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.


Catholics Fight 'The Evil One' Amid 'Spiritual Battle' of Abuse Scandal, Sexual Brokenness

By Tyler O'Neil

This article was posted October 6, 2018, at PJMedia.com.

On Sunday, Roman Catholics across the country will unite to fight "the evil one" with a "Rosary Coast to Coast." Jennifer Roback Morse, founder of the Catholic pro-family Ruth Institute, told PJ Media that this "Rosary crusade" will bring hope amid the fallout of the priest sexual abuse scandal and to the hidden victims of the sexual revolution.

"The evil one is slinking around our town causing trouble," Morse told PJ Media. She insisted that, just like the victims of the clerical abuse scandal, victims of the sexual revolution are "invisible," hidden.

"Part of the project of the sexual revolution is to shut everybody up and to keep the victims isolated from each other," Morse, who recently published the book "The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologues Are Destroying Lives And Why the Church Was Right All Along," argued. "If all the children of divorce lined up end to end, we'd be in a different world."


"I think there are millions of invisible victims," she explained. Her book lays out many kinds of victims: spouses who didn't want divorce, children who never know their parents, and women who delayed childbirth too late.

Morse insisted that the problems with the sexual revolution are scientifically verifiable, but she also said they have a spiritual dimension. She led the Ruth Institute to join the "Rosary Coast to Coast" in order to spread awareness of the problems and to encourage Catholics to pray the Rosary to fight the spiritual battle. She wrote more about this decision in an article for the National Catholic Register.

October 7, the date of the event, is also the feast of the Holy Rosary, a feast that dates back to the Battle of Lepanto, a key victory against Ottoman Turkish forces on October 7, 1571. European Christians were vastly outnumbered, but Pope Pius V led the soldiers and the city of Rome in praying the Rosary, and the Christians won a huge victory.

Father Richard Heilman, a priest in Madison, Wisc., organized "Rosary Coast to Coast" to fight a spiritual war. "Casualties often go unseen, but very few are left unwounded. The Enemies encamped against us seek to rob us of our Dignity–the essential Dignity of the Human Person, being made in the Image and Likeness of God," he wrote.

He pointed to the "secular Left" as the ideological enemy, and pointed to Poland as his inspiration. In 2017, the people of Poland prayed the Rosary in a circle around the borders of their country. More than 1,000 sites have been registered for the event on Sunday, across the United States and in 39 countries. Prayers will begin at 4 p.m. Eastern in the U.S., including a large rally on the Mall in Washington, D.C.

Morse and the Ruth Institute have launched a local event in Lake Charles, La. "We told people, 'Buy ten blue t-shirts and get one gold one free.' We're going to line up like a giant Rosary around the lake," she told PJ Media. "We sold 500 t-shirts in a town of 100,000."

The Ruth Institute founder noted that southern Louisiana is still Cajun country. "Catholicism is a big part of Cajun identity, it's like their food and their music," she explained. But Catholics must unite to fight the spiritual battle over the family.

The Ruth Institute works to keep families together, explain why children need their parents, and bring healing to the wounds caused by the sexual revolution. "We got involved in 'Rosary Coast to Coast' because we're on the frontlines of dealing with family breakdown, which is just about the most painful, brutal thing going on in our culture," Morse told PJ Media.

"The sexual revolution's problem is that we are at war with our bodies," the Catholic leader argued, echoing the claims of her book. "We're a gendered species — male and female — and sex makes babies. We resent all that. That complex of ideas is the underlying problem of the sexual revolution. That's what's causing family breakdown."

She also referenced the deep darkness of abortion. "For a woman to think it's a good thing to kill her own baby, that's not natural. There's a kind of darkness at work that is making us less than human."

Morse did not identify liberals themselves as the direct enemy. "I tend not to go around saying, 'This is a bad person.' I think a lot of the people who are 'on the other side' have a lot of issues and brokenness themselves," she explained.

"The enemy is the evil one. I believe that the devil is real. The idea that is the enemy is the idea that sex is a game and your body's a toy," Morse told PJ Media. That idea has taken over a broad swath of American culture — and cultures across the world.

"We're not going to solve this without divine assistance, and anybody who doesn't see that is kidding themselves," she said.

While Lake Charles has a strong Catholic population — about 50 percent — Southern Baptists make up a sizable minority, about 30 percent. "People here tend to be either Catholic or Baptist," Morse said. "Mary's a tough thing for them. I'm trying to assure them we're not worshiping statues, we're not worshiping Mary."

"We're asking for her help. Jesus loves his momma and so do we," the Catholic leader said. "He's a nice Jewish boy who loves his momma." The Ruth Institute has advertised the local event, "Rosary Around the Lake," with billboards explaining why Catholics ask Mary for help.

Morse also suggested that, in the wake of the priest abuse scandal, Catholics should emphasize that the face of Roman Catholicism is not just priests, cardinals, and the pope. "When people think of the Catholic Church, they picture a line of clergy processing into St. Peter's Square. I'd like people to picture hundreds of lay people saying the Rosary. This is the Catholic Church, also."

