Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Psychological Society of Ireland: disagreement with same-sex marriage is harmful

This is from Spiked Online.

It says:

To see how straitjacketed the debate about gay marriage has become, look no further than Ireland.

There, on 22 May, there will be a referendum, with voters asked to say Yes or No to amending the Irish Constitution so that marriage will be redefined as a union between ‘two persons without distinction as to their sex’. Sounds good, right? An opportunity for an actual electorate to have a debate and have its say on the future of marriage? Not so fast.

The run-up to the referendum has been about as far from a fair or open debate as it’s possible to get. One side in the debate – the side that is critical of gay marriage – is demonised daily, treated virtually as heretics, almost as criminals. It’s accused of causing psychological harm, branded as ‘hate speakers’, and frequently forced to make public apologies simply for expressing its belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman. And as a writer for the Irish Independent says, ‘It’s not a debate if one side can’t speak’. The public discussion before the Irish referendum has not been a debate, she says – it’s been ‘a Two Minutes Hate’ against anyone who doesn’t think gay marriage is the greatest idea ever.

Pretty much the entire establishment in Ireland, aside from the increasingly uninfluential bishops and priests, backs gay marriage (giving the lie to the gay-marriage movement’s depiction of itself as a beleaguered minority bravely battling The Man for its civil rights). From the prime minister, Enda Kenny, to the vast majority of Dail Eireann, to pretty much the whole media – most notably the Irish Times, voice of the minuscule cultural elite in Dublin that sets the moral and political agenda in Ireland – every person with power is rallying for gay marriage. And barely a week passes when they don’t demonise the other side, the smaller, less powerful side, the side which, in opposing gay marriage, is apparently harming citizens, causing violence and, worst of all, jeopardising Ireland’s political future.

As with all heretics in history, Ireland’s opponents of gay marriage stand accused of directly harming the public. So last month, the Psychological Society of Ireland issued a dire warning that the propaganda of the anti-gay marriage camp could ‘impact detrimentally on people’. PSI said it is ‘seriously concerned’ that this lobby’s claim that traditional marriage is better than gay marriage, on the grounds that a mother and father make better parents than two people of the same sex, could have ‘far-reaching implications’. It chastised opponents of gay marriage for promoting ideas that ‘run contrary to the positions of professional bodies’ – that is, for daring to defy the new priests: the expert class – and said their words could wreak mental and moral havoc.

As one news report summed it up, PSI thinks that ‘the debate itself [my italics] carrie[s] the potential to have detrimental effects, both psychological and emotional, on adults and children’. So discussion is dangerous; positing a view that runs counter to the elite’s outlook could cause emotional damage. It’s remarkable how much the authoritarian boot has shifted: once it was those who denied Biblical truths who were accused of doing moral harm to citizens; now it is those who cleave to Christian views and doubt gay marriage whose words, whose desire to have a debate, are depicted as dangerous, warping things.

Rod Dreher is following the religious liberty issue pretty closely, and he wrote this recently:

I had a 30-minute phone conversation today with a prominent Christian physician who works at one of the great medical institutions in the world, here in the US. He reached out to me through a mutual friend to say to me how important it is to raise the alarm about what’s happening on this front, and to start networking and building institutions to help us get through what is to come.

“This is what I think you mean with the Benedict Option,” he said, correctly. “You need to write that book so somebody can give the public a clear understanding of where we are, how we got here, and what we’re going to have to do to get through what’s coming.”

We were talking on background, so I don’t feel comfortable relating specific details of our discussion here. He gave me a lot of deeply concerning information about what’s happening in the medical world around this and related culture-war issues. He said he’s been watching it unfold for some time now, and he’s been trying to make people understand that Christians in this country are facing something unprecedented in US history.

One of the things he sees coming, and coming fast: the inability of many professionals, and not only in the medical field, to work unless they sign off on things they cannot in good conscience accept. “We’re going to see jobs lost and retirements lost,” he said.

In his institution, said the doctor, every single one of his colleagues believes that on LGBT issues, Christians who hold to the orthodox view are no better than segregationists. This cultural attitude is sooner or later going to be absorbed into the law.

To just to let you know how this has affected me personally – on Thursday afternoon, my entire Facebook account with 1103 friends and 933 people who liked this blog’s page were shut down for “abusive” speech. We will never know who exactly was responsible for the charges, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was more of what’s going on in Ireland right now. What does the secular left know about free speech? Nothing. I would sooner hope for mercy from a lion than hope for tolerance from the secular left. They are fascists.

Filed under: News, , , , , , ,

Should Christian apologists avoid political, moral and cultural issues?

