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Welcome to our newest project. The Dr. J Show is a weekly broadcast with an interview segment that features some of the foremost leaders and thinkers on issues relating to marriage, family and human sexuality. New episodes come out every Friday; catch them here or over at our YouTube channel.
Posted on: Friday, March 26, 2021
Sharon Slater is the president of Family Watch International (FWI) and the chair of the UN Family Rights Caucus. She is a consultant to multiple UN Member States on issues of life, human sexuality, and family policy and the author of the book Stand for the Family: A Call to Responsible Citizens Everywhere, also known as the “Family Defense Handbook.” Sharon also serves on the board of directors of No Left Turn in Education and on the board of the Political Network for Values, a global platform and resource for legislators and politicians across the globe defending human life, marriage, family, religious freedom and conscience. Sharon co-chairs the U.S.-based Protect Child Health Coalition (ProtectChildHealth.org). Sharon has directed multiple widely acclaimed documentaries including “The War on Children: The Comprehensive Sexuality Education Agenda,” “Cultural Imperialism: The Sexual Rights Agenda,” and “Porn Pandemic: The Devastating Impact on Marriage, Children and Families.” She is currently the executive director of a series of videos on transgender issues (see at familywatch.or g/transgenderissues/). She and her husband Greg reside in Arizona and have seven children (three of whom are siblings adopted from Mozambique) and twelve grandchildren.
Sharon Slater [00:00] They start with newborns to four years old, and they teach them that they can touch their body parts for sexual pleasure. They teach them about their sexual identities to confuse them about their gender. At age nine they're teaching about orgasm. *cut* Planned parenthood is behind the scenes writing a lot of this stuff for the world health organization for U.N. agencies because C.S.E. or Comprehensive Sexuality Education is a marketing tool to get kids into their clinics.
Dr. Morse [00:28] Yeah.
Sharon Slater [00:29] Because once they're sexualized what do they need? Condoms, contraceptives, abortions. Now they're doing transgender hormones. Planned Parenthood Federation of America says they're the second largest provider of these expensive harmful toxic cross-sex hormones.
Dr. Morse [00:45] Yeah.
Dr. Morse [00:56] Hi everyone I'm Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse founder and president of the Ruth Institute. Welcome to today's episode of the Dr. J Show. My guest today is Sharon Slater, and Sharon is involved in so many pro family organizations I can't keep track of all of them, and so I'm gonna just waste no time to introduce you to Sharon Slater, and Sharon tell people one or two of the organizations that you're involved in in defending the family.
Sharon Slater [01:25] Thank you. Well first of all Dr. J, I'm so honored to be on your show. You bring on very interesting guests and with important information and I'm honored to be among them. So, well, first and foremost I’m the president of Family Watch International which is a non-religious social science based organization we're accredited at the U.N. and we work to protect the family. I also chair the U.N. Family Rights Caucus and I co-chair a national coalition that works to protect children from premature sexualization called the Protect Child Health Coalition. That's a few-
Dr. Morse [02:04] That's wonderful, that's stupendous. So is- there's probably a story about how you became so passionate about family issues. Tell people how you got involved in this area.
Sharon Slater [02:13] Sure, well, when I put my youngest in kindergarten I was trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life and I found myself at a United Nations conference and I had never been politically active, involved, I'm embarrassed to say, not even into the P.T.A. or anything. And I was asked to monitor what was going on inside U.N. negotiations and mark down on my paper anything positive in support of life or family and my paper remained blank. The things I heard were just crazy, and I thought, “does anybody know what's even being discussed here?” And then a lone delegate raised her hand and said let's put a provision in here calling for protection of religious and cultural values, and you would have thought that she had done the most controversial thing possible. Everybody stopped: they started attacking her and she was floundering and she was losing her point and at that point I started shaking because I had the very citation she needed to support her argument, that is, citations from past U.N. documents that nations had agreed to that called for protection of religious and cultural values. So, I made my way up behind her and I stuck it on her lap. The page was turned to the right provision, and all of a sudden she looked down she saw the citation, she raised her hand, she read them off, and she won the argument. And the room was silent, and she asked for a break, and she pulled me out in the hallway and she said, “who are you?”
Dr. Morse [03:40] *laughter* And how did you answer at that point: “who are you?”
Sharon Slater [03:46] I was a mom! That I was a mom that happened to be at the right place at the right time with the right tool to impact international negotiations that could impact families across the world. That thought astounded me; if I could stumble in there and not know anything, what could happen if I started to learn, if I brought other people to the U.N. who are smarter than me and had more background? And that began my journey over 20 years ago with Family Watch International.
Dr. Morse [04:13] So what year was that- would you- when you had that experience there as a Mom?
Sharon Slater [04:18] February of 2000.
Dr. Morse [04:21] Wow, so the new millennium kicks off with Sharon Slater out of the gate. Look out everybody! And so one of the issues that- I know you for two things, Sharon, when I think Sharon Slater I think U.N., you know that you go to the U.N. and you bring other people with you. If i'm not mistaken don't you train other moms and and various people to come with you?
Sharon Slater [04:41] Correct, we train youth, grandparents, moms, but also lawyers, and doctors, and nurses, and teachers, and people of all different countries, backgrounds, cultures, and we bring them to the U.N. to advocate for life and family.
Dr. Morse [04:54] That's just stupendous- so that- and God bless you a thousand times, because I would have no aptitude for that whatsoever; I would be-
Sharon Slater [05:02] I doubt that! I am certain we're gonna take you, Jennifer, you would do awesome. We need to bring you there as a speaker. Yes, yes, yes, you would be great!
Dr. Morse [05:13] Oh, the legislation negotiations. Oh no, just, “here's what it is!”
Sharon Slater [05:18] We could put on an event on survivors of the sexual revolution and you would be awesome!
Dr. Morse [05:24] Okay, all right, but now, but the second issue that I know you for, and I think Sharon Slater, I think U.N., and then I also think Comprehensive Sexuality Education. Tell people a little bit about your work in that area because there is some overlap in some of this U.N. stuff, but this is in everybody's neighborhood across the United States, so say a little bit about your work on comprehensive sex ed.
Sharon Slater [05:48] Sure, well something you may not know about me is we adopted three AIDS orphans from Mozambique. They were siblings: Luisha, Melia, and Alfonso, and it took about six years for us to adopt them so I’d go back and forth between here in Africa working on the adoption, and one day I was there and my 10 year old, Amelia, who I eventually adopted, came home with a little booklet. And in that booklet, it had graphic descriptions on how to engage in anal and oral sex and use protection. And I was shocked, I'm like “who in their right mind would give this to a 10 year old?” Then I started noticing, and I would travel to other African countries when I would come to Mozambique, that there were all these posters and all these different messaging that was going into Africa where AIDS rates are so high, just telling children “have sex it's fun but just use a condom” and “all the reasons why you might want to have sex” and just sexualizing children. And then I came home and I found some of this in my own child's school, at high school, and I'm like “What, what is going on?” And I learned that there was something called Comprehensive Sexuality Education and this was- my journey began in 2002. Then when U was at the United Nations, at the U.N. Commission on Population and Development, all of a sudden a country proposes Comprehensive Sexuality Education in the document, and it had never been in any of the U.N. documents before. Whenever new language comes forward you know there's going to be a problem, so I started researching and researching and I found this huge agenda attached to it and I've devoted my life now to exposing it across the world and equipping people with tools and through various projects and websites that we have to stop Comprehensive Sexuality Education from sexualizing children.
Dr. Morse [07:35] This is an issue that I've never really dealt with myself that much, and at the Ruth Institute we don't deal with it that much. But, I know when I wrote The Sexual State, and you know really explaining how the sexual revolution goes, and so on- I have in here a manifesto for the family, and the very first thing in the manifesto is get rid of sex ed, because in my view, the way I look at it, it's just all propaganda. It's propaganda for the sexual revolution. It's normalizing the ideology and it's sexualizing the children. And so you come at it from the sexualizing the children aspect, and I come at it from the normalizing ideology and we're both like agh make this stop, you know, get rid of it. And you, I think most of our followers, a lot of our followers, would be surprised at how widespread this type of material is in schools here in the United States. Tell people a little bit about some of the things you've seen in U.S. schools.
Sharon Slater [08:33] Sure, first let me just say that you're exactly right. It's not just sex, it's ideology, it's gender ideology, transgender ideology. We've identified 15 harmful elements that are usually found in Comprehensive Sexuality Education programs, and you can get that list, we have a website at stopcse.org, but what we found is this is a global agenda, and Planned Parenthood, starting with International Planned Parenthood, that has 65,000 service points and 170 countries, is largely behind this agenda, and they've infiltrated all the U.N. agencies, or pushing it across the world especially in Africa. But their largest affiliate is in the United States and their member organization is called Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and they have almost a monopoly on sex education in the U.S. They're the largest provider, and they've been getting over a hundred million dollars- well maybe not them specifically, but a lot of their member organizations- a lot of the money that's coming through congress for teen pregnancy prevention, and they have all these horrible programs. Most of them have scored anywhere from 12 to 15 on our harmful analysis as far as the harmful elements. Do you want me to give you one example? For example, a popular program that's taught in many states including in Arizona-
Dr. Morse [09:54] Yes, give people some specifics. And by the way, if you're listening to this in your car and you have small children in the back, you might want to postpone listening until- this is not for young years.
Sharon Slater [10:07] It's not appropriate for children, but the specific manual I'm going to tell you about is for children starting at age 12.
Dr. Morse [10:14] Okay, so yeah, I'm going to jump in here because the Ruth Institute did make a comment about a program being taught being voted on in Washington state and I'm sure you know this-
Sharon Slater [10:24] Yes.
Dr. Morse [10:25] This story not long ago: Washington state voted for a new curriculum, and the proceedings in on C-SPAN, they put a warning label “Warning-
Sharon Slater [10:35] Isn’t that crazy? Warning for adults right?
Dr. Morse [10:38] mature content”, perhaps disturbing content, when they were debating on it. And what they were voting on is whether to put this in children- in schools for children- so some of the content, yes, is very disturbing so anyway with that-
Sharon Slater [10:50] And they voted for it even though it was too graphic to show adults, right?
Dr. Morse [10:54] No kidding!
Sharon Slater [10:55] That's how crazy it is.
Dr. Morse [10:57] It is completely nuts, completely. Carry on, Sharon. Tell people about it. People need to know.
Sharon Slater [11:02] One of the very popular programs that's being taught by Planned Parenthood entities, or similar entities in U.S. schools, also in Arizona, is called Making a Difference. Making a Difference has a worksheet that they do with the kids. At the top of the worksheet it says, “What is abstinence: how do I express my sexual feelings?” and it tells the teacher to elicit as many of the following responses as possible. And, in that list, it has things like holding hands, saying I like you, touching each other's genitals, anal sex, oral sex. This is how you express your sexual feelings for 12 year olds as part of abstinence. I mean it doesn't doesn't make any sense so-
Dr. Morse [11:42] Yes.
