Family building and slavery

chesterton photo“Family building” is a pleasant sounding phrase that hides unethical practices based on similar arguments used to justify slavery. For one thing, it deliberately separates a child from his family tree in order to satisfy a market demand for children, thereby turning children into commodities. People are beginning to connect the dots between “family building” and slavery. See, for example:

Mothers urge ban on surrogacy as a form of slavery

The similarity I see to Fredrick Douglass

Sperm and egg donation foster technology-induced child slavery

Here’s another interesting thing to think about. Modern-day “family building” advocates justify the practice by arguing that there is no a priori family to destroy. They arrive at that conclusion through the twin beliefs of “love makes a family,” and “biology does not matter.” According to G.K. Chesterton, the same lack-of-family argument was made by advocates of slavery in the United States back in the 1800s (emphasis added):

“The Servile State… has always been embarrassed by the institution of marriage. It is an old story that the negro slavery of ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ did its worst work in the breaking-up of families. But curiously enough, the same story is told from both sides. For the apologists of the Slave States, or, at least, of the Southern States, make the same admission even in their own defence. If they denied breaking up the slave family, it was because they denied there was any slave family to break up.

Free love is the direct enemy of freedom. It is the most obvious of all the bribes that can be offered by slavery.  In servile societies, a vast amount of sexual laxity can go on in practice… One of the conveniences of that pagan world is that, below a certain level of society, nobody really need bother about pedigree or paternity at all… of all the bribes that the old pagan slavery can offer, this luxury and laxity is the strongest…” From Fancies versus Fads, pp. 128-129

Summary: it’s OK for the strong to take advantage of the weak, since the weak aren’t part of a family anyway.

As I have argued before, sexual and reproductive liberty is a might-makes-right ideology. Imight makes right 2 fully expect it to end up in the ash heap of history, repudiated and reviled. Chesterton’s book was published in 1923, decades before “sexual liberation” and the corresponding and widespread breakdown of the family. The man was a prophet.

Thanks to Stephen R.L. Clark who directed me to the Chesterton quote through his book Biology and Christian Ethics.


The OSAS pattern is present in Catholic practice

When I was in Kindergarten and for part of first grade, I attended a small Christian school. One day in first grade, the teacher was reading one of the Gospels to us, at the part about the Crucifixion. She asked us to consider praying the Sinner’s Prayer and to ask Jesus into our hearts, to accept Him as Lord and Savior. She said that if any of us wanted to do this, we could talk to her after school and she would lead us in a prayer. I immediately knew I wanted to do this, and so I approached her after school. She led me in a prayer, and I had a picture of Jesus actually coming into my heart. Later she gave me a small red New Testament with a lovely inscription that included a reference to Psalm 119:105:

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”

That was a powerful experience and the emotion of it stayed with me for years.

As far as I can tell, according to “once saved, always saved,” (OSAS) I am saved. The reason I bring this is up is not to argue for the doctrine, which I don’t believe as a Catholic, but to show how the OSAS pattern of salvation is present in Catholic practice.

So just to be sure that I still understand OSAS correctly, I looked it up just now on two different websites. I don’t know if these are representative of all who believe the doctrine, but the descriptions seem reasonable and align with what I remember:

The Bible teaches “once saved, always saved” — that we can be saved once and for all only through a repentant, saving faith in Jesus Christ. Once a person has accepted Christ as Savior, they may wonder if it is possible to lose that salvation. What if they commit a sin? What if they commit a lot of sins? What if they do something very, very wrong? Is it possible to be saved, and then lose that salvation? Fortunately, the answer is a resounding “no.” Once a person has accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, he/she is forever saved. This fact is referred to as the doctrine of “eternal security,” often summarized as “once saved, always saved.” From All About God.

“Once saved always saved” is the position that when a person becomes a Christian he can never lose his salvation… CARM’s position is that salvation cannot be lost.  We believe we are secure in Christ, not because of our ability and faithfulness, but because of God’s.  We believe that Christ paid for all of our sins: past, present, and future.  From

I also looked up how to be saved from the same websites:

Salvation is simply a process of confessing and believing. A man must confess that Jesus is Lord… Next, he must believe that God has raised Jesus Christ from the dead. From All About God.

