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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.
Jennifer Roback Morse sees a whole collection of “social issues” as, in reality, one giant issue: what is the meaning and purpose of human sexuality?
This article was first published August 23, 2018, at Catholic World Report.
Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse is releasing a new book, The Sexual State, published by TAN Books. The theme of the book is summed up by its subtitle, “How elite ideologies are destroying lives and why the Church was right all along.”
Dr. Morse is founder of the Ruth Institute, “dedicated to finding Christ-like solutions to the problems of family breakdown.” She is a Catholic author, speaker, and academic; her Institute “has accumulated decades of research to support individuals and families harmed by divorce, the hook-up culture, and other forms of family breakdown.” She is married with two children (one adopted from Romania), and regularly speaks at religious and pro-life conferences on the Christian view of marriage and sexuality, and the ill effects of the Sexual Revolution. She lives in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
She has a doctorate in economics and taught at Yale and George Mason University before leaving academic life to care for her two children. She reflected, “Having my own children changed my perspective. It showed me how much children need their parents.”
She recently spoke to CWR about her new book.
CWR: What prompted you to write The Sexual State, and what do you hope readers will get out of it?
Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse: I have been on the front lines of public policy discussions surrounding the definition of marriage, surrogacy, and above all, the impact of the Sexual Revolution on children. I felt it was time to pull all the pieces together in one place. I hope readers will see that what seem to be a whole collection of “social issues” are really one giant issue: what is the meaning and purpose of human sexuality?
CWR: Why did you choose to title the book The Sexual State?
Morse: I am convinced that the Sexual Revolution did not just arise out of nowhere, like a hurricane blowing in from the Gulf. The Sexual Revolution is the creation of rich and powerful ideologues who need the help of the State to achieve their fantasy ideology.
CWR: The subtitle of your book is “Why the Church was right all along.” Is the timing of this subtitle poor, considering that we’ve begun another round of revelations about clergy sex abuse and cover-ups?
Morse: It is a sorry situation, isn’t it? What I meant to say in that subtitle is that the Church’s teachings are correct, and have been all along. I did not mean to imply that every person in the leadership of the Church is doing the right thing. Most reasonable people would agree that if all prelates lived according to Church teaching, we would not be in this mess. We could trust and respect them, as we would really like to be able to do. In that sense, the Church’s teachings are daily being proven correct.
CWR: Who do you think ought to read The Sexual State?
Morse: The Ruth Institute has been developing the concept of victims and survivors of the Sexual Revolution for the past five years. I mostly wrote the book for them, to give them the visibility and affirmation that they deserve and need. I include among the victims children of divorce, reluctantly divorced people, post-abortive women, refugees from the hook-up culture or the gay lifestyle, as well as their family and friends who have been watching in horror from the sidelines.
People such as therapists, teachers, clergy, and others in the helping professions will find insights that will help them assist their clients and patients. Silencing the victims has been a key part of the sexual revolutionary strategy. The Sexual State will help the helping professions see just how pervasive the social “gas-lighting” really is.
I also believe the book should be read by all Christians who hold to the orthodox, ancient teachings of the Church on marriage, family, and human sexuality. The views that are currently considered “Catholic” were once the common beliefs all of branches of Christianity.
And, the book is for all activists for any of the social issues, such as life and marriage issues, who will find clarification and support in this book. This includes anyone who is fed up with being called a bigot, or who refuses to be silenced by sexual radicals.
CWR: Explain what you mean by the ideology of the Sexual Revolution.
Morse: The Sexual Revolution consists of three interlocking ideologies:
The Sexual State devotes a section to each of these ideologies. I give a brief history of how it came to be embedded in law. Above all, I illustrate the extensive propaganda that supports each of these ideologies.
CWR: How did you personally begin to recognize this ideology and devote yourself to combating it?
Morse: This has been cooking in my brain for a long time. I returned to the Church in 1980s after a 12-year lapse. I left the Church over sexual issues at the age of 20. I came back over sexual issues, when I realized the Church was right. I had only a dim idea of just how right the Church was, though.
It was the experience of adopting a two-year-old boy from a Romanian orphanage and giving birth to a little girl in the same year that gave me the key insight of my life: kids need their own parents. All the things we had to do to help our son develop and overcome the losses he experienced just kicked in naturally for our little girl. At that time, I was teaching economics at George Mason University. I realized: holy cow, if kids don’t have the time and attention of their parents, we can’t have a society.
That was the key idea of my first book, Love and Economics: It Takes a Family to Raise a Village. When I wrote that book in 2001, I was worried about divorce and day care and single parenthood. Those problems have not gone away. Instead, the forms of family breakdown and separating children from their parents have grown more intense and permanent, things like third-party reproduction and same-sex parenting.
If children don’t have a right to their parents, no one has a right to anything. I will never stop talking about this.
CWR: What about adoption? You’re an adoptive parent. How can you say kids are entitled to their biological parents?
