Tag Archives: Children

What are some of the arguments against gay marriage?

A family praying and reading the Bible
A family praying and reading the Bible

Here are 10 from the Family Research Council.

The list:

  1. Children hunger for their biological parents.
  2. Children need fathers.
  3. Children need mothers.
  4. Evidence on parenting by same-sex couples is inadequate.
  5. Evidence suggests children raised by homosexuals are more likely to experience gender and sexual disorders.
  6. Same-sex “marriage” would undercut the norm of sexual fidelity within marriage.
  7. Same-sex “marriage” would further isolate marriage from its procreative purpose.
  8. Same-sex “marriage” would further diminish the expectation of paternal commitment.
  9. Marriages thrive when spouses specialize in gender-typical roles.
  10. Women and marriage domesticate men.

The eleventh one they missed is that a husband’s leadership is beneficial to a woman because it gives her direction and balances her emotional highs and lows. It’s not politically correct to say what women need from men in marriage, but it’s true. Just like men, women have weaknesses that can be corrected and compensated for by the opposite sex. The twelfth one they missed is that same-sex marriage is incompatible with religious liberty, as recent court cases have shown.

Anyway, here are the details on #7:

7. Same-sex “marriage” would further isolate marriage from its procreative purpose.

Traditionally, marriage and procreation have been tightly connected to one another. Indeed, from a sociological perspective, the primary purpose that marriage serves is to secure a mother and father for each child who is born into a society. Now, however, many Westerners see marriage in primarily emotional terms.

Among other things, the danger with this mentality is that it fosters an anti-natalist mindset that fuels population decline, which in turn puts tremendous social, political, and economic strains on the larger society. Same-sex marriage would only further undercut the procreative norm long associated with marriage insofar as it establishes that there is no necessary link between procreation and marriage.

This was spelled out in the Goodridge decision in Massachusetts, where the majority opinion dismissed the procreative meaning of marriage. It is no accident that the countries that have legalized or are considering legalizing same-sex marriage have some of the lowest fertility rates in the world. For instance, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Canada have birthrates that hover around 1.6 children per woman–well below the replacement fertility rate of 2.1.

I chose this one because I wanted to comment.

I think it’s common today for men and women to not put the production and development of children at the center of their marriage plans. They are not working a financial plan to prepare for children. They are not developing the skills they need to mentor and nurture others. They are resentful of any demands placed on them that restrict their freedom. And they want marriage to be about fun and self-fulfillment. This is not compatible with children, however. And that’s the point. The more we redefine marriage to be about adult selfishness – first with no-fault divorce, then with same-sex marriage – the less emphasis there is on the pre-marital preparations for making and raising children.

If you want to know what you should be doing with your life before marriage, then think of the process of having children and raising children. Think of how much it costs, what skills you will need, and how your character has to be trained. Many of the things that you see young people doing these days – binge drinking, hooking up, running up debt, cohabitating, avoiding things that are hard to do – are not preparing their character for the responsibilities, expectations and obligations that people face when they have children.

Suppose you have a friend who is not good at driving a manual transmission car or not good at weight lifting or not good at doing apologetics – are you able to help them do it, or are you incapable of taking responsibility? If you can’t take responsibility for helping an adult, you certainly can’t take responsibility for a child – children are much less capable. Now are you able to say no to doing things for your own happiness? If you are not able to give up your own happiness – and this is a thing that gets easier as you practice more – then you’re liable to look on your duties to your children with resentment – that you are being “manipulated” into it. You don’t suddenly learn how to put up with children just by walking down the aisle at a wedding. It takes training to get good at being generous with your time, money and effort. It takes practice.

In fact, a smart man who is courting a woman would be trying to get her to practice the behaviors of a wife and mother before he marries her. And the same for a smart women who is being courted by a man. For example, a man has to comfortable giving things to the people around him – he can’t be resentful about it. Even when he doesn’t particularly like those people, he has to focus on their needs, think about where he is trying to lead them, and then work a plan to provide for their needs so they get where he wants them to go. If a man doesn’t like the feel of caring for others who may not be grateful – or who may even hate him – then he should take steps to prepare his character to learn to like it. When a little kid says “I hate you!” to his father, who is paying thousands of dollars for him to grow up, it’s not an easy thing. Always being selfish before you marry is not good preparation for what children will demand of you. This is something I struggle with personally – being content to invest in others who turn out to be ungrateful, and even destructive.

