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.


Pro-family groups ask US ‘Commission on Unalienable Rights’ to fight for parental rights

 

October 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Ruth Institute Founder and President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., welcomed the news that the Commission on Unalienable Rights will begin its work with two public meetings, October 23 and November 1, at the State Department in Washington, D.C.

PETITION: Ask President Trump to Make the Family Great Again! Sign the petition here.

"The Commission has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get the State Department behind authentic human rights, which begin with the family," Morse said. "Respect for the rights of others is learned in the family. In turn, governments must respect the rights of families, including the right to educate their children in their own faith tradition, without being undermined by the government."

The Ruth Institute is co-sponsoring a Make The Family Great Again Petition with LifeSite Petitions.

The petition affirms that:


  • Marriage and the family are universal institutions for the stability of society and the continuation of the human race.
  • Loyalty and fidelity are universally recognized as virtues.
  • Children need their mother and father.
  • Stable loving families provide the basis for strong societies, including thriving economies, national security and international peace.
  • The United Nations and other international organizations often work at cross-purposes to these important truths.
  • Making America great again requires that we make the family great again, both at home and abroad.

Therefore, the Petition urges the Commission on Unalienable Rights to work for recognition of the following fundamental rights:

  • 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: "Our more than 40 original petition signers are a Who's Who of the international pro-family movement, including Gov. Mike Huckabee, Alveda King, and Fr. Shenan Boquet, the President of Human Life International, as well as international leaders from Africa, Europe, and Latin America."

To date, nearly 7,700 have signed the petition worldwide.

"We welcome the beginnings of a process to get the State Department behind the rights of the family. If kids don't have a right to their parents, nobody has a right to anything," Morse concluded.

The Ruth Institute is a global non-profit organization equipping Christians to defend the family and build a civilization of love. On April 26–27, the Institute held a Summit for Survivors of Sexual Revolution.

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

 



Imagine This: Putting Children First

By John Zmirak Published on September 19, 2019, at The Stream.

If you’re not following Dr. Jennifer Morse on family issues and sexual morals, you’re missing out. I meet her every year at the wonderful gathering Acton University. It collects defenders of ordered liberty, virtue and economic empowerment from all across the world. This year she gave a terrific talk on her book The Sexual State. It’s an important read, because it highlights how the sexual revolution resembles the French and the Russian Revolutions. Each one saw utopian movements championed by intellectuals grab vast, unaccountable power, then set up a state to impose their ideas by force on anyone who resisted.

That’s right, the Sexual Revolutionaries were every bit as interested in grabbing coercive state power as the Jacobins or the Bolsheviks were. Simone de Beauvoir famously said:


No woman should be authorized to stay home to raise her children. Women should not have that choice, because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one.

She was a libertine, but no libertarian — in fact she obediently echoed the Stalinist politics of her mentor and master, Jean Paul Sartre. For whom she served as a pimp, recruiting younger women for her former lover.

A Utopian Coup

Morse shows how the New Left used the language of liberation and empowerment to cover its coup over the organs of the state — always with the pretense that it was simply advancing people’s rights. Morse Book

But the rights of the unborn ended up in a medical waste dumpster. Likewise the rights of businesses that wanted to pay a “living wage” to fathers of families. That’s now illegal, and has been since the overly broad Civil Rights Act of 1965. In fact, we have set up a vast and intrusive bureaucracy aimed at forcing equal outcomes between the sexes, the differences between the sexes be damned.

Now, in the wake of a narrow and dishonest Supreme Court decision, we must all pretend that same sex marriage is real. Only explicitly religious employers (for the moment) may cling to the pre-2015 truth. Not even wedding vendors or cake bakers.

It wasn’t even a year before the revolutionaries extended their grab for power. Now they’re using the power of government, and all the intimidating force of Woke Capital, to force us to accept an unheard and insane idea of gender —namely that there are 100 “genders,” which bear no relation to physical sex. They are more like moods, and they can change from day to day.

The only important thing? That we dissenters must be forced to recognize them, and punished if we refuse. Let girls in locker rooms, women in rest rooms, and real, physical women competing in sports be damned, as well.

Make Families Great Again

As I said, read Morse’s book. For a flavor of how she cuts across stale debates and highlights the victims of our current, post-Revolutionary regime, check out her latest. In a column at the National Catholic Register, she calls on us to “Make Families Great Again.” Using President Trump’s campaign language with a bit of a twist, she calls on Secretary of State Pompeo to advance real human rights that the sexual revolutionaries have intentionally neglected. That is, the rights of children.

No, not the “right” of sexually exploited girls to abort their babies without reporting their rapists. Planned Parenthood guarantees that. Nor the “right” of small kids to grooming by explicit sex education and drag queen sex offenders at public libraries.

What Are Children? What Do They Want?

Instead, Morse focuses on the things that young people really want. Things that all children crave — instead of what selfish narcissistic adults want to force on them. She writes:

Self-Evident Truth No. 1: Every person comes into the world as a helpless baby.

