Lack of college degree does not equal “uneducated”

As somebody who only recently finished her bachelor’s degree, it is like salt in a wound when I hear news commentary about “uneducated” voters, those who don’t have a bachelor’s degree.

I wasn’t uneducated before I had my bachelor’s. I wrote books about bookkeeping; created a website; was self employed; marketed, brokered and sold my small bookkeeping business; got a good paying job; had a column at the Christian Post; forged an argument for the defense of marriage by seeing Christian sexual morality as a conduit for justice for children; read a lot; and in general tried to be a good citizen. A college degree is great and I’m grateful I was finally able to finish it, but the lack of one didn’t mean I was “uneducated.” So insulting, elitist, and classist for the news media to use that term.

In addition to the insult about being “uneducated,” this article by Garrison Keillor at the Chicago Tribune makes a stunning, yet buried, admission:

“…it helps a lot if the waitress and her husband encourage good habits and the ambition to use your God-given talents and the kids aren’t plugged into electronics day and night.”

Wait a minute: the waitress AND HER HUSBAND? I thought gender specific words were a no-no now? And what about the single mom like Murphy Brown? What about the gay couple using a surrogate to create and raise a child like David Sawyer and Bryan Collins? What about the gender-neutral trans family raising children? Nope, no mention of them or people like them. How odd, coming from a liberal. Is this a quiet admission that sex differences matter, that the natural family founded on natural marriage actually DO matter to the outcomes of children, just like the social science has been telling us for decades, just like the ancient Christian teaching on sexual morality upheld?

What about those of us who didn’t live with our own married mother and father? Where is the open admission that **championing** “sexual freedom” for adults contributed to kids not finishing their college degrees (or even their high school diplomas)… aka being “uneducated”? Not to mention a lot of other negative, painful outcomes such as shorter life spans, addictions, their own divorces, anger issues, thoughts of suicide, losing contact with grandparents, and on and on? So they’ll destroy our families and champion them never forming, then gloat over us being “uneducated.” They’ll just plug their ears to the social science, since it gets in the way of their “open mindedness” and “sexual liberation.” They cannot admit that kids being with our own married mothers and fathers contributes to them being “educated.” Got it? This is their shtick: “Family for me but not for thee.”

I am so angry right now. The most charitable thing I can say about Mr. Keillor is that he is tone deaf.

Same-sex marriage is a form of iconoclasm

God designed marriage and the family as a reflection of the Most Holy Trinity and the Holy Family. Advocating for marriage to be something other than one man, one woman, for life is to advocate for a new sort of iconoclasm. Ultimately, it destroys the historical Christian icon of the family replaces it with something new. This:

holy family

becomes this:

gay-nativity-2

I found the second image by going to Google Images and searching for “gay nativity.” There are so many things wrong with that image, and I hope to blog about those details another time. But just to whet your appetite: the theological implications of two Christs (or three, if we include the original configuration); using marriage to segregate the sexes; the abolition of sexual sin; the enshrinement of sexual sin; undermining the divinity of Christ; the abolition of sex differences; the abolition of Mary, Mother of God; the child as chattel and the object of a contract.

Marriage is only between one man and one woman. As part of the ordinary and universal Magisterium of the Church, this teaching is dogmatic and infallible. It cannot change, ever. Not only that, but to teach otherwise is to lead little ones astray and to cause them to stumble.

I am passing along to you that which was handed to me. Christians who advocate for “marriage equality” are not doing that. They have made up a new teaching and are trying to get support for it by saying that it is consistent with larger themes of the Church such as mercy, charity (love), and justice. They distort those concepts and so are gravely mistaken. Do not listen to any of them and do not be frightened by predictions that the Church will change her teaching on this point. She will not. The true teaching will prevail. Praise God for that.

Affirming first families

When I see somebody whose parents are divorced (or never married) and they claim everything is OK, I am highly skeptical for a number of reasons:

1) They have strong incentives to say this, and no incentives to say anything else.

2) Their relationship with their parents is tenuous, so they can’t rock the boat.

3) Our culture harshly criticizes apparently healthy people who can’t pick themselves up by their bootstraps and move on from whatever hardship they encounter. “You don’t like that your parents are divorced? Too bad. Get over it or you’re ostracized.”

4) Related to this is how people will ascribe that pain to a treatable mental illness, rather than an ongoing painful circumstance that could have been handled differently with the right help and knowledge. If they think it is a mental illness, they will criticize the person for not seeking treatment. If they seek treatment and don’t get healed, then they didn’t try hard enough, or maybe it’s genetic (yes, I’ve had all of these said to me in recent years). In no way can the circumstance be to blame–freedom to do as one pleases trumps all. It is as if they believe that our knowledge of the human psyche is absolute, which means everything is fixable.

5) We are a highly individualized culture and we value adults having freedom more than anything else, particularly sexual freedom. If a child spends his childhood feeling alone because the adults are exercising their freedom, that is the price that must be paid.