So I think this focus on parenting is a wonderful way for people to work backwards from the goal (healthy, happy, successful children) to the interim tasks and required skills. It helps us to get away from thinking that marriage is about us – our happiness, our needs. Unfortunately, not everyone who runs around telling people that they want to get married “some day” is really taking steps to prepare for marriage and parenting right now. Marriage is a commitment to self-sacrificially love another person – however much they change – for the rest of their lives, and to love any children who appear, too. People don’t like to read about marriage and think it through. But just saying “I want to marry someday” is not a proof of preparation for marriage, as the divorce rate attests. To get married, you have to train yourself to think of others, and to do hard things that don’t make you feel “free” or “happy”. There is no path to a successful marriage that does not involve responsibilities, expectations and obligations for husband and wife. It’s not “happily ever after”. It’s hard work!

Abortion debate: a secular case against legalized abortion

Unborn baby scheming about being only two months old
Unborn baby scheming about being only two months old

Note: this post has a twin! Its companion post on a secular case against gay marriage is here.

Now, you may think that the view that the unborn deserve protection during pregnancy is something that you either take on faith or not. But I want to explain how you can make a case for the right to life of the unborn, just by using reason and evidence.

To defend the pro-life position, I think you need to sustain 3 arguments:

  1. The unborn is a living being with human DNA, and is therefore human.
  2. There is no morally-relevant difference between an unborn baby, and one already born.
  3. None of the justifications given for terminating an unborn baby are morally adequate.

Now, the pro-abortion debater may object to point 1, perhaps by claiming that the unborn baby is either not living, or not human, or not distinct from the mother.

Defending point 1: Well, it is pretty obvious that the unborn child is not inanimate matter. It is definitely living and growing through all 9 months of pregnancy. (Click here for a video that shows what a baby looks like through all 9 months of pregnancy). Since it has human DNA, that makes it a human. And its DNA is different from either its mother or father, so it clearly not just a tissue growth of the father or the mother. More on this point at Christian Cadre, here. An unborn child cannot be the woman’s own body, because then the woman would have four arms, four legs, two heads, four eyes and two different DNA signatures. When you have two different human DNA signatures, you have two different humans.

Secondly, the pro-abortion debater may try to identify a characteristic of the unborn that is not yet present or developed while it is still in the womb, and then argue that because the unborn does not have that characteristic, it does not deserve the protection of the law.

Defending point 2: You need to show that the unborn are not different from the already-born in any meaningful way. The main differences between them are: size, level of development, environment and degree of dependence. Once these characteristics are identified, you can explain that none of these differences provide moral justification for terminating a life. For example, babies inside and outside the womb have the same value, because location does not change a human’s intrinsic value.

Additionally, the pro-abortion debater may try to identify a characteristic of the already-born that is not yet present or developed in the unborn, and then argue that because the unborn does not have that characteristic, that it does not deserve protection, (e.g. – sentience). Most of the these objections that you may encounter are refuted in this essay by Francis Beckwith. Usually these objections fall apart because they assume the thing they are trying to prove, namely, that the unborn deserves less protection than the already born.

Finally, the pro-abortion debater may conceded your points 1 and 2, and admit that the unborn is fully human. But they may then try to provide a moral justification for terminating the life of the unborn, regardless.

Defending point 3: I fully grant that it is sometimes justifiable to terminate an innocent human life, if there is a moral justification. Is there such a justification for abortion? One of the best known attempts to justify abortion is Judith Jarvis Thomson’s “violinist” argument. This argument is summarized by Paul Manata, one of the experts over at Triablogue:

Briefly, this argument goes like this: Say a world-famous violinist developed a fatal kidney ailment and the Society of Music Lovers found that only you had the right blood-type to help. So, they therefore have you kidnapped and then attach you to the violinist’s circulatory system so that your kidneys can be used to extract the poison from his. To unplug yourself from the violinist would be to kill him; therefore, pro-lifers would say a person has to stay attached against her will to the violinist for 9 months. Thompson says that it would be morally virtuous to stay plugged-in. But she asks, “Do you have to?” She appeals to our intuitions and answers, “No.”

Manata then goes on to defeat Thomson’s proposal here, with a short, memorable illustration, which I highly recommend that you check out. More info on how to respond to similar arguments is here.

Here is the best book for beginners on the pro-life view.

For those looking for advanced resources, Francis Beckwith, a professor at Baylor University, published the book Defending Life, with Cambridge University Press, 2007.

