Texas is the most economically successful state in the union, but that’s not the only thing special about Texas. Texas governor Greg Abbott is a strong promoter of the free enterprise system. But he is also serious about defending Judeo-Christian values. Right now, he is my pick to be the next Republican nominee for President, even more than my previous favorite, Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin. Abbott’s doing a lot for social conservatives, as well as fiscal conservatives.
This Texas Tribune story shows what achievements he will be able to run on in a Republican primary:
Gov. Greg Abbott has signed into law legislation shielding pastors’ sermons from government subpoena power.
Senate Bill 24 stemmed from the 2014 battle over Houston’s anti-discrimination ordinance, when the city subpoenaed sermons of five pastors who opposed it. The legislation was a priority of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who joined Abbott on Sunday for a bill-signing ceremony at the churches of one of those pastors.
[…]Authored by state Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, SB 24 says a government cannot “compel the production or disclosure of a written copy or audio or video recording of a sermon delivered by a religious leader during religious worship … or compel the religious leader to testify regarding the sermon.” It went into effect immediately when it was formally signed by Abbott on Friday in Austin.
You’ll remember that this law became necessary when Houston’s gay Democrat mayor decided to subpoena the sermons of Christian pastors to try to intimidate them into not talking about moral issues.
There’s another story from the Daily Signal about another bill that is headed to Governor Abbott’s desk:
The Texas Senate early Monday passed a bill to allow faith-based adoption and foster care providers to operate based on their religious beliefs.
By a final vote of 21-10, state senators agreed with their counterparts in the Texas House of Representatives that society should continue to make room for adoption and foster care services associated with a religious tradition, whether Christian or Muslim.
Only one Democrat joined the Senate’s 20 Republicans in voting for the bill. The remaining 10 voted against it.
In an interview Monday with The Daily Signal, state Rep. James Frank, a Republican who co-wrote the legislation, predicted that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott would sign it.
“I am obviously very excited about it passing the Senate, and I fully expect … that Governor Abbott will sign it and it will be law,” Frank said, “and we’ll have, I hope, more people serving and free to serve children in the state of Texas.”
Not sure why Democrats would vote against a bill like this, but I notice a lot of Democrats are getting busted for underage sex and underage sexting lately. We already knew how Democrats felt about no-fault divorce and adultery: they’re all for it! Any sort of selfishness that adults can engage in is more important than providing kids with a mom and a dad. Democrats oppose prioritizing opposite sex couples, because it might offend gay couples or single parents.
“The best ever.” “The perfect 10.” “The best gymnast in history.” “Unbeatable.” “Stunning.” “Breathtaking.” “A Legend in the making.”
These are some of the ways Simone Biles has been described by her competition, even before her Olympic debut. Biles, a 19-year-old gymnast for Team U.S.A., is already the most decorated gold medalist in world championship gymnastics history. In Rio, she is on the fast track to becoming the best in the world, again, being an odds-on favorite to bring home as many as five gold medals.
Simone is on her way to bringing the U.S.A. glory on an international stage, becoming a household name for millions, and signing tens of millions of dollars worth of lucrative endorsement deals.
Stunning! But where did this young lady come from?
Biles and her siblings were born into a fatherless, drug-abusing family and eventually placed in foster care. According to Texas Monthly:
Biles was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1997 to drug-addicted parents who struggled to care for their children. Biles and her three siblings were shuffled back and forth between their mother’s house and a foster home. (Biles’s father had abandoned her mother and was never present in his daughter’s life.)
When I asked her what memories she has from those days, Biles recalled that one of the foster homes had a trampoline that she and her siblings weren’t allowed to play on.
Her upbringing was chaotic. Biles bounced back and forth between state and foster care until she was six years old. In 2001, her grandparents, Ron and Nellie Biles, officially adopted Simone and her sister and moved them to Spring, Texas.
