Ruth Speaks Out

This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.


Fighting the Sexual Revolution

by Dustin Siggins

First published at The Stream on June 21, 2018.

The Stream asked the president of the Ruth Institute why she brought Paul Sullins into their work.

Dr. Jennifer Morse: replied: “We are concerned that ordinary people are making life-changing decisions without accurate information about the long-term consequences. Millions of people have thrown away perfectly good marriages because the ‘experts’ assured them that ‘kids are resilient.'”

“In the post-Obergefell era,” she continued, “people will be deciding to have children within same-sex relationships. These people are entitled to have more complete information than the advocacy research that convinced the judges that same-sex parenting was harmless.”


She called his work on same-sex parenting “first rate.” It “has the potential to help many ordinary people.”

The Stream also asked her if by working with Dr. Sullins, the Institute is proving the SPLC’s claim that it mostly cares about LGBT issues.

“Not really,” said Morse. “He is working on other topics, including the psychological fall-out for women from procuring abortions. His work fits well with our larger concern of giving voice to victims and survivors of the sexual revolution.”

The Stream noted that a new Gallup poll claims that 4.5 percent of Americans are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. This is a record high since Gallup began polling on the question in 2012. It is also far higher than the percentage the CDC estimated in 2014. We asked Morse what she attributes the rise to.

“Describing oneself as ‘gay’ or ‘trans’ has become ‘cool.'” More replied. “We have known since at least 1994 that a person’s propensity to self-identify as ‘gay’ is responsive to social and cultural factors. I’m not surprised that young people are experimenting with these labels.”

“I just hope they don’t hurt themselves and make mistakes they cannot undo. If they do, they will join millions of other survivors of the sexual revolution: people who figured out too late that the culture lied to them.”


‘I Am Relieved And Happy To Be Labeled A Hater,’ Says Pro-Family Researcher Targeted by SPLC

By Dustin Siggins

This article was published June 21, 2018, at The Stream.

Dr. Paul Sullins is a Catholic priest and a leading pro-family researcher. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) recently targeted him for attack. His crime? Working with The Ruth Institute on research on the effects of same-sex couples-led households on children. The institute lost its credit card processor in August after the SPLC called it a “hate group.”

The Stream interviewed Sullins and Ruth Institute President Dr. Jennifer Morse before SPLC apologized to a British Muslim group it accused of extremism. SPLC gave the Quilliam Foundation $3.375 million as part of a settlement.


The settlement led to 48 groups the SPLC has “maligned, defamed and otherwise harmed” to release a letter. They urged “government agencies, journalists, corporations, social media providers and web platforms … to dissociate themselves from” SPLC.

The Ruth Institute signed the letter. Morse told PJ Media’s Tyler O’Neil that while “pursuing our mission is more important than attempting to take on the behemoth of the SPLC,” the SPLC’s apology “has caused us to consider our options.”

The interviews are edited for length.

The Science and Truth About Sexuality

The Stream: You’ve been at Catholic University of America for two decades. Why did you go to the Ruth Institute, and what role(s) will you have at CUA?

Paul Sullins: There is a great need for objective empirical social science research on questions of faith and family. Secular scholars either do not address these questions or address them in a politicized way. This masks or ignores evidence they would rather not be known in favor of their social goals: There are no harms from abortion or from hormonal contraception; gender is a social construction; children do not need a mother and a father; the world has too many people.

I became more involved in research countering this agenda while teaching. I looked empirically at the Catholic faith and the natural law. Three years ago, I retired from full-time teaching to devote full-time to research along these lines. I had seed money from the Society of Catholic Social Scientists, initially affiliated with the Family Research Council. After Obergefell, FRC cut back on research in this area to focus more on religious freedom and advocacy. The Ruth Institute stepped up to ensure that this work goes forward.

This kind of research may not make headlines tomorrow. However, it lays the seed for genuine social change. It can help change minds and lives. The Other Side has for decades sponsored full-blown research institutes (Guttmacher, Williams) supporting their agenda. Pro-life, pro-family folk have mostly not supported scientific research from their perspective, then wonder why elite culture ignores them. I am grateful to the Ruth Institute for their vision to engage the culture at a high level of discourse on matters of faith and reason.

Sullins’ Research

On what research projects are you working? What are the implications, source materials, etc. for them?

PS: I have been studying abortion trends and demographic effects to respond to a pro-abortion report issued by the National Academy of Sciences. They deny harm from abortions and argue that state regulations requiring waiting periods prevent women from getting desired abortions. We are showing massive evidence of harm, both psychological and medical. Also, regulations have not made abortions less accessible. The regulations have helped women choose life by thinking twice and/or finding family support. The abortion propensity (percent of unanticipated pregnancies ending in abortion, which The Other Side doesn’t measure) has dropped by almost half since 1981. Unintended pregnancies have not changed.

On same-sex parenting, I have updated the findings on emotional harm. I will look at adoptions using a large longitudinal economic survey (the Survey of Income and Program Participation). I am also pursuing studies that separate boys and girls, and male-male and female-female parents. I will look at where in the different mix there is greater and less harm. Do girls do better with two moms or two dads? Do they do better or worse than boys? These are big questions that go to the heart of gender ideology.

I also recently wrote, for a pro-gay book of therapy, a chapter portion titled “Ten Tips for Helping Your Straight Child Come Out Hetero.” It is a problem highlighted in research a lot. Maybe 3-4 percent of children with man-woman parents struggle with same-sex attractions and how to deal with that. In same-sex parent families, over 95 percent of children will have opposite-sex attractions, unlike their parents. So there is possibly more struggle.

Adult children of same-sex parents report this conflict repeatedly. No one has written anything to help these parents. I essentially take the literature on helping opposite-sex parents deal with their emerging same-sex-attracted children and turn it on its head.

The SPLC’s Charges

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) targeted you on March 15. They said research shows children raised in same-sex relationship-led households have equal development to those raised in opposite-sex-led homes. Your conclusions were criticized as “pseudoscience.” How do you rebut such claims? Why is your research more credible than what others have published?

Please address their claim that you’ve been published by inferior outlets with lower standards and little credibility.