She recalled the historic Cajuns, settling in Louisiana after being expelled from Canada, gathering together and "saying the Rosary with their calloused hands."

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a far-Left smear organization, has branded the Ruth Institute a "hate group," citing a passage from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The credit card processing company Vanco Payments dropped the Ruth Institute over this designation.

"People here are slightly bemused when I tell them I founded a 'hate group,'" Morse told PJ Media. "It's a badge of honor, practically." Her work to preserve the family and help the victims of the sexual revolution is the furthest thing from "hate," but such smears seem to come with the territory. This climate of intolerance is merely one more thing to pray about.


'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.


Control of The Sexual State is on the Line in War over Kavanaugh, Says Ruth Institute Head

For more information, contact: Elizabeth Johnson at media@ruthinstitute.org.

On the eve of tomorrow’s Judiciary Committee hearing, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., observed: “Those who say this increasingly contentious nomination isn’t about abortion are dead wrong. Of course, it’s about abortion.”

The head of the Ruth Institute and author of The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies are Destroying Lives, explained, “The abortion regime, which seeks a complete disconnect between sex and babies, can’t stand on its own. It needs to be constantly propped up by the Sexual State, in this case, the courts.”


Morse elaborated: “The abortion lobby claims it wants women to be able to ‘control their fertility.’ This claim is disingenuous. What the Abortion Lobby really wants is a world where sex and babies are completely disconnected, and sex without babies is an entitlement.”

“This is not the real world,” Morse continued. “That’s why the State, specifically, the judiciary, is needed. Ordinary people, acting through their legislatures, have enacted numerous common-sense pro-life measures. But the Abortion Lobby cannot abide these regulations, no matter how modest they may be.”

“Abortion supporters are terrified of Roe being ‘repealed piecemeal,’ as they say. That’s why they’re fighting the Kavanaugh nomination so fiercely. They need justices who will support their agenda.”

Morse concluded, “We hope the public will see through the media circus these hearings have become. Most normal people don’t want to live with a government committed to the fantasy that everyone is entitled to unlimited sex without a live baby ever resulting.”

The Sexual State, Morse’s latest book, was released in August by TAN Books. Dr. Morse, who has a passion for helping young people avoid the perils of the Sexual Revolution, is a popular campus speaker.

For more information about The Ruth Institute, visit http://www.ruthinstitute.org/.

For more information about The Sexual State, visit https://thesexualstate.com/.

 



Why I Don’t Call Anyone “Gay”

by Jennifer Roback Morse

This article was first published August 28, 2018, at Crisis Magazine.

The clergy sex abuse and cover-up stories have created a linguistic challenge for faithful Catholics. Over 80 percent of these clergy abuse cases involve predatory sexual activity between adult men and younger men in less powerful positions. Some Catholic commentators refer to these cases as “gay” to distinguish them from “pedophilia.” Their intention is sound: the “pedophilia” label has frequently been a way to deflect attention away from abusive homosexual conduct. I, however, maintain that we should avoid the word “gay,” and even the word “homosexual.” Former Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s bombshell revelations about sexual abuse and the network of cover-ups raises the stakes. We really must get the terminology right.

[Photo: Pope Francis with Cardinal McCarrick, Vatican Media]


Daniel Mattson wrote an important book, “Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay.” He outlines the philosophical, theological, and pastoral problems with the “gay” label. I add to Mattson’ arguments an additional consideration. “Gay” is a losing term for us.

At this moment in history, the word “gay” is loaded with positive associations. The word “gay” means young, fashionable, intelligent, and witty. “Gay” might also mean a weak, victimized, innocent waif, so psychologically vulnerable he might commit suicide. This perception is so prevalent that health care professionals are not supposed to even mention the health risks of “gay sex.”

Speaking of “gay sex,” what exactly do gay men do together? The images we have been presented suggest that all they do is hold hands, cuddle, and kiss. We never imagine “gay sex” to include rectal bleeding or intense pain or rectal incontinence or adult diapers.

In this respect, the “gay” image resembles the other sanitized images created around the Sexual Revolution. No-fault divorce involves two sensible mature people mutually deciding to “move on.” Children of divorce always “get over it.” No woman ever regrets her abortion. And so on.

All these claims are false.

When today’s mainstream journalists hear the word “gay,” they might picture a confused but basically innocent teenager. They might picture this teenager being bullied by classmates or scolded by adults. These benign associations with the word “gay” have been carefully crafted over decades. In fact, this is one place where the word “gay” properly applies. We can accurately describe the people who created these images, as the Gay Marketing Men.

I believe this explains the reluctance of many in the media to address the clergy sex abuse story as forcefully as a story about men preying on women victims. The terms “predator” or “domination” or “exploitation” do not register in connection with “gay.” In the average journalist’s minds, these words are associated with “toxic masculinity” or “conservative Christian.”