Self-Evident Truth No. 2: Every person has a mother and a father.

… From these two facts (which I hope everyone will accept), I draw these two conclusions:

Reasonable Conclusion No. 1: Every society needs some plan for helping its members move from helpless infancy to adulthood.

If this job doesn’t get done, there will not be a “society” in any meaningful sense of that term. We don’t need a perfect plan, mind you. But we do need some social structures that address the fundamental issues of infant helplessness and the basic human needs for attachment, connection and identity.

Reasonable Conclusion No. 2: Mothers and fathers cooperating with each other in a lifelong loving union for their mutual benefit and the benefit of their children (including possibly adopted children) provides such a plan for helpless babies. This union is what societies usually call “marriage.”

This line of thought produces its own set of rights, different from those we commonly hear about:

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

The president campaigned on the promise to “Make America Great Again.” Without the restoration of the family, he will be unable to fulfill that promise. But, more importantly, the newly formed Commission on Unalienable Rights has the potential to shift attention from the desires of adults, based on their fantasy ideologies, to the needs of children, based on immutable realities.

Grinding Us Down to Atoms

Morse is right, not just philosophically but empirically. Societies that undermine the family always build up an intrusive government. Because someone has got to take care of the weak and the vulnerable. You know, babies, old people, sick people, etc. If families end up shattered, because the legal system and the culture sees and treats every person as an isolated atom? Then the state will have to step in.

 

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Indeed, statists are more than happy to. Like Marx, they dislike the family on principle as an alternative locus of loyalty. And like Hitler, they claim the state has the first claim on every human being, before his parents. Like Margaret Sanger, they think sexual “liberation” will produce a race of super-beings, unlike previous generations beaten down by biological realities.

The welfare state exploded massively in the wake of the sexual revolution. It had to, in order to pick up all the shattered pieces of the old, familial order. And to glue them back together in shapes more pleasing to bureaucrats and social elites.

Since we seem trapped in the discourse of individual rights, without the freedom to speak of the common good, Morse proves herself both sane and savvy by recasting the evils of the sexual revolution in terms of children’s rights. Let’s hope her approach catches on.

To sign the Ruth Institute’s petition to President Trump asking him to put families first, go here.

 



Global Organization Petitions to ‘Make the Family Great Again’

by Martina Moyski • ChurchMilitant.com • September 20, 2019

DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, founder and president of the Ruth Institute, launched a petition to "Make the Family Great Again."

"The president campaigned on the promise to Make America Great Again. But only the family can help him fulfill that promise," Morse said.

The "Make the Family Great Again" petition urges the newly established Commission on Unalienable Rights, under the umbrella of the secretary of state, to consider certain fundamental principles the basis for articulating unalienable rights:


  • 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.

Morse argues that the most sustained attacks on the family are not coming from the "culture." Instead, the government itself has created much of the anti-family climate, she says.

A case in point, according to Morse, includes the government refusing to enforce the marriage "contract"; no-fault divorce means the government always takes sides with the partner who wants the marriage the least.

Another includes the government mandating and financing sexual education in public schools which promotes the LGBT ideology, including transgenderism.

She said they are mostly asking President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, who launched the Commission on Unalienable Rights, "to recognize the family's right to exist" and "to stop actively attacking it."

The family advocate's 2018 book, The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives and Why the Church Was Right All Along, presents a 15-point manifesto for the family.

The first 10 points address things the government should stop doing, including "sex education in public schools," "taxpayer-funded Women's Studies and Gender Studies programs at universities" and "the 'marriage tax' from all welfare programs."

The author argues that the sexual revolution did not just happen but was deliberately created by "elites" (named in the book), harnessing the power of the state, which allowed them to inflict "three false and calamitous ideologies — contraception, divorce and gender" that have led to widespread and profound misery.

Overall, Morse maintains that committed Christians have the best chance of offering the world what it is really looking for.

Pope St. John Paul II, who lost all of his immediate family — mother, older brother, an infant sister and father — by the time he was 20 years old, is sometimes remembered as "Pope of the Family."

The sainted pope penned a "Letter to Families" which he said gave him "a welcome opportunity to knock at the door of your home, eager to greet you with deep affection and to spend time with you."

To make the family holy again, the Pope wrote, "[T]he question of responsible fatherhood and motherhood is an integral part of the 'civilization of love.'"

He argued throughout the letter that, in order to fulfill its missionary mandate, the family has to abandon the view that it is "a victim of the culture"; instead it must see itself as "a protagonist in its transformation."

He reminds people they are not defeated and have freedom in Christ to embrace and live the truth of their humanity, a freedom that is neither understood or experienced in a life of sin.

For the Pope, building "a civilization of love" depends on sacramental living and active commitment of spouses.

Image
Morse's 15-point manifesto

Pompeo initiated the Trump administration's new Commission on Unalienable Rights on July 8.

