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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: Friday, February 19, 2021
COMMENTARY: We must be willing to affirm, without hesitation or compromise the historic truth of the Resurrection.
“These are the times that try men’s souls.” Actually, these times try the souls of women and men, especially people of faith.
This current historical moment presents this challenge: Do we really believe in the truths of the faith? Let me be specific: Do we really believe Jesus rose from the dead? And what difference does it make whether we do?
It is a historic fact that Jesus of Nazareth died. He was executed by the Romans in the very public, very thorough manner for which they were well-known. There is no doubt about the death of Jesus.
On the third day after his death, people began to claim that they had seen him alive. This was not a matter of one person making a private, unconfirmed assertion. Rather, whole groups of people alleged that they had all seen him at the same time. They contended that they touched him, spoke with him and saw him consume food.
There was absolutely no personal benefit to any of them in making up such a story. As a matter of fact, that initial group of followers faced intense pressure to change their stories.
Tradition says that 11 of the 12 Apostles were martyred, some in spectacularly painful ways. St. Peter and St. Andrew faced the ordeal of crucifixion. St. Bartholomew was skinned alive. Can any reasonable person seriously believe they all just invented the Resurrection story? Don’t you think at least one of them would have changed their story under that kind of duress?
But not one of them ever did. They continued to claim that they saw Jesus alive, in the flesh, on the third day after he’d been dead and buried. These are publicly available, widely documented facts. The most logical conclusion to draw, is that Jesus really did rise from the dead.
Once the Resurrection of Jesus is accepted as a historical fact, doubting the full identity of Jesus is no longer reasonable. He was who he claimed to be: the Son of God. And if it is reasonable to believe that Jesus is God, then it is also reasonable to believe basic truth-claims of Judaism.
Jesus claimed to be the fulfillment of all the promises to the Jewish people. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, the histories, the prophets, the wisdom literature: All of it is true. The historical truth of the Resurrection proves that the Hebrew Bible is also true.
Christians in modern times have become accustomed to reinterpretations of the faith that remove any sense of the supernatural or immaterial. For instance, sometimes people will claim that God did not create us, but that we humans created God in “our own image and likeness.” I don’t think it is reasonable to dismiss Christianity in this way. Sure, we humans create all sorts of idols all the time. Sure, one could claim that the Greeks and Romans created gods in their own (not very attractive) image and likeness. Their gods are just fallible humans dressed up with super-powers.
But who could invent a god with the particular traits of Jesus? Jesus is not a god who demands human sacrifice. Jesus sacrifices himself for us. Jesus didn’t come to earth to boss us around. He came to invite us into loving personal relationship with the Divine Trinity. Come to think of it, what other religion or philosophy or worldview has ever come up with an idea remotely like the Trinity, that The Ultimate Power in the universe is a communion of loving persons?
Christianity is not just another myth, invented by primitive people to explain natural phenomenon that we can now explain through science. If you think about it, the neither the Christian nor the Hebrew Bible is much interested in that sort of thing. The Jews didn’t invent a god in charge of the sun or a goddess in charge of the moon. They didn’t picture Thor making loud noises or Zeus throwing lightning bolts.
The Hebrew cosmology stands alone among the ancient creation accounts, bypassing all of them in the power and boldness of its claims. Yahweh created the entire cosmos out of nothing as an act of love. Yahweh governs all things. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus affirms the Hebrew cosmology and decisively overturns the ancient myths.
Nor can Jesus be downgraded to some kind of Jungian archetype, a universal, archaic symbol or image. Jesus cannot be reduced to some vague expression or representation of some collective unconscious fantasy or wish. Jesus of Nazareth was a real, living human being. Of this, there can be no reasonable doubt. He was executed and was buried. On the third day, multiple witnesses claimed that they saw Him alive. None of these people could ever be talked out of their position, in spite of aggressive efforts to do so.
I repeat my opening challenge: Do you really believe Jesus rose from the dead? Accepting the faith because it was taught to us as children is not good enough. Reinterpreting our faith through the lens of modern scientific rationalism is not good enough. Reducing the truths of the Christian faith to the status of ancient myths is not good enough.
