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This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.
Posted on: Monday, July 19, 2021
Kathy Schiffer - This article was originally published on the National Catholic Register
Our society is under attack from within. Those in the helping professions — doctors, educators, counselors — all have faced a challenge from the Cancel Culture. The culture wrought by the sexual revolution demands that we abandon our Christian principles, replace the traditional family and embrace a whole new culture of sexual “freedom” which promotes same-sex “marriage,” transgenderism, premarital and extramarital sex and abortion as societal goods.
The Ruth Institute will challenge the prevailing narrative with its fourth annual Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution July 16-17. This year’s event will bring together experts to discuss the global sexual revolution, citing the casualties and the medical costs. The participants will lay out solutions to reclaim the professions and strengthen the traditional family.
The Register spoke with Jennifer Roback Morse, founder of the Ruth Institute, about the theme for this year's summit, with its focus on those in the fields of medicine, education and therapy.
“What the professions all have in common,” Morse explained, “is that they are under tremendous pressure from the left to conform to a false narrative. And the central problem is common to all of the professions, not just the ones we're talking about. In social work, for example, the same pattern is evident: [Sexual revolution ideologues] weasel their way into the profession, manufacturing fake evidence and reshaping the narrative.”
One example of such blatant distortion, Morse reported, was a resolution passed by the American Medical Association members at their annual meeting in June. The AMA advocated for the removal of sex from birth certificates. “Designating sex on birth certificates as male or female,” claimed AMA Board Chair-Elect Sandra Adamson Fryhofer, M.D., “perpetuates the view that sex designation is permanent and fails to recognize the medical spectrum of gender identity. This type of categorization system also risks stifling an individual's self-expression and self-identification and contributes to marginalization and minoritization.”
Morse reported that last year, at the Ruth Institute's 2020 Summit, they learned that Planned Parenthood had been distributing cross-sex hormones to teenagers. Until that time, pro-life sidewalk counselors had been trained to help an abortion-minded woman to choose life, but they were not prepared to counsel teens who arrived at the clinic planning to initiate a sex change.
Morse worked with Dr. Michelle Cretella, the executive director of the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds), developing a way to encourage teens with gender dysphoria to seek help, instead of seeking life-altering surgery. Together they came up with a pamphlet for sidewalk counselors to use. That pamphlet, titled “Your Pain Is Real,” will be introduced Friday and Saturday.
Attendees of the summit will explore four related themes: the global sexual revolution; counting the casualties; medical costs; and the demographic winter and the future of freedom and family.
Speakers Expose the Fallacies Behind the Transgender Movement
The topic of transgenderism is one which several of the summit’s speakers have faced personally.
Walt Heyer experienced gender confusion as the result of an abusive childhood. He took hormones and underwent surgery to adopt the appearance of a female, then lived for eight years appearing to be a woman until stopping in 1991. Heyer, whose story is told in Ryan Anderson's 2018 book When Harry Became Sally, talked with the Register about his presentation at the Survivors' Summit.
“The issues are significant,” Heyer said, “in that the idea of changing genders is false. No one today has the medical expertise to biologically change what is innate and fixed from conception; that is, when the sperm hits the egg, gender/sex is immutable and as such, cannot be changed by using hormones or performing radical surgical procedures. The infallible truth is that a person can only changepersona (public presentation), not gender or sex (biologically innate and fixed). My role [in the summit] is to bring a perspective of truth that is so often neglected, earned through my experience of living as a woman for eight years.”
As a young child, Erin Brewer experienced intense self-hatred and loathing for her female body. She cut her hair short, wore her brother's hand-me-downs and was verbally and physically aggressive toward her classmates. A caring school counselor led her parents and teachers to help resolve her gender confusion by reinforcing her female identity, exposing her to strong and talented women and putting her in girls' groups such as Brownies.
Today, Brewer is a well-regarded therapist who specializes in helping gender-dysphoric teens. She is co-founder of the Compassion Coalition, an international group for those fighting to ban invasive, harmful, unproven medical interventions for gender-confused children, as well as co-founder of Partners for Ethical Care, a group to raise awareness and support efforts to stop the unethical treatment of children by schools, hospitals and mental healthcare providers under the duplicitous banner of gender-identity affirmation.
Brewer will join Heyer on a panel titled, “Putting the Pieces Together: Equipping the Pro-Life Movement to Confront Trans-minded Clients.” Brewer told the Register, “My goal is to help educate people that transitioning is not an identity, but it's an experimental medical intervention that is both dangerous and harmful. All the research has shown that the best treatment is watchful waiting, supporting kids who are genuinely distressed. Often these children have underlying mental health issues; many are autistic.”