What the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett communicates to secular left feminists

Amy Coney Barrett, her husband and her 7 children
Amy Coney Barrett, her husband and her 7 children in the Oval Office

Here’s an article from The Federalist by my favorite Federalist writer, Joy Pullmann, where she lists 9 feminist lies that were smashed by the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett:

  • Women Need Abortion to Succeed
  • Children Make You Unhappy
  • Women Must Repress Their Fertility to Succeed
  • Religious People and Conservatives Are Anti-Sex
  • Women Don’t Need Men
  • Christianity Oppresses Women
  • Conservatives Hate Women
  • Women Should Prioritize Career Over Family
  • Women Are Oppressed

The article is excellent. I will just focus on the one part that I thought was the most interesting:

Marriage is the epitome of the cooperation of the sexes, yet the left treats it as unnecessary at best and harmful at worst. The Black Lives Matter organization, for example, which has been supported by millions in donations and thousands of endorsements from CEOs and Democrat politicians, in its policy platform openly attacked “heteronormative” “nuclear families.”

Gloria Steinem, the apostle of feminism, popularized the phrase “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” Leftism and feminism pit the sexes against each other, while conservatism and Christianity recognize that the sexes are interdependent. This recognition brings humankind joy instead of hatred.

Fathers are crucial to the happiness and well-being of every child, a need that only intensifies with the addition of each child. Barrett’s husband Jesse is a full partner in their marriage with his own significant career. Barrett recognized her husband’s major contributions to their family and her happiness in her nomination acceptance speech Saturday night.

I couldn’t manage this very full life without the unwavering support of my husband Jesse. At the start of our marriage, I imagined that we would run our household as partners. As it has turned out, Jesse does far more than his share of the work. To my chagrin, I learned at dinner recently that my children consider him to be the better cook. For 21 years, Jesse has asked me every single morning what he can do for me that day. And though I almost always say ‘Nothing,’ he still finds ways to take things off my plate. And that’s not because he has a lot of free time—he has a busy law practice. It’s because he has a superb and generous husband, and I am very fortunate.

Given her description, I think it’s accurate to guess Barrett and her husband’s interdependence is a source of strength and joy to them both, as well as to their children and community. They have undoubtedly achieved much more together than they could have separately, as many highly successful women will also tell you of their marriages. Our husbands are our sometimes-secret weapon.

Feminists don’t like any of Joy’s 9 points, though.

Feminism is what a woman believes after she has smashed herself up by having sex with bad boys. Bad boy failures makes her think that all men are unreliable. She likes abortion because it allows her to chase the bad boys she is attracted to. When she learns how bad boys are unreliable, she intentionally delays marriage to focus on her career and pay off all her student loans. But, if a woman avoids bad boys, and instead chooses a good husband who supports her, she can have 5 kids and adopt 2 more and not have all that bitterness. With a good husband, and a network of supportive relatives, she can even get on the Supreme Court.

I prefer that young women study for a STEM degree, and try to avoid student loans with community college, scholarships, living at home, summer jobs, etc. I recommend they work until their first child arrives. After that, they should stay home with the children, at least for the first 3 years of each child’s life. And obviously, having more children leads to a bigger legacy than fewer children. I’m also a strong supporter of homeschooling. I don’t have much confidence in Christian schools, private schools and especially public schools.

However, in the special case of women like Amy Coney Barrett, who can make a huge difference in the world for the good of conservatives and Christians, then it may be possible, with an excellent husband and many willing relatives, to have a safety net for the children that allows her to do something that will protect us all from the secular left. This is not the ordinary case, of course. This is 1% of the 1% of the 1%. There is no doubt that her children will suffer from her decision to have a career. But if she makes a Supreme Court decision that protects the unborn, or safeguards self-defense rights, or preserves religious liberty, it will be worth it. I don’t think this is the ordinary case. I don’t support mothers of young children having ordinary careers just to make money, because usually the young children have to be placed with strangers.

My goal for my wife was that she be a stay at home wife and mother, at least while we have any children under 3, and preferably under 5. I wouldn’t have liked to have a wife who served on the Supreme Court. I wouldn’t want to share my wife with co-workers, because of the way I was raised. But I can understand why it is a good thing for me (and for conservatives and Christians) that she is the nominee.

Study: children of naturally married couples outperform children of same-sex couples

A family praying and reading the Bible
A family praying and reading the Bible

Whenever I debate a controversial issue, I like to go straight to the studies in order to let the evidence speak for itself. Although it’s difficult to convince someone on the opposite side to change their mind, usually people in the middle will side with the person who has evidence, instead of the person who is crying the loudest and telling anecdotal stories that may or may even not be true.