Something else very interesting – she is attends church weekly:
Her parents also introduced Simone to her Christian faith. She attends mass with her family every Sunday when she is not competing. Simone prays regularly and carries a rosary that her mother gave her.
At age 13, Simone Biles broke down in tears. She had decided not to attend a normal high school, opting for homeschooling in order to practice her gymnastics.
“I was just so lonely all the time,” Biles told The Undefeated’s Lonnae O’Neal. “I missed, like, all my friends at school and stuff. But I mean, in the end, it worked out.”
[…]Biles sacrificed a great deal for the opportunity to train: There would be no prom, no after-school activities, no comaraderie with fellow classmates. But she took the risk. “I decided that I wanted to be better. I didn’t just want to throw my skills, I wanted them to look good.”
The future Olympian adopted an intensive training and competition schedule, which made it impossible to follow the traditional high school track. “If I had a competition, I had to leave [school] for like a month; I would take my schoolwork with me,” she told Jarvey. “I didn’t get the high school opportunity, but it always worked out.”
I don’t think that you can produce success like this if you run a child through the government-run public schools. They have their own secular leftist agenda to push.
The 2016 Olympics in Rio
I have videos of some of her performances in Rio.
Here she is scoring 16.060 out of 16.300 on the vault:
A tremendous floor exercise performance:
Very strong beam performance:
The American team won gold, beating the second-place Russians by 8.209 points, 184.897 to 176.688. This is an enormous margin of victory for gymnastics – the largest margin of victory ever. (The previous largest was 5.066 points)
So, what shall we say about this? Well, I want to first contrast the atheist worldview with the Christian worldview. The atheist worldview basically says that the strong should seek their own happiness and fulfillment, even if the weak must suffer and die. That is why atheists are so heavily committed to recreational sex and abortion on demand for any reason or no reason at all. Self-sacrificial love is irrational according to the atheist worldview. They deny objective morality. They want to have fun, and they are willing to kill (weaker) others to prevent any loss of fun. That’s atheism in a nutshell. There is no stronger pro-abortion group than atheists. The unwanted weak are expendable (to them).
Christianity on the other hand welcomes the needs and demands of others. This is what you get when you read the words of Jesus in the gospels. Whoever asks you to go one mile, go with him two. Whoever asks you for your shirt, hand over your cloak as well. Jesus says that the Kingdom of God belongs to little children. In chapter 2 of the Didache (an early Christian writing), Christians are urged “You shall not murder a child by abortion”. And the earliest Christians would take in unwanted infants abandoned by their parent(s). Christians are supposed to be into taking trouble for the sake of others. Christians are supposed to be into accepting obligations and taking responsibility.
So often, I see many young Christians being more interested in grabbing the spotlight for themselves. Apologists want to be in the spotlight, missionaries want to travel to have adventures, and ordinary Christians just embrace the prosperity gospel – Christianity as life-enhancement. I think we are going in the wrong direction. The real treasure for Christians consists in allowing others who are in distress to make demands on us, and then helping them to grow and strive. Don’t be so focused on being the center of attention that you neglect the needs of the person right in front of you. My friend Dina is especially good at this. She is a very busy professional, but she fills up all her spare time with visiting the elderly, the sick and the dying. She barely has any time for her own leisure. But this is practical Christianity – others first, me second.
I think the example of a married couple adopting an unwanted child and investing in that child to make something special is especially appropriate for Christians. But today, I find that young Christians somehow want to put off marriage, and put off having children, and put off adopting children. They want to make a difference some other way, in front of a big crowd. I don’t think that Christianity was intended to work that way. Help the person in front of you. And a marriage is a wonderful unit to take on others who are in distress. It’s a strong partnership where two people can pool resources in order to take care of others more efficiently. It’s a good witness to the culture as a whole, because people are looking for love more than they are looking for truth. A good marriage invites them in to ask questions.
