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.


Interview with Brenda Baietto, Esq.

Interview with Brenda Baietto, Esq., (left) coauthor with Jennifer Johnson (right) on the American Bar Association Journal article advocating for Family Structure Equality

Dear readers,

I was blessed with an opportunity to coauthor an important article for the American Bar Association Journal regarding the “family structure equality” argument I make in my book, Marriage and Equality.

Brenda Baietto, Esq., of Tampa Mediations, is the lawyer who spearheaded this opportunity. She reached out to me in May. We worked collaboratively to get the article published, and it was published in September. You can read the article here.

I want to introduce Brenda to our Ruth Institute audience. Here is an interview I conducted with her about the article.

Jennifer Johnson (JJ): Tell me about the opportunity you had to write for the ABA Journal. When and how did that opportunity arise?

 


 

Brenda Baietto (BB): This opportunity arose back in May of this year as a result of a very good friend of mine named Florence M. Johnson, Esq who I met in law school and have stayed friends with since.She is an accomplished litigation attorney in Memphis TN, active in her local and state Bars, the national American Bar Association (ABA) and, for the last year or so has headed the Practice Pointers section of the Minority Trial Law Section of Litigation for the ABA.She asked me to consider writing a practice pointer piece on mediation for the target audience of trial lawyers.She wanted to give me an opportunity because she is a generous person and trusted me that I would produce a solid piece.

JJ: Of all the interesting people and legal topics you could have chosen to write with and about, why did you pick me and the "family structure equality" (FSE) that I make in my book?

BB: I picked you and your argument to write about because after reading it I knew you had put to words concepts that had been floating around in my head for some time especially as these concepts relate to family law, specifically divorce.And you were so very authentic.Your personal story has big impact precisely because it is so real.It cuts to the heart.More to it, after the decision in Obergefell [Editor’s note: Obergefell was the Supreme Court decision in 2015 that legalized same-sex marriage throughout the United States], it was becoming more and more common to hear (from potential clients, other attorneys and in continuing legal ed seminars) about the creation and dismantling of new and different family structures and that these new structures have legal protection, deserve legal protection - all this with no discussion about the children other than an underlying belief that when adults are happy so are kids.So the predominant theme I am seeing in my legal community and reading about nationally is to support these new structures strictly based on compassion/sentiment for adult choices.It was surprising to me.

Your topic touched on these issues and I knew I had something to add.It was just a matter of putting it together such that it could fit into what Florence was asking of me.Since it was not going to fit into a practice pointer context, we discussed making it a short article and submitting it for consideration.

JJ: Your insight was to apply the FSE argument to the "best interests of the child standard." Why is that standard a good area to apply the FSE argument?

BB: In the context of divorce law, the best interest of the child standard is something we family lawyers and judges really see as the cornerstone of child custody/timesharing decisions. Judges and lawyers take very seriously their respective roles in determining what exactly is in the best interest of a child and work with a generous spirit to do what they think is “best.”However, the best interest standard traditionally focuses on “factors” that spring from either a previously accepted or “legal” arrangement whether or not the arrangement is “good” in and of itself for the child or from a decision to divorce which is accepted without question.Never are these accepted arrangements or decisions analyzed from a best interest of the child standard and it seems only logical to do so.Jennifer’s article made that easy because it gracefully begs the issue of what is in the best interest of the child and highlights a glaring deficiency in limiting the best interest standard to a sort of “after the fact” analysis.

JJ: What do you foresee as a positive outcome that can happen in the life of a child if a judge relies on the FSE argument?

BB: It is my belief that with rampant no fault divorce as well as the emergence of more and more diverse “family systems,” as they are called, children are being valued more as a commodity and not as human persons with dignity.In surrogacy contract cases, for example, children are property and where a dispute over custody arises between the surrogate and the buyer, many state laws subject the child only to property laws based on the contract and refuse to even entertain a best interest analysis at all.This loss of dignity brings with it the loss of understanding of what is truly in their best interest as humans who are alive in society as children, teens and adults.How we see children’s best interest is part and parcel of how we see the best interest of the family in society.

If judges and lawyers begin relying on the FSE argument several positive outcomes will result:first, society will have to face the very real issues children suffer as a result of no fault divorce and diverse family structures including the grief so many adult children have experienced due to structural inequality.This could very well lead to a renewed interest in natural marriage and a rethinking of the import of children in society; second, the “best interest” standard will broaden and deepen bringing meaningful protections to children who as of now are wholly subject to the whims and desires of adults; third, the legal system will no longer be a wedge between a child and his biological parents blocking a child’s most natural desire to know who he is and creating stressors in the child that he would never dream could happen, i.e. will I marry my sister without realizing it? ; and finally, and so important, children will regain their dignity as humans and not a “thing” that is more and more being viewed only as a byproduct of adult desires.

