materials assist people.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Okay. There are some tribunals that grantannulments to 100% of the petitioners. And I would surmise to say that they don't have any canon lawyers on staff who have experience with the kind of person you're describing, who wants to uphold the validity of their marriage, because they've never seen them. They've never seen it happen that a marriage was upheld, because their diocese, they give them to virtually everyone. So, some of the simple procedural things that I can help people with. Like, when a party alleges that a marriage is invalid, they're supposed to submit a petition. They're supposed to submit a petition, they're supposed to say certain things like explain, “Hey! I think my marriage is invalid for this ground and here's some facts and proofs in a general way describing why.” Like if I was to accuse you of anything, or accuse something, let's say, you want the drunken contract example, if you were going to say that our contract about selling the car was void, because I tricked you and you were drunk, and you got witnesses? Well, you would decide that on your petition as to why you think this contract is void. That's what's supposed to happen in canon law petition. And the petition is supposed to be sent to the other party. The other party needs to see what's the basis for the complaint. And I've had people that I've worked with where in their diocese, the standardize form that's used and accepted for the petitions says, No grounds for the petitioner, No grounds for the respondent. And that's what they give to the other side.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

What? I don’t understand. On the printed form it asserts that there are no grounds given.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

It might have been typed. It's typed in. I've seen in two cases in a diocese, where the petition that was sent to the respondent says, “I so and so applying for a decree of invalidity of my marriage.” And then further down in the paper, it says I assert the marriage is invalid. Checkbox. No grounds on the petitioner. Actually, there wasn't a checkbox, It was just typed language, no grounds on the petitioner, no grounds on the respondent. And when I'm saying petitioner respondent, the petitioners is the one that wanted a petition so, a common ground that's used in the United States is grave lack of discretion of judgment that has to do with psychological issues. So, someone might say I allege that I myself have this grave lack of discretion of judgment, but the respondent should see that so, That's an example.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Right? So, you've seen these petitions where no grounds are given, what do you tell the person to do? What does the respondent do?

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Everything I do is I suggest “you might want to…”. This is your letter; this is not my letter. I suggest that they respond back and just cite in the canon law that says: No petition is supposed to be accepted, unless it shows the grounds, and it shows the facts and proofs and a general way upon which the petitioner is relying to support the grounds. Or another thing I've seen is they're not supposed to collect proofs, witness testimony, until after they set in stone, what grounds are going to be investigating? Both sides need to know what's at stake here. What are you accusing? Are we saying that someone lied about wanting kids? Or are we saying that someone was psychologically so impaired that they couldn't consent because they didn't know what they were doing? You need to know that before you go in, and then you need to know which party.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Right.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

It kind of goes play by play through the procedures. And if the procedures are really irregular, then I help people submit appeals. So, I can't say we've had a lot of success. But what I hear from the people who contact me is they're just relieved that there's somebody who appreciates the law, respects their rights. You can't win everything. We don't know what's going to happen. But these people are saying, I have to try!

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

That's right. That's right. That's right.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

There's nobody that can help me because, I'm reading on your website about a petition is supposed to say facts and proofs in a general way. But when I talk to my tribunal personnel, and they just say we're waiting for you to answer our questionnaire over and over again.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

I want to say for the record, I do know of one case where a person succeeded in defending her marriage, using some materials that you had provided for her. Personally, I know of a case where this woman, they had four children together. And her husband left her and petitioned for an annulment and she fought it and she won. It was denied, and he had already tottled off with this new Sweetie, so it was kind of a mess for him. But she was greatly relieved, and her children were so relieved. Yeah! Mom and Dad, you are married, this is a real marriage. And that's important to children. So, in a sense, what I Intuit about this, Again, I'm not a Canon lawyer, either. And I haven't spent any time in tribunals. But the vibe that I'm getting, if you want to put it that way, for the people I talk to is, is that the spirit of the age has infiltrated the church in this area, as in other areas, so you'll have the priests saying you should move on. Or why don't you do this? Or it'll be okay. That kind of thing. The idea that somebody would defend their marriage, would stand for their marriage —Not so long ago, that was understood to be what one ought to do. And now, it's not. That common understanding is gone.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

And when you're talking about how there are priests that will say you need to move on. The priests only know what they're taught. You only know what you've read. So, I've got shelves of stuff behind me. And if people contact me, and they're trying to understand...Is my marriage invalid or not? I really think it's valid. I tell them to read these books.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Right. You’ve done the legwork for them, right?

