Tag Archives: Divorce

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.

Men on strike: the social changes that caused men to opt out of marriage

Painting: "Courtship", by Edmund Blair Leighton (1888)
Painting: “Courtship”, by Edmund Blair Leighton (1888)

I read and enjoyed Dr. Helen Smith’s book “Men on Strike” a few years back. The book explains a few of the developments that have led to men underperforming in school and in the workplace, and opting out of marriage and fatherhood.

Dr. Helen comes to this problem as a secular libertarian, not as a Christian conservative.

A review of Dr. Helen’s book appeared in Salvo magazine. The review is written by Terrell Clemmons, who has the best Christian worldview of any woman I know – I frequently rely on her advice.

Terrell writes:

While the feminist movement may originally have been about equal respect for both sexes, what it has morphed into, she argues, is female privilege. From rape laws that empower women but not the men they may falsely accuse, to divorce laws tilted in favor of the wife, to the feminization of the U.S. education system, men have become the sex under the gun, while women enjoy the status of a protected class.

But unlike their mothers or grandmothers, men today are not taking to the streets burning their undergarments and shrieking demands (thank God). They’re doing just the opposite, which is far worse. They’re going on strike. The strike zones are manifold:

Higher Education.In addition to the enrollment imbalance, which is approaching a 60/40 ratio of women to men, college has become, in the words of one professor, “a hostile working environment [in which] males increasingly feel emasculated.” Smith quotes a student named John, who had this to say about his college experience: “I had already been cautious around women, having grown up with Tawana Brawley in my backyard and daily stories of sexual harassment; I played it safe and passive every time. But it doesn’t matter. The only way not to lose is to not play. So I’m out.”

Work,including community involvement. With higher female graduation rates and salaries, men today are falling behind their fathers economically and professionally. Consequently, their efforts to prove themselves worthy mates through hard work and higher earnings don’t win female attention the way they used to. Discouraged, too many retreat to a man cave, and inertia sets in from there.

Marriage.Marriage rates are down, and honest men opting out will tell you why. Smith cites a Rutgers University study of single heterosexual men which turned up the top reasons they hadn’t married. They can get sex and the companionship of cohabitation without marriage more easily than in times past, and they don’t want to open themselves up to the risk of divorce and financial loss. It really isn’t that complicated a decision. In fact, it’s often not an actual decision at all. It just happens.

The simplest explanation for the difficulties that boys face in an education system that is dominated by women (teachers and administrators) is discrimination. And in the workplace, the government requires employers to report on male and female head counts, and promote women who are not qualified. I have seen receptionists with tattoos and no college degrees promoted to six-figure manager jobs in companies where I worked.

There is one more which to me was the most surprising one in the book – paternity fraud, and the laws that support paternity fraud:

Take the following cases of nonconsensual insemination: Nathaniel from California, age 15, had sex with 34-year-old Ricci, which, due to his age, was legally considered nonconsensual. Emile from Louisiana was visiting his parents in the hospital when a nurse offered him oral sex, if he wore a condom, which she conveniently offered to dispose of for him afterward. S. F. from Alabama passed out drunk at the home of a female friend and awoke undressed the following morning. In all three cases, including the one involving the minor, a woman got sperm and, nine months later, a child, and the man got ordered by a court of law to pay support for eighteen years.

Less devious, but similarly amiss, are those cases in which a man, having been betrayed by his wife or girlfriend, was nevertheless held financially responsible for a child genetically proven to be another man’s offspring. While not as sensational as sperm-jacking, it is another form of paternity extortion.

In each of those cases, the man was found liable to pay child support – including the case of the 15-year-old boy, who was forced to pay child support to his statutory rapist when he turned 18. This is how the court system works, and more and more men are understanding the risks.

I often encounter “pro-marriage” people while gathering stories for the blog. These pro-marriage people come in two varieties.