JJ: Why do you think the Minority Trial Lawyers picked up the article, and not some other group within the ABA Journal?

BB: Because, as I understand better now and did not realize before, my friend Florence is particularly involved with the Minority Trial Lawyer section and she submitted the article directly through that channel. I do think, however, it is a gift that the article is published in the Minority Trial Lawyer Section.The FSE argument is meaningful to minorities when it is part and parcel of an overall understanding of the disproportionate impact of the welfare state on black families followed by the legalization of abortion in 1973 which had and continues to have a devastating effect of the black family. Supporting policies that reverse these programs and encourages a return to the natural triad family will help strengthen inequalities felt by children in the black community and begin to create generations that are more stable.

“According to a recent PEW report, 48% of nonwhites want to get married but say financial instability is the reason they do not.One factor, which must be taken into account, is the disproportionate impact of the welfare state following the civil rights movement. Major welfare programs established in the late 1960s, which required recipients to be unmarried to qualify, followed shortly thereafter by the legalization of abortion in 1973, had a devastating effect on the black family.Data we have today should provoke a sense of urgency to focus policy on reversing the damage done by years of programs that have hurt the very low-income communities they were supposed to help.” From: https://townhall.com/columnists/starparker/2017/09/20/marriage-collapse-white-andblack-n2383765

We need policies that protect life and encourage marriage, ownership and individual responsibility and that includes the FSE argument.

JJ: Is there anything else you want our audience to know about the article?

BB: I want the audience to know that the truths in this article must get out into the world and be discussed.This article is a first step to beginning a dialogue that heretofore was just not done and can focus on real analysis and exchange about the welfare of the family and children. Even more than that, it is about each of us living the truth of the natural family and letting others know that you do so in a spirit of love and devotion to the Lord whose precepts we accept and live out loudly.

 



Diverse Family Structure: Reevaluating the Best-Interests-of-the-Child Standard

by Jennifer Johnson (left) and Brenda A. Baietto, Esq.

This article was first published September 11, 2017, at Americanbar.org.

Due to no-fault divorce and "diverse family structures," children often experience a form of inequality that is largely ignored. With lawyers and judges focused on a liberty that is defined as adults' happiness with their family structure choices, there is little focus on the inequalities these choices create for children. The legal profession readily supports the thinking that a happy adult makes for a happy child, yet we disregard a century of jurisprudence linking the state's interest in natural marriage to children and their formation and the substantial body of literature linking children and communities flourishing with the stable presence within a family of married, biological parents. Nor does the "best interests of the child" standard address this form of structural inequality. Finally, it is only fair to consider the testimonies of the children affected, especially once they are old enough to separate appropriately from their parents, examine their childhoods in an objective manner, and then decide for themselves how fair and just it was.

Family Structure Equality for Children


There is a kind of equality for children that deserves attention. It is called "family structure equality." It is the idea that most children should have the same kind of family structure, one founded on the lifelong marriage of their own married mother and father, also known as natural marriage. This is humanity's anthropological truth, our foundation—preexisting the law of marriage. Diagrammatically, this is represented as an inverted triangle, with the couple's child or children at the third point. This triad, in line with overwhelming social science evidence (both past and present), is the family structure that best ensures equality for children—equality of love, belonging, and security. When the family breaks down or doesn't form according to the triad, the inequalities for children multiply. Here are three ways this happens.

1. Two half-time dads do not equal one full dad. When parents divorce, a child can spend his or her childhood going back and forth between "two homes." If both parents remarry, that child can conceivably have a male father figure in each home. So the child has two half-time dads: a dad and a step-dad. For that child, however, having two half-time dads does not equal having one full-time dad. To a casual observer, it might seem as though the child being with each of them half the time would be the same as having one whole dad. But for one of the authors of this article, Jennifer Johnson, who was raised by divorced parents, it was not:

I am not 100 percent sure how I came to this realization, but I do remember thinking it as I stood in the driveway one day when I was about 12 years old. I remember feeling terrible about the messed-up nature of my family, how alone I was in it, and how it was never going to change.

