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.


Ruth Institute Makes History

On Feb. 21st “We’ll Make History”

Ruth Institute to Present Its Make-The-Family-Great-Again Petition to State Dept. Commission

“On February 21st the Ruth Institute will make history,” said Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., Founder and President of the Ruth Institute. “We will present our petition to Make the Family Great Again to the State Department’s Commission on Unalienable Rights. This petition is historic because, for the first time, we explain how and why the family itself has human rights. And we demonstrate to the State Department that a worldwide coalition supports this view.”

Morse explained: “The Commission was appointed by Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to advise the Department on how to make authentic human rights the basis of its dealings with international bodies and foreign governments. As the Commission’s Chairman, he appointed Dr. Mary Ann Glendon, a distinguished Harvard Law Professor well-known for her thoughtful articulation of genuine human rights, including the right to life.”


Pro-family leaders from five continents have signed the Ruth Institute’s petition. Dr. Morse explained, “Pro-family leaders from around the world have seen first-hand the destructive results of international policies undertaken in the name of ‘rights.’ All too often, the United States government has facilitated policies that undermine the rights of children to their parents, and parents' rights and responsibilities toward their children. These pro-family leaders are keenly interested in the deliberations of this Commission.” (See below for a partial list of leadership signers.)

The Ruth Institute Petition urges the State Department to work for the recognition of:

  • The right of every child to a relationship with his or her natural mother and father except for an unavoidable tragedy
  • The right of every person to know the identity of his or her biological parents
  • The right to life from conception to natural death
  • The right of families to educate their own children in their faith tradition and values, without being undermined by the state.

Morse noted: “President Trump campaigned on a promise to Make America Great Again. Only by making the family great again can he fulfill that promise. The Ruth Institute and its international interfaith coalition whole-heartedly support the cause of making the family great again, worldwide.”

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The Ruth Institute is a global non-profit organization, leading an international interfaith coalition to defend the family and build a civilization of love.

The Ruth Institute collaborated with Life Petitions to create and circulate this petition, which can be found here.

Dr. Morse is the author of The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives.

To schedule an interview with Dr. Morse, contact media@ruthinstitute.org.

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Leadership signers include: Gary Bauer (President, American Values), Brent Bozell (Founder and President, Media Research Center), Fr. Shenan Boquet (President, Human Life International), Janice Shaw Crouse (Author, Columnist and Speaker), Pat Fagan (Director, Marriage and Religion Research Institute), Robert George (Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, Princeton University), Jor-El Godsey (President, Heartbeat International), Governor Mike Huckabee (former Governor of Arkansas and commentator), Alveda King (Author and Activist), Michael Pakaluk (Professor, Busch School of Business, Catholic University of America), Tom Morrison (Representative, Ill. District 54), Steve Mosher (President and Founder, Population Research Institute), C. Preston Noell (President, American Society for Tradition, Family and Property), Sharon Slater (President, Family Watch International), Steven Smoot (President, Family First Foundation), Mathew D. Staver, Esq. (Founder and Chairman, Liberty Counsel) and Michael Voris (Founder and President, St. Michael’s Media).

Signers from outside the United States include: Rebekah Ali-Gouveia (Pro-Family Leader, Trinidad), Bishop Emmanuel Badejo (Bishop of Oyo, Nigeria), Moira Chimombo (Former Executive Director, Sub-Sahara Family Enrichment, Malawi), Silvio Dalla Valle (Executive Director, Association for the Defense of Christian Values, Italy), Ann Kioko (President, African Organization for Families, Kenya), Lech Kowalewski (Board Member, Polish Federation of Pro-Life Movements), Christa Leonhard (Foundation for Family Values, Germany and the Swiss Foundation for the Family), Gwen Landolt (First Vice President, REAL Women of Canada), Warwick and Allison Marsh (Founders, Dads4Kids, Australia), Dr. Theresa Okafor (Director, Foundation for African Cultural Heritage, FACH, Nigeria), Fr. Boniface Ssenteza, (Youth Chaplain for the Kasana-Luweero Diocese and National Scouting Chaplain, Uganda), Christine Vollmer (Founder and President, Latin American Alliance for the Family, Venezuela), Andrea Williams (Chief Executive, Christian Concern, United Kingdom) and Levan Vasadez (Pro-Life Activist, Republic of Georgia).


Pro-Life Movement Needs Its Own ‘Seamless Garment’

 
COMMENTARY: The pro-life movement really has matured from a single-issue battle, fought in a single way, to a multi-issue movement. (Unsplash/Register illustration)
 
by Jennifer Roback Morse

This article was first published February 13, 2020, at NCRegister.com.