We cannot compromise on this principle. Jesus is the Son of the living God. No more tap dancing around this central issue, to keep us comfortable within our de-Christianized society. We must be willing to affirm, without hesitation or compromise the historic truth of the Resurrection. This opens the door to taking seriously other non-material supernatural claims of Christianity.
The Judeo-Christian understanding of the world and of the human person is really true, not metaphorically true. Taking this into account will help our efforts to build a good and humane world. In my next article, I will outline what difference this makes for you and your life and your witness in these troubled times.
Posted on: Tuesday, December 01, 2020
“The United States Supreme Court struck a blow for religious liberty in enjoining enforcement of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s restrictions on attendance at religious services in the name of disease control,”* said Ruth Institute Founder and President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D. Morse also noted, “Given the disparity in treatment of secular and religious entities, you have to wonder if more than brainless bureaucracy was at work here.”
In what are designated “red zones” (where the number of COVID cases is highest), attendance at religious services in the state was limited to 10 people (25 in orange zones) regardless of the size of the hall – for instance, St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The suit was brought by the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and an Orthodox Jewish social service organization.
Morse observed: “There were no similar caps on the number of customers at some retail establishments and businesses providing personal services, like big-lot and pet stores and acupuncture parlors – which would suggest that the State of New York considers shopping more important than praying.”
“The 5-4 decision was along liberal/conservative lines,” Morse added. “Some reports claimed Chief Justice John Roberts ‘joined the Court’s liberals.’ In fact, Roberts – an enormous disappointment to constitutionalists -- is by now a certified member of the activist bloc. All three Trump appointees voted for religious liberty, along with Thomas and Alito. If the president waited until after the election to fill the Ruth Bader Ginsburg vacancy, the decision would have been a 4-4 tie and the regulations would have remained in effect.”
Morse wonders: “Could there be a connection between the harsh treatment of churches and synagogues and progressives’ disdain for Biblical morality? Whether it’s Catholic churches, Orthodox Jewish congregations, or other traditional denominations, the religions hit the hardest all espouse sexual morality.
“Like most leaders of his party, Cuomo is a dogmatic advocate of abortion on demand and same-sex marriage. He once told an interviewer that right-to-lifers and marriage proponents ‘have no place in New York.’ The denominations he singled out for punishment respect life and support man/woman marriage. Can this be a coincidence?”
In conclusion, Morse affirmed, “While reasonable restraints are to be expected during a pandemic, treating religious institutions and commercial enterprises differently is anything but reasonable, and smacks of a special animus toward faith.”
The Ruth Institute is a global non-profit organization, leading an international interfaith coalition to defend the family and build a civilization of love.
Jennifer Roback Morse is the author of The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives.
To schedule an interview with Dr. Morse, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted on: Tuesday, September 22, 2020
“Ruth Bader Ginsburg was doubtless a fine person and dedicated to her ideas,” said Ruth Institute President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D. “I pray for God’s mercy on her soul, and solace to her family. But her ideas are dividing America.”
“For Justice Ginsburg, the Sexual State trumped everything else, including First Amendment freedom of religion, common sense and basic science.”
Calling the late Supreme Court Justice “the personification of the Sexual State in a black robe,” Morse explained: “She consistently solidified the most radical tenets of the Sexual Revolution using the power of the State. She used the highest law of the land to overturn democratic processes that tried to protect traditional sexual morals.”
In abortion cases where even most of the court’s liberal members favored restraint, she remained an unapologetic champion of abortion without exceptions. Justice Ginsburg allowed radicals to use the power of the State to enforce their views on LGBT issues, including “transgenderism.” In June, she was part of the majority that applied workplace anti-discrimination provisions of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to homosexuals and the gender-confused.
According to Morse, “This marked the first time the Supreme Court equated so-called sexual orientation with race and religion – a move which would have confounded the authors of the ’64 law. Although meant to cover employment, the decision will inevitably lead to removing remaining barriers to a distinction between women and men who call themselves women, their DNA notwithstanding.”