Believe in Jesus.  Receive Jesus, who is God in flesh, who died and rose from the dead (1 Cor. 15:1-4) as your Lord and Savior (John 1:12).  Ask Jesus to forgive you, to come into your heart, and to wash you clean from your sins.  Pray to Jesus.  Seek Him.  Ask Him to save you. From

As a child I prayed for Jesus to come into my heart, asked Him to forgive me of my sins, and asked Him to be my Lord and Savior. So I think it’s pretty clear that if somebody reading this truly believes in OSAS, they needn’t worry about me.

Now I am going to show how that same person needn’t worry about other Catholics, since the OSAS pattern is part of Catholic practice.  There are three components to being saved, according to OSAS. The person needs to:

  1. Confess that Jesus is Lord.
  2. Believe that God raised Him from the dead
  3. Sincerely ask Him to forgive the person’s sins.

Sincere Catholics do all of those. For example:

  1. Every Sunday, we recite the Nicene creed which states: … I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of God…
  2. That same creed also states: …for our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.
  3. Catholics who are sincere in their faith confess their sins regularly. So even the very first confession a person makes satisfies OSAS, it seems to me. The fact that it happens before a priest is not relevant to OSAS, since the scripture says, “Confess your sins to one another,” and, “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” The Protestant objection to confessing to a priest doesn’t apply to OSAS, since the doctrine itself doesn’t state that the person can’t confess with somebody else listening. Now, perhaps it is possible that the Catholic really believes that he is confessing ONLY TO the priest. But if he believes this, he is mistaken about Catholic doctrine. Jesus is definitely part of those sessions, and the Church teaches this.

Another example: these three things also happen during Catholic confirmation, which we regard as a sacrament that finishes the initiation process into the Catholic Church. The person is asked a number of questions to which he must give public assent in front of the congregation, among them:

Do you believe in Jesus Christ, [God’s] only son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered death and was buried, rose from the dead…

Since confirmation is a sacrament, the person needs to be in a state of grace, which means that he must have already repented of and confessed his sins. Going through the motions in an insincere way does not count, neither according to OSAS nor Catholic doctrine.

Now, as I said earlier, this is not an argument in defense of OSAS. Let me be super clear that Catholic doctrine does not teach OSAS. I am using OSAS as an opportunity to describe Catholic practice so that those Protestants who believe in OSAS can stop worrying about sincere Catholics.

09/02/2017: Just for clarity, I am not saying that all Protestants believe in OSAS, and I acknowledge that some do not.

What does it mean to abide in Jesus? (John 15:5)

As I mentioned a few days ago, I am still in the process of articulating why I became Catholic. I am an INTJ and have a gift of recognizing patterns. I saw the pattern of the logical and scriptural consistency of the Catholic Church, and I became Catholic because of what I saw. It’s been four years, so you might think I would have worked out all of those details by now. But going back and articulating the mechanics of what I saw is not very interesting to me. So I haven’t spent a great deal of time doing it. I trust my own judgment about what I saw (another INTJ characteristic), so don’t feel a strong urge to reverse engineer what happened. But for some reason the words come to me spontaneously from time to time.

It happened just today.

One of the things I saw in my mind was how the history of Christianity is like a tree. Its trunk grows for a period of time, then it splits apart into branches as time goes on, especially at the Reformation. At that point it splits into smaller branches and even twigs.

Here is a diagram of Church history presented two ways. The first diagram is right side up. The next one is upside down. The upside down diagram looks like a tree, with a trunk, some shoots off the trunk, and branches at the top. It wasn’t that I had this particular diagram in my mind, but I am using this diagram to explain my thought process.

history of catholic church
The history of Christianity…


history of catholic church upside down
…looks like a tree when you turn it upside down.

If you start at the top of the tree, on a twig for example, then trace the historical lineage down to the stump, you end up Catholic which is founded on Christ. Since He is the vine, then based on John 15:5 it made sense to me to get as close to the vine as I could. Once I saw the history of Christianity like this, I knew I would not be content spending time on what looked like the twigs of the tree. They seemed too far away from Him.