On the one end of the spectrum are people like Terrell Clemmons and Jennifer Roback Morse, who understand marriage, but who also understand the social changes that have made marriage unattractive for men. Both Clemmons and Morse have a background in STEM fields, so they are able to understand incentives and tradeoffs. They understand that society has to rollback the changes to education, divorce laws, etc. if they expect men to be interested in marriage again. They understand that men are not just accessories of women, but instead have their own desires, feelings and reasons for marrying.

On the other end of the spectrum are feminist men, who are not able to understand the changing incentives that face men in a world that has evolved under the influence of radical feminism. It is just simpler (less thinking) for these men to accept the radical feminism as a given, and then urge men to “man up”. I think a much better idea would be for the “man up” crowd to realize how marriage has changed, and how the schools and the workplace have changed, then make all of these things more attractive to men. It doesn’t do any good to try to “dare” men into jumping off a cliff. Men aren’t stupid, and they do what is in their own best interests. If the man-up crowd wants younger men to marry, then they need to change the incentives offered to men. And that means changing women first.

If we seriously want men to marry and become fathers, let’s repeal no-fault divorce

I saw a very good article at the Heritage Foundation web site about the importance of fathers for children. The author Virginia Allen listed out some of the benefits that fathers provide to children:

Studies have found that children raised without a father are:

  • At a higher risk of having behavioral problems.
  • Four times more likely to live in poverty.
  • More likely to be incarcerated in their lifetime.
  • Twice as likely to never graduate high school.
  • At a seven times higher risk of teen pregnancy.
  • More vulnerable to abuse and neglect.
  • More likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.
  • Twice as likely to be obese.

From education to personal health to career success, children who lack a father find themselves at a disadvantage to their peers raised in a two-parent household.

I was looking for a good analysis of why there’s been a decline of marriage and fatherhood, and I found an article by Joe Carter on far-left The Gospel Coalition, of all places. By looking at marriage rates and historical events that changed the marriage rate, he was able to identify the cause of the decline of marriage – and fatherhood.

Marriage and divorce rates per capita
Marriage and divorce rates per capita

I’ll spare you the statistical analysis, which is excellent, and give you the conclusion – although you can guess it from the graph above:

Now that we’ve explored the data, what year should we use as the marker for the beginning of the decline of marriage in the United States? I would argue for 1985, the last year that the marriage rate topped 10 percent.

[…]What changed in 1985 that could have led to the decline in marriage? There are likely numerous factors—which we’ll examine in future articles—but one stands out in particular: By 1985, all states (except for New York) had enacted no-fault divorce legislation.

The most helpful book I know of about no-fault divorce is “Taken Into Custody”, by Dr. Stephen Baskerville. He wrote a column  for Crisis magazine that summarizes some of his ideas.

Excerpt:

Feminists were drafting no-fault divorce laws in the 1940s, which the National Association of Women Lawyers now describes as “the greatest project NAWL has ever undertaken.”

The result effectively abolished marriage as a legal contract. Today it is not possible to form a binding agreement to create a family.

The new laws did not stop at removing the requirement of citing grounds for a divorce, to allow divorce by mutual consent, as deceptively advertised at the time. Instead they created unilateral and involuntary divorce, so that one spouse may dissolve a marriage without any agreement or fault by the other.

Here’s what divorce does to the spouse who is the victim of the unilateral “no-fault” divorce:

Though marriage is a civil matter, the logic quickly extended into the criminal, including a presumption of guilt against the involuntarily divorced spouse (“defendant”). Yet formal due process protections of criminal proceedings did not apply, so forcibly divorced spouses became quasi-criminals not for recognized criminal acts but for failing or refusing to cooperate with the divorce by continuing to claim the protections and prerogatives of family life: living in the common home, possessing the common property, or—most vexing of all—parenting the common children.