Perhaps I came to this realization because I was an eyewitness to what a full-time dad looked like. My step-dad was a full-time dad to my half-sister. She lived with both her married parents, my mom and my step-dad. I could see that what she had and what I had were two different things. In each home, I needed to pretend that my other parent (and that parent's family) did not exist, meaning they were not welcome. Family photos of other people's whole families were on the walls, but not of my whole family. Group family photos were taken and hung on the walls, but I wasn't in them. I was the only one who had divided Christmases, divided birthdays. While all this was going on for me, I am acknowledging everybody's mother and father and their whole families. But mine was not acknowledged. Thus, I had no real sense of family and home.

Jennifer Johnson, Marriage and Equality: How Natural Marriage Upholds the Ideal of Equality for Children (Ruth Institute 2017).

2. Non-triad arrangements. Other types of non-triad arrangements have inequalities as well. Children who are conceived from anonymous gametes must pretend that half of who they are does not exist.

If the parents were raised inside the intact triad, then there is an inequality between the parents and the children because there are two different standards being applied. The child must pretend that half of himself or herself does not exist, while the child's parents do not. A study was conducted in 2010 of young adults who had been conceived through sperm donation. Two-thirds of them agreed with this statement: "My sperm donor is half of who I am." Elizabeth Marquardt et al., My Daddy's Name Is Donor: A New Study of Young Adults Conceived Through Sperm Donation (Inst. for Am. Values 2010).

"It's going to be heartbreaking for him (Zachary) to grow up and realise he hasn't got a mummy." Elton John (quoted in Sarah Nathan, "It Will Break My Son's Heart to Realise He Hasn't Got a Mother," Daily Mail, July 15, 2012).

The wedge between a child and the gamete donor represents the legal system. It permanently blocks children from knowing half of their family trees. In some cases, this includes falsifying the child's birth certificate with the social parent's name. Consider the additional stressors these kids endure:

Who is my donor?
Who are my half-siblings?
Will our paths cross?
Will I accidentally marry one of them?

This is an inequality in their family structure that neither their parents nor their peers share, with stressors that their parents and their peers can hardly even imagine.

3. Disenfranchised grief. If a child thinks or feels something about the inequality he or she experiences, the child's thoughts and feelings may not be welcome. To welcome those thoughts and feelings might cast doubt on the structure of the family and call into question the adults' freedom to make those choices. Thus, the child suffers a disenfranchised grief, one not accepted by the wider culture. Part of the healing process for these people is having the freedom to talk about the inequalities without being judged or pathologized. This is a kind of equality that is now denied in the popular culture.

Addressing Adoption
Even if our society agreed with all of this, there would still be a small amount of structural inequality among children. Death, rape, ignorance, and human weakness mean that some family structure inequality will always exist. Adoption serves as a remedy for this kind of inequality because it provides parents to children who need them.

We must distinguish between adoption and other instances where children are not being raised with their own married parents. Anonymous gamete donation, for example, is not analogous to adoption. It is when adults want to become parents and use money and business contracts to create children. Consider the screening process. In adoption, adults are screened. Those who are deemed unfit to be parents are excluded, at least in principle. In anonymous gamete donation, the children are screened. Those deemed unfit to be children are aborted, thrown away as embryos, or permanently frozen. Adults with enough money can be parents using this technology, including those with criminal histories or personality disorders. People with criminal histories and personality disorders can become parents under natural marriage, but they must secure the cooperation of the child's other genetic parent, which mitigates the child's risks.

The Legal Community's Responsibility
The "best interests of the child" standard, which is used where there are custody and time-sharing disputes, focuses on individual "fitness" to parent or what parenting arrangement would benefit a child in the future (or both). It does not address the family structure itself. Nearly all states share a codified list of factors to determine the best interests of the child that serves to remind parents of their parental responsibility to the child—"while marriages and relationships may dissolve, parents are forever." Implicitly, the assumption is that children need "parents," but what that means is untethered from familial structural equality and tied more closely to the freedom of adults to make those choices, regardless of the social science.

St. Pope John Paul II has said that the future of the world passes through the family. If, in that future, our children grow up accustomed to inequality and injustice, what can they pass on to the next generation? Adult children of divorce and other non-triad arrangements are speaking out. It is incumbent on us to review that literature, whether it is the six adult children of gay parents who filed amicus briefs against gay marriage in the Obergefell case or the video by Zach Wahls advocating for his lesbian parents and separately pointing out the joy of having and knowing about a biological sister (a shared sperm donor) or author Jennifer Johnson's testimony about her negative experiences with no-fault divorce. See also Leila Miller's new book, Primal Loss: The Now-Adult Children of Divorce Speak (LCB Publishing 2017).