Brewer warned that society is doing these troubled children a serious disservice with skewed messages about what is normal and healthy development. “The goal of activists,” Brewer warned, “is to subvert the whole concept of biology.” As an example she cited a transgender activist who, in December 2020, called for all children to be placed on puberty blockers until they are old enough to decide for themselves what gender they would prefer.
The Demographic Winter
Don Feder, the Ruth Institute’s communications director and coalitions coordinator, warned about the worldwide decline in fertility. Even secular sources, he told the Register, are beginning to realize the real problems that a reduced birth rate will have in the years ahead.
“On May 24, the New York Times had a story,” Feder said, “with the ominous headline, ‘Long Slide Looms for World Population, With Sweeping Ramifications.’”
Feder had never expected to read such a headline in the New York Times. “I guess, though,” he said, “you can only close your eyes to reality for so long. It's become so obvious — not just that fertility rates are declining, but that we're soon going to go into population decline.”
Feder was disappointed that still, most people among the “population control” crowd still have blinders on that prevent them from seeing the future. He noted that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had recently received an environmental award from the United Kingdom-based population control group Population Matters, after announcing their intent to have no more than two children. The group called the couple “role models” for taking such a strong stand against overpopulation.
But despite the impervious population control advocates, Feder warned of dire consequences for civilization.
“I saw that China will lose half its population by 2100,” Feder said. First Chinese officials permitted only one child, and now, seeing the looming population crisis, they have permitted two. But still, Feder noted, the outlook of the Chinese toward children has been deeply affected.
“In the past, the most important thing in Chinese culture was family, tradition,” Feder said. “For Confucius, the family is everything. But now although the government is permitting more children, today most Chinese, especially in cities, are saying, ‘We don’t want two or three children; we don’t want children at all.’”
The worst-case scenario for the declining birth rate in China could actually signal the end of a civilization, said Feder.
“You need people to maintain a society,” he said. “You can do without natural resources; but you can't do without people.”
He pointed to China's neighbor to the east, Japan, where they have an expression called “lonely death.” An industry has grown up in that Asian nation to remove the remains of old people who died at home by themselves, with no family to care for them. The fertility rate in Japan has fallen to 1.3 children per woman, Feder said, while in industrial nations, the replacement level (the level needed to maintain a population at the current level) is 2.1.
Here in the United States, the fertility level has been below replacement level for five or six years now. According to Feder, “Every year, we’re told the birth rate is the lowest it's ever been. In my generation, the average woman had 4.1 children; now, it’s below 2.”
For information on how to attend the Ruth Institute’s Fourth Annual Summit For Survivors of the Sexual Revolution July16-17, either in-person at Treasures of Marilyn’s in Lake Charles, Louisiana, or via live-streaming, go to ruthinstitute.org/summit-2021 .
Posted on: Tuesday, June 22, 2021
The Supreme Court’s decision allowing a faith-based foster care agency to continue operations is the right move.
By Contributors, including the Ruth Institute's Fr. Paul Sullins
The Supreme Court just decided Fulton v. Philadelphia, a landmark case involving the rights of religious foster care agencies to operate while still observing their religious beliefs. Several prominent social science narratives have sprung up around this case: One is that a allowing religious foster agencies to continue the work they have done for more than 200 years will limit the supply of foster parents, and another is that religious agencies operating on traditional sexual beliefs will harm LGBTQ children. As Muslim, Catholic, Protestant and Latter-day Saint scholars, we want to set the record straight on both of these narratives.
The claim that allowing religious agencies to stay open while staying true to their religious beliefs will reduce the number of foster parents is conjecture at best and a drastic exaggeration at worst. Indeed, none of the justices appear to have bought this argument, as the majority opinion states, “if anything, including (Catholic Social Services) in the program seems likely to increase, not reduce, the number of available foster parents.”
While national-level data exists on children in foster care (albeit with varying quality across states), there is no such dataset on foster parents. Here’s what we do know about foster parents and foster care agencies: Foster care is extremely difficult, but faith helps navigate its challenges. While 30%-50% of foster parents quit after the first year, 82% of foster parents in one study cite faith or church support as something that helps successful fostering.
Families recruited via religious organizations foster for 2.6 years longer than other foster parents. Finally, 36% of families recruited by one Christian organization said that they would not have become foster or adoption parents if it hadn’t been for the efforts of that foster agency.
Faith-based agencies pioneered foster care in the U.S. The first orphanage in the new world was started by Catholic nuns decades before our country’s founding, and the Catholic church in Philadelphia had been finding homes for foster children decades before the city ever got involved.
