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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: Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Religious freedom will be the principle legal issue. As worthy as that cause is, I propose another, equally significant issue that someone should raise.
The United States government has committed itself to dangerous drugs and an utterly irrational ideology.
Let me explain.
Not long ago, I met David and Roz Rowan, a couple whose only child died suddenly at the age of 23 from a massive pulmonary embolism. Why would a healthy young woman die from a stroke? Doctors attribute it directly to her use of hormonal contraception.
Likewise, Erika Langhart died of a double pulmonary embolism, at the age of 24. She was using a NuvaRing, contraceptive device. The Langhart family refused an out of court settlement from the drug manufacturer. The parents wanted Merck, the international pharmaceutical giant, to face a jury trial, and be held accountable for the deaths of women like Erika. Out of court settlements typically include a gag rule. Erika’s family considered this completely unacceptable.
“In our opinion, Merck got away with murder, and continues to do so to this day. In 2011 NuvaRing made the company $623 million; in 2013 it was $686 million; and in 2014, after the settlement, Merck made a staggering $723 million from it. Settlements are just the cost of doing business to Merck, all at the expense of women’s health and lives,” her mother said.
Earlier this year, Erika’s mother committed suicide.
In the meantime, across the pond, German drugmaker Bayer AG paid nearly $1.6 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits involving accusations that its Yaz and Yazmin birth control pills caused blood clots that led to strokes and heart attacks.
In short, there is plenty of evidence that hormonal contraception poses serious health risks to young women.
But the U.S. government operates under the completely irrational ideology that a good society ought to separate sex from procreation. This is the philosophy behind requiring every employer in America to provide these dangerous drugs and devices to their workers without a copay. The government considers preventing pregnancy a “preventive care” measure.
But pregnancy is neither an illness or injury. Pregnancy is a perfectly normal process. Pregnancy is not something to be avoided at all costs, including the use of dangerous drugs or devices.
What exactly is the objective of the government embracing this ideology? Reducing the birth rate “by any means necessary?” Making men and women “equal” by chemically sterilizing women? Making women sexually available to men at any time during their monthly cycles? Providing a steady stream of women workers who do not inconvenience their employers with ill-timed pregnancies?
I’m having trouble coming up with a good reason to force every employer in America to provide these products to healthy women at zero cost, under the guise of “preventive health care.”
Personal “freedom” cannot be the whole issue either. The use of contraception has been legal nationwide since 1965. But making contraception legally available was never enough for the true believers in sexual freedom, women’s “liberation” and population control.
From the beginning, they have sought to nudge people’s choices toward artificial birth control. These ideologues have captured the levers of state power. The government manipulates people’s private choices in this most intimate area. They subsidize contraception, promote it in their public schools. Now the all-powerful state is manipulating the insurance market.
These true believers will not allow any hold-outs to their irrational dogma. Hence, the persecution of the Little Sisters of the Poor, a completely inoffensive group of women, who have dedicated their lives to serving the elderly poor.
I categorically reject the idea that pregnancy is an illness.
I protest with all my might the government’s policy of pushing dangerous drugs on unsuspecting women.
I am fed up with drug companies treating the risks to women’s health as an acceptable cost of doing business.
I sincerely hope one of the lawyers or friends of the court, or SOMEONE will make these points. The Sisters deserve to win, and not just to preserve religious freedom. The Little Sisters of the Poor deserve to win because they are correct on the substance of the issue. No more War on Women’s Fertility.
Jennifer Roback Morse Ph.D. is Founder and President of the Ruth Institute, a global non-profit organization, dedicated to creating a Christ-like solution to family breakdown. Visit at Ruth Institute or on Facebook.
Sister helping the bedridden: http://www.mercatornet.com/sheila_liaugminas/view/little_sisters_of_the_poor_and_obamacares_contraceptive_mandate/13396
Sisters pushing wheelchair: http://www.womenofgrace.com/blog/?cat=1016
Posted on: Friday, June 26, 2015
You need to watch this. It's less than three minutes. Be sure to share it with your friends. Isn't Clinton's description of marriage remarkable?
Posted on: Friday, April 17, 2015
This article was first posted at crisismagazine.com on April 16, 2015.
I am a very committed, very public advocate of marriage as a gender-based institution. Many of my fellow proponents of man/woman marriage cite religious liberty as an argument against redefining marriage. While I have great respect for those who promote this view, I must respectfully disagree with their assessment.
The uproar over the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act demonstrates that religious liberty arguments don’t work anymore. I take no pleasure in saying this. But religious liberty arguments are not compelling enough to induce our fellow citizens to sacrifice something they value, namely, sexual liberty.
I can think of three reasons for this.
An increasing number of our fellow citizens do not believe in any god. A substantial number describe themselves as spiritual but not religious.
The American religious situation at the time of the American Founding was quite different. James Madison spoke for most when he regarded religion as “the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it.” When so many people do not regard themselves as having any “duty to the Creator,” the social foundation that made religious liberty appealing or even intelligible, no longer exists.
So, Reason #1 why religious liberty arguments are not working: People who don’t believe in God, couldn’t give a rip whether we religious believers are inconvenienced in our religious practice.
Secondly, the controversies over religious liberty are not about transubstantiation or the Trinity or predestination. We are arguing about sex: abortion, contraception, homosexuality and similar topics.
Our fellow citizens have absorbed and are committed to a particular view about the meaning of human sexuality and its place in our lives. Millions of people have ordered their lives around these beliefs. They are not going to give up those views, in the absence of an attractive alternative.
Reason #2 why religious liberty arguments are not working: we are asking our fellow citizens to give up something they value, without offering anything they value in its place.
