Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Large-scale UK study confirms the importance of fathers to children

Dina sent me this article from the UK Daily Mail.

Excerpt:

A father’s love is as important to a child’s emotional development as a mother’s, a large-scale study has confirmed.

Examining the cases of more than 10,000 sons and daughters revealed how a cold or distant father can damage a child’s life, sometimes for decades to come.

The review of 36 studies from around the world concluded that his love is at least as important to youngsters as that of their mothers.

Researcher Professor Ronald Rohner said that fatherly love is key to  development and hopes his findings will motivate more men to become involved in caring for their offspring.

‘In the US, Great Britain and Europe, we have assumed for the past 300 years that all children need for normal healthy development is a loving relationship with their mother,’ he said.

‘And that dads are there as support for the mother and to support the  family financially but are not required for the healthy development of the children.

‘But that belief is fundamentally wrong. We have to start getting away from that idea and realise the dad’s influence is as great, and sometimes greater, than the mother’s.’

His conclusions came after he examined data from studies in which  children and adults were asked how loving their parents were.

Questions included if they were made to feel wanted or needed, if their  parents went out of their way to hurt their feelings and if they felt loved.

Those taking part also answered questions about their personality. These ranged from ‘I think about fighting or being mean’ to ‘I think the world is a good, happy place’.

Tallying the results showed that those rejected in childhood felt more anxious and insecure as well as hostile and aggressive.

Many of the problems carried over into adulthood, reported the study published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Review.

Crucially, a father’s love was often just as important as a mother’s. In some cases, it was even more so. One reason for this may be that rejection is more painful when it comes from the parent the child regards as more powerful or respected.

You can read more about how fatherlessness damages children here.

I think the first question we should ask the people who want to redefine marriage is this: “which parent to do you think that a child can do without? the mother or the father?”. We must do everything we can as a society to keep both of a child’s natural parents in the home while the child grows up. If we really care about children, then we should prefer to meet their needs, even if the grown-ups have to be a bit more responsible in their decision making. if the conflict is between innocent children and selfish grown-ups, then the children should win.

We need laws and policies that promote traditional marriage, not laws and policies that break it down and destroy it. Repealing no-fault divorce, lowering subsidies for single motherhood, and making shared parenting the default position, would all help solve the problem. Policies like school choice and lower corporate tax rates helps men to be able to perform in their role as provider. We have to be practical and ask: “what makes men capable of marriage and parenting?” If we want strong fathers, then it makes sense to ask how to make fatherhood more reasonable: what do men need in order to do what we want them to do?

Christians should be especially concerned about the presence of fathers, given the evidence I blogged about before showing how the presence of quality fathers is essential for passing Christian beliefs on to children. Churches need to ask themselves tough questions: Are we teaching women how to choose men based on practical concerns and proven abilities in our churches? And are we doing a good job of attracting men to churches by promoting the masculine, practical aspects of Christianity that men like – like science, apologetics debates, economics and foreign policy?

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Josie Cunningham case shows real reasons some women choose abortion

The UK Daily Mirror reports.

Excerpt:

Wannabe celebrity Josie Cunningham last night confessed the chance of appearing on TV’s Big Brother was worth more than her unborn child’s life.

Puffing on a cigarette and rubbing her baby bump, the controversial model and call girl – who will have her abortion at a clinic this week – said: “I’m finally on the verge of becoming famous and I’m not going to ruin it now.

“An abortion will further my career. This time next year I won’t have a baby. Instead, I’ll be famous, driving a bright pink Range Rover and buying a big house. Nothing will get in my way.”

Josie, 23, is already 18 weeks pregnant by either an escort agency client or a Premier League footballer.

[...]Josie – who caused outrage in 2013 when she demanded a £4,800 boob job on the NHS to become a glamour model – said: “Channel 5 were keen to shortlist me then they found out I was pregnant.

She’s used to taking money from the NHS:

“Suddenly I was pregnant and I could get free dental work on the NHS, so I got a tooth straightened for cosmetic reasons, and it all seemed great.

[...]“It’s not ideal situation and I wish I had never fallen pregnant. I’m not on the Pill and in December the condom split when I was sleeping with a client.

“Then I had sex with a footballer and didn’t use contraception at all. I’d known him for years and we’d had sex before. I didn’t even think about the morning after pill.”

The footballer and the client – who is a high-flying surgeon – both offered to support Josie financially if she had the baby. But she said no.

So the footballer agreed to pay for the abortion at a London private clinic.

[...]Josie – already mum to boys Harley, six, and Frankie, three – said: “I’ve had five miscarriages so the one good thing about the pregnancy is that it has shown me I can still carry beyond 12 weeks.

“I’m a good mum but this is ­something I have wanted for so long. I can’t give up my big break for anything.”

Later in the article, she is quoted saying that she is “a good mother” in spite of the fact that she is “still smoking up to 10 cigarettes a day and drinking” with an unborn child whom she intends to murder.

Daniel Rodger, who writes at the LTI blog, thinks he knows why this sort of thing is happening more often.

