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.


The Toxic Ideas that Enabled Weinstein and Others

by Jennifer Roback Morse

This article was first posted October 26, 2017, at Crisis Magazine.

The Media-Entertainment Complex claims to be “shocked, shocked, I tell you,” to learn that powerful Hollywood men like Harvey Weinstein engage in a systematic pattern of sexual assault. Those of us outside Hollywood are not the slightest bit shocked. In fact, a lot of us in Fly-Over Country are just waiting for other powerful men to be implicated. This situation gives us an opportunity to unmask the ideology that enable predators like Weinstein.

One of the most revolutionary ideas of our time is that a good and decent society ought to separate sex and childbearing from each other. The Grand Narrative goes something like this:


Caring for unwanted children is an unjust demand on women. Sexual activity without a live baby is an entitlement for men and women alike. People need and are entitled to sexual activity. A life without sex is scarcely worth living.

Do I exaggerate? Perhaps a bit. But the United Nations makes a claim that is very nearly that stark. On its “Frequently Asked Questions” page, the United Nations Population Fund answers the question “What is Reproductive Health?”

Reproductive health can be defined as a state of well-being related to one’s sexual and reproductive life. It implies, according to the ICPD Programme of Action, “that people are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so.” (para. 7.2)

The United Nations never quite explains who has the responsibility to provide us with a “safe and satisfying sex life.” As for having the “capability to reproduce the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so”: that should not be rocket science, requiring a whole “Programme of Action.” A person who judges that the time is not right for a baby, has the option of not having sex. Pretty simple.

Evidently, it is not that simple. Somehow, the United Nations does not expect people to go without sex, even temporarily and even for serious reasons. Hence my initial claim: these people believe sex is an entitlement.

So here’s a question for the ordinary people, not employees of the United Nations, or Hollywood: who believes people are “entitled” to sex?

The rapist, that’s who:

I am entitled to sex. I am entitled to have only and precisely the consequences of sex that I choose to bear. I am not required to have responsibility for a child. I am not required to be committed to my sex partner. I can use people. I can do anything I can get away with.

Add to this mentality, the “pro-woman,” “feminist” position that men and women are identical in their sexual desires, that a hip modern woman craves sex without attachment, that only prudes and uncool losers even consider saving sex for marriage, and what do you get? A whole lot of women ideologically delivered over to predators.

Abortion is a “woman’s right to choose.” But how often are women pressured into having abortions by powerful men in their lives, employers, teachers, clergymen, even their fathers, to have abortions in order to cover up the evidence of predation? We don’t really know. No one seems to think this question is worth asking.

What does this have to do with Harvey Weinstein and his string of victims? Just this. Weinstein was a “bundler” for the Democratic Party. That means he raised a lot of money for the party that just happens to be completely committed to abortion on demand for any reason at any point during pregnancy. According to Business Insider, he contributed over $2 million to Democratic candidates, between his personal gifts and his activities as a “bundler.” He thought he was entitled. He had the power and money to get away with it. He used some of that power and money to keep the legal, political, and social climate favorable to that belief system.

It is quite true that the Republican Party has its share of predators. It is also true that many powerful Republicans wish the social issues and social conservatives would all go away. These people view the pro-life wing of the party as an embarrassment.

In all times and places, powerful men have abused their power, raped and assaulted women. It would be foolish to deny this. The difference today is that the moral structures that used to limit powerful men have been systematically dismantled.

“‘Right’ and ‘Wrong’ are social constructs.”
Who benefits from that? The already-powerful.

“Sex is an entitlement.”
Who benefits from that? Those with the power to cash in on their entitlement.

The Democratic Party is distancing itself from Weinstein by making a big show of giving his contributions to “charity.” But when you drill down, you see the DNC gave away only 10 percent of the money Weinstein gave them. They gave to vehicles for getting women involved in pro-Sexual Revolutionary politics: Emily’s List, Emerge America, and Higher Heights. Please. Meanwhile, Weinstein spent much of his career making Catholic-bashing films, thus undermining his ideological opposition.

Alpha Males in both parties, in business, law and academia, like the Sexual Revolution, just the way it is. Their concern for victims of sexual assault is strictly for show, will quickly fade. They like an ideological system that presents them with a steady flow of willing sex partners. They like a legal system that permits them to wipe out pregnancies, and hence excuse them from the responsibilities of fatherhood. They like a Media Entertainment Complex that covers for predators, and marginalizes their victims and opponents. They are quite willing to invest their own millions of dollars to keep the political system firmly in the hands of those who keep this system chugging along.

That should be the real wake-up call from the Harvey Weinstein scandals.