PS: On my findings, I refer you to Mercatornet for background on the same-sex parenting research and my main study. They pull from my article(s) the reasons why the studies showing no differences are not credible (mostly, small sample sizes).

On the journals, this is a false smear. The SPLC recycles criticisms from a 2015 Atlantic article. A Mercatornet article responding to that article addressed your question. The Mercatornet piece summarizes a longer defense published in the American College of Pediatricians’ Obergefell brief. I wrote the brief, and you can look that up on Scotusblog.

For some background, the two scholars cited negatively in Atlantic, i.e., with the “pseudoscience” quote and the dissing of the journal, are both pro-gay activists (Drs. Cohen and Rosenfeld). Their work was cited and rebutted by my study. They had a personal and scholarly interest in undermining it. Atlantic (Emma Green) sought them out, did not inform me she was citing them, and gave me no chance to respond. SPLC (and Atlantic) cite them as random, representative scholars. They’re not.

To be fair to Dr. Cohen, who detracted the journals on his blog, walked back his comments to a much softer criticism after I sent him more information about the journals. But Atlantic (and SPLC) just quoted his initial, harsher detraction.

SPLC’s HateWatch unfairly denigrates a few foreign journals where my studies have been published. It doesn’t mention that top journals have published me. The American Journal of Sociology, Contemporary Sociology, Social Forces, Southern Medical Journal, Religion, Sociology of Religion, and the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, for some examples.

I recently published studies on abortion and same-sex parenting in Sage Open Medicine and Demography. They both meet the National Institute of Health’s rigorous standards to be archived in National Library of Medicine. Less than one journal in a hundred qualifies.

My latest book was published by Oxford University Press. It was reviewed in the New York Times Review of Books.

Changing The Culture

Traditional views on sexuality are criticized as outdated and unpopular. In the eyes of the media, traditional views on gender identity are outdated. What evidence, strategies, and tactics should be used to swing people and the culture back towards those viewpoints?

PS: It is spiritual warfare. Our two weapons are faith and reason. The strategies I suggest are: first, help people find Christ. When people experience or encounter the love of God in Christ, we become willing and able to change. It doesn’t do much good if people adopt a traditional view of marriage/gender but don’t know that God loves them deeply and personally. The devil could fit in that category.

When people become alive in Christ, all kinds of illusions fall away. Ruth Institute does this by helping people heal and recover from the sexual revolution. When someone’s life has fallen apart from ignoring how God made man, woman, and marriage, you don’t have to do much convincing.

Second, for those who need reasons, give them reasons. There are many people open to evidence and argument. We should not shy away from engaging them in love and respect. The Church invented science to help us open our minds more to God. Truth honestly defended and clearly presented has great power.

Who’s The Real Bigot In Sexuality Debates?

TS: Please respond to the accusation that you and others who have traditional views on sexuality are hateful/bigoted.

PS: That accusation is emphatically backward. The SPLC has targeted many fine Christian organizations and individuals for nothing more than believing that God made humans male and female, and designed reproduction, family, and marriage to function accordingly. Those are not hateful beliefs, but the targeting can be hateful.

Unlike the Christians groups that it targets, the SPLC itself has incited actual violence, such as the gunman who in 2012 shot a security guard at the Family Research Council after finding the group on SPLC’s “hate map.”

I am relieved and happy to be labeled a hater. And if I am a hater, then surely the Catholic Church and a significant number of Protestant churches also are. SPLC acknowledges that I am a Catholic priest. Will SPLC put up page denouncing Pope Francis, who has compared “gender theory” (denying complementary sex differences) to nuclear annihilation and who teaches in his letter on marriage: “there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family?”

To SPLC, Pope Francis must be a real hatemonger.

* Disclosure: The Ruth Institute was briefly a client of this reporter in 2017.


101 Tips for a Happier Marriage: Simple Ways for Couples to Grow Closer to God and to Each Other

By Mary Ann Paulukonis at For Your Marriage

Where some books have a dedication, this book has a page with three centered lines.

“God is God.
You are not.
Your spouse is not.”

Those ten words sum up the philosophy of 101 Tips for a Happier Marriage. It is a slender, easy-to-read volume of 101 pages (plus an introduction and a few chapter heading pages), each with only two paragraphs: one spelling out the marriage tip and one saying a little more about it. How long could it take to read 202 paragraphs? But this book is not for speed-reading. Each tip needs to be thought about and practiced for at least a day, more likely for weeks and months. Therefore I would suggest reading no more than one page—two paragraphs—per day. Add another day, really just a few minutes, to read the Introduction.

Before getting to the tips, 101 Tips for a Happier Marriage starts off reviewing the bold commitments we make in a Catholic marriage: to love my spouse for the rest of my life, to love even if my spouse becomes difficult, to continue behaving lovingly even if my spouse becomes nearly impossible to live with, and to embrace marriage as my path to holiness. An engaged person might want to read 101 Tips for a Happier Marriage to get a good idea of how those commitments play out in everyday married life. A newly married person might want to read it shortly after the honeymoon, especially “after the honeymoon is over” emotionally. Anyone who wants a better marriage or who feels perturbed in marriage could make good use of the book.


“Simple Ways for Couples to Grow Closer to God and to Each Other” is an appropriate subtitle. All 101 tips are easy to understand and none require special understanding, training, or supplies. The reader needs only an open heart and a desire to grow. I wonder why the authors put God before “each other” in the subtitle. The book’s emphasis is on what the person who reads it can do to make a difference for the marital relationship. Growing closer to God will inevitably follow. If we tend to the ways in which God calls us, we will grow closer to the vocation’s author. Once we’ve said our marriage vows and entered the sacrament of marriage, we can be pretty sure that God is telling us to work on our commitments.

It is within marriage that we learn the true nature of spousal love. No longer “going together” or merely “living together,” we have pledged ourselves to one another and to mutually growing through true love’s joys and difficulties. Marriage and the love of husband and wife are good for the couple, for their children, their extended family, and for society. So this book has not only personal benefits for the reader and tip practitioner, but benefits rippling out into the family and the wider community from the loving marriage.