Excerpt:

The way in which Josie talks about her unborn child as if they are something disposable and fickle exposes how successful the dehumanising of the unborn has been in the UK. The maternal relationship is now seen as something tentative and conditional. The unborn must meet societies standards of normalcy before they are allowed to continue their existence, that is providing they come at the right time.

Francis Schaeffer once said that the two values of middle-class America were affluence and personal peace and I think they’re also applicable in the UK, and you can see these values reflected in Josies’ reasoning. By affluence Schaeffer meant the acquisition of things and more things, that’s why Josie wants her pink Range Rover and big house, if her unborn baby gets in her way to achieving those ends (utilitarian reasoning) its the unborn baby who loses. Personal peace simply means wanting your own lifestyle undisturbed regardless of the effects on others and in this case the unborn functions as a disturbance to her personal peace.

Abortion is definitely very much at home in a secular worldview where it’s OK for the strong to mistreat the weak. I would suggest that we all examine ourselves and decide whether our own personal affluence and happiness is more important than someone else’s life – and especially of our own children’s life. That little child didn’t ask to be made by that woman, but her decision to have sex did make him, and now she is responsible. Single motherhood is a terrible thing, but it’s a worse thing to kill a child. The best policy is to not have sex until both people are ready to welcome a child into the world.

Filed under: News, , , , , , ,

Those who complain about “income inequality” should not ignore single motherhood

From the Wall Street Journal of all places.

Excerpt:

The two-parent family has declined rapidly in recent decades. In 1960, more than 76% of African-Americans and nearly 97% of whites were born to married couples. Today the percentage is 30% for blacks and 70% for whites. The out-of-wedlock birthrate for Hispanics surpassed 50% in 2006. This trend, coupled with high divorce rates, means that roughly 25% of American children now live in single-parent homes, twice the percentage in Europe (12%). Roughly a third of American children live apart from their fathers.

Does it matter? Yes, it does.

[...]In an essay for the Institute for Family Studies last December, called “Even for Rich Kids, Marriage Matters,” University of Virginia sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox reported that children in high-income households who experienced family breakups don’t fare as well emotionally, psychologically, educationally or, in the end, economically as their two-parent-family peers.

Abuse, behavioral problems and psychological issues of all kinds, such as developmental behavior problems or concentration issues, are less common for children of married couples than for cohabiting or single parents, according to a 2003 Centers for Disease Control study of children’s health. The causal pathways are about as clear as those from smoking to cancer.

More than 20% of children in single-parent families live in poverty long-term, compared with 2% of those raised in two-parent families, according to education-policy analyst Mitch Pearlstein’s 2011 book “From Family Collapse to America’s Decline.” The poverty rate would be 25% lower if today’s family structure resembled that of 1970, according to the 2009 report “Creating an Opportunity Society” from Brookings Institution analysts Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill. A 2006 article in the journal Demography by Penn State sociologist Molly Martin estimates that 41% of the economic inequality created between 1976-2000 was the result of changed family structure.

Earlier this year, a team of researchers led by Harvard economist Raj Chetty reported that communities with a high percentage of single-parent families are less likely to experience upward mobility. The researchers’ report—”Where Is the Land of Opportunity?”—received considerable media attention. Yet mainstream news outlets tended to ignore the study’s message about family structure, focusing instead on variables with far less statistical impact, such as residential segregation.

So where does single motherhood by choice come from? The libertarian Cato Institute explains:

[T]he evidence of a link between the availability of welfare and out-of-wedlock births is overwhelming. There have been 13 major studies of the relationship between the availability of welfare benefits and out-of-wedlock birth. Of these, 11 found a statistically significant correlation. Among the best of these studies is the work done by June O’Neill for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Holding constant a wide range of variables, including income, education, and urban vs. suburban setting, the study found that a 50 percent increase in the value of AFDC and foodstamp payments led to a 43 percent increase in the number of out-of-wedlock births.(7) Likewise, research by Shelley Lundberg and Robert Plotnick of the University of Washington showed that an increase in welfare benefits of $200 per month per family increased the rate of out-of-wedlock births among teenagers by 150 percent.(8)

The same results can be seen from welfare systems in other countries. For example, a recent study of the impact of Canada’s social-welfare system on family structure concluded that “providing additional benefits to single parents encourages births of children to unwed women.”(9)

[...]Until teenage girls, particularly those living in relative poverty, can be made to see real consequences from pregnancy, it will be impossible to gain control over the problem of out-of- wedlock births. By disguising those consequences, welfare makes it easier for these girls to make the decisions that will lead to unwed motherhood.

So, if the Democrats opposed income inequality, they would oppose single motherhood by choice, and they would oppose the welfare that causes single motherhood by choice.

But of course the Democrats oppose none of those things, and they have worked to undermine the 1996 Welfare Reform bill while at the same time expanding the welfare payments that make single motherhood easier.

Filed under: News, , , , ,

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.

Filed under: Polemics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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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