Later I saw how Ephesians 5:31-32 is related to this. St. Paul says something that did not make sense to me until I looked at it through Catholic eyes:

“‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the church.” (emphasis added)

As far as I am aware, the marriage discourse in this chapter is always applied to human married couples. I am not aware of these two verses being treated in a literal way among Protestants or Catholics. I’m not an expert on Protestant or Catholic apologists or the arguments they make, so I may be entirely off the mark there. It seems, though, that if people do apply those verses to the church, the verses are viewed figuratively or as a mystery that will be revealed after we die or at the resurrection. But it became clear to me that this is not the case. It is true right now. It seems clear we must take St. Paul at face value here, which means that where the Church is, Christ is. I don’t remember when, if it was at this juncture or earlier, but I was able to easily reject any argument that stated or required Jesus to have somehow lost control of His Church at some point in time. It seems clear that this could never be the case, first because to argue that way diminishes the power of Jesus and His work on the cross. Second, because He said that the gates of Hell would not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). Third, we apply Eph. 5:31-32 literally instead of figuratively which makes it clear that there is no way Christ was ever separated from His Church.

Notice what He says about abiding in John 6:56:

“He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” (emphasis added)

How do we do this? In order to abide in Jesus (John 15:5), we abide through His Church because they are one (Eph. 5:31-32), and because of whom we abide in Him by receiving His body and blood (John 5:56) every Sunday. Where the Church is, Jesus is. It is a mystery exactly the same way it is a mystery how the egg and sperm become one.


Same-sex marriage and the fascinating “empty set problem”

… well, I find it fascinating! Not sure if anybody else will. lol

People who argue for same-sex marriage often, if not always, rely on what I call “the infertility argument.” This argument posits that because some opposite sex married couples do not bear children, this means that marriage is not procreative. This becomes the door, so to speak, that people use to justify same-sex marriage.

empty setThe argument has a really fascinating problem, one that is little-known. In fact, I’ve never seen it addressed so I think I am the first person to identify it. I call it, “the empty set problem.” The argument depends on a definite set of infertile opposite sex couples, but I will show how it is not possible to identify the actual members of the set. That is why I say it is an empty set. Let me be clear: the set of permanently infertile opposite sex couples exists. See the brackets on the left? The set is real. The problem is that its members cannot be identified with certainty.

Since all of the members of the set of same-sex couples have a literal 0% fertility, all of the members of the comparison set must also have a literal 0% fertility. To be fair and just, we must apply an equal standard to both sets. Unfortunately, proponents of the infertility argument are not careful in their thinking. They are content with theoretical members in their set of infertile opposite sex couples, members that they don’t have to actually identify. I also suspect that they would be content to have an unequal standard between the two sets, that they would be content to let the comparison set have something slightly above a literal 0% fertility, although I can’t prove this. I do know that they toss this set into the discussion, assuming it is full of members. But arguments depending on a set of real couples must have real, identifiable couples in the set and the standard for comparison must be equally applied.

Let’s do a thought experiment. Imagine a football stadium, filled with married opposite sex couples. Now, go through this set couple by couple and identify two characteristics about them:

  1. Which of them are, and will forever be until they die, 100% infertile.
  2. Which will have one spouse die at some point in the future, and the other spouse goes on to remarry and does not bear children in subsequent marriages.

A medical doctor trained in fertility could do the first task but not with 100% certainty across the entire population, and the second task can’t be predicted by anybody.

Quite naturally, these tasks apply to elderly couples. For example, we must predict, with 100% certainty, which actual elderly couples will have the wife die, and then the husband goes on to remarry a younger woman and not bear children. I can’t predict that. Can you?

Now, let’s remove the football stadium and apply this to the entire population. Plus, in real life across the world, new couples are entering the actual set of married, opposite sex couples all the time. Now do those tasks again.

We can’t cheat by using statistics or speaking in generalities, and we must apply the same standard to both sets. We are talking about real couples, so real couples must occupy the set. I don’t think we can identify the specific couples with 100% certainty, but I might be wrong. Perhaps somebody can. Even if it can be done by somebody, the number of members in the set will be dramatically less than people realize.