Sharon Slater [11:43] They're redefining abstinence, and again, this comes from Planned Parenthood because the U.N.published something called the International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education in 2018 and it redefines abstinence as saying abstinence is not just refraining from having sex, it's also deciding with whom you're going to have sex and when. That's abstinence.
Dr. Morse [12:07] Yep.
Sharon Slater [12:08] It also teaches children about sexual pleasure, how to get, you know, sexual stimulation, to get sexual pleasure. Many of these programs push masturbation, and Planned Parenthood has a number of programs that push gender ideology. So at the root of these programs, the the end goal is they're trying to change all the gender and sexual norms of society in radical ways by indoctrinating the upcoming generation and sexualizing them.
Dr. Morse [12:37] Yes, and for those of you who are hoping that we're going to make progress in this area by having children and raising our children correctly, you need to understand that the sexual revolutionaries are coming for your children. They really, literally, are first of all: most of those people don't have and raise large numbers of children. They're doing good to replace themselves if they have one child, they're doing great. Somebody like Sharon, who has seven children, the way they're going to compete with somebody like Sharon is to educate her children out of her values and into their values so everybody watching this program, whether you're a parent, grandparent, wherever you may be in the whole process, wherever your family may be, you need to get involved, because I guarantee you this is in a school near you. Continue sharing, there's more great stuff. Great stuff, you know what I mean, there's more shocking stuff. Go ahead.
Sharon Slater [13:31] One of the other- one of the most disturbing things I came across was I was at the United Nations and I saw on the schedule that there was an event being hosted by the Girl Scouts the of the U.S.A., and I thought “whoa what are they doing at the U.N.?” You know, “what controversial things might I find here?” I went and they wouldn't let me come in. They said it was for children only under the age of 18. So, I waited-
Dr. Morse [13:52] What?!
Sharon Slater [13:53] Yeah that's what they told me. So, I waited until it was over and I thought i'm going to see what materials they're handing out, and I went there and I just happened to have the booklet I found: it's called “Healthy, Happy and Hot.” There was a huge stack of these, by the International Planned Parenthood Federation, and I was astounded when I opened it up and I learned that this is for hiv-infected youth. And it's to teach them about their rights to sexual pleasure and how to get sexual pleasure even though they're infected with hiv. But, the worst thing about this, is it tells children that they're, if they're infected with hiv, that it's a violation of their international human rights to have to disclose their hiv status to their sexual partners- they don't have to tell their sexual partners they're infected with hiv- and this was in the Girl Scout meeting.
Dr. Morse [14:45] Wow, well. So that is so disturbing on so many levels. I wish I could write it down fast enough. Number one: when adults want to talk to your child about sex without you present, I think you should have red flags going off that this is a form of sexual grooming, okay? I have had any number of concerned parents ask me that. “Dr. Morse this looks like grooming to me there, it's like they're softening the kids up to say yes to people and things they should not be saying yes to, and (things) they wouldn't ordinarily say yes to.” So do you agree with that- that this is grooming?
Sharon Slater [15:18] Absolutely.There's a book that we can't even show you called, It's Perfectly Normal. It's in many school libraries across the United States and it's endorsed by Planned Parenthood in the foreword, and so forth, and actually shows, although it's cartoon, it's very very realistic showing different children in different sex positions masturbating. I mean this stuff is graphic and it's very, very harmful- it's obscene materials for minors.
Dr. Morse [15:45] And the other aspect of this, is that I don't think it's technically correct what they're saying it's a violation of international law to be forced to tell your sex partner. I don't think that's true as a matter of law.
Sharon Slater [16:00] Yeah, that's just-
Dr. Morse [16:01] Do you know? Do you know?
Sharon Slater [16:02] Well, it's not true. It's absolutely false.
Dr. Morse [16:04] That's the point. That's the point. But, there's- they're talking about it as though it's true. They call- they label it an international human right-
Sharon Slater [16:11] Right.
Dr. Morse [16:12] As if it's true, but it isn't true, so you know, basically, they're, they're- what do we call that? Do we call it a flat out lie? Do we call it misleading? Do we call it disinformation? You know, but it's un-truth is what they're doing.
Sharon Slater [16:24] It's all the above. They're promoting human wrongs as human rights. And another disturbing point of information is that the World Health Organization, which is supposed to set the health standards for the whole world, is behind this agenda. They've established a guideline for sexuality education in Europe, and in this publication you can find it online we also have it on our website at stopcsu.org, they tell children, they start with newborns to four years old, and they teach them that they can touch their body parts for sexual pleasure. They teach them about their sexual identities to confuse them about their gender. At age nine, they're teaching about orgasm. But even more disturbing, at age nine they send them to International Planned Parenthood Federation to learn about their sexual rights so-
Dr. Morse [17:13] Wow.
Sharon Slater [17:14] Planned Parenthood is behind the scenes writing a lot of this stuff for the World Health Organization, for U.N. agencies, because C.S.E., or Comprehensive Sexuality Education, is a marketing tool to get kids into their clinics because once they're sexualized what do they need? Condoms, contraceptive,s abortions, now they're doing transgender hormones. Planned Parenthood Federation of America says they're the second largest provider of these expensive, harmful, toxic cross-sex hormones- it's, it's just unconscionable.
Dr. Morse [17:47] Yes, and the other thing that I've noticed, some time ago, I noticed this. And this is like, I think like the ground floor underlying ideology under all of this, is that every person has the right to a sex life. What do they say? A satisfying sex life. Okay, so now, if you look at that and you ask yourself, “okay if everybody has a right to a satisfying sex life who's required to provide that?” you know “is it somebody's job to make sure you have a satisfying sex life?” So, you know, right there this is different from other kinds of rights: this is not like a right to vote, or right to a jury trial, or, you know, right habeas corpus, you know, this is a different kind of right that we're talking about. And it- once you start to analyze it- you realize that it is propaganda for a particular view about human nature, or a particular view about the human person. And what makes people happy, you know, ultimately what is life all about, you know, so if if everybody has a right to a satisfying sex life, and we're not going to mention who is responsible for tha, who's empowered by that. Sharon, what do you think? Who is empowered who's better off if ever-
Sharon Slater [18:58] Pedophiles, and perhaps, you know, perpetrators. They're the ones that are empowered by this, not children! We know the children who have sexual contact, and this is according to the C.D.C. they do their um adolescent surveys that they do, children in the U.S. for example that have had sexual contact are going to have more sexual violence, more stds, more depression, more suicide, almost everything that you can measure, more alcoholism, you know. This sets them up for failure, harm, and medical, and mental health consequences so they are the losers in all of this.
Dr. Morse [19:33] Right, and not only that. If you think about child sexual abuse- this is something the Ruth Institute has gotten interested in in the last couple of years because we felt compelled to get involved with the Catholic clergy sexual abuse crisis, and we've done some important analysis of it- and so on and so forth. When you talk to the people who survive that kind of thing it really is a traumatic experience for them and if the general ethos of society is everybody's entitled then who's empowered by that? The child is disarmed, the vulnerable party is disarmed by the ideology, and the predator now has a nice new big shiny tool in his tool bag. Well, of course, you want to be sex positive now don't you you? Don't you? Don't want to be uptight. You don't want to be a prude now. Oh, and don't tell your parents. Of course Planned Parenthood and these type of sex ed programs have already primed them to not tell their parents anything. Right?
Sharon Slater [20:33] Right. They define the term barriers as any kind of laws that require parental consent for either services, or sex, and so forth. And so they're working- you know we fight at the United Nations day in and day out. Right now, at the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women, there's a battle going on- there are six references to Comprehensive Sexuality Education in the document being negotiated called “agreed conclusions”, and we rally nations to fight it, and they keep saying, “no, no, no!” And the European countries, and now the U.S. under the Biden administration, or in Canada, and you know the developed countries, are all pushing it, and it's just a big fight day in and day out. And we usually get the term out, but then they use other deceptive terminology or they interpret other innocent sounding terms in the document to include it so that the U.N. agencies can have a mandate to push it anyways in countries across the world.
Dr. Morse [21:27] And not only that, if you look at the power imbalance between a country like Mozambique, or a country like Uganda- which I have visited and have seen the same kind of things that you were talking about: the sort of relentless propaganda, you know, and the parroting of these phrases, these catchphrases, which obviously came from somewhere else- if you look at the power imbalance between them and the United States- and we have all this money to dole out, and they know, and we know, and everybody knows if you think about it- that the money is conditioned on whether you're going to accept this: except western sexual norms. You know? And so it's a kind of cultural- it's cultural colonialism, it's imperialism, it's ideological imperialism. That's what it is
Sharon Slater [22:13] Exactly. We actually- I directed a documentary, it's called “Cultural Imperialism: the Sexual Rights Agenda” and in that you hear testimonies of various U.N. diplomats saying they threatened us with taking away our foreign aid unless we would implement Comprehensive Sexuality Education. And that documentary you can find in our website in the videos section at familywatch.org.
Dr. Morse [22:36] Do you know, not long ago, I was looking at statistics from the Philippines- looking at U.S.A.I.D. money to the Philippines- and this was almost 10 years ago now, this particular number, but it's like 20 million dollars for Family Planning and 1 million dollars for clean drinking water.
Sharon Slater [22:53] Yeah it's absurd. And the Africans are speaking up. They're saying we don't need more condoms, that's the last thing we need. We need to clean water. We need food, we need shelter. But this is what the western world pushes as foreign aid, you know. Contraceptives, condoms...
Dr. Morse [23:11] And don't you just have to wonder where are all these people who position themselves as champions of the poor and downtrodden- as opponents of colonialism- where are they when you need them? You know? Because this is the worst kind of wiping out somebody's culture with these measures that have not really done us any good, you know, that have really harmed us. And now we're going to export it all over the world. I- I- it's- it's- it's- really something.
Sharon Slater [23:39] Well- and let's talk about the Trump administration, and the end of that, and the beginning of the Biden administration.
Dr. Morse [23:44] Sure, sure, let's- please do! Let's talk about that record.
Sharon Slater [23:47] We've worked at the United Nations under various, you know, administrations in the White House, and there is a huge difference of what happens at the United Nations and what happens across the world with billions of foreign aid and because of the policies. So under Clinton, under Obama, you had the U.S. championing Comprehensive Sexuality Education sexual rights for kids, opposing any references to parental rights or um religious or cultural values protections. And then overnight, when trump came in, that changed. I was honored to be invited to the White House, and I didn't meet with president Trump, but my number one goal when I went there was to show the Trump administration that Comprehensive Sexuality Education is the number one tool to push abortion across the world. That's one of the 15 harmful elements: it indoctrinates kids in abortion ideology and encourages them to, you know, have sex and then get abortions. And one of our greatest accomplishments was to convince, in that one meeting, the Trump administration to reverse their support for Comprehensive Sexuality Education and then they started becoming the number one champion on the U.N. floor to stop Comprehensive Sexuality Education. Now that has just absolutely reversed under the Biden administration. Now we have the U.S. aggressively pushing it right now at U.N. Headquarters, at the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women, so who's in the White House makes a huge difference on the protection of children.