The Public Discourse reports on a study out of Canada.

Excerpt:

A new academic study based on the Canadian census suggests that a married mom and dad matter for children. Children of same-sex coupled households do not fare as well.

There is a new and significant piece of evidence in the social science debate about gay parenting and the unique contributions that mothers and fathers make to their children’s flourishing. A study published last week in the journal Review of the Economics of the Household—analyzing data from a very large, population-based sample—reveals that the children of gay and lesbian couples are only about 65 percent as likely to have graduated from high school as the children of married, opposite-sex couples. And gender matters, too: girls are more apt to struggle than boys, with daughters of gay parents displaying dramatically low graduation rates.

Unlike US-based studies, this one evaluates a 20 percent sample of the Canadian census, where same-sex couples have had access to all taxation and government benefits since 1997 and to marriage since 2005.

While in the US Census same-sex households have to be guessed at based on the gender and number of self-reported heads-of-household, young adults in the Canadian census were asked, “Are you the child of a male or female same-sex married or common law couple?” While study author and economist Douglas Allen noted that very many children in Canada who live with a gay or lesbian parent are actually living with a single mother—a finding consonant with that detected in the 2012 New Family Structures Study—he was able to isolate and analyze hundreds of children living with a gay or lesbian couple (either married or in a “common law” relationship akin to cohabitation).

So the study is able to compare—side by side—the young-adult children of same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples, as well as children growing up in single-parent homes and other types of households. Three key findings stood out to Allen:

children of married opposite-sex families have a high graduation rate compared to the others; children of lesbian families have a very low graduation rate compared to the others; and the other four types [common law, gay, single mother, single father] are similar to each other and lie in between the married/lesbian extremes.

Employing regression models and series of control variables, Allen concludes that the substandard performance cannot be attributed to lower school attendance or the more modest education of gay or lesbian parents. Indeed, same-sex parents were characterized by higher levels of education, and their children were more likely to be enrolled in school than even those of married, opposite-sex couples. And yet their children are notably more likely to lag in finishing their own schooling.

[…]The truly unique aspect of Allen’s study, however, may be its ability to distinguish gender-specific effects of same-sex households on children. He writes:

the particular gender mix of a same-sex household has a dramatic difference in the association with child graduation. Consider the case of girls. . . . Regardless of the controls and whether or not girls are currently living in a gay or lesbian household, the odds of graduating from high school are considerably lower than any other household type. Indeed, girls living in gay households are only 15 percent as likely to graduate compared to girls from opposite sex married homes.

Thus although the children of same-sex couples fare worse overall, the disparity is unequally shared, but is instead based on the combination of the gender of child and gender of parents. Boys fare better—that is, they’re more likely to have finished high school—in gay households than in lesbian households. For girls, the opposite is true. Thus the study undermines not only claims about “no differences” but also assertions that moms and dads are interchangeable. They’re not.

With a little digging, I found the abstract of the study:

Almost all studies of same-sex parenting have concluded there is “no difference” in a range of outcome measures for children who live in a household with same-sex parents compared to children living with married opposite-sex parents. Recently, some work based on the US census has suggested otherwise, but those studies have considerable drawbacks. Here, a 20% sample of the 2006 Canada census is used to identify self-reported children living with same-sex parents, and to examine the association of household type with children’s high school graduation rates. This large random sample allows for control of parental marital status, distinguishes between gay and lesbian families, and is large enough to evaluate differences in gender between parents and children. Children living with gay and lesbian families in 2006 were about 65 % as likely to graduate compared to children living in opposite sex marriage families. Daughters of same-sex parents do considerably worse than sons.

The author of the study is a professor of economics at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. His PhD in economics is from the University of Washington. A previous study had shown that gay relationships typically have far more instability (they last for more shorter times). That’s not good for children either. Another study featured in the Atlantic talked about how gay relationships have much higher rates of domestic violence. That’s not good for children either. So we have three reasons to think that normalizing gay relationships as “marriage” would not be good for children.

The reason I am posting this is because I want people to understand why social conservatives like me propose these laws defining and promoting marriage. We do favor natural marriage for the same reason that we oppose no-fault divorce, and for the same reason why we oppose welfare for single mothers (it encourages single motherhood). We don’t want to encourage people to deprive children of their mother or their father. We look at the research, and we decide that children need their mother and father. Given the choice between the needs of the child and restraining the freedom of the adults, we prefer the child’s need for her mother and father. It’s not just arbitrary rules, there is a reason behind the rules.