The legal community is ethically bound to uphold truth and justice for all citizens—adults and children. We have accepted children's inequality as part of the landscape of contractual families that provide unbridled freedom to the adult. Should the legal community reevaluate when to apply the best interest standard? Should it be applied before an adult is given autonomy with a child's family structure? Can a guardian ad litem focus on these inequalities and be a source of education for parents? Are the child's true best interests being sacrificed at the time an alternative family is founded, where that child is without any legal protection? We in the legal community must reevaluate our duty to children when we are involved in the formation and dismantling of families.

Jennifer Johnson is the associate director for the Ruth Institute. She was raised by divorced parents and is the author of Marriage and Equality: How Natural Marriage Upholds the Ideal of Equality for Children. Brenda A. Baietto, Esq. is a family law attorney and mediator for Tampa Mediations, LLC, in Tampa, Florida.


What it takes to be labeled a ‘hate group’

By Megan McArdle

Posted September 8, 2017, at The Review.

 

In 2010, the Southern Poverty Law Center designated the Family Research Council a “hate group” because of its orthodox position on homosexuality, and its occasionally incendiary defenses of that position.

In 2012, Floyd Corkins showed up at the Family Research Council headquarters with a gun.

 


 

I don’t mean to imply that these two things were connected. I’m telling you that they were connected. We know because the shooter told the FBI where he got the idea.

Conservatives have used this to try to discredit the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of hate groups. But the sad truth is that if you criticize someone, there’s always some small chance that an unstable person will read your criticism and decide its subject needs killing. The shooting is still not the fault of the writer, but the fault of the shooter.

Also, you don’t need to manufacture ersatz accountability to discredit the Southern Poverty Law Center’s hate group tally. You just need to tell people what’s on the list.

Some of the groups named are what anyone would think of as a hate group, like the Ku Klux Klan. But other entries are a festival of guilt-by-association innuendo about people with at best a tangential relationship to the target institution, and whose statements fall well short of blanket group-calumny or calls for violence. Or the center offers bizarrely shifting rationales that suggest that the staff started with the target they wanted to deem hateful and worked backward to the analysis.

I spent a day diving down the rabbit hole of one listing for the Ruth Institute, a small nonprofit that thinks the sexual revolution was a giant mistake. The Ruth Institute does seem to have a couple of marginally attached figures who have at some point theorized an unsupported connection between homosexuality and pedophilia. But however wrongheaded and insulting this may be, by itself, it hardly merits branding the whole organization a “hate group.” And a lot of the other “evidence” for this designation is fully deserving of those contemptuous quotation marks.

Let’s look at how the center justified dubbing the Ruth Institute a hate group:

- One link presents its president, Jennifer Roback Morse, as having offered the “race-baiting” comment that President Barack Obama was “more gay than he is black” — an assertion that turns out to be an out-of-context quotation of an obvious verbal slip during a radio interview. That link also asserts that the Ruth Institute “reprinted a column blasting the LGBT movement’s ‘mythology of grievance and sexual oppression’”; in fact, the column is on the broader topic of the sexual revolution, not just LGBT activism, and the “mythology” refers to the (true) fact that many of the landmark legal cases that paved the revolution’s legal path, including Roe v. Wade and Lawrence v. Texas, were not entirely what they seemed.

- That same source claims that “the Ruth Institute even reprinted a column which attempted to link the Lawrence decision to the Penn State child sex abuse scandal” — referring to a column about legal trends in which Lawrence is mentioned only in passing, as an example of the weakening of community moral standards as a basis for law. (Whether or not you think it was a good idea, this weakening has indisputably occurred, and the Lawrence case was a landmark exhibit.)

- The SPLC also criticizes Morse, a Catholic, for calling homosexuality “intrinsically disordered,” which does sound gratuitously insulting to non-Catholics. But this is in fact a technical term in Catholic theology that also covers things heterosexuals frequently get up to. Disagree with it as you will, it is not by itself evidence of a special animus toward homosexuals.

If misspeaking in a radio interview, quoting the Vatican and promoting articles like these on your nonprofit’s blog are what now earn a spot alongside the Klan on a list of hate groups, then it may be time for the Southern Poverty Law Center to close up shop, because its work is largely done.

Unfortunately the center’s hate group designation remains extremely influential. Recently, a payment servicer cut off the Ruth Institute because of that “hate group” label. This piqued my interest, because I knew Morse’s work on liberty and the family from long before the gay marriage debate dawned on the political horizon. I’d always found it interesting and thought-provoking, and I was surprised to see her lumped in with Holocaust deniers and white supremacists. My astonishment seems to have been well-founded.

