Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Stephen Baskerville: five myths about no-fault divorce

From the Catholic News Agency.

Introduction:

Almost four decades after the “no-fault” divorce revolution began in California, misconceptions abound. Even the many books about divorce, including myriad self-help manuals, are full of inaccurate and misleading information. No public debate preceded the introduction of no-fault divorce laws in the 1970s, and no debate has taken place since.

Yet divorce-on-demand is exacting a devastating toll on our children, our social order, our economy, and even our constitutional rights. A recent study estimates the financial cost of divorce to taxpayers at $112 billion annually. Recent demands to legitimize same-sex marriage almost certainly follow from the divorce revolution, since gay activists readily acknowledge that they only desire to marry under the loosened terms that have resulted from the new divorce laws. Divorce also contributes to a dangerous increase in the power of the state over private life.

Here are the five myths about no-fault divorce:

  • No-fault divorce permitted divorce by mutual consent, thus making divorce less acrimonious
  • We cannot force people to remain married and should not try
  • No-fault divorce has led men to abandon their wives and children
  • When couples cannot agree or cooperate about matters like how the children should be raised, a judge must decide according to “the best interest of the child”
  • Divorce must be made easy because of domestic violence

And the details about number three:

Myth 3: No-fault divorce has led men to abandon their wives and children.

Fact: This does happen (wives more often than children), but it is greatly exaggerated. The vast majority of no-fault divorces — especially those involving children — are filed by wives. In fact, as Judy Parejko, author of Stolen Vows, has shown, the no-fault revolution was engineered largely by feminist lawyers, with the cooperation of the bar associations, as part of the sexual revolution. Overwhelmingly, it has served to separate large numbers of children from their fathers. Sometimes the genders are reversed, so that fathers take children from mothers. But either way, the main effect of no-fault is to make children weapons and pawns to gain power through the courts, not the “abandonment” of them by either parent.

Al Mohler wrote about the history of no-fault divorce a while back, and I think it’s worth reviewing why we have this lousy law.

The story behind America’s love affair with no-fault divorce is a sad and instructive tale. As Baskerville documents, no-fault divorce laws emerged in the United States during the 1970s and quickly spread across the nation. Even though only nine states had no-fault divorce laws in 1977, by 1995, every state had legalized no-fault divorce.

Behind all this is an ideological revolution driven by feminism and facilitated by this society’s embrace of autonomous individualism. Baskerville argues that divorce “became the most devastating weapon in the arsenal of feminism, because it creates millions of gender battles on the most personal level.” As far back as 1947, the National Association of Women Lawyers [NAWL] was pushing for what we now know as no-fault divorce. More recently, NAWL claims credit for the divorce revolution, describing it as “the greatest project NAWL has ever undertaken.”

The feminists and NAWL were not working alone, of course. Baskerville explains that the American Bar Association “persuaded the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws [NCCUSL] to produce the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act.” Eventually, this led to a revolution in law and convulsions in society at large. This legal revolution effectively drove a stake into the heart of marriage itself, with inevitable consequences. In effect, no-fault divorce has become the catalyst for one of the most destructive cultural shifts in human history. Now, no-fault divorce is championed by many governments in the name of human rights, and America’s divorce revolution is spreading around the world under the banner of “liberation.”

And note that Democrats oppose any effort to reform laws that make it easy to break up marriages:

A basic dishonesty on the question of divorce pervades our political culture. Baskerville cites Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm as referring to divorce as a couple’s “private decision.” Granholm’s comments came as she vetoed a bill intended to reform divorce law in her state. The danger and dishonesty of referring to divorce as a couple’s “private decision” is evident in the fact that this supposedly private decision imposes a reality, not only on the couple, but also on children and the larger society. Indeed, the “private decision” is really not made by a couple at all–but only by any spouse demanding a divorce.

So, no-fault was pushed by two groups: feminists and trial lawyers.

