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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.
Posted on: Monday, February 15, 2021
by Mary Eberstadt, Senior Research Fellow, Faith and Reason Institute
This piece originally published at Newsweek on February 15, 2021.
Dear President Biden,
This is my second open letter in Newsweek since your election, trying to reach your ear as a fellow American Catholic.
Following your inauguration, my first letter urged you to stand in solidarity with the pro-life movement by sending a message to the annual March for Life in January. Such a magnanimous gesture, I explained, would have underlined the lofty rhetoric of your inaugural address, especially among those whom you singled out for reassurance: Americans who did not vote for you.
To understate, you declined that invitation to bipartisan statesmanship. Instead, your first initiatives in office included executive orders that will swell the number of abortions not only in the United States, but around the world. That longstanding discrepancy between your Church's teaching, on the one hand, and your pro-abortion policies, on the other, might never give you pause. But one other new development should.
Mr. President, the election has emboldened your liberal and progressive allies to target for ostracism and punishment a new band of "deplorables": your fellow Catholics.
Exhibit A: On January 24, 2021, Twitter locked the account of Catholic World Report, the online magazine of Ignatius Press. IP is the largest Catholic publishing house in the Anglosphere. It issues volumes by popes, cardinals, bishops and other men and women of the cloth, as well as lay authors (this one included). CWR is its news arm. Like other Ignatius Press publications, the site leans in toward history and scholarship. Its essay section recently featured one piece on the Gnostic heresy, another on the future of Western civilization and another comparing translations of St. Augustine's Confessions.
Mr. President, the notion that cerebral CWR could run afoul of any "community standards" is prima facie risible. So how did this Catholic outlet find itself in the censorship crosshairs? Because of a news item reading as follows:
Biden plans to nominate Dr. Rachel Levine, a biological man identifying as a transgender woman who has served as Pennsylvania's health secretary since 2017, to be HHS Assistant Secretary for Health. Levine is also a supporter of the contraceptive mandate.
Without further explanation, Twitter ruled that CWR had violated its rules "against hateful conduct."
Days later, authorities relented and restored the account. But the message they sent was loud and menacing. If a cultural authority as established as Ignatius Press can be punished online for being Catholic, who will be spared?
This brings us to Exhibit B. Within days of your inauguration, an online mob tried to oust a professor from his post at a Catholic university.
That was David Upham, associate professor of politics at the University of Dallas—an institution renowned for its non-dissident Catholicism. Upham's purported thought crime, like that of Catholic World Report, was commenting on the appointment of Dr. Levine, including a remark about "participat[ing] in these falsehoods" about transgenderism.
And so, in a pattern repeated ad nauseam these days, an online rabble led by a transgender alumnus organized a petition and ratcheted up the pressure to oust the professor. This time around, the woke pile-on failed. University of Dallas authorities refused to genuflect; instead, a joint letter from the provost and president affirmed that "The university embraces unreservedly the Church's articulation of the moral law."
Once again, however, the implied message was ominous. If a tenured professor at a flagship American Catholic university could be threatened in this way, who's next?
This brings us to Exhibit C: social media censorship of religious traditionalists—especially your fellow Catholics—has accelerated during your brief time in office.
For instance, yet another Catholic publisher, TAN Books, has found numerous ads for its books suddenly removed from Facebook and Instagram. One was a volume about Mary called The Anti-Mary Exposed. Another was Motherhood Redeemed, a critical look at radical feminism. A third was a book on Karl Marx by a professor at Grove City College. A fourth was a primer about the Stations of the Cross, written for children. Ads from another small business, which sold prints of the Sacred Heart, were deemed unacceptable and removed.
Given that big tech will make examples even of small businesses, Exhibit D should come as no surprise: social media sporadically suppresses Catholic voices—especially influential pro-life ones.
So, for example, the Susan B. Anthony List—run by prominent Catholic Marjorie Dannenfelser, one of the leading pro-life voices in the United States—has been bedeviled online repeatedly. During the election, Facebook refused to allow the group's ads to run in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Other instances of interference with the SBA List and other pro-life organizations abound—too many to recount here; see this link.
Mr. President, next consider Exhibit E: the stigmatizing of groups dedicated to Church teaching via spurious accusations of "hate."
On December 9, 2020, NBC News published a story that uncritically accepted the Southern Poverty Law Center's designations of certain organizations as "hate groups." These now include Christian organizations being singled out for their fealty to...well, Christianity. One such is the Ruth Institute, whose mission—in the words of its Catholic founder Jennifer Roback Morse—is opposing "sex abuse, pornography, and divorce."Read the rest of the article.
Posted on: Thursday, February 11, 2021
Many sperm donors donate because they want to help other people fulfill their dream of having a family. A brief glance at sperm donor websites reveals heart-warming pictures of couples, just waiting for their dreams to be fulfilled. Single women, infertile couples, lesbian couples, and pregnant mothers all feature prominently. If men were more prone to guilt, you would wonder how more men didn’t feel compelled to donate their sperm to help these people achieve their reproductive goals.