Many tips remind me of lessons I have learned in marriage or lessons I must still work on. In my mid-30s I practiced tip number 2, “Help your spouse grow by being the first to step outside the comfort zone.” I was having a spiritual “growth spurt” and feared that my husband might not understand, might even resent my increased desire for prayer and the sacraments. It was a leap of courage to talk with him about my experiences and concerns. The discussion rewarded me as I was able to gain his support and to come to understand how his spirituality differed from mine. Now in my forty-fifth year of marriage I am putting new effort into tip number 46, “Use the Generosity Gauge, rather than the Fairness Filter.” Somewhere along the line I started filtering my perspective but I want to renew a generous attitude.

Do not buy this book to change your spouse. Do not give it to your spouse to work on. The tips are effective only when applied to oneself. If you change, your marriage will change. This book is also not for anyone dealing with domestic violence or addictions of any kind. It cannot replace specialized professional assistance.


3 Prominent Catholics Discuss Their Same-Sex Attraction

“I believed I could find happiness there, and I couldn’t.”

by Jim Graves

This article was first published at NCRegister.com on June 7, 2018.

Left to Right: Joseph Sciambra, Hudson Byblow, Daniel Mattson

I spoke with three prominent Catholic men who have struggled with same-sex attraction but who are today practicing Catholics seeking to live lives of chastity in accordance with Church teaching. All have written and spoken extensively about their experiences; below are some thoughts they shared.

 

 


 

Daniel Mattson is author of Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay: How I Reclaimed My Sexual Reality and Found Peace and was featured in the documentary Desire of the Everlasting Hills (https://everlastinghills.org/movie/). He is a professional musician from Michigan, raised in a Catholic home (his brother is Fr. Steve Mattson, in fact, a priest of the Diocese of Lansing) and is a featured speaker for COURAGE, the Catholic Church’s ministry to persons with same-sex attraction.

“I tried practicing the world’s view of sexuality. For a time, I considered myself “gay” and lived out that life. I rejected the Church’s teaching as archaic, outdated and unreasonable …

… I had no attraction to women, and I was addicted to pornography. I was angry and decided to turn my back on God. I found a man with whom I thought I wanted to share my life. I put a stake in the ground and said, ‘I am a “gay” man.’ However, God brought a woman into my life to whom I was attracted. I thought she was the most beautiful woman in the world. It made me angry all the more. I wasn’t supposed to be attracted to women anymore: I was “gay”!

So, in my experience, it is a mistake to put people into boxes as “gay” or “straight,” and not be open to the possibility that these attractions may change on their own. I am not attracted to many women, but there are some. A person can have many attractions in his life, but only some he should act upon.

Throughout the history of the world people have recognized that it is not uncommon for people to have attractions to both sexes, but only in the past 150 years have those attractions meant that you’re a certain sort of person.”

“… What led me to the Catholic Church was her constant teaching about the nature of the human person as well as my own dissatisfaction with the world’s view. This, in turn, led me to explore the correct use of words, which led me to the truth. Words are important in reflecting reality.

… I also came to understand our need for disinterested friendship and disinterested love, the love that Christ has for us and that we should have for one another. The word “disinterested” may have a negative connotation, but it means that we love others with no conditions and no demands.

 

 

… The chaste man is the man who sees reality, and lives in accordance with reality. All virtues do that, but chastity in particular helps us to see ourselves as we really are. I am a man, made for union with a woman. The reality of our bodies reveals that sex is ordered to procreation, and also the unity of man and woman in marriage.

Sexuality typically leads to children, so it needs to be tied to a marriage that is life-long. To use sex outside of marriage is to go away from the path of human fulfillment that God ordained for our lives.”

Hudson Byblow (http://www.hudsonbyblow.com/) is a Canadian Catholic speaker who has publicly shared his struggle with same-sex attraction. He developed an addiction to pornography in his youth, and while in college, “gay” rights groups pressed students such as Hudson to “come out,” to identify themselves as homosexual and to openly live the lifestyle. At the time, Hudson accepted various statements that “gay” activists were making, such as that people are born homosexual and that 10% of the population was homosexual (i.e. don’t fight it, just accept it and the lifestyle). He had previously held back from “coming out” out of fear of hurting his family. But by 2007, he thought it was his only road to happiness.

The week he decided to “come out,” however, he went to Mass and heard a homily by a “wise, humble” priest who challenged many of the statements put forth by “gay” activists. He decided not to “come out,” and instead explore Father’s viewpoint. He read voraciously and went to the priest for confession. Hudson said, “He assured me that God loves me, which I really needed to hear, as I felt myself to be dirty and unlovable. He made me see the love of Christ as accessible to me.”

“Until that point, I had isolated myself from men, and turned to pornography as a release from my frustration. The problem is, the more I exploited others, the more I hated myself. But I found out through COURAGE that despite my past, Jesus Christ still had room for me. I realized I was not alone. There were other people like me who wanted to live right with God. They wanted to live a life with God at the center, above their sexuality.”

[Part of his recovery from the promiscuous lifestyle was] “putting the face of Christ on every person … I found it impossible to exploit people when I saw Christ in their eyes.”

[The fellowship he experienced in COURAGE gave him] “a little taste of heaven on Earth. We’re brothers fighting for the same cause: to keep Christ at the center of our lives and our embraced identities.”

“We are not merely sexual beings. Sexuality is a gift from God, our loving Creator. I am a beloved child of God first, and I love God above my sexuality. Therefore, I cannot embrace an identity centered on my sexuality, regardless of the sexual attractions I experience.”

[Today, he enjoys a peace like] “none I have ever had before [as compared to the] “hopelessness” [that he felt as he prepared to “come out.”]

[Hudson hopes that all people] “will be open to responding to this invitation with an open heart, mind and spirit. Being fully honest with ourselves is the key to experiencing the greatest degree of joy, which is something we can only achieve if we choose to reject that which is not true, and instead embrace a greater degree of truth once we become aware of it.”

“The real struggle is getting the truth of the love of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church out to the world, especially on this sensitive topic.”

Joseph Sciambra (www.josephsciambra.com), too, was addicted to pornography in his youth. Sexually confused at age 18, he made his way to The Castro, a “gay mecca,” to immerse himself in the “gay” lifestyle for 11 years. He lived it to the extreme, even acting in “gay” porn movies. But rather than the happiness, acceptance and fulfillment he sought, he found a life of misery.