This UK Daily Mail story was sent to me by Dina, and it shows what happens in countries where gay marriage and the gay rights agenda are a little more advanced than what we have here, under the Democrats. (Note that UK expressions like “sacked” and “struck off” mean termination of employment)
A Christian judge has been struck off after claiming during a BBC interview that adopted children were better off with a man and a woman as parents than with a gay couple.
Magistrate Richard Page, 68, was sacked after 15 years at Maidstone and Sevenoaks courts, in Kent, after objecting to a gay couple adopting a child live on air.
The Judiciary Conduct Investigations Office confirmed that the father-of-three has been removed from the magistracy as a district judge.
They said that the grounds for his dismissal result from comments made on national television which a reasonable person would conclude he is bias against single sex adopters.
The interview came after Mr Page had spoken out against a child being adopted by a gay couple, and would be better placed ‘with a mother and father’ in 2014.
He was disciplined for his remarks, which were made in private to colleagues behind closed doors during an adoption case.
But during an interview, which aired in March 2015, Mr Page repeated his opinion.
He was recorded saying: ‘My responsibility as a magistrate, as I saw it, was to do what I considered best for the child, and my feeling was therefore that it would be better if it was a man and woman who were the adopted parents.’
Yeah, in the politically correct UK, that’s grounds for dismissal. Basically, this is the continuation of a long line of changes in marriage-related policy that were meant to privilege the rights of selfish adults over the rights of children.
It all started with no-fault divorce laws, which allowed spouses who were not “happy” in their life-long self-sacrificial commitments to easily get out of it by filing for divorce for any reason, or for no reason at all. This law was championed by trial lawyers and feminists, who think that marriage is about the needs, feelings and desires of selfish adults. They wanted to make it easier to get out of commitments that were entered into lightly, and they didn’t care about the children.
The next change to marriage policy was making cohabitation equivalent to marriage. Again, feminists and other liberals did not want to undertake a lifelong commitment that would be hard to get out of. They wanted the same tax benefits that marriage allows for temporary arrangements like living together. But living together temporarily is nowhere near as good for children as life-long, self-sacrificial married love.
The next change to marriage policy was redefining marriage to remove the complimentary genders norm, which further disenfranchised children to benefit self-centered adults. Instead of making the central purpose of marriage based on two complimentary sexes creating and nurturing new life, marriage is now about two people having intense emotional feelings of pleasure. Feelings which, by their very nature, cannot provide a stable, lasting environment for raising children.
And now we have gay adoption, which continues the privileging of selfish adults over the needs of vulnerable children. ALL of the social science evidence shows that male-female relationships are more stable over the long-term than same-sex relationships. There is less domestic violence, more monogamy, more fidelity and more stability. All of which are better for children. Children benefit from growing up in a home where a man loves a woman and is faithful to her, and where a woman respects a man, and is faithful to him.
And now we see how far the marriage redefiners on the secular left are willing to go to put the selfish desires of adults above the needs of children for stability. They are willing to terminate the employment of anyone who dares to speak out on behalf of children.
We really need Christians to be diligent in learning how to defend marriage, and to get married and stay married and model successful, loving, stable marriages to the culture as a whole. We need pro-marriage apologetics, and we need marriages that are focused on self-sacrificial love. We need marriages that focus on responsibilities, obligations and expectations, not on fun and thrills.
I’ll explain why I am posting this below, but for now, let’s take a look at the study, which is discussed at Family Studies. (H/T Brad Wilcox tweet)
To expand what we know about adopted students, for this Institute for Family Studies research brief, I carried out a fresh analysis of data from a large longitudinal study of 19,000 kindergarten students that was conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics beginning in 1998.
[…]Kindergarten and first-grade teachers were asked to rate the classroom behavior of children in the ECLS-K sample—how well they got along with other children in a group situation. In both the fall of kindergarten and the spring of first grade, adopted children were more likely than biological ones to be reported to get angry easily and often argue or fight with other students.