“Hate group” is, of course, not a scientific term with a precise definition. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s entries do highlight a lot of language about various groups that may not strike me as the equivalent of Klan rhetoric, but does make me uncomfortable. And who am I to say that “discomfort” is a better characterization than “hate speech”? In criticizing them, am I not committing the same sin of which I accuse the SPLC, trying to leverage my platform to curtail speech I don’t like through unofficial censure?

Well, yes, the SPLC has a perfect right to decide what they mean by “hate group.”

Unfortunately, it also has an incentive to apply this term broadly. When people see that the SPLC lists over 900 hate groups — 900! — this seems like good reason to panic. And maybe write a check to the SPLC.

Even fairly large institutions that theoretically have ample resources to investigate the SPLC’s list often rely on it, to their detriment. CNN published the list under the headline “Here Are All the Hate Groups Active in Your Area,” then had to alter the story upon realizing that this was effectively joining the SPLC in branding local churches and conservative nonprofits as “hate groups.” Guidestar, which rates nonprofits, added the SPLC designations to its listings, then had to make an embarrassing volte-face when conservatives called them out. Given the increasing tendency of powerful tech companies to flex their muscle against hate groups, we may see more and more institutions unwittingly turned into critics or censors, not just of Nazi propaganda, but also of fairly mainstream ideas.

That’s not just a problem for the groups that will be burdened when the “hate group” label is slapped on them; it’s also a problem for the rest of us. The broader the definition, the more Americans will be swept up under that label and the less sustainable it will be. If media and other institutions use the label, they will discredit themselves with conservative readers and donors. Worse, those readers and donors will be unable to reliably discern the actual hate groups that still exist.

For exist they do. They are tiny relative to the population, they are marginal, and they have little power. As political scientist Justin Murphy says, overt racism “likely appears larger than it is, especially to progressives, precisely because it has never been less common in American history,” making the few die-hards stand out in sharp relief. The same is probably true of other hateful “isms.” But even a handful of hate group members is too many, and it would be useful to have data on their numbers. Instead, we’re getting data that tells us little about the problem of hate groups, and a whole lot about the SPLC’s agenda and fundraising.

 


Online Processor Drops Pro-Family Ruth Institute for Promoting ‘Hate’

 

“The organization has been flagged by Card Brands as being affiliated with a product/service that promotes hate...”
by Jim Graves

This article was first published September 10, 2017, at National Catholic Register.

Conservative groups, including those who support a traditional view of marriage and family life, have been increasingly complaining about attempts by major corporations to silence their viewpoints in the public square. Another such recent report comes from The Ruth Institute (www.ruthinstitute.org), “dedicated to finding Christ-like solutions to the problems of family breakdown.” The organization was founded by Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, a Catholic author, speaker and academic. She regularly speaks at religious and pro-life conferences on the Christian view of marriage and sexuality and the ill effects of the Sexual Revolution.

 


 

Her institute, she said, “has accumulated decades of research to support individuals and families harmed by divorce, the hook-up culture, and other forms of family breakdown.” In an August 31 statement, The Ruth Institute reported that Vanco, their online donation processor, has ended their service to the Institute for promoting “hate, violence, harassment or abuse.”

In a letter to the Institute, Vanco explained: “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.”

Dr. Morse offered the following comments in response:

  • 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.
  • No one from Vanco, Card Brands or Wells Fargo ever contacted the Ruth Institute to inquire about how we “promote hate, violence, harassment and/or abuse.”
  • The Ruth Institute is listed on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hate Map,” which was recently in the news. We have been on this “Hate Map,” since 2013. To the best of our knowledge, no one has ever been inspired to riot or shoot anyone by our activities.
  • We have compiled the items which some groups have found objectionable on a page called “Where’s the Hate?” (http://www.ruthinstitute.org/knowledge-base/wheres-the-hate) Anyone interested can review that material and judge for themselves whether the Ruth Institute belongs on a list with the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis.
  • The Vanco company markets itself to religious organizations. Many churches use their services for processing donations. We surmise that Vanco dropped us because we hold views about marriage, family and human sexuality that are considered “Anti-LGBT.” Our beliefs are the common heritage of all Christian groups. Christian organizations that utilize Vanco’s services may wish to reconsider.
  • Donors to the Ruth Institute can rest assured that their private information has not been compromised. Supporters can send checks to our main office, 4845 Lake St.; #217; Lake Charles, LA 70605.