“Porn is an addiction, and it is progressive. It is comparable to being addicted to drugs. When you begin taking drugs, you don’t start with heroin, but alcohol or marijuana. You become desensitized to what you are doing, and then move onto harder drugs. When you start with porn, you don’t start with S&M, bestiality or homosexuality. You look at soft-core porn. In my generation, it was Playboy magazine.

Today, children can be introduced to sexually suggestive imagery by watching music videos featuring Britney Spears or Lady Gaga. They get hooked young, and begin to see pornography as beautiful. It re-wires the way they think about sexuality. It changes the way they become aroused. They develop a dependence on it.”

… In my 11 years in the “gay” lifestyle, and with my ministry to that community now, I have never met a happy “gay” couple. Their relationships are transitory, fleeting and physically-based. And, even for people who are supposed to be involved in monogamous relationships, it is understood that these relationships will ‘open up.’ This happens despite the fact that you may be emotionally connected and living together.”

“… I was literally shocked out of the life. I was involved with porn the day I was converted. I got sick, was in the hospital and resigned with dying. But I realized that death would lead me to hell. I didn’t want to go to hell. I wanted out of the lifestyle.

… [Regarding a deliverance he had from homosexuality, with the help of a priest] It was a year or two after I left the lifestyle, and it was still a traumatic time. I was wounded, and I was having a hard time coming back to the Catholic Church. A priest could sense I was struggling. He asked to pray over me privately. Afterwards, I felt I was freed from multiple demonic influences.

… [How the “straight” population can help those in the “gay” lifestyle] Pray, fast and make sacrifices for the conversion of people in the homosexual community. Be the light of truth to them. Be charitable. Love them. Let them know you want what is best for them. Many Christians are afraid to express such thoughts to family members or friends in the lifestyle. They think they’ll alienate them. But if done in the right way, it can be very helpful.

… [Is he happy today?] Being in the “gay” lifestyle was a search for happiness. It was restless, frantic and unfulfilling. I believed I could find happiness there, and I couldn’t. Now that I have come back to Christ and his Church and embraced chastity, I’ve never been happier.”


 



Cardinal Müller Rejects Notion of “Homophobia”, Calls it an “Instrument of Totalitarian Dominance”

by Maike Hickson

This article was first posted May 18, 2018, at One Peter Five.

Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has given an interview to the Italian journalist Costanza Miriano, who works for the Italian television broadcaster RIA. In this new interview, the German cardinal rejects the notion of “homophobia” and explains that it is an instrument of an ideology that is contrary to reality.

Miriano posted the interview on her own private blog, on which she also promotes two books of hers in which she advocates the traditional understanding of marriage – namely, that wives be subject to their husbands and that husbands protect their wives even with their lives. In her own introduction to the new interview, she rejects the notion of “homophobia” – i.e., an aversion against homosexuals.


According to Giuseppe Nardi of Katholisches.info – who himself reports on this new interview – the aim of much of this gender ideology is to remove homosexuality, and more recently transsexuality, from the World Health Organization (WHO) catalog of diseases. (In fact, homosexuality was already removed from the catalog in 1990, demonstrating the effectiveness of such a strategy.)

Miriano’s interview with Cardinal Müller comes in the context of his upcoming participation in the presentation of a book about a man who has homosexual inclinations but who resists them, and now describes the ideologization of this problem.

The author’s name is Daniel C. Mattson, and his book’s title is Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay: How I Reclaimed My Sexual Reality and Found Peace. (The book was first published in English by Ignatius Press, in 2017, with a preface by Cardinal Robert Sarah.) Cardinal Müller will present the Italian edition on 25 May in Rome.

In his interview with Mrs. Miriano, herself a mother of four, Cardinal Müller says the following about the concept of homophobia, in the context of the 17 May International Day Against Homophobia:

Homophobia simply does not exist. It is clearly an invention and an instrument of the totalitarian dominance over the thoughts of others. The homo-movement is lacking scientific arguments, that is why it created an ideology which wants to dominate by creating its own reality. It is the Marxist pattern according to which reality does not create thinking, but thinking creates its own reality. He who does not accept this created reality is to be considered as being sick. It is as if one could influence an illness with the help of the police or with the help of courts. In the Soviet Union, Christians were put into psychiatric clinics. These are the methods of totalitarian regimes, of National Socialism and of Communism. The same happens in North Korea to those who do not accept the reigning way of thinking.

Costanza Miriano points out that she knows of several bishops who are more conservative, but who at the same time support such initiatives against homophobia, and she asks Cardinal Müller why they accept this “game.” Cardinal Müller responds:

Some bishops today do not have the courage anymore to speak the truth, and they allow themselves to be intimidated. They do not understand that homophobia is a deception which serves to threaten people. But we Christians may not have fear in the face of threats. In the first centuries [after Christ], the disciples of Jesus were put into prison, or one had them eaten up by wild beasts. Today one tears them apart with the help of psycho terror, while at the same time making use of the lack of knowledge. However, from a bishop and from a priest, one may expect that he is capable of looking behind these ideologies. We are the ones who try, with the help of God’s Grace, to love all people, also those who feel attracted to the same sex. But it must be clear that to love does not mean to obey the gender propaganda.

With reference to Daniel C. Mattson, the author of the new book, Cardinal Müller says that he tells his own story of his homosexuality in light of these current ideologies and that he rejects being called “gay.” The cardinal insists that “he who feels such an attraction has to live chastely, just as all, all of us who are not live in a valid and true marriage have to do.”

When asked about the fact that currently this gender agenda is being promoted by many governments in the West, the German cardinal responds, saying that “our politicians in Europe have to take care of many people, of those without work, of the problem of the lack of births, of the family, of many serious problems.” Instead, he adds, “they are busy turning our democracies into totalitarian systems. Ideology in itself is violent.” “How can a parliament decide what is true and what not?” asks Müller.

With regard to the current attempts at undermining the teaching on contraception as laid out in Humanae Vitae, the cardinal says that he explains this phenomenon “with the secularization of the Church.” “For some shepherds, the Church is only a means in order to make politics, in order to please people,” he adds. “For them, it is more important to respect the masses, rather than to respect the Word of God.”

