Why I’m not worried about Gorsuch.

I know some of my friends are concerned about Gorsuch describing Obergefell as “absolutely settled law.” I would be more worried except for one thing. As far as I know, no one has a credible case for overturning Obergefell.

Neil Gorsuch

The conservative Christian legal community does not have a litigation strategy for overturning Obergefell, to the best of my knowledge. True, I don’t know everyone in that community. But I know quite a few folks. I do not know anyone who is even working on finding the plaintiffs and constructing the arguments for such a case. We cannot blame Trump for that.

And no, religious liberty cases do not cut the mustard. We need arguments that defend marriage, on its own terms. Marriage is good for society. Marriage provides justice and equality for children. Removing the gender requirement from marriage undermines its ability to provide justice and equality for children.

So, it is cheap for people to say anything they want, one way or the other. True, I would have liked it better if Gorsuch had said, “If a case challenging Obergefell were to come before me (wink,wink, knowing this is exceedingly unlikely) I would give it all due consideration and would tend toward overturning it.” But calling it “settled law” when there is “absolutely” no credible case on the horizon, does not disturb me all that much. His opinion on prospective pro-life cases is more significant b/c there may actually be some credible cases in the foreseeable future.

Would all these kids be marching in the snow for separation of powers and federalism? I doubt it.

Speaking of the pro-life movement, consider this. What would public opinion around the life issues be today, if the pro-life movement had confined itself to religious liberty and separation of powers and federalism?

  • Roe v Wade interferes with the rights of Catholic doctors to practice medicine as they see fit.”
  • Roe v Wade is judicial overreach.”
  • Roe v Wade interferes with the states’ rights to set their own policies.”

All true statements, to be sure. But all utterly irrelevant to shifting public opinion in a pro-life direction. The pro-life movement gave a full-throated defense of the humanity of the child in the womb, the value of pre-natal life, the harms of abortion to women, and how abortion does not solve the problems it claims to solve. These are much more human, much more compelling points, with vivid imagery that stirs the heart. The other arguments are bloodless and sterile by comparison.

We need a pro-marriage movement that stops talking about religious liberty and starts talking about marriage. And I’m afraid I know why so few people are willing to talk about the rights of children to their parents. Once we say that, the next question will naturally be: “what about divorce? More children lose their parents to divorce than will ever lose them to gay parenting. Are you going to outlaw divorce?”

Trust me, that was and still is the argument. I was in the 9th Circuit courtroom during the Prop 8 case, when Judge Stephen Reinhardt asked Prop 8 defense counsel Charles Cooper that question. The courtroom burst into laughter. They treated the rights of children as a joke. Cooper stood there silent.

I was practically jumping out of my seat. “Answer him! Answer him! Say ‘You are correct. We do want to reform divorce, because current divorce law is unjust.'”

Divorce ripples through the generations.

American society, including the conservative and pro-marriage movements, do not want to talk about divorce. Too many people have participated in divorce, and do not wish to stir up guilty consciences. Currently, most of those people are either against the concept of children having rights to their parents, or they are simply silent.

But I think this is also an opportunity. Many people have been unwilling participants in divorce: children, abandoned spouses, grandparents who lose touch with their grandchildren, and many others. Enlist all of those people. Now, you’re talking about a real movement.

If children do not have a right to their own parents, no one has a right to anything.

Authentic Reproductive Justice

“Reproductive Justice.”

“Reproductive justice” is generally code for “abortion on demand and without apology.”  I propose we talk about “authentic reproductive justice,”  which means justice for the child.

Justice for children means that every child conceived has a right to be welcomed into life. The financial condition or age or belief systems of their parents are irrelevant. Equality for children means every child is treated the same from conception until birth: cared for by their parents, and welcomed into life.

Real Social Justice Warriors

The shallow concept of “Reproductive Justice” that we have currently enshrined in our laws cannot last for even a single generation. Sure, men and women may be more equal in education and income. But, children whose parents get married and stay married have immeasureable advantages over children whose parents divorce or never marry. The differences among the rich and the poor, the educated and the less educated, increase in the subsequent generation.