(Photo credit: AP)

 





Vanco Doesn’t Want My Business. Or Yours.

If you are a social conservative, big business does not want your business.

By Jennifer Roback Morse

This article was first published on October 20, 2017, at The Stream.

If you’re a social conservative, big business does not want your business. I found that out the hard way. Vanco, the company that used to process on-line donations for my organization, the Ruth Institute, informed us that they would no longer do business with us. A few weeks later, they came back to us to say they could “reinstate” our account. We asked them a few pointed, but polite, questions. Based on their (non)answers, I concluded they don’t need our business.

That’s ok. I don’t need them either.

Here’s what happened.

At 2 PM on August 31, 2017, we received this terse email:


Vanco has elected to discontinue our processing relationship with The Ruth Institute. The organization has been flagged by Card Brands as being affiliated with a product/service that promotes hate, violence, harassment and/or abuse. Merchants that display such attributes are against Vanco and Wells Fargo processing policies.”

We went to our website and discovered they had already closed our processing. No notice. Zip. Nada.

We issued a news release:

  • The Ruth Institute’s primary focus is family breakdown, and its impact on children: understanding it, healing it, ending it. If this makes us a “hate group,” so be it.
  • Vanco, Card Brands, and Wells Fargo are private businesses. The Ruth Institute respects their right to conduct their businesses as they see fit. We just wish wedding photographers, bakers, and florists received the same respect.

We had to inform our monthly donors that we would have to make other plans to process their contributions. Naturally, they were upset. Some of our friends sent letters to Vanco. We had a petition, asking Vanco to reconsider their reliance on the Southern Poverty Law Center, presumably the source of their designation of us as a “hate group.”

For whatever reason, we received a phone call from the CFO of Vanco on September 26. She told me they had reviewed our case and they could reinstate our account. I asked her to send me a letter. Here is what she sent:

Jennifer, thank you for the conversation yesterday. As discussed on our call, Vanco has completed our re-underwriting process with our Banking partner and secured the ability to reinstate The Ruth Institute as a client. If you would like to reinstate your account, please contact me at the email above.

The rest of the letter was a description of their pricing. As if price were my principle consideration.

I replied on September 29:

For us to consider returning to Vanco, we would require, at a minimum, the following:

  • An explanation of why we were terminated. What policies had we violated?
  • An explanation of the investigation which took place which uncovered these violations.
  • The appeals process a client could go through, should we, or any other client, find themselves in this position of immediate, unexplained termination.
  • An explanation of the “re-underwriting process (which) … secured the ability to reinstate The Ruth Institute as a client.” What exactly changed between August 31st and September 26th?
  • A personal, and a public apology. Neither your phone call, nor your email contained even a hint of an apology.

I am sure you can understand that switching credit card processing is no small matter. We finally have our new systems up and running. All things considered, it would take an extraordinary effort on your part to get us back. Your correspondence thus far, does not rise to that level.

Sincerely,

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Her reply:

As discussed on the phone and via email, Vanco has secured the ability to reinstate The Ruth Institute as a client. Based on your feedback, we understand you are working with another payment processor. Please know that if for some reason that does not work out, we would welcome the opportunity to have you back as a client.

In other words, still no apology. Not even any acknowledgement of our questions. No recognition of any inconvenience to us or wrong-doing by them.

Vanco markets itself to religious organizations. “More churches trust Vanco for e-Giving than any other faith-based payments provider! 20,000 churches and growing.” Yet, Vanco dropped us because we hold views about marriage, family and human sexuality that were the belief of all Christian groups, until five minutes ago. In fact, a PJ Media story had this headline: “Will the Southern Poverty Law Center Brand the Roman Catholic Church a ‘Hate Group’?”

Many of our supporters are believers: Catholics, Evangelicals, and Latter-Day Saints. They had already figured out that if the Ruth Institute is a “hate group,” then so are they. These are the people who pay the fees Vanco collects. We don’t pay: our donors pay. These dear people give us $10 or $25 per month. They deserve an explanation and apology. Reinstating service with Vanco without both an explanation and apology would be breaking faith with them.

Vanco has not admitted any connection with the Southern Poverty Law Center, (SPLC) nor any pressure from Wells Fargo. But Vanco is acting as if they believe the position of the SPLC is correct. Vanco boasts that it processes over $13 billion in transactions. This is not a small organization. Neither is Wells Fargo (whatever their part in this whole affair may be.) And neither is the Southern Poverty Law Center. Their CEO’s salary is more than the entire budget of the Ruth Institute.