There’s a lot of talk these days about gay marriage and how it undermines marital norms and normalizes raising children without either their biological father or biological mother. But before there was gay marriage, there was no-fault divorce, which deprives children of their biological father. There is no provision for no-fault divorce in the Bible, so it seems to me that Christians should be against frivolous divorce just like we are against same-sex marriage.

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Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin, Elin Nordegren, Elizabeth Edwards and Maria Shriver

All of these women were cheated on, to some extent, by their spouses:

  • Hillary Clinton is the wife of Bill Clinton.
  • Huma Abedin is the wife of the Anthony Weiner.
  • Elin Nordegren is the wife of Tiger Woods.
  • Elizabeth Edwards is the wife of John Edwards.
  • Maria Shriver is the wife of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

So what do they all have in common?

They all picked secular men with liberal views on social policy and they all got cheated on.

So how should women test men for marriage?

Here are some questions that the five women who chose these disgusting creeps for husbands SHOULD have asked:

  1. What is the public purpose of marriage?
  2. What are the expected public outcomes of a good marriage?
  3. Does chastity before marriage provide any indication about a person’s ability to stay faithful in a marriage?
  4. What should men and women bring to a relationship so that they are able to perform expected marital behaviors?
  5. Is marriage more about self-indulgence or about self-sacrifice? Can you get used to self-sacrifice by being self-indulgent?
  6. If a person is pro-abortion, what do they believe about taking responsibility to avoid harming others with their poor decisions?
  7. If a person is pro-same-sex marriage, what do they believe about the needs of children compared to the needs of adults?
  8. If a person believes in wealth redistribution, do they have a correct understanding of working, saving and investing?
  9. Does a person’s superior appearance, wealth, or power determine whether they will be faithful in a marriage?
  10. Can you cause your spouse to be faithful by spending a lot of money on a wedding?
  11. Can you cause your spouse to be faithful by inviting famous people to your wedding?
  12. Is it a good idea to choose someone to marry who your parents and elders disapprove of?
  13. Is it a good idea to choose whether to have sex with someone using “the 180-second rule”?
  14. Is it a good idea to choose someone to marry in order to impress your friends (or to make them jealous)?
  15. Is it a good idea to marry someone because most of your friends are getting married?
  16. Is it a good idea to avoid studying the effects of divorce on children prior to marrying?
  17. Can you expect a spouse to adhere to objective moral obligations without a knowledge of God’s existence, grounded on evidence?
  18. Can you expect a spouse to adhere to objective moral obligations without a knowledge of God’s character, grounded on evidence?
  19. Does holding a Bible for a photo-op make someone into a William Lane Craig or a Wayne Grudem?
  20. Does singing praise hymns in church make someone into a William Lane Craig or a Wayne Grudem?

Those last items are to show that you really cannot have a moral standard that is binding unless there is some way that the universe ought to be, because it was designed to be a certain way by a Designer. If a person is convinced that there is a Designer who made people, it rationally grounds the idea that there is a way that humans ought to act – independently of how we may feel individually, or even in different cultures in different places and times. The more a man knows whether God exists and knows what God is like as a person – based on evidence – the more seriously that man will try to incorporate God’s personality into his decision making. A serious study of the evidence for God’s existence and character helps people to take moral obligations to others more seriously – especially when they don’t FEEL LIKE IT. That is why marriages where both spouses attend church regularly last. I can guarantee you that there are times when people don’t feel like going to church, e.g. – bad weather days. But people who attend church regularly have trained themselves to take their relationship with God more seriously than their own comfort. That is a useful prerequisite for marriage, especially if the church attendance spills into even harder things like theology, philosophy of religion, ethics and apologetics. Women need to be asking men these worldview and morality questions, and insisting on seeing the behaviors that raise the probability of having a stable marriage to a faithful man.