Dr. Morse [25:20] That's really important information, and I think a lot of people don't realize just how quickly that whole thing turned on a dime. Like you said, just overnight it had all changed. And when you think about our image overseas, as Americans, what is it that we want to export? Is that- is this really what we want to export? Is this really what we want to be known for around the world? There are two different things I'd like to be sure we talk about: one is I'd like you to talk about the program that you have for training ordinary folks to go to the U.N. and be part of this process, you know- say somebody's watching this now and they are a recently empty nester and they're trying to figure out what to do with themselves they, you know, their children have left home they don't have any grandchildren yet and they're passionate they got a fire in the belly about these type of issues what would you say to that woman to that newly retired guy- what what can they do how would they get involved with you and what you're doing?
Sharon Slater [26:20] Sure. One of the first things they need to do is get educated on the issues and we have lots of resources for that. We just started a series of webinars that are all going to be folded into our Family Watch University where you can actually get a certificate, but we've done webinars on each of the U.N. agencies and how they're pushing all these radical agendas. Today, this morning, I just did the fourth out of the series on the International Planned Parenthood Federation. Today was the first of two parts: that's how they're sexualizing children through their U.S. affiliate, and we'll be doing all sorts of ones on international law and protection of the family, and the youth radicalization and mobilization, and so forth, and so on. All of those webinars are recorded, so we strongly encourage people to go start getting educated. Watch those, look at our policy briefs, watch our videos. We have a series of transgender issues videos that we're about to release on puberty blockers, and suicide, and cross-sex hormones, and causes, and just a wealth of material, so I would start studying. And then sign up for our newsletter so that when we need help at the United Nations, and we send out an alert, and we say hey everybody there's a U.N. conference we need volunteers they can now with some education behind you, because you've watched the videos you've read the materials maybe you've read our newsletters, you'll be prepared to join our team. Right now we have 168 people that joined our team because the U.N. went virtual for the conference that's going on right now, and so we were able to do virtual trainings with all these people, and then now we're going to be asking them to lobby their own governments, you know, on the issues taken in the negotiations right now. But we would love as many people who are listening to us to get involved with us in a number of ways.
Dr. Morse [28:10] Yep! That sounds great. Now, before COVID, you actually had people going to the U.N. isn't that right?
Sharon Slater [28:17] Yes. So when there is not COVID we can bring up to 20 people. So we do an application process. We send an email out through our newsletter, which is free, you can sign up for familywatch.org. When there's U.N. events where we need volunteers, and you don't have to have special certification or background or professional background, we want moms dads, especially youth. We have a big push for youth because Planned Parenthood brings all of their youth, and we prepare you through materials and training calls andalso on the ground training at the United Nations to lobby and advocate for life and family.
Dr. Morse [28:53] That sounds tremendous. And when you are there you guys are like a registered non-governmental organization. You're a registered N.G.O. at the U.N. And how do those kind of N.G.O.’s interact with the sovereign states and diplomats and things like that?
Sharon Slater [29:10] Sure. Well we've been lucky over the 20 years to develop really close relationships with a number of governments and they're mostly from African countries, Islamic countries, you know the Holy See is very active and very effective at the U.N. A number- a few of the european countries. Brazil, right now, we have that's very much pro-family and pro-life. So we provide talking points for them suggestions on the documents we do analysis and then we have our volunteers lobby. We put on events that are themed around issues that are going to be debated in the negotiations- and education- so there's a number of ways we go about it.
Dr. Morse [29:51] I see. I see that because this is just not familiar to me at all and probably to a lot of our people won't be familiar with how that works, but that's how an ordinary person can get involved and make a difference at the global level, so that's tremendous. Let's talk now about Comprehensive Sexuality Education at the local level. Let's leave the globe behind and let's go right into your own backyard. If somebody goes and starts poking around in their local school district what are they likely to find and what can they do about it?
Sharon Slater [30:21] Thank you. They're likely to find some very objectionable materials, and we can actually help you find what's in your state. So I mentioned that I'm the co-chair of the Protect Child Health Coalition, which is a few hundred people in various different states working to stop CSC in their local schools, in their districts, and at the state level. So if you go to our website at protect child health dot org, you can click on our USA map, and if you click on your state you'll get a state profile. It'll give you the laws related to sex ed, including age of consent laws, you know, what what's being mandated. And it will also tell you which programs and which organizations have received federal funding for CSE. And if you click on the program it'll take you to our analysis of the CSE programs that have been funded in your state, and you will immediately have the exact quotes that are being taught to children at different ages. And so these excerpts have been used very effectively by moms and dads who find these teachings in their schools. They go to the school board meetings; we train them what to do. If you go to stopcsc.org we have a defender's toolkit, and the first tool- there is an action plan and it gives you a step-by-step plan what to do when you find objectionable material, or if you're trying to pass a law, or stop a bad law from being pushed because Planned Parenthood is working to change all the laws in favor of their agenda, so we also need to work on laws and policies at the state level, at the district, and sometimes even at the school level. But, we have step-by-step tools and instructions to help you get Comprehensive Sexuality Education out of your school, your district, or your state.
Dr. Morse [32:10] So tell us some of your favorite success stories with this type of campaign, locally organized using your materials.
Sharon Slater [32:18] Thank you. So I'll do one in Africa and one in my own state of Arizona so-
Dr. Morse [32:34] Okay.
Sharon Slater [32:35] Our number one tool for exposing and stopping Comprehensive Sexuality Education I haven't even told you about it's called-
Dr. Morse [32:31] Okay
Sharon Slater [32:32] “The War on Children: the Comprehensive Sexuality Education Agenda” and it's a documentary and you can find a movie.
Dr. Morse [32:40] It's a movie! I've seen this movie. I know it. Again, it's a good movie. Yes, yes.
Sharon Slater [32:44] csc.org and we have used that in Uganda. For example, somebody got a hold of it and they posted it on the inter-parliamentary network for all the parliamentarians. And in that documentary, when we talk about Africa, we talk about a program called The World Starts with Me which has terrible, you know, things in it for children, and we said it's in Uganda, and they're like no it's not in Uganda we're gonna check, so they went and they found it I don't remember how many schools they found in a lot of schools and they were mad. They were so mad, they were so mad that they passed a law outlawing Comprehensive Sexuality Education in the country of Uganda- so now it's illegal now. Planned Parenthood and their U.N. partners, they have none of this, so they've done a lawsuit that's been going on for a few years. Hopefully we'll win that lawsuit, but they're trying to strike that law down. They've tried to create a framework through the Ministry of Education. We were able to show the bad parts and get those out of it, so it's like step-by-step battles where you have to constantly help these countries, even on the ground. So we now have a director in Africa, and a policy expert in Africa, and we're working in different African countries to help raise the opposition and we've been very effective in a number of countries in Africa.
Dr. Morse [34:01] So hold on. Before we go to arizona, okay, let's finish up on Africa here, because a few months ago I interviewed a doctor from Kenya and he was describing how the foreign aid agencies weasel- there's no other word for it- how these people weasel their way into the deliberations of a sovereign country. So I just want to highlight what Sharon just said everybody, okay, so listen up Ruthie's, what she just said was: this is a sovereign nation that made a legal decision a legally binding legitimate decision about how they want to run their country and the international community, the international power brokers, zoomed in and are legally harassing them. It's “lawfare”- what they're doing is “lawfare”- they're using the instruments of law for a lawless purpose, you know, which is to inflict this stuff on people. And then they're putting their little moles into the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, and all these places and it doesn't take much to corrupt people. And, you know, if it doesn't, I say corrupt, but it's not clear if it's corruption or they've really convinced people that this is a good thing. But the point is, when they, when we have so much money and they have so little and you promise them we'll give you this, and this, and this, if you will implement this program, or we will help you get advanced in your career if you do this, and this, and this, and if you don't we're going to be opposing you- when you've got that kind of pressure being applied it is no longer anything like self-government, people, it's just not. And this is what we the champions of freedom are doing in the third world? All right, so-
Sharon Slater [35:43] Let me just add to that that's exactly right, but it's not even just through money, and bribery, and blackmailing, which they do do, it's also through deception. A lot of our work is just exposing what's in the programs that the governments themselves have agreed to that don't even know that that's part of it, because they've used deceptive wording to get it approved. So, again, the number one way we stop Comprehensive Sexuality Education is simply exposing the content; you expose the content in African countries, they go nuts. This is against their values; against everything that they want for their children.
Dr. Morse [36:20] And, you know, I noticed in the slideshow that you showed me, a chart which talks about, which shows a whole list of these programs. As we segue into America now- we're going to talk about Arizona in a minute- but the same point applies. It's got a whole list of these programs and the studies that have been done. Of those programs, do these so-called abstinence programs, these so-called sex ed programs, do they actually reduce teen pregnancy? Hmm. Do they Sharon?
Sharon Slater [36:51] No. I'm so glad you asked that question, because I have a google alert set. So google sends me, every day, any articles written about Comprehensive Sexuality Education in Africa, and it's so sad. Every day my heart just hurts, because I'll see an article, probably facilitated by Planned Parenthood in various different African countries, and they all do the same thing. They'll pick an issue, like they'll say sexually transmitted diseases are high in our country, and the only answer is Comprehensive Sex Ed. Teen pregnancy, menstrual hygiene, HIV, AIDS, violence against women, there's not an issue that they do not write about in their newspapers and say Comprehensive Sexuality Education is going to solve it. All the U.N. agencies say Comprehensive Sexuality Education has been proven to prevent teen pregnancy, STD’s, and so it's magically going to solve every problem- domestic violence. But, we commissioned a study by an independent research organization called the Institute for Research and Evaluation, and they took all the studies that Planned Parenthood and the U.N. agencies I've been pointing to, and even the CDC have been saying, these studies show the Comprehensive Sexuality Education works and abstinence doesn't. We thought, wow, wel, we want to see that evidence. So we had experts comb through it. Through 120 of the top vetted studies that everybody agrees are rigorous, and you know, accurate studies, and they found the opposite. When they looked at the data, first of all, a number of the programs that were saying they had “effects”, those evaluations were done by the program marketer or the authors of the program, not independents. Okay, but even if you took those ones into account, out of 120 studies, it showed an 87 failure rate across the world including in the U.S. In all the programs that are supposedly evidence-based, in the CDC, in the HHS database list, they were an 80-87 percent failure rate for having any evidence of preventing teen pregnancy or STDs. And yet, these are the evidence-based programs listed under the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program for the U.S.