Catholic friends, we are not going to be able to dislodge these slanted images, no matter how loudly we yell about it. The protective moat around “gay” is too wide and deep. The Gay Marketing Men have spent millions of dollars and countless hours fashioning this picture and securing it firmly in the public mind.

Some Catholic commentators use the word “homosexual” in an effort to sidestep the term “gay.” I don’t think this strategy avoids the problem. Historically, the term “homosexual” was invented in the nineteenth century to “medicalize” what had previously been considered a moral or behavioral issue. Medicalizing behavior doesn’t help our cause. Besides, the word “homosexual” without qualifiers doesn’t buy us much help from the general public. It just makes us look out of date, like people who still use the word “Negro.”

Does that mean we throw up our hands and give up? Certainly not. I propose a different approach that gives us a better chance of success.

Instead of the word “gay,” use the most descriptively accurate phrase possible in the context of what you are trying to say. Instead of “gay sex scandal,” try this: “male on male sexual predation.” Sometimes, the most appropriate strategy is to use a long, clunky, but highly descriptive phrase like, “a powerful man with deep-seated attractions to males used his position of power to exploit younger men under his authority.” No one could conceivably confuse this word-picture with the teenaged boy who may have feelings he doesn’t understand.

In some cases, “pederasty” could be a good term to use. The Gay Marketing Men have not sanitized this term, and “pederasty” is distinct from pedophilia. (A “pederast” is a man who wants and has sex with adolescent boys. I had to look it up.)

The term “same-sex attraction” proposed by members of Courage, is a particular instance of the general policy I am suggesting. Dan Mattson and David Prosen and others argue that the gay identity is an inaccurate, self-limiting description. These men reject the term “gay” to eliminate a ton of philosophical and theological baggage.

The current torrent of embarrassing sex scandals is actually providential for the long-run health of the Body of Christ. We have the chance to offer authentic Catholic witness of authentic Catholic teaching to a desperate world. To succeed, though, we must be careful with our language. We can’t say or imply, “All gay men are predators,” because it isn’t true. At the same time, we cannot let anyone else say or imply, “All gay men are innocent lambs,” because that is not true either. And we will need at least some help from journalists who don’t necessarily share all of our views.

We can restate Archbishop Viganò’s explosive revelations without ever using the words “gay” or even “homosexual.”

“Men who do not agree with the teachings of the Catholic Church, nevertheless swore allegiance to the Church, and accepted positions of power, authority, wealth, and influence. They used those positions to indulge themselves sexually, to favor their friends, and to advance their careers. Among their preferred forms of sexual indulgence were the abuse of little boys, the seduction of teenaged-boys and the harassment of young adult male subordinates.”

No one will ever mistake this description for an appealing kid on a TV sitcom. No one would dream of saying these perpetrators were “born that way.”

When we use the word “gay,” we are doing battle on the field chosen by our opponents. By contrast, when we use other terms, we give our listeners a chance to think about what we are saying, without all the noise associated with the terms “gay” or “homosexual.”

“Gay” is a political word, a marketing word, a propaganda word. We don’t need to use it. So let’s quit using it.




RUTH INSTITUTE PRESIDENT AND AUTHOR OF “THE SEXUAL STATE” SAYS RECORD RATES OF STDS ARE ANOTHER TRAGIC CONSEQUENCE OF THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION

Commenting on the recently released report by the Centers for Disease Control, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, President of the Ruth Institute and author of The Sexual State, said, “Record rates of sexually transmitted disease are another tragic consequence of the Sexual Revolution.”

The CDC reports that in 2017, there were 2.294 million cases of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia. This is the 4th consecutive year these numbers have gone up. In 2013, there were 1.75 million cases of these three sexually transmitted diseases. In 2014, the number had grown to 1.8 million. In 2015, the figure was 1.94 million, and in 2016, 2.094 million cases were diagnosed.

Dr. Morse comments: “Each of these figures was the highest ever reported in that particular year. Given the state of society, we can expect them to continue to rise, with no end in sight.

“The answer of the ‘experts’ is more funding for health care and more sex education – as if we haven’t yet reached the saturation point.”


As The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives and Why the Church Was Right All Along points out, the culprits include a hook-up culture, and the idea that “everyone is entitled to the sex life they want,” including sex outside marriage, casual sex, sex at an early age, multiple partners, etc.

Morse notes: “There was a time when we understood that the only ‘safe sex’ is abstinence before marriage and faithfulness in marriage. As long as we treat sex unseriously, as long as we try to divorce this most intimate act from morality, sexually transmitted diseases will be a growing disaster.”

The Sexual State was published in late August by TAN books. For more information visit https://thesexualstate.com/.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse has a passion for helping young people avoid the perils of the sexual revolution. She is a popular campus speaker.

For More Information, contact: Beth Johnson at elizabeth.johnson@trvconsultinglc.com.


Hope and healing for the Sexual Revolution’s victims

Jennifer Roback Morse sees a whole collection of “social issues” as, in reality, one giant issue: what is the meaning and purpose of human sexuality?

