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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, May 17, 2019
by Doug Mainwaring
This article was first posted April 30, 2019, at Life Site News.
LAKE CHARLES, Louisiana, April 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A sociologist said that when it comes to children’s welfare, homosexual “marriage” accomplishes the exact opposite of conjugal marriage, placing children at four times the risk of emotional distress.
Fr. Paul Sullins, a Catholic priest and former sociology professor at the Catholic University of America, made his comments in a presentation on “the impact of same-sex parenting on children” at a “Survivors Summit,” hosted by the Ruth Institute, where Sullins now serves as senior researcher.
“There is a war on marriage today,” began Sullins, quoting Pope Francis. “It’s not a physical war of weapons, but a war of ideas. An ideological colonization that is trying to destroy the family by efforts to redefine the very institution of marriage.”
“This attack on the family is based on a demonic gender ideology that denies the order of creation, expressed in the complementarity of men and women,” he added.
Sullins spoke of the Catholic notion of marriage, which is in harmony with nature.
Marriage is between one man and one woman, who “engage in a natural, conjugal sexual relationship, ordered by a covenant designed to insure their own mutual good and the procreation and education of their offspring.”
“They give themselves to one another wholly, exclusively, and permanently,” he said.
On the other side of this demonic ideological war is this new idea of marriage as a “committed relationship.”
Evan Wolfson, one of the early central figures in the homosexual “marriage” movement, published what was considered to be a groundbreaking book in 2003, Why Marriage Matters, in which he defined marriage not as the Catholic Church does, or as nature has revealed it, but as “a relationship of emotional and financial interdependence between two people legitimized by a public commitment.”
Sullins noted that this is the exact language used in the 2008 California ruling legalizing homosexual “marriage” in that state, and later in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision legalizing homosexual “marriage” nationwide.
There are major differences between these two definitions, especially from the perspective of children.
“Conjugal marriage asks the desires of adults to take second place to the needs of children,” said Sullins, while “committed relationship (CR) marriage asks the needs of children to take second place to the desires of adults.”
“The possibility of children is built into a conjugal relationship,” said Sullins, “but in a CR relationship, children are external. They are an add-on if you want them.”
“Same-sex couples never conceive children and only a fraction of them have children in the home, said Sullins. He further noted that only about one quarter
of lesbian couples and no more than 13% of gay male couples ever have children present in their households.
“The absence of sexual difference in same-sex couples creates an environment that is not conducive to the full human development of children,” said Sullins.
“In God’s plan, each child should have the care of the very two persons of whose conjugal love that child is the expression,” noted Sullins, who quoted Pope Francis in Amoris Laetitia: “Both the child’s mother and father are necessary for his or her integral and harmonious development.”
Using the best research available, Sullins used a graph to depict the vast difference in the presence of child emotional difficulties for kids raised by man+woman parents versus those raised by gay or lesbian parents. The differences in outcomes are striking.
Stepping down from natural design
Sullins explained that as society moves away from households with both biological mother and father present and “We move to separated, recombined, unstable or single heterosexual parents,” all of of these are “less consistent with the natural or Godly design.”
“Same-sex parents are the least natural of all the family forms on offer,” he added. It is a move from the most natural to the most unnatural.
A child’s well-being is reduced the farther away a child is removed from his own married biological parents. It drops to the lowest point with same-sex couple households — lower than any of the other possible family forms.
The reason same-sex parents don’t have better outcomes for their children is simply that none of them can ever be in the “both bio parents” category. About three fourths are in the “one bio parent” category and a fourth in the “no bio parents” category.
So for children, homosexual “marriage” accomplishes the exact opposite of conjugal marriage. Conjugal marriage assures for a child, as much as possible, the secure care of both his or her biological parents. Homosexual “marriage” assures that a child will never have the care of both biological parents.
The “Survivors Summit,” held April 26–27, is the brainchild of Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., founder and president of the Ruth Institute.
“Divorce and the LGBT subculture have changed the face of America in ways that cry out for thoughtful examination,” said Morse. The Summit’s aim is to help and inspire the many victims of the Sexual Revolution to become survivors and ultimately advocates for positive change.
Dr. Paul Sullins is a leader in the field of research on same-sex parenting and its implications for child development. He has written four books and over 100 journal articles, research reports, and essays on issues of family, faith, and culture. Formerly Episcopalian, Dr. Sullins is a married Catholic priest. He earned a Ph.D. at Catholic University in 1997 and taught there from 1998 until his retirement. He and his wife, Patricia, have an inter-racial family of three children, two adopted.
Posted on: Friday, May 17, 2019
by Fr. Paul Sullins
This article first appeared on May 12, 2019, at The Public Discourse.
Social scientists who conduct research on the politically charged question of the wellbeing of children in the care of same-sex parents have emphatically asserted unqualified and universal support for the finding of “no differences.” In his meticulously researched new book, Professor Walter Schumm turns this scenario on its head. Through a detailed review of virtually all extant research, Schumm demonstrates decisively that contrary evidence not only exists, it is abundant and methodologically strong.
In our day, the alleged personal liberation of the sexual revolution is becoming progressively socialized in institutions and norms. As a result, we have moved beyond the cultural condition in which scientific research into the related social behaviors (hormonal contraceptive use, premarital sex, abortion, homosexual relations, gender transformation) is deployed for political ends, into a state in which the process of deciding scientific truth has itself become irretrievably politicized. In this new situation, the end does not merely justify the means, it becomes the means. What advances the desired political agenda becomes the new criterion of truth.
Thus, social scientists who present evidence that the behaviors of sexual liberation are not harmful—in same-sex parenting research, this is couched as “no differences” from heterosexual parents in child well-being—do not merely claim that their conclusions are strong while contrary findings are weak. Instead, they claim that their conclusions are the only permissible ones, while contrary findings are necessarily unscientific. In their minds, contrary evidence either does not exist, or it must reflect pseudo-scientific bias.
In his meticulously researched new book, Same-Sex Parenting Research: A Critical Assessment, Walter Schumm, Professor of Family Studies at Kansas State University, turns this scenario on its head. In research on the politically charged question of the well-being of children in the care of same-sex parents, social scientists and their associations have emphatically asserted unqualified and universal support for the finding of “no differences.” Research that does not find this conclusion, they assert, simply cannot be credible or methodologically sound. Some deny the contrary research even exists. “It has not been unusual,” Schumm writes, “for at least some scholars in this area to make statements such as, ‘Not a single study has ever found any results that indicated children of same-sex parents to be any different from children of heterosexual parents in any way.’” These “absolute claims were made in an attempt to impress courts with the utter harmlessness (no ‘difference’ = no harm) of gay and lesbian parenting in order to promote the legalization of same-sex marriage.”
And yet, as Schumm proceeds to show, by the traditional canons of scientific reason and inference, such claims are manifestly false.
Science vs. Dogma
The bulk of the book consists of chapters examining the specific areas in which “no difference” is claimed. These include family stability, sexual abuse and other negative behaviors among parent couples, and child outcomes relating to sexual orientation, gender identity, gender roles, and mental health. Through a detailed review of virtually all extant research in each area, Schumm demonstrates decisively that contrary evidence not only exists, it is abundant and methodologically strong.
Almost none of the studies claiming to find “no differences” actually does so.
Moreover, he shows, almost none of the studies claiming to find “no differences” actually does so. Most violate or ignore basic requirements of scientific evidence, such as using a random sample, not letting participants know the political implications of the study, and accounting for mothers’ desire to make their children look good (“social desirability bias,” in sociology-speak). Many of the politically correct studies that report “no differences” actually do find differences. These are often buried deep in their data tables or technical analysis, but they do not escape Schumm’s gimlet-eyed scrutiny.
Schumm’s strategy for exposing the weaknesses of the “no differences” research is old-fashioned scholarship: he has simply read more studies, and digested their contents better, than most of the authors whose work he examines. The typical “no differences” review in this field includes about eighty studies. In this book, Schumm includes over 330 studies. The bibliography alone is over thirty pages. Not content to accept results reported by the authors, he reanalyzes the data distributions from the tables of reported statistics found in most studies, to verify—or undermine—the claimed findings of a study. The results are compelling.
For example, in response to an influential, politically correct review of the literature that concluded there were no differences for same-sex-parented children in gender-role behavior (the tendency for boys to do masculine things, or for girls to do feminine things), Schumm notes that the author cited only thirteen papers; he then proceeds to cite nine more on the topic, including three by the author of the review, that contradict the review’s conclusion. On the question of child sexual orientation (whether same-sex-parented children are more likely to develop homosexual attractions or adopt a homosexual identity than children in the general population), Schumm cites thirteen papers that contradict the review’s claim that there are no differences on this front, including two by the author of the review, which were not among the twelve papers the review did cite. He writes:
This type of situation should serve as a warning to the public, to the courts, to scholars, and to students everywhere that just because a famous author publishes a literature review in a major, comprehensive handbook does not imply that it should be automatically accepted as accurate or comprehensive.
Point by point, as Schumm patiently critiques the several hundred studies reviewed in the book, the conviction gradually becomes inescapable that the entire research thesis of “no differences,” trumpeted as an unassailable consensus by some of our society’s most respected arbiters of scientific credibility, is nothing more than a tissue of fabrications and contradictions under color of science. Schumm’s conclusion does not mince words: “The research presented in this book has shredded any pretense that the dogma of ‘no differences’ is factually correct.” He concludes that the “no differences” thesis is not a scientific theory at all, but a dogma. “If dozens of scholarly results won’t convince you otherwise,” he asks, “will anything?”
A Non-Partisan Critique
Consistent with the book’s subtitle (“A Critical Assessment”), Schumm does not compile his devastating critiques of the particular claims that support homosexual marriage into any sort of general case against that idea. For him, the problem with the “no differences” claim is not that it led to gay marriage but that it jettisoned the standards of science. “I am not necessarily saying that courts have made bad decisions,” he writes, “but that they were certainly fed ‘bad’ science, no matter how correct their decisions might have been in the end.”
Indeed, Schumm’s skeptical critique of the research is decidedly non-partisan. He does not hesitate to point out the flaws and limitations in studies, such as those by Mark Regnerus and me, that have reported substantial negative differences for children with same-sex parents. One of his most prominent critical exchanges, outside of this book, has been with Paul Cameron of the Family Research Institute, regarding the latter’s research that is critical of same-sex parents. A reasonable assessment would be that his conclusion in favor of such contrary research, despite his lack of sympathy with its legal and social implications, would lend credibility to his conclusion as one of rare integrity.
For Schumm, it is all part of being an honest scientist. “[A]n honest scientist,” he tell us, “has to be willing to see at least some of his or her most cherished scientific (even religious) theories or beliefs (or other assumptions) be falsified through careful research.” The book concludes with a fervent appeal for more such honesty:
My fondest hope [for the book’s effect] is not that same-sex marriage be declared illegal or same-sex adoption be banned . . . but that perhaps a few persons here and there will have been challenged to think more carefully about scientific research in areas of political controversy and be a little less eager to jump to conclusions that may not in fact be warranted after a careful, detailed, systematic review of the research literature.
In this hope, Schumm has not, I think, fully considered the implications of his findings. If the newly legal social arrangements regarding homosexual relations are not warranted by the research, why would an honest scientist support their continuance?
Political and Scientific Implications
Given the book’s publication by a British traditional marriage advocacy group, I suspect that Schumm may be less troubled than he suggests (perhaps to forestall accusations of bias) by the prospect of repealing gay marriage or adoption laws. Schumm’s progressive critics appear to think so, too. In appendices, he relates the extensive attempts to discredit him, including shunning at professional conferences, difficulty publishing in mainstream journals, and calls for him to be fired because of his views. “Some very Christian scholars,” he reports in the prologue, “have gone out of their way to avoid any association with this book because of the stigma or discrimination they fear.” These cautionary accounts contrast sharply with Schumm’s hope for more fair-minded consideration of the evidence, and ironically confirm his conclusion about the dogmatic nature of the belief in “no differences.”
More importantly, Schumm’s reluctance to follow the political implications of the science in his own research threatens not only the policies involved but also the science. If, as I argue, political expediency is becoming the new criterion of scientific truth for issues of sexual liberation, Schumm’s brilliant analyses are not likely to be accepted by those he critiques, precisely because his appeal to evidence is so strong and fair-minded. This is particularly true when the political ideology being critiqued is that of sexual liberation. While both supporters and deniers of natural law can be blind to contrary evidence or distort science for political ends, those who advocate a sexual ethic unconstrained by the limitations of the body are particularly unlikely to be deterred by a commitment to truth constrained by the limitations of the senses. Those who reject religious or philosophical dissent from the dogma of gay marriage as irrational bigotry are not likely to accept scientific dissent as reasonable and fair-minded.
To concede same-sex marriage in the face of contrary scientific evidence is to concede science itself.
Today, those with religious or conscientious reservations about gay marriage must assert them or risk losing their freedom to make any religious assertion at all. In the same way, those with scientific or evidential reservations must assert them in order to preserve the ability to practice honest science at all. To concede same-sex marriage in the face of contrary scientific evidence is to concede science itself.
For those who are unwilling to make that concession, and are convinced on grounds of science, faith, or principle that the defense of natural marriage is worth making, this book offers an immensely valuable array of evidence and arguments.
The Rev. D. Paul Sullins, Ph.D., is Research Professor of Sociology at the Catholic University of America and Senior Research Associate of the Ruth Institute. Formerly Episcopalian, Fr. Sullins is a married Catholic priest with an inter-racial family of three children, two adopted.
Posted on: Tuesday, May 07, 2019
The Ruth Institute’s first annual Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution (April 26-27, in Lake Charles, Louisiana) was highly praised by participants. All agreed that the caliber of speakers and content (which covered Survivors of Divorce and Survivors of the LGBT subculture) were exceptional.
Here are a few of the comments from speakers and participants:
“The Summit revealed to me many different survival stories which involved deep pain. However, their stories all ended in hope because they turned to God. It also gives me hope to see everyone that attended was united to God’s plan for marriage and family.” Al Chlupacek -- Chemical Engineer, Indianapolis
“Thank you all. It was incredible, and a real shot in the arm. Now we all have work to do. But I feel like at least we know our fellow soldiers in this battle! It’s a rough world out there, and sadly, many of our ‘enemies’ are fellow Christians… It’s a battle from within and without. But I’m so pleased at the depth of intelligence and holiness on display this weekend! God bless you all! And thank you, Dr. Morse! You are a true solider for Christ!” Leila Miller – Catholic author, Phoenix
“This was a very meaningful conference. I enjoyed the scholarship, the personal testimonies, and all the informal conversations and relationship-building in between. I look forward to ongoing conversations with many of the wonderful people I met this weekend. The experience was powerful and inspiring.” Matt F. Johnson – humanitarian and disaster relief, Washington, D.C.
“Thank you Mr. And Dr. Morse plus your team for putting together such a conference. I learned a lot. Thanks also to you all that took time to do papers and share with us your stories. It gives me hope as an African to see the good side of America. You people are amazing. Hopefully we do this in Africa, too? God bless you all.” Ann Kioko, CitizenGO Campaigns Manager for Africa, Nairobi
“I just want to tell you all how very honored I am to have had the pleasure to work with all of you this weekend in this critical endeavor! Mr. & Dr. Morse, you are both tireless in your efforts and I have great respect for you both. Thank you - and the Ruth Institute's extremely capable staff and volunteers -- for showing us all such genuine kindness and hospitality. This weekend will go down in my memory as one of great blessings and fellowship. To be gathered with so many others who recognize the beauty, goodness and critical importance of marriage and the traditional family was a such a true honor and pleasure.” Christy Fitzgerald – Registered Nurse, Case Manager, Hickory, N.C.
“This Summit was a bright moment for recovering from a toxic family culture and beginning to build something better. I want to add my thanks to everyone as well, for sharing your stories and journeys and scholarship and standing for marriage, life and children. Patti and I were both deeply touched by the accounts of struggle and overcoming and finding new life and sanctity in the pain of marriage and parental loss. For me, one of the most fruitful times was also breakfast at the hotel, when I was blessed to, and saw others too, encourage one another and build friendships and mutual support and plot ministry strategies in a fellowship free-for-all. There are not many other places something like that could happen.” Fr. D Paul Sullins, Senior Research Associate of the Ruth Institute
“I hope everyone realizes just how innovative this was. For all the many ‘pro-family’ groups out there, almost none of them seriously confronts the divorce system, connected issues, and the government machinery behind it. I also noticed other ways in which the various speakers were ‘pushing the envelope,’ and I for one think that we have nothing to lose, and much to gain, from continuing and even increasing the push.” Stephen K. Baskerville, Purcellville, Virginia
“To get the inside scoop on the extraordinary Survivors Summit, be sure to check out the various presentations at the Ruth Institute’s website, and on its Facebook page. Be forewarned that the truth about these problems is not easy to handle. However, the truth shall set you free.” C. Preston Noell, American Society for Tradition, Family and Property, Washington, D.C.
“Don’t sit on the sidelines. Now that you understand the devastation caused by the Sexual Revolution, help us to fight for the family and cultural sanity.” Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., Founder and President of the Ruth Institute
Posted on: Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Ruth Institute Announces the Rev. Dr. Paul Sullins as Senior Research Associate
Leading researcher on same sex parenting to join the Ruth Institute
April 17, 2018, Lake Charles, Louisiana—The Ruth Institute announces that Dr. Paul Sullins will serve as a Senior Research Associate. Recently retired from the sociology department at Catholic University of America, Dr. Sullins is a leader in research on same-sex parenting and its implications for child development.
Announcing the appointment, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Founder and President of the Ruth Institute said, “We at the Ruth Institute are greatly concerned that ‘alternative family forms,’ such as divorce and unmarried parenthood, have been harmful to children. Dr. Sullins cares deeply about the impact of same sex parenting on children, examining topics such as ADHD, depression, and emotional problems. He is a good fit for us.”
Dr. Morse continued, “Treating same-sex couples as the legal equivalent of opposite-sex couples means increasing numbers of children will be raised in same-sex couple households. More information will be coming available about their experiences. We believe it is crucial to continue examining this evidence in a systematic way.”
Dr. Sullins explained, “The research in this area is really just beginning. Most of the studies which claim to show “no differences” between parenting by same sex couples and married heterosexual couples have used small, unrepresentative data sets. I have been examining large statistically representative datasets—principally the Centers for Disease Control’s National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), with 1.9 million cases; and the University of North Carolina’s National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health (Add Health), with 20,000 cases. I have repeatedly documented substantially higher rates of problems among children with same-sex parents, and that the best context for child well-being is with his or her own mother and father.”
Formerly Episcopalian, Dr. Sullins is a married Catholic priest. He earned a Ph.D. in sociology at Catholic University in 1997 and taught there from 1998 until his recent retirement from teaching. He and his wife, Patricia, have an inter-racial family of three children, two adopted.
Among his many honors, he is Director of the Summer Institute of Catholic Social Thought and Director of the Leo Initiative at Catholic University. He has written four books and over 100 journal articles, research reports and essays on issues of family, faith, and culture.
Dr. Morse concluded, “We are delighted to assist Dr. Sullins’ efforts to discover the truth about same-sex parenting. Dr. Sullins is a careful researcher who follows the data wherever it leads. Ruth Institute followers can look forward to seeing him at Ruth Institute events and in our publications.”
To interview either Dr. Sullins or Dr. Morse, reply to this email.
Posted on: Monday, February 12, 2018
New York is sacrificing a child's best interest in favor of "marriage equality."
By Jennifer Roback Morse
Published on February 9, 2018, at The Stream.
A little girl in New York is in foster care, even though her father is a perfectly fit parent. The court will not even recognize him as her father. How is this possible, you ask?
The little girl’s mother is in a same sex union. The girl is in foster care, because of neglect petitions pending against both the mother and her lover. The five-judge panel agreed that the fact that the child was in foster care was “relevant” and “concerning.” They nevertheless denied the father’s request to prove his fatherhood.
In the court’s logic, this man “merely donated sperm, belatedly asserting parental rights.”
In other words, he is not a father unless we say so.
The news stories about this case focus on its implications for “Marriage Equality.” The Daily Beast story has a sub-headline: “judges rule in favor of marriage equality over biology in case of 3-year-old girl.” A Canadian paper, The National Post describes the case this way:
Without legal advice, Christopher and the women drew up a contract in which he waived any claims to paternity, custody or visitation, and the women waived any claim to child support. But troubles arose, and they disagreed on Christopher’s access to the child … In April 2015, Christopher went to court, seeking an order for a paternity test, and later for custody of the child.
The Post is not too clear on what “troubles arose.” We get a clue, from the court documents (page 18), which The Daily Beast cited only in passing, that the child has been in foster care for a lengthy “period of time” since the 2015 hearing.
Perhaps this explains why he “belatedly asserted parental rights.” Maybe he saw what the child welfare authorities eventually saw. These women were neglecting the seven-month-old child.
Christopher volunteered his sperm as a “humanitarian gesture” to two women who were family friends. He evidently absorbed the Grand Gay Narrative that assures us:
If the Grand Gay Narrative is true, a man might logically conclude that donating his sperm could be a “humanitarian gesture.” He might well believe that agreeing in advance to stand down from active fatherhood was a fine thing to do, costless to himself and his child, and beneficial to these two women.
The problem is that the Grand Gay Narrative is false. Biology does matter. Both parents and children care about their biological connections. Being raised by a same sex couple does present risks to kids, compared with being raised by one’s own biological parents. The people who say otherwise base their opinion on highly suspect, cherry-picked data, from small unrepresentative samples. Frankly, most of it is highly publicized junk science.
Neither of these women has pulled herself together enough to have the little girl returned to her care. I was a foster parent in San Diego. I know that child welfare agencies try to give parents every opportunity to reunify with their children. If the child has been in foster care “for a lengthy period of time,” these two women must be bad news. Christopher was trying to be a nice guy in 2014 when he donated the sperm. He has been trying to be a responsible father since April 2015 when he first petitioned the court.
Isn’t this how we want men to behave toward the children they sire?
The five-judge panel was not interested.
We believe that it must be true that a child born to a same-gender married couple is presumed to be their child … A paternity test for an outsider, who merely donated sperm, belatedly asserting parental rights, would effectively disrupt, if not destroy, this family unit and nullify the child’s established relationship with the wife, her other mother. Testing in these circumstances exposes children born into same-gender marriages to instability for no justifiable reason other than to provide a father-figure for children who already have two parents.” (emphasis added.)
News flash to the judges: a child in foster care is already “exposed to instability.” Is letting her father be involved more disruptive than foster care?
The court’s ruling does not protect the child’s best interests. Their ruling circles the wagons to protect the Grand Gay Narrative.
“Marriage Equality” advocates assured us that removing the gender requirement from marriage was only a matter of making same sex couples the legal equivalent of opposite sex couples. This case shows that “Marriage Equality” creates a whole round of new inequalities. Some fathers are permitted to be involved in their children’s lives. Others are not: the law actively blocks Christopher from his own child. Some children have a legally recognized right to their fathers. Others, like this little girl, do not.
She only has the parents the government allows her to have. And that is way too much power for any government.
Posted on: Thursday, August 24, 2017
by Jennifer Roback Morse
This article was first published at The Stream on August 23, 2017.
I categorically condemn the Alt-Right, white supremacy, racism, Nazism and all violent totalitarian political movements. But I am a bit confused. I thought I was supposed to be a member of the Alt-Right, or a racist, or a Nazi, since I voted for Donald Trump. I guess I am even supposed to be in sympathy with the Alt-Right marchers in Charlottesville.
People like me who have had the “hate” label pinned on them face a dilemma: we can defend ourselves and say, “I don’t hate anyone. I just don’t agree with you.” In my experience, this strategy goes nowhere. The more we attempt to defend ourselves, the more we appear, well, defensive. Hence, not believable.
Our other choice is to say, “The heck with it. I know I’m not a hater, bigot or racist. I officially no longer care what anyone thinks of me.” This second course has a certain nobility to it. But it presents dangers of its own. People can easily become jaded and cynical about the whole concept of “hate” and “bigotry.”
In the interests of full disclosure, I should reveal that this has been my preferred strategy. You see, the organization I lead, the Ruth Institute, is listed on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hate Map.” I don’t know how one gets on the SPLC’s “Hate Map.” And I certainly do not know how one gets off it.
I suppose I am an “anti-LGBT” hater, because I believe children need their own parents. So here is my question: If believing children need their own parents lands the Ruth Institute a spot on the “hate map,” what words adequately describe white supremacists or neo-Nazis?
I am clear on one point: Sexual revolutionaries gain a strategic advantage by labeling people like me. Guilt by association is irrational, but powerful. The fear of being labeled a racist provides a potent disincentive for people to voice the view that children need their own parents. Silencing people relieves the Identity Politicians and Sexual Revolutionaries from the effort of having to defend their ideas.
This is convenient for said Identity Politicians and Sexual Revolutionaries, because their ideas are indefensible. Children actually do need their own parents. Sexual orientation is not the equivalent of race. Two mothers do not equal two fathers do not equal a mother and a father, and certainly not one’s own mother and father.
One typical Revolutionary response at this point is, “Why are you singling out gay people? What about divorce?” Please be aware that the Ruth Institute spends a LOT of time talking about divorce and other forms of family breakdown. Don’t change the subject. Society’s injustice to children through divorce is proof-positive that depriving children of a parent through genderless marriage will also be unjust.
But what does any of this have to do with being a Nazi? Or a racist? Or advocating violence? Nothing.
Our “opinion-makers” in the media, academia and assorted left-wing think tanks are playing a dangerous game. They have told us that the views of many ordinary decent Americans are the equivalent of racism. Some of those same ordinary decent Americans are fed up. They know they are not racists, haters or bigots. But we no longer have an adequate public vocabulary to describe actual haters, bigots and racists.
As I said, I categorically condemn the Alt-Right, white supremacy, racism, Nazism and all violent totalitarian political movements. You may search the Ruth Institute’s website all day long, and never find a racist word. Instead, what you will find are reasons and evidence to support sentiments that align with the vast majority of Americans, black and white, male and female. Children need their own parents. Men and women are different. Sex makes babies and therefore society has every right to expect people to control their sexual impulses.