Even taking into account that some evidence suggests same-sex couples are about six times more likely to foster than mixed-sex couples, same-sex couples are still a small fraction of all foster parents. The latest estimates from the Census Bureau indicate that there are approximately 568,110 same-sex married couples in the United States compared to 57.8 million mixed-sex couples. The argument that the mere presence of a Catholic foster agency will dissuade same-sex parents from fostering, even when those same Catholic agencies provide referral resources to prospective same-sex parents, requires a highly speculative conjecture.
The claim that LGBTQ children are harmed by faith-based agencies is particularly pernicious. These claims are largely based on speculation and prejudiced stereotypes about the treatment of sexual minorities by traditional-minded Christians, Muslims, Jews and people of other faiths. The idea that opposition to same-sex Nikah, or Muslim marriage, for example (which most Muslims worldwide probably hold), will lead to mistreatment of LGBTQ children stems from a prejudiced misunderstanding of the religious ethic that drives religious foster parenting.
Scientifically, there is no research that suggests sexual minority foster youths have worse outcomes when raised in traditional religious homes. (And the faith-based agency in this case served all children regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.) More generally, the literature on the effects of religiosity on LGBTQ health is more complex than many think, with many studies showing positive effects.
This week’s Supreme Court decision says organizations and individuals with traditional religious outlooks on human sexuality still have a place in the foster care system and protects one of the largest swaths of potential foster care parents. The parade of horribles put forward by some people under the guise of social science skews what is really at stake in this case. In a matter as complex as foster care, all should be careful to look at the facts, and the Constitution, when deciding whether faith-based agencies that have helped children in need for centuries should be allowed to continue that work. Fortunately, the Supreme Court did just that.
Posted on: Wednesday, November 25, 2020
Thanksgiving, more than any other American holiday, is a family holiday. No matter their religious heritage, on this day, Americans unite in giving thanks for their many blessings. Families long scattered gather together to share food and make memories. In years past, the day before Thanksgiving was always the busiest travel day of the year.
Not so much this year. This Thanksgiving, some governors are going wild with COVID restrictions. Some state governments are telling us how many people we can have at the Thanksgiving table. Some states won’t let anyone enter without a negative COVID test, or a two-week self-quarantine. Pennsylvania announced new restrictions ten days before Thanksgiving, disrupting thousands of people’s plans.
Some of the virus-containment rules are blatantly biased. The Mayor of San Francisco tried to limit church attendance in the massive cathedral there to one person at a time. Also in California, a judge lifted restrictions on strip clubs, considering them protected free speech. But churches in the same jurisdiction are closed for indoor services.
In the meantime, some of these self-appointed dictators transgress their own rules. California Governor Gavin Newsome was recently caught dining at one of the most exclusive and expensive restaurants in the state in direct violation of rules he himself had established. And let’s not forget Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and her infamous unmasked trip to a beauty salon.
But sanity will eventually prevail. Thanksgiving is a family holiday and the family is bigger than government. Yes, there are risks involved in travel and gatherings. Yes, some people become very sick from COVID. Some even die. But many people who contract the virus have modest symptoms or no symptoms at all. The vast majority of people recover fully. We now know that contracting COVID is not a death sentence.
The experts who are advising the governments are single-minded in their focus on reducing numbers of cases. They cannot see the collateral damage to other legitimate aspects of human thriving.
Most of all, the so-called experts don’t take account of the divisions their sometimes-arbitrary rules have created. Families and friends are quarreling over who cares the most about other people.
And so on. Not only are we physically isolated. We are also psychologically isolated from people we love, work with and do business with.
One thing is for sure: these divisions are not natural. These conflicts are driven by the propaganda-artists in the media. Are they trying to pit us against each other? I don’t know that. But, let me stand this rhetoric on its head and speak directly to the media and others responsible for creating this current climate of fear and division.
As I say, the family is bigger than government. In fact, the family existed long before there were governments. The Bible tells us that humanity started with the family. The Ruth Institute is an international interfaith coalition to defend the family and build a civilization of love. Our coalition includes Roman Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Evangelicals and Pentecostals, Mormons and observant Jews. I can tell you that we are united in this one point at least: God created the family in the Garden of Eden. He created the Cosmos, the plants and animals, men and women. And finally, He created the first social institution: the married couple.
Every totalitarian movement of the past 100 years has despised and feared the family. That’s because the family can stand on its own and is a potential threat to any totalitarian plan. Every little household created by a man and a woman can sustain itself, provide for itself and protect itself. Fathers are natural authority figures. Mothers are natural objects of loyalty and affection. Totalitarian governments hate both.