This article was first published August 23, 2018, at Catholic World Report.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse is releasing a new book, The Sexual State, published by TAN Books. The theme of the book is summed up by its subtitle, “How elite ideologies are destroying lives and why the Church was right all along.”

Dr. Morse is founder of the Ruth Institute, “dedicated to finding Christ-like solutions to the problems of family breakdown.” She is a Catholic author, speaker, and academic; her Institute “has accumulated decades of research to support individuals and families harmed by divorce, the hook-up culture, and other forms of family breakdown.” She is married with two children (one adopted from Romania), and regularly speaks at religious and pro-life conferences on the Christian view of marriage and sexuality, and the ill effects of the Sexual Revolution. She lives in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

She has a doctorate in economics and taught at Yale and George Mason University before leaving academic life to care for her two children. She reflected, “Having my own children changed my perspective. It showed me how much children need their parents.”

She recently spoke to CWR about her new book.

CWR: What prompted you to write The Sexual State, and what do you hope readers will get out of it?


Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse: I have been on the front lines of public policy discussions surrounding the definition of marriage, surrogacy, and above all, the impact of the Sexual Revolution on children. I felt it was time to pull all the pieces together in one place. I hope readers will see that what seem to be a whole collection of “social issues” are really one giant issue: what is the meaning and purpose of human sexuality?

CWR: Why did you choose to title the book The Sexual State?

Morse: I am convinced that the Sexual Revolution did not just arise out of nowhere, like a hurricane blowing in from the Gulf. The Sexual Revolution is the creation of rich and powerful ideologues who need the help of the State to achieve their fantasy ideology.

CWR: The subtitle of your book is “Why the Church was right all along.” Is the timing of this subtitle poor, considering that we’ve begun another round of revelations about clergy sex abuse and cover-ups?

Morse: It is a sorry situation, isn’t it? What I meant to say in that subtitle is that the Church’s teachings are correct, and have been all along. I did not mean to imply that every person in the leadership of the Church is doing the right thing. Most reasonable people would agree that if all prelates lived according to Church teaching, we would not be in this mess. We could trust and respect them, as we would really like to be able to do. In that sense, the Church’s teachings are daily being proven correct.

CWR: Who do you think ought to read The Sexual State?

Morse: The Ruth Institute has been developing the concept of victims and survivors of the Sexual Revolution for the past five years. I mostly wrote the book for them, to give them the visibility and affirmation that they deserve and need. I include among the victims children of divorce, reluctantly divorced people, post-abortive women, refugees from the hook-up culture or the gay lifestyle, as well as their family and friends who have been watching in horror from the sidelines.

People such as therapists, teachers, clergy, and others in the helping professions will find insights that will help them assist their clients and patients. Silencing the victims has been a key part of the sexual revolutionary strategy. The Sexual State will help the helping professions see just how pervasive the social “gas-lighting” really is.

I also believe the book should be read by all Christians who hold to the orthodox, ancient teachings of the Church on marriage, family, and human sexuality. The views that are currently considered “Catholic” were once the common beliefs all of branches of Christianity.

And, the book is for all activists for any of the social issues, such as life and marriage issues, who will find clarification and support in this book. This includes anyone who is fed up with being called a bigot, or who refuses to be silenced by sexual radicals.

CWR: Explain what you mean by the ideology of the Sexual Revolution.

Morse: The Sexual Revolution consists of three interlocking ideologies:

  • The Contraceptive Ideology – separating sex from childbearing;
  • The Divorce Ideology – separating sex and childbearing from marriage;
  • The Gender Ideology – eliminating all distinctions between men and women except those that individuals explicitly embrace.

The Sexual State devotes a section to each of these ideologies. I give a brief history of how it came to be embedded in law. Above all, I illustrate the extensive propaganda that supports each of these ideologies.

CWR: How did you personally begin to recognize this ideology and devote yourself to combating it?

Morse: This has been cooking in my brain for a long time. I returned to the Church in 1980s after a 12-year lapse. I left the Church over sexual issues at the age of 20. I came back over sexual issues, when I realized the Church was right. I had only a dim idea of just how right the Church was, though.

It was the experience of adopting a two-year-old boy from a Romanian orphanage and giving birth to a little girl in the same year that gave me the key insight of my life: kids need their own parents. All the things we had to do to help our son develop and overcome the losses he experienced just kicked in naturally for our little girl. At that time, I was teaching economics at George Mason University. I realized: holy cow, if kids don’t have the time and attention of their parents, we can’t have a society.

That was the key idea of my first book, Love and Economics: It Takes a Family to Raise a Village. When I wrote that book in 2001, I was worried about divorce and day care and single parenthood. Those problems have not gone away. Instead, the forms of family breakdown and separating children from their parents have grown more intense and permanent, things like third-party reproduction and same-sex parenting.

If children don’t have a right to their parents, no one has a right to anything. I will never stop talking about this.

CWR: What about adoption? You’re an adoptive parent. How can you say kids are entitled to their biological parents?