The text has been updated, in order to make clearer one statement that actually stems from Giuseppe Nardi himself.


Siena Symposium speaker: ‘Contraceptive ideology’ creates new layer of inequality

by Susan Klemond

This article was first published at The Catholic Spirit May 1, 2018.

The economy and upper-level decision-making in the United States are built on delayed childbearing — a consequence of the sexual revolution and widespread promotion of contraceptives, said Jennifer Roback Morse in her April 26 talk at the University of St. Thomas.

As a result, power is concentrated among highly educated and disproportionately childless elites.

“The decision-makers in our culture — the people who occupy the higher echelons of the professions — are selectively more likely to be people who have postponed childbearing, people who are more likely to be in favor of contraception and abortion because that’s kind of how they got it done,” said Morse, founder and president of the Louisiana nonprofit the Ruth Institute.

The St. Paul event was sponsored by the Siena Symposium for Women, Family and Culture, and attended by about 200 students and other adults. After receiving the Siena Symposium’s 2018 Humanitarian Leadership Award, Morse presented “Recovering from the Sexual Revolution: ‘Humanae Vitae’ in 2018” in honor of the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical letter outlining Church teaching on the regulation of birth.

Morse also described other ramifications of what she called a “contraceptive ideology,” such as separating sexual intercourse from creating human life and its effects on women, children and families.


The Ruth Institute focuses on the impact that family breakdown has on children. An author and speaker, Morse was a spokeswoman for California’s 2008 Proposition 8 campaign defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

Jason Adkins, executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference, introduced Morse and presented her with the award. “She is at the forefront of helping people understand the ecosystem in which children, families and the broader society flourish,” he said.

The Siena Symposium was founded in 2003 as an interdisciplinary faculty group at the University of St. Thomas that seeks to develop the new feminism called for by St. John Paul II.

The contraception ideology creates a new layer of inequality in U.S. society, Morse said. While the overall contraception failure rate is 8 percent, birth control pills are much less effective for poor, young and unmarried women than their wealthier counterparts, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which collaborates with Planned Parenthood on research and policy regarding “sexual and reproductive health and rights.”

Morse traced the social and legal history of contraceptives, noting that contraception ideology is totalitarian because the goal has always been controlling population through widespread promotion.

“Making contraceptive technology legally available has never been good enough for the true ideologues,” she said.

With billions of dollars in backing from top leaders, the sexual revolution’s promotion of unlimited sexual activity as a right through contraception ideology is one way it conflicts with children’s best interests, Morse said.

Julia Lindell, 17, attended the talk to learn more about what her faith teaches and how to defend it. A parishioner of St. Peter in Forest Lake, she said she is learning to recognize contraception ideology, including in her high school sex education classes.

“There’s a lot about how we’re being brainwashed,” said Lindell, who’ll graduate from Forest Lake High School this spring. “We don’t realize how much this is impacting us. We don’t realize it’s changing the way we’re thinking when we view the family and marriage culture.”

Friends recommended the talk to Andrew Ratelle, 30, a parishioner of Holy Family in St. Louis Park. He noted the net economic effect of contraception propaganda.

“All my friends, we’re all millennials and we’re seeing this fallout, and it’s generated a lot of resentment among people of our generation that are of any background, religious or non-religious,” he said. “They’ve suffered the effects of this propaganda and ideology that’s infected our culture.”

The sexual revolution — and contraception ideology — deny the human body, Morse said, adding that the false image of a society built around the idea that sex doesn’t make babies can’t naturally support and reproduce itself.

But, she said, “If you’re going to build a society around the idea that children come from sex, that children have rights, etc., you can do that. Nature will reinforce your view that sex makes babies on a fairly regular basis.”


Symposium: ‘Humanae Vitae’ Teachings Essential for Stable Marriages, Families

Benedictine College event looked at why the teachings of the Church are the answer to many current cultural and societal problems.

Mary Rezac/CNA/EWTN News March 28, 2018, at ncregister.com.
 
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone speaks at the Symposium on Advancing the New Evangelization in Atchison, Kansas.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone speaks at the Symposium on Advancing the New Evangelization in Atchison, Kansas. (Michelle Harrison/Benedictine College via CNA)
 
ATCHISON, Kan. — The promise of the sexual revolution and contraception was total sexual freedom for everyone.

“Sex is for fun and now women can have just as much fun without the consequences,” Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco said about the claims of the sexual revolution in a recent talk.

“That was the cry of the day, and yet somehow it didn’t work out that way,” he said.


What went wrong? It’s a question that the archbishop and other presenters attempted to answer at a symposium on Humanae Vitae and the New Evangelization at Benedictine College in Kansas this past weekend. Archbishop Cordileone was one of four featured keynote speakers, along with Janet Smith from Sacred Heart Major Seminary; Brad Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia; and Jennifer Roback-Morse, founder of the Ruth Institute.

The symposium covered a wide range of topics related to marriage and family life and looked at why the teachings of the Church in Humanae Vitae are the answer to many of the current cultural and societal problems surrounding sex, marriage and family.

In his talk, Archbishop Cordileone noted the dissonance in a society that on the one hand accepts divorce, contraception and all kinds of sexual deviance as normal and on the other hand is baffled when thousands of women complain of sexual harassment as part of the #MeToo movement.

“This is another major head-scratcher for me. The whole point of these last 50 years was supposed to be liberation,” Archbishop Cordileone said. But “no one dares to suggest that the problem is the very narrative [from the sexual revolution] itself.”

Brad Wilcox, professor of sociology at the University of Virginia and director of the National Marriage Project, also noted this cultural inconsistency in his talk about marriage inequality in America.

Wilcox noted that while the upper and middles classes say they are increasingly tolerant of family structure diversity and deviance from the two-married-parent household norm, they are usually more traditional in practice, while the poor are left to suffer the consequences of a culture that no longer values marriage and family.

“We’re seeing what Charles Murray has called a fault line now dividing Americans on marriage,” he said, noting that studies show that Americans who are college-educated and relatively more affluent tend to get and stay married.