Basically, instead of relying on feelings and peer approval to choose a man, women need to ask men questions to find out whether they are trustworthy and equal to the tasks that men perform as husbands and fathers. I don’t think that women who were cheated on really asked questions about their chosen spouse’s worldview, and how the man’s worldview grounded moral obligations, such as the obligation NOT to cheat. It seems that today, a well-grounded worldview that grounds moral obligations is regarded by some women as being superfluous to marital stability. I guess they think that fidelity is basically random – that Elliot Spitzer is as likely to be a faithful spouse as James Dobson. They just don’t ask men to explain what they believe and why, and why any particular man can be trusted to make moral decisions. And they shouldn’t be satisfied with words – they should demand to see evidence that the man has studied these issues, written about them, debated with others about them, and acted on these convictions personally.

I think that women today are also giving up their responsibility to read about marriage and parenting, to read about risks and challenges that threaten stable marriages, like no-fault divorce laws and cohabitation, and to read about how important it is to stay married because of how divorce affects children. Women should not abdicate the responsibility to judge men, they should not say that “men are unpredictable”, and they should not set themselves up as helpless victims. They need to keep men at arm’s length, keep their wits about them and do the work of evaluating men for the roles that men play in marriage and family.

Character and knowledge count. Just because a man can put on a show for you, it doesn’t mean that he is capable of producing the results of a thoughtful Christian worldview.

What does Dr. Laura say about marriage?

“Commitment to marriage and child rearing was once viewed as the pinnacle of adulthood identity, so that women looked carefully for the “right” man for the job, and parents were consulted for opinions and blessings.”
Source: Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, page 53.

Find the right man for the job. You wouldn’t resort to feelings to hire someone for your company, so why resort to feelings when it comes to picking a husband and father to your children?

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Why did unmarried women prefer a Democrat candidate by 42 points in Virginia?

First, the numbers from the recent Virginia gubernatorial election, courtesy of the leftist Washington Post.

There were poll numbers floating around in the days leading up to the election that suggested McAuliffe would absolutely swamp Cuccinelli among female voters and, in so doing, win a convincing victory.  But, according to exit polls, Cuccinelli only lost female voters by nine points — identical to the losing margin for Mitt Romney among women in Virginia in the 2012 presidential election. (Romney lost women nationally by 11 points to President Obama in 2012.)

Where Cuccinelli did get swamped, however, was among non-married women where he lost by a massive 42-point(!) margin, according to preliminary exit polling. While Romney didn’t fare that poorly in 2012, his 29-point loss among non-married women in Virginia was more than double his losing margin among women more broadly in the Commonwealth.

Here’s the two-pronged problem for Republicans: 1) They aren’t winning married women by nearly enough to make up for their huge deficits among unmarried women and 2) There aren’t that many more married women than single women in the electorate to make up the margins.

So, the fact that married women accounted for 35 percent of the overall electorate and Cuccinelli won them by nine points was more than offset by the fact that single women comprised 18 percent of the electorate and he lost them by six touchdowns.

(Worth noting: The married/unmarried divide isn’t just among women.  Cuccinelli won married men by six points but lost single men by 25.)

When you vote for a Democrat, you are voting for legalized abortion through all 9 months of pregnancy, gay marriage, banning guns, higher taxes and massive government spending. So how does the Democrat Party convince women to vote for those policies? Well, you can see how by looking at these official pro-Obamacare ads that are marketed to unmarried women. (H/T Amy)

OMG he's hot! Obama will give you condoms to have sex!

OMG he’s hot! Obama gives you condoms to have sex with him!

Who did this?

Got Insurance is a project of the Thanks Obamacare campaign, created by the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and ProgressNow Colorado Education to educate everyone about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act.

See, that man is good-looking, but he has no intention of marrying that woman. He has no STEM degree, no self-control, no earned income, and desire to raise children. But she wants to have sex with him because OMG he’s hawt!!!1!, and thankfully her Obama is right there with the birth control pills and condoms to make this “work”. She is so excited to have Obamacare-sex with the hot guy! And who knows, maybe he will call her the next day and ask her what her name was.