Following from this are the horrendous civil liberties violations and flagrant invasions of family and individual privacy that are now routine in family courts. A personalized criminal code is legislated by the judge around the forcibly divorced spouse, controlling their association with their children, movements, and finances. Unauthorized contact with their children can be punished with arrest. Involuntarily divorced parents are arrested for running into their children in public, making unauthorized telephone calls, and sending unauthorized birthday cards.

In my conversations with men, no-fault divorce laws, and anti-male divorce courts are the main reasons given for why they do not pursue marriage and fatherhood. Men do not want to be coerced in a marriage with the threat of divorce by an unhappy wife. Men do not want to be subject to the government in so many areas of their lives if the wife does carry out the threat. They especially don’t want to be separated from their children. One my secular male friends told me that he would not marry unless the woman had evidence in her past of hating radical feminism and no-fault divorce. This was the main criteria. He actually was able to find a woman who was a men’s rights activist who hated divorce. But that was the only way he would marry.

Statistically speaking, the wife is more likely to initiate divorce than the husband. Women initiate 70% of divorces, the majority of those just because she is “unhappy”. I think this is because women get into marriage based on their feelings, and they think that it is the husband’s job to make them feel good. They see their happiness as the primary goal of the marriage, and see a marriage that does not make them happy as a marriage that needs to be ended.

Are we going to repeal no-fault divorce, then?

No-fault divorce was seen as a boon to women who had married the wrong men by following their hearts. It’s an interesting question to ask whether women really would want no-fault repealed. It would mean that they would have to get serious about who they marry, instead of just getting into marriage based on feelings. They would have to evaluate men according to expectations of what a man does in a marriage, instead of on feelings. They would have to think about what men want out of a marriage, and prepare themselves to provide for his needs. They would have to say no to their feelings, when choosing a man, and in keeping a man after the wedding.

If women aren’t willing to demand the repeal of no-fault divorce laws and get serious about men and marriage, then what’s the point of complaining that men don’t want to marry and become fathers? If you’re not willing to fix the root cause of the problem, then don’t complain about the problem.

Does the “legacy of slavery” explain black women’s 72% out-of-wedlock birth rate?

James White asks: does the Bible apply to black women?
James White asks: does the Bible apply to black women?

I don’t like Calvinist theologian James White very much, but at least he’s willing to defend the moral teachings of the Bible against the woke identity politics that is taking over Christian churches. A few months ago he tweeted something very controversial (see above), and got into a lot of hot water with fake Christians. In this post, I’ll explain why he is right.

So, as you can see above, James is concerned that black women are having so many abortions, and he thinks that the solution to this is to encourage black women to take the Bible’s advice on sexual morality. Shocking, I know.

If you read the replies to his tweet on Twitter, you’ll see millions and millions of comments calling him a racist, and telling him that slavery is to blame for EVERYTHING that black women do wrong. Basically, the James haters say that black women can do anything they want, and should never be told that it’s wrong according to the Bible, because their bad choices are all the fault of slavery. So the Bible doesn’t even apply to them, or something.

Here is an example from a radical feminist progressive named Karen Swallow Prior:

Karen Swallow Prior says that black people have no moral agency
Karen Swallow Prior says that unlike whites, blacks have no moral agency

According to the fake Christians, it’s not that black women make poor choices with sex, it’s that the ghosts of white slavers who raped their great-great-great grandmothers reach through time with magic and force them to have sex with hunky bad boys who won’t commit to them before sex. It’s not rap music calling black women hoes! It’s the ghosts of slavery past. And even if this ghost theory isn’t true, we shouldn’t tell black women not to sin, because… it would hurt their feelings. After all, the Bible isn’t a book that’s designed to set boundaries to prevent self-destructive behaviors. It encourages us to listen to our hearts, be reckless, and sin as much as we can.

So when did black community problems with sex and abortion start? Did it start with slavery times? Actually, blacks were doing GREAT at marriage and sexual matters just 50 years ago.

This reply to James White explained:

Blacks married at rates comparable to whites before welfare
Blacks married at rates comparable to whites before welfare

That’s true. Black children weren’t fatherless, so they weren’t having early sex outside of marriage, and so they weren’t getting abortions.

