Ruth Speaks Out

This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.

Accountability is the Key

One of the keys to sexual integrity, is accountability.  Small groups of like-minded men, keep each other honest, in their efforts to remain chaste. Here is how it works at the University of Maryland:
Fasting trains the person to deny his body something it wants so that the desires of the body are controlled by the will — and not the other way around. In the University of Maryland group, for instance, each member of the group forgoes dinner every time any member of the group “falls.” A fall is defined as viewing pornography, masturbating or engaging in sexual activity. These falls are discussed as part of the second pillar of purity groups, which is dialogue. As with a traditional 12-step group, open dialogue with people facing the same challenges is a huge source of help and support. Many groups sign confidentiality promises so that nothing short of criminal acts will ever be discussed outside of the group. In this community of trust, men are able to discuss challenges to their chastity and ways to face them.

Opting Out of Hooking Up

That's the title of this article in the National Catholic Register. With a special emphasis on men staying chaste in college, this article is of interest to the Ruth Institute. We are always worried about becoming a "chick outfit" with too many women. (Isn't that odd: the New Women's Movement is the Sexual Counter-revolution: pro-life, pro-marriage and pro-chastity?)  Anyhow, we are always on the look-out for cool guys to hang around with!
Marcel LeJeune, assistant director of campus ministry at St. Mary Catholic Center at Texas A&M University, points out that these groups are not designed for actual sex or pornography addicts, who are directed to counseling and 12-step programs. They are, instead, accountability groups designed to help young men face the challenges of chastity. “It brings the problem into the light,” said LeJeune. “One of the biggest issues that we see with young men is that 80% to 90% of them are using pornography regularly. It’s accepted by the culture, but not by their faith, and it leads to guilt, shame, self-image problems, and finally to rationalizations for sinful behavior. A lot of them beat it down and suppress it. Instead of dealing with it in a healthy way — through confession, prayer and frequent use of all the sacraments — they indulge in pornography and impure actions. They know that it’s incompatible with what they’ve been taught, so they start to slip away from the Church. If they continue to do it, they feel they can’t be part of the Church anymore.”

Marriage "Equality" and real Equality

Over at No Left Turns blog, Julie Ponzi takes aim at the equality argument for same sex marriage. This is a very significant argument, because in a very real sense, this is the only argument the marriage radicals have. Think about it: "it's not fair; you're being mean to us."  That is all they have. The Equal Protection argument the lawyers like to bring up is just a gussied-up version of "it's not fair."   So, being able to explain why we think the equality argument is inapplicable is a slam dunk. If we win that, we win, because equality is quite literally, all they have. Julie  starts by noticing that the only way anybody wins anything in American politics is by appealing to our American Founding ideals in some form or fashion. "The argument on behalf of homosexual marriage, if it means to be successful, has to be one suggesting that homosexual marriage is a fulfillment of rather than a turning away from America's promise in its Founding.  Every success of big "L" Liberalism (or Progressivism) in this country (up to and including Barack Obama's) can be traced back to public argument that embraced--or seemed to embrace--America's purpose and foundations."  But, she goes on, there is an inherent tension in their position. The principles of natural rights in the American Founding are principles of universal, pre-existing rights, given by God, by nature, or by nature's God, depending on the interpreter. The Progressive vision is actually quite different, even while it evokes the image of pre-existing natural right. The Progressive notion is that rights "evolve,"  that rights somehow flow from the common opinions of society. But, as Julie points out, these two views contradict each other: "It sees no necessary limit to the good that can come of an expansion of the meaning of equality and it appeals to our generosity of spirit.  But in seeking to expand the meaning of equality, the truth is that we actually deny it.  We cannot make equality, however much we may wish it, to include things not encompassed within the natural meaning of equality." This leads her to a very telling insight into one of the most perplexing political facts surrounding the politics of same sex marriage: the fact that African Americans so stubbornly resist following their customary allies down this particular path. I've been observing this for over a year: during the Prop 8 campaign, and its aftermath, it has been perfectly obvious to me that many blacks are deeply offended by the comparison of the gay lobby's agitation for redefining marriage with their own struggle for basic human rights.  Here is Julie's explanation:
I have to think that this, at least in part, helps to explain the natural revulsion to the idea of homosexual marriage on the part of black voters--who, of course, were a driving force in the passage of California's Prop. 8 last fall.  Left wing whispering, revealingly, would have you believe that black opposition to homosexual marriage is nothing more than a kind of retrograde or backward prejudice on the part of too many blacks. This is at once patronizing and reflective of some remarkably stupid thinking.  The majority of black voters who oppose homosexual marriage rightly sense--when they don't vividly understand--that the suggestion of a symbiotic relationship between the struggles of blacks and the struggles of the homosexual lobby in this country is an insult to their struggles and our shared American history and accomplishments on behalf of genuine equality.  It is a kind of righteous indignation--obviously felt more keenly by blacks--at the notion that the elimination of slavery and the struggle for equality before the law for black Americans is anything akin to an extension of a right to marry to homosexuals.  That was a struggle to make America live up to its stated principle, not a demand that we expand it.  Slavery was wrong from the start . . . not because we eventually grew into that opinion.  To suggest otherwise is to demean those efforts by implying that it, like this current struggle, was a mere power struggle or numbers game without any transcending universal principle of right.
Read Julie's whole piece here.