Now you might think that appealing to unmarried women like this would not work, but actually it does work. It works because this is how unmarried women see themselves. They want to binge drink. They want to prefer men based purely on appearance and fun. They don’t want men who can protect, provide and lead morally and spiritually. They don’t want men who are “sexist” (chivalrous) and judgmental (honorable). They want to be free to act on their feelings spontaneously and then kill unborn children who get in the way of that. And they want high-earning married men to pay for the condoms through taxes. And if things don’t “work out” with the “hot guy” then they can just blame him for being a cad, and blame the alcohol they drank for making them choose that cad. It wasn’t their fault, so thank socialism that taxpayers are going to pay for it.

The Democrat Party offers unmarried women free condoms and subsidized abortions, so they can more easily engage in recreational sex, and unmarried women respond to that by electing Democrats. According to exit polls, unmarried women like Sandra Fluke voted more than 70% for Obama in 2008 and 2012. This is not my opinion, this is fact. Feminists vote Democrat, and this is feminism in action. Drink like a man. Have sex like a man. Force pro-life doctors to kill the babies. Make pro-life taxpayers pay for the abortion. That’s what unmarried women are voting for – in droves.

Application for Christians

And that’s what is facing marriage-minded men today when they look at unmarried women. That’s an attractive woman in that photo up there. Christian leaders and pastors look at a woman like that with a college degree and a job, and they say to Christian men “you need to man up and marry that fine Christian woman!”. There is almost no expectation among Christian leaders that Christian women be informed about politics, economics, apologetics, and so on. If they look good, then they must be good. And they must vote good. Except they are not and they do not.

The fact is that unmarried Christian women are often very much like unmarried non-Christian women. They believe the same. They vote the same. They watch the same TV and movies. They read the same books. They have plenty of sexual experience – if not from hook-ups, then from preferring non-Christian men to Christian men. We really need to be training unmarried Christian women to be far better at morality, politics, economics, apologetics and so on. Right now, from what I have see in the church, they are woefully inadequate for marriage. We need to look beyond the winsome appearance of Christian women, and make a right judgment about what’s underneath skin level. Instead of being guided by our eyes, and accepting a bare confession of faith, we need to look deeper – for an informed Christian worldview and actions that are consistent with that worldview.

It’s good for Christian men to treat unmarried women nicely, but unless they are qualified to be treated nicely, it does more harm than good. When an unmarried woman is engaging in behaviors that are destroying the lives of born and unborn children, and tearing the fabric of society with government debt, no-fault divorce and single motherhood, then the good man has to make a stand and say “What you are doing is evil.” Unfortunately, many Christian leaders don’t want to do that, so it’s up to regular rank-and-file Christian men to do it.

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Three evidential reasons why you should promote and support traditional marriage

People often question me about my strict rules of courting, according to which a man explains his plan for the marriage to the woman, and then evaluates her for the role over some period of time. The goal being to see if the woman will listen to the man’s plan, grow her skills to work that plan, and then take steps to work on that plan. I advocate for no physical contact during that evaluation period so that the man is able to avoid being influenced by non-rational factors.

So why do I have this system? Well many reasons, but one the reasons is to do no harm to women or children. I have never had sex with a woman who regretted it. I have never murdered an unborn child. I have never divorced a woman. I have never been the cause of a fatherless child. It doesn’t really matter to me if women pretend to be OK with premarital sex, breakups and divorce. My view is that it’s not good for them and for children (unborn and born) and I am not going to inflict harm on women and children.

So that’s one reason why I have this system. I would say that people who reject a rigorous, disciplined, structured view of relationships are vastly more likely cause harm to women and children (and men, in the case of no-fault divorce or false accusations of rape or false paternity claims). I guess I am open to any other system that causes less harm (although I have other reasons for choosing chastity/courting as my approach to relationships). But I don’t find that my detractors want to prevent harm to others. So, I stick with what I have.

So in this post, I wanted to present a few reasons why we need to be careful to marry well, and select the right person for the job. This just reinforces why I would adopt these rules – because marriage matters, and when it comes to marriage, we don’t rely on our feelings, we rely on facts and we rely on self-control.

Smoking

Here’s a story from the left-leaning Globe and Mail.