The advocates of the Sexual Revolution cannot defend their ideas. That is why people with my views end up on their “Hate Map.”
On Wednesday, August 23, the Ruth Institute released a statement on being included on SPLC’s “Hate Map.” You can read that statement here. The Ruth Institute has also created a special page called “Where’s the Hate?” which lists items that some have deemed “hateful.” They invite the public to review these items and determine for themselves who is actually “hateful.”
Posted on: Monday, April 17, 2017
A Child of Divorce Speaks Out on the Importance of a Family
Jennifer Johnson is Director of the Children of Divorce Project at the Ruth Institute. She is an author, whose interests include homeschooling (she homeschooled her three children), children’s rights and family structure issues. She has worked full time with the Ruth Institute since 2010, an organization founded by Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse “dedicated to finding Christ-like solutions to the problems of family breakdown.”
Johnson’s most recently published work is “Marriage and Equality: How Natural Marriage Upholds the Ideal of Equality for Children.” She recently talked about divorce and its effect on her life.
What is your own personal experience of divorce?
I have a lot of experience with divorce, far too much to ask of any one person in my opinion. My parents divorced when I was three and went on to subsequent marriages, divorces, different children, a lot of back and forth between “two homes,” and a lot of chaos. By the time I was about 22, I had experienced three divorces: my own parents’ divorce and my dad’s two subsequent divorces. I am divorced as an adult and there is quite a bit of divorce in the rest of my family.
How did it affect you, and how have you been able to recover?
That is a whole story that I tell in my Special Report, “Marriage and Equality: How Natural Marriage Upholds the Ideal of Equality for Children”. The short version is that I did not have a family; I was the lone member of my family. The family experience that I had was shared by no other person. I include diagrams in the report to show what I mean.
That experience taught me to suppress my true thoughts and feelings about the original divorce and the remarriages. That chaotic situation taught me to ignore my own intuitions, taught me that letting my intuitions bubble to the surface of my mind was dangerous. Had I examined and revealed my intuitions about all that to my parents, it would have jeopardized my already-tenuous relationship with them. Learning to ignore my thoughts, feelings and intuitions about things that bothered me made me extremely vulnerable once I became an adult. I joined a cult at the age of 19, had an arranged marriage there, and participated and endorsed some horrific abuse and exploitation of others so that I could fit in and not be thought of as an outsider. The cult appealed to my deep need for belonging, for being a full-fledged member of a family.
Anthropologists have a concept that applies here. It is called “liminality.” Limin is Latin for the threshold of a doorway. The threshold is not one room or the other. It is the in-between place between two rooms, or between the outside of the house and the inside. Liminality is the condition of being between states or statuses. Sometimes it is referred to as being “betwixt and between.” When somebody is in a liminal state, they are no longer what they were and are not yet what they will be. The old rules no longer apply, and the new rules do not apply yet.
When my parents divorced, I ceased to exist as a full-fledged daughter in my family, because my family ceased to exist. I never again entered a full-fledged status with either of them. Their divorce and subsequent remarriages pushed me into a liminal state from which I have never emerged. Joining the cult was my attempt to exit the liminal state, to become initiated as a full-fledged member of a family, even if it was an abusive family.
There have been many studies about the effects of divorce on children. What are some of the findings?
It’s bad. It is worse than the average person wants to realize. Divorce shortens people’s lives. That alone should get people’s attention. Plus it increases the risk factors for addictions, not finishing high school, getting divorced as an adult and losing contact with grandparents. Children of divorce report feeling a lack of empathy from their churches, and don’t go to church as much as kids from intact families.
“No fault” divorce came to California in 1969, and the rest of the country soon after. How do you think divorce has affected society as a whole?
In order to talk about society, we need to talk about the mechanics behind the changes of “no-fault.” No-fault changed an important legal presumption in marriage. A presumption is a starting-point, a place where we say, “Here is where we begin, and we can make adjustments to individual circumstances from this place, but we need a beginning point so we always begin here.” Prior to no-fault, the legal presumption, the legal beginning point, was that marriage is permanent. It was viewed as a truly life-long commitment and the family courts honored this, at least in principle. Of course, there was divorce and separation prior to no-fault, but the presumption of permanence was honored by the courts. In order to get a divorce, that presumption had to be overcome by demonstrating why the marriage had failed. Such circumstances included adultery, addictions and abandonment.
No-fault changed the legal presumption. Now marriage is no longer legally presumed permanent by the family courts. The courts get involved in the minutia of family life at the behest of one spouse. One spouse has the power to harness the family court to destroy the family, like wielding a sledge hammer, and the family courts must comply. They no longer side with the family, giving preference to its legitimate claim on wholeness. They side with the person who wants to destroy the family. If the other spouse wants to keep the family together, that person has no legal remedy. The divorce will be enforced in all cases if one spouse wants it.
In this respect, no-fault divorce is like abortion. That might sound like a dramatic claim, so let me spell it out.
In both cases, the State sides with one person (the pregnant mother, the petitioner in a no-fault divorce action) to uphold or enforce the action that the person wants (the abortion, the no-fault divorce), while simultaneously providing no legal defense for the other person (the unborn child, the respondent in the divorce action). The individual who wants the action (of the abortion or to be divorced) must be “freed” from every restraint that he does not explicitly want. Even if he chose the restraint at a point in the past, if he changes his mind, then the State’s duty is to free him from it if this is what the individual wants.