“By contrast, poor and working-class Americans are less likely to sustain high-quality marriages and their kids are more likely to be exposed to some kind of instability,” he said, whether that’s single parenthood, cohabitation, divorce and even abuse.

“For me, all of this really matters because it has a direct impact on our kids,” he said, noting that children who experience unstable families on average have lower graduation and employment rates, are more likely to end up in trouble with the law, and are more likely to become pregnant as teenagers.

This significant class divide over marriage did not exist 50 years ago, but economic and policy shifts as well as a shift away from the secular and civic institutions that used to be a key part of American civil life have played a significant role in creating this divide, Wilcox said.

The interest and participation levels in these institutions that “used to supply money, moral direction and social support to marriage are quite fragile today, particularly for Americans who don’t have that college degree,” he added.

In her talk, “What the Contraceptive Ideology Has Done to America,” Morse said that the sexual revolution had three main objectives: to separate sex from babies, to separate both sex and babies from marriage, and to wipe out all differences between men and women.

While Wilcox noted that the poor and working class are suffering the most from a decline in marriage and family, Morse added that children are the ones who lose the most in a society that embraces contraception and divorce.

“We’re talking about a whole society built around the premise that adults can have whatever sexual activity they want and never have a baby, unless they want the baby. That is irrational to believe that that is possible. That is a fantasy,” Morse said.

“If you’re having sex with somebody who’s [not your spouse] and would be ... completely inappropriate for you to co-parent with, what are your options if your contraception fails, which it will about 13% of the time?”

The options for these couples are a shotgun wedding, single parenthood, adoption or abortion, Morse noted, and in many cases, the child suffers from the parents’ actions.

Because of the devastating impacts that the sexual revolution has had on marriage and family, it is all the more important for the Church to continue preaching the truths of Humanae Vitae and the beauty of marriage and family life lived out according to God’s design, Archbishop Cordileone said.

In the encyclical itself, Pope Paul VI admits that this teaching will not be easily accepted by all: “It is to be anticipated that perhaps not everyone will easily accept this particular teaching. There is too much clamorous outcry against the voice of the Church, and this is intensified by modern means of communication. But it comes as no surprise to the Church that she, no less than her divine Founder, is destined to be a ‘sign of contradiction.’ She does not, because of this, evade the duty imposed on her of proclaiming humbly but firmly the entire moral law, both natural and evangelical.”

However, those who make the best disciples and evangelizers of the truths of Humanae Vitae are those who have lived by the “secular code of conduct” and have found it lacking and even harmful, the archbishop noted.

“One of the most common responses of young people who are granted the grace of this understanding is ‘Why didn’t anyone tell me sooner? It would have saved me untold suffering,’” he said.

“Such people make the most ardent disciples and provide a much needed witness for many cradle Catholics.”

Humanae Vitae is not easy to live out, Archbishop Cordileone said, but it will lead couples to the most happiness and therefore must be taught in a way that is winsome and effective, without shying away from the suffering involved.

“The worst thing we can do ... is to soften or downplay the hard parts of our faith, those teachings where we encounter the most resistance or hostility in our culture. How could we do such a thing if we are convinced that this is true and for the true good of all people?” he said.

“We leaders in the Church do a grave disservice to our people by giving them excuses for taking the easy way out, such as misleading them with the false idea of what conscience means or failing to assist them in forming their consciences correctly. Much to people’s surprise, it is actually the hard way out that is the most effective evangelizing strategy,” he added.

“Rather than offering excuses for fleeing the cross, what we need are creative new ideas to help people understand the wisdom and beauty of God’s design.”

The point of the symposium is to bring people together who can do just that, said Matthew Muller, assistant professor of theology and an organizer of the event through Benedictine College’s Gregorian Institute.

“The symposium is a think tank for the New Evangelization, so what is important now, I think, is that leaders at the diocesan, parish and ministry levels, as well as the scholars and graduate students who attended, continue to reflect on the ideas they heard and develop ways to implement those ideas in their professional or scholarly work,” Muller told CNA.

“The reception of Humanae Vitae is an ongoing process in the Church, and events like the symposium help to encourage a deeper appreciation and integration of the Church’s teachings concerning the goodness of the human person, sexuality, marriage and family.”

 

 


Same-Sex Parenting: The Child Maltreatment No One Mentions

by Stephen M. Krason

This article was first published May 2, 2018, at Crisis Magazine.

Recently, Utah found it necessary to put a law into effect that allows “free-range parenting.” That is, parents are free to make the judgment that their children are, say, free to walk to the local park by themselves or to bike a couple of blocks away from home without child protective services showing up at their door or, worse, the police coming to arrest them for child neglect. That a law had to be passed to uphold parental authority about such things shows how outrageous the ruling perspectives on child abuse and neglect have become in recent decades, where the state is prepared to second-guess parents left and right and to routinely treat all kinds of innocent parental actions as child maltreatment.


It’s no surprise that in recent years, according to Department of HHS statistics, that upwards of 80 percent of reports of child abuse and neglect are unfounded. It’s interesting that while self-styled child advocates, their academic allies, and the sprawling child protective system (CPS) are so ready to find child maltreatment inside almost every family’s front door, they are silent about the harms to children from being brought up by same-sex (male homosexual or, more typically, lesbian) couples. Almost intuitively, the average person would think this to be a recipe for serious, perhaps life-altering, problems for such children. The research now coming out suggests that the average person’s instincts are indeed correct—even though the mainstream academic social science and related professional organizations, which long ago became apologists if not mouthpieces for the homosexualist movement, ignore or try to discredit or even suppress it.

Many are aware of University of Texas sociologist Dr. Mark Regnerus’s studies several years ago which indicated—he was careful to avoid sweeping conclusions—that, among other things, children reared in homes headed by same-sex parents were “more likely” to: have poor educational attainment, cohabit when they became adults, be sexually molested, have sexually transmitted diseases, smoke tobacco and marijuana, be on public assistance as adults, be in mental health counseling or therapy and suffer from depression, and get into trouble with the law. Regnerus’s careful research, not unexpectedly, was met by denunciation from mainstream social scientists, who claimed his research was flawed without even seriously examining his data. The peer-reviewed professional journal that published the results of his studies was attacked, and the charge made that its review procedure was flawed. He was even subjected to a “scientific misconduct” investigation by his university, which ultimately exonerated him.