But children are not commodities. They have certain needs right out of the box. Adults should NOT be thinking about how to duct-tape a child onto any old relationship that doesn’t offer the same safety and stability that opposite sex marriage offers. We should be passing laws to strengthen marriage in order to protect children, not to weaken it. Libertarians don’t want to do that, because they want adults to be free to do as they please, at the expense of children.  Libertarians think that the adults should be able to negotiate private contracts and have no obligations to any children who are present, or who may be present later.

Related posts

Suzanne Venker interviews Dr. Stephen Baskerville about divorce and its beneficiaries

Marriage and family
Marriage and family

I am just LOVING the Suzanne Venker podcast. You should subscribe if you like discussions with experts about marriage, divorce, feminism, sex and relationships. Recent guests: Christina Hoff Sommers, Rollo Tomassi, Janice Fiamengo, Denise McAllister, Katy Faust, Helen Smith, Joy Pullmann, Heather Mac Donald, Mona Charen, Dr. Laura, Dennis Prager, Allison Armstrong, etc.

You can listen to the episode here.

And it came with a free summary:

Children of divorce are in desperate need of a relationship with both their parents. Sadly, far too many are reduced to having a relationship with only one parent: the mother.

Citing a principle called the “best interest of the child,” family courts award sole or primary custody of most children of divorced parents to mothers, thereby reducing fathers to occasional visitation and zero authority.

The silence on this issue is deafening, and this silence comes just as much from the right as it does from the left. It even comes from churches.

Making matters worse is that divorce is no longer fault-based. Unilateral divorce is now the law of the land, and three-fourths of divorces are initiated by wives. Women don’t have to allege any fault by the husband, and he has no right to oppose the divorce.

To address this monstrous social travesty, I could think of no one better than Stephen Baskerville, former Professor of Government at Patrick Henry College. Stephen is widely recognized as a leading authority on fatherhood, family policy, and sexual politics. He holds a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics and writes on political ideologies with an emphasis on religion, family policy, and sexuality. His books include The New Politics of Sex and Taken Into Custody: The War against Fathers, Marriage, and the Family.

Stephen serves on advisory boards to the Ruth Institute, the Men’s Health Network and other organizations. His website is http://www.stephenbaskerville.com.

IN THIS EPISODE:

5:00-8:00 How Stephen began writing on the “divorce industry,” the political dynamics involved and about no-fault divorce: why it disproportionately affects fathers.

8:00 How women are encouraged to get divorced and take the children, make false accusations against fathers etc.

10:24 How men are less likely to use children as weapons against the other spouse

10:45  The Myth of the Deadbeat Dad

14:00 What is no-fault divorce and why is it wrong, why is it a system of “chaos” and why we need to “enforce the constitution” when it comes to divorce

11:40 – 16:00  How the Bill of Rights is violated in many divorce cases and how basic constitutional rights are being violated.

17:00  How political correctness keeps ups from being able to address it and solve the problems with no-fault divorce and how both the left and right wing media both ignore it

19:00  How even Ronald Reagan admits he was deceived when he signed the first No Fault divorce legislation into action in CA. How there was also no public debate or discussion at the time it was enacted and throughout the years until now

19:45 How these laws have affected the social structure, including crime, fatherlessness in homes, etc.

20:49-22:50  What does Stephen tell and recommend for fathers as recourse for these issues?

24:35-30:30  Why the effects of the sexual revolution have led to the the West to brink of social and economic ruin (this includes sexual chaos, domestic violence, sexual harassment, etc.)

30:45 – Why feminism has not created a “utopia” for a women

33:00 – Stephen discusses single parent homes and the breakdown of the family

36:20 How the church not being involved in marriage has created a vacuum for the lawyers, social workers, judges and therapists to step in

37:45 Stephen talks about the idea of being “offended” and why men are responsible for stepping up and being leaders

For a virgin who has not and probably never will marry, I have had a lifelong interest in how to date and marry the right way – in order to get results and leave a legacy. So I know all these speakers, and have books my many of them (Dr. Laura, Janice Fiamengo, Helen Smith, Dr. Laura, Christina Hoff Sommers, Stephen Baskerville, etc.) in my house. I’m fascinated by these issues and know very much about what does and does not work in a marriage.