Dr. Morse [39:05] I think we should call that- I think this is what we call a lie. This is what we call a lie. I mean it's just- it's just blatantly untrue, the headlines versus the reality of what's inside the study, you know? I've been seeing this in the various areas that I do track closely, whether it's the impact of same-sex parenting on children, or, you know, the various issues that I have been involved in. All the time- all the time you see this glamorous headline: oh my gosh lesbians are the best parents ever! Oh my gosh, you know, and then you look at the study, and it's like: what's in the study and what's in the headline? No connection, no connection. So I'm glad you guys are doing this in that area too. So that's another tool that people can know, that if you have (a program) in your school you can find out. Okay, here's what the program is, okay, this program has been studied, let's take a look at what those studies really say and not what the marketing company says they say.
Sharon Slater [40:06] And you can find that online. We've posted on a page at sex ed report.org, that’s sex ed report, and this is a peer-reviewed study, and, again, looking at the same evidence that the other side looked at to claim false things, and they show you what the evidence shows.
Dr. Morse [40:23] Right, right. So it's people, I'm telling you Sharon's on it, she's all over this. Okay, so, now tell us about your success story in Arizona, I want to hear about this.
Sharon Slater [40:31] Oh, okay. So I'm embarrassed to say I've been ignoring Arizona for many years, because we've had a very conservative legislature, and they, you know, have taken care of making sure no bad laws get in. But about... I think it's been about two years ago... We got a new superintendent of schools, and somebody let me know that she put a proposal to change our sex ed laws. She wanted to remove the provision in our sex ed laws that says you cannot teach children about abnormal deviant and sexual acts. Can you imagine? She wants that to be available to children, and I said, “oh over my dead body is that going to happen in my state!” So, we did an emergency meeting, and we established a coalition within two days of about 20 organizations- it's called the Protect Arizona Children Coalition- and we said we need to go to the school board meeting, and we need to have at least 30 people give testimonies, and we help them craft their testimonies based on all the arguments we know Planned Parenthood make,s and we had them give their testimonies, and we won, and we stopped that law from going forward. That was a really great success, and so we've taken that kind of plan and we've helped people in other states do the same thing.
Dr. Morse [41:44] And Sharon, do you get involved with private schools? Don't we have a lot of the same problems in private schools? Probably the dynamics, a little bit different, but still this objectionable material is in a lot of private schools too, isn't it?
Sharon Slater [41:58] Yeah, unfortunately. Even the religious schools. In fact, we have an expert on as part of our coalition, her name is Audrey Werner, and she works solely on trying to eradicate CSC programs from religious schools. Somehow, you know, even religious people get duped by the arguments that sound so good they'll say, “well if you don't give the kids this, they're gonna, you know, if they're transgender they're gonna commit suicide, or they're gonna get pregnancies, or they're gonna, you know, die of unsafe abortions” or this or that and the other thing. And even good people get duped into accepting that this information is true when it's really demonstrably false, so we have to work at all levels, but we usually work when people bring us an issue and they say “how can we solve this” and we help them solve that.
Dr. Morse [42:45] So do you have- are you organized in such a ways that you have affiliates around the country, or do you help kind of ad hoc groups of people in different states? How are you organized, Sharon?
Sharon Slater [42:56] That's a very good question. So we have a distribution list of about, I think it's like 160,000 people in 170 countries, that regularly read our newsletter to understand what's happening with all the issues, and we'll respond to our alerts when we need people to sign a petition, or do something, or so forth. But, we’re also involved in probably 10 different coalitions of pro-family pro-life organizations; one for Africa, one for Latin America, one for Europe, several coalitions here in the U.S. And through those coalitions we're able to empower and equip other organizations that are like-minded, that need tools and information, and help, and strategies for fighting these agendas.
Dr. Morse [43:38] And so the basic strategies are the things that you have outlined on your website, which anyone can go and look at, and you're not worried about your opponent seeing your strategy; you're okay with that?
Sharon Slater [43:48] Yeah. You know, we weighed the costs, you know, for a long time. We have a lot of strategies we don't share with anybody, you know. We hold special meetings. We don't even tell you who comes to these meetings, and we give them, and equip them, but we thought a certain amount of this has to be public, because people need it, and we just can't simply reach the people that might need it. By word of mouth; we need it to go viral. And so we have exposed a lot, but if they want to try to use our same plans have at it. A lot of it-
Dr. Morse [44:16] That's right.
Sharon Slater [44:17] A lot of what we do is patterned after what we've learned Planned Parenthood does and we just counteract it.
Dr. Morse [42:23] Yes, yes, that's very wise. So recently there was a report being crafted by an independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity at the United Nations, and you and a couple of other people put forth a call for organizations to respond to that, or to provide input into it. Can you tell people a little bit about that particular situation, because this was quite- I was impressed by how quickly you guys organized and got people involved to submit things. So tell people about that.
Sharon Slater [45:00] Sure. Well, the U.N. has a system of experts- they'll establish experts on different human rights issues, and unfortunately they have an independent expert on the protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. His name is Victor Madrigal Borlas, and his goals- he stated he's just supposed to be protecting against, you know, violence and killings, which we support that, but he has expanded the scope of his mandate, and he wants to decriminalize homosexual sex across the world, ban therapy for same-sex attraction, mainstream transgenderism, and all laws and policies, and indoctrinate young children in this what we call SOGI ideology- that's Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity- and he recently issued a call for input. He had a list of 12 questions that he wants people to make submissions on to help inform a report that he's going to be giving to the U.N. Human Rights Council, and you can see in his questions what he's looking for. He's seeking to mainstream gender theory, also known as queer theory, into international human rights law, he's seeking to redefine gender in all international law and policy to advance laws based on sexual orientation and gender identity, he's seeking to identify obstacles to Comprehensive Sexuality Education, because he says that CSE or Comprehensive Sex Ed is supposed to advance diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, and then, the last thing, he's seeking to identify people who are speaking out against gender ideology. This is very, very dangerous. So we started a petition, and we also helped other people make submissions. So our goal was to get a hundred groups making submissions calling out this special independent expert for the radical things he was trying to do that run against his mandate, that run against religious freedom rights, and all sorts of things. And thank you to the Ruth Institute. I believe you're one of the groups that responded to our call, and you made a submission. We have multiple submissions that came in from Africa, from Europe, I believe there were some from Latin America. We haven't counted them all up, but this is the first time we've had such widespread pushback against the expert at the U.N. who's pushing this agenda. We also drafted a petition that you can sign online; right now we need as many people to sign it as possible, and you can go to familywatch.org, and then there's a slash SOGI- SOGI that stands for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity petition. So at familywatch.org SOGI petition, you can sign on and have your voice heard, because we'll be giving all of those signatures and that petition to all the U.N. member states, asking them to push back formally against this report when it's given at the United Nations.
Dr. Morse [47:59] So do you, when you do a project like this, just to kind of get this into people's minds the strategi, your strategic thought process, because a lot of people will have these type of questions and issues, do you really think the expert's going to read all these reports?
Sharon Slater [48:15] Wel, is it going to make any difference in his final report? Absolutely no. But, is it going to possibly help us get him in big trouble? I hope so, because his report is supposed to be a compilation of all the submissions that he gets, and he's going to now have a very difficult time leaving out all these submissions saying, “wait a minute sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender ideology theory pushes cross-sex hormones, and surgeries, and here's the data, here's how it harms children. You're way over your mandate. You can't unilaterally redefine gender for the U.N. to include all these radical ideologies” and so forth, and so on, and I'm just very curious as to what his report's gonna look like. Is he gonna, you know, he asked, he wanted to make a “name and shame list” of everybody who's speaking out against gender ideology? Well, all these people are now submitting to him against gender ideology, so is he gonna put them all on his “name and shame list”? I hope so because then we can take this to the U.N. member states who are the ones in charge of these processes, and these mandate holders, and say this is wrong. I know that the Islamic states are upset about it. They may, as a bloc, do something. Maybe the African group will do something, and maybe, finally, we'll get some huge pushback in the U.N. system to stop these radical U.N. experts; that he's just one in a long line of experts that are pushing radical agendas that go way beyond the treaties or the issues that they're supposed to be advancing.
Dr. Morse [49:51] And so, in effect, what you're doing, is you're building a record.
Sharon Slater [49:54] Yes.
Dr. Morse [49:55] You're reading something into the record, which even if this guy ignores the record itself, can't be ignored by everybody indefinitely. And, if there's somebody who does want to make a stink, they've got something to work with. You're basically giving some back, a backstop to those countries that do want to get something done.
Sharon Slater [50:13] Yes, and a second thing we're doing is: he said he will post every single submission on his website.
Dr. Morse [50:20] I know he said that!
Sharon Slater [50:22] So yeah. So now he is advertising all these great, you know, people that sent in all this science and everything that shows the truth with the medical facts and social science data, so people can go to that website and learn the truth through all these beautiful submissions. And like, we give links to our transgender videos at transgender issues.org, so maybe people will find important information that can help them cut through all the deception by going to his web page where he's going to post these all. So we're excited about that.
Dr. Morse [50:52] I was excited too when I saw that. When we sent in our submission, he wrote back, you know, a forum letter obviously, you know, wrote back and said, you know, ultimately these will all be posted, and I'm like “oh well that's okay alrighty then you know um that's a good thing that's a good thing.” So we're coming to the end of our time here, Sharon Slater, so why don't you tell people- I give people kind of a short list of the various projects that you're involved in and how people can get involved- where people can find you. We're going to put it on the show notes, but I want to give you one last chance to kind of state completely the different kinds of options for involvement that you offer. And we at the Ruth Institute 100% endorse people getting involved no matter how good a job we do over here doing our research, it's not enough. We got to have boots on the ground who can apply, and use, and get active, and get involved. So Sharon, give people your list of the things you're involved in and how people can be involved with you.
Sharon Slater [51:54] Sure. And I guess it depends, because there's so many things that we need help with. But, I would start with just going to familywatch.org. If you sign up for our newsletter- it's free- we'll send out alerts. We'll be writing commentary, and all these things that are happening, we'll give you news about all these issues, and that can keep you really informed. And on that website, you can also find our family defense handbook called “Stand for the Family,” and you can order that, and it has lots of talking points, and social science database arguments, and that can really, really equip you. So that's number one: go to familywatch.org. But also on that website, click on the video section and watch our documentaries. They're all right there. We've made many of them. You can watch The War on Children there, you can watch our transgender issues videos, and so forth, and so on. But also our webinars. Click on the webinars button; go right now and register for the next webinar which is the second part of Planned Parenthood in the United States and how they're sexualizing and aborting children. Then, if you really want to get involved in CSE specifically to prevent the sexualization of children in your state, or your country, or wherever you might live, I would go to stopcse.org, stopcse.org. There you can also watch The War on Children, but you can get the defender's toolkit with the action plan on what you can do, step by step, to stop CSC where you live. And then, finally, I would say go to, if you really want to get involved at the national level in the US, go to protectchildhealth.org. That's protectchildhealth.org, and join our coalition here in the united states and become part of the army of people working at the state and local levels to stop CSE and to protect children. Our ultimate goal is to protect the health and innocence of children, because they're going to form the future families of the world, and if we're going to protect the family as the fundamental unit of society, we must protect children. So thank you so much.
Dr. Morse [54:00] Sharon, this is a great place to stop. Sharon Slater of Family Watch International. Thank you so much for being my guest on the Dr. J Show.
Sharon Slater [54:08] Oh, thank you. It's been an honor! Thank you so much.
Fr. H [54:14] You've been listening to the Dr. J show, a production of the Ruth Institute. The Ruth Institute equips Christians to defend the family and build a civilization of love. Check out our website at ruthinstitute.org. For helpful resources and support, join us on Facebook. Our podcasts can also be found online at ruthinstitute.org.
I’m Father Mark Hodges. Thank you for watching!
Posted on: Friday, March 19, 2021
Eric Scheidler is the executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, founded in 1980 by his father, veteran pro-life leader Joe Scheidler. The League recruits, equips and trains pro-life Americans to put their convictions into action at the grassroots level through peaceful direct action. Under Eric’s leadership, the League’s headquarters city of Chicago has become “ground zero” for pro-life activism nationally.
Take part in the Pro-Life Action League's event on Good Friday, April 2, the Way of the Cross for Victims of Abortion. This is an annual nationwide prayer vigil and a "springtime rebirth" of the national public witness against abortion as the pandemic recedes.
Posted on: Friday, March 12, 2021
Dr. Ronald J. Rychlak is Distinguished Professor of Law and holder of the Jamie L. Whitten Chair in Law and Government at the University of Mississippi, where he has been on the law school faculty since 1987. In 2019 he received the university’s highest research and publication recognition, the “Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award.” For 13 years, Ron served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and since 2007, he has served as the university’s Faculty Athletic Representative and chair of the University’s Athletics Committee. He is on the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Executive Committee, an advisor to the Holy See’s delegation to the United Nations, and a member of the Mississippi Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.
Ron graduated from Wabash College and Vanderbilt University School of Law. Before coming to Ole Miss, he practiced law with Jenner & Block in Chicago and served as clerk to Judge Harry Wellford of the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Ron is the author or editor of twelve books and over 100 articles. The Congregation for the Causes of Saints at the Vatican called his book, Hitler, the War, and the Pope “definitive” in its response to allegations made against Pope Pius XII. He was awarded the Blessed Cardinal Stepinac Medal from the Archdiocese of Zagreb (2008).
Readings and resources below cut...
Posted on: Friday, March 05, 2021
Dr. Scott Hahn his wife Kimberly have six children (two of which are seminarians) and eighteen grandchildren. An exceptionally popular speaker and teacher, Dr. Hahn has delivered numerous talks nationally and internationally on a wide variety of topics related to Scripture and the Catholic faith.
Dr. Hahn has been awarded the Father Michael Scanlan, T.O.R., Chair of Biblical Theology and the New Evangelization at Franciscan University of Steubenville, where he has taught since 1990, and is the founder and president of the Saint Paul Center for Biblical Theology. From 2005 to 2011, Dr. Hahn held the Pope Benedict XVI Chair of Biblical Theology and Liturgical Proclamation at St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, PA. From 2014 to 2015, he served as the McEssy Distinguished Visiting Professor of Biblical Theology and the New Evangelization, University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, IL.
Dr. Hahn is also the bestselling author of numerous books including The Lamb’s Supper, Reasons to Believe, and Rome Sweet Home (co-authored with his wife, Kimberly). Some of his newest books are The First Society, The Fourth Cup, Romans: A Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture, The Creed, Evangelizing Catholics, Angels and Saints, and Joy to the World.
Scott received his Bachelor of Arts degree with a triple-major in Theology, Philosophy and Economics from Grove City College, Pennsylvania, his Masters of Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and his Ph.D. in Biblical Theology from Marquette University. Scott has ten years of youth and pastoral ministry experience in Protestant congregations (in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Massachusetts, Kansas and Virginia) and is a former Professor of Theology at Chesapeake Theological Seminary. He was ordained in 1982 at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Fairfax, Virginia. He entered the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil, 1986.
Dr. Scott Hahn
We were discussing religion in the public square, we were reading Richard John new houses, the naked Public Square was the mid-80s, the Moral Majority, you had the pro-life alliances, Protestants and Catholics were coming together, for the first time, to bear witness the sanctity of life. It was exciting. It was also kind of controversial. And so, we were discussing the role of religion and politics at the time. And in the middle of this lecture discussion, dire lecture, he just started looking out the window. And we were struck by that because he didn't do that before. And he just quipped, I mean, it was sort of like a throwaway line that just came to him unexpectedly. So, we can debate this all day long. But the fact is, if Christian couples simply live the grace of the sacrament of matrimony, for one generation, the result would be a transformed culture, dare I say, a Christian society. Regardless of the politicians who we elect or don't elect, regardless of the promises that they make and keep or not, if we just simply kept our promises our vows and fulfilled our covenant, oh, the sacrament would make up what we lack, give us what we need, not only to be faithful spouses to one another in the presence of our own kids, but our neighborhood as well. Like a pebble in a pond that sends out ripples, we would send out so much grace.
Jennifer Roback Morse
Hi, everyone. I'm Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, founder and president of the Ruth Institute. Welcome to this edition of the Dr. J show. And my guest today is Dr. Scott Hahn, who's a well-known biblical scholar, Catholic biblical scholar who's written a really interesting book that I think all of you are going to be keen on. It's called “The First Society” And it's about marriage. And he's written a lot of things about the biblical and family, all things put together. And we don't usually do Bible stuff, we usually do social science stuff. But I think you guys are going to really like this book. So, Dr. Hahn. Without further ado, welcome to the Dr. J. Show.
Dr. Scott Hahn
It is great to be with you, Dr. J. Or Jenny, if you don't mind.
Jennifer Roback Morse
That's totally fine. Scott and I go back a ways. So, listen, let's just cut right to the chase here. In this book, you describe marriage as a natural institution. And then you're going to go beyond that. But tell people what you mean by marriage as a natural institution?
Dr. Scott Hahn
Well, first of all, we have to see that human beings are not only rational animals, as Aristotle described us, we're also social animals. And so, you can see in Sacred Scripture, but you can also find, through the application of natural reason to the natural order, what we call natural law. And so, when you look at the natural law, you recognize what we share in common, not only in a Judeo-Christian sense, but going all the way back to antiquity. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and in the Roman culture, you have Cicero and Seneca and others, recognizing that the natural law recognizes this notion of marriage as a natural institution. And what we mean then is that human nature is something that we all share. And the natural law is what leads us not only to be perfected and fulfilled as individuals, but also socially and politically. And so, there are certain properties concerning marriage that are described, as pertaining to marriage as a natural institution or marriage as an institution of the natural law.
Jennifer Roback Morse
So why don't you just tell people, what are some of those properties that are part of marriage as a natural institution?
Dr. Scott Hahn
Well, the first one is permanence. This is not a contract, there is something covenantal, about marriage, even in non-Christian and non-Jewish societies. And so, the two become one, and that one is permanent. And so, the idea of indissolubility is inherent in the institution of marriage, for the sake of the kids, if nothing else, but also for the good of society. It's also exclusivity. That's the second property of marriage as a natural institution, that it is not temporary and it's also not wide open. So that polygamy or polyandry, these are not options in the natural law, and once again, for the good of the spouses for the good of the kids and for the good of society, and the third property is--
Jennifer Roback Morse
But hold on, but we do see societies that permit polygamy, societies that permit impermanence. Does that contradict the argument that there's something natural about permanence and exclusivity?
Dr. Scott Hahn
Great question, and you already find it in Sacred Scripture, you find that the patriarchs are sometimes polygamous. In Mosaic Law, Deuteronomy 24, there's permission for divorce and remarriage. But this is generally understood as concessions to human weakness. And in theology, we would recognize the effects of original sin. And so, when we look at how law is meant to perfect us, we recognize that we're not perfect. We're being perfected. And so, the law has to be adjusted in a concessionary sort of way, like Moses himself made concessions. But in Matthew 19, our Lord Jesus makes the observation that Moses, not God, permitted divorce and remarriage. He didn't command it, because of the hardness of their hearts. And so, we have to be realistic. And at the same time, we also have to recognize that inherent in the social structures is this bedrock, this foundation of marriage, not simply as a contract that you can enter with one person than another temporarily or permanent, it's up to you. But the third property after exclusivity and permanence is openness to life. And this is probably the most inaccessible to moderns because we live in a divorce culture, we live in a contraceptive culture, we live in an abortion culture. So, we have difficult time seeing that nothing we do with our bodies matters more to the common good than when we are open to life and when we bring children into this world, and when we commit ourselves, to raising them, not just for our own happiness, and not just for theirs, but again, for the common good of society. The idea that society has no business in the bedroom, I mean, certainly makes sense at one level, because it is such a private in the context. But at another level, you can't go into a bedroom to murder someone and say societies got nothing to do with what happens the bedroom. And so, when you recognize that human beings are not only rational, that is they apply reason to their lives and make decisions that will protect them and others for the common good but we're social animals, then we step back and recognize why it was that in a natural moral law, even non-religious people could recognize that openness to life, the idea that marriage is designed for the procreation and education of offspring. This is something that is not added by faith, religion, revelation, this is something intrinsic to the very structure of what it means to be human. Because none of us come into this world strictly as individuals, not even as persons, not even as a son or a daughter. And then we discover ourselves to be a brother or a sister. And then we become a husband or a wife, we become a father or a mother, there is a relational ontology to what it means to be human, that the very structures of human being are inherently relational. And relationships are not reducible to the merely contractual development system. Many are and still quite fond of the importance of freedom and free enterprise but there is a difference between the contractual side of life which is transactional, and the covenantal side of life, which is interpersonal communion.
Dr. Scott Hahn
And I made this point 20 years ago in my book, Love and economics, when I was trying to talk to my economics colleagues, and trying to get it across to them, that you couldn't reduce marriage in the family to a series of contracts. And you don't want to reduce family law to a special case of contract law or property law, God forbid, but that's kind of what we've been doing in our society in a way. Because people can't recognize this covenantal point that you're raising. So, this is very valuable that you're saying that. And I also want to stop and emphasize the word social that you've been using. Because, again, in economics, we talk about private versus public. Well, if those are the only two categories you have, you don't have a place to put marriage, right? Because it has elements that are private, elements that are public, but you don't really want the government involved, really, but it's social. And so therefore, as you say, there has to be some kind of involvement. And that was so hard to get that across to people, it's debating gay marriage and stuff. It's like, they've already removed the categories that would allow them to see there's something special.