“The ruling essentially erased women,” Morse observed. “So it’s ironic that Justice Ginsburg is being hailed as a champion of women’s rights.”
“In addition, her dissents showed a marked hostility to religion. For instance, in Little Sisters of the Poor vs. Pennsylvania (2020), six justices upheld a Trump rule exempting the sisters from a provision of the Affordable Care Act, which would have forced them to provide contraceptives to employees through their health insurance plan. Ginsburg was one of only two justices who dissented.”
“In 2016, Donald Trump was elected to put the brakes on the Sexual State. He can make a significant step in that direction with a prompt replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”
Sign the Ruth Institute/LifeSite petition calling for a 4th presidential debate on family issues.
Posted on: Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Religious freedom will be the principle legal issue. As worthy as that cause is, I propose another, equally significant issue that someone should raise.
The United States government has committed itself to dangerous drugs and an utterly irrational ideology.
Let me explain.
Not long ago, I met David and Roz Rowan, a couple whose only child died suddenly at the age of 23 from a massive pulmonary embolism. Why would a healthy young woman die from a stroke? Doctors attribute it directly to her use of hormonal contraception.
Likewise, Erika Langhart died of a double pulmonary embolism, at the age of 24. She was using a NuvaRing, contraceptive device. The Langhart family refused an out of court settlement from the drug manufacturer. The parents wanted Merck, the international pharmaceutical giant, to face a jury trial, and be held accountable for the deaths of women like Erika. Out of court settlements typically include a gag rule. Erika’s family considered this completely unacceptable.
“In our opinion, Merck got away with murder, and continues to do so to this day. In 2011 NuvaRing made the company $623 million; in 2013 it was $686 million; and in 2014, after the settlement, Merck made a staggering $723 million from it. Settlements are just the cost of doing business to Merck, all at the expense of women’s health and lives,” her mother said.
Earlier this year, Erika’s mother committed suicide.
In the meantime, across the pond, German drugmaker Bayer AG paid nearly $1.6 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits involving accusations that its Yaz and Yazmin birth control pills caused blood clots that led to strokes and heart attacks.
In short, there is plenty of evidence that hormonal contraception poses serious health risks to young women.
But the U.S. government operates under the completely irrational ideology that a good society ought to separate sex from procreation. This is the philosophy behind requiring every employer in America to provide these dangerous drugs and devices to their workers without a copay. The government considers preventing pregnancy a “preventive care” measure.
But pregnancy is neither an illness or injury. Pregnancy is a perfectly normal process. Pregnancy is not something to be avoided at all costs, including the use of dangerous drugs or devices.
What exactly is the objective of the government embracing this ideology? Reducing the birth rate “by any means necessary?” Making men and women “equal” by chemically sterilizing women? Making women sexually available to men at any time during their monthly cycles? Providing a steady stream of women workers who do not inconvenience their employers with ill-timed pregnancies?
I’m having trouble coming up with a good reason to force every employer in America to provide these products to healthy women at zero cost, under the guise of “preventive health care.”
Personal “freedom” cannot be the whole issue either. The use of contraception has been legal nationwide since 1965. But making contraception legally available was never enough for the true believers in sexual freedom, women’s “liberation” and population control.
From the beginning, they have sought to nudge people’s choices toward artificial birth control. These ideologues have captured the levers of state power. The government manipulates people’s private choices in this most intimate area. They subsidize contraception, promote it in their public schools. Now the all-powerful state is manipulating the insurance market.
These true believers will not allow any hold-outs to their irrational dogma. Hence, the persecution of the Little Sisters of the Poor, a completely inoffensive group of women, who have dedicated their lives to serving the elderly poor.
I categorically reject the idea that pregnancy is an illness.
I protest with all my might the government’s policy of pushing dangerous drugs on unsuspecting women.
I am fed up with drug companies treating the risks to women’s health as an acceptable cost of doing business.
I sincerely hope one of the lawyers or friends of the court, or SOMEONE will make these points. The Sisters deserve to win, and not just to preserve religious freedom. The Little Sisters of the Poor deserve to win because they are correct on the substance of the issue. No more War on Women’s Fertility.
Jennifer Roback Morse Ph.D. is Founder and President of the Ruth Institute, a global non-profit organization, dedicated to creating a Christ-like solution to family breakdown. Visit at Ruth Institute or on Facebook.
Sister helping the bedridden: http://www.mercatornet.com/sheila_liaugminas/view/little_sisters_of_the_poor_and_obamacares_contraceptive_mandate/13396
Sisters pushing wheelchair: http://www.womenofgrace.com/blog/?cat=1016
Posted on: Friday, June 26, 2015
You need to watch this. It's less than three minutes. Be sure to share it with your friends. Isn't Clinton's description of marriage remarkable?
Posted on: Friday, April 17, 2015
This article was first posted at crisismagazine.com on April 16, 2015.
I am a very committed, very public advocate of marriage as a gender-based institution. Many of my fellow proponents of man/woman marriage cite religious liberty as an argument against redefining marriage. While I have great respect for those who promote this view, I must respectfully disagree with their assessment.
The uproar over the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act demonstrates that religious liberty arguments don’t work anymore. I take no pleasure in saying this. But religious liberty arguments are not compelling enough to induce our fellow citizens to sacrifice something they value, namely, sexual liberty.
I can think of three reasons for this.
An increasing number of our fellow citizens do not believe in any god. A substantial number describe themselves as spiritual but not religious.
The American religious situation at the time of the American Founding was quite different. James Madison spoke for most when he regarded religion as “the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it.” When so many people do not regard themselves as having any “duty to the Creator,” the social foundation that made religious liberty appealing or even intelligible, no longer exists.
So, Reason #1 why religious liberty arguments are not working: People who don’t believe in God, couldn’t give a rip whether we religious believers are inconvenienced in our religious practice.
Secondly, the controversies over religious liberty are not about transubstantiation or the Trinity or predestination. We are arguing about sex: abortion, contraception, homosexuality and similar topics.
Our fellow citizens have absorbed and are committed to a particular view about the meaning of human sexuality and its place in our lives. Millions of people have ordered their lives around these beliefs. They are not going to give up those views, in the absence of an attractive alternative.
Reason #2 why religious liberty arguments are not working: we are asking our fellow citizens to give up something they value, without offering anything they value in its place.
Finally, when we talk about religious liberty, we are putting the emphasis on ourselves. We don’t like the HHS mandate because it will harm our religious institutions. We don’t like gay marriage because it goes against our beliefs.
Reason #3 why religious liberty arguments aren’t working: we sound like we are whining about ourselves. No one finds whining appealing.
I honestly think further appeals to religious liberty are not helping our cause. These arguments are not helping the immediate particular cause, such as defending man/woman marriage. Nor are religious liberty arguments helping the general cause of the church itself. Appeals to religious liberty once made sense, but no longer.
We need a different strategy: argue against the Sexual Revolution because it has hurt people.
And I do mean the whole Sexual Revolution. We are tacitly giving a pass to the earlier phases of the Sexual Revolution, by saying so little about them. The only serious exception to this generalization is abortion: the Catholic Church, and more recently, other Christians, have put up a noble fight against the Big Abortion Machine. But other aspects of the Sexual Revolution? Divorce? Contraception? Taxpayer-funded Sexual Miseducation in the schools? Not so much.
It is as if we are saying, “We like the Sexual Revolution just fine: we just don’t like the Gay Parts.” That simply will not do. It is not fair to individuals who are same sex attracted. And, it is intellectually incoherent, since the acceptance of genderless marriage actually depends upon our acceptance of those earlier phases of the Sexual Revolution.
True enough, there is no constituency right now for winning elections on some of these issues. Too bad. That just means we have not made the substantive case on these issues often enough and persuasively enough. The pro-life movement has shown that it is possible to build a constituency for the Culture of Life.