Committed pro-life activists are often accused of being too focused on abortion: “If you really cared about babies, you would also care about Issue X!”

True, children need many things to survive and thrive, and pro-lifers should work on those issues as well as the abortion issue. But the “Seamless Garment,” as a rhetorical strategy, is often perceived by pro-lifers as a subtle or not-so-subtle attempt to undermine them. All too often, these suspicions are well-founded. So my next statement may surprise you: The pro-life movement needs a Seamless Garment of its own. Let me explain.


The Ruth Institute conducted a survey of pro-life student opinion at the Students for Life Pro-Life Summit on Jan. 25 in Washington, D.C. More than 3,000 people attended this summit the day after the 47th-annual national March for Life. Nearly 10% of the attendees stopped by the Ruth Institute booth and took our survey. Their ages ranged from 12 through 76, with an average of 28. The respondents were 71% women and 77% Catholic.

We asked them: “What other related issues concern you? Check all that apply.” Of the 305 people who answered, the following percentages flagged these issues:

  • 83% said they were concerned about euthanasia.
  • 83% said they were concerned about the decline of marriage.
  • 66% said they were concerned about contraception.
  • 59% said they were concerned about comprehensive sexuality education.
  • 50% said they were concerned about surrogacy, egg donation and sperm donation.
  • 47% said they were concerned about the worldwide decline of fertility.

True enough, these are not the issues that advocates of the Seamless Garment generally mention. Back when Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago popularized the Seamless Garment, the issues included government programs supporting the material needs of children.

Today, the issues are more apt to be climate change or immigration, but the subtle accusation is clear enough: “If pro-lifers really cared about children, they would care about them after birth.” So let us look at our survey of the Students for Life participants through this lens of children’s needs after they are born.

Of course, everyone knows that children need food and shelter and clothing. But children also need love. The “failure to thrive” syndrome shows that, in some way, the non-material needs of children are more important than their physical needs. Children who “fail to thrive” have their material needs met. They have food, shelter, clothing and medical care. But they do not grow. They may even die. The commonly accepted explanation for failure to thrive is that kids need more than food. They also need to be fed and nurtured, by a person who holds them, rocks them, looks into their eyes and loves them.

In other words, kids need their parents. Mom rocks the baby. Dad supports Mom while she rocks the baby. She can’t get it done alone.

I conclude that authentic care for children must include care for their need to be loved by both their parents. We should provide systematic social structures to ensure that as many kids as possible get to grow up with their own parents who love them and each other. Children have a birthright to their own parents. That means a stable relationship with their biological parents wherever possible and stable, child-centered provision for adoption where the biological parents are permanently unavailable.

What might those structures look like? Adult society affirms that people should be having sex only with the person we are married to. We get married before having sex. We stay together unless someone does something really awful. We cut out petty criticism of our spouses. We have a social norm of patiently bearing with our spouse’s faults.

In other words, the most reliable systematic plan for ensuring that kids get to have the love and attention of both their parents is lifelong married love, supported by traditional Christian sexual ethics. The respondents to our survey at the Students for Life Summit seem to be quite well aware of this. “The decline of marriage” option comes in at the top of the list of their concerns, with more than 80% support.

Two-thirds of the activists mentioned contraception as an area of concern. Only an idiot can overlook the connection between the constant promotion of the contraceptive ideology and people’s casual choices of sex partners. If you care about kids, you should make it easier, not harder, for people to make good decisions about the identity of their child’s other parent.

Nearly 60% of the respondents were concerned about comprehensive sexuality education. This, too, shows that these activists are sensitive to the needs of children. Much of what passes for sex education amounts to propaganda for the sexual revolution, inflicted on small children, too young and impressionable to defend themselves.

Schools, public and private alike, convey to children that sex is a recreational activity: They safely can partake of it, as long as they use a condom every time. This message has no place in a Seamless Garment that treasures the rights of children to their parents, and therefore demands self-control from adults.

Half the survey participants were concerned about third-party reproduction issues. Is this because children of donated sperm or eggs are cut off from one of their biological parents? Or are these respondents mainly concerned about all of the death-dealing that goes on in the infertility industry, by discarding or freezing unwanted embryos? Either way, these pro-lifers’ care for babies extends well beyond the abortion issue.

When we conceived the idea for this survey, we just wanted to get an idea of where these participants at the Students for Life Summit stood on the Ruth Institute’s issues. Viewing the results reveals something more.