The marketing even appeals to the prospective parents: just 3 easy steps to find a sperm donor (select using our search, place your order, and we’ll confirm). There is usually a picture of a handsome, younger man with options for type of hair color, ethnicity, eye color, and so on are pictured. And, to further ease the prospective parents’ minds, the authority of doctors and other medical professionals is attested to, throughout the site with pictures, testimonials, and explanations of the safety.
Both the left and right, it seems, are swayed by the arguments inherent in the whole business: the unequal access to procreation is remedied by sperm donors, and private enterprise is busy solving a societal problem with minimal governmental interference. Could this be a burgeoning moment of societal unity? Perhaps a closer investigation into the rest of the story of sperm donors will show the untold damages this arrangement causes.
As so often happens, the people who are impacted the most and have the smallest voice, are the children conceived by the donors. Their stories, unfortunately, are too frequently glossed over, or actively hidden. These children, when they are finally told, often suffer intense grief and anguish. Many of their stories relate feelings of being betrayed, commoditized, unwanted, or cut off, and sometimes they feel shame and guilt they certainly don't deserve.
Allison K. is one of these children. Her mother told her that her father wasn’t her biological father, on the day that Allison was moving into her first dorm as a college freshman. Initially, she explained, she didn’t care much. “A nice man wanted to help family have children, and my parents wanted to be able to have their own family.” Her feelings, however, changed the more she learned about the whole industry and what sperm donors can refuse to do.
She learned about pay anonymity, sperm donors refusing contact, no limits being placed on the number of births from donated sperm, and offspring not getting any access to medical records. Most poignantly, she said that she suspects that her biological father doesn’t want anything to do with her, which causes her (and her brother) pain and trauma that causes them to cry about it, even though they are now grown adults. Her closing statement is a powerful condemnation of sperm donors. She said, “My father might have sold his sperm, but my identity is not for sale. It belongs to me. I am not a commodity. I am his daughter."
Not every donor conceived child is rejected by the sperm donor. A New York man, who also bought into the humanitarian angle, donated his sperm to a local lesbian couple, waived any parental claims (custody, visitation) and in return was absolved of the need to pay child support. Unfortunately, the child was so ill-cared for that she was placed in foster care. The man, feeling the pull of paternity, wanted to care for the child and worked with the couple to be granted access. They refused, the courts backed them up, and even refused his request to take a paternity test. The child deals with being raised without a father and now without her home because she’s in foster care.
Increasingly there are more resources for donor-conceived persons, like DonorChildren.com or Them Before Us, to help people in these situations. They provide safe spaces for people to share their stories and create a network to help discover more about their genetic makeup and identities. The sheer number of stories and hunger for more information about their cultural heritage and genetic identity, means something has gone wrong with our society.
These stories, these people, these human experiences are all why the Ruth Institute believes that each child has a right to know his or her cultural heritage and genetic identity. What’s more, these children have additional rights which, when followed by their natural mother and father, will lead to the best outcomes for the child. Whatever the motivations of the sperm donors may be, the rest of the story shows a need for a return to the traditional Judeo-Christian sexual ethic, which protects and looks out for the interests of the children, and not as commoditized objects.
Posted on: Tuesday, February 02, 2021
This article was posted at Catholic News Agency February 2, 2021.
Critics of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) say the organization has become extreme and “thoroughly disgraced,” after the center released its 2020 “census of hate groups,” which included numerous pro-life and family organizations.
Since 1990, the SPLC has issued an annual list of hate groups, listing organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis. More recently, however, it has also included pro-life and pro-traditional marriage Christian organizations as “anti-LGBTQ hate groups.”
Many of these groups are well-respected, such as the Ruth Institute, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), Family Research Council, and several smaller Christian churches.
“Influential anti-LGBTQ hate groups,” the latest SPLC report says, “became further entrenched in the Trump White House, and the Trump administration continued its years-long pattern of appointing federal judges with ties to anti-LGBTQ groups. The most high-profile of these appointments was Amy Coney Barrett, who joined the Supreme Court last fall and has ties to Alliance Defending Freedom, which SPLC has designated an anti-LGBTQ hate group.”
Jeremy Tedesco, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, responded that “ADF is one of the nation’s most respected and successful Supreme Court advocates, and has won 11 cases at the U.S. Supreme Court since 2011.”
“We work to preserve fundamental freedoms of speech, religion, and conscience for all Americans,” Tedesco told CNA. “Once a respected civil rights organization, the Southern Poverty Law Center has destroyed its own credibility because of its blatant partisan agenda and discredited fundraising scheme. It has devolved into a group that attacks and spreads lies about organizations and people who do not agree with its far-left agenda.”
ADF has created a website responding to the SPLC's allegations.