 


From the right: Corporations Dance to SPLC Tune

By Post Editorial Board

This brief was first posted September 10, 2017, at NYPost.com.

 

The “hate-list-generating Southern Poverty Law Center already has the media firmly in its pocket,” notes Charlotte Allen at The Weekly Standard, “and now corporate America seems to be jumping” on the bandwagon. Increasingly, companies are “trying to cut off the financial livelihoods of organizations that the SPLC has branded as haters because their policy positions don’t accord with whatever the SPLC deems politically correct.” Vanco Payment Solutions, a credit-card processor, “abruptly canceled its services to the nonprofit Ruth Institute”: The SPLC claims the group’s “focus on heterosexual marriage” is a cover for a campaign “against LGBT people in general.” Meanwhile, Apple, JP Morgan, Bank of America, Pfizer, Lyft and Newman’s Own have all become SPLC donors – even as the group has parked $69 million “in offshore hedge funds, a common tax dodge.”


Family Institute Dropped by Payment Processing Company After SPLC ‘Hate Group’ Designation

Morse: It's convenient for the SPLC to 'stand me up next to a guy with a swastika and a white hood'

by Joe Schoffstall

This article was first published

Morris Dees, founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center / Getty Images

 

 

An institute that works to "end family breakdown" lost its payment processing company after the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), an Alabama-based liberal 501 (c)(3) nonprofit, had labeled the organization as a "hate group."


The SPLC fought the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s but is now best known for its "hate map," which features mainstream conservative groups alongside hate groups like the KKK. The group has turned into a fundraising powerhouse in recent years, hoarding more than $300 million in assets, with millions of that being pushed to offshore entities.

The Ruth Institute, which describes itself as an organization dedicated to "creating a mass social movement to end family breakdown," recently lost its payment processing company for donations after being labeled as a "hate group" by the SPLC.

The institute received a message from Vanco, the group's payment processing provider, in late August saying they were "flagged" as promoting "hate, violence, harassment, and or/or abuse."

"Vanco has elected to discontinue our processing relationship with The Ruth Institute," the message from Vanco to the institute reads. "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."

Dr. Jennifer Morse, founder of the Ruth Institute, told the Washington Free Beacon in a phone interview that after she had received the message from Vanco, she immediately checked her website and found that the donations feature was already disabled.

"We received an email from them at two-o-clock in the afternoon on Thursday, the 31st of August. We went and checked our website and it was already shut down—our donation feature was already shut down. So they obviously shut it down then sent us a notice," said Morse. "It's just rude, you don't treat people like that."

"It's interesting that Vanco will not come out and say Wells Fargo kicked us in the shins and told us to do this, they won't say that, but that's kind of the inference you're led to draw based on our the first communication we got with them and the complete shut down after that," Morse continued.

Morse says the corporate left will continue its practices, but one positive that came from the ordeal is she can talk about the mission of her institute.

"The corporate left is out there doing what they do and I can't stop them—they're going to do what they do with their power," she said. "I'm grateful that this incident has given me an opportunity to talk about the mission of the Ruth Institute because nobody else is doing what we're doing. We believe that family breakdown is harmful to children. We believe it's unjust to children, and that children have a right to have a relationship with both of their parents and to know their identity."

Morse added that it's "convenient" for the SPLC to add conservative groups alongside the KKK because it allows people to dismiss her and others.

"I think it's convenient strategically and rhetorically for groups like the SPLC to stand me up next to a guy with a swastika and white hood, because then nobody has to listen to what I have to say," she said. "Rather than argue with me—or, you know, try to say ‘gee you're wrong'—rather than have that conversation about why kids need their parents, they just dismiss the whole thing by putting me and Tony Perkins (president of the Family Research Council) in a lineup with guys in white hoods and then they don't have to deal with it."

A gunman walked into the Washington, D.C., office of the conservative Family Research Council and opened fire in 2012 after seeing the group listed as a "hate group" on the SPLC's website.

"Honest journalism needs to stop taking these people seriously," said Morse.

The SPLC, which is often cited by mainstream media outlets, raised millions from the likes of Apple, J.P Morgan Chase, and George Clooney following the tragic events in Charlottesville, Va.

The Washington Free Beacon discovered the SPLC's foreign tax forms from 2014 last week showing the group transfers millions in cash to offshore entities in the Cayman Islands and also has "financial interests" in Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands. The Weekly Standard's Jeryl Bier found this week that the SPLC has $69 million of "non-U.S. equity funds" from the group's 2016 annual report.