The commission was created, according to Pompeo, to provide him "with advice on human rights" and to carry out "one of the most profound reexaminations of the unalienable rights in the world since the 1948 Universal Declaration" — and one engendered by reference to the "unalienable rights" that "are endowed by the Creator" cited in the Declaration of Independence.

The Ruth Institute is a global interfaith coalition created to defend the family and build a civilization of love.

Its resource center provides decades of research and educational tools to support individuals and families harmed by divorce, the hook-up culture and other forms of family breakdown.

The Rev. D. Paul Sullins, Ph.D., a senior research associate at the Ruth Institute, did a recent study which found that "the spate of child sex abuse in the 1970s and 1980s was strongly related to a concentrated presence of homosexual men in the Catholic priesthood."

The Ruth Institute's petition, including notable signers from both inside and outside the United States, can be found online.

 


Thousands sign petition asking Trump to defend life, marriage and make family ‘great again’


September 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Ruth Institute and LifeSiteNews have just launched a petition asking President Trump to “Make the Family Great Again!”

Sexual revolutionaries have been using so-called “human rights” language, domestically and internationally, to promote their radical vision of society. This includes insisting that both abortion and “same-sex “marriage” are “human rights.”

But, in their zeal to convert the world into a secular paradise, they conveniently fail to address troubling questions, such as: How can one “human right” trump the right to life of another person?; and, how can the desire for sexual license and companionship trump the right of a child to have both a mother and a father?


To better answer these questions and to achieve greater clarity as to what actually constitutes human rights, at the behest of President Trump, Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, recently formed a Commission on Unalienable Rights, to advise his department in its dealings with foreign governments and international organizations.

Where our government’s dealings with international institutions are concerned, this is a giant step forward.

For at least the last 35 years, all concerned parties have unquestioningly accepted the meaning which radical secularists attach to human rights.

Finally, the world is now wakening up to the reality that these radical secularists have, in the social-moral-sexual dimension of human rights, got it very wrong…and, continue to get it very wrong.

In particular, by jettisoning Christianity, these radical secularists have produced tragic real-world effects – which have devastated the prospects for the unborn and practically demolished the protections afforded by the state to man-woman marriage.

But, unborn children and the natural family need to be defended.

And, the philosophical foundation protecting genuine rights, which inhere in every human being from the moment of conception till natural death and which seek to vindicate, in law the unique superiority of the natural family as the quintessential building block of society, needs to be put in place and defended.

Radical secularists are very vocal in defending their morally-socially-and-sexually-corrupt philosophy.

But, they have nothing to be proud about.

35 years of their ideology has produced more than 1 billion abortions worldwide and the dramatic decline of marriage and fertility.

In short, the radical secularists’ philosophy has been an utter disaster for mankind. And, it’s now time for us to stop letting them destroy society, one person and one family at a time.

The world needs better ideas about Life and Family than those proposed by radical secularists and sexual revolutionaries.

That is why the Ruth Institute and LifeSiteNews have created a petition to encourage the Trump Administration to “Make the Family Great Again.”

This petition is directed to President Trump.

So far, the petition is doing very well, with almost 4,000 signatures!

We are asking the President to direct the Commission to consider the rights of children and families in their deliberations. This line of thought produces a different set of rights than those we are used to hearing about:

  • 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.

Pro-family leaders from around the world and across the religious spectrum have enthusiastically signed this petition.

To ADD YOUR NAME to this important petition, please CLICK HERE.

And, to learn more about the Ruth Institute, please CLICK HERE.

WATCH Dr. Morse, from the Ruth Institute, succinctly lay out the need for this petition, and the importance of the new Commission's work. Please CLICK HERE.


Ruth Institute Launches “Make the Family Great Again” Petition

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., Founder and President of the Ruth Institute, announced the launch of a petition to Make the Family Great Again. “The president campaigned on the promise to Make America Great Again. But only the family can help him fulfill that promise,” she said.

Secretary of State Michael Pompeo established a Commission on Unalienable Rights to advise his department in its dealings with foreign governments and international organizations. This commission is chaired by pro-life Harvard Law Professor and former Ambassador to the Holy See, Mary Ann Glendon.

The “Make the Family Great Again” petition urges the Commission and the State Department to make these fundamental principles the basis for articulating unalienable rights:

 


 

  • 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 recognition of:

  • The right of every child to a relationship with his or her natural mother and father, excepting 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

Initial signers include: Governor Mike Huckabee, 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), Pat Fagan (Director, Marriage and Religion Research Institute at Catholic University of America), Steve Mosher (President, Population Research Institute), C. Preston Noell (President, American Society for Tradition, Family and Property), and Sharon Slater (President, Family Watch International).

Signers from outside the United States include: Bishop Emmanuel Badejo (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), 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), and Levan Vasadez (Georgian Demographic SocietyXXI, Republic of Georgia).