The most recent SPLC report was released February 1. It presents a series of proposals, including a demand that “public figures involved in inciting and giving encouragement to the armed insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 — destroying property, injuring dozens of officers, and leaving five people dead – should be permanently deplatformed from all social media. In addition, corporations should permanently suspend political donations to Members of Congress and other elected officials that helped incite the violent siege and request that any past political donations to their campaigns be returned.”
In 2019, the SPLC’s reputation as a watchdog of injustice and inequality suffered a major hit when co-founder Morris Dees was forced to resign after serious allegations of racism and misogyny.
However, inclusion on the SPLC’s “hate group list” still has negative consequences. For example, online retail giant Amazon has used the list to disqualify nonprofit organizations from using the “Amazon Smile” program to receive donations.
Last year, NBC reported as scandalous that as 14 organizations designated “hate groups” by the SPLC benefited from the Paycheck Protection Program, designed to provide relief to small businesses affected by the coronavirus lockdowns.
Among the groups listed was the Ruth Institute, a pro-life organization based in Louisiana. Its founder and president, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, said the group faced bad publicity and unfair bias from the report.
“NBC relies on the Southern Poverty Law Center for the ‘hate group’ designation. This just means the Ruth Institute is a group the SPLC hates. Big deal. They raise a lot of money with their hate-mongering tactics. In 2018, their net assets were a half billion dollars,” Morse said.
Morse said “the Ruth Institute is a global, non-profit organization leading an international, interfaith coalition to defend the family and build a civilization of love. If fighting sex abuse, pornography, and divorce makes us a hate group, so be it.”
Posted on: Friday, January 29, 2021
Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse
This article originally published at Stream.org
NBC News is doing a full-court press against pro-family organizations, with three smear pieces in the last three weeks of 2020. These stories aim to eliminate pro-family groups from polite society and routine business transactions. Even worse, these NBC News stories are scapegoating and marginalizing Christians. We are to blame, you see, for all the troubles in our troubled world.
First up: on December 9, NBC News published a story cataloguing 14 organizations on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hate List” that received Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loans. (Full disclosure: the Ruth Institute, which I head, is one of the 14.) The Paycheck Protection Program was designed to provide relief to small businesses affected by the government-imposed coronavirus lockdowns.
The NBC article quoted experts who mused aloud about whether the government should forgive Paycheck Protection Program loans to these “hate groups.” These experts were “troubled” by “extremist groups” receiving federal stimulus money.
NBC News’ ultimate target is not Amazon, of course. Nor is it the Paycheck Protection Program. Their ultimate target is
you and me …
To put this in perspective, the 14 groups received a total of $4.3 million. (The Ruth Institute received roughly $37,000 through the Paycheck Protection Program.) Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood affiliates received $80 million in funding, and dozens of strip clubs qualified for between $11.5 million and $27.95 million in COVID disaster relief. No word about those organizations in NBC’s breathless story.
The Ruth Institute responded by launching a petition in association with Life Petitions demanding that NBC retract the story. We also asked that they stop using the Southern Poverty Law Center as a source and issue an apology.
No sooner had that petition gone up, than NBC did another story, this time, focusing on “anti-gay” businesses and non-profits. They admitted that these organizations had not been designated “hate groups” by the SPLC. But, they declared, these groups have a “demonstrated track record of anti-LGBTQ advocacy or espousing an anti-LGBTQ ideology.”
The report zeroed in on two private schools that have made national news due to their “anti-LGBTQ policies — and their high-profile conservative backers.” Immanuel Christian School, a private K-10 in northern Virginia where Vice President Mike Pence’s wife teaches, and Trinity Schools, a group of private Christian schools where Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett was once a trustee, both received funding. These schools require their students and faculty to adhere to traditional Christian sexual morality. These requirements are perfectly legal (for now).
This December 12 story also targets businesses that have had high-profile legal conflicts with the LGBT establishment, among them Catholic Social Services in Philadelphia, Roncalli High School in Indianapolis and Arlene’s Flowers. The two Catholic organizations are in court defending their rights to act in accordance with their Catholic beliefs. Arlene’s Flowers is a small business that has been legally harassed since 2013. In the minds of the LGBT cheerleaders at NBC, these organizations should be beyond the pale of Paycheck Protection. Just being hauled into court by the Human Rights Campaign and the ACLU, just fighting back, is enough for these organizations to be excluded from relief every other small business is entitled to.
The most insidious aspect of this article is the scapegoating in the section headed “Warped Priorities.” NBC quotes “experts” who blame Christians for the financial struggles of small businesses. According to one such expert, “It is hard to find a clearer example of the Trump administration’s warped priorities than allowing countless mom-and-pop shops to go under without proper relief while bailing out wealthy and well-connected anti-LGBTQ enterprises on Americans’ dime.” (As if Arlene’s Flowers were not a “mom-and-pop” business.)
The president of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce also commented to NBC News. “I think it’s ridiculous,” he said, “that the Small Business Administration led by the Trump administration would put the needs of avowed anti-LGBT organizations before hardworking small-business owners. These folks are worried about keeping the lights on.” (As if all of those gay bars went under because a couple of Christian academies got small business loans.)
In NBC’s mind, evidently, the Chinese Communist Party’s malfeasance had nothing to do with the struggles of small businesses. Evidently, there was nothing “warped” about the “priorities” of the state governors that created the financial hardship in the first place. Evidently, the media-induced panic was blameless.
This is scapegoating, plain and simple. “If it weren’t for those Bad People over there, all of us Good People would be fine.” The specific short-term end game for these two articles is to make “hate groups” have to repay the Paycheck Protection Program loans. These loans were advertised as forgivable and will undoubtedly be forgiven for everyone else, including the abortion clinics and strip clubs.
The third entry in NBC News’ trifecta of Sexual Revolutionary propaganda criticized the Amazon Smile program. This program allows consumers to contribute a small portion of their Amazon purchases to the charity of their choice. NBC News takes for granted that all Decent People will be instantly and thoroughly shocked to find that anti-LGBT groups are participating in this program. After all, Amazon’s participation agreement states that non-profits that promote “intolerance, hate, terrorism, violence, money laundering or other illegal activities” are ineligible. All Decent People know that it is intolerant to say that homosexual practices are unhealthy. All Decent People realize that advocating that parents be able to opt out their children out of sex education is terrorism against LGBT people.
NBC News’ ultimate target is not Amazon, of course. Nor is it the Paycheck Protection Program. Their ultimate target is you and me and anyone else who stands in the way of The Grand March of the Sexual Revolution. We are the problem. If it weren’t for us, everyone could have all the sex they want and nothing bad would ever happen.
In other words, NBC News is scapegoating and dehumanizing us for our political views. I wonder if the Titans of Tolerance will ever notice.
No matter. The Ruth Institute is a global, non-profit organization leading an international, interfaith coalition to defend the family and build a civilization of love. If fighting sex abuse, pornography, divorce and the LGBT agenda makes us a hate group, so be it.
Posted on: Tuesday, January 12, 2021
by The Ruth Institute StaffA few years ago, The Ruth Institute analyzed the case of Lisa Miller, who fled the country with her biological daughter, to protect the daughter from the alleged abuse of Lisa’s former partner. Lisa, a former lesbian, was damaged and harmed by the Sexual State. Lisa's former partner used the power of the family courts to force Lisa to share custody with her, by redefining the "presumption of paternity" to the gender-neutral "presumption of parentage." Now Lisa Miller is back in the news – hoping to receive a presidential pardon.
The case is strange and disconcerting for anyone who is familiar with it. Lisa Miller (interviewed for her story in 2008 by Lifesite News) – had a difficult life: by the time she was seven she was paying the mortgage, making sure food was on the table, and dealing with her parents’ divorce. Due to that and her mother’s mental illness, she got addicted to speed, and when she was married, her husband introduced her to alcohol. After a failed suicide attempt while recovering from alcoholism in the hospital, she was transferred to a psych ward.
While in the psych ward her therapists decided, without consulting her husband, that the reason she had so many struggles was because she was a lesbian. Clearly, they told her, the struggles she was facing came from difficulties “coming out.” Later, after divorcing her husband, she followed their advice.
The therapists encouraged her to be a lesbian (rather than working out her relationship with her husband), and told her that even if her first relationship with a woman didn’t work out (it didn’t), that doesn’t mean that the second one wouldn’t (it didn’t either).
The incredible thing was that she had all of this childhood trauma (what 7 year-old should be balancing checkbooks and taking speed?) that the therapists hardly delved into and didn’t really discuss with her. Talking a patient into a sexual identity based on the therapists’ hunch, and disconnected from the facts of the patient’s case, seems like it might be malpractice.
This also brings up another question about the immutability of sexual preference. After both of her failed relationships with different women, and the abusive, though longer-term relationship with Janet Jenkins, she decided that actively living a lesbian lifestyle wasn’t for her (not to mention her doubts about her sexual preference during that span of time). Can sexual preference be immutable if people’s sexual preference changes? If sexual preference is immutable for some people but not others, how is the law to deal with a category like that?
Lisa’s life became more difficult as she moved in with, and later became joined in a civil union with, Janet Jenkins. Lisa said, “Janet and I did not have a typical relationship.We were together – however, there was rarely any intimacy.Maybe once or twice a year and this was consistent throughout the relationship.I personally did not feel that way.This upset Janet a great deal and a lot of the abuse centered around that, as well, with name-calling and things like that… I actually, ended up leaving her in 1999 because the relationship had turned violent”
While many of us may be confused as to why Lisa might stay in a relationship that became more and more abusive, Lisa explained it in terms of a comfort
zone. “For me, being with her, and this is going to sound weird, but it was like a comfort zone because I was used to being abused growing up…
with women, what I was trying to do was trying to recreate a mother/daughter bond that I never had.”
After Lisa and Janet got back together, they moved to Vermont and obtained a civil union in 2000. In 2001 Lisa decided to have a daughter via artificial sperm donation. Janet generally maintained that she wasn’t interested in the child, and was not helpful during the pregnancy. The birth certificate lists only Lisa Miller as the parent.
According to Lisa, even though Jenkins was granted some parental rights after the dissolution proceedings began (though they lasted more than 5 years). Jenkins’ involvement with the child was minimal, even skipping the court ordered dates for visitation.
As far as the sordid allegations of the proceedings go, what Lisa Miller alleges Jenkins did isn’t pretty. She recounts that her daughter said that Jenkins would bathe naked with her (as a 5 year-old girl!), and that her daughter would come back from the few visits she did have and mime committing suicide. After that, Lisa cut off visits, and eventually fled the country to protect her daughter from an allegedly abusive and erratic ex-partner.
Dr. Morse said of this heartbreaking case, “Lisa Miller was one of the early victims of the Sexual State. Her case convinced me that redefining marriage would redefine parenthood in ways that few people were taking seriously. Lisa Miller entered into a civil union with another woman and had a child through an anonymous sperm donor. Lisa no doubt believed that she was the mother of the child. The government redefined parenthood, right out from under her. She had no idea that by entering into a civil union, she had given parental rights to the other woman, something that does not happen in stepparent situations.
“When those visits became abusive, Lisa tried to prevent them. The bias of the court in favor of the non-parent was so strong and the power of the family court so arbitrary, that Lisa could not protect her child. She fled the country with her daughter. She had the assistance of two brave Mennonite pastors and a Christian businessman.
“I support a presidential pardon for Lisa Miller, and for Philip Zodhiates, Timothy Miller and Kevin Miller.”
Support Lisa Miller by signing the petition at LifeSite News today!
Posted on: Thursday, January 07, 2021
The Department of Insurance, led by openly homosexual Ricardo Lara, reclassified normal breasts as ‘abnormal structures of the body caused by congenital defects.’
This article, which quotes Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, was written by Doug Mainwaring and posted January 6, 2021, at Life News.
SACRAMENTO, California, January 6, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — California’s Department of Insurance has signaled it will now require health insurance companies operating in the state to cover double mastectomies for gender dysphoric teenage girls. The government agency asserted the removal of their breasts is no longer considered “cosmetic” surgery but is instead required “reconstructive” surgery of “abnormal structures of the body caused by congenital defects.”
In other words, the healthy breasts of confused teenage girls are deemed “abnormal structures” and “congenital defects” if that girl decides she is a boy. The state of California now equates breasts on gender dysphoric young girls with other medical conditions such as cancer or trauma.
The move by the commissioner’s office was triggered by an inquiry from San Diego’s TransFamily Support Services regarding past denials of coverage for “male chest surgery for patients under 18 years old who are transitioning from female to male.”
“For far too long, individuals diagnosed with gender dysphoria have had to battle a host of challenges to get access to gender-affirming care in order to be their true selves,” said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara in a statement, responding to the transgender activist organization.
Lara blamed “[s]ocial stigma, misconceptions about gender dysphoria and its treatment, and outdated medical criteria,” which he insisted without exception are “barriers to necessary medical care that can lead to tragic results for individuals with gender dysphoria, especially for our transgender youth.”Lara himself is openly homosexual.
At Lara’s urging, the Insurance Department’s General Counsel issued an Opinion Letter stating that “denying coverage for mastectomy and reconstruction of a male chest based solely on age is impermissible under state laws requiring coverage of reconstructive surgery.”
Brandon Showalter, a journalist who in recent years has emerged as an expert on the tragic medical mutilation of healthy young bodies enabled by the cult of transgenderism, called the procedure “breast amputation surgery.”
The change in language is an “unethical, predatory, and despicable attempt to even more viciously abuse children via gender ideology,” Maria Keffler, co-founder of the recently-formed Partners for Ethical Care, told Showalter on Monday.
“By circumventing parental consent in order to medicalize children without any minimum age restriction, the California Department of Insurance, whose very letterhead claims to ‘Protect, Prevent, and Preserve’, does exactly the opposite,” said Keffler.
“The active promotion of transgenderism has resulted in massive uncontrolled and unconsented experimentation upon children and adolescents,” Dr. Michelle Cretella, MD, FCP, president of the American College of Pediatricians told LifeSiteNews previously. “This is child abuse.”
“Transgenderism is a psychological disorder, not a biological one,” said Cretella.
“The commissioner is requiring insurance companies to pay surgeons to remove the healthy breasts of emotionally distraught girls and women and implying it is ‘necessary treatment’ — yet we already have multiple studies demonstrating that mutilation does not treat gender dysphoria,” Cretella told PJ Media’s Tyler O’Neil.
“The insurance companies, no doubt, would prefer not to pay for expensive, unnecessary surgery. And now the Insurance Commission, which is a relatively obscure agency of the state, is acting at the behest of activists, putting pressure on insurance companies.”
Roback Morse told LifeSiteNews that she wondered if the California Insurance Commission will apply the same amount of pressure to health insurance providers to cover surgery costs when these same patients choose to revert to their biological sex in the future.
Read the full article here.
Posted on: Thursday, January 07, 2021
COMMENTARY: The United States is deciding right now what and who it is going to be for the next 500 years.
by Jennifer Roback MorseThis article was first posted
The year 2020 was tough. Many of us had been joking about how great it would be when 2020 ended and we could start fresh again. But in our hearts, we know that 2021 is not likely to be any better. In fact, given the events of yesterday, it may be worse. We are afraid to face this: We feel as if we are staring into the abyss. We can’t figure out what to do. So, we do nothing, and scare ourselves even more.
Therefore, let us face our fear.
The world we once knew is gone.
That world is not coming back.
We in the United States have enjoyed a period of peace and unprecedented prosperity. We never imagined that in our own lifetimes our nation could be radically transformed. But here we are on the precipice of dramatic change.
Every 500 years or so, the world shakes itself apart. Five hundred years after the Great Schism in 1054, the unity of Christendom was shattered further, this time by reformers and revolutionaries. Those events within the Church shaped the world for the next 500 years, for better or for worse. Similar shake-ups happened through inventions and discoveries like those from the turn of the 15th century through the 16th century, when the New World was discovered.
Today, the world is shaking itself apart once again. The country that inaugurated the “March of Democracy” and self-government has degenerated into a technocratic oligarchy with powers beyond Machiavelli’s wildest dreams. What was once an age of reason and science has morphed into an age of “political science”: Scientific truth is whatever the people in power say it is. What was touted as an age of religious tolerance has become the age of more Christian martyrs than all the preceding centuries combined.
Yes, our world is shaking itself apart. But, eventually, the upheaval will come to an end, and our world will reorganize and stabilize. We are deciding right now what and who we are going to be for the next 500 years.
In my opinion, the One Big Issue, the issue behind all the other issues, is the issue of truth. The people who have claimed for years that there is no such thing as “truth” have revealed themselves as either self-deluded fools at best or flat-out liars at worst. Their claims were meant to disarm you and me from fighting for the truth. “That will lead to an inquisition,” they said. Guess what? They are running inquisitions left and right, literally.
We can safely predict that moral relativism as an intellectually respectable philosophy is dead and gone — and good riddance. Oh, sure, some people will continue to talk that way. But fewer and fewer people will take that talk at face value. No one can any longer hide behind the idea that “my truth” is a sovereign that demands unquestioning respect from others. For us as believers, this means that we can’t hide behind our First Amendment “rights” to our beliefs no matter how irrational they may seem to others. We must be prepared to publicly defend our beliefs and our conduct with reasoned arguments.
This may sound as if we are abandoning our First Amendment religious-liberty protections. Newsflash: We have already lost nearly all of our basic religious liberties. Our very capable attorneys are fighting for their lives for scraps from the table of the Secular Ruling Class.
On the plus side: The Secular Ruling Class must also justify and explain itself. When they claim that truth leads to tyranny, more of us will recognize this as a con job. What they are really saying is, “This is what we want. We can’t defend it. We’re hoping to scare you into not defending your beliefs. We are going to try to chase you off the field by undermining your confidence in the very idea of truth itself.” When they talk about “their truth,” we will recognize that what they mean is: “Now that we have power, we’re going to do what we want.”
And “what they want” is none too attractive. In the recent past, we have seen shocking revelations of wrongdoing by the rich and powerful. We have become aware of the sexual abuse of children in public schools, the Boy Scouts, sports and, most scandalous of all, in churches, especially our own Roman Catholic Church. We have become aware of the weaker being sexually harassed by the stronger: employees by their employers; aspiring actors by producers; seminarians by their religious superiors. We’ve become aware of the collusion of public officials and businesses with enemies of the United States.
These revelations have been demoralizing. But now that we are getting used to the idea, we can see that the revelations are actually a double blessing. First, we are better off knowing than not knowing. These things have undoubtedly been going on in secret for a long time. Second, these activities are now widely decried as indefensible and wrong. No moral relativism here!
We should be grateful, not fearful, when the new year brings further revelations of wrongdoing. I like to picture the Holy Mother of God lifting up rocks. Dark, slimy, creepy-crawly things are scurrying around, looking for cover.
Once we know the problems, we have an obligation to deal with them to the best of our ability. For those with specialized professional skills and connections, that means jumping into the judicial or medical or political or ecclesial or media fray. Fight for the truth, and stop cooperating with untruth in your area of expertise.
Many of us will take smaller and less public steps. Maybe you’ll be the church secretary or election observer who blows the whistle. Maybe you’ll be the friend who gives a fired whistleblower another job and a place to live. Maybe you’ll keep rallying your friends and family to keep attention on the problems you know about. Choose an arena in which you can accomplish something, small though it may seem. But do something.
Up until now, the enemy has conquered by winning lots of little skirmishes, taking lots of small fields. Most of the time, he was unopposed.
No more. Make up your mind to get together with fellow believers and educate yourselves. Speak the truth. Take a stand.
How we conduct ourselves as believers today will have far-reaching consequences. Let 2021 be the Year of Truth.
Posted on: Tuesday, December 22, 2020
“NBC’s second broadside against the Ruth Institute is both predictable and pathetic,” said Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., the Institute’s founder and president.
Following its December 9 story, on December 12, NBC did another “exposé” of supposed hate groups that received funding under the Paycheck Protection Program, using information provided by the thoroughly partisan Southern Poverty Law Center.
“SPLC has become the attack dog of the Sexual Revolution,” said Morse. “Its victims include the American Family Association, Family Research Council, the American College of Pediatricians, and Liberty Counsel, as well as the Ruth Institute.
“SPLC’s formula is the essence of simplicity. If you oppose same-sex marriage, you’re a hate group. If you affirm that there’s no science behind what’s called transgenderism, you’re hateful.”
Morse added, “Like so many Sexual Revolutionary groups, NBC and SPLC have given in to the totalitarian impulse. Their tactics are meant to foreclose debate. If they pin the ‘hateful’ label on an organization, no one has to consider its arguments. Because neither entity can answer our arguments, they try to label us hateful and ignore us. It’s a sign of intellectual impotence.
“The Ruth Institute has fought many of the worst effects of the Sexual Revolution. More than any other organization, we have exposed clerical sex abuse. We also provide support for the victims of divorce, pornography, and other forms of sexual exploitation.
“Far from helping victims, NBC has been credibly accused by its former reporter, Ronan Farrow, of shutting down an investigation of charges of sex abuse against former studio head Harvey Weinstein.
“So, while the Ruth Institute was working to support victims of sex abuse, according to Farrow, NBC was protecting a sex offender.”
Morse noted ironically, “We’ve got to be one of the few ‘hate groups’ whose leadership and staff include Catholics, a Jew and an Orthodox priest, as well as Evangelicals, Pentecostals and Mormons. We have also collaborated with African pro-life groups, trying to help them protect their right to have as many children as they want. Odd behavior for a group that is allegedly the Second Coming of the Ku Klux Klan.”
Late last week, in association with Life Petitions, the Ruth Institute launched a petition demanding NBC issue a retraction of its December 9 story, stop using the Southern Poverty Law Center as a source, and “cease harassing and defaming organizations that are working to defend the family, the bedrock of American civilization.” The petition gathered more than 6,600 signatures in just a few days despite the busy holiday season.
Jennifer Roback Morse is the author of The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives.
The Ruth Institute is a global, non-profit organization leading an international, interfaith coalition to defend the family and build a civilization of love.
To schedule an interview with Dr. Morse, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted on: Thursday, December 17, 2020
Ruth Institute President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., explained: “Using the Southern Poverty Law Center as its source, NBC reported that 14 ‘hate groups’ received a total of $4.3 million in COVID relief administered by the Small Business Administration.
“The Institute was one of the smallest recipients, receiving $30,000 through the Paycheck Protection Program, which allowed us to keep the lights on and pay staff salaries.”
The petition notes: “By the SPLC’s standards, hate groups would also include women’s athletic associations which oppose allowing ‘transgendered’ men to compete in women’s sports. Likewise, parents who object to men in cocktail dresses and tiaras interacting with children at Drag Queen Story Hour are equally hateful.”
“Apparently, the SPLC finds nothing hateful about the killing of unborn children and nothing degrading to women about pole dancing. With its story on ‘hate groups’ getting COVID relief, NBC has firmly established itself as a tool of the Sexual Revolution.”
Morse said NBC’s credibility problems go far beyond its December 9 story. “During the past campaign, coverage by the networks, including NBC, was 67% positive for Biden but 95% negative for Trump.”
The petition charges: “On the sexual front, NBC’s biases stand out as particularly odious. Ronan Farrow, formerly an NBC News investigative reporter, credibly claims they ordered him to stop investigating the Harvey Weinstein story. NBC denies this, but their denial is flimsy.”
Besides the retraction of its story, the petition demands that NBC stop using SPLC as a source, and “cease harassing and defaming organizations that are working to defend the family, the bedrock of American civilization.”
The Ruth Institute is a global, non-profit organization leading an international, interfaith coalition to defend the family and build a civilization of love.
Jennifer Roback Morse is the author of The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives.
To schedule an interview with Dr. Morse, contact email@example.com.
Posted on: Thursday, December 17, 2020
This article was originally published December 17, 2020 in the National Catholic Register.
by Jennifer Roback Morse
I commend New York Times writer Nicholas Kristof, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Visa and Mastercard for exposing and fighting the plague of the sexual exploitation of children on the internet. Kristof’s pathbreaking story shows just how widespread kiddie porn really is, and how easily the innocent can be entrapped in its snares. Hawley has introduced legislation making it easier for victims to sue. And Visa and Mastercard have withdrawn their services from the Pornhub site. This issue transcends liberal and conservative, left and right. However, something more needs to be said.