The pro-life movement really has matured from a single-issue battle, fought in a single way, to a multi-issue movement. The most committed participants in the movement understand that we need to defend the rights of children and parents to be in stable relationships with each other. Children have a birthright to their parents, as well as a birthright to be born in the first place.

And this survey also shows us that we are closer than we realized to having a pro-life Seamless Garment of our own.

 

 


Ruth Institute to Present “Make the Family Great Again” Petition to State Dept. Commission on Unalienable Rights

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., Founder and President of the Ruth Institute, announced that she will present the signatures of the Institute’s petition to Make the Family Great Again at the next meeting of the State Department Commission on Unalienable Rights February 21.

Of the petition, co-partnered with Life Petitions, Morse said, “We’re greatly encouraged by the outpouring of support, including from many leaders and scholars.”

Morse noted: “President Trump campaigned on a promise to Make America Great Again. But only the family can help him fulfill that promise.”

In July, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo established the Commission to advise his department in its dealings with foreign governments and international organizations.

The Ruth Institute petition urges the Commission and the State Department to make certain fundamental principles the basis for articulating these unalienable rights, among them that:


 

  • Marriage and the family are universal institutions for the stability of society and the continuation of the human race.
  • Children need their mother and father.
  • Stable loving families provide the basis for strong societies, including thriving economies, national security and international peace.

The petition calls on the Commission to work for the recognition of:

  • The right of every child to a relationship with his or her natural mother and father except for an unavoidable tragedy.
  • The right to know the identity of one’s biological parents.
  • The right to life from conception to natural death.
  • The right of families to educate their children in their faith tradition and values, without being undermined by the state.

Leadership signers include: Gary Bauer (President, American Values), Brent Bozell (Founder and President, Media Research Center), Ted Baehr (Chairman, Christian Film and Television Commission), Fr. Shenan Boquet (President, Human Life International), Janice Shaw Crouse (Author, Columnist and Speaker), Kari Curtin (National Director, Marriage Reality Movement), Pat Fagan (Director, Marriage and Religion Research Institute), Robert George (Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University), Jor-El Godsey (President, Heartbeat International), Governor Mike Huckabee (former Governorof Arkansas and talk show host), Alveda King (Author and Activist), Robert Knight (Washington Times columnist), Michael Pakaluk (Professor, Busch School of Business, Catholic University of America), Toni Morrison (Representative, Ill. District 54), Steve Mosher (President and Founder, Family First Foundation), C. Preston Noell (President, American Society for Tradition, Family and Property), Sharon Slater (President, Family Watch International), Steven Smoot (President, Family First Foundation), and Michael Voris (Founder and President, St. Michael’s Media).

Pro-family leaders from around the world have seen the destructive results of international policies that undermine the rights of children to their parents, and parents' rights and responsibilities toward their children.

Signers from outside the United States include: Rebekah Ali-Gouveia (Pro-Family Leader, Trinidad), Bishop Emmanuel Badejo (Bishop of Oyo, Nigeria), Moira Chimombo (Former Executive Director, Sub-Sahara Family Enrichment, Malawi), Ann Kioko (President, African Organization for Families, Kenya), Lech Kowalewski (Board Member, Polish Federation of Pro-Life Movements), Christa Leonhard (Foundation for Family Values, Germany, and the Swiss Foundation for the Family), Gwen Landolt (First Vice President, REAL Women of Canada), Warwick and Allison Marsh (Founders, Dads4Kids, Australia), Christine Vollmer (Founder and President, Latin American Alliance for the Family, Venezuela), Andrea Williams (Chief Executive, Christian Concern, United Kingdom), Levan Vasadez (Pro-Life Activist, Republic of Georgia), and Fr. Boniface Ssenteza, (Youth Chaplain for the Kasana-Luweero Diocese and National Scouting Chaplain, Uganda).

“We’re honored to have such distinguished leaders among the petition’s signers,” Morse said. “Their support and that of more than 8,000 others should help the Commission to understand that the family is the foundation of these unalienable rights.”

Go here to sign the petition to Make the Family Great Again.


Super Bowl Halftime Show: Worse Than Tasteless, It’s Full-on Sexual Grooming

COMMENTARY: Do not shy away from making the connection between sexualized entertainment and sexual grooming.

by Jennifer Roback Morse 
 
This article was first posted February 4, 2020, at NCRegister.com.

I was outraged by the Super Bowl halftime show. I bet you were, too. I challenge you to do something with your outrage. Otherwise, it is a pointless waste of time.

First, I’m going to stir up your righteous anger even more. Then, I’m going to challenge you to do something with your anger.

The Super Bowl Halftime Show was not only pornographic — it was an internationally televised sexual grooming session.