The SPLC has been hit with a number of "hate" defamation lawsuits in recent weeks. Dozens of conservative leaders have also pleaded with the media to stop citing the SPLC.

The group additionally released a map of every confederate monument in the U.S. that contains middle schools, PJ Media reported.

Vanco did not return a request for comment on its decision to drop the Ruth Institute by press time.



CHRISTINE FLOWERS: Southern Poverty Law Center has lost its way

By Christine Flowers

This article was first published September 19, 2017, at The Mercury and September
as "My problem with the SPLC," and Daily Local as "Once Champions, Now Demons" on September 12, 2017.

 
The Southern Poverty Law Center was founded in 1971 by Morris Dees to combat the rise in violence perpetrated by the KKK. he organization won significant legal victories against the hate group, including civil judgments which virtually crippled the group. Their motives were noble, their methods effective, their morals unimpeachable.

That organization no longer exists. Today, the SPLC has become a weaponized arm of the progressive movement, seeking out groups and individuals who violate their standards of tolerance, virtue, justice and enlightenment. They need to be called out for what they truly are: Charlatans.

The SPLC was formed four years after my father went to Mississippi to register black voters during a long, hot summer. Daddy had his own run-in with the KKK, as I’ve mentioned many times in these pages because I cannot hide my pride in sharing his blood and his name, and he was a strong supporter of any organization that could bring the Klan to heel. But if he were alive today, and in this one narrow sense I’m glad he’s not, he would be repelled by the mutation of that avenging angel into a demon that preys upon the apostates to progressive ideals.

For example, if you are not on board with same-sex marriage, gender-neutral bathrooms, the Stalinist straight jacket of gender-sensitive pronouns and allowing toddlers to choose their sexual identities, you are a member of a hate group. If you are not aware that you belong to such a group, the SPLC will help you. They will put you on its “Hate Watch.”

If that sounds a bit Big Brotherish, it is. The SPLC publishes a list of organizations that deviate from its unique and unsurprisingly narrow view of what is virtuous in this evolved society. It is called the Hate Map, and it includes such organizations and individuals as the Family Research Council (because, among other things, it supported Bill Clinton’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy for the military); the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal advocacy group that has represented students, free of charge, who have argued that their right to free exercise has been threatened by government encroachment; Charles Murray, who believes that the welfare state is harmful and the Ruth Institute, a religious-based, ecumenical organization that actively combats the victimization of children and opposes the more strident advocacy of some LGBT groups. Last week, the Ruth Institutes online donation system was shut down by Vanco, the organization which handled that service because it learned of Ruth’s inclusion on the SPLC hate map.

I interviewed Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, founder of the institute, and she told me that she was given absolutely no warning before the service was discontinued. A review of Ruth’s website reveals numerous articles and podcasts discussing the importance of keeping the family intact, avoiding the problems created by divorce, nurturing children and promoting an environment of safety for them. Only the most radical pro-LGBT activist could find anything vaguely “hateful” about their philosophy. But the SPLC has decided that Christian organizations are, by definition, hateful, and there is in fact a whole separate section on their website devoted to groups that advance a “Christian Identity.” Other threatening groups are “Racist Skinheads,” “Neo Nazis,” “White Nationalist,” “Black Separatist” (well at least there’s that …) “Ku Klux Klan,” “Anti Muslim,” “Anti Immigrant” and when all else fails, “General Hate.”

It’s hard to quibble with most of the groups listed. But the idea that people who have a Christian identity that might lead them to oppose homosexuality, same-sex marriage, gender-reassignment surgery, same-sex adoptions or even baking cakes for people who commit sodomy (which is now legal, in case you were wondering) is more than a bit troubling. Sure, you can disagree with certain Christian principles that do not align well with those espoused by the LGBT advocates, and you have every right to lobby your legislators to make sure those Christian principles are not codified in the civil law, but to defame people of faith as members of a “hate group” simply because you find their beliefs abhorrent is, well, abhorrent.

And when that “hate” label causes a commercial enterprise to sever its ties with you, we have entered a whole new dimension of groupthink, Big Brother and the reordering of society a la Mao’s Cultural Revolution.

It is particularly troubling that the organization that is raising its ideological torches against those with whom it disagrees is the same group that stared down the Klan, and brought them to heel with the power of their moral coherence. Now, the SPLC has become a pale shadow of its former self, and has sold whatever is left of its soul to the nihilists of Antifa and Black Lives Matter (ironically not listed as a “hate group” by our Klan-hating friends) and Planned Parenthood and all the other progressive darlings who pull its strings.