Morse: Adoption is a wonderful back-up plan if the biological parents can’t be there for their kids for some reason. The fact that adoption works reasonably well most of the time does not give us license as a society to separate children from day-to-day contact with fit parents. This kind of separation routinely takes place in divorced and single-parent households, and we seem to think this is perfectly okay. I will never say it is okay, no matter how often it happens.

We were (and are) good parents to our son. But I could see that for my boy the best thing would have been that none of this had ever happened to him, and that he could have been with his parents. What he went through in that orphanage never should have happened. That is why I say, in the absence of an unavoidable tragedy, kids are entitled to a relationship with their natural, biological parents. And all children, and hence all adults, are entitled to know their identity. That rules out the falsified birth certificates such as some adoptees and all children of anonymous donor conception receive from the State.

CWR: You say that the elite are pushing the ideology of the Sexual Revolution on the broader population. Who are the elites, and what are some of the ways they advance this agenda?

Morse: The “elites,” as I use the term, include the rich, the powerful, and the influential, in any field of endeavor. People like Warren Buffet and George Soros in our time, and John D. Rockefeller III and Katherine McCormick in times past, have financed the spread of the ideologies. Academics produce and promote the research. Entertainment elites like Harvey Weinstein create the propaganda. Their motives are varied but include the fact that some of them are making money, and some of them desire social permission to do what they want sexually without fear of social sanction. And let us not forget: some of them are just plain old-fashioned population controllers.

I also sometimes use the term “Managerial Class” to call attention to how much damage has been done by the college-educated, inflicted on those lower down on the socio-economic ladder. It is a scandal, really.

CWR: You cite the Catholic Church as the one large international organization combating the ideology of the Sexual Revolution. How would you sum up the Church’s view of sex and family life, and how does it contrast with the ideology of the Sexual Revolution?

Morse: Pretty simple, really. Start from the proposition that kids need and deserve their own parents and reason logically from there.

  • Form a lifelong plan for cooperating with the one person who will co-parent with you. That is the institution formerly known as “marriage.”
  • Only have sex with the person you are married to.
  • Stay married unless someone does something really awful.
  • Don’t attempt a “remarriage.”
  • Be nice to your spouse, so he or she can put up with you.

In other words, you end up with traditional Christian sexual morality. There is more to Catholic theology of marriage, of course. But at this moment in history, protecting the basic human right of every child to a relationship with both parents is an achievement worth celebrating.

CWR: What are your thoughts on the 50th anniversary of the release of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae, which restated the Church’s opposition to the use of artificial contraceptives?

Morse: God bless him a thousand times. We needed that. The contraceptive ideology convinces people that sex is a sterile recreational activity, with reproduction thrown in as an afterthought for people with quirky lifestyle preferences. Without that core belief, the whole Sexual Revolution goes down the drain.

CWR: Does the sexual misbehavior of prominent figures in the Church make it more difficult for the Church to proclaim her teaching on sexuality and family life?

Morse: No kidding. We now know why so many clergy refuse to preach or teach on the sexual issues, and why so many dioceses have a lackluster record in this regard. There are way too many men using their position of authority and respect in the Church to pursue their private sexual purposes.

However, this makes it even more important that faithful Catholics take up the challenge of educating themselves, living the Church’s teaching, and sharing it with others. We can’t wait for the clergy to put their houses in order.

CWR: How do you think the many stories of sexual misbehavior by prominent people that have been coming out recently are related to the ideology of the Sexual Revolution?

Morse: You know, for the longest time, I did not want to deal with sexual abuse. I told myself, “sexual abuse has been around since time immemorial: it is not really fair to blame it on a 20th-century ideology. Besides, I have enough other victims and survivors of the Sexual Revolution to deal with.” And if I’m honest with myself, I have to say that I put off dealing with sexual abuse, because the topic is just upsetting and awful and icky.

But now I see that the Sexual Revolution really is profoundly implicated. The Sexual Revolution provides “cover” for predatory sexual behavior. After all, the bottom line of the ideology is that sex is an entitlement. Who believes that, I mean really believes it? The rapist, that’s who. The already-powerful are further empowered to take what they want sexually, because we are all convinced it is nothing more than a sterile recreational activity with no moral or social significance.

It is actually an astonishing situation. Everyone in society believes they are entitled to sex. No one seems to believe that they might someday become the “prey” rather than the predator. We can now see that “consent” is a pretty flimsy basis for deciding when sexual activity is appropriate. I mean, consent is certainly a necessary condition, but it is not a sufficient condition. The starlet on Harvey Weinstein’s proverbial casting couch may have consented in some sense. But most people can now see that “consent” under such circumstances is nowhere near an adequate standard. Too few people are willing to think through what the alternative standard of “appropriate” sexual conduct would be. That is why the women in the pink pussy hats are not going to get to the root of this problem. They are not willing to let go of the ideology that drives sexual abuse. They don’t want to give up their pills and pornography.

Fortunately, the Church has been thinking about this for a long time, despite the dreadful deeds of some in our hierarchy.

CWR: When will your book be released, and how can people get a copy of it? How can they follow the activities of the Ruth Institute?

Morse: The release date is set for August 23. People can purchase the book online from the publisher, TAN Books, or from the Ruth Institute.

People can sign up for our free weekly newsletter. We are talking about these issues regularly, and there is really a lot going on. My colleagues on the Circle of Experts also have a lot of valuable information from a variety of disciplines, which we share on our Ruth Speaks Out blog.

We generally post something funny on our Facebook page in the afternoon. We do that to relieve some of the grimness associated with this topic. Come over and have a laugh. Stay for the substance of our work.

 


Jenet Erickson: Abortion's culture is antithetical to women's equality

By Jenet Jacob Erickson

This article was first published on August 5, 2018, at Deseret News.

Once again, Roe v. Wade finds itself at the center of a Supreme Court nomination battle. And regardless of whether Roe v. Wade is ever overturned, there is no question that scientific advancements have “remade” the abortion debate. With ultrasound imagery and innovations in neonatology, a developing fetus is no longer referred to as “a mass of tissue,” even by abortion advocates. Public opinion reflects this change. Strong majorities of Americans, across demographic groups, oppose abortions in the second (65 percent) and third trimesters (81 percent). And even in the first trimester, a majority (53 percent) agrees abortion should be illegal when the woman’s only reason is not wanting to have a child.

Whether abortion means terminating a developing life is no longer debated. That is clear. The debate now centers on what abortion means for women. In the face of public support for some abortion restrictions, pro-choice advocates argue, “abandoning abortion rights means abandoning women.” NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue claims that those who advocate for restrictions on abortion are “not really anti-abortion. … They are against a world where women can contribute equally and chart our own destiny in ways our grandmothers never thought possible.”


But Hogue’s claim belies a damaging assumption. One we must take seriously. She assumes that women cannot be equal to men unless they act destructively against their bodies and the developing life they carry. Essentially, women are told that by sacrificing life they can achieve an “equal” life.

As Harvard visiting scholar Erika Bacciochi explains, abortion advocacy assumes a “troubling natural inequality” for women because they get pregnant and men do not. Abortion eliminates that difference so women, like men, can enter into sexual relations without commitment, “free” to become, both socially and economically. But to do so, women must act “affirmatively and destructively” on their bodies to imitate men.

In the words of pro-life scholar Camille Williams, in essence, women are reduced to “defective men,” living “at the mercy of our bodies, too weak, irrational and incompetent to resist irresponsible men who impregnate us, and too politically weak to shape our educational institutions and workplaces” to accommodate the gift of our fertility.

Abortion does not remedy inequality for women. It entrenches it by refusing to acknowledge and respect the sexual difference between men and women. Instead of shaping our educational institutions and workplaces to respect, protect and support women’s childbearing, abortion encourages us to ignore it. Instead of seeking remedies for the challenges and injustices faced by pregnant women, abortion “submits” to them, masking and not responding to the realities women face.

The assumptions underlying abortion have also undermined the responsibility men and women feel for each other, and the life they create. Abortion on demand teaches that relationships are terminable at will — that love, sacrifice and commitment are contingent upon self-interest and fulfillment. It says not only to a developing person, but to the mother herself, “I will love and care for you when it works for me.” But in the rejection of her pregnancy, she is also being rejected. To denigrate the gift of life unavoidably denigrates the person who carries that life.

As sociologist Mark Regnerus’ research found, “Sex among singles used to occur in and during the search for someone to marry. … The average woman could and did count on seeing evidence of commitment before sex, because sex risked pregnancy. … Now having sex and thinking about or committing to marry are two very different things.”

The tragic result is fewer marriageable men, less commitment, and a sexually permissive climate where women are easily objectified. Permissive abortion allows men to be absolved of responsibility for the gift of life that may result from their sexual relationships, whether aborted or not. And so, ironically, since Roe v. Wade, the out-of-wedlock childbearing rate has grown from 5 percent to 41 percent with profound negative implications, especially for low-income women and children. Although abortion is often marketed as a means of planning for child-rearing, easy access to it has undermined our capacity to form the committed relationships children depend upon.

A culture of abortion is ultimately antithetical to the equality women deserve, and it undermines the desire many women have for committed relationships with men as husbands and fathers, and with the children of those fathers. Given the long-term implications of the assumptions underlying a culture of permissive abortion, we can and must do better for women.


Jenet Jacob Erickson is an affiliated scholar of the Wheatley Institution at BYU.


Symposium: ‘Humanae Vitae’ Teachings Essential for Stable Marriages, Families

Benedictine College event looked at why the teachings of the Church are the answer to many current cultural and societal problems.

Mary Rezac/CNA/EWTN News March 28, 2018, at ncregister.com.
 
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone speaks at the Symposium on Advancing the New Evangelization in Atchison, Kansas.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone speaks at the Symposium on Advancing the New Evangelization in Atchison, Kansas. (Michelle Harrison/Benedictine College via CNA)
 
ATCHISON, Kan. — The promise of the sexual revolution and contraception was total sexual freedom for everyone.

“Sex is for fun and now women can have just as much fun without the consequences,” Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco said about the claims of the sexual revolution in a recent talk.

“That was the cry of the day, and yet somehow it didn’t work out that way,” he said.


What went wrong? It’s a question that the archbishop and other presenters attempted to answer at a symposium on Humanae Vitae and the New Evangelization at Benedictine College in Kansas this past weekend. Archbishop Cordileone was one of four featured keynote speakers, along with Janet Smith from Sacred Heart Major Seminary; Brad Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia; and Jennifer Roback-Morse, founder of the Ruth Institute.

The symposium covered a wide range of topics related to marriage and family life and looked at why the teachings of the Church in Humanae Vitae are the answer to many of the current cultural and societal problems surrounding sex, marriage and family.

In his talk, Archbishop Cordileone noted the dissonance in a society that on the one hand accepts divorce, contraception and all kinds of sexual deviance as normal and on the other hand is baffled when thousands of women complain of sexual harassment as part of the #MeToo movement.

“This is another major head-scratcher for me. The whole point of these last 50 years was supposed to be liberation,” Archbishop Cordileone said. But “no one dares to suggest that the problem is the very narrative [from the sexual revolution] itself.”

Brad Wilcox, professor of sociology at the University of Virginia and director of the National Marriage Project, also noted this cultural inconsistency in his talk about marriage inequality in America.

Wilcox noted that while the upper and middles classes say they are increasingly tolerant of family structure diversity and deviance from the two-married-parent household norm, they are usually more traditional in practice, while the poor are left to suffer the consequences of a culture that no longer values marriage and family.

“We’re seeing what Charles Murray has called a fault line now dividing Americans on marriage,” he said, noting that studies show that Americans who are college-educated and relatively more affluent tend to get and stay married.

“By contrast, poor and working-class Americans are less likely to sustain high-quality marriages and their kids are more likely to be exposed to some kind of instability,” he said, whether that’s single parenthood, cohabitation, divorce and even abuse.

“For me, all of this really matters because it has a direct impact on our kids,” he said, noting that children who experience unstable families on average have lower graduation and employment rates, are more likely to end up in trouble with the law, and are more likely to become pregnant as teenagers.

This significant class divide over marriage did not exist 50 years ago, but economic and policy shifts as well as a shift away from the secular and civic institutions that used to be a key part of American civil life have played a significant role in creating this divide, Wilcox said.

The interest and participation levels in these institutions that “used to supply money, moral direction and social support to marriage are quite fragile today, particularly for Americans who don’t have that college degree,” he added.

In her talk, “What the Contraceptive Ideology Has Done to America,” Morse said that the sexual revolution had three main objectives: to separate sex from babies, to separate both sex and babies from marriage, and to wipe out all differences between men and women.

While Wilcox noted that the poor and working class are suffering the most from a decline in marriage and family, Morse added that children are the ones who lose the most in a society that embraces contraception and divorce.

“We’re talking about a whole society built around the premise that adults can have whatever sexual activity they want and never have a baby, unless they want the baby. That is irrational to believe that that is possible. That is a fantasy,” Morse said.

“If you’re having sex with somebody who’s [not your spouse] and would be ... completely inappropriate for you to co-parent with, what are your options if your contraception fails, which it will about 13% of the time?”

The options for these couples are a shotgun wedding, single parenthood, adoption or abortion, Morse noted, and in many cases, the child suffers from the parents’ actions.

Because of the devastating impacts that the sexual revolution has had on marriage and family, it is all the more important for the Church to continue preaching the truths of Humanae Vitae and the beauty of marriage and family life lived out according to God’s design, Archbishop Cordileone said.

In the encyclical itself, Pope Paul VI admits that this teaching will not be easily accepted by all: “It is to be anticipated that perhaps not everyone will easily accept this particular teaching. There is too much clamorous outcry against the voice of the Church, and this is intensified by modern means of communication. But it comes as no surprise to the Church that she, no less than her divine Founder, is destined to be a ‘sign of contradiction.’ She does not, because of this, evade the duty imposed on her of proclaiming humbly but firmly the entire moral law, both natural and evangelical.”

However, those who make the best disciples and evangelizers of the truths of Humanae Vitae are those who have lived by the “secular code of conduct” and have found it lacking and even harmful, the archbishop noted.

“One of the most common responses of young people who are granted the grace of this understanding is ‘Why didn’t anyone tell me sooner? It would have saved me untold suffering,’” he said.

“Such people make the most ardent disciples and provide a much needed witness for many cradle Catholics.”

Humanae Vitae is not easy to live out, Archbishop Cordileone said, but it will lead couples to the most happiness and therefore must be taught in a way that is winsome and effective, without shying away from the suffering involved.

“The worst thing we can do ... is to soften or downplay the hard parts of our faith, those teachings where we encounter the most resistance or hostility in our culture. How could we do such a thing if we are convinced that this is true and for the true good of all people?” he said.