As Catholics, we have had to ask ourselves, “How does sexual abuse go on for so long?” The answer: Perpetrators groom not only their victims, but often the entire community around the victim.

Clergy sex abuse survivors say perpetrators may victimize some children, but they groom the entire community. One survivor told me that the priest who abused him was a trusted friend of his family. The boy knew if he ever spoke up, the family would be more inclined to take the priest’s word over his.


I recently reviewed a book about public-school sexual abuse and harassment. The title of the book is Passing the Trash, with the dreadfully appropriate subtitle, “Covering Up Educators’ Sex Crimes — and How a Superintendent Was Caught after Decades of Lies.”

In the references to this book, I came across a 2017 publication from the U.S. Department of Education, “A Training Guide for Administrators and Educators on Addressing Adult Sexual Misconduct in the School Setting.” I discovered a section called “Grooming, Trolling and Exploiting.” On page 12, I read this:

Perpetrators methodically increase the attention and rewards they give to their targets. Grooming allows perpetrators to test their targets’ silence at each step. To nurture the relationship, perpetrators make the target feel “special” by, for example, brandishing gifts and/or spending extra time with the target in nonsexual ways, all in an effort to learn whether the target will keep silent. At the same time, the perpetrator is also testing the adults surrounding the child or school. … It is not uncommon for the behaviors to be done publicly so that the perpetrator can gauge reactions; share information (true or false) to manipulate how the behavior is interpreted by the adults; and further control the child victim. …

School personnel who engage in sexual jokes without being reprimanded might move on to making physical contact, such as touching a student’s hair or body. If the behavior goes unreported and unaddressed, the adult may grow bolder and escalate to increasingly sexualized behaviors.

Let’s return to the Super Bowl halftime show with this understanding in mind. Superstar pop singers Jennifer Lopez and Shakira performed a sexually stimulating act in front of millions of people. The Children’s Voice Chorus of Miami, with 40 children, some pre-adolescent, appeared amid the show’s sexual gyrations. Around the choir of young girls was the symbol for female. Millions applauded. No one objected.

The lesson is clear: Immodesty is empowerment. Femininity means thrusting your private parts toward a camera. A girl will be rewarded with applause and accolades for sexually stimulating strangers.

If no one objects, the perpetrators can move to the next step of taking sexual advantage of the vulnerable. In the weeks leading up to Super Bowl Sunday, sex trafficking surges. Last year, police arrested 169 in Atlanta on trafficking charges — including 34 with minors.

In preparation for this year’s Super Bowl, Miami hotel workers, ride-hailing service drivers and security personnel were given a crash course on combating human trafficking. The value of that well-intentioned training was certainly offset by the sexual stimulation of the halftime show.

Of course, the corporations responsible for the halftime show will never admit to being perpetrators of anything. They can find house feminists who will support them in saying the truly liberated modern woman is “sex positive.” Never mind all the other feminists and mothers and grandmothers and just plain normal people who do not agree at all. Their opinion doesn’t count. Support the sexualization of women and girls and you will be rewarded. Object and you will be denounced.

Now that I have you good and mad, what are we going to do about it? Let’s use our righteous anger and our platforms, limited though they may be, to express ourselves. Here’s a message we need to communicate loud and clear:

Corporate America, major media networks and the NFL, you have shown us that you are all-in for promoting the Sexual Revolution. Decision-makers at Pepsi, your halftime show equates overtly sexual displays as female empowerment and you roped young girls into performing. That’s sexual grooming!

NFL corporate executives, softening victims up to consent to sex more readily is sexual grooming. I hold you responsible for these decisions. You chose these performers. You have been making these types of decisions year after year. One can hardly believe this pattern is accidental.

Christian athletes, especially NFL players, we call on you to stop allowing your talent to be exploited. Let’s use Harrison Butker, kicker for the Super Bowl champs Kansas City Chiefs, as an example. He is a devout Catholic.

Dear Harrison,

Great job on winning the Super Bowl! I’m sure you are thrilled. I am writing to you about something else: the halftime show.

Harrison, you are a good Catholic man. The halftime show was pornographic. It was worse than that, actually. It was designed to sexually stimulate the massive crowd. This sets up the conditions for sexual exploitation. Harrison, the NFL ostensibly sells football. That means you and your talent. But behind the sale of football, they are also selling advertising. The Pepsi Company is evidently selling pornography along with their soft drinks. They are using you and your talent for this unseemly purpose. And they do this at the same time that the FBI has warned of an increase in sex trafficking in Super Bowl cities.