 

The Sexual Revolution and the decline in religious affiliation

The Sexual Revolution and the decline in religious affiliation

Here’s an article from The American Conservative, by moderate conservative Rod Dreher, dated April 2013.

He writes:

Twenty years ago, new president Bill Clinton stepped on a political landmine when he tried to fulfill a campaign promise to permit gay soldiers to serve openly. Same-sex marriage barely registered as a political cause; the country was then three years away from the Defense of Marriage Act and four years from comedian Ellen DeGeneres’s prime-time coming out.

Then came what historians will one day recall as a cultural revolution. Now we’re entering the endgame of the struggle over gay rights and the meaning of homosexuality. Conservatives have been routed, both in court and increasingly in the court of public opinion. It is commonly believed that the only reason to oppose same-sex marriage is rank bigotry or for religious reasons, neither of which—the argument goes—has any place in determining laws or public standards.

The magnitude of the defeat suffered by moral traditionalists will become ever clearer as older Americans pass from the scene. Poll after poll shows that for the young, homosexuality is normal and gay marriage is no big deal—except, of course, if one opposes it, in which case one has the approximate moral status of a segregationist in the late 1960s.

[…]When they were writing the widely acclaimed 2010 book American Grace, a comprehensive study of contemporary religious belief and practice, political scientists Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell noticed two inverse trend lines in social-science measures, both starting around 1990.

They found that young Americans coming into adulthood at that time began to accept homosexuality as morally licit in larger numbers. They also observed that younger Americans began more and more to fall away from organized religion. The evangelical boom of the 1970s and 1980s stopped, and if not for a tsunami of Hispanic immigration the U.S. Catholic church would be losing adherents at the same rate as the long-dwindling Protestant mainline.

Over time, the data showed, attitudes on moral issues proved to be strong predictors of religious engagement. In particular, the more liberal one was on homosexuality, the less likely one was to claim religious affiliation. It’s not that younger Americans were becoming atheists. Rather, most of them identify as “spiritual, but not religious.” Combined with atheists and agnostics, these “Nones”—the term is Putnam’s and Campbell’s—comprise the nation’s fastest-growing faith demographic.

Indeed, according to a 2012 Pew Research Center study, the Nones comprise one out of three Americans under 30. This is not simply a matter of young people doing what young people tend to do: keep church at arm’s length until they settle down. Pew’s Greg Smith told NPR that this generation is more religiously unaffiliated than any on record. Putnam—the Harvard scholar best known for his best-selling civic culture study Bowling Alone—has said that there’s no reason to think they will return to church in significant numbers as they age.

Putnam and Campbell were careful to say in American Grace that correlation is not causation, but they did point out that as gay activism moved toward center stage in American political life… the vivid public role many Christian leaders took in opposing gay rights alienated young Americans from organized religion.

In a dinner conversation not long after the publication of American Grace, Putnam told me that Christian churches would have to liberalize on sexual teaching if they hoped to retain the loyalty of younger generations. This seems at first like a reasonable conclusion, but the experience of America’s liberal denominations belies that prescription. Mainline Protestant churches, which have been far more accepting of homosexuality and sexual liberation in general, have continued their stark membership decline.

It seems that when people decide that historically normative Christianity is wrong about sex, they typically don’t find a church that endorses their liberal views. They quit going to church altogether.

That’s why I am somewhat underwhelmed with the pure apologetics approach of most apologists.The real reason that drives atheist “apologetics” is, to be frank, the desire to dispense with rules around sexuality. The sexual freedom comes first, and then the speculative smokescreens follow. Close behind the sexual freedom is leftist economic policies (which are seen as more “fair”) and anti-business environmentalist policies. So there’s more turf to defend here than just the existence of God, the resurrection and the reliability of the Bible. That’s not what’s behind the drift of young people away from Christianity.

That’s why on this blog, you get a ton of politics and tons of studies and arguments against premarital sex, no-fault divorce, single motherhood by choice, same-sex marriage, and everything else that comes before traditional apologetics. (And you also get lots of apologetics, too!) We need to get better at defending Christian sexual ethics using purely secular arguments and evidence, e.g. – showing people how premarital sex undermines marital stability or how gay parenting harms the well-being of children. There are reasons for these rules we have, and we have to go beyond “The Bible Says…” if we expect to be convincing to young people.