Excerpt:

Each year, Canadian taxpayers spend almost four and a half billion dollars on health care for smoking related illnesses. Governments, at all levels, have implemented policies designed to reduce tobacco consumption in the hope of lowering the excess burden placed on the health care system by smokers. So, it should be of interest to note that whether or not a person smokes has a lot to do with whether or not they are married.

New research published this month, finds that Canadian men and women who are married are significantly less likely to smoke than their unmarried counterparts, and consume less alcohol as well. Divorced men and women not only smoke more than married men and women, but they smoke even more than unmarried men and women.

Thirty-eight per cent of divorced men smoke, compared to 30 per cent of single men and 20 per cent of married men.

Thirty-two per cent of divorced women smoke, compared to 26 per cent of single women and 15 per cent of married women.

Husbands and wives, it seems, discourage each other from behaving in a way that is bad for their health suggesting that the more people who are married, and stay that way, the healthier we will be as a population.

You can read the abstract from the study here. It was published in the “Review of Economics of the Household” journal.

Domestic violence

Here’s a publication from the Heritage Foundation think tank that shows that marriage is the safest arrangement for women and children. They use mainstream sources like the U.S. Department of Justice.

Excerpt:

The institution that most strongly protects mothers and children from domestic abuse and violent crime is marriage. Analysis of ten years worth of findings from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), which the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has conducted since 1973, demonstrates that mothers who are or ever have been married are far less likely to suffer from violent crime than are mothers who never marry.

Specifically, data from the NCVS survey show that:

  • Married women with children suffer far less abuse than single mothers. In fact, the rate of spousal, boyfriend, or domestic partner abuse is twice as high among mothers who have never been married as it is among mothers who have ever married (including those separated or divorced).
  • Married women with children are far less likely to suffer from violent crime in general or at the hands of intimate acquaintances or strangers. Mothers who have never married–including those who are single and living either alone or with a boyfriend and those who are cohabiting with their child’s father–are more than twice as likely to be victims of violent crime than are mothers who have ever married.

Other social science surveys demonstrate that marriage is the safest place for children as well. For example:

  • Children of divorced or never-married mothers are six to 30 times more likely to suffer from serious child abuse than are children raised by both biological parents in marriage.2

Without question, marriage is the safest place for a mother and her children to live, both at home and in the larger community. Nevertheless, current government policy is either indifferent to or actively hostile to the institution of marriage. The welfare system, for example, can penalize low-income parents who decide to marry. Such hostility toward marriage is poor public policy; government instead should foster healthy and enduring marriages, which would have many benefits for mothers and children, including reducing domestic violence.

Now it’s important to keep in mind that women commit domestic violence at about the same rate as men, but the Heritage Foundation paper doesn’t mention men. However, I think it’s reasonable to think that marriage is safer for men as well.

Poverty

Here’s another publication from the Heritage Foundation that shows that marriage is better for keeping kids out of poverty.

Here’s the abstract:

Child poverty is an ongoing national concern, but few are aware that its principal cause is the absence of married fathers in the home. Marriage remains America’s strongest anti-poverty weapon, yet it continues to decline. As husbands disappear from the home, poverty and welfare dependence will increase, and children and parents will suffer as a result. Since marital decline drives up child poverty and welfare dependence, and since the poor aspire to healthy marriage but lack the norms, understanding, and skills to achieve it, it is reasonable for government to take active steps to strengthen marriage. Just as government discourages youth from dropping out of school, it should provide information that will help people to form and maintain healthy marriages and delay childbearing until they are married and economically stable. In particular, clarifying the severe shortcomings of the “child first, marriage later” philosophy to potential parents in lower-income communities should be a priority.

Again, the paper uses mainstream from neutral sources like the U.S. Census.

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Dennis Prager explains what feminism has achieved for women

Dennis Prager has summarized many of my viewpoints on this blog in a tiny, tiny little article. He calls it “Four Legacies of Feminism“.

Read the whole glorious thing and bask in its wisdom!

Full text:

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the publication of Betty Friedan’s feminist magnum opus, The Feminine Mystique, we can have a perspective on feminism that was largely unavailable heretofore.