All I know is that these groups participated in a public shaming of my organization. Indirectly, they have slandered everyone who has ever given me ten bucks. I’m not going to stand for it. They have made it clear that they don’t need my business.

So be it. The Ruth Institute doesn’t need them. I bet your church doesn’t need them either.


Instead of ‘The Benedict Option’, Consider ‘The Marian Option’

by Jennifer Roback Morse

This article was first published July 8, 2017, at Clash Daily.

The Benedict Option has taken up a lot of bandwidth in cultural conservative circles, more than it deserves, frankly. A much better book has come out: The Marian Option by philosophy Ph.D. and homeschooling mother of four, Dr. Carrie Gress.

Before I tell you about the book, let me tell you a joke related Dr. Gress relates. You may have already heard this joke. Bear with me.


A man whose house is flooding is confident that God will save him. As the water rises, a farmer in a truck comes by to offer him a ride. “Oh, no, the Lord will save me!” Next, as the water rises to the first floor of his home, a rescuer in a boat comes by. “Oh, no, the Lord will save me!” he says, again refusing help. Finally, perched on his roof because the water has nearly covered his entire home, a helicopter comes by to pluck him off the shingles. “Oh, no, the Lord will save me!” The man is washed away and drowns. At his arrival at the pearly gates, the man says to God, “Why didn’t you save me?” God says, “I tried. I sent a truck, a boat and a helicopter”.

I’ll come back to this joke.

The subtitle of the book encapsulates Dr. Gress’s theme: God’s Solution to a Civilization in Crisis. Throughout history, Mary has come through during multiple confrontations with Islam. The Christian West won the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, while the entire city of Rome prayed the Rosary. Polish King Jan Sobieski defeated the Turks on September 11, 1683, after asking Our Lady of Czestochowa to intercede with her Divine Son. Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not.

Then there is the most famous apparition of the twentieth century, Our Lady’s visit to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal. She made geo-political predictions the illiterate children simply could not have invented. No less an intellectual than Pope St. John Paul II credited Our Lady of Fatima for her aid in the collapse of communism.

You may think these are all overwrought ravings of hysterical simpletons. You should know that getting Church approval for an apparition is quite rigorous. Hundreds of alleged apparitions have NOT been approved as being of supernatural origin, or worthy of belief.

I recommend Carrie Gress’s book, The Marian Option, if you are looking for simple ways to fight the spiritual battles of our time. Rod Dreher’s Benedict Option is not as useful, principally because people can’t figure out what the heck he is talking about. The Marian Option has no such problem. Anyone can carry out the simple acts of devotion Dr. Gress suggests. Even children. In fact, perhaps, especially children.

I am well aware this is not a Catholic publication. And I am certainly aware that many non-Catholic Christians are fearful about “Mary worship.” When the Gospel of John refers to “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” we might assume he is talking only about himself. But Jesus loves each of us, doesn’t He? So, we can put ourselves into that slot: when John says, “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” we can see ourselves. On that perfectly innocent reading, Jesus meant for His mother to be the mother of us all, the entire human race, when He said, “Behold your mother.” (John 19:26-27)

Catholics don’t worship Mary. We never did. No offense, but that is so five hundred years ago. We’ve got other things to worry about. Like the complete de-Christianization of the West.

If you’re a lapsed Catholic, you already know how to talk with the Mother of God. I’ve never heard of anyone who left the Catholic Church over Mary. People leave because they are mad at God, or at a priest, or because they are fed up with the hypocrisy and lukewarm-ness. But I have never heard anyone say they were angry at Mary. In fact, I’ve heard people say that Marian devotions are one of the things they miss about being Catholic. I felt that way when I was away from the Church for twelve years.

Back to the joke I opened with. I can imagine Jesus saying to us:

“I sent my mom to Portugal in 1917. I sent her to Belgium in 1932 and again in 1933. I sent my mom to the Netherlands. (1945) She went to Japan in 1973 and Venezuela in 1976. I sent my mom to Nicaragua in 1980 and to Rwanda in 1981. I sent her to Argentina in 1983, and to Brazil in 1994 and to Egypt 6 times between 1968 to 2009. Her message has always been the same: love God. Do penance for your sins and those of others. Say the Rosary, meditating on her life and Mine. These are simple things anyone can do. Get a clue, people.”

I’m pleading with you, whatever your Christian background may be. Forget The Benedict Option. Pick up The Marian Option. Consider talking with the Mother of God. Talking with her does not equal worshiping her. Trust me: she will lead you closer to her Divine Son. I mean, why would she want to do anything other than that?

Who knows: her intercession may just bail us out one more time.