In his Dec. 4 story, Kristof focused on the pornography distribution site Pornhub. He noted that a search on the site for “girls under 18” and “14yo” both yielded more than 100,000 videos. They include the rape of children, as well as strangulation and other vile acts. The mega-site attracts more than 3.5-billion visits a month, making it the 10th most-visited website in the world.
Largely in response to this story, Visa and Mastercard announced that they would no longer allow their cards to be used to pay for services on Pornhub. In addition, Hawley filed the Survivors of Human Trafficking Fight Back Act, creating a private cause of action for victims of rape and sex trafficking. The act would allow victims to sue websites that knowingly depict forced sex acts, criminalize the knowing distribution of videos of coerced sex acts, including criminalize “revenge porn,” which is the non-consensual distribution of sexually explicit images by an ex-lover to cause embarrassment or distress to the victim.
All these are good steps. I very much appreciate Kristof and The New York Times for this reporting. However, there is still one thing that troubles me.
Kristof stated, “The issue is not pornography but rape. Let’s agree that promoting assaults on children or on anyone without consent is unconscionable. The problem with Bill Cosby or Harvey Weinstein or Jeffrey Epstein was not the sex but the lack of consent — and so it is with Pornhub. ... It should be possible to be sex positive and Pornhub negative.”
Perhaps it “should be possible.” But I’m not convinced. I think this is one of those exquisite distinctions that is possible in theory, but not possible in fact. The reason? The underlying principle of pornography is that sex is a recreational activity with no intrinsic moral or social significance. The only possible problem with porn or with any sex really, is a lack of consent. Assenting to this view of human sexuality is, I suppose, what it means to be “sex positive.
But this view places more weight on the concept of “consent” than it can reasonably bear. We’ve seen throughout the #MeToo movement, that power imbalances can blur the lines between consensual and nonconsensual sex. As Catholics, we have seen many of our bishops ignore the sexual harassment of seminarians, under the theory that they were adults. And I think we have all seen enough to conclude that being “sex positive” does not actually empower the potentially weaker party. Potential victims, such as seminarians in relation to their superiors, employees in relation to their bosses, and children in relation to anybody, are not in a position to give meaningful consent. Our current crop of ideas about sexuality actually disarms potential victims, placing too much responsibility on their shoulders and ignoring their vulnerability relative to the offenders.
Kristof quotes some of the victims. Their responses are telling.
"I had expected the survivors to want to shut down Pornhub and send its executives to prison. Some did, but others were more nuanced. Lydia, now 20, was trafficked as a child and had many rape videos posted on the site. “My stomach hurts all the time” from the tension, she told me, but she doesn’t want to come across as hostile to porn itself.
“I don’t want people to hear ‘No porn!’” Lydia told me. “It’s more like, ‘Stop hurting kids.’”
In my opinion, Lydia doesn’t need to be “nuanced.” She has every reason to be angry. She should not have to worry about whether she comes across as “hostile to porn.” She has every right to be just as darned hostile as she wants.
Here is Kristof again:
"I asked Leo, 18, who had videos of himself posted on Pornhub when he was 14, what he suggested.
“That’s tough,” he said. “My solution would be to leave porn to professional production companies,” because they require proof of age and consent."
I don’t think this line can hold. “Consent” isn’t strong enough. An arbitrary age isn’t strong enough. The underlying problem is that too many of us believe sex is a recreational activity to which all consenting adults are entitled. In fact, some go so far as to believe that a person cannot have a healthy or meaningful life without plentiful sexual activity.
These ideas about human sexuality have put down very deep roots in individual minds and in public institutions. As a culture, we have no objective moral reference point by which to judge any particular intimate encounter, apart from “consent." And let’s face it, we can easily deceive ourselves when we are deciding whether to excuse ourselves or restrain ourselves. In an intimate encounter, almost by definition, there is no one else around to judge us. The power of “sex positive” ideas will bulldoze through the thin line of “consent.”
I propose an alternative view of human sexuality. No one is “entitled” to sexual activity. Sex is something sacred, that potentially holds the literal power of life and death. The lifegiving potential of sex, the life-threatening power of sexual exploitation, we should accept these as facts, not as outmoded prejudices that we are well rid of.
I don’t think poor Leo should be put in a position to have to say this is “tough.” What happened to him was wrong. What led up to what happened to him was also wrong, including the thought processes and ideas.
I hope people from across the political spectrum can work together to eliminate the sexual exploitation of children. It’s an issue of justice for the victims of child sex abuse. This plague is eating away at the soul of our society. I appreciate Nicholas Kristof’s important work on this subject. I do hope he will be willing to rethink some of his ideas. He is right on the brink of a breakthrough. And I also hope everyone reading this, will pray for him.