And that perspective doesn’t make feminism look good. Yes, women have more opportunities to achieve career success; they are now members of most Jewish and Christian clergy; women’s college sports teams are given huge amounts of money; and there are far more women in political positions of power. But the prices paid for these changes — four in particular — have been great, and outweigh the gains for women, let alone for men and for society.

1) The first was the feminist message to young women to have sex just as men do. There is no reason for them to lead a different sexual life than men, they were told. Just as men can have sex with any woman solely for the sake of physical pleasure, so, too, women ought to enjoy sex with any man just for the fun of it. The notion that the nature of women is to hope for at least the possibility of a long-term commitment from a man they sleep with has been dismissed as sexist nonsense.

As a result, vast numbers of young American women had, and continue to have, what are called “hookups”; and for some of them it is quite possible that no psychological or emotional price has been paid. But the majority of women who are promiscuous do pay prices. One is depression. New York Times columnist Ross Douthat recently summarized an academic study on the subject: “A young woman’s likelihood of depression rose steadily as her number of partners climbed and the present stability of her sex life diminished.”

Long before this study, I had learned from women callers to my radio show (an hour each week — the “Male-Female Hour” — is devoted to very honest discussion of sexual and other man-woman issues) that not only did female promiscuity coincide with depression, it also often had lasting effects on women’s ability to enjoy sex. Many married women told me that in order to have a normal sexual relationship with their husband, they had to work through the negative aftereffects of early promiscuity — not trusting men, feeling used, seeing sex as unrelated to love, and disdaining their husband’s sexual overtures. And many said they still couldn’t have a normal sex life with their husband.

2) The second awful legacy of feminism has been the belief among women that they could and should postpone marriage until they developed their careers. Only then should they seriously consider looking for a husband. Thus, the decade or more during which women have the best chance to attract men is spent being preoccupied with developing a career. Again, I cite woman callers to my radio show over the past 20 years who have sadly looked back at what they now, at age 40, regard as 20 wasted years. Sure, these frequently bright and talented women have a fine career. But most women are not programmed to prefer a great career to a great man and a family. They feel they were sold a bill of goods at college and by the media. And they were. It turns out that most women without a man do worse in life than fish without bicycles.

3) The third sad feminist legacy is that so many women — and men — have bought the notion that women should work outside the home that for the first time in American history, and perhaps world history, vast numbers of children are not primarily raised by their mothers or even by an extended family member. Instead they are raised for a significant part of their childhood by nannies and by workers at daycare centers. Whatever feminists may say about their only advocating choices, everyone knows the truth: Feminism regards work outside the home as more elevating, honorable, and personally productive than full-time mothering and making a home.

4) And the fourth awful legacy of feminism has been the demasculinization of men. For all of higher civilization’s recorded history, becoming a man was defined overwhelmingly as taking responsibility for a family. That notion — indeed the notion of masculinity itself — is regarded by feminism as the worst of sins: patriarchy.

Men need a role, or they become, as the title of George Gilder’s classic book on single men describes them: Naked Nomads. In little more than a generation, feminism has obliterated roles. If you wonder why so many men choose not to get married, the answer lies in large part in the contemporary devaluation of the husband and of the father — of men as men, in other words. Most men want to be honored in some way — as a husband, a father, a provider, as an accomplished something; they don’t want merely to be “equal partners” with a wife.

In sum, thanks to feminism, very many women slept with too many men for their own happiness; postponed marriage too long to find the right man to marry; are having hired hands do much of the raising of their children; and find they are dating boy-men because manly men are so rare.

Feminism exemplifies the truth of the saying, “Be careful what you wish for — you may get it.”

I wish I could add something to this, but I can’t because every time I think of something to add, he says it in the next sentence.

If you like this short essay, then this medium essay arguing against feminism authored by Barbara Kay would be nice follow-up.

It might be worth forwarding these articles along to your friends. And I highly recommend books on male-female relationships and roles by George Gilder, especially “Men and Marriage“.

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