Image: Square to the Basilica of Fatima; Excerpted from: Neokvp – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10259604

 



On Important Issues, the Alt-Right and Life-Style Left Agree

By Jennifer Roback Morse

This article was first published September 2, 2017, at The Stream.

The dust has settled on the clash between the Alt-Right and the Left in Charlottesville. But the labeling (or libeling) of conservatives will be back. Powerful people and organizations on the Left want to link the Alt-Right with the entire Right, as a way of discrediting all conservatives.

I’m a Catholic, pro-life, pro-family Christian. No one would ever expect the Left to speak for me. But the Alt-Right does not speak for me either. In fact, I’ll say something stronger: The Alt-Right and the Life-Style Left have more in common with each other than either of them have with me and my friends.


Here’s why. My friends and I find eugenics self-evidently repulsive. But both the Life-Style Left and the Alt-Right take the correctness of eugenics for granted.

Eugenics Alt-Right and Left

An article entitled, “The Pro-Life Temptation” published on a website entitled, Alt-Right.com, explicitly defends eugenics. “The alt Right appreciates what is superior in man, in the Nietzschean sense … The pro-life position is clearly dysgenic….”

Leftwing advocates for abortion do not tend to promote it as a eugenic measure. But they do promote the idea that a woman may have an abortion for any reason or no reason. And most abortion advocates would consider the desire to avoid a child with a disability a no-brainer of a reason for an abortion.

The Leftist may not have such an elaborate justification as the Alt-Rightist has for why killing a disabled child prior to birth is morally acceptable. But the mother’s desires trump all other moral considerations. If she thinks a disabled child would be too burdensome, expensive or painful to raise, that judgment is sufficient to justify killing the child before birth.

You could call it consumer-sovereignty eugenics. Give the customer whatever she wants. If the consumer of child-services wants a healthy baby, she is entitled to one. If she anticipates having an unhealthy baby, she is entitled to dispose of it.

Pro-Life Ethics vs. “Temptation”

The pro-life Christian takes a different view. Each child is an unrepeatable gift from God. We ask ourselves, “What is God trying to say to me, by giving me this particular child?” Christian families of Down Syndrome children, (are there any other kind any more?) and the Santorum family with their Trisomy 18 daughter Bella, have a profound answer to this question. God gave us this child to teach us how to love. This answer is unintelligible to both the Alt-Right and the Life-Style Left.

The author at Alt-Right.com continues with his diatribe against the “pro-life temptation”:

We on the alt Right have an appreciation of tribalism and identity. We realize that people are not just autonomous individuals. Life gains its meaning through connections to other members of our families, tribes, and nations. …

The unborn fetus has no connection to anyone else in the community. If it is not even wanted by its own mother, criminalizing abortion means that the state must step in and say that the individual has rights as an individual, despite its lack of connection to any larger social group. …

If there were to be a pro-life position that we could accept, it would be based on arguments about what is good for the community. The case would have to be made that abortion is what is decimating the White population and decreasing its quality. While it’s true that a blanket ban on abortion would probably increase the White population in their numbers, it would, no doubt, decrease the overall quality, as well and leave all races stupider, more criminally prone, and more diseased. …

The Left Has No Answer to the Alt-Right

It’s true that the Life-Style Left does not generally make this type of pro-abortion argument. But they also have no coherent answer to it. When pro-life legislators try to restrict sex-selective or race-specific abortions, the pro-abortion crowd has nothing to say except, “No! No restrictions on ‘choice!’” Under their breath, we can hear the embarrassed whisper, “No matter how heinous the reason for the choice!”

Sex-selection abortion is an odious fact. Some demographers talk about “117 million missing girls,” the excess of the abortions of female over male babies. The Life-Style Left surely must know this by now. They tacitly defend it, by refusing to oppose it.

Likewise, they are surely aware that black women have a disproportionate share of abortions. If they weren’t aware of it, Pastor Walter Hoye II, President of the Issues 4 Life Foundation, made them aware of it with his billboards showing cute black babies with the headline, “Endangered Species.” Or “too many aborted.” Reverend Hoye posted these billboards in predominantly black neighborhoods a few years ago, in Oakland and Los Angeles. The pro-abortion people went ballistic.

The Alt-Right supports killing black babies in utero. The Life-Style Left won’t come right out and agree with this view. But they refuse to condemn it.

The Christian Pro-Life Position

The Christian pro-life position is completely different. We are not interested in tribal identities. We believe that every human being is made in the image of God. We really are all equal, in that context, and perhaps only in that context. For every one of us is “wonderfully made.” Yes, even the diseased and disabled, whom the Alt-Right considers “unfit.” Even the “unwanted,” whom the pro-abortion Left literally considers non-persons. The ability to give and receive love is every bit as important to human identity as IQ or health or self-awareness or any of the other arbitrary criteria the pro-abortion people left and right have come up with.