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

This one has 58 pages on psychological grounds for annulment, go look at this, because I have other books on my shelf, it's just a paperback book put together by some publisher that says it's Catholic that has one paragraph written about grounds for an annulment on psychological grounds, and they say, you were too immature to get married. So, people are repeating things that are contrary to what the scholarly stuff says. All you know, is the little tidbits that you've heard, you might think, Oh!my marriage is invalid because I had this or that problem. I was like No! Do your homework.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Right.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

People who care.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

That's right. And in defense of the tribunals, they have a lot of cases to deal with. And like you say, they're going with what they know, with what's familiar to them in a lot of cases. And they're looking into a lot of stuff and they're overworked. And they're looking at the evidence. I mean, a competent trial tribunal will be looking at the evidence and seeing the paperwork and seeing what happened and so on and so forth. So, a lot goes into it, and I don't want to just slam anybody here. But the fact is, the ethos has changed, No one would deny that.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

the piece that's so sad about annulments being granted too much is that, for two parties who are Catholic who are willing to follow the church's teaching, the church teaching could result in healing marriage.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Right.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

You know, if you've got somebody that kind of freaked out when they filed for divorce, and then they got all this support of this is what you need to do from the system. They're told, well, now that you've got your divorce, the right solution is to apply for your annulment. So, whenever they apply for their annulment and the annulment is granted, you've just missed the whole thing of what caused the marriage to break up really? And let's address it.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Right. So much of the culture ignores that very important point. I've had family law attorneys say to me,particularly when a woman comes in and says, “I'm going to divorce my husband,” she has been thinking about it a long time, she's got her exit strategy planned. And he's completely blindsided because he had no idea how upset she was, or whatever. But she's doing all this. And I have had the lawyers Tell me, when they get to that point, there is no talking to them, and they get really mean and really vindictive. And then it's really bad. It can go really bad. Now, one point of clarification I want to mention because we do have some non-Catholic followers, followers who say that there's no role for church law or for annulment. That the church doesn't have the right to say anything about this. They're not used to the idea of church law, or of having to investigate. The point is you need to have institutions to enforce the gospel if you want to say that.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

The gospel doesn't implement itself, the Bible doesn't implement itself, you have to have structures to determine the facts. Well, is this really your twin brother? Or did you really mistakenly marry your cousin? Or did he really lie that he was impotent? You found out after the fact that he was impotent? Did that really happen? You have to have some structures for dealing with that.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Yeah, that's a really good way to put it. Because it's even scriptural that you go to the church about certain kinds of conflicts.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

That's right. So now I want to talk about this term “Standers”. I want to talk about the standers. I've encountered non-Catholics and Catholics who use this term, or without the term or doing the concept of standing. So, tell people what this term standers means. And a little bit about where you've encountered them.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Stander is someone who's separated or divorced, who still stands for their marriage. And even standing is a really good word, because it's not aggressive, it's not offensive, it's not pushing, it's just standing, it's just standing. And it's standing for a truth that I'm still married. And I've encountered that, I was one from the very beginning, even in the civil form. I didn't know that it had a name, but it's just this isn't true. I don't agree to this. I believe I'm married. Marriage is for life. I didn't get married in the state, the state cannot unmarry me. Some of the things I see common in standers is we still wear our wedding rings. Because out in the public, we're not single again. We're not like a widow, whose marriage is truly ended because my husbands dead. No. And in in how we talk, we would talk about, my husband or my wife, or you know, the whole thing of my ex-spouse, we would never say ex-spouse. There is no such thing as an ex-spouse anymore more than there is an ex-son.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

That's right. That's exactly right.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

There's also a supernatural hope for reconciliation. And I modify that with supernatural because on a human level, the chances look like 0.00000 and infinity. The other spouse is already supposedly married to a different person. We wouldn't even call a second marriage, a marriage.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

That's right.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

There's one lady, her husband married someone else. And she's like, “Well, that's just a civil forum approving adultery.”

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

That's right.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

That's right. Not it's not marriage. You know, people might give you pushback.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Yeah, they might. They give you plenty of pushback, right?

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

In the civil forum, because we had a full-blown trial, where a lot of people don’t, they just go to the judge and say here is our paperwork. And the Guardian Ad Litem was questioning me. And I remember this. And he's like, “Well, why did you contact this person?” “I was looking for help.” “Why did you write this person?” “I was looking for help.” “Why did you reach?” I mean, I just was looking for help everywhere, thinking maybe somebody could help keep our family together. But the plaintiff in the divorce court gets what they want every time.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

There's a woman Charlene steinkamp, I think, Charlene cares. And she's from a biblical perspective. And people can go to her website. She sends a daily motivational message based in Scripture of how one stands for your marriage and the other spouse is a prodigal, like the prodigal son, and the dads waiting. and the dad knows that son might come home, he's hoping his son comes home. And it's that kind of thing or with Mary's advocates Coming at it from a Catholic perspective, there was a book published in Italian that we got translated into English.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Oh, tell us about that book, I have a copy of it too.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

It talks about the modes, that one passes in and out of and stays in, when one is separated faithful. And what we do is we have a monthly conference phone call, where we just go through a little section of the book each time, and over the years, people have become friends with each other, some of them have met separately. In my diocese, there's a group of us that meet in person, and we just use the book as a springboard for conversation. Because it's people who don't live it, they don't get it. And I think they frankly, kind of get tired of it. I mean, if you had a spouse who’s schizophrenic, it would really be helpful for you to have people who also have a spouse who's schizophrenic, that you can support each other in that walk.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

That's right.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

You remember what you used to have. So, the absence of what you used to have, it's just a laser focus on what you don't have now. And the thing that we support each other in, is what does one do with these emotions, because it's hard? So, we encourage each other in trusting in God and leaning on the cross and remembering that life is permanent. I mean, life on this earth is temporary, and we have a permanent goal, which is heaven. We also remind each other that anytime there's a suffering, like Paul says, I rejoice in my suffering for your sake, because I complete what's lacking in Christ's suffering for the sake of his body, the church. This kind of suffering is unique suffering, because we're standing like Paul suffering, and Paul could have lied and said, “I don't believe Jesus is God,” who knows what, he would have gotten out of jail.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

What's wrong with you, Paul? What you're the stubbornnest guy, Paul.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

So, we remind each other that, if you're really sad, because your kids have trouble with this, and these bad things are happening, and it's hurtful? Well, you offer that up for Christ'. I'm offering it up for the conversion of my husband or my children. And it is really nice to have other people who will have that walk. And there was a woman who joined our call, most recently, and she was talking about how it's not like she chose to be a stander, to be separated faithful, it was already there. It was like she would have to unchoose to not do it.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Right, in other words, what she chose was to be married, and what her spouse chose to do, she has no control over. And, given that he did, what he did, she didn't really have a choice. Right? I get that. And you know, this is where I really want to pause because the spiritual significance of what you guys are doing, and what you just said, is powerful. So, I want to underline it for everybody. And I want people to memorize that Bible verse because it's a very important Bible verse used to be much more prominent in Catholic subculture and the Catholic culture, that you offer things up, that unavoidable suffering is something we offer up. We accept it, we don't run from every form of suffering, because some suffering is unavoidable, and this is an example of an unavoidable pain that can be turned to good, that can be given to Christ united in the cross and used by Christ in however he thinks best, so it's a very deep kind of spiritual walk that it sounds like from multiple branches of Christianity people are, are cultivating that and clinging to that and understanding and growing within that, but it's completely countercultural, because our culture is telling us to be comfortable, literally at any cost.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Right? And then you think is there something wrong with me If I'm uncomfortable? Of course, you're sad, you're experiencing an injustice, give yourself permission to be sad, give yourself permission to cry, it's not bad if you cry, because some of the things that get on my nerves. It's like, “Well, you know, you didn't get over it. You know, if you're a mentally healthy person, you'd have gotten over it.” And the fact that you won't act like everything's good means that you're not over it yet. The same kind of talk that you talk about, meaning if your spouse dies, and you go through the stages of mourning? When you're done, you're actually done. Well, because divorce is the gift that keeps on giving. You're never done.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

That's right.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

You're not over it, because it's still in your life experience. And if I had been sexually abused by a priest when I was 13, that's wicked and evil. But it happened forty-some years ago. But if I'm divorced, which I am, we still have the kids trying to navigate, well, how do I have a relationship with mom and dad when mom believes this, and dad believes that? and then you bring in the stepparents and the step siblings, and it doesn't end. Then you have a holiday. One of the people in our group was trying to discern, what should he do about his divorce wife? He's a stander and his father died. So, his father died, and he's having a gathering after the funeral, and he's home and he's trying to discern, my wife is saying that she'd be willing to come and not bring her new civil partner, husband, you know? She's willing to come because she feels an affiliation to her father in law. But that's a difficult thing. Yes this woman did this to you and did this to you. And for her to come, it's not clear whether it would be a good thing for her to come or not a good thing to come. People in intact homes don't have to deal with that.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

That's right. And discern is the right word, because it isn't immediately obvious what the right answer is, there are all kinds of factors that would play into what's the right answer. In a situation like that.

And you're right, in an intact home, that's not even an issue. You don't have to worry about who gets the tickets to juniors’ graduation, when you only have so many tickets. Which set of grandparents and step grandparents? And it's never ending. And I want to pause and say that to tell people you should get over it, that the culture says the mark of mental health is to get over it. What our culture is really saying to us, the mark of being healthy is to be calloused to certain kinds of pain that people are going through. Right? In other words, if you got over it, that would mean that you're no longer concerned about the fact that this continues to be hard for your kids. Because if you got over it and chose another spouse, or your husband chooses another spouse, and so on. There's still going to be problems for the kids, for you to get over, It doesn't mean they got over it. It doesn't mean those moving around problems all went away. It means you're just not feeling anything about it anymore, because you're moving on with your life. Well, that doesn't strike me as particularly edifying.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Of course, it doesn’t help at large. what about all the people who were calloused about slavery?

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Right.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

We can just sell people, split up families, we don't care.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Right? No, we don't worry about that, the kids will be fine. The kids will be fine. No! they're not fine. They're really not fine.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

So many reasons that are legitimate reasons to separate on a moral perspective?

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Yes.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Well, if my husband had been out committing adultery, repetitively, unapologetically, that is a morally legitimate reason to be separated. My children shouldn't be given scandal by a husband doing that. I'm not saying my husband ever did that. But in the civil forum, it makes things worse, because the court will say the kids have to, if dad wants to, have them go back and forth between homes.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

That's right.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

And if the dad doesn't want to pay as much child support, if he can figure out how to get the kids away from the mom, because he hires expensive lawyers. It's like the civil forums no-fault can do more harm than what it was before they got involved.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Yes. That's right and exclude the non-offending spouse and put burdens on the non-offending spouse that wouldn't have been there if the state was not involved.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

And I don't see that the secular confused world is going to be pushing to correct this on the short term. And my hope would be that morally grounded people who are Bible believing or Catholics who kind of sense that what we're talking about makes sense, at least amongst ourselves in our own institutions, we could structurally change something.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Right? We could do a little bit better job of what we're dealing with. So Bai, I want to give you a chance to tell people where they can connect with you a little bit more maybe about the services that you offer. This book that you mentioned, I did not realize that you guys were the sole publishers of it, and that you'd had it translated. So, this looks like a winner. Can people connect with you about these, this monthly call that you guys have? Tell people a little about that?

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Yeah, I'm just going to jump over to Mary's advocates to where things are in our menu, because the services that Mary's advocates provide are all under Resources. So, in the beginning, we were talking about that true marriage proclamation covenant, that's one of those items there, or a support network. So, if somebody wants to connect to this monthly call, or connect to others who are trying to get groups their own diocese, they can find that there, the book, “The Gift of Self” is there. Then there's things that we do about defending marriage that gets more into if somebody wants to try to invoke canon law or defend their rights in a Canon Law forum. Those are all this stuff is under Resources. There are tons of information under research, and to contact me it's just on the About Us section, find my contact information, my phone number and email address.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

That is so stupendous that you'll put your phone number and email address out there.You do that for people.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Never been a problem.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Yeah, that's good. That's really good. Are there are diocesan resources, any place that you could recommend? Are there diocese that sponsor these groups, anything like that that's out there?

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

The Archdiocese of Minneapolis had had a group for a while. I don't know what the status of that is right now. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia publicizes on the marriage and family office, this is the group that someone could join the phone call. Bishop Morlino, who passed God rest his soul in Madison, Wisconsin, they have this book on their website. He has “The Gift of Self” book on their website, those kinds of things.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Okay. But if I were a marriage and family life coordinator in a in a diocese, starting a group like this is a simple step that we could take, that proclaims by its existence, that this is the church's teaching about marriage and family. That marriage is permanent, marriage is a permanent covenant. And the people who are standing for their marriage are a very powerful witness to that truth. And so, any attention that we can call to those people, I think is something very positive. And I love it that y'all wear your wedding rings. I love it, that you never use the term ex-spouse. Because that term drives me crazy too. Because it's not true. There's no such thing. It’s not like my late husband, you could say my late husband who's dead, that means he's dead. But things like that, they add up and they have an impact that there's something bigger here than my immediate comfort and my immediate pleasure. That we have we have another, another home and other kingdom.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

That's beautiful. Thank You.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Oh, well, Bai do you have any parting words for us?

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

If you know anyone who's in a marriage crisis, do everything you can to encourage them to get the right kind of help.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Yes. Don't be one of those people that says, Oh, honey, you deserve to be happy get out. Unless you really know what's going on. Yeah. Encourage them anyway.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Oh, get out can mean, I have a legitimate reason for temporary separation of spouses. Because I have this serious problem.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

That's right.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Home, is healing and reconciling. The goal is not to run them over and over divorce court.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

That's right. And if you treat the innocent and the guilty in the same way, who benefits from that? The guilty gets off scot free and the innocent, are harmed by doing that kind of thing. So, that's parting word from Bai MacFarlane. If you're a Roman Catholic and you're in a situation where you are being petitioned for an annulment that you do not want, and you want to contest it, and you want to defend your marriage as best you can. And before the tribunal, Bai is a person who can really be a lot of help to you, and whether you're Catholic or not, if you believe in the sanctity of marriage. This aspect of defending marriage is extremely important. And I hope that you'll get in touch with Bai and her network of friends because she's got a number of networks —I think you can tell— networks of Catholics and non-Catholics alike who are committed to the idea of one man, one woman for life. I'm Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, founder and president of the Ruth Institute. Thank you so much for being my guest today Bai. And thank you all for watching.



When Did Our Culture Begin To Die? Preserving Tradition and Family

John Horvat II is a scholar, researcher, educator, and international speaker. He is vice president and a member of the board of directors for the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP), head of the TFP Commission for American studies, and a TFP Sedes Sapientiae Institute instructor. Additionally, Mr. Horvat is a member of the Association of Christian Economists, The Philadelphia Society, the National Association of Scholars, and the Catholic Writers Guild, as well as an Acton University participant.

Mr. Horvat's interview is also available as an audio podcast: Listen

Mr. Horvat is the author of the book Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society–Where We’ve Been, How We Got Here and Where We Need to Go. Horvat's writings have appeared worldwide including in The Wall Street Journal, The Christian Post, American Thinker, TheBlaze, Crisis, FOX News, and The Washington Times, as well as other publications and websites. He gives more than 150 radio and TV interviews annually.

This episode of the Dr. J Show focuses on the connection between cultural and economic decline. Topics discussed include:

  • All political battles are moral battles. We are in a national moral crisis.
  • The Left seeks revolution--not just change, but the overthrow of the system. They don't want the American order.
  • Science separated from a moral foundation is technocratic tyranny.
  • Leadership is service.
  • To be yourself, you can't be obsessed with being "equal" with everybody else. The sexes are different, not "equal." Allowing everyone to develop themselves *unequally* is what makes society prosper. Resentment over our inequalities destroys societal harmony.
  • Societal order focuses on mutually helpful relationships.
  • Radically egalitarian societies always lead to disorder and bloodshed.
  • Past revolutions sought to destroy exterior structures (church, government, society), but the Sexual Revolution seeks to destroy internal stuctures (identity, logic, being): in other words, self-annihilation.

When he’s not writing, Mr. Horvat enjoys jogging and fencing. He lives in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania.

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History Professor Tells the Story of U.S. Sexual Ethics and Failures

Dr. Donald T. Critchlow is the American political history professor at Arizona State University. He is the author and editor of 25 books and is the founding editor of Journal of Policy History published by Cambridge University Press. He has appeared on C-Span, National Public Radio, BBC World News, and many talk radio programs. He has written for the Washington Post, the New York Observer, the New York Post, and National Review.

In this interview he narrates the events that have happened in America that led us to today. This story affects everyone.

Dr Critchlow's many books include:

  • In Defense Of Populism: Protest and American Democracy
  • Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism: A Woman's Crusade
  • Intended Consequences: Birth Control, Abortion, and The Federal Government In Modern America
  • When Hollywood Was Right: How Movie Stars, Studio Moguls, and Big Business Remade American Politics
  • The Conservative Ascendancy: How The Republican Right Rose To Power In Modern America
  • Takeover: How The Left's Quest For Social Justice Corrupted Liberalism,
  • Debating The American Conservative Movement

So You Want To Defend Marriage? Come Hear the Story of Our Founder

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse is the founder of the Ruth Institute, a global non-profit organization that defends the family at home and in the public square and equips others to do the same. She is passionate about equipping family advocates with the knowledge and confidence to defend the family at home and in the public square.

Dr. Morse was a campaign spokeswoman for California’s winning Proposition 8 campaign, defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. She has authored or co-authored five books and spoken around the globe on marriage, family and human sexuality. Her work has been translated into Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Polish and Chuukese, the native language of the Micronesian Islands. Her newest books are The Sexual Revolution and Its Victims and 101 Tips for Marrying the Right Person, coauthored with Betsy Kerekes.

She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Rochester and taught economics at Yale and George Mason Universities.

Dr. Morse was named one of the “Catholic Stars of 2013” on a list that included Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI.

Dr. Morse and her husband are parents of an adopted child, a birth child, a goddaughter and were foster parents for San Diego County to eight foster children. In 2015, Dr. Morse and her husband relocated to Lake Charles, Louisiana, where the work of the Ruth Institute continues.

Readings & Resources


What does Karl Marx Have To Do With The Sexual Revolution?

Paul Kengor, Ph.D., is professor of political science at Grove City College in Grove City, Pennsylvania, and a New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen books. He is senior director and chief academic fellow at the Institute for Faith & Freedom and formerly served as visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. His articles have appeared in publications from the Washington Post and USA Today to the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times; he is a longtime columnist and senior editor for The American Spectator. Dr. Kengor is an internationally recognized authority on (among other topics) Ronald Reagan, the Cold War, communism, socialism, and conservatism.


Dr. Kengor is frequently interviewed by the BBC, Fox News, MSNBC, C-SPAN, NPR, EWTN, the Christian Broadcasting Network, by radio hosts such as Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, and Bill Bennett, and by TV personalities like Megyn Kelly, Bill O’Reilly, and Joe Scarborough. He often writes for National Catholic Register and Crisis Magazine. Dr. Kengor’s books have been published by HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Harvard University Press, Oxford University Press, Ignatius Press, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, HarperPerennial, and many others. In 2017, he released what has been described as his “magnum opus,” A Pope and a President: John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and the Extraordinary Untold Story of the 20th Century. Among his bestsellers are the 2012 book, The Communist, and his 2004 classic, God and Ronald Reagan. Several of his books are the basis for major films, including the film The Divine Plan (Robert Orlando, producer), which screened in theaters nationwide in 2019. In the summer of 2020, he will be publishing The Devil and Karl Marx (St. Benedict Press/TAN Books).

Kengor is a frequent public speaker, at venues such as the Ronald Reagan Library, the Reagan Ranch Center, National Press Club, Heritage Foundation, Princeton University’s James Madison Program, American Enterprise Institute, the Center for Strategic & International Studies, the Gerald Ford Library, the National Presbyterian Church, the Fulton Sheen Cultural Center, and at colleges including the University of Virginia, the College of William & Mary, the Naval Academy, and Notre Dame University.

Kengor received his doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and master’s degree from The American University’s School of International Service. He holds an honorary doctorate from Franciscan University. He and his wife, Susan, have eight children, two of which are adopted.

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Resources from the Ruth Institute


They're Promoting Sex to Children?? Global Government Overreach at its Worst!

Kimberly Ells is a writer, mother, and policy advisor for Family Watch International, where she works to protect children from early sexualization and to promote the family as the fundamental unit of society.

Kimberly is an avid researcher and writer on family issues, and has authored international policy briefs. She has spoken at the United Nations and other venues across the country in defense of women and children.

Kimberly's new book, The Invincible Family: Why the Global Campaign to Crush Motherhood and Fatherhood Can’t Win, documents the global children’s sexual rights movement.

Kimberly graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in English. She is married and is the mother of five children.

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