6) We start with the triad, yet too many Christians have abandoned it in favor of flawed theoretical models such as “blended family.” But we are Trinitarians, which means we believe in the community of three distinct persons of the Godhead, yet who are one. How many of us actively affirm everybody’s first families?  If we look around, I think we would have to be honest and say that we have not done a good job there. We have too often abandoned the Trinitarian theoretical model that God wrote into our bodies, in favor of creating “choices” and “freedom” for adults. Sometimes it will be extremely difficult to affirm that community of three persons (father/mother/child) for certain individuals, but I believe it must be done as a matter of justice for that person. Consider that any difficulty in affirming somebody’s first family might be one consequence of our idea of “freedom.” In other words, we might have to revise our view of freedom in order to affirm first families.

holy family

I feel ashamed

I feel ashamed that after five decades…

I wasn’t able to get over my parents’ divorce.

I still want my own family.

I was not ever OK with being excluded from family photos.

I was never OK with my parents doing fun or interesting things with their new families when I was with the other parent.

I was never OK with my parents spending more time with their new families than with me.

I never wanted to deal with step families even if they were nice to me.

I wasn’t strong enough to be totally comfortable with “two homes.”

I was uncomfortable being raised around people who I did not look like and who did not look like me.

I wasn’t OK with my parents’ defintions of family.

I wasn’t OK with my definition of family being different from my parents’.

I was never OK with having family members that each of my parents did not have.

I have not coped well with not having a singular source of my life, a singular, solid foundation of my family.

I was extraordinarily, profoundly co-dependent as a coping mechanism for all this. My children suffered because of my co-dependency.

I am a Christian and so I believe that, not only are we created in God’s image as individuals, his image appears in our first families, father, mother, child, the image of the Trinity, a community of three persons who are one. The union of that community was taken from me against my will as a very young child.  I always wanted it back and I feel ashamed to say that. The replacements did not equal one family, and I feel ashamed to say that. I am supposed to be grateful for receiving familial crumbs that fell from the table of my parents’ post-divorce choices. I was never physically or sexually abused, I was never hungry, and I attended good schools, but family life is more than a good academic education and the absence of overt harm, isn’t it?

According to the secular wisdom of the day, and even some of the religious wisdom, I should have been OK with losing the unity of that community. But I never was. I still feel fractured on the inside and this makes me feel ashamed, like there is something wrong with me.

If everybody gets a “choice,” where was mine?

holy family

Did it every occur to anybody why popular music was often so dark as sexual liberation wore on? I’ve thought about it a lot. See if this post and this song helps to explain why.

Same-sex marriage is a luxury good being paid for by the poor

ricochet logoI used to be a member of a website known as Ricochet. I was a member for a couple years and let my membership lapse once. Another member whom I had gotten to know talked me into renewing. So I did for a year, but let it lapse again in March. I was very busy on another project and Ricochet can be very distracting. I’m finished with that project now but I don’t think I’ll renew my membership. I’m not really a good fit with the sort of site it is. Somebody actually pointed this out to me once but I didn’t believe him. In retrospect I think he was right.

Ricochet is a blogging site where people can join and write posts for other members to read and comment on. These posts are behind a paywall so that only paying members can read them. If the post is very good, it will get “promoted” to the front page where they are available for anybody to see and members to comment on.

Even though I’m not a member, once in a while I will go back and read some posts there on the front page. I did so just the other day. It was actually a podcast, not a written post. I’m not normally a podcast person but it was an interview of R.R. Reno, editor of First Things. I’ve read a number of his articles over the last few years and I respect his opinion. He was being interviewed about his new book, called Resurrecting the Idea of a Christian Society. Before listening, I scrolled down to the comments. I saw some familiar faces there and one of them remarked that he didn’t understand what Reno said when he made this statement in the interview:

“[Gay marriage is] a luxury good for the rich that is being paid for by the poor…”

Another member wondered the same thing. I listened to the podcast and discovered that Reno partially answered their question. Previous to the quote he made this statement:

Our moral transformations of the 60s has actually created a moral culture that benefits the rich and harms the poor.

And after it he said this:

…as marriage declines among the poor but remains relatively strong among the well-to-do.

I feel confident to state that Reno is saying that that same-sex marriage will accelerate the declining marriage rate among the poor. They (and their children) will not receive the benefits of marriage, and this is how they will pay for same-sex marriage.

We all agree that marriage has benefits for couples and their children. Social liberals and social conservatives disagree as to what same-sex marriage will do to the understanding of marriage and therefore the distribution of those benefits. Social liberals believe that same-sex marriage extends those benefits to more people; therefore, the declining marriage rate among the poor should decrease if they are correct–more of them will marry over time. But social conservatives believe the opposite: that same-sex marriage will slowly accelerate the declining marriage rate among the poor–fewer of them will marry over time. On the surface that might seem counter-intuitive. After all, allowing more couples to marry seems like more people would marry, not fewer. Let me break it down.