The “Poverty” in the “Southern Poverty Law Center” must now refer to the content of its character.



Catholic Ruth Institute Targeted by SPLC, Suffers Losses

by David Nussman 

This article was first published at Church Militant on September 7, 2017.

 

Catholic Ruth Institute Targeted by SPLC, Suffers Losses

Group loses online donations processing thanks to 'hate group' label

 

LAKE CHARLES, La. (ChurchMilitant.com) - A Catholic organization lost its online donations processing on Thursday, thanks to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) labeling it a hate group.

The Ruth Institute is a Catholic non-profit that seeks to help individuals and families wounded by the Sexual Revolution and its resulting chaos.

 

 


 

 

The "hate group" label is a result of the Ruth Institute's faithfully Catholic stance on homosexuality and transgenderism. The SPLC labeled it "anti-LGBT."

In a statement to the press about the loss of internet donations, Morse said, "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."

The Institute received a message Thursday afternoon from its donation processing company, Vanco. The letter reads, "Vanco has elected to discontinue our processing relationship with The Ruth Institute." It explains, "The organization has been flagged by Card Brands as being affiliated with a product/service that promotes hate, violence, harassment and/or abuse."

On August 23, the Ruth Institute recognized that it was still on the SPLC's hate list, as it has been since 2013. This earlier statement lets loose a scathing indictment. It complains that the SPLC's methodology is secretive, such that "No one knows how to get off the list." It then fiercely argues, "The SPLC sets itself up as judge, jury and enforcer of the charge of 'hate.'"

As Church Militant reported, a Protestant non-profit filed a lawsuit last week against the SPLC for labeling it a hate group. D. James Kennedy Ministries was barred from participating in AmazonSmile fundraising because of the SPLC's hate label. Various big media outfits, including CNN and MSNBC, have posted SPLC's "hate" map on their websites, thus legitimizing the group's arbitrary, leftist labels.

 

 


Megan McArdle on the Southern Poverty Law Center Gets Creative

Megan McArdle presents a commentary arguing that you don’t need to manufacture ersatz accountability in order to discredit the Southern Poverty Law Center’s hate group tally. You just need to tell people what’s on the list.

(Megan McArdle is a Bloomberg View columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.)

The Ruth Institute is mentioned. Listen here.


Business shuts down donations to pro-family group for ‘promoting hate’

by Doug Mainwaring

This article was first published September 1, 2017, at Life Site News.

Featured Image
CNN and other media outlets used this map from the Southern Poverty Law Center that identifies the locations of so-called 'hate' groups.

 

The Ruth Institute was notified Thursday that an online donation processor discontinued providing services to the pro-family, pro-children’s rights organization for promoting “hate, violence, harassment or abuse.”

According to a statement released today, “The Ruth Institute learned at 2 PM Thursday that Vanco, our online donation processing service, was cancelling our service immediately. The letter stated:


"'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.’”

The Ruth Institute is a global non-profit organization that seeks to create “a mass social movement to end family breakdown by energizing the Survivors of the Sexual Revolution,” paying special attention to the needs and rights of children.

Jennifer Roback Morse, the Institute’s founder and president, said, “[Our] 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.”

“The Ruth Institute is listed on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s ‘Hate Map,’ which was recently in the news,” continued Morse. “We have been on this ‘Hate Map’ since 2013. To the best of our knowledge, no one has ever been inspired to riot or shoot anyone by our activities.” Moreover, “No one from Vanco, Card Brands or Wells Fargo ever contacted the Ruth Institute to inquire about how we ‘promote hate, violence, harassment and/or abuse.’”

Morse noted that “the Vanco company markets itself to religious organizations. Many churches use their services for processing donations. We surmise that Vanco dropped us because we hold views about marriage, family, and human sexuality that are considered ‘Anti-LGBT.’ Our beliefs are the common heritage of all Christian groups. Christian organizations that utilize Vanco’s services may wish to reconsider.”

The Ruth Institute is one of a growing number of Christian pro-family, pro-marriage, pro-family organizations whose online operations and presence are being undermined by tech firms who rely on information provided the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to identify supposed “hate groups.”

Morse said, “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 have compiled the items which some groups have found objectionable on a page called Where’s the Hate? Anyone interested can review that material and judge for themselves whether the Ruth Institute belongs on a list with the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis.”

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