And when we go against the Sexual Revolution, we have to bring secular arguments and secular evidence and bring it to bear squarely against radical feminism, and the Sexual Revolution. In particular, we have to put the burden of responsibility for poor sexual decisions back on the shoulders of young people. Young men must reject a cultural standard of what a “good” woman is. Young women must reject a cultural standard of what a “good” man is.  Men and women who reject traditional Christianity, traditional morality, and traditional notions of male leadership and male roles are bad people to have relationships with. We have to persuade both men and women about the harm that poor choices cause – abortion,  divorce, fatherlessness, expensive welfare programs. There is no point in blaming bad men and women – they are already bad. We have to teach young people to choose good men and good women. We have to teach them that choosing mates poorly, and making poor sexual choices, is their responsibility. They are not victims! And we shouldn’t be blaming one sex for the others poor choices, i.e. – we should not be blaming bad men when women chose them and make bad choices with the bad men. Those men were bad before the women chose them, and those women are only victims of their own poor choices.

When it comes to same-sex marriage, we have to defend traditional marriage using secular arguments and secular evidence. We have to show how same-sex marriage undermines religious liberty. We have to show how same-sex marriage undermines marital norms like exclusivity and permanence. We have to show how same-sex marriage harms children by depriving them of a mother or a father or both. And so on. We have to defend the goodness of traditional marriage.

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

Planet Fitness expels woman for judging transexual man in women’s locker room

Here’s the local news story from WNEM. (H/T Ari)

Excerpt:

It’s a business that sells itself on being non-judgmental but Planet Fitness has allegedly revoked the membership of a woman for complaining.

Yvette Cormier, a member at the Midland location, says she had no idea what that meant until a few days ago.

“I was stunned and shocked. He looked like a man.. He did not look like a woman,” Cormier said. Cormier is talking about a transgender woman who walked into the woman’s locker room while she was getting undressed. She says she couldn’t believe her eyes.

“This is very unprofessional. This is very scary,” Cormier said.

Not knowing why the person was in the women’s locker room, Cormier said she immediately complained to the front desk and eventually to corporate offices.

“They told me the same thing, that he was allowed in there because that’s the sex he wants to be,” Cormier said.

Cormier said she understands that some men self-identify as women and some women self-identify as men, but said the person looked like a man and that caught her off guard.

Cormier lost her membership for violating the company’s no judgement zone policy.

Moving forward, Cormier said she isn’t concerned with getting her membership back. Her concern now is to warn other women at this gym to make them aware of this policy, because she says Planet Fitness failed to warn her.

The company told TV5 that Cormier’s concerns about the policy regarding gender identity was inappropriate and disruptive by complaining to other members at the gym.

Representatives with Planet Fitness issued this statement:

“Planet Fitness is committed to creating a non-intimidating, welcoming environment for our members. Our gender identity non-discrimination policy states that members and guests may use all gym facilities based on their sincere self-reported gender identity.

In expressing her concerns about the policy, the member in question exhibited behavior that club management deemed inappropriate and disruptive to other members, which is a violation of the membership agreement and as a result her membership was canceled”

They are non-judgmental! They kicked this woman out of their gym because she did not want a man in the women’s (and girls!) locker room. But that’s not judgmental. She is welcome there, just like anyone else, except not really.

What does this policy really mean? Well, it means that any man can walk into the women’s locker room and expose himself naked to women – and girls! – so long as he “self-identifies” as a woman. And just keep in mind that this could easily be a registered sex-offender. And what Planet Fitness is saying is this – if you don’t stand up and salute this, then you are a bigoted hatemonger who needs to be excluded from their gym. They don’t want you.

Dennis Prager has an article that explains what is behind stories like this.

He writes:

Most Americans do not realize that, as large as the issue of same-sex marriage is (and it is very large), there is an even larger issue at stake in the same-sex marriage debate.

That issue is whether gender matters: Do male and female, man and woman, matter?

In the brief span of about 40 years, a war against the male-female distinction has been waged. And it has been largely successful.

[…]It began with modern feminism, a movement that has influenced vast numbers of men and women born after World War II. It was the movement’s goal of women’s equality that led to its denial of innate male-female differences. First, feminists feared than any acknowledgement of male-female differences would lead back to male-female roles. Second, they increasingly tended to equate “equal” with “same.”

Feminism convinced a generation of men and women, especially those attending college and graduate school, that (to cite one well-known example) the only reason boys play with trucks and girls play with dolls and tea sets is due to a sexist upbringing. Without sexist assumptions about boys’ and girls’ alleged differences, boys would just as happily play with dolls and tea sets and girls would just as happily play with trucks.

[…]The next societal force working to erase the significance of the sexes was the gay rights movement. The very premise of the movement is that the only thing that matters in sexual relations is that consenting adults engage in it. Whether men and women make love to one another or to members of their own sex makes no difference. Gender doesn’t matter.