Social conservatives argue that same-sex marriage radically changes how people view what marriage is. It changes this view so much that fewer people will see the need to participate in marriage. Fewer married people means fewer people (and children) will receive the benefits of marriage. Let me quote from Robert George’s book, What is Marriage:

[The new view of marriage is] the union of two people (whether of the same sex or of opposite sexes) who commit to romantically loving and caring for each other and to sharing the burdens and benefits of domestic life.

People don’t need to get married in order to have those benefits–they can just live together instead. Plus, living together has an advantage over marriage: no risk of divorce.

If social conservatives are right, this new view of marriage will accelerate the declining marriage rate among the poor. Fewer poor people, including poor children, will receive the benefits of marriage. This is how the poor will pay for same-sex marriage. Here’s a chart I made that shows each sub-issue and each side’s view.

Same-sex marriage will: Social liberals say: Social conservatives say:
Decrease the marriage rate among opposite-sex couples over time No Yes
Harm the poor due to the declining marriage rate among them over time No Yes
Increase the abortion rate due to fewer women getting married over time No Yes

The jury is still out as to which side is correct on these sub-issues, and it may take a full generation for the effect to be measured accurately. Given that social liberals have a terrible track record when it comes to understanding sex and marriage at the marco level, meaning, that same-sex marriage is just one more “sexual freedom” along a path that is already well-known to be harmful to children and society, my money is on the socially conservative position.

Finally, I hope you noticed something important: I did not argue that marriage, in an objective sense, has changed. This was deliberate because it has not.

“Alternative” families are near occasions of sin for children

I am going to make a very bold claim: so-called “alternative” families are near occasions of sin for children.

In order for readers to understand this claim, I will first define a few terms:

  • Intact family structure (we have to understand the “intact” form before we can understand the “alternative” form)
  • Alternative family structure
  • Near occasion of sin

Definition of “intact family structure”

I define an “intact family structure” as when male/female couples put these three ideas together to form families:

  • Marriage
  • Sex
  • Procreation

God designed these three things to function together as a unified whole, not to be separated.

Regarding infertility: some male/female couples experience infertility due to no fault or actions of their own. I include those couples here, since their lack of procreation is not their doing but God’s. I leave that in His hands, and I know that He has a plan for them. I also include here married and infertile male/female couples who have caused their infertility but later realize their error in causing the infertility and turn from it.

Definition of “alternative family structure”

I define a “alternative family structure” as when adults create a family by separating one or more of those things from the others (marriage, sex, procreation). I exclude ethical adoption from the definition of “alternative family structure,” since its purpose is to find parents for children who need them, rather than finding/creating children for parents who want them as we see in the “alternative” form.

Definition of “near occasion of sin”

According to the Baltimore Catechism:

The near occasions of sin are all persons, places, or things that may easily lead us into sin.

Lying is sin, and having the structure of a family that fosters lying about what it is like to be separated from one’s parents, extended family, origins, and culture qualifies as a near occasion of sin, in my view.

One of the things I love about being Catholic is how we learn to make proper distinctions. That is what we are doing here, making proper distinctions.

“Blended family” is a flawed theoretical model

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The professional class and divorce industry have failed to provide children of divorce (and other non-triad arrangements) with an accurate theoretical model to understand their emotions and the ongoing problems they face. One of the reasons they have failed to do this, I believe, is that they put their trust in inaccurate models. One of these is called “blended family.” It serves as a buttress against developing a more accurate model.

It is a very popular model, and many or perhaps even most people rely on it for guiding their expectations as to how a step-family should form and function. The idea is that when two adults are in love, their love, joy and excitement is like a magical ingredient that will make the living arrangements and emotional bonding process go smoothly between people who have no shared past, no shared family tree, and no choice in the matter (the children). As I pointed out the other day, this explains why two otherwise intelligent people were completely comfortable with meeting their new step-children, and the step-children all meeting each other, on their wedding day. They relied on a flawed model.

This theoretical model is so appealing and pervasive that when the blending process does not go well, people will say, “My blended family won’t blend.” These people are under the false assumption that a smooth “blending” process is normal, and that a non-smooth process is abnormal. It is as if they are saying, “I have all the ingredients to bake a cake, but when I try to blend the ingredients together, they won’t blend. What is wrong with the ingredients?” dough blender public domainThis question makes sense when dealing with inert ingredients such as flour, sugar, salt, cocoa, etc. There is an actual chemistry involved in baking, and it is reliable–follow the recipe and you WILL get the desired result. But the “blended” model doesn’t work when applied to children and families, since they are not inert. Plus, family life should not be thought of as being in a blender, or as being subject to metal instruments that push you around so that you go in a direction somebody else wants you to go.

The normal result is to have a difficult time “blending” the family, because to even think of it that way is to embrace a flawed way to think about it. This is because:

I long for the day when we are willing to embrace an accurate theoretical model for understanding first families and the harms that come about when they are destroyed because of the sinful behavior or the adults, or fail to form properly. It seems to me that we find ourselves in this predicimate because we (meaning, secular society) no longer accept “sin” as a legitimate category.

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.

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 Slate.com.

“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 Review.red 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.

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.