“We are honored to have such distinguished leaders sign our petition,” Morse said. “People around the world are very concerned about US foreign policy. With their support and the leadership of Professor Glendon on the Commission, we have a unique opportunity to help the U.S. State Department champion family rights internationally.”

Sign the Petition to Make the Family Great Again here: https://lifepetitions.com/petition/ask-president-trump-to-make-the-family-great-again

The Ruth Institute is a global interfaith coalition to defend the family and build a civilization of love. On April 26-27, the Institute held a Summit for Survivors of Sexual Revolution.

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

Find more information on The Ruth Institute at http://www.ruthinstitute.org/.

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

 

 



Participants Praise Ruth Institute’s Survivors of Sexual Revolution Summit

The Ruth Institute’s first annual Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution (April 26-27, in Lake Charles, Louisiana) was highly praised by participants. All agreed that the caliber of speakers and content (which covered Survivors of Divorce and Survivors of the LGBT subculture) were exceptional.

Here are a few of the comments from speakers and participants:

“The Summit revealed to me many different survival stories which involved deep pain. However, their stories all ended in hope because they turned to God. It also gives me hope to see everyone that attended was united to God’s plan for marriage and family.” Al Chlupacek -- Chemical Engineer, Indianapolis


“Thank you all. It was incredible, and a real shot in the arm. Now we all have work to do. But I feel like at least we know our fellow soldiers in this battle! It’s a rough world out there, and sadly, many of our ‘enemies’ are fellow Christians… It’s a battle from within and without. But I’m so pleased at the depth of intelligence and holiness on display this weekend! God bless you all! And thank you, Dr. Morse! You are a true solider for Christ!” Leila Miller – Catholic author, Phoenix

“This was a very meaningful conference. I enjoyed the scholarship, the personal testimonies, and all the informal conversations and relationship-building in between. I look forward to ongoing conversations with many of the wonderful people I met this weekend. The experience was powerful and inspiring.” Matt F. Johnson – humanitarian and disaster relief, Washington, D.C.

“Thank you Mr. And Dr. Morse plus your team for putting together such a conference. I learned a lot. Thanks also to you all that took time to do papers and share with us your stories. It gives me hope as an African to see the good side of America. You people are amazing. Hopefully we do this in Africa, too? God bless you all.” Ann Kioko, CitizenGO Campaigns Manager for Africa, Nairobi

“I just want to tell you all how very honored I am to have had the pleasure to work with all of you this weekend in this critical endeavor! Mr. & Dr. Morse, you are both tireless in your efforts and I have great respect for you both. Thank you - and the Ruth Institute's extremely capable staff and volunteers -- for showing us all such genuine kindness and hospitality. This weekend will go down in my memory as one of great blessings and fellowship. To be gathered with so many others who recognize the beauty, goodness and critical importance of marriage and the traditional family was a such a true honor and pleasure.” Christy Fitzgerald – Registered Nurse, Case Manager, Hickory, N.C.

“This Summit was a bright moment for recovering from a toxic family culture and beginning to build something better. I want to add my thanks to everyone as well, for sharing your stories and journeys and scholarship and standing for marriage, life and children. Patti and I were both deeply touched by the accounts of struggle and overcoming and finding new life and sanctity in the pain of marriage and parental loss. For me, one of the most fruitful times was also breakfast at the hotel, when I was blessed to, and saw others too, encourage one another and build friendships and mutual support and plot ministry strategies in a fellowship free-for-all. There are not many other places something like that could happen.” Fr. D Paul Sullins, Senior Research Associate of the Ruth Institute

“I hope everyone realizes just how innovative this was. For all the many ‘pro-family’ groups out there, almost none of them seriously confronts the divorce system, connected issues, and the government machinery behind it. I also noticed other ways in which the various speakers were ‘pushing the envelope,’ and I for one think that we have nothing to lose, and much to gain, from continuing and even increasing the push.” Stephen K. Baskerville, Purcellville, Virginia

To get the inside scoop on the extraordinary Survivors Summit, be sure to check out the various presentations at the Ruth Institute’s website, and on its Facebook page. Be forewarned that the truth about these problems is not easy to handle. However, the truth shall set you free.” C. Preston Noell, American Society for Tradition, Family and Property, Washington, D.C.

“Don’t sit on the sidelines. Now that you understand the devastation caused by the Sexual Revolution, help us to fight for the family and cultural sanity.” Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., Founder and President of the Ruth Institute

The entire Summit will be available on podcast and on the Ruth Institute YouTube channel. Some videos of the Summit are currently posted on our Facebook page.


Ruth Institute Wraps Up First Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution

The Ruth Institute’s Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution (April 27) was a success by any measure. The Summit, which took place in Lake Charles, Louisiana, included Survivors of Divorce and Survivors of the LGBT Culture.

The Summit was preceded by an Awards Banquet the evening of April 26. Those honored were Dr. Robert Gagnon, recipient of the Scholarship Award, and Jeff Morgan, who received the Activism Award. Both spoke the next day.