In February, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput published a book called, Strangers in a Strange Land: Living the Catholic Faith in a Post-Christian World. He makes this same point when he says: “Without the restrains of some higher moral law, democracy instinctively works against natural marriage, traditional families and any other institution that creates bonds and duties among citizens. It insists on the autonomous individual as its ideal.”
Thus, as a society, we believe that the State’s duty to the individual is to annul or at least modify his familial obligations whenever he chooses in order to free him.
I’ve heard it said divorce may be a necessity when “the 3 A’s” are involved: addiction, abuse and adultery. Do you agree?
This is a complex question since it touches on a variety of issues. We can talk about it from the State’s perspective or the perspective of individual families. Taking the State’s perspective, we might ask: what is the State’s role in divorce? Should the State be involved? If so, at what point? I would say that yes, there is a role for the State, but to restore some semblance of justice in divorce we need to restore the legal presumption of permanence. I do not know how that should be done. Should we go back to some sort of fault-based system that relies on “the 3 A’s”? Should we at least eliminate the unilateral aspect of divorce and require both spouses to consent to it? I would say yes to both of those questions.
We can also consider the perspective of individual families. Perhaps somebody reading this article is experiencing one or more of those things right now. It is difficult to give blanket advice since each case is unique. Even so, I have heard many reports about couples who recovered from adultery. For addiction issues, help can be found through groups such as Al-Anon.
The good thing about the old fault-based system is that somebody was legally culpable. This person was then penalized by the courts. This deterred bad behavior. For example, if the child is not living with that person post-divorce, then this makes sense. Children should not be living with addicts or with abuse, especially when their other parent is not there to serve as a buffer.
What might you say to couples with children considering divorce when less serious issues are involved?
That triad of your family matters a great deal. It matters to your children, to all of the people around you, and to your grandchildren and the rest of your posterity. So try harder to work things out. I know you’re tired and you probably want to go find somebody else. But your kids need you there, at home. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that your situation will beat the odds for your kids. Are you willing to implicitly tell them that you don’t want to live with them for half of their remaining childhood? Because that is what you will be communicating to them if you split up. Do you want to throw away their sense of being your full-fledged child?
You will continue to have a relationship with your spouse even after the divorce, and you will have less say-so in the lives of your children than you do now. Your ex-spouse might bring undesirable people into your children’s lives, and your children will feel pressure to accept and love those people. Some spouses resort to parental alienation tactics, which means that you run the risk of losing all contact with your children for a very long time.
Please do not make the child live in “two homes.” Do not break up their daily life like that. Consider keeping the family home, letting the children live there full time, and getting a small place nearby that you share with your ex-spouse. Each of you takes turns going back and forth between the family home and the other place. If that doesn’t sound appealing to you, then please reconsider making your kids do the same. Apply the same standard to your children that you want applied to you.
What help/advice would you offer children of divorced parents to help them recover?
I don’t have any magic words here. Healing is an ongoing process. The first steps were the hardest for me:
I recommend my reading my book for more details about all of these concepts, plus many diagrams that make it easy enough for a child to understand.
Posted on: Monday, March 27, 2017
Dear Dr. J,
What do I say to a same-sex married lesbian niece whose mother (my sister-in-law) just left a phone message saying they “are expecting twins”? Congratulations just doesn’t seem right but it’s not the children’s faults. It doesn’t seem right to create a family rift over this but neither can I be happy about it. I have no idea who the father is, which of the females in the relationship is carrying the children, whose eggs were used, etc. Nor do I know if I will ever be told because the family knows I do not believe in gay ‘marriage’. I can’t just ignore this, but do I say nothing? What do I say when the children are born? Any kind of congratulatory words would come out as fake, & they would be falsely said.
Your problem is becoming increasingly common. We are all figuring this out on the fly. So, let me offer a few suggestions for you to consider.
In general: keep your powder dry. Save it for when you really need it. There is absolutely nothing you can do right now to prevent this situation from unfolding. A time will come when you may be able to make a truly unique and valuable contribution. Prepare yourself for that time, through prayer and charity. Who knows? Maybe your preparation will allow you to help someone outside your family.
Do you have a question for me? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted on: Tuesday, March 21, 2017
by Jennifer Roback Morse
We have a petition that anyone can sign. It just says we support Rep Krause’s effort to limit no-fault divorce. You do not have to live in Texas to sign it.
Conservatives complain and wring their hands over “losing the culture wars.”
We can’t honestly complain about losing a battle we never even fought.
“Kids need a mom and a dad,” the constant mantra of the pro-marriage movement, is not nearly strong enough. “Kids need their own mom and dad,” is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
I’m sorry to get in your face about this. But children are entitled to a relationship with both parents, unless some unavoidable tragedy takes place to prevent it.
These are the divorces that no-fault protects. When people say, “but we need no-fault divorce because fault is too hard to prove,” adultery and selfishness are sneaking in the backdoor.
Conservative Christians complained about “gay marriage” harming children.
No-fault divorce harms children.
Conservative Christians complained about “gay marriage” being un-Biblical.
No-fault divorce is un-Biblical. See Matthew 19. Don’t whine to me about the so-called “exception clause,” aka “escape hatch big enough to drive a Mac Truck through.”
Why were people against gay marriage? I don’t know about you. But I know why I was. I saw that it would harm children’s legally-recognized rights to have a relationship with both parents.
We at the Ruth Institute were virtually alone in the “Marriage Movement” in arguing this way. And I am pretty sure I know why. Once you say, “Kids have a right to their own parents,” you have to be willing to start talking about divorce, single-parenthood and donor conception. Most of the Marriage Movement bobbed and weaved to avoid these topics.
The Ruth Institute did not. I am grateful to our supporters who have stood by us as we made these arguments. I am not ashamed to say:
The Gay Lobby accused us of hypocrisy, saying we didn’t really mean it about any of those other topics. We just really hated gay people. Divorce and single-motherhood and all the rest were just window dressing.
Too bad. We talked about children’s rights then. We continue to talk about children’s rights, now, long after the dust has settled on the whole gay “marriage” controversy. We intend to keep talking about it.
What about you? Will you sign our petition, supporting Rep. Krause and his divorce reform?
Posted on: Friday, November 13, 2015
COMMENTARY: A tenured professor of English is threatened with dismissal because he challenged one of the sexual revolution’s core assumptions.
Robert Oscar Lopez, a tenured English professor at California State University-Northridge, is on the verge of being suspended without pay, ostensibly due to a conference he organized a year ago. In fact, I believe this is not the real reason why this man of Puerto Rican and Philippine heritage, who knows six modern languages as well as Latin and Greek, is being hounded out of his job.
Professor Robert Lopez of the University of California at Northridge
Lopez’s parents divorced when he was a toddler. His mother formed an intimate relationship with another woman. His father disappeared from his life for a long time. Lopez believes that these events were traumatic for him, and he has been outspoken in saying so. His countercultural views are an embarrassment to the Sexual Revolutionary Establishment at his university and beyond. They believe he must be silenced. Getting him fired is one step toward that end.
I was one of the presenters at the conference in question, “Bonds That Matter.” And, unbeknownst to me, I was one of the sources of controversy in Lopez’s interaction with the Cal State administration.
Lopez invited me to present at the conference on the topic of divorce. I was eager to be part of the event, as my organization, the Ruth Institute, agrees with his general perspective: that it is unjust to deprive a child of a relationship with his or her parents without good reason. Millions of children have their relationship with a parent damaged by parental divorce.
I agreed to waive my usual fee, as a way of supporting this initial effort of Lopez’s new organization, the International Children’s Rights Institute. As part of our agreement, the Ruth Institute was permitted to have a display table. We did not sell anything, nor did we offer participants the opportunity to sign up for our newsletter, activities we normally do when I speak at events. I did not mention anything regarding homosexuality, gay marriage or gay parenting during my talk, which you can listen to for yourself.
Imagine my surprise when I received a call from Lopez, many months later, asking me about some Ruth Institute brochures.
“Did you pass out this brochure called ‘77 Non-Religious Reasons to Support Man/Woman Marriage?’” he said.
“No. They were probably lying on our book table. Why do you ask?”
He asked because a student had filed a complaint against him. These brochures were submitted as evidence that his conference had created a hostile environment. Mind you, the student who lodged this complaint received an A in the course in question and did not file her complaint until after she had graduated.
I confirmed that I did, however, pass out and discuss another pamphlet, “Are You a Survivor of the Sexual Revolution?” — which you can look at for yourself. We have revised the artwork since the conference and made modest changes to the content. In fact, the version the students saw did not include the last sentences about children of same sex-parents, under “Gay Lifestyle Refugee.”
I believe the sexual revolutionaries despise Robert Lopez because he challenges one of their core assumptions. The sexual revolution is based on the idea that all adults able to give meaningful consent are entitled to unlimited sexual activity with a minimum of inconvenience. What they never mention is this: Children just have to accept whatever adults choose to give them.
Lopez believes that children have rights to a relationship with both of their parents, in the absence of some unavoidable tragedy. Children have a right to know their identity, so that all adults without exception can know their cultural heritage and genetic identity. These entitlements of children impose legitimate obligations and limitations on adult behavior, including, potentially, public policy and personal sexual behavior.
All of us who presented at that conference agree with this basic point. We disagreed among ourselves about the exact nature and contours of those obligations and limitations. But this common ground created a fruitful avenue for serious discussion.
The very concept of children’s rights that impose limitations on adult sexual behavior threatens the fragile intellectual structure of the sexual revolution. The true revolutionary is counting on no one noticing that sex makes babies and that children need their parents.
The true revolutionary needs to change the subject away from this topic,and on to any other topic. For example:
Here is a link to a summary of the case. Here are the letters filed on behalf of Lopez by attorney Charles LiMandri of the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund and by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Looking at these documents, any sensible person must conclude that the answer to all these questions is “No.” Yet these are the questions the sexual revolutionaries, including the students with their frivolous complaints and the University Equity and Diversity Establishment, would prefer to discuss.
Never mind whether children are traumatized by the divorce of their parents. Never mind whether children feel wounded by the state-sanctioned loss of one parent through third-party reproduction. Never mind whether surrogate mothers are fully informed about the health risks they face. Never mind whether some adoption practices improperly commercialize and commodify children and harm their mothers.
The university should drop all charges against Robert Oscar Lopez. Please sign our petition to the chancellor of the California State University System, asking him to drop all charges.