What does it all mean for Obama?

America loved and still loves the idea of having a black president. However, they don't much care for this particular president and his policies. More than that, there are black Americans who love the idea of natural marriage and respecting life in the womb and protecting young people from premature sexualizing. They are less enthused about the Idea of  a Black President than they used to be. This is the sign of growing political maturity in our country.  As long as we can talk about issues, and not descend to mudslinging, we can create a new coalition for a more humane social order.

11:53 EST ME Update

71 % of precincts reporting. Yes on 1 51.83% --- No on 1, 48.17%. Please notice: this is coming close to the margin of victory in CA. We won with 52% of the vote. As it happens, exactly the same percentage by which Obama was annointed. Our election, however, was considered close.

ME Update: 11:14 EST

Yes on 1 is at 51.29% with 58% of precincts reporting. I so remember a year ago: the Prop 8 election coverage in the Golden Hall. My teenaged kids came down with us. My daughter came with a bunch of her friends, all high school students at a very orthodox Catholic school. They all wanted to do some counter-chanting, and demonstrating in opposition to the No on 4 people, as well as the No on 8 people. There were several ugly confrontations. I was scared for teh kids. If it had just been me, I wouldn't have cared. But I was really scared about my teenaged daughter getting attacked. So, at one point, she was up on a chair, holding a sign and chanting with a bunch of other people. A No on 4 person was pretty much right in her face.  For some reason, my daughter looked down at her, and said, "Cute shoes." The girl said, thanks, and told her where she got them.  That little moment actually defused a lot of tension. In any case, I was glad my husband was there.

ME Update: 10:21 EST

Bangor is now reporting that Yes on 1 is slightly ahead. this is SOOOO much like Prop 8. I will never forget it. We all went down to a hotel in SanDiego to watch the election returns. The only election any of us really cared about was Prop 8. We knew Obama would win nationwide, and woudl certainly carry CA.  We left the hotel and went to a place called the Golden Hall downtown, where all the media outlets were reporting the returns. I remember watching each and every little update and seeing the trend in favor of Prop 8. All our hard work might finally pay off. And I remember the truly toxic atmosphere in the hall as the Left began to come in, in organized teams, to chant against Prop 8, and especially against Pro 4, which was the Parental Notification for Abortion measure. The pro-aborts came in, wearing matching t-shirts, and chanting, in well-organized straight lines. It was creepy, and would have been creepy, no matter what they were chanting for. Ah, political memories!

ME Update 9:59 EST

The Bangor Daily News is doing soemthing squirrly: they reverted to their returns at 5% reporting. Now they are showing a server error, with no results at all. Ballotpedia is reporting the Yes vote up to 49.3% as of 5 minutes ago, 9:54 PM EST.  Watch this to see if it is a real trend. Everyone, keep an eye on the Bangor Daily News for election hanky panky. There is no reason for their server to go down, just as the Yes on 1 votes are going up....

Maine Update 9:42 EST

With 17% of the precints reporting, the count is now 48.7% Yes on 1, and 51.3% No. There is a trend in the direction of natural marriage winning this election. This is how it was during election night for Prop 8. The whole country was ga-ga over Obama, and we were just watching the Prop 8 numbers. They slowly tilted toward the Prop 8 victory that eventually shook the nation.

Watching the Maine Election Returns

So, far, with 14% of the precints reporting, the score is 47% Yes on 1, and 52% No.  I have no particular insight into which districts are reporting or not. Here is the link to the Bangor Daily News. For those who have not been following: A Yes vote on 1 is a vote in favor of man woman marriage, and a vote to overturn a legislative enactment that created same sex marriage in Maine. That is why the results are posted as "Reject Same Sex Marriage Law."


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