Children born to blacks were just as likely to be born in a married home as children born to whites, up until the 1960s:

Black women were more likely to be married before welfare programs
Black women were more likely to be married before single mother welfare programs

(Source)

The reason that the graph is going upward is because daughters raised in fatherless homes tend to engage in sexual activity at younger ages, because they are seeking approval from a man which their (single) mother cannot give them. It’s a tragic downwards spiral, and it affects all races. The only way to stop it is to tell women to choose marriage-minded men (not hot bad boys) and marry before having sex, like the Bible says. But woke fake Christians think the Bible is too mean, and better to allow sin by saying that sin is inevitable because slavery ghosts or something.

What’s neat is that black men who take Christianity seriously are totally on board with the facts:

Black man here. Can confirm that the Bible applies to black women.
Black man here. Can confirm that the Bible applies to black women.

On this blog, I don’t talk about my ethnicity myself, for confidentiality reasons, but I have said that my skin is darker than Barack Obama. I’m not white or Asian. And the reason that I don’t fall into this trap of causing babies to be born out of wedlock is because I think that when the Bible says that sex outside of marriage is a sin, that this is true. I don’t make excuses or shift blame. It’s incumbent on me to obey, since I claim to be a follower of Jesus.I’m not interested in identity politics. I’m not interested in racial divisions. I’m not interested in blame-shifting. The rules are the rules. And my following of the rules caused me to not cause abortions, according to Christian specifications. Period.

When it comes to sex outside of marriage, the answer of every Bible believing Christian is simple: I’m against it. That is the correct answer, and anything more or less than this answer is demonic. If you are a Christian, sex outside of marriage is always morally wrong. And if you try to justify it, or blame someone else, in order to excuse it, then you’re not a Christian at all. If you try to make excuses for why someone did it, you’re not a Christian. Whether you have had it and been forgiven, or never had it, the answer is always the same: it’s morally wrong. Don’t do it. Never do it.

What I am seeing from people who are critical of James White’s tweet is that they are basically trying to attack those who make moral judgments based on what the Bible says. They want to make room for sinners to sin. The root of abortion sin is sexual sin. Real  Christians discourage sexual sin, and therefore protect unborn children. Fake Christians want to be liked by appearing compassionate, so they make excuses for sexual sin. If you take the Bible seriously on morality, you won’t be liked. Those who try to excuse sin do so because their need to be liked is more important than their need to promote what the Bible teaches.

Some fake Christians will say “oh, but I do think the Bible is right about sex and marriage, but we have to care about slavery reparations and global warming and refugees and illegal immigrants and trasnsgender rights, too”. Baloney. An authentic Christian is concerned about the things that the Bible teaches are “major” things. Drunkenness is a major thing. Sexual immorality is a major thing. Divorce is a major thing. Homosexuality is a major thing. If you meet a Christian who treats those issues as minor issues, and instead majors in what the secular left tells them are major issues, then you’re talking to a fake Christian.

Christianity isn’t a brain-dead faith. You get your priorities from the Bible, and you argue those priorities using facts. The facts about marriage rates are clear and they show that the problems in the black community aren’t caused by slavery. They’re caused by single mother welfare programs. Those welfare programs taught women of all races that they didn’t have to listen to their fathers when choosing men. Those welfare programs taught women that feelings were a better guide in relationships than the Bible. Those welfare programs taught women that their eyes were a better judge of character than performance of traditional marriage roles. Those welfare programs taught women that recreational sex was a way to get a man to commit and stop being a bad boy. We need to go back to the root cause of the problem. The root cause of the problem was making excuses for disobedience to the Bible, and transferring money from married homes to out-of-control women. Of all races.