Dr. Scott Hahn
I think everyone recognizes that Western civilization is in trouble. And we debate as to what the causes and the cures are. Is it too much freedom? Is it too little? Well, I think there's just a blurred vision and this goes back decades, this goes back a century or two. I remember as an undergraduate similar to you, I suspect. In Grove City College, I was an economics major along with—
Jennifer Roback Morse
Dr. Scott Hahn
So Austrian economics, libertarianism, individualism, Mises, Hayek, these were my mentors and it was a great program. But in a certain way, I could see the deficiency. Because ultimately no matter how hard Murray Rothbard tried to argue marriage is something that is not reducible to transactional exchange in a contractual market economy. And reading scripture in a certain sense, pushed me over the edge, then distinguishing between contract, this is yours, and that is mine. Covenant, I am yours, and you are mine. You make a distinction and everything starts to begin to fall in place.
Jennifer Roback Morse
That's right. And you know what? I remember when I wrote Love & Economics is that my economist colleagues who had some kind of faith background understood immediately what I was talking about, and it didn't matter what their faith background was. But if they didn't have anything going on in their faith life, they had no faith life, no prayer life, that lapsed Catholics something like that man, went right by him. They had no idea what-- I think they didn't want to; I think they didn't want to understand the--
Dr. Scott Hahn
It's a problem of intellect but it's also probably over the will.
Jennifer Roback Morse
That's right. That's right. So now that we've established marriage as a natural institution, and you've already mentioned, the difficulties of marriage and the concessionary nature of some of the things that we see around it, you say in the book, you have this kind of outrageous statement, that marriage is impossible. So why should I have you Dr. Hahn, telling people marriage is impossible on our program? What do you mean when you say that, and where are you going with that?
Dr. Scott Hahn
Well, when we recognize the natural law is what human nature needs to be fulfilled and perfected individually and socially, personally, and interpersonally. We also have to recognize that we have natural weaknesses. And so, we recognize pride, we recognize the wounds that we carry from our own upbringing, and that sort of thing. And then we just wake up, we look around, and we recognize that marriage is in a state of freefall right now in our society. And so, even going back to ancient Israel, and looking at the Old Testament, you begin to recognize that as an empirical fact, human nature after the fall, no matter how you interpret Genesis three, is radically impaired. And again, in our faith tradition, we recognize that God the Father, sends his son, not only to heal us, to teach us, but also to die and rise for us. That's a radical cure. That suggests a radical flaw, a real deep disease. And so, what I want to propose is that the church, the Catholic Church, and its teaching shows that marriage is a natural institution. And you can see that through natural reason and the natural law, but you also recognize the profound natural consequences of sin, not just Original Sin, personal sin, but habitual sins as well. And so, Jesus comes and acknowledges that Moses permitted divorce and remarriage because of the hardness of your heart. And then he elevates this by his own grace to what we would call a sacrament. And so, he restores the natural institution, he empowers us through supernatural grace, to keep the natural law. And so, I would conclude that, marriage, under those circumstances is humanly impossible apart from redeeming grace, apart from the God's help. And so, this, I think accords with what we already sense. I've been married 41 years; I had no idea how fulfilling this friendship with Kimberly would be. But likewise, I had no idea how frustrating it would be. I am sure that nobody has frustrated Kimberlee more than me, because nobody gets as close as I do to frustrate or as deeply. But I also heard her say that nobody's brought her happiness as much as I have. And I would say that it's true for my relationship to her. I mean, she has referred to me to no end, but she has brought a degree of happiness. But I basically attribute that to the fact that this is not just a contract, It's a covenant. It's not just a covenant, it is a sacrament. And so consistently through 41 years, with six kids and our 20 grandkids, God always makes up for what we lack and gives us what we need. And this is not just reducible to a supernatural outlook, because in the natural law, we also have the notion of natural theology. We know that there is a God, we know what his attributes are. And we know that he is not only distant and transcendent, but present and imminent and willing to help us so that looking at marriage as a natural institution, you see that it is a covenant. And you also recognize that God is present and active in his creation, even apart from supernatural revelation and divine faith. And so, the idea of swearing an oath, so help me God is something that we do in public, for officials who are called upon to kind of wield godlike power. And if you see that the Latin word for the oaths that people swear when they are called upon to perform public service, the Latin word is sacramentum. So, all I do is to the fact that for marriage to be a covenant and not just the contract, you don't just exchange vows, you invoke the name of God, because you recognize especially after the fall, we need God's help, so help us God.
Jennifer Roback Morse
That's exactly right. And married couples certainly discover that. If they didn't know, going into marriage, you discover it fairly quickly that these things come up, misunderstandings happen, differences of priorities, things happen that nobody expected. And the idea that you could plan a contract out ahead of time to deal with all that contractually, it's ridiculous. Even contract, there is no that you can't fully specify a complex contract like that, you can't write down everything that has to be an element of goodwill. And well, how are you going to keep the goodwill? Where's that goodwill going to come from? Well, it's going to get used up real fast, unless you've got some supernatural pumping station, so to speak, filling you up periodically. I don't know whether you know this or not because this is not your deal that you track, but the social science completely supports what you're saying, in the sense that if you look at the people who study, what are the risk factors for divorce? What are the risk factors for unhappy marriage and different things like that? And regular religious practice is a protective factor for all of the bad stuff that you can think of. It's just if you-- just saying, Hello, I'm a Catholic, that's not good enough, how often do you actually show up? If that's your variable, it's evidently true. There's corroborating evidence for what you're saying that you can see in the natural order. So, this is in a way, what you're saying, in a sense is that the sacrament is very practical, that your theology is not some pie in the sky thing. This is a very practical thing that the sacramentum does to help us live out our vows and have happier lives. Tell us a little bit about that.
Dr. Scott Hahn
Let me just press pause, rewind for one second and say what you just talked about a moment ago, in terms of the empirical data for the social sciences, to vindicate to validate the idea that religious commitment is an inherent force for positive good. Your work at the Ruth Institute has just provided so many people so much data, to support that sort of thing that if people were simply agnostics, when it comes to God, but they were interested truly in the common good, they would take that data and recognize the need for all social structures to support marriage. And our mutual friend, Dr. Patrick Fagan also has so much work over the decades, we've been friends for over 30 years. And we brought him here to the Franciscan University of Steubenville to give lectures and students are stunned by the amount of empirical data there is. But to your question, you know, the idea of the sacramentality of marriage. Again, it isn't just a supernatural additive. It is also something inherent in marriage as an institution in as much as it was a covenant long before the incarnation of Jesus. And Jesus expressed intention to raise it to the level of a sacrament. So sacramentum is the oath that you swear to supplement the vows that you exchange. Together, ask God for help, because I might pass a polygraph when I say I do to her, and she says it to me. But unless we don't know ourselves enough, we recognize that we'll still need divine aid at the natural level, just like witnesses swear an oath before they give testimony because we recognize their weakness in the face of the temptation to lie on behalf of the defendant if you happen to be my son, for example. And so, the sacrament of marriage or matrimony, is what we as Catholic Christians believe. And just as an aside, in the Old Testament, if you don't swear an oath, if you only exchange promises, all you have is a contract. The only way you can elevate a contract to the level of a covenant is by swearing an oath. And that's how you renew the covenant as well. And it's a curious thing that in Hebrew-- you can see it in Genesis 21. The term for swearing a covenant oath is Shiva, which literally means to seven yourself. So, the first covenant made between two humans, Abraham and Abimelech is that Bar-Shiva, the well of the seven, the well of the oath. And that's where the exchange the seven lambs as a sacrificial communion, to avoid aggression to avert war, and then they become covenant brothers, because covenant creates a kind of sacred kinship bond. If that's true in the Old Testament, it isn't less but even more true in the new, where Jesus infuses the Holy Spirit into the new covenant, but also into what we believe to be seven sacraments. And so, I say that the sacrament of matrimony doesn't make it easy. It makes it possible.
Jennifer Roback Morse
That's the point. Because without that help, without that divine help, humanly, it's impossible. And we see that all around us with people who have either fallen away from their faith or who have never had any faith, it just how difficult it is for them. And they may be very well-intentioned people. They may be good, decent people, but they can't quite pull it off. And how many times have you heard? I'm sure, you've heard this many, many times. Somebody who has problems in their life, and they leave the church, and they end up coming back and they'll tell you that it was their Grandma who said, How many rosaries for them? Or how many Novenas for them or who just prayed for them? Across the religious spectrum, you hear that invocation of the help of God, by people who love the person, right. I mean, I had a lady that I interviewed while ago, this is one of our most popular videos, God. This is a woman who was a black woman, who had been a lesbian, had lived a lesbian lifestyle, had a radical conversion experience, came back to her family in her church. And her mother, what she says in this video, my mom never gave up on me. And that's what you need, that's was her final message to the whole audience. If you're dealing with this in your family, never give up on the prayers that you're doing. Just never give up on it.
Dr. Scott Hahn
Amen. I share with discretion, some personal things about our own marriage in this book, the first society because both Kimberly and Scott are rather intense. We're also deeply committed to our faith, and we were before we met, and we became even more so after we met. But I wasn't evangelical pastor for several years, and she was the daughter of a very prestigious evangelical pastor. And so, when my research and study led me to the conclusion that I shouldn't become a Catholic, and I felt that call, there was a four-year span where I wasn't she wasn't and I wasn't sure she ever would be. And that really put our marriage to the test. It also opened my eyes to the fact that it was a sacrament and a covenant before I recognized theologically it was so. And so, it wasn't just a theoretical for me, it became personal, practical, and a matter of prayer. And it was for her as well. And for those four years, if you had been our neighbors, you would have given our marriage a 50/50 chance maybe. In the summertime, when the windows were open, we're both intense. I come from a German family where tempers flare on a frequent basis. But I learned at the end of it all, about 10 years into our marriage. And as I mentioned, 41 years now, that I've never gone wrong trusting you. I heard myself say that I've never gone wrong trusting you. And I've never gone right distrusting you. Even if I could prove that you were wrong, the expression of distrust and disrespect just makes it seem as though we're really opponents or competitors. When we are coworkers, we are teammates at the deepest level. And for me, that was the practical and the personal breakthrough, that looking back was supplied by the sacrament, that it's not just there as a block or a brick in the wall. It really is something personal. As my friend, my priest's confessor says, you're called to the sacrament of matrimony. But in your case, that sacrament has a name, it's Kimberly. Amen. --daughter of God, and she is my beloved bride and the mother of my kids, and the greatest gift I can give them is to love their mom.
Jennifer Roback Morse
Yes. Oh, so you just brought so many things to my mind from what you said there. But when you were talking about trust, that I've never gone wrong trusting you, I thought you were talking about God at first.