Here’s the first chart:
And more results:
Children in the ECLS-K were also rated by their teachers on how well they paid attention in class, whether they seemed eager to learn new things, and whether they persisted at challenging learning tasks. Scores on these measures have proven to be predictive of later academic performance and career success beyond elementary school.5Adopted children were rated less highly with respect to such positive approaches to learning than were children being raised by both birth parents.
Here’s the second chart:
And even more results:
As the participating children began kindergarten, the ECLS-K assessed their pre-reading skills, such as recognizing letters by name, associating sounds with letters, identifying simple words by sight.
Here’s the third chart:
And now math results:
In the fall of their kindergarten year, the ECLS-K assessed children’s pre-arithmetic skills like counting by rote, recognizing written numerals, and understanding greater, lesser, and equal relationships.
Here’s the fourth chart:
The article concludes:
Attachment theory holds that a warm, intimate, and continuous relationship with at least one adult, usually the mother, is essential for the mental health of infants and young children. Children who do not develop a stable and secure bond during early childhood, or have the bond disrupted, are subject to both short-term distress reactions and longer-term abnormalities in their feelings and behavior toward other people. Not having a stable maternal bond is apt to produce long-lasting deficits in the child’s social development, deficiencies that are not easily remedied by a new home environment, no matter how favorable.
Some adopted children experienced neglect, abuse, or other stressful events prior to their adoption. According to traumatic stress theory, the likelihood of long-term emotional scars depends on the intensity and duration of the stress. Severe or prolonged early stress can have long-lasting effects on a child’s development, effects that a supportive adoptive family may only partly ameliorate.
So what do I want to say about this? I want to warn young women, especially young Christian women, that children work best when grown-ups plan their lives in such a way that they can provide for what the children need, at the time they need it. And if you miss the window of opportunity to have your own kids and raise them yourself, then you can’t just fix it at the last minute with ad hoc alternatives.
But for some reason, I get a lot of kickback from young women when I tell them what studies say about things like marriage, premarital sex, cohabitation, infertility, day care, and on and on and on. The Christian women in particular dismiss all the facts with stuff like:
God is leading me to choose fun and thrills now. That’s what my feelings say (and all my friends and family tell me that my feelings are God speaking to me). Tingles and peer-approval rationalize my choice to delay marriage and child-bearing. Who cares about stuff evidence? I don’t like to hear about constraints and deadlines. So I’ll just keep up this plan to run up debts, go on missionary trips, and have fun traveling till I’m 90 years old. God always calls people to do what feels good. I’m going on an adventure! And it will be easy to find a good husband and raise happy and effective kids later – whenever I feel like it. Er, I mean when God leads me to feel like it. Yeah.
So even though all of these studies show the need for timings, pre-conditions, best practices, and so on, that can all be dismissed because the feelings are God speaking to her, and God can somehow magically make all the data not apply to her. One of my married friends once wrote to a young, single fun-seeking feminist telling her about the risks of delaying marriage and child-bearing for too long, and the fun-seeker came back to me dismissing the whole letter because “I don’t like the feeling that I am being constrained”. So, the advice of old Christian women (Titus 2:4) can be dismissed because the young adventurous feminist didn’t like the feeling of being confronted by reality by someone who had more wisdom and experience than she did.
What young children need is their mom, and a Dad who can provide for her to stay home during the crucial first 5 years of their lives. That is more important than pursuing fun and thrills, then grabbing for children as if they were handbags at the last second after natural child-bearing becomes impossible. The right thing to do is to use your 20s preparing financially and otherwise to have kids when you are young, and to be financially set up to stay home with them during the critical years. Choosing a man who can provide, and who understands the best practices for having and raising children is vital, if you want your children to be effective and influential for Christ and his kingdom.