38-year-old single mother of seven, pregnant with twins, demands better government housing

38-year-old single mother with 7 kids, 2 more on the way
38-year-old single mother with 7 kids, 2 more on the way

I saw this article about an unmarried woman, pregnant with twins, who already has 7 children from a variety of men. She is currently living in a 4-bedroom house paid for by taxpayers. She is angry because the government isn’t giving her enough money to pay for her lifestyle choices.

This article comes from the UK Daily Mail:

A 38-year-old mother-of-seven who is pregnant with twins is begging to be rehoused from her ‘hellish’ four-bedroom council flat which she says isn’t good enough for her.

[…]The single mother said: ‘My relationship with some of my children is at breaking point, we can’t keep living like this.

[…]’I just want to get out of this hell. I’d rather live anywhere else, as long as it is not in here. It has been really tough.

‘I’m feeling down every night and sometimes you just feel like giving up. But I just have to keep going for the sake of the kids.’

She can fix everything that’s gone wrong with a little more taxpayer money. That will make it unnecessary for her to choose men who commit before sex, and let her have the freedom to choose the “best” men for relationships.

More:

After spending a month in various hotels, West Lothian Council found them the flat in Bathgate and they moved in on September 20.

But after moving into her new Bathgate property, Ms Burns complained that the flat did not come with a television…

She wasn’t even provided with a taxpayer-funded telly! How else to people get televisions except from welfare programs?

Anyway, how did this happen? Well, it happens because young women today are increasingly choosing men who are not willing to marry first, and using premarital sex and cohabitation to try to land them. Something that the previous generation of married women from 50 years ago would never have done.

The Daily Caller explains:

Unmarried couples are having roughly 40 percent of all births in the U.S., marking a trend that may be detrimental to the upbringing of those children.

For the first time in U.S. history, out-of-wedlock births in America are largely a result of cohabitation, according to the United Nations Population Fund 2018 State of World report released Wednesday. Single mothers had nearly 90 percent of out-of-wedlock births in 1968, but that number decreased to 53 percent in 2017, according to the Pew Research Center.

“Compared to children of married parents, those with cohabiting parents are more likely to experience the breakup of their families, be exposed to ‘complex’ family forms, live in poverty, suffer abuse, and have negative psychological and educational outcomes,” according to the Institute for Family Studies (IFS).

[…]Children with single parents have the highest rates of poverty followed by children living with unmarried, cohabiting parents, the IFS reported.

Between 2006 and 2010, 23 percent of births to married women were unintended while 51 percent of births to unmarried cohabiting women were unintended. That number rose to 67 percent for unmarried women not cohabiting.

Two-thirds of cohabiting parents split up before their child reaches age 12, while only a quarter of married parents divorce, according to an April 2017 Brookings Institution report.

The problem of fatherless children is getting worse. And taxpayers will be on the hook to pay for it – that’s what the story of the 38-year-old woman shows. Productive people have to pay when women are not persuaded to make better decisions about which men to have relationships with, and when to have sex.

My experience

I know three young women who are cohabitating right now. I have had a few conversations with them about what they are studying, what jobs they want to get, and what their plans for the future are.

All three of these women have never married, and are in their early 20s and attractive. Two of them have children. The live-in boyfriends are getting sex without having to commit first. The boyfriends (judging from photos) seem to have been chosen purely for looks. Tall, muscles, beards, tattoos, piercings, etc. Obviously, none of them is a Christian. And none of the men has a STEM degree, a career or savings -they’re too young to have those things to prove their ability to provide. But they’re still co-habitating, and get all the benefits of a wife without having to have proven themselves capable of the responsibilities, expectations and obligations of a husband. I do not like these men. I do not think women should choose them.

Each of these women is spending the young and attractive period of her life in unstable relationships with men who think of sex as recreational, rather than something that is saved for inside the marriage covenant. If their past relationships fail, they will have a much harder time finding a good man. They will have sexual baggage. They will probably have children from another man. They will have bitterness and mistrust towards men in general. They will be less likely to give generously to a future husband. This is not what marriage-minded men are looking for.