Moira Greyland Peat, who received the Public Witness Award, was the banquet’s keynote speaker. Author of The Dark Side of Avalon, Moira survived years of sexual abuse by her mother, famed science fiction writer Marion Zimmer Bradley. Many commented that while her testimony was emotionally exhausting, it also provided a necessary antidote to the cliched version of the gay lifestyle pushed by the media.


The Saturday Summit included keynote addresses by Dr. Stephen Baskerville (Professor of Government at Patrick Henry College on How No-Fault Divorce Empowers the State), Mrs. Leila Miller (author and Catholic blogger on The Lifelong Impact of Divorce On Children), Dr. Robert Gagnon (Professor of New Testament at Houston Baptist University, on What the Church really teaches about homosexual activity) and Fr. Paul Sullins (Ruth Institute Senior Research Associate, on The Impact of Same-Sex Parenting on children and the impact of the homosexual subculture on clergy s*x abuse).

There were also testimony panels on Abandoned Spouses and Adult Children ofDivorce – and Adult Children and Spouses of gays, lesbians and transgenders, and refugees from the gay lifestyle).

A participant remarked: “These are tragedies the mainstream media, the divorce industry, and the gay-friendly culture do their best to ignore.” Another added: “I’ve been reading about the abandonment, betrayal and trauma of divorce for years. But hearing these speakers made the devastation real in ways that news stories and academic reports can’t.”

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ruth Institute Founder and President, challenged participants to use the knowledge they acquired to help shape the debate over the Sexual Revolution.

“Don’t sit on the sidelines. Now that you understand the devastation caused by the Sexual Revolution, help us to fight for the family and cultural sanity,” Morse declared.

The entire Summit will be available on podcast and YouTube soon.

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

The Ruth Institute is a global non-profit organization equipping Christians to defend the family in the public arena and build a Civilization of Love. Click here for more Information on the Ruth Institute.

 



Does Divorce Law Treat Marriage Seriously?

by Ruth Institute Circle of Experts Member, Bill Duncan

This article was first published Nov. 21, 2018, at News Max.

 

Does Divorce Law Treat Marriage Seriously?

The U.S. Supreme Court does not often address divorce. In 1992, the Court specified that the federal courts do not have authority to rule on most divorce cases since the Court’s jurisdiction required a dispute between citizens of different states.

This is not say that the Court has never discussed it, though, because it has and those instances are very instructive.

 


 

In 1888, Justice Stephen J. Field (who had been appointed to the Court by Abraham Lincoln) wrote an opinion in a dispute over the ownership of a land grant in Oregon. Although not required to decide the case, Justice Field described the nature of marriage (and, by implication, the nature of divorce): “it is something more than a mere contract. The consent of the parties is of course essential to its existence, but when the contract to marry is executed by the marriage, a relation between the parties is created which they cannot change. Other contracts may be modified, restricted, or enlarged, or entirely released upon the consent of the parties. Not so with marriage. The relation once formed, the law steps in and holds the parties to various obligations and liabilities.”

In this case, the Court upheld the validity of the divorce in Oregon, holding that the legislature had the authority to grant divorces and, despite some misgivings about the behavior of the ex-husband in the case. This might seem curious to modern readers who are used to divorces in the court system, but this was not always the case.

The United States did not really inherit a practice for granting divorce from England where divorce was rare, granted by Parliament, and most would either have to be granted an annulment or a legal separation. Some of the states adopted the English approach, others allowed courts to grant divorces and others reserved grants of divorce to the legislature. By the end of the Nineteenth Century, legislative divorce had essentially disappeared, but the legislature provided clear standards for the courts considering a petition to divorce.

As a legal historian has noted, these statutes “were never simple, facilitative laws.” Rather, they specified that a spouse would have to demonstrate that there were serious grounds to justify a court in granting the divorce, such as adultery or abuse.

This is consistent with the rationale for legal divorce recognized in the earliest Supreme Court opinion to mention the topic.

In that 1819 case, Chief Justice John Marshall argued that legislative power to grant divorces only allowed an injured spouse to be leave the marriage because the marriage agreement “has been broken by the other.” Crucially, the opinion continues: “When any state legislature shall pass an act annulling all marriage contracts, or allowing either party to annul it, without the consent of the other, it will be time enough to inquire, whether such an act be constitutional.”

Eventually, though, states began to do just that, to allow one party to end the marriage without the consent of the other. This occurred through the no-fault divorce revolution. Now, if one of the spouses wants a divorce, that divorce will be granted even if the other objects and even if there is no serious fault alleged. It is not just that this kind of “no fault” divorce is allowed, it is the formal or de facto law of divorce in every state.

Now divorce is not a legislative or judicial proceeding as much as an administrative procedure, a mere clerical process where a court always says yes as long as someone asks and then the dispute shifts to splitting up property and child custody.