I do think that if a couple is intentionally adopting because they want the challenge and want to help a child who really needs it, then it’s praiseworthy to do that. I just don’t want someone who isn’t ready for the challenge thinking that adoption is the same, so they can delay marriage and children.I know that I am lazy, and I always want to do things the easy way. E.g. – I buy new cars, not used cars. I will buy hand-fed birds, not rescue birds. I would buy a new house, not a fixer-upper. I’m just not cut out for doing things that are hard. I have no ability to struggle through when there is resistance. When I face rejection or resistance to trying to grow or lead someone, I just give up. I think what I was saying to young women was – don’t delay marriage and child-bearing, you’ll get better results with less work.
Let’s look at this post from The Public Discourse and see if gay relationships are as stable, or even more stable, than straight ones.
The [NFSS] study found that the children who were raised by a gay or lesbian parent as little as 15 years ago were usually conceived within a heterosexual marriage, which then underwent divorce or separation, leaving the child with a single parent. That parent then had at least one same-sex romantic relationship, sometimes outside of the child’s home, sometimes within it. To be more specific, among the respondents who said their mother had a same-sex romantic relationship, a minority, 23%, said they had spent at least three years living in the same household with both their mother and her romantic partner. Only 2 out of the 15,000 screened spent a span of 18 years with the same two mothers. Among those who said their father had had a same-sex relationship, 1.1% of children reported spending at least three years together with both men.
This strongly suggests that the parents’ same-sex relationships were often short-lived, a finding consistent with the broader research on elevated levels of instability among same-sex romantic partners. For example, a recent 2012 study of same-sex couples in Great Britain finds that gay and lesbian cohabiting couples are more likely to separate than heterosexual couples. A 2006 study of same sex marriages in Norway and Sweden found that “divorce risk levels are considerably higher in same-sex marriages” such that Swedish lesbian couples are more than three times as likely to divorce as heterosexual couples, and Swedish gay couples are 1.35 times more likely to divorce (net of controls). Timothy Biblarz and Judith Stacey, two of the most outspoken advocates for same-sex marriage in the U.S. academy, acknowledge that there is more instability among lesbian parents.
The 2003-2004 Gay/Lesbian Consumer Online Census surveyed the lifestyles of 7,862 homosexuals. Of those involved in a “current relationship,” only 15 percent describe their current relationship as having lasted twelve years or longer, with five percent lasting more than twenty years. While this “snapshot in time” is not an absolute predictor of the length of homosexual relationships, it does indicate that few homosexual relationships achieve the longevity common in marriages.
In The Sexual Organization of the City, University of Chicago sociologist Edward Laumann argues that “typical gay city inhabitants spend most of their adult lives in ‘transactional’ relationships, or short-term commitments of less than six months.”
A study of homosexual men in the Netherlands published in the journal AIDS found that the “duration of steady partnerships” was 1.5 years.
In his study of male homosexuality in Western Sexuality: Practice and Precept in Past and Present Times, Pollak found that “few homosexual relationships last longer than two years, with many men reporting hundreds of lifetime partners.”
In Male and Female Homosexuality, Saghir and Robins found that the average male homosexual live-in relationship lasts between two and three years.
It’s a Grindr lifestyle. And it’s not a good environment for meeting the needs of children. (Example)
There is one study (Rosenfeld, 2014) that tries to argue against the conclusion of all these other studies, and the problems with it are discussed in this post.
The right way to think about gay marriage is to think about it as an extension of no-fault divorce. The same feminists and leftists who pushed for the legalization of no-fault divorce told us back then that the children would be fine, that children are resilient. No-fault divorce was a change in the definition of marriage. The leftists said that divorce would never become widespread, and that it would not harm children in any way. It was all a pack of lies. If the practices of the gay lifestyle become conflated with marriage, then marriage will come to denote relationships engaged in for “love” not children, such that unchastity, infidelity, increased domestic violence and frequent break-ups are incorporated back into the definition of marriage. Marriage is about permanence, exclusivity and building an environment that can welcome children and supply for their needs. It’s not about government giving people respect for their romantic feelings. Those are volatile. What government ought to be rewarding is lifelong commitment.