In my book, The Sexual State, I pointed out that as members of a free society, we don’t want a “ruling class.” We want and need, a leadership class. It has become sadly clear that too many of the Elites are rulers, not leaders. In my decades of studying the Sexual Revolution, I have concluded that virtually every profession has been corrupted by that toxic ideology. Doctors who can’t figure when life begins or whether a boy can become a girl. Lawyers who happily use the law, not for justice, but as an ideological battering ram. Librarians and schoolteachers with agendas that undermine the wishes and authority of parents. It would not surprise me to learn that corruption I know about in these professions is not the only arena in which ideology trumps truth and science and justice.
I speak now to educated people, professional people, anyone with skills or authority or influence: I call upon you to use these gifts for the common good. The Elites, including the billionaires, the Tech Moguls, the politicians and the media, rely on you to implement their policies. They need you to supply technical knowledge and to keep systems running. They need you to actually see patients and go to court and choose library books and decide what the school play will be.
I call on you: Become servant leaders, not tools of the Ruling Class. When you see untruth or deception or corruption in your sphere of influence, don’t let it slide. Do something about it.
And everyone: do keep this one thought in mind: The family was created by God. Governments were created by man. God is infinite and everlasting. Governments are finite and fleeting. Only the family endures. We will outlast any government.
On that note, I’m off to start making pies for my family’s Thanksgiving feast. I’m Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, for the Ruth Institute, wishing you all a very blessed Thanksgiving Day.
Posted on: Thursday, September 24, 2020
Children of divorce, we are told, don’t suffer negative effects from their parents’ divorce. Unhappy marriages drag the parents down, which makes everyone unhappy. The solution, which permeates nearly every aspect of media, public policy, therapy, and even some quarters of the clergy, is divorce ideology, including switching sexual partners at will. This solution, complete with smiling, happy children, is preached as the ill for what ails us.
Instead of the promised panacea, many divorced parents find their pre-divorce problems still plague them. The probability of another divorce increases in a second marriage. And children, so often an after-thought in the whole process, are left suffering tremendous negative side effects.
All too often, children are not permitted to voice their real feelings. Love inside the family feels fragile: the kids have absorbed the message that people sometimes leave each other, or get kicked out. They may view love as unreliable. Even if children could verbalize their feelings, (which they can’t) they are afraid to risk losing their parents’ love. They don’t want to upset mom or dad. The children are silenced, or learn to silence themselves.
The children of divorce are socially invisible. If they have a problem, we take them to therapy. We put them on medication. But we never admit that maybe the adults should have worked as hard on their marriages as they seem to work on managing their divorce. And we certainly never tell the adults not to remarry.
So many children of divorce struggle massively with the emotional toll that the divorce took on them. From their perspective, each parent is half of who the child is. When the parents reject each other, they are rejecting half of the child. They may tell the child, “We still love you: we just don’t love each other.” The child cannot make sense of this impossible contradiction. In my opinion, this is the underlying reason for the negative side effects of divorce on children.
We, as a society, are faced with two competing world-views on divorce: 1. Divorce Ideology and 2. The traditional sexual ethic. Divorce ideology, reinforced by our media and culture, prioritizes parents’ sexual desire over all else, minimizes children’s rights, and requires state intervention. Children of divorce are not valued by the ideology or even the system.
The traditional sexual ethic, on the other hand, starts with the premise that children have identity rights and relational rights to their parents, that marriage exists to not only bind children to their biological parents, but to protect these rights, and naturally places legitimate obligation on the parents to protect and care for their biological children. When children are deprived of these rights without an inescapable reason, it is an injustice to the children.
We talk about protecting the rights of vulnerable populations, but we often forget that children are among the most vulnerable populations. We discard the systems built over thousands of years to protect them, and then silence them with the power of the state and a shattered family dynamic. No wonder children of today are struggling so much. Isn’t it time we changed our societal approach?
Leila Miller has done us all a great service by giving a voice to the Children of Divorce. Please read her book, Primal Loss: The Now-Adult Children of Divorce Speak, share it with friends, family, counselors, teachers, and pastors. Break the silence. Do it for your own family, and for the families of future generations.
If you are a child of divorce, have suffered negative effects because of divorce, or know someone who has, please visit our resource page here. Our resource page contains information to understand the why, the how, and the consequences of divorce culture, and has resources to help survivors.