Finally, when we talk about religious liberty, we are putting the emphasis on ourselves. We don’t like the HHS mandate because it will harm our religious institutions. We don’t like gay marriage because it goes against our beliefs.
Reason #3 why religious liberty arguments aren’t working: we sound like we are whining about ourselves. No one finds whining appealing.
I honestly think further appeals to religious liberty are not helping our cause. These arguments are not helping the immediate particular cause, such as defending man/woman marriage. Nor are religious liberty arguments helping the general cause of the church itself. Appeals to religious liberty once made sense, but no longer.
We need a different strategy: argue against the Sexual Revolution because it has hurt people.
And I do mean the whole Sexual Revolution. We are tacitly giving a pass to the earlier phases of the Sexual Revolution, by saying so little about them. The only serious exception to this generalization is abortion: the Catholic Church, and more recently, other Christians, have put up a noble fight against the Big Abortion Machine. But other aspects of the Sexual Revolution? Divorce? Contraception? Taxpayer-funded Sexual Miseducation in the schools? Not so much.
It is as if we are saying, “We like the Sexual Revolution just fine: we just don’t like the Gay Parts.” That simply will not do. It is not fair to individuals who are same sex attracted. And, it is intellectually incoherent, since the acceptance of genderless marriage actually depends upon our acceptance of those earlier phases of the Sexual Revolution.
True enough, there is no constituency right now for winning elections on some of these issues. Too bad. That just means we have not made the substantive case on these issues often enough and persuasively enough. The pro-life movement has shown that it is possible to build a constituency for the Culture of Life.
The truth is that the Sexual Revolution has harmed millions of people: Children of divorce, whose families were broken up and who never really felt like part of a real family again. Reluctantly divorced people, who wanted to stay married but whose spouse pulled the plug. Heartbroken middle-aged professional women, who “had it all,” except for the children they are now too old to bear. Refugees from the hook-up culture, jaded, cynical, and old before their time. I could mention many other groups of people. They need our help connecting the dots between the lies of the Sexual Revolution and the misery they are experiencing.
I mean no disrespect to anyone. Many advocates of religious liberty have also spoken out against these evils. My point is that bringing up religious liberty no longer strengthens our case: it weakens our case.
Christianity has a viable, humane, intellectually coherent alternative to the Sexual Revolution. Sex makes babies. Children need their own parents. Men and women are different. These are facts: trying to build an entire society around their opposites is inhuman and impossible.
Our society desperately needs to hear this message. Demanding our First Amendment Rights is a distraction. If we religious believers won’t proclaim these truths, who will?
(Photo credit: Alex Brandon / AP)
Posted on: Friday, June 13, 2014
My first letter drew some discussion on my Facebook page. That is great. I am glad.
Kirk Jorgenson is not the subject of discussion here. I like Kirk. He ran a good and honorable campaign. A lot of you worked hard for him. I respect that.
|Evacuation at Dunkirk June 1940|
The enemy holds such a commanding position on the legal and political battlefield that direct combat on that field of battle is highly unlikely to be successful. The Democratic Party, with its commitment to the whole Sexual Revolutionary Agenda, has a super-majority in the CA state legislature. Sexual Revolutionaries control the courts, in California, the federal courts, and at the US Supreme Court.
All of this means the Revolutionaries can change the rules to suit themselves. They already have been changing the rules, in case you haven’t noticed. They like the thin veneer of legality. But they have the power to do what they want.
Increasingly, Sexual Revolutionaries control the CA Republican Party. I realize that this was the turf that some of you had marked out for yourselves in the Jorgenson campaign. It was a noble ambition to try to keep the Sexual Revolutionaries from taking control of the Republican Party in California. I do not think this goal, noble as it is, was within our power to achieve. And now, it is clear that it is not within our power to achieve.
Leading your troops onto the battlefield to get slaughtered is not leadership. Doing it once is a forgivable mistake. Doing it multiple times, not so much.
It does not follow from this, however, that we should all go home and give up. This seems to be what some of you think. “If we are not engaged in politics, we are not engaged in anything meaningful. If we leave the field to the enemy, we are giving up entirely. We must fight to the last man, no matter the odds. God wills it.”
This is where I profoundly disagree. I think we have allowed ourselves to be lured onto the battlefield that is controlled by the enemy. We have left behind the turf where we can win.
Actually, “fighting” is the wrong metaphor. Yes, I realize that I am using military analogies. I even put up WWII photos. Spiritual combat is a real thing: Paul the Apostle told us about it long ago. So have many other wise thinkers through the ages. But I think we should not think of ourselves as fighting other people in our culture.
Why? Two reasons, one observable in the natural world, one visible only through spiritual eyes. In the natural order, I will speak candidly. We should not think about “fighting” our enemies, because our enemies are meaner than we are. We will lose, when we play on that turf. If it is a question of being mean, or fighting, the Christian will always lose. This is the insight that led Nietzsche to condemn Christianity as a “slave morality.”
But the German philosopher/madman was only half-right. Christians are programmed to not fight, to turn the other cheek and to be detached from the things of this world. That is all true.
Where he was wrong is that none of that makes us slaves. We are actually freer than our fellow citizens, locked as they are inside their guilty consciences, their resentments, their sexual obsessions and addictions.
The chaste students with whom I have had the privilege of working over the years at the Ruth Institute have demonstrated this to me. Our students are not involved in all the drama and angst that consumes so many of their peers. Our students are in command of themselves. Hence they are free.
So what is this battlefield that isn’t a battlefield? What is this comparative advantage that we Christians have that our opponents do not have? Where is this field where we have a chance of winning? We must look to the spiritual realm to answer that question.
Which we will do in my next post.
Jennifer Roback Morse Ph.D. is founder and president of the Ruth Institute. You can get involved with the Ruth Institute by signing up for our free e-newsletter.