If the set of opposite sex couples who have a literal 0% fertility rate is empty, this discredits the argument. But even if the set has a tiny number of couples in it, this does not validate the argument. Why? Because we can step back and demand that the burden of proof–that same-sex marriage does not change the character of marriage–rests with those making the argument. Few realize that its more honest proponents have already admitted that same-sex marriage does change the character of marriage:

“Same-sex marriage is far more radical than interracial marriage. It challenges our basic understanding of the institution.” William Saletan of

“Fighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we’re going to do with marriage when we get there . . . The institution of marriage is going to change, and it should change.” Masha Gessen, biographer of Vladimir Putin, as quoted in National herring

Right on cue, once same-sex marriage became law we saw headlines like this: “California deletes ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ from marriage law.” No more husbands and wives in marriage is part of “gender ideology,” and it changes the character of marriage dramatically. I am so grateful that the Church categorically rejects this change.

The infertility argument was always a red herring based on a specious premise.

Slate’s hasty oversight undermines its prediction about Amoris Laetitia

william saletanOn April 8 of this year, Slate published an essay by Will Saletan regarding Amoris Laetitia (AL). AL is an important document recently issued by the Catholic Church regarding marriage and the family. The essay is called:

Pope Francis’ ‘Amoris Laetitia’ is a Closeted Argument for Gay Marriage

In his essay, Mr. Saletan predicted that the Catholic Church will eventually accept same-sex marriage. He argues that it might take “centuries,” but when it happens, he believes that the Church will quote from AL as justification.

After reading his essay, I noticed the date it was published: April 8, 2016. That is the same day AL was released. AL is 264 pages long. Did he read the whole thing and write his essay in less than a day? Pope Francis specifically requested that people take their time while reading and reflecting on the document:

I do not recommend a rushed reading of the text. AL 7

OK, so it is possible Mr. Saletan rushed through AL. That alone doesn’t mean his prediction is wrong. But I will show that he made a major oversight about Catholic teaching, and that this oversight undermines the basis for his prediction.

His essay contains a number of points about why he thinks the Church will eventually accept same-sex marriage. He talks about how same-sex couples love each other, are committed to each other, can adopt children, and so forth. But his prediction rests on an argument that I’ve seen many times. I call it “the infertility argument.” The infertility argument posits that because some people who are married do not bear children, this means that there is an exception to the procreative aspect of marriage. This supposed exception is the door, so to speak, that people like Mr. Saletan use to argue for allowing same-sex couples to marry. (This argumment has an interesting and little-known problem that I will discuss tomorrow. I call it “the empty set problem.”)

Even so, we can’t apply the infertility argument to the Catholic Church. The first paragraph of Mr. Saletan’s essay has a dramatic oversight about Catholic teaching and infertility:

But if you’re straight and infertile, the rule about transmitting life doesn’t apply. Your marriage is just as valid as anyone else’s…

He does not realize that the Church makes distinctions among married, infertile opposite-sex couples. To be validly married, couples must be open to life in their sexual activity. If they are not, then the Church has a concept known as “simulation against the good of children.” It is when a couple predetermines to engage in coitus in marriage while never achieving pregnancy or childbirth, then accomplishes this through contraception, surgery and/or abortion. It is grounds for receiving a declaration of nullity (annulment) from the Church. Nullity means there was never an actual, valid marriage, even though the couple has a marriage certificate from the government.

In setting up his argument, Mr. Saletan did not account for this group of couples. So this goes back to what I said about him being hasty. He didn’t investigate what the Church teaches about this, then made a prediction that misrepresented the Church.

Does this oversight invalidate the basis of his prediction? I think it does. How can the Church accept same-sex couples as married (who are 100% guaranteed, permanently infertile through their free choice to engage in sexual activity with somebody of the same sex), while at the same time finding other infertile marriages null? Couples of both types make a free choice to engage in sterile sexual activity. They are therefore the same with respect to marriage.

I wish he would represent the Church correctly by acknowledging that she makes distinctions regarding infertility among opposite-sex couples. Then he can try to rework his prediction, but I don’t think the argument can be made based on what I demonstrated here. And as I will explain tomorrow, the infertility argument in general suffers from a fascinating yet fatal flaw that I call “the empty set problem.”

INTJ and pattern recognition

I am an INTJ. It means, among other things, that I have a good sense of pattern recognition.