This is a drastic development given the multiple interests affected. Divorce implicates religious considerations for the parties, property rights, time with children, and on and on. A spouse may lose their opportunity to repair a relationship, may lose the ability to live with their children, may have to pay support to a former spouse when they did nothing to end the relationship, may have to sell their home, and much more, all without a finding that they did anything wrong.

This is a matter of simple justice and it corrodes the perception of fairness in our court system. The law must again recognize that marriage is “more than mere contract.” At the very least, a unilateral divorce should not be granted on no-fault grounds. The spouse who objects deserves a fair hearing. That is simple fairness.

Bill Duncan is director of the Center for Family and Society at Sutherland Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

 



'The Sexual State': How Government and Big Donors Gave Us the Sexual Revolution

By Tyler O'Neil

This article was first published October 4, 2018, at PJMedia.com.

Cover of "The Sexual State" by Jennifer Roback Morse

In 21st century America, sex is all around us: on television, in movies, in classrooms, in politics, and even in churches. Sex permeates our desires, our expectations for relationships, even our identity. The Sexual Revolution goes far beyond the LGBT movement, and it has fundamentally reshaped American society. But few Americans actually grasp exactly where this revolution came from. An explosive new book reveals that government and wealthy donors, rather than impersonal historical forces or newly liberated women, propelled the Sexual Revolution.


"The State bears the greatest responsibility for the toxic sexual culture in which we live," Jennifer Roback Morse, founder of the Ruth Institute (RI), writes in "The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologues Are Destroying Lives And Why the Church Was Right All Along." She presented five other explanations for the Sexual Revolution, and found each one wanting.

Many have suggested that the Sexual Revolution came about through the inevitable and impersonal "march of history." This view does not work "because it robs us and our forbears of human agency." Even the over-hyped birth control pill "is just an inert piece of technology" that people could decide to use or not use, or use in different ways.

Morse also rebuts the feminist narrative, which suggests that "these changes have been one long string of victories for the benefit and advancement of women." Ironically, the very success of women's liberation "undermines the claim that women have been completely powerless and dominated by the patriarchy throughout all of recorded history." Furthermore, the author argues that "the pro-life movement is dominated by women," suggesting that not all women want more of the Sexual Revolution.

Perhaps the most common explanation for the Sexual Revolution is the "liberationist narrative," which posits that everyone is more free thanks to new sexual norms. This view also cannot explain how age-old oppression was immediately dissolved in one generation, Morse argues.

Furthermore, many people "have become less free, in fact actually oppressed, by the very forces that are supposedly liberating us. The breaking of family bonds has increased the size and scope of the State, including the intrusion of the State into the everyday lives of ordinary people." She mentions college sex tribunals, family courts — which even rule on which schools and churches children can attend — and higher taxes to pay for social workers who manage tough divorces and family breakdown.

Morse also rejects the "over-population narrative," which suggests that "too many people create ecological disaster and economic backwardness," so the State needs to control population through birth control and abortion. Interestingly, advocates of this narrative "haven't been able to adapt the narrative to the changing circumstances of population decline, which the Over-Population Narrative itself helped bring about."

Finally, the author turns to a "steal capitalist narrative," explaining the Sexual Revolution by pointing to the many people who benefit financially from family breakdown. Abortionists, pharmaceutical companies, the fertility industry, pornographers, divorce professionals, family court judges and lawyers, medical professionals who specialize in sexually transmitted diseases, and social workers all perversely benefit from family breakdown, contraception, and abortion.

Even higher education and employers benefit from women choosing to get married later, to go to school and to work, rather than raising a family. Morse claims that employers benefit from easy divorce as well, as women are less able to rely on their husbands to financially support them. She suggests that these factors cement the Sexual Revolution, but they do not explain it.

The author boils the Sexual Revolution down to three basic "ideologies:" the Contraceptive Ideology separates sex from childbearing; the Divorce Ideology separates sex and childbearing from marriage; and the Gender Ideology eliminates the distinctions between men and women that individuals do not explicitly embrace.

"The Sexual Revolution needs the State for one major reason: the premises of the Sexual Revolution are false," Morse declares. "Sex does make babies. Children do need their parents, and therefore marriage is the proper and just context for both sex and childbearing. Men and women are different." The Sexual Revolution requires "reconstructing society" around a rejection of these basic truths, so it involves a great deal of propaganda.

"If you can make people believe Bruce Jenner, the 1976 male Olympic decathlon winner, is a woman, you can make them believe 2 + 2 = 5. If you can make people afraid to say, 'Bruce Jenner is a man,' you can make them afraid to say anything," Morse quips. "The Sexual Revolution is a totalitarian ideology with a blind commitment to the implementation of its tenets, regardless of the human costs."

The book begins with a list of victims of the Sexual Revolution, a topic for a future article. Those victims include children of divorce, spouses who did not want to get divorced, women who waited too long to have children, young women who wanted to abstain from sex, and more. Suffice it to say, the Sexual Revolution has harmed many people.

Morse narrates how the state unleashed the Sexual Revolution, beginning with the Supreme Court contraception case Griswold v. Connecticut (1965). The Contraceptive Ideology predated this decision and played a large role in pushing the Court to change the law on contraception.

The author cites liberal attorney Leo Pfeffer and conservative historian Allan Carlson, who agreed that governments will consider contraception necessary once they have established welfare states — in order to prevent the subsidized poor from having children. Tragically, the U.S. government pushed contraception before Griswold, pushing contraception in post-World War II Japan and other foreign countries considered to be U.S. interests.

In the 1960s and 1970s, USAID started pushing contraception and abortion, thinking these "family planning" efforts would help other countries defeat poverty. These policies were also wrapped up with the ugly eugenics movement in America.

In order to downplay the ugly history of eugenics, contraception activists turned to the work of Alfred Kinsey, an academic who claimed that "up to" 67 to 98 percent of American men ha had premarital sex and that 69 percent of American males had at least one experience with a prostitute. His claims were shot down by other researchers, who exposed his shoddy methods. But the Rockefeller Foundation funded his research and sent his crackpot theories mainstream.

Planned Parenthood and its allies enjoyed connections to elites, and helped push the Court in the direction of legalizing contraception for anyone across the country.

Similarly, elite institutions and big donors pushed no-fault divorce, Morse argues. After Ronald Reagan signed the first no-fault divorce law in 1968, the American Law Institute (ALI), founded with support from the Carnegie Foundation, crafted model legislation to insert the state in between husbands and wives — and favor the spouse who wanted a divorce.

The ALI pushed for decriminalizing private sexual acts between consenting adults, a key plank that struck down states' ability to regulate obscene materials and contraception.

By 1974, all but five states had adopted a form of no-fault divorce.

Morse argues that no-fault divorce positions the power of the state on the side of whichever spouse least wants the marriage to continue. This damages spouses who are committed to the marriage, but it also damages children who do not grow up with both of their parents. It also empowers the government, which now mediates between divorced mothers and fathers.

The author argues that the claim "the kids will be all right" is propaganda. She cites the work of Judith Wallerstein, who found that divorce has a long-term impact on children — damaging their prospects for romantic relationships in adulthood. Similarly, the worries about husbands abusing wives are overblown, as studies have shown that women and children are more likely to be abused in cohabiting relationships than in marriage.

Finally, Morse argues that the government and elites pushed the "Gender Ideology" — long before transgender identity went mainstream — in order to encourage women to be "ideal workers:" "a person who never takes time off, is never sick, whose mental and psychological focus is entirely on the job."

"We've built a society around the premise that our educated women must be permitted to time their 1.6 pregnancies right down to the minute when it's most convenient. But convenient for whom? All too often, it means the convenience of the employers, or the interests of the career path, or of those who hold the student debt which the young woman or young couple must pay down," Morse claims.

The author does not lament the fact that women have entered the "managerial class," highly paid professions which do not involve manual labor. She herself is a member of this class. Rather, she suggests that the pressures of work and the benefits of this class enable people to overlook the obvious differences between men and women.

"People who do manual labor aren't deluded for a moment that men and women are interchangeable," Morse quips. For this reason, men are vastly over-represented in the dangerous professions.

Women's involvement in the workforce need not be connected to the Sexual Revolution's Gender Ideology, the author argues. "I claim the right to participate in the labor market as women, not as men in skirts." She suggests that "educated women would be better off if they accepted that their fertility peaks during their twenties and planned their lives around this fact."

Morse lays out a basic life plan: Women should go to college for a liberal education, not a vocational one. They should et married and have kids early, using their higher educations to be involved in educating their kids. "Let your husbands support you. Trust them. Be grateful for them," and when the children are older, go back for an advanced degree and work.

Tragically, activists are pushing on all these issues and more. Morse discusses same-sex marriage in a chapter on the Gender Ideology. She recalls the battle over California's Proposition 8.

"The 'Yes on 8' campaign was arguably the largest grassroots campaign in history," she writes, noting that California's secretary of state website crashed because there were over 5,000 pages of contributors to the campaign. Yet modern "progressives" "took Proposition 8 to court on flimsy pretexts and rich people's money."

After Proposition 8 passed and the people had amended their constitution, California's attorney general refused to defend it. The people's will failed thanks to an effective pocket veto. in the case Hollingsworth v. Perry (2013), the Supreme Court ruled that proponents of ballot initiatives like Proposition 8 could not defend such laws in court, enabling Gov. Jerry Brown (D-Calif.) to resume same-sex marriage in the state. Now-Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) performed the first same-sex marriage after this ruling.

As with Proposition 8, wealthy liberals continue to push Sexual Revolution issues, particularly abortion and contraception. George Soros and Warren Buffett continue to fund abortion groups, and they use their money to "shape political institutions so they can use the government to recreate the world in their own image and likeness," Morse alleges.