This is why I am increasingly unwilling to position myself anywhere on the Left-Right political spectrum. I am a Catholic Christian. I am not at home in either political party, or in any political movement.

Main Stream Media, go ahead and try to pin the “Alt-Right” label on me. Alt-Right volk, go ahead and attack me for being not part of your tribe. I couldn’t care less. I and my fellow Christians, are truly “not of this world.” “Follower of Jesus” is the only label I want. May I be worthy of it.


Should faithful Christians do business with Vanco? Draw Your Own Conclusions

Vanco was the Ruth Institute's payment processor for donations from 2015 until August 31, 2017. We have recorded many of the news stories as well as our press releases in this space. We want to let our friends know that we received additional correspondence from them. We record it here in its entirety, without comment. You may draw your own conclusions. 

On Tuesday, September 26, the CFO of Vanco called and left a message for the Ruth Institute. I returned her call. She informed me that they would be willing to reinstate us. I was polite, and asked her for the details of what she proposed. This is what she sent me, the following day: 

Wednesday, September 27: 

Jennifer, thank you for the conversation yesterday. As discussed on our call, Vanco has completed our re-underwriting process with our Banking partner and secured the ability to reinstate The Ruth Institute as a client. If you would like to reinstate your account, please contact me at the email above.

Also, if desired, we can restart your recurring transactions.

Your previous pricing for our services was a historical pricing plan that provided the following rates:

  • Monthly fee $5.00
  • Card fees: 2.75% processing fee + $.45 per transaction
  • ACH fees: 2.00% processing fee + $.35 per transaction

Our current published rates may be more advantageous for you depending on your forecasted mix between card and ACH and number of transactions. We are willing to reinstate you at your historical rate or you may choose from our current published plans. I’m happy to discuss if you have any questions.

Further, since you will be reinstated as a new customer, we would like to offer you our current promotions that we are currently offering to new customers. They are as follows:

  • Monthly Fee
    • First three months of 2018 monthly fees waived (January, February, March) if any new client has at least 5 individual members set-up a re-occurring transaction prior to December 31, 2017
  • Give+ Kiosk
    • First 3 months of monthly fee waived with the purchase of a kiosk

 

Jennifer Dorris, CPA

Chief Financial Officer

400 Northridge Road |Suite 1200

Atlanta, Georgia 30350

Main: 404-492-6600

On Friday, September 29, I sent her the following

Dear Ms. Dorris,

I received your email of September 27, 2017, in response to our telephone call of the previous day. As you know, your company discontinued your service with us without notice on August 31, 2017. For us to consider returning to Vanco, we would require, at a minimum, the following:

  • An explanation of why we were terminated. What policies had we violated?
  • An explanation of the investigation which took place which uncovered these violations.
  • The appeals process a client could go through, should we, or any other client, find themselves in this position of immediate, unexplained termination.
  • An explanation of the “re-underwriting process with our Banking partner and secured the ability to reinstate The Ruth Institute as a client.” What exactly changed between August 31st and September 26th?
  • When we signed up in 2015, this was the service agreement in effect. Would this agreement be in effect for us now, or is there a more current version?
  • Who exactly is Card Brands, the company mentioned in the August 31st message discontinuing our service?
  • What role does Wells Fargo play in your decision-making?
  • A personal, and a public apology. Neither your phone call, nor your email contained even a hint of an apology.

Ms. Dorris, we have many small monthly donors. As you well know, these are the people who pay the fees Vanco collects. We don’t pay: our donors pay. These dear people who give us $10 or $25 per month were most upset with Vanco when we had to call them and tell them about this situation. They deserve an explanation and apology. Reinstating service with Vanco without both an explanation and apology from you would be breaking faith with our friends and supporters. We simply cannot do this.

I am sure you can understand that switching credit card processing is no small matter. We finally have our new systems up and running. All things considered, it would take an extraordinary effort on your part to get us back. Your correspondence thus far, does not rise to that level.

Sincerely,

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse,

Founder and President,

The Ruth Institute

On Monday October 2, we received the following: 

As discussed on the phone and via email, Vanco has secured the ability to reinstate The Ruth Institute as a client. Based on your feedback, we understand you are working with another payment processor. Please know that if for some reason that does not work out, we would welcome the opportunity to have you back as a client.

Best, Jennifer Dorris

These documents speak for themselves. I will say no more. Thank you for your support. 

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