The attack on Regnerus occurred simply because of the overwhelming pro-homosexualist bias of mainstream social science and the efforts of homosexualist organizations against him.

The research of Fr. D. Paul Sullins, Ph.D., an emeritus professor of sociology at The Catholic University of America who has been connected with the Marriage and Religion Research Institute at CUA and now the Ruth Institute, has confirmed and expanded on Regnerus’s earlier findings. I have known Fr. Sullins for many years, as he has been a fellow board member of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists and is also the organization’s chaplain. He was one of the Episcopal clergy who converted to Catholicism and under the special provision put in place by Pope John Paul II was ordained to the priesthood. Like Regnerus, he’s a careful and ethical researcher who aims for what social science scholarship is supposed to be about: discerning the truth.

Fr. Sullins has convincingly shown that it is the research of the mainstream social scientists who have sought to deny the harm of same-sex parenting that is flawed. Not only have the sample of people they studied been too small to truly examine the question, but they have studied only what he calls “conveniently available or selected groups of participants, usually parents recruited from homophile sources.” The result was a “strong bias toward positive findings.” At the same time, their writing has refused to address the contrary findings. These have been either “dismissed in footnotes on specious grounds or, more commonly, simply ignored.” Among the studies that they have ignored which showed “substantially higher rates of problems or functional deficiencies among children with same-sex parents,” Sullins tells us, have been those relying on “large statistically representative” samples from the Centers for Disease Control and the University of North Carolina’s National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health.

Sullins’s own research has shown the following. In comparison to children with opposite-sex parents, children in the care of same-sex couples, were: almost twice as likely to have a developmental disability; almost twice as likely to have had medical treatment for an emotional problem and three times as likely to have had medicine prescribed for a psychological condition in the past year before the study; ten times more likely to have been sexually touched by a parent or other adult and four times more likely to have been forced to have sex against their will; less likely, when reaching adolescence, to have romantic relationships or to see themselves in a future relationship involving pregnancy or marriage (which suggests that their situation influences them away from relationships with the opposite sex); twice as likely, when becoming adults, to suffer from depression and four times as likely to consider suicide; more likely to use tobacco and marijuana and to have been arrested and then pled guilty of a crime; and three times more likely to be unemployed, receiving public assistance, or if later married to have had adulterous relationships. By the time women who had grown up in same-sex headed households reached age thirty, they were only half as likely to be married or in a relationship lasting three or more years and only a third as likely to have ever been pregnant.

In his writing, Sullins also speaks about much earlier studies—before even Regnerus’s—which showed the harms of same-sex parenting and were also ignored by mainstream social science. He mentions Paul Cameron’s studies, which—confirmed by Sullins later—showed that children with same-sex parents were more likely to be sexually molested. Their households were also more likely to witness domestic violence and, unsurprisingly, the children were more likely to become homosexual themselves. If the harm-deniers could dismiss Cameron because he heads the Family Research Institute, which is concerned about issues that threaten the family as traditionally understood, they would be more hard-pressed to reject Sotirios Sarantakos. Sarantakos is a noted Australian sociologist and authority on research design and methods. Studying elementary school children, he found that those from same-sex led households suffered considerable educational and social deficiencies.

Like Regnerus, Sullins is careful to avoid sweeping or unsubstantiated conclusions. He says that as in other situations where there is not an intact family with two married opposite-sex parents—as when there is a divorce or cohabitation—“most children still turn out all right.” Nevertheless, the “primary harm” to children from same-sex parenting, as suggested by the research findings noted, is “developmental”—with consequences not apparent until at least early adulthood. He concludes that while we don’t yet know enough, it’s certain that “the idea of ‘no differences’ is clearly false.” Sullins’s cautious conclusions didn’t stop the mainstream social science organizations from making false claims that he had used faulty research methods and—as with Regnerus—the journals that he published his findings in had slipshod review procedures. In fact, Sullins published them in international medical journals, where he knew the standards for review are more rigorous than in mainline U.S. social science journals—but also where genuine objectivity, as opposed to ideology, still rules. An article in Mercator.Net about Sullins’s work explains the air-tightness of his research methods and also notes that the mainline social science journals have been strikingly silent about the review procedures used for the harm-denial articles they routinely run.

Even if further research makes the harm of same-sex parenting indisputable—which, to this social scientist, is virtually so already—don’t expect mainstream social science to accept it. Ideology has long-since replaced true scholarship there—they are blind followers masquerading as independent thinkers at the cutting edge. Also, don’t expect the CPS to start thinking that the damage caused to children by same-sex parenting—and certainly not the whole notion of same-sex parenting itself—qualifies as child maltreatment. The CPS’s leaders and operatives are formed by and most accept without much question the perspectives of mainstream social science—including its ideologically grounded biases. Most are trained in the social work field and where its mainstream was seen a few years ago when a cadre of homosexual alumni from my university pressured it to delete homosexuality from a list of behaviors to be studied in a course on deviant behavior by contacting the secular social work accrediting agency, which they knew would agree with them. Besides, the CPS is too busy persecuting parents for innocent, commonsensical, traditional parenting practices—routinely treating such things as simple spanking as child abuse and free-range parenting as neglect—to be concerned about the problems Regnerus, Sullins, and the others have identified.


The Real Reason The Atlantic Fired Kevin Williamson

by Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

First published April 11, 2018, at The Stream.

Kevin Williamson has been summarily dismissed from The Atlantic. The editor says it was because Williamson advocated that the law should treat abortion as murder. But this is hardly a full explanation of the full social process around this disturbing incident. Williamson did not express that view in The Atlantic’s pages: His opponents resurrected it from a 4-year-old podcast. If the editors at The Atlantic really wanted a “big tent,” (their supposed reason for engaging Williamson in the first place) they could have found dozens of more moderate pro-life advocates.

No, something else is afoot. Let me explain it. This will take more than 144 characters. Bear with me.

The Two Paths

Suppose you are a woman, and a recent college graduate. You aspire to a career in journalism. You are having sex with someone you would not want to marry. Maybe he is married to someone else. Maybe he is hopelessly immature, narcissistic, and/or self-absorbed. But since you are using contraception, you figure its ok.