Importantly, the book notes that contraception carries health risks for women, and some studies have shown that hormonal contraception is as likely to cause cancer as smoking. "Smoking has been all but banned, tobacco companies have been sued, and smokers have been socially shunned," Morse writes. "By contrast, the government actively promotes the use of hormonal contraception while the media plays down the risks."

Abortion, often considered an alternative should contraception fail, also carries tremendous health risks to the mother, which medical associations keep secret for political reasons, the author argues. She also notes that wealthy donors funded abortion activists who convinced the Supreme Court to strike down Texas regulations treating abortion clinics like any other medical facility.

"When the people of Texas, acting through their duly elected state legislators, enacted health and safety legislation for abortion clinics, the elites of society knocked it down," Morse declares.

"The Sexual State" makes a compelling case that state power and wealthy elites pushed the Sexual Revolution, and people should fight back. While Morse does address LGBT issues, her book mostly focuses on the negative impacts the Sexual Revolution has had on family life, harming faithful spouses, children of divorce, and many others.

Morse, a Roman Catholic, presents a very Catholic view of these issues and champions the Catholic Church's approach. Her book was ill-fated to release shortly after the sexual abuse scandal broke, but her points still stand.

The book may be too polemical, but it raises important questions about the hidden harms of the Sexual Revolution and who benefits from this humongous social change.

"The Sexual State" is an important book for libertarians to wrestle with, as it presents a compelling case that big government benefits from the Sexual Revolution, and that marriage and family would help weaken the power of the state.


Workshop to offer ways to heal family breakdown

Posted by Marc & Julie Anderson on in Archdiocese, Leaven News

Jennifer Roback Morse will lead the archdiocesan family life office’s “Healing Family Breakdown” spiritual workshop Jan. 27 at the Church of the Ascension in Overland Park.

What part will you play in the future of the family?

It is a question that is on the mind of more than a few Catholic leaders these days, as we see the primary institution of our society fracture under seemingly insurmountable stress.

But the Catholic Church is not the only institution unwilling to throw in the towel on the institution of the family.


The Ruth Institute, founded in 2008 by Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, is a global nonprofit organization aimed at ending family breakdown by energizing survivors of the Sexual Revolution.

And it’s a movement that is coming to the archdiocese next month.

On Jan. 27, the archdiocesan office of marriage and family life will host the institute’s “Healing Family Breakdown” spiritual workshop at the Church of the Ascension in Overland Park.

The event is open to all, Catholic and non-Catholic, and, according to Morse, is meant to accomplish three goals: (1) heal families; (2) help participants prevent family breakdown; and (3) help participants become agents of healing within society at large.

When families attend the workshop, Morse added, something important and life-changing happens to them.

“You realize you and your family are not the only ones,” she said. “For a lot of people, that is huge.”

That realization is an important first step in healing, she said, and is often made manifest to her in a tangible way in the seating arrangement of workshop participants.

“The Holy Spirit has a way of seating people at the table who belong together,” Morse said.

For example, at a past workshop, she witnessed a teenage girl’s perspective change as a result of a conversation she had with a man at her table.

The girl was the daughter of divorced parents. She blamed her father for the situation and did not want anything to do with him.

However, also seated at her table was a divorced man experiencing loneliness as his children would not talk to him. A conversation between the two, Morse said, led the young lady to consider the hurt and loneliness her father might be experiencing, a perspective the teenager had not considered previously.

And that’s just one type of healing and paradigm shift The Ruth Institute is trying to bring about in the world.

On the nonprofit’s website — www.ruthinstitute.org — Morse identifies a dozen different types of survivors of the Sexual Revolution, ranging from children of divorce and of unmarried parents, to a pornography addict or a post-abortive man or woman.

If you recognize yourself, a family member or a friend in one of the 12 survivor descriptions, Morse discourages you from trying to go it alone. Participate in the workshop and begin the healing process, instead.

“We need [survivors’] participation,” she said. “We need you to be witnesses to say the church was right all along [about its teachings on family and sexuality].”

Morse calls survivors “the secret weapon” to restoring the family to its greatness and its rightful place in society.

“All these wounded souls need to speak up,” she said.

“Many people leave the faith over sexual issues,” Morse explained. “I know. I stormed off in a huff.”

But just as people leave the faith over sexual issues, Morse said, countless people later realize the beauty of church teaching and return to the faith.

“I was completely wrong, of course,” she said of her departure from the faith.

Later, by studying the church’s teachings and by watching her adopted and biological children grow, Morse said she realized how much children need their father and mother as well as how much they want their parents.

“That’s how I got interested in the family and how the family fits into society,” said Morse.

As she has watched the family structure in modern society continue to deteriorate, however, Morse is not without hope.

“A lot of what society is trying to do is undoable,” she said. “We believe it is possible to make the family great again.”


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