The truth is that the Sexual Revolution has harmed millions of people: Children of divorce, whose families were broken up and who never really felt like part of a real family again. Reluctantly divorced people, who wanted to stay married but whose spouse pulled the plug. Heartbroken middle-aged professional women, who “had it all,” except for the children they are now too old to bear. Refugees from the hook-up culture, jaded, cynical, and old before their time. I could mention many other groups of people. They need our help connecting the dots between the lies of the Sexual Revolution and the misery they are experiencing.
I mean no disrespect to anyone. Many advocates of religious liberty have also spoken out against these evils. My point is that bringing up religious liberty no longer strengthens our case: it weakens our case.
Christianity has a viable, humane, intellectually coherent alternative to the Sexual Revolution. Sex makes babies. Children need their own parents. Men and women are different. These are facts: trying to build an entire society around their opposites is inhuman and impossible.
Our society desperately needs to hear this message. Demanding our First Amendment Rights is a distraction. If we religious believers won’t proclaim these truths, who will?
Posted on: Friday, June 13, 2014
My first letter drew some discussion on my Facebook page. That is great. I am glad.
Kirk Jorgenson is not the subject of discussion here. I like Kirk. He ran a good and honorable campaign. A lot of you worked hard for him. I respect that.
|Evacuation at Dunkirk June 1940|
The enemy holds such a commanding position on the legal and political battlefield that direct combat on that field of battle is highly unlikely to be successful. The Democratic Party, with its commitment to the whole Sexual Revolutionary Agenda, has a super-majority in the CA state legislature. Sexual Revolutionaries control the courts, in California, the federal courts, and at the US Supreme Court.
All of this means the Revolutionaries can change the rules to suit themselves. They already have been changing the rules, in case you haven’t noticed. They like the thin veneer of legality. But they have the power to do what they want.
Increasingly, Sexual Revolutionaries control the CA Republican Party. I realize that this was the turf that some of you had marked out for yourselves in the Jorgenson campaign. It was a noble ambition to try to keep the Sexual Revolutionaries from taking control of the Republican Party in California. I do not think this goal, noble as it is, was within our power to achieve. And now, it is clear that it is not within our power to achieve.
Leading your troops onto the battlefield to get slaughtered is not leadership. Doing it once is a forgivable mistake. Doing it multiple times, not so much.
It does not follow from this, however, that we should all go home and give up. This seems to be what some of you think. “If we are not engaged in politics, we are not engaged in anything meaningful. If we leave the field to the enemy, we are giving up entirely. We must fight to the last man, no matter the odds. God wills it.”
This is where I profoundly disagree. I think we have allowed ourselves to be lured onto the battlefield that is controlled by the enemy. We have left behind the turf where we can win.
Actually, “fighting” is the wrong metaphor. Yes, I realize that I am using military analogies. I even put up WWII photos. Spiritual combat is a real thing: Paul the Apostle told us about it long ago. So have many other wise thinkers through the ages. But I think we should not think of ourselves as fighting other people in our culture.
Why? Two reasons, one observable in the natural world, one visible only through spiritual eyes. In the natural order, I will speak candidly. We should not think about “fighting” our enemies, because our enemies are meaner than we are. We will lose, when we play on that turf. If it is a question of being mean, or fighting, the Christian will always lose. This is the insight that led Nietzsche to condemn Christianity as a “slave morality.”
But the German philosopher/madman was only half-right. Christians are programmed to not fight, to turn the other cheek and to be detached from the things of this world. That is all true.
Where he was wrong is that none of that makes us slaves. We are actually freer than our fellow citizens, locked as they are inside their guilty consciences, their resentments, their sexual obsessions and addictions.
The chaste students with whom I have had the privilege of working over the years at the Ruth Institute have demonstrated this to me. Our students are not involved in all the drama and angst that consumes so many of their peers. Our students are in command of themselves. Hence they are free.
So what is this battlefield that isn’t a battlefield? What is this comparative advantage that we Christians have that our opponents do not have? Where is this field where we have a chance of winning? We must look to the spiritual realm to answer that question.
Which we will do in my next post.
Jennifer Roback Morse Ph.D. is founder and president of the Ruth Institute. You can get involved with the Ruth Institute by signing up for our free e-newsletter.