Equality and justice for children means that every child has a right to a relationship with both of their natural parents, unless some unavoidable tragedy prevents it.  Death, mental illness, serious illness, these tragedies separate children from their parents. Desertion, abuse, incarceration: the parent left behind may have no responsible choice other than keeping their children away from their other parent.

No-fault divorce: a structural injustice to the child.

“I don’t want to have a relationship with your other parent.”

“My relationship with my new sex partner is more important to me than my relationship with your other parent.”

“My new life and vision of myself is more important to me than my relationship with you.”

These are not unavoidable tragedies. These are acts of injustice by one parent perpetrated on their children and their spouse.

But you may ask, what do these have to do with “reproductive justice?” The concept of Authentic Reproductive Justice means that each parent commits to spending a lifetime in a relationship with the other parent that allows their child to have a functioning, supportive relationship with both of them.

That means:

  • treating the child’s other parent with respect: after all, the other parent is half of who your child is. If you disrespect the child’s other parent, you are disrepecting at least half of your child.
  • making sure your child can spend time with his or her other parent.
  • giving the child’s other parent significant input into all major decisions regarding the child’s life and upbringing.
  • supporting, not undermining the other parent’s authority and status in the child’s eyes.
  • having such a relationship with the other parent before even giving birth.
  • choosing the other parent carefully enough that spending a lifetime co-parenting is an imaginable and even joyful prospect.
  • and since all forms of contraception sometimes fail, only choosing to have sex with individuals whom you can treat according to the above criteria.
Authentic Reproductive Justice: Take your marriage seriously.

In other words, Authentic Reproductive Justice, which takes account of the human rights of the mother, the father and the child means:

  • get married
  • stay married
  • have sex only with your spouse
  • love your spouse

Our current understanding of “reproductive justice” that only considers “equality” between men and women, or “equality” in education, jobs and money is a superficial, dim shadow of Authentic Reproductive Justice. This is a technocratic vision, focused solely on material things.

Authentic Reproductive Justice focuses on the more humane, deeper realities of relationships, identity and love.

I can only think of one social philosophy that endorses this deeper concept of justice, and that provides the tools to bring it about: the Ancient Teachings of Christianity. One man, one woman, for life.  If you are a Christian, especially if you are a Catholic Christian, please respect what Jesus is trying to do for us. Embrace it. Live it. Be grateful for it. Matthew 19. Mark 10.

Kudos to the Canadian Bishops Conference

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops blast PM Trudeau for his plan to fund abortions and challenges to abortion laws in developing countries. The bishops state:
“Such a policy is a reprehensible example of Western cultural imperialism and an attempt to impose misplaced but so-called Canadian “values” on other nations and people. It exploits women when they are most in need of care and support, and tragically subverts true prenatal health care.”

Read their whole statement here.

Pictured: The Most Rev. Douglas Crosby, OMI
Bishop of Hamilton
President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Read the “FAQs” backgrounder published by the PM Justin Trudeau’s government here. These monies are supposed to make up for the loss of US dollars, due to President Trump reinstating the “Mexico City Policy,” which prohibits the expenditure of US dollars on programs that fund abortions overseas.
H/T LifeSiteNews. Kudos to the Canadian Bishops!

Follow up: Chinese “Family Planning” Policy

Yesterday’s post showed that Catholics should be proud of standing firmly against population control. The Pontifical Academies of Science and Social Science invited unrepentant population controllers to their meetings. These people obviously have some agenda other than the salvation of souls.

Today, as if on cue, Women’s Rights Without Frontiers publishes this heart-rending account of what Population Control really means.

in mid-March of 2014, a group of six to seven people from the Family Planning Committee forced their way into my house.  They sent two people to watch my house, and four others to drag and pull me into a car waiting at my door for a while.  My helpless mother also followed me in the car to the hospital.

Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women’s Rights without Frontiers

In the hospital, on the same afternoon, the doctor injected a need of oxytocin into my abdomen. I was trembling.  I kept shouting and struggling.  The doctor left after the needle injection. After a few hours of stomach pain, I started to see blood and liquid flow.  In the evening, I had strong stomach pain, and after another few hours, I first saw the water capsule, and then the child came out. I dared not open my eyes to see [the child].  A lively, fresh life just silently got destroyed like this.