When I first encountered that idea, I mentally scanned back through my life and realized that this made sense.

I’ve since observed it quite frequently, this ability to locate patterns pretty easily. It’s kinda cool, really. In some ways it is like a shortcut to understanding stuff. But it can be hard to articulate the process behind the pattern.

halsey physics croppedFor example, sometimes I can solve an algebra problem without thinking about it. I just see the answer and write it down.

The first time this happened to me was in physics in high school. On one of the problems on a test, I just wrote the answer down because I saw how the problem worked. The teacher didn’t give me any points because I didn’t show a step-by-step solution. So I had to explain the solution to him after class, and it was hard to do because I just SAW how it worked. I don’t know how else to describe that experience. That was a fun class and he was a great teacher. But he didn’t let me slide! lol I had to work out the solution. This is him, Mr. Halsey. He wrote a very touching note to me in my senior yearbook. I’m friends with him on Facebook now.

So I think that happens a lot to me, more than just with math problems. I see how something works and I move forward based on what I see, but I have to struggle to describe the mechanics behind it.

Like when I decided to become Catholic. Not long after I left the cult I knew that I had to reject the gnosticism I had been taught there. I wanted to return to my first love of Jesus, son of God, second person of the Trinity, that I had when I was younger. For a couple years I considered returning to some sort of Protestant church but intuited that I would eventually become Catholic anyway. Meandering through Protestantism first, then converting to Catholic later, was a definite possibility, but at some point I realized that it would be inefficient. So I went straight to the Catholic Church. Seeing what I saw about contraception and how it harms the “one flesh” teaching of scripture was the main pivot point, but there were other things as well. For example, I needed a firm historical basis for the church I would join, and I found that in the Catholic understanding of apostolic succession. So again I saw the pattern of how things would play out and made a choice based on that. But articulating that pattern came later, and, in fact, I’m still working on it.

I have sometimes wondered if my friends and family thought I acted impulsively when I became Catholic, because it may have seemed like a sudden decision. But it wasn’t impulse. Setting aside the obvious role of God’s grace in all this… as far as I could see at that time, it was just me seeing the pattern of how things would play out eventually, then making a decision based on that.

Perhaps this gift of pattern recognition is one reason my childhood was so distressing. There was no pattern to my family. Nobody else had the “family” that I had. I bet most reading this can’t imagine being the lone member of a family. That doesn’t make sense, it is a contradiction, but that’s the way it was.

Read more about INTJ and pattern recognition.




Study: kids of same-sex parenting are depressed

This study really upsets me. It’s not rocket science. When you deprive somebody of half of who they are, when you force them to pretend that half of who they are does not exist, and supplant half of who they are with falsehoods… they get depressed. This was predictable, and predicted. Same-sex parenting is, by definition, codified step-parenting. And we already know that there are significant elevated risk factors for children in step-parenting households. Here’s an infographic from the linked article:

paul sullins study 2016-06

This is outrageous. I am so upset! And people are fighting for the right to do this to children! It is profoundly wrong.

About those “no differences” studies involving same-sex parenting: pretty much any study you see that reports “no difference” between kids in same-sex households and kids raised with their married bio parents uses convenience samples of same-sex couples. This means that the results cannot be generalized to the entire population… yet they always are in the popular media. But what might be worse, to my way of thinking at least, is that the respondents often know the studies goals! They know what the researcher is hoping to find. And the political Left takes these studies as absolute truth. This is madness.

I hope it’s clear that I am not singling out homosexuals. I’m as critical of other so-called “diverse” family forms as I am of same-sex parenting. What some people say is “family structure diversity,” I say is “family structure inequality.” And the science is on my side. Children who are not raised with their married mother and father have greatly elevated risk factors for negative outcomes. That’s a fact.


Child of divorce testimonial: Dear divorced parents

There were precious few constants in my childhood, but one constant was my father bad mouthing my mother to me every chance he got and no topic was off limits no subject out of bounds, he was ruthless. Sometimes my stepmother would join in and they would tag team me. Oh, were those some special nights.