“We leaders in the Church do a grave disservice to our people by giving them excuses for taking the easy way out, such as misleading them with the false idea of what conscience means or failing to assist them in forming their consciences correctly. Much to people’s surprise, it is actually the hard way out that is the most effective evangelizing strategy,” he added.

“Rather than offering excuses for fleeing the cross, what we need are creative new ideas to help people understand the wisdom and beauty of God’s design.”

The point of the symposium is to bring people together who can do just that, said Matthew Muller, assistant professor of theology and an organizer of the event through Benedictine College’s Gregorian Institute.

“The symposium is a think tank for the New Evangelization, so what is important now, I think, is that leaders at the diocesan, parish and ministry levels, as well as the scholars and graduate students who attended, continue to reflect on the ideas they heard and develop ways to implement those ideas in their professional or scholarly work,” Muller told CNA.

“The reception of Humanae Vitae is an ongoing process in the Church, and events like the symposium help to encourage a deeper appreciation and integration of the Church’s teachings concerning the goodness of the human person, sexuality, marriage and family.”

 

 


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.”



Should faithful Christians do business with Vanco? Draw Your Own Conclusions

Vanco was the Ruth Institute's payment processor for donations from 2015 until August 31, 2017. We have recorded many of the news stories as well as our press releases in this space. We want to let our friends know that we received additional correspondence from them. We record it here in its entirety, without comment. You may draw your own conclusions. 

On Tuesday, September 26, the CFO of Vanco called and left a message for the Ruth Institute. I returned her call. She informed me that they would be willing to reinstate us. I was polite, and asked her for the details of what she proposed. This is what she sent me, the following day: 

Wednesday, September 27: 

Jennifer, thank you for the conversation yesterday. As discussed on our call, Vanco has completed our re-underwriting process with our Banking partner and secured the ability to reinstate The Ruth Institute as a client. If you would like to reinstate your account, please contact me at the email above.

Also, if desired, we can restart your recurring transactions.

Your previous pricing for our services was a historical pricing plan that provided the following rates:

  • Monthly fee $5.00
  • Card fees: 2.75% processing fee + $.45 per transaction
  • ACH fees: 2.00% processing fee + $.35 per transaction

Our current published rates may be more advantageous for you depending on your forecasted mix between card and ACH and number of transactions. We are willing to reinstate you at your historical rate or you may choose from our current published plans. I’m happy to discuss if you have any questions.

Further, since you will be reinstated as a new customer, we would like to offer you our current promotions that we are currently offering to new customers. They are as follows:

  • Monthly Fee
    • First three months of 2018 monthly fees waived (January, February, March) if any new client has at least 5 individual members set-up a re-occurring transaction prior to December 31, 2017
  • Give+ Kiosk
    • First 3 months of monthly fee waived with the purchase of a kiosk

 

Jennifer Dorris, CPA

Chief Financial Officer

400 Northridge Road |Suite 1200

Atlanta, Georgia 30350

Main: 404-492-6600

On Friday, September 29, I sent her the following

Dear Ms. Dorris,

I received your email of September 27, 2017, in response to our telephone call of the previous day. As you know, your company discontinued your service with us without notice on August 31, 2017. For us to consider returning to Vanco, we would require, at a minimum, the following:

  • An explanation of why we were terminated. What policies had we violated?
  • An explanation of the investigation which took place which uncovered these violations.
  • The appeals process a client could go through, should we, or any other client, find themselves in this position of immediate, unexplained termination.
  • An explanation of the “re-underwriting process with our Banking partner and secured the ability to reinstate The Ruth Institute as a client.” What exactly changed between August 31st and September 26th?
  • When we signed up in 2015, this was the service agreement in effect. Would this agreement be in effect for us now, or is there a more current version?
  • Who exactly is Card Brands, the company mentioned in the August 31st message discontinuing our service?
  • What role does Wells Fargo play in your decision-making?
  • A personal, and a public apology. Neither your phone call, nor your email contained even a hint of an apology.

Ms. Dorris, we have many small monthly donors. As you well know, these are the people who pay the fees Vanco collects. We don’t pay: our donors pay. These dear people who give us $10 or $25 per month were most upset with Vanco when we had to call them and tell them about this situation. They deserve an explanation and apology. Reinstating service with Vanco without both an explanation and apology from you would be breaking faith with our friends and supporters. We simply cannot do this.

I am sure you can understand that switching credit card processing is no small matter. We finally have our new systems up and running. All things considered, it would take an extraordinary effort on your part to get us back. Your correspondence thus far, does not rise to that level.

Sincerely,

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse,

Founder and President,

The Ruth Institute

On Monday October 2, we received the following: 

As discussed on the phone and via email, Vanco has secured the ability to reinstate The Ruth Institute as a client. Based on your feedback, we understand you are working with another payment processor. Please know that if for some reason that does not work out, we would welcome the opportunity to have you back as a client.

Best, Jennifer Dorris

These documents speak for themselves. I will say no more. Thank you for your support. 

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