Then, the unthinkable-statistically-unlikely-but-still-non-zero-probability-event takes place. You get pregnant. You now have four choices:


  • Get married, have the baby, and raise the child together.
  • Have the baby. You both relinquish parental rights and place the child for adoption.
  • Have the baby. You raise the child alone.
  • Abort the child.

The choice you make now will shape your belief system for a long time. There are roughly two paths:

  • The pro-life path: Your decision and subsequent experience convinces you that the child in the womb is a unique and irreplaceable human being. Therefore, you become less inclined to believe that abortion is morally justified.
  • The pro-abortion path: Your decision and subsequent experience convinces you that abortion is a moral necessity.

I think you’ll agree that the woman or couple that chooses life for their child is less likely to support abortion, either before or after that decision. Likewise, many, many women who abort their children become convinced or were already convinced, that abortion is a necessity. They come to believe that even if it is a killing, it is a justifiable killing, and not murder at all. Their experience either establishes this belief or confirms and reinforces it.

Here is why this is relevant to Kevin Williamson.

The Women Who Make Up Mainstream Journalism

Which women, making which choice, are more likely to land a job at a prestigious publication like The Atlantic? Women who have their babies? Or women who abort?

In general, the woman with child-care responsibilities is at a competitive disadvantage compared with the woman who does not. This is especially true during the early career-building phase. (This period of life just happens to be near the peak of a woman’s natural fertility. Which produces another whole set of problems. But I digress.)

I don’t say that a woman who has a baby shortly after college could never have a successful career in journalism. I just say it is unlikely. In fact, I will say something even stronger: In the social universe as it is today, delayed child-bearing is the price of entry into the professions. Contraception, backed up by abortion, is necessary for women to compete. The United States Supreme Court said as much in its decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey , back in 1992. (I hasten to add: this is not the only possible social environment in which women can participate in higher education and the professions: it is just the one our culture has created using the abortion license as its touchstone. But I digress.)

That is why mainstream journalism is dominated by people who believe passionately in unlimited abortion. Their lives as they know them, depend upon it. Likewise, pro-choice women professors dominate the academy, including the legal academy.

What About Women Who Regret Their Abortions?

One exception proves the general rule. Some women who have abortions later become pro-life. These women conclude that they have committed a murder and regret it, sometimes immediately, sometimes after the passage of time. The professional literature on post-abortion mental health confirms this. We have known since the 1990’s that at least 10% of post-abortive women, and possibly as many as 30%, experience regret serious enough to cause mental health issues.

But we seldom hear about these women outside of publications dedicated to the pro-life position. Men are reluctant to say much about women’s feelings about abortion. And the women sociologists and statisticians, who are could study such things are, more than likely, women who cannot relate to such regrets.

It takes a rare warrior like Dr. Priscilla Coleman to study mental health complications associated with abortion. Her fellow academics either don’t want to study the subject or dedicate themselves to tearing her down. Journalists who might cover her studies have no interest in publicizing such results.

Note: I am NOT saying that women professionals conspire to hide or distort evidence, or to drive dissenters from their midst. I AM saying that people who have similar incentives are likely to engage in similar behaviors and hold similar beliefs. They don’t need to plot and scheme and conspire. They study and write about topics that interest them, that they find compelling and believable. The public, in turn, concludes “women are pro-choice” if the women they see in public positions are pro-choice.

The Relevance to Kevin Williamson

There are plenty of pro-life women, some with advanced degrees and great accomplishments to their credit. Anyone who has hung around the pro-life movement knows that women dominate it. But: Women who value their children more than their careers are at a disadvantage in the competition for high-status, high-visibility jobs.

This is all we need to know about why people with pro-abortion views dominate the professions.

And that is why The Atlantic fired Kevin Williamson.


Leading researcher on same sex parenting to join the Ruth Institute

Ruth Institute Announces the Rev. Dr. Paul Sullins as Senior Research Associate

Leading researcher on same sex parenting to join the Ruth Institute

April 17, 2018, Lake Charles, Louisiana—The Ruth Institute announces that Dr. Paul Sullins will serve as a Senior Research Associate. Recently retired from the sociology department at Catholic University of America, Dr. Sullins is a leader in research on same-sex parenting and its implications for child development.

Announcing the appointment, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Founder and President of the Ruth Institute said, “We at the Ruth Institute are greatly concerned that ‘alternative family forms,’ such as divorce and unmarried parenthood, have been harmful to children. Dr. Sullins cares deeply about the impact of same sex parenting on children, examining topics such as ADHD, depression, and emotional problems. He is a good fit for us.”


Dr. Morse continued, “Treating same-sex couples as the legal equivalent of opposite-sex couples means increasing numbers of children will be raised in same-sex couple households. More information will be coming available about their experiences. We believe it is crucial to continue examining this evidence in a systematic way.”

Dr. Sullins explained, “The research in this area is really just beginning. Most of the studies which claim to show “no differences” between parenting by same sex couples and married heterosexual couples have used small, unrepresentative data sets. I have been examining large statistically representative datasets—principally the Centers for Disease Control’s National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), with 1.9 million cases; and the University of North Carolina’s National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health (Add Health), with 20,000 cases. I have repeatedly documented substantially higher rates of problems among children with same-sex parents, and that the best context for child well-being is with his or her own mother and father.”

Formerly Episcopalian, Dr. Sullins is a married Catholic priest. He earned a Ph.D. in sociology at Catholic University in 1997 and taught there from 1998 until his recent retirement from teaching. He and his wife, Patricia, have an inter-racial family of three children, two adopted.

Among his many honors, he is Director of the Summer Institute of Catholic Social Thought and Director of the Leo Initiative at Catholic University. He has written four books and over 100 journal articles, research reports and essays on issues of family, faith, and culture.

Dr. Morse concluded, “We are delighted to assist Dr. Sullins’ efforts to discover the truth about same-sex parenting. Dr. Sullins is a careful researcher who follows the data wherever it leads. Ruth Institute followers can look forward to seeing him at Ruth Institute events and in our publications.”

To interview either Dr. Sullins or Dr. Morse, reply to this email.

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