Dr. Scott Hahn
Well, obviously I was too but--
Jennifer Roback Morse
Isn't that interesting that the kind of love that we're called to within matrimony is a kind of divine love. And this is another point-- well, Catholics are familiar with, probably everybody's familiar with it a little bit but the idea that matrimony is an icon of God's love for us and Christ's love for his church. And so, I've started saying now a pagan economist, knuckle dragging, materialist economist here. I've been telling people that your marriage has cosmic significance. Your marriage is a reflection of the cosmos. You didn't say that in this book. But I'm sure you've said in other places. Tell people what I-- what am I talking about when I say that. You know what I'm talking about better than I do there.
Dr. Scott Hahn
Put your finger on the source of that God's love for us is what brought us into existence out of nothing. He sustains us. I think we have deep down, the biggest problem is that we can't really believe that God loves us that much. And we think he's busy governing the universe, sustaining galaxies and solar systems. But we forget that God is so immense, the galaxies and solar systems are very little different from subatomic particles. It's all small. But none of those things are persons made his image and likeness. None of them are called to become as sons and daughters. And so, when we profess our faith in God, the Father almighty, the power of God Almighty is subordinate to his eternal personhood as a father, of a father. And so, for him to fashion us as sons and daughters, for us to unite in the covenant of marriage in order to have sons and daughters, and not just ours, but ultimately is. I mean, he is more deeply invested in our wellbeing in marriage and family life than all of the sociologists down through the ages put together. And it frankly, that's not saying much. The majority.
Jennifer Roback Morse
No offense, guys. But hey, you have to know your place. And I think that's part of our faith and a genuine understanding of humility is to understand your place, he's God, we're not. Okay, we've got something to offer and but the only reason we have anything to offer is because he gave it to us. And he has a mission for us to perform. And if we do what we're supposed to do, then okay, but he's God.
Dr. Scott Hahn
I just thought of something. I didn't put it in this book. But I've written an essay in a collection called Catholic for a reason, scripture and the mystery of marriage and the family. Kimberly also has an essay on that, but the title of my essay is the world is a wedding. And that was what I was thinking when you were describing how marriage is cosmic and its significance. I begin the essay describing the fact that the first wedding I ever attended, was my own. I had never been invited or declined the invitation. I was 21, so was she, my older siblings weren't even in a serious relationship yet. And so, I am marrying the pastor's daughter, he is a marrying us. And here I am standing up looking out at a congregation of about 600 people because he practically invited everybody. And when she came around the corner in her-- I mean, I knew she had a beautiful wedding gown. I just hadn't seen her in it. And literally my knees buckled, my oldest brother had to catch me, because I was so stunned by her beauty, as well as scared by the crowd. And that moment is forever sealed indelibly in my memory and on my heart as well. But I never expected going into marriage, that within a matter of days, in the honeymoon, within a matter of weeks, our first month of marriage, we were having friction like we never had in our relationship, in our engagement and that sort of thing. And so, we began to pray more, we began to work through things, we had to come up with ground rules. But it was learning how to fight fair because you can't be as intense as the two of us are and agree on everything. And even if we did, we would probably still find some friction, some sources of friction. And I also mentioned in the book that another eureka moment for me came when I was a doctoral student, preparing to enter into the Catholic Church, but I was studying under a Jesuit priest, Father, Donald Keefe, God rest his soul. He taught him a law school, as well as in the theology department. And he we were discussing religion in the public square, we were reading Richard john new houses, the naked Public Square was the mid-80s, the Moral Majority, you had the pro-life alliances, Protestants and Catholics were coming together, for the first time to bear witness the sanctity of life. It was exciting. It was also kind of controversial. And so, we were discussing the role of religion and politics at the time. And in the middle of this lecture discussion, [sp]Daya lecture, he just started looking out the window. And we were struck by that because he, he didn't do that before. He just quipped, I mean, it was sort of like a throwaway line that just came to him unexpectedly. So, we can debate this all day long. But the fact is, if Christian couples simply live the grace of the sacrament of matrimony, for one generation, the result would be a transformed culture. Dare I say a Christian society? Oh, but I digress. I suppose I should get back to the lecture. And I am staring like, freeze frame. You said what? It seemed like hyperbole, it seemed like overstatement. But the more I reflected upon it, I tuned out the lecture and the discussion for the next five or 10 minutes, because it struck me like a lightning bolt that he was right that regardless of the politicians who we elect or don't elect, regardless of the promises that they make, and keep or not, if we just simply kept our promises, our vows and fulfilled our covenant, oh, this sacrament would make up what we lack, give us what we need, not only to be faithful spouses to one another in the presence of our own kids, but our neighborhood as well. Like a pebble in a pond that sends out ripples, we would send out so much grace. I went home and I told Kimberly that and it was just a moment for embracing because it was so obviously true. It's so far from our consciousness in this secularized society.
Jennifer Roback Morse
Yes. And the reverse of it is also true. Every once in a while, when we're having conflict, I think to myself, and sometimes I'll say it, honey, there are a lot of people who are counting us to stay married. If something happened to our marriage, a lot of people would be harmed. And so that's the reverse effect of what you're talking about. And every single divorce has those kind of ripple effects throughout the extended family in the community and everything else. So, I think that's profoundly true. And that brings me to a question I wanted to get to, and I thought we get it at the end but-- because it comes at the end of your book. But you make the statement in your concluding chapter, you say, we are probably not going to witness any spectacular mass conversion to sanctity in our lifetimes. So, let's be heroic and accepting short term humiliation only as an apparent defeat without compromise. And this is where you were talking about just not compromising on the subject of what marriage is. And is it not compromising on the supernatural? Would you build that out for us? That's the statement that I have marked up in the book and that made me go, I'm writing a review of this book. Yeah. unaccustomed as I am to writing about theology, what did you mean by that? Because it builds right on what you just said from your professor there.
Dr. Scott Hahn
It's funny that you would ask this question. I saw it on the sheet and I wondered if we would get to it. The book has been out now, two or three years, and I have done lots of conversations and interviews and that sort of thing, read lots of reviews, you're the first person to ask this question. And I'm really--
Jennifer Roback Morse
I mentioned it in my review of your book, didn't I? Yeah. Okay. All right, carry on? Oh, well, I feel honored--
Dr. Scott Hahn
It goes back almost 40 years in our first or second year of marriage when I was in Virginia. And I was at a convention of conservatives, and almost all of them were Christians. And I can't remember, Howard Phillips, I think was the man's name. He was a convert to Judaism, who was an outstanding voice for the conservative cause. And he surprised us all. And I had all of these high school kids from my group, my youth group there. And so, I was excited to hear him give us this super pep talk at the halftime before we took the field for the second half of the game. And he gave us in the second half of his presentation, or rather dour prediction. He said, the prospect of our permanently changing American society, so that it really fulfills the natural moral law, so that it becomes Christian is bleak and be like, Oh, thanks a lot. But he said, if we keep compromising in order to affect change, we're going to discover that the kind of change that we affect is not the kind of change that we can live with long term. And so, if the chances of transforming our culture and making it shine with the truth of God's word is not that likely, don't compromise, go down standing tall. And I remember thinking, wow, unfortunately, he's probably right. And on the other hand, that is the truth that will make us really suitable for heaven. Paul tells the Philippians in Philippians three, verse 20, that our citizenship is in heaven. And we tend to forget that because we forget that we have dual citizenship, and not just American and Israeli but earthly and heavenly, I'm a child of Fred and Molly Lue Hahn, but I'm a child of God even more and much, much longer. And so, some people say, well, it's pie in the sky. You're so heavenly minded, you're of no earthly good. What he said to us was If you remain truly centered on God, and heavenly minded, you should be above all people completely fearless on Earth. Precisely because, you're not a fool to give up what you can't keep in order to gain what you can't lose, he was quoting Jim Elliot there. And all of us, teacher and students, we were so galvanized by that, that it just stuck with me that if we don't compromise, God might bless our natural efforts with supernatural success that nobody expects. But if we don't compromise, and we lose anyway, which will probably do, if we made every compromise that was--
Jennifer Roback Morse
Dr. Scott Hahn
If we don't compromise, we're rendered suitable for entering into the Commonwealth of ever. And that's what you see the martyrs, that's what you see the saints are all about. That's what you see St. Paul saying, Philippians. He's not just reminding them, that you're not just Philippian citizens, you're citizens of heaven, he's giving them joy. I mean, Philippians is called the Epistle of joy. Philippians four, rejoice in the Lord always. And again, I say rejoice. And that's because Paul wrote that on summer vacation when he was in the Caribbean. This is one of his prison epistles. Joy, joy, Rejoice, rejoice. It's proof that this faith that we have is not only enough to get us out of the world and into heaven for a trillion years, the first day of eternal life, it's also enough to empower us to live in the world to face temptation to compromise. And not only to compromise our witness out there in the public square, but to compromise our fidelity where it matters the most, and that is within the heart. And so, to fight the temptations that would cause us to say, and this is something else I decided not to put in the book, but our first-year marriage, I'm in seminary, she's taking Seminary courses part time, but she's working full time down in Cambridge, near Boston. And she's working with a fellow, I forget his name. But she came to me and she said, I put in a transcript. I thought I loved your job. I thought you loved your job. She said, I do. But I'm sorry to say this. But here our first year of marriage, I feel this attachment forming to a coworker and I come home and we're so tired, that I had to put in a transfer just to guard my heart. And I said, this is strange timing indeed, because I'm in a lecture hall, sitting next to a woman student who just resonates with certain things that we're studying, that I can't share with you, because you're not in the class. And so, a couple of my friends asked me, why did you switch seats to the opposite side of the lecture hall? I could just hear better. And so, we apologize to each other for allowing our hearts to stray. In our first year of marriage, I had no idea that my heart was so capable of the training, my Lord and my bride. And so, it's not something well, that's what happens the first-year marriage, it happens, the second, the third and the fourth.
Jennifer Roback Morse
That's right. And you guys guarded it, you guys recognized it and put a stop to it.
Dr. Scott Hahn
And we blame that God for that grace, because we're too weak other way.
Jennifer Roback Morse
Exactly, Yeah, that's really interesting. Thank you for sharing that. I think that will be a source of encouragement for a lot of people. But I do want to go back to this point about the compromise and about the bringing into it the full truth of the gospel and the full truth of God. Because I started my career, really always trying to stick with natural arguments with social science arguments, and that kind of stuff. And we do that. And we of course, we still do that. That's what we're known for. That's what we specialize in. But at some point, I realized we weren't going to make it that wasn't going to be good enough. So, I had to be prepared to talk about God, even if I don't do it all day long, which I'm never going to sell myself as a theologian, I'm going to point people to others who have more training in that, but if you're freaked out and won't ever say it, that's going to show, that's going to come through and it's going to diminish your ability to speak the whole truth. We have many opportunities for compromise in our line of work over here at the Ruth Institute. And I think your insight here has served us well in the sense that if you compromise, you can never get that ground back. And you're looking at it from a supernatural perspective, which of course is important, but just from the natural perspective, our opponents do not really believe in compromise, they believe in stepping stones. And so, what you see is a compromise that will keep the peace, they see as a stepping stone towards some further objective. And so, this lecture you heard was what in the 1980s, look at to how far this has gone without being seriously confronted, and the mistakes that people can make and ruin their lives are deeper and more profound today than the kind of mistakes I made in the 70s.