You know I had the chance at a normal life. After my father cajoled my mother into forfeiting her right to retain custody of my sister and myself, he moved us 289 miles away so that our mother couldn’t even see us and if he had just left it at that and never brought her name up again I may have left if at that as well and never brought her up either. Well that didn’t happen. He never let an opportunity pass without telling me what a horrible person she was. Bad mother, bad wife, bad cook, bad housekeeper, just bad person in general. She cheated on him, the house was ALWAYS a pigsty, she couldn’t cook, us kids were always FILTHY and all she cared about was herself.(all lies by the way)

I never did understand why he didn’t just stop talking about her altogether once he moved us out-of-state…

Read the whole thing here:

Is “blended family” a Freudian slip?

I hate the phrase “blended family.” I mean I REALLY hate it. It is hideous. It is a lie. It is a euphemism. I wish people would see what BS it is and stop using it.

And think about the analogy: a blender is a device that uses sharp blades to chop and cut at a rapid speed in order to liquefy. Who would consciously choose to have their family life patterned on that concept?

It’s such a farce. When I see a “blended family” photo this is what I see:

“Hey look at this cute photo we took that makes us look like the kids’ first family! You can safely ignore the fact that the kids’ other parents are not here in the photo. That’s what we’re doing, and we assume the kids are doing it too. They’re smiling, after all, so that proves they’re OK with having their other parent chopped out of their lives for half the time. We didn’t have to live like that when we were growing up, but oh well! Our sex lives are more important than maintaining a unified home for the children. Kids are resilient but adults are SO fragile, after all.”

Yep, that’s what it looks like to me.

I’m not alone in my disdain for the phrase:

It’s hard to imagine a more harmful concept [than ‘blended family’]. Because re-partnership with children or adult children is anything but an ambrosial smoothie. The dad who wants his kids to love his new wife as much as he does quickly realises they don’t. The step-mother with good intentions often becomes a target for resentment about all the changes in their lives, and is frequently blamed for their mother’s unhappiness, too.

Reaching out to the kids (or their mum) to bridge the gap can backfire, creating feelings of failure and disappointment that in turn stress the couple. Indeed, it may come as a surprise to the general public (and a relief to stepfamilies) to learn that conflict is the rule, rather than the exception, in the first years of step-family life.

These “family” members are more likely to argue, seethe with jealousy or simply distrust one other than they are to meld into a happy mix right away. It’s normal. But thanks to the “blended” paradigm, they are bound to wonder, “What are we doing wrong? Why don’t we feel like a first family?” Why aren’t we blended yet?

Source: Banning the ‘blended’ family: why step families will never be the same as first families

So not only is it a lie about what is actually so, it is a lie that lulls people to sleep about what they can expect if they create a step-family after divorce.

Or maybe “blended family” not a lie after all. Maybe it is the truth about what it feels like to live like that as a child, chopping off half of yourself in each home you live in so your parents can be happy, and doing this for the rest of your life. I’ve lived it and so my vote is yes, it is like that.

Would that make “blended family” a Freudian slip?



Child of divorce testimonial: Anthem of the divorce kids

… You put on the facade of “it’s ok I get 2 Christmases and 2 bedrooms! And if you’re mad at one you can go to the other!” Ok cool but you don’t tell people that slowly but surely you feel abandonment or suffocated all the time or that you have to hear one parent trash talk the other and vice versa or that suddenly you can’t worry about math and kissing boys because all you’ve learned is how to try and block out the screaming and try and mediate.

You don’t tell people you’re constantly torn between two halves and always feel inadequate because you can’t make one happy without hurting the other. Or that you’re life is constantly being shuffled around like a possession caught in the divorce settlement. You don’t tell people that you have heard both your parents cry and tell you they wish they could do better or that you get guilty for getting angry or feeling anything that could burden them.

You don’t tell people that the holidays aren’t fun anymore because you’re constantly switching back and forth and all you can count on is being in the argument on whether dad can pick you up on Christmas Day at 11am or noon…

…Then you’re trying to have relationships and every time someone gets close you push them away before they can leave and break your heart. “I have to be sure, he’s gotta be THE one. We have to do this right” and suddenly you’re this control freak who compartmentalizes friends, work, relationships because that’s what you did with Mom and Dad and it’s the only way you know how to survive…

Read the whole thing here: