Originally published at The Stream on January 8, 2019, reprinted here with the exact tagline that appeared with the article.
Tucker Carlson is right. But his method is wrong.
Tucker Carlson’s monologue on January 2 set off a firestorm of negative commentary. I want to say for the record: I agree completely with Carlson’s closing statement, “If you want to put America first, you’ve got to put its families first.” I also want to say for the record: I disagree with the wrappings in which Carlson presented his important message.
Scott Hahn is a prolific Biblical scholar with a huge fan-base among orthodox Catholics. He doesn’t need my help promoting his new book, The First Society: The Sacrament of Matrimony and the Restoration of Social Order. But I need some help from him. I need his help convincing my pro-marriage policy-wonk friends that our defense of marriage needs spiritual and theological arguments, along with natural law arguments. What we are doing isn’t working.
Losing the Public Policy Argument No serious person can deny it: marriage, the institution of one-man-one-woman-for-life, is getting clobbered in public policy debates. I’ve been involved in pro-family debates for a long time and I’ve used plenty of social science data and logical reasoning. I’m convinced the secular world needs more than secular arguments.
The Church asks that we pray for the souls in purgatory, especially in November. We are the Church Militant. The Souls in purgatory are the Church Suffering. They need our help.
There’s only one door out of purgatory for the Holy Souls there. It opens only into heaven. But here’s the catch: they open it by suffering long enough and thoroughly enough to be purged from a lifetime of imperfections. They are trying to join the saints in heaven, the Church Triumphant on the other side of the door. They can get there a lot quicker if we help them with our prayers and sacrifices on their behalf.
What do you suppose will happen once they get to heaven? Those members of the Church Suffering will become members of the Church Triumphant. They will, in turn, pray for us. They will have our backs.
Remember this scene from The Return of the King?
This kind of help can be ours.
The souls in Hell have nothing to offer anyone on earth. The Evil One cannot revive corpses. He has no power to allow the dead souls he has dragged into Hell come back to life and bother the living. The Communion of the Saints, living and dead, gives us an advantage the Evil One cannot match. Let’s use it to the fullest.
Pray for the repose of the souls of the dead. Face it: we need all the help we can get right now.
The Lake Charles American Press published an article about state-by-state divorce rates.
Louisiana has the fourth highest divorce rate in the country, according to 24/7 Wall Street, a financial news and commentary website. The state rate is 20.8 divorces per 1,000 married couples. Only Arkansas, Idaho and Nevada had higher divorce rates. Oklahoma held down fifth place.
The article acknowledges that income and employment have a lot to do with a state’s divorce rate.
Louisiana’s median income of $45,146 is much lower than the national median income of $57,617 and the state had an unemployment rate last year of 6.1 percent…. Massachusetts, on the other hand, had a $75,297 median income and an unemployment rate of 3.7 percent. Also, 42.7 percent of the state’s adults hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, the highest percentage in the country.
This points to the growing gap between the college educated, and everyone else. The college-educated professional classes denigrate marriage, (It’s just a piece of paper), chastity (Abstinence is for losers) and celebrate divorce (Kids are resilient) and (Divorce is liberating). But when it comes right down to it, the professional class gets married before having kids, and stays married.
Professional women cannot meet their aspirations for their own children as a single mom. So they get married and stay married. But delayed childbearing is the price of entry into the professions. So the educated classes are deeply committed to the Contraceptive Ideology. (Separating sex from child-bearing is an entitlement.)
God love the working and middle classes of this country. They try to do the right thing. They are frequently the butt of jokes and the object of derision by the “betters.” Yet the good salt-of-the-earth people, like those we have here in Louisiana, still strive to do the right thing. I love them. They are in my mind and heart, a lot of the time.
In a reversal of federal policy that pleased marriage advocates and angered LGBTQI groups, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a memo interpreting the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as not intended to apply to transgenders….
Sessions explained that the word “sex” in the 1964 law means “biologically male or female,” so that particular statute says nothing about “discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender status.”
Naturally, the LGBT Legal Establishment and their friends in the media have a different interpretation. BuzzFeed’s headline tells its own story:
This headline is accurate as far as it goes. But, it does not point out that:
Congress never passed a law including gender identity as part of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Existing discrimination law was built around the prohibition of discrimination against people for immutable characteristics, such as race.
“Gender identity” is not an “immutable characteristic:” an individual does not need a medical or psychological diagnosis, in order to define themselves into the classification of “transgender.”
Therefore, current Attorney General Sessions’ memo simply returns federal policy back to what it was in those dark medieval days before 2014.
The steady expansion of discrimination law from race to a category into which a person can define themselves, is not self-evidently “progress.”
The idea that the sex of the body is a social construct, which can be socially reconstructed, and now, personally, reconstructed through a combination of hormone therapy and surgery is a full-out assault on our existence as bodily creatures. We are mammals. Sexual differentiation between male and female is a reality of the entire mammal class.
The sexual radicals resent the fact that we are created male and female. The transgender ideology is a reflection of that resentment. This is not a small, harmless idea. Nor is it something that is so crazy it will naturally burn itself out. We must oppose the ideology and the ideologues, while showing love and compassion to the people in its grip.
The Ruth Institute, of which I am the President and Founder, issued this statement on Friday, August 31:
The Ruth Institute learned at 2 PM Thursday that Vanco, our on-line donation processing service, was cancelling our service immediately. Their letter stated:
Vanco has elected to discontinue our processing relationship with The Ruth Institute. The organization has been flagged by Card Brands as being affiliated with a product/service that promotes hate, violence, harassment and/or abuse. Merchants that display such attributes are against Vanco and Wells Fargo processing policies.”
We immediately went to the donation page on our website and found it had already been shut down. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., Founder and President of the Ruth Institute made these statements in response:
The Ruth Institute’s primary focus is family breakdown, and its impact on children: understanding it, healing it, ending it. If this makes us a “hate group,” so be it.
Vanco, Card Brands, and Wells Fargo are private businesses. The Ruth Institute respects their right to conduct their businesses as they see fit. We just wish wedding photographers, bakers, and florists received the same respect.
No one from Vanco, Card Brands or Wells Fargo ever contacted the Ruth Institute to inquire about how we “promote hate, violence, harassment and/or abuse.”
The Ruth Institute is listed on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hate Map,” which was recently in the news. We have been on this “Hate Map” since 2013. To the best of our knowledge, no one has ever been inspired to riot or shoot anyone by our activities.
We have compiled the items which some groups have found objectionable on a page called “Where’s the Hate?” Anyone interested can review that material and judge for themselves whether the Ruth Institute belongs on a list with the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis.
The Vanco company markets itself to religious organizations. Many churches use their services for processing donations. We surmise that Vanco dropped us because we hold views about marriage, family and human sexuality that are considered “Anti-LGBT.” Our beliefs are the common heritage of all Christian groups. Christian organizations that utilize Vanco’s services may wish to reconsider.
Donors to the Ruth Institute can rest assured that their private information has not been compromised. Supporters can send checks to our main office, 4845 Lake St.; #217; Lake Charles, LA 70605.
To interview Dr. Morse, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Ruth Institute’s primary focus is family breakdown and its impact on children: understanding it, healing it, ending it. If this makes us a “hate group,” so be it.
Once again, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hate Map” is in the news, this time due to CNN publishing it in the wake of the events in Charlottesville. The Ruth Institute is listed on that map as an “anti-LGBT” group. In fact, The Ruth Institute is a global non-profit organization creating a mass social movement to end family breakdown by energizing the Survivors of the Sexual Revolution.
We were first listed on that map in 2013. At that time, no one from the SPLC contacted us about the possibility of being included on their “hate map.” They made no effort to understand our mission, then or now. No one outside the SPLC knows how organizations come to be included on the list. No one knows how to get off the list. The SPLC sets itself up as judge, jury and enforcer of the charge of “hate.”
People who cannot defend their positions using reason and evidence resort to name-calling to change the subject away from their anemic arguments. The “hate group” label is a club such people invented to bludgeon their political opponents.
The Ruth Institute’s primary focus is family breakdown, and its impact on children: understanding it, healing it, ending it. If this makes us a “hate group,” so be it.
We have assembled a few of the materials that some have found hateful on our page called Where’s the Hate? The Ruth Institute invites the public to review these items and decide for themselves who is “hate-filled.”
The Ruth Institute categorically condemns white supremacy, racism, Nazism, and all violent totalitarian political movements. However, under the circumstances, the Ruth Institute is honored by the “hate group” label, pinned upon us by people who show no capacity for reasoned argument.
To schedule an interview with Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Founder and President of the Ruth Institute, please email us at email@example.com.
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.
Dealing With the “Hate” Label
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.