Morse: Adoption is a wonderful back-up plan if the biological parents can’t be there for their kids for some reason. The fact that adoption works reasonably well most of the time does not give us license as a society to separate children from day-to-day contact with fit parents. This kind of separation routinely takes place in divorced and single-parent households, and we seem to think this is perfectly okay. I will never say it is okay, no matter how often it happens.
We were (and are) good parents to our son. But I could see that for my boy the best thing would have been that none of this had ever happened to him, and that he could have been with his parents. What he went through in that orphanage never should have happened. That is why I say, in the absence of an unavoidable tragedy, kids are entitled to a relationship with their natural, biological parents. And all children, and hence all adults, are entitled to know their identity. That rules out the falsified birth certificates such as some adoptees and all children of anonymous donor conception receive from the State.
CWR: You say that the elite are pushing the ideology of the Sexual Revolution on the broader population. Who are the elites, and what are some of the ways they advance this agenda?
Morse: The “elites,” as I use the term, include the rich, the powerful, and the influential, in any field of endeavor. People like Warren Buffet and George Soros in our time, and John D. Rockefeller III and Katherine McCormick in times past, have financed the spread of the ideologies. Academics produce and promote the research. Entertainment elites like Harvey Weinstein create the propaganda. Their motives are varied but include the fact that some of them are making money, and some of them desire social permission to do what they want sexually without fear of social sanction. And let us not forget: some of them are just plain old-fashioned population controllers.
I also sometimes use the term “Managerial Class” to call attention to how much damage has been done by the college-educated, inflicted on those lower down on the socio-economic ladder. It is a scandal, really.
CWR: You cite the Catholic Church as the one large international organization combating the ideology of the Sexual Revolution. How would you sum up the Church’s view of sex and family life, and how does it contrast with the ideology of the Sexual Revolution?
Morse: Pretty simple, really. Start from the proposition that kids need and deserve their own parents and reason logically from there.
In other words, you end up with traditional Christian sexual morality. There is more to Catholic theology of marriage, of course. But at this moment in history, protecting the basic human right of every child to a relationship with both parents is an achievement worth celebrating.
CWR: What are your thoughts on the 50th anniversary of the release of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae, which restated the Church’s opposition to the use of artificial contraceptives?
Morse: God bless him a thousand times. We needed that. The contraceptive ideology convinces people that sex is a sterile recreational activity, with reproduction thrown in as an afterthought for people with quirky lifestyle preferences. Without that core belief, the whole Sexual Revolution goes down the drain.
CWR: Does the sexual misbehavior of prominent figures in the Church make it more difficult for the Church to proclaim her teaching on sexuality and family life?
Morse: No kidding. We now know why so many clergy refuse to preach or teach on the sexual issues, and why so many dioceses have a lackluster record in this regard. There are way too many men using their position of authority and respect in the Church to pursue their private sexual purposes.
However, this makes it even more important that faithful Catholics take up the challenge of educating themselves, living the Church’s teaching, and sharing it with others. We can’t wait for the clergy to put their houses in order.
CWR: How do you think the many stories of sexual misbehavior by prominent people that have been coming out recently are related to the ideology of the Sexual Revolution?
Morse: You know, for the longest time, I did not want to deal with sexual abuse. I told myself, “sexual abuse has been around since time immemorial: it is not really fair to blame it on a 20th-century ideology. Besides, I have enough other victims and survivors of the Sexual Revolution to deal with.” And if I’m honest with myself, I have to say that I put off dealing with sexual abuse, because the topic is just upsetting and awful and icky.
But now I see that the Sexual Revolution really is profoundly implicated. The Sexual Revolution provides “cover” for predatory sexual behavior. After all, the bottom line of the ideology is that sex is an entitlement. Who believes that, I mean really believes it? The rapist, that’s who. The already-powerful are further empowered to take what they want sexually, because we are all convinced it is nothing more than a sterile recreational activity with no moral or social significance.
It is actually an astonishing situation. Everyone in society believes they are entitled to sex. No one seems to believe that they might someday become the “prey” rather than the predator. We can now see that “consent” is a pretty flimsy basis for deciding when sexual activity is appropriate. I mean, consent is certainly a necessary condition, but it is not a sufficient condition. The starlet on Harvey Weinstein’s proverbial casting couch may have consented in some sense. But most people can now see that “consent” under such circumstances is nowhere near an adequate standard. Too few people are willing to think through what the alternative standard of “appropriate” sexual conduct would be. That is why the women in the pink pussy hats are not going to get to the root of this problem. They are not willing to let go of the ideology that drives sexual abuse. They don’t want to give up their pills and pornography.
Fortunately, the Church has been thinking about this for a long time, despite the dreadful deeds of some in our hierarchy.
CWR: When will your book be released, and how can people get a copy of it? How can they follow the activities of the Ruth Institute?
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