I am asking you, as your sister in Christ, please do something about this. We ordinary fans and citizens do not know the inner workings of the corporate culture around the NFL. You are closer to it than we are. Please use your influence to put a stop to this. Because this needs to stop. What if it were your little daughter or sister being trafficked in the stadium parking lot?

Sincerely

Your friend,

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Write to your own favorite players. Do not shy away from making the connection between sexualized entertainment and sexual grooming.

When we are silent, the perpetrators move to the next step. Say it in your own words. But say something.

Picture credit: Photo by Christopher Alvarenga on Unsplash.


Student Pro-life Activists NOT Single-Issue Voters!

Students Care About a Broad Range of Issues Related to the Sexual Revolution

Despite common stereotypes, most pro-life activists are NOT single-mindedly focused on abortion. The Ruth Institute conducted what may be the first survey of pro-life student opinion on other social issues at the Students for Life Pro-Life Summit on January 25 in Washington D.C. This Summit followed the annual National March for Life and was attended by more than 3,000.

Ruth Institute Founder and President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., explained: “With almost 10% of those attending the Summit taking the survey, we believe we have a representative sampling of the attendees. Since they are the future of the pro-life movement, we wanted to learn what other issues concern them.”

Of the 252 who took the survey at the Ruth Institute booth:


  • 83% said they were concerned about euthanasia
  • 83% said they were troubled by the decline of marriage
  • 66% mentioned contraception as an area of concern
  • 59% said they were troubled by what’s called comprehensive sexuality education
  • 50% said they were concerned about surrogacy and
  • 47% named the worldwide decline of fertility

The ages of those who took the survey ranged from 12 through 76, with an average age of 28. The respondents were 71% women and 77% Catholic.

Dr. Morse observed: “Despite a general belief to the contrary, pro-lifers aren’t single-issue activists. They care about a broad range of issues which, like abortion, are related to the Sexual Revolution.”

Other questions on the Ruth Institute survey included:

  • 1.What brought you to the pro-life position?
  • 2.What do you think is the best argument to advance the pro-life cause?
  • 3.What is the best practical solution to abortion?

Morse said, “We were honored to be able to participate in the Summit. It was an exciting event that brought together student activists and leaders from across the country to learn and network. It also gave us the opportunity to conduct this important survey, perhaps the first of its kind.”


Ruth Institute Blasts NFL and FOX for “Sexual Grooming” in the Super Bowl Halftime Show

“An internationally televised grooming session.” That’s how Ruth Institute President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., described the hyper-sexualized halftime show at Sunday’s Super Bowl. “Convincing prospective victims that overtly sexual displays are normal and empowering, softening victims up to ‘consent’ to sex more readily--these are the hallmarks of sexual grooming.”

Father Mark Hodges, an Orthodox priest and the Ruth Institute’s Dr. J Show producer, added, “The show included a series of bumps and grinds, which offered flashes of crotch and brazenly featured the performers’ buttocks.”


To make matters worse, the pre-game entertainment featured The Children’s Voice Chorus of Miami, with 40 children, some pre-adolescent. The kids stayed around for the game, including the halftime show’s sexual gyrations.

Fr. Hodges continued: "Around the huge choir of prepubescent girls was the symbol for female. But immodesty is not empowerment. Imagine watching that ‘family friendly’ broadcast with your little daughter. The lesson is that femininity means gyrating and thrusting your private parts toward the camera."

Morse also noted that Super Bowls generally include an upsurge of sex trafficking, including underage girls. “After giving some of the guys in Miami what amounted to a sex show, spectators were then turned loose on the streets.”

It’s estimated that each year 17,500 individuals are trafficked in the United States, 81% of them for sexual purposes.

In preparation for the Super Bowl, Miami hotel workers, ride-hailing service drivers, and security personnel were given a crash course on how to combat human trafficking. “The value of that well-intentioned training was more than offset by the sexual stimulation of the halftime show,” Morse observed.

To compliment the sleazy show, one Super Bowl ad featured drag queens, two former contestants on RuPaul’s ‘Drag Race.’ Meanwhile, Fox rejected an ad by a new group called Faces of Choice, featuring the survivors of botched abortions.

Morse commented, “While FOX insisted on inflicting drag queens hawking hummus on American families, it decided a pro-life ad – which contained nothing graphic -- was just too much for Middle America to handle.”

Morse stated, “Corporate America, including the major networks and the NFL, have shown us that they are ‘all in’ for promoting the Sexual Revolution. We call on Christian athletes, especially NFL players, to stop allowing their talent to be exploited for this purpose.”

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