Dr. Scott Hahn
80s was the Reagan era. And so that felt like Shangri La, it's sort of Camelot for conservatives. And that at the same time, there were voices that were warning that looking back on the 70s, Jimmy Carter's White House Conference on the families, they couldn't even come up with the minimal definition of what a family was. And that was a telltale sign. And so, the prophets of doom and gloom, sometimes they wear me out. And they were pointing to something that is the logical consequence of compromise after compromise. That's when you realize there is a trajectory, these are stepping stones, this is nothing, there's nothing permanent about the arrangement that our opponents are willing to make at this point.
Jennifer Roback Morse
That's exactly right. So, the way you put it was, if we're going to go down, well, we might as well go down with integrity, we might as well go down fighting. And another way to look at it is that I honestly, I think we cannot honorably avoid persecution at this point. I mean, I just think people are being harmed for their beliefs and so on. And I think it's on its way, but the point is how we conduct ourselves in the face of that, that's what's important. Are we going to say, Stop picking on me? Picking on me is not the point. The fact that you're being mean to me, I don't like it but that's not the point. The point is, what you're saying is incorrect and what you're saying is going to harm people. And so, I'm going to put my body between you and the public. I'm going to say, this is incorrect, and explain it to the best of my ability. But from my perspective, even though I'm not talking about God all the time, without the backstop of divine grace, I couldn't do what I'm doing, no way.
Dr. Scott Hahn
I think about what our Lord did, his parting words to the disciples were go and make disciples of all nations. And why? Because all authority in heaven and earth has been given to me, and I'm with you always to the end of the age. But how do we go about it? I mean, as we know, our Lord went to Rome. And he chose the 12 most popular, well-educated senators. He went to the backwaters of Palestine and found Galilee and fishermen in tax collectors. With all due respect, what were you thinking? Well, God does more with less. And it was the heroic witness the fact that they weren't willing to compromise that leads historians to say that the blood of the martyrs was indeed the seat of the church. But to make disciples of all nations in the first century meant going into the Roman Empire, talk about a culture of debt, what were their chances? Nil, there are no chances that they're going to succeed. But we're not just planning to false crop, so that we have food for the winter, we're planning for us that our grandkids might use to build their houses, their furniture, and put logs in the fire. And so, we've got to think long term and not simply in terms of election cycles. We think in an eternal perspective. And so, if Christ Himself could send out tax collectors and fishermen, and against all odds bring about the force of grace to create what we call Christendom, which was hardly utopian --was a civilization of love. It was a Christian culture. If he could do it back then there's no reason for us to conclude that he can't do it again or that he doesn't want to, but the bottom line is, he's calling us to faithfulness, not to success. And so, Alfred, Lord Tennyson's honors is not to reason why ours is but to do or die. And so faithful witness, heroic, and to recognize that God didn't bring about that transformation, just because the apostles were so willing to compromise with their Roman authorities or their persecutors.
Jennifer Roback Morse
Do you know you're a good person to ask this question to, because I know you've tracked some of the different sociologists over the years and responded to them and so on? But one sense that I have is that we are so de-Christianized are so desacralized, I guess it was Weber who said that the societies become desacralized or disenchanted I think that was a word-- it's becoming more and more real to me that most people who profess the Christian or Catholic faith don't actually believe, they give lip service to it. But when it really comes to really putting your put your money where your mouth is kind of thing, I think we're afraid to really go whole hog and say, Yeah, I really believe you can do this Lord, I believe this.
Dr. Scott Hahn
Well, I would agree wholeheartedly. The sequel to this book, “The First Society” is a book that came out a few months ago right after the election, entitled in is right and just Why the future of civilization depends on true religion. And I am convinced that it does. And I am convinced that even if I can't convince anybody else, it still does, you know. And so, it isn't a really bold claim, you just have to go back two centuries or three, to recognize that this was a kind of commonplace. But what we have as Catholics is called the New Evangelization. That's to re-evangelize the de-Christianize to rekindle faith. And it's a response to what nobody is called. But you could describe as the new DE-evangelization, because to secularize and de-Christianized people has been a wholesale program that goes back a century. Emphatically, every inhabited continent where Christianity as flourished. And so, I see this as an exciting time. God worked before with a pre-Christian pagan society, I think we would give him even greater thanks and glory, if he could bring about a transformation to a post-Christian, idolatrous and secularized society. But again, we leave the actuarial statistics to God. Whether it's likely or unlikely, that's really up to us to determine at the end of the day, we just have to be faithful in a row and bearing witness. And again, not just with our words, but our lives and especially our home life.
Jennifer Roback Morse
Yes, yes. And a lot of our religious practice really does in a sense, center around the home, which we also kind of forget that there's public worship. And then there's the way in which we pass on the faith, how much of that takes place in the home? And the way that we have degraded the home in modern times that women have been told that you're idiots if you stay home. Well, actually, if you're stay home, you're preserving culture, you're preserving tradition, you're passing on knowledge and information. And I'm sure you guys, if you homeschool, you are passing on all kinds of things from one family to the next and keeping it alive. And that's why people are doing it.
Dr. Scott Hahn
That's right. Yeah, and we homeschool for 26 years, all six kids. And the firstborn has a PhD from Notre Dame. All of these kinds of exciting things. He's a professor at the seminary in Maryland. But we're proud of what our Lord has done with us in our sincerity or strength, especially our weakness in our brokenness. There are seven sacraments in our tradition, and one of them is reconciliation, confession, penance, whatever you call it, the more you need it, the less you want it. But since I entered the church 35 years ago, I think just about every week, I've gone to confession and Kimberly and the kids have never once suggested that I go too frequently. When I come back, I am humbler and kinder and gentler but at the end of the day, I would also say this, I'm not much, but I'm all I think about. If I get accolades, I say to them, if I didn't know me, I might be impressed. I know our Lord. I know the God who created the universe. I am so overwhelmingly impressed with what he can do with dirt by making Adam and by getting me out of the juvenile court system in Pittsburgh, and taking the delinquents. As far as he has. I feel like he's playing a prank on the devil, but it's too much fun.
Jennifer Roback Morse
And if you if you believe it, and we profess that we believe that God can write straight with crooked lines. We profess to believe that right? Yeah, me too. And a lot of people who hang around the Ruth Institute have some kind of passed, right? I mean, that's just that's the way it is. So, I look at it this way. If we would let God right straight with crooked lines, we would be the holiest place the world has ever seen, man because we got so many crooked lines for him to work with.
Dr. Scott Hahn
Jennifer Roback Morse
So, Dr. Hahn, do you have any closing words or anything that you're involved in that you'd like to share with our viewers who--? Some of our Catholic viewers are probably familiar with you and your apostolic and so on, but the non-Catholic viewers may be interested in some of the other books you've written and other projects that you're involved in. So, take a moment to tell people about some of your other work.
Dr. Scott Hahn
20 years ago, Kimberlin and I founded the St. Paul center for Biblical theology to really promote biblical literacy for Catholic lay people, but also for Christians at large, and then also to promote a kind of biblical fluency for our clergy and for our teachers, and to connect not only the Bible to everyday life, but to show how the New Testaments concealed in the old and the oldest revealed and fulfilled in the new, but also how our worship where the word is proclaimed, releases more power for more healing than anything you'll do in the political realm, the social spheres and that sort of thing. Not that it exempts us from those things, those are important. Kimberly is a city councilman at large and she won in a totally democratic town in a landslide as a Republican, she is so involved. But the St. Paul Center has a website where lots of resources are available for beginners, intermediate and advanced, just stpaulcenter.com, St. Paul center. And I think, in particular, throughout Lent, we have a brand-new series called Parousia: The Bible and the Mass, where we tie together the Passover and the Eucharist, the old and the new, the lamb and our Lord and lots of other things too. And it's free live streaming throughout all of--
Jennifer Roback Morse
Oh, very nice.
Dr. Scott Hahn
And it's just brand new, just came out a few days ago.
Jennifer Roback Morse
Very nice. And because of your background, as a Protestant pastor, you have done a lot of work and kind of bridging some of the gap between the faith traditions. And so, I would say to any Ruth Institute viewer, if you're interested in the Bible, Dr. Hahn is a good place to go to a good resource to go to because he knows the questions that non-Catholics have. And it kind of the gaps and he addresses a lot of those and I think you would find it very enlightening and helpful. So, what else do you have cooking, Dr. Han? Do you have any other projects that are in the works?
Dr. Scott Hahn
Working on two or three projects, one that we're hoping to bring to completion here at the center is called The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible that I've been working on.
Jennifer Roback Morse
Oh, I know that. This is coming out in pieces, right?
Dr. Scott Hahn
That's right. It's coming out in pieces. We put together the entire New Testament back in 2010. So, we just finished the book of Zechariah. And so, the Old Testament is now complete. And so, we're hoping that within the next year or so, the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible will be complete and available for millions and millions of Catholics. And I think non-Catholic Christians are going to also find it very useful because I use a lot of evangelical and Protestant study Bibles, and I find them quite helpful. And the fact is, this represents so much common ground, we have important differences and disagreements with non-Catholics. But we have so much more in common 85, 90, 95% of our faith, we share and so standing together on common ground, we can address our differences respectfully. But we can also celebrate just how much more we agree than we tend to recognize from time to time.
Jennifer Roback Morse
Yes. And you know what? That's one of the great joys of the pro family movement, as far as I'm concerned, going all the way back to 2008. And proposition eight in California that I was so deeply involved in. It's a great interfaith movement. And I have felt all the time constantly, that our Lord is using these crises to wipe out some of those old differences, because we can easily see that we have more in common with our brothers and sisters of other communions. If they're orthodox, if they're biblically literate and so on, we are we have much more in common with the faithful of other denominations, and we do with some of the liberal members of our own tradition, faith traditions. It's a very common experience that we have. And so, it's very beautiful that you're doing this work. And I really appreciate your time very much indeed. And I appreciate your work very much indeed. Thank you so much, Dr. Scott Hahn, for being my guest today on the Dr. J show.
Dr. Scott Hahn
You are welcome, Jenny. Dr. J. I want to also thank you for the amazing work that has been done through the Ruth Institute and reaching so many people. Keep up the great work and God bless you.
Jennifer Roback Morse
You too, brother. Fist bump. Thanks very much.