Is It “Anti-LGBT” to Say Children Need Their Own Parents?
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 LOTof 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.
This “Hate” Labelling is a Dangerous Game
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 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.”
Originally published at The Stream, August 23, 2017.
I do not have the bandwidth to have an opinion on everything that comes out of the Trump Administration. I will say this: in the unlikely event that Anthony Scaramucci were ever a Facebook friend of mine, his foul mouthed rant to the New Yorker reporter would have gotten him unfriended in a hurry. That type of language is a sign of either a) an underdeveloped vocabulary or b) an undisciplined mind and mouth. Don’t need a guy like that for a friend. Wonder if he will serve the President and our country well…
I just finished reading the Benedict Option by Rod Dreher. I also recently read and reviewed Tony Esolen’s new book, Out of the Ashes, which is in my opinion, the better book of this genre. Dreher’s book has generated an enormous amount of attention. But if you only have time to read one book, read Esolen’s book.
I am not clear on whether the Benedict Option is:
a quietistic retreat from politics, or
a strategic retreat to live to fight another day, or
a joyful embrace of the full Christian life because it is the life most worth living, no matter what may be going on in the World.
I’m not sure whether Dreher himself is clear. Option #3 was certainly the motivation of the original St. Benedict, and his many sons and daughters down to this day. And, Tony Esolen is definitely an option #3 guy.
What makes The Benedict Option worth reading:
Its argument is explicitly Christian. No more making arguments that are accessible only to “public reasons.”
Dreher argues that Christianity is good, and deserves to survive. In fact, the World needs for faithful Christians to keep the Christian message alive, because the World is not doing well without it.
Dreher has many practical suggestions for maintaining and building a Christian identity, in the face of an increasingly hostile World.
Having said all that, I do have a couple of problems with this book, and with Dreher’s writing in general.
First, he sometimes acts as if he is the only guy who has ever thought of these things. This is an annoyance, but not a super-serious problem. He says: “One reason the contemporary church is in so much trouble is that religious conservatives of the last generation mistakenly believed they could focus on politics and the culture would take care of itself.” (pg 81) Who ever thought that?
Further on, he makes this remarkable claim (without a footnote, mind you): “Fundamental abortion rights remain solidly in place, and Gallup numbers from the Roe v Wade era until today have not meaningfully changed.” (pg 82).
That’s odd. The millenial generation opposes abortion and favors its restriction more than older generations, even if Millenials do not self-identify as “pro-life.” The pro-choice Guttmacher Institute breathlessly reports that states have enacted over 1,000 abortion restrictions in the past 5 years. This doesn’t sound like complete political failure to me. Nor does it sound like a complete failure of cultural engagement. On the contrary, it sounds like successful involvement in both arenas.
“Fundamental abortion rights remain solidly in place” because the Supreme Court has repeatedly circled the wagons around said “rights.”
I know very well the frustration of having Courts overturn social conservative measures that were duly enacted by voters. I was a spokeswoman for Proposition 8. I lived through that whole drama, of winning the election (quite decisively, thank you very much) and then watching courts overturn it on one flimsy pretext after another.
I sympathize with Dreher’s frustration. But enacting measures and then having the courts repeatedly overturn them is not an argument against politics per se. Nor is it an argument that we have done politics badly.
It may mean we need a new strategy. But I do think we owe it to the people who have knocked themselves out in the public square to acknowledge their efforts. We should not dismiss them so casually as Dreher appears to do in the passage I quoted and in other places.
This brings me to my biggest complaint about The Benedict Option. He keeps saying: “We lost.” This bugs me. A lot. For several reasons.
It is one thing to say that a particular political effort failed. It is another to say “we lost,” as if there is no longer anything left to do but hunker down and accept permanent dhimmitude.
It is one thing to say that our strategies are not working, and that we need to try something else. I get that. In fact, I have myself advocated strategic retreat for the purpose of regrouping. But that is not the same thing as saying, “we lost,” as if the battle is over.
Finally,and most importantly, the cause of Truth is never decisively lost. It cannot be. We have a responsibility to continue to speak the Truth, love the Truth and live the Truth, no matter what the outcome may be. I would call this the Solzhenitsyn Option, or the Václav Havel Option.
We Christians cannot continue doing our ordinary occupations in our accustomed manner. What will come after the Modern World shakes itself apart? And what will Christians contribute? Dreher has done a great service in inducing so many people to be part of this all-important discussion.