Posted on: Monday, September 21, 2020
Commenting on the outrage provoked by the child pornography of Netflix’s “Cuties,” Ruth Institute President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., said: “With this highly eroticized portrayal of 11-year-old girls, the global ruling class is once again pushing the envelope on pedophilia. This latest example of the pornification of our culture shows the need for a 4th presidential debate, exclusively on issues impacting the family.”
Partnering with LifeSite, the Ruth Institute has an online petition calling for a debate focusing on what the candidates would do to strengthen the family and counter the various threats to the family.
The petition currently has more than 5,700 signers.
“‘Cuties’ is just the latest example of a growing anti-family culture,” Morse said. “Others include the two egregious Supreme Court rulings at the end of June, one striking down the mildest restrictions imaginable on abortion, and the other which would allow so-called transgenders to participate in women’s sports – thus effectively ending women’s sports.”
Such a debate might include the following questions for the candidates:
“Questions such as these will not be asked in the three scheduled debates September 29 and October 15 and 22, but for families, they are just as relevant as energy policy, trade, and public health concerns. That’s why we’re pushing so hard for a fourth debate on family issues,” Morse explained.
Sign the petition here.
The Ruth Institute is a global non-profit organization leading an international interfaith coalition to defend the family and build a civilization of love.
Pornography and sexual exploitation were topics included in the Ruth Institute’s recent Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution.
To schedule an interview with Dr. Morse, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted on: Friday, September 11, 2020
This article was first posted September 11, 2020, at LifeSiteNews.
By Paul Smeaton
LifeSiteNews and the Ruth Institute have launched a petition calling for an additional presidential debate to be held focusing on family issues, the cornerstone of American life.
“Everything begins with the family. Everything depends on the family. It impacts every area of life,” the petition reads.
“A strong economy depends on the next generation learning the virtues of hard work and discipline in the family. Strong national defense requires individuals who are willing to sacrifice for their families, even more than the national interest.”
Three debates are scheduled on September 29, October 15, and October 22, to cover public health, including COVID-19, public safety, the economy, and defense/foreign policy.
But Ruth Institute President Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., says that there must be a debate focused on family issues, because “the decline of the family is at the root of most of our problems.”
“Honestly, I’m shocked that we even have to state this obvious point: Every human life begins with a family. Every significant challenge the United States faces can be improved by strengthening the family,” she said.
At such a debate, voters could hear clear answers on important questions from the two men bidding to become president. The debate could address questions such as:
What do you intend to do about the horror of legalized abortion?
What are your views on sex-selection abortion and disability-selection abortion?
What are your views on medically unnecessary surgeries, puberty blockers, and cross-sex hormones for minor children?
Would your administration declare pornography a public health crisis, as 16 states have already done?
Morse points out that the breakdown of the family and the over-sexualization of society create massive problems which affect the economy, the criminal justice system, public health, education, and even national defense.
“The rioting in our cities is in part the result of family breakdown,” she said.
“We’re calling for one debate focused exclusively on what the candidates will do to support the family.”
Morse says that unless pro-family advocates raise their voices then issues like marriage, the right to life, parental rights in education and health, sex education in schools, pornography, population control, and declining fertility will be overlooked entirely or treated as an afterthought during this election.
“We believe this is the first time such a debate has been proposed by anyone,” Morse said. “We at the Ruth Institute and our friends at LifePetitions think it’s about time.”
PETITION: Call for an additional Presidential Debate on Family Issues! Sign the petition here.
Posted on: Thursday, September 10, 2020
Partnering with Life Site News, today, the Ruth Institute launched a petition to the U.S. Commission on Presidential Debates calling for a 4th debate to be focused on the family.
Ruth Institute President Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., explained: “The decline of the family is at the root of most of our problems. We’re calling for one debate focused exclusively on what the candidates will do to support the family.”
She continued: “Honestly, I’m shocked that we even have to state this obvious point: Every human life begins with a family. Every significant challenge the United States faces can be improved by strengthening the family. The breakdown of the family and the over-sexualization of society create massive problems affecting the economy, the criminal justice system, public health, education, and even national defense. The rioting in our cities is in part the result of family breakdown.”
Three debates are scheduled on September 29, October 15, and October 22, to cover public health, including COVID 19, public safety, the economy, and defense/foreign policy.
Morse said, “These are all important issues to be sure. But unless something is done immediately, the family will once again be ignored. Issues like marriage, the right to life, parental rights in education and health, sex education in schools, pornography, population control, and declining fertility will be overlooked entirely or treated as an afterthought.”
She added: “We believe this is the first time such a debate has been proposed by anyone. We at the Ruth Institute and our friends at Life Petitions think it’s about time.”
Sign the petition here.