I cried and roared.  Doctors and nurses took away the little life. I wanted to beg them to leave it with me, but I couldn’t speak. Afterwards, the doctor gave me another shot, saying that it was to stop the pain, but the pain did not stop. When they performed the operation to clean my womb, it was so unbelievably painful. Lying on that bed, I felt my body was cut open and broken.

Where is the outrage? Where are all the International Day of the Woman people? Where is the Vatican Academy of Science and the Vatican Academy of Social Science? The Chinese one-child policy is the most outrageous, most widespread, most long-lasting human rights atrocity in modern times. Disciples of Jesus, followers of Pope Paul VI and Humanae Vitae, admirers of Pope St. John Paul II and Evangelium Vitae, take heart. We are on the right side of history.

H/T Anne Morse

“Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?” And other naive questions about the “Women’s March”

women-protest-more-vaginas
Amateur Pix from the “Women’s March.” h/t Church Militant readers

One of my Facebook friends begins a post this way:

“Other than abortion, which would be contentious under any Republican president, which women’s rights are threatened by Trump?”

I was not surprised that the ensuing discussion produced more heat thanlight. For there is simply no way one can say, “other than abortion” in today’s political moment.

Abortion is the driving political reality of our time. It is the 21st century equivalent of slavery in the 19th century, the Holocaust in the early 20th century and the Gulag in the late 20th century. You either side with the weak against the strong, or with the strong against the weak. Those who pretend there is a middle ground are, quite simply, deceiving themselves.
“Other than abortion?” There is no “other than abortion.”
The women who march for abortion believe they are marching for their “rights.” If a child does not have a right to be born, no one has a right to anything. “But we need abortion in order to have access to jobs and equality and dignity.” The truth is that we can build a society that gives people jobs and equality and dignity without anyone ever killing an innocent person. It can be done. We could do it, if we had the will to do so.
As for abortion being a “women’s issue,” don’t make me laugh. How many predatory men are relieved that they can pressure their victims into having abortions so they can be excused from paying any consequences for their actions? Abortion clinics have a sordid record of not inquiring too closely into these kinds of situations. Crisis pregnancy counselors regularly hear these stories and try to help the women.
Does Planned Parenthood do as much? Just asking….

“Nobody told me it was wrong”

healing-family-retreat_postcard_front
Postcard, describing our most recent Retreat.

The Ruth Institute held another Healing Family Breakdown Retreat this past weekend. As I listen to people share their stories of family breakdown, a procession of past encounters marches through my memory. People tell me their stories, and not just at times appointed for this purpose, like the Retreat. I recall:

  • a college student in tears at our student conference: “Dr. Morse, you are the first adult I have ever heard say that divorce is hard on children.”
  • a middle-aged man whom I met at a party. He later told me that his mother (who had been married and divorced multiple times) recently revealed to him that she had had an abortion when he was in high school. The man was in shock over the loss of a sibling.
  • a woman in her sixties ran out of my talk at a conference. At the dinner that evening, she shared with me, that my talk stirred up the pain of her parents’ divorce.
  • a man who has been married and divorced twice, confided that he and his former wife had a child through IVF. The child is now a teenager. He has agonized for years over what to do with the 10 “leftover” frozen embryos. He would have to get the consent of his former wife, the mother of the embryos, for anything he might want to do. “When you are trying so hard to have a baby, they don’t tell you that you may end up killing babies.”
  • a couple on their second marriage, who had both chosen to sterilize themselves during their first marriages. Both were in tears, because they now wanted children with each other. They were Catholic and finally realized that the Church teachese that deliberate sterilization is sinful. “No one told me it was wrong,” they each said through their tears.

And that, for me, is the bottom line: no one tells people the down-sides of any aspect of our Brave New World. “No one told me it was wrong.”

Memo to priests and catechists: You are not hurting people to tell them “it is wrong.” You may be saving them from tremendous heart-ache. And incidently, you are doing your job.