And if gender doesn’t matter, then it doesn’t matter with regard to parents: It makes no difference whether children have two mothers, two fathers or a mother and a father. Schools such as New York’s progressive Rodeph Sholom Day School, in 2001, even banned any celebration of Mother’s Day or Father’s Day among its elementary school students.

Catholic Charities, the nation’s oldest ongoing adoption services, were forced out of the adoption business in states like Massachusetts and Illinois — because they placed children for adoption only with a married man and woman. Progressives consider such a sentiment — that, all things being equal, it is better for a child to have a mother and a father — as bigoted and absurd. Since the sexes aren’t different, a mother provides nothing that two fathers can’t provide, and a father provides nothing that two mothers can’t provide.

Prager is Jewish, and he adds this specific to Jewish Scriptures:

The Torah went out of its way to assert the monumental importance of gender distinctions. When God created the first human beings, the Torah tells us, “Male and female He created them.” Only of humans does the creation story make this statement; gender distinctions don’t matter among animals except with regard to procreation. And the Torah prohibits men from wearing women’s clothing and women from wearing that which represents manhood.

Do you think that men and women are different, and that it’s a good thing that they come together in marriage to work together as a unit? If so, be aware that you are in the cross-hairs of the radical feminism / gay rights agenda.

Filed under: News, , , , , ,

What does social science tell us about children raised by gay couples?

The Public Discourse has a post about a new book that summarizes what we know so far.

Here is the introduction:

An important new collection of peer-reviewed scholarly papers entitled No Differences? How Children in Same-Sex Households Fare has just been released by the Witherspoon Institute. The papers included and summarized in the book all study the nexus between children’s well-being and the structure of the families in which they are raised. In particular, the authors focus on the efficacy of families in which the adults are involved in a physically intimate same-sex relationship.

Here are the chapters:

  1. Loren Marks: survey existing studies on parenting by same-sex couples
  2. Mark Regnerus: large-scale study comparing standard parenting vs same-sex couple parenting
  3. Douglas Allen, Catherine Pakaluk, and Joseph Price: analysis of studies based on census data
  4. Douglas Allen: study of educational outcomes of children raised by same-sex couples
  5. Walter Schumm: evaluation of the methodology of the Regnerus study
  6. Walter Schumm: analysis of the stability of standard relationships vs same-sex relationships

Here’s the blurb on one of the chapters:

The first paper included in the volume, by Loren Marks, examines the foundations of the position taken by the American Psychological Association (APA) on what it calls “lesbian and gay parenting.” The 2005 APA monograph setting forth that organization’s position asserts that the question of whether the childrearing efficacy of parents in same-sex relationships is at least the equal of that of heterosexual couples is settled, and that the serious academic literature speaks with a single voice on the matter.

Marks reviews an extensive literature on the topic and finds that most of the studies on the subject rely on “convenience samples”: groups of respondents that cannot be considered cross-sections of the population at large. Convenience samples are a staple of the literature because same-sex parenting is rare, and so recruiting same-sex parents for a study generally involves placing ads at day-care centers and in publications aimed at the LGBT population, or contacting people by way of their network of friends. While they can provide a useful window on the experience of parents in same-sex relationships, Marks notes that convenience samples suffer from two generic problems. First, the sample sizes are very small; one of the better studies might include a dozen or two lesbian families and a comparable number of heterosexual families. In such a small sample, only enormous differences in children’s outcomes will rise to the level of statistical significance. Technically speaking, estimates of the difference between outcomes for same-sex parents and those for heterosexual couples suffer from low “power.” Moreover, because convenience samples do not constitute a random cross-section of the population, they are not representative, and so estimates based on them suffer from a problem known to statisticians as “bias.”

Marks also notes that many of the small studies either fail to identify a comparison group of heterosexual parents, or they compare educated and affluent lesbian couples to single heterosexual parents. He suggests that better comparison groups might consist of married heterosexual parents or of all heterosexual parents. Certainly that would be the case if one wanted to maintain that there was no difference between the status quo outcomes for children of parents in same-sex relationships and those of heterosexual married parents, as some have seemed to want to do.

Marks highlights three studies that avoid small convenience samples and work with much larger random samples, two of which can be found in the new volume, in the chapter by Mark Regnerus and the chapter by Douglas Allen, Catherine Pakaluk, and Joseph Price.

I took a quick look at Loren Marks’ bio:

Loren Marks holds the Kathryn Norwood and Claude Fussell Alumni Professorship in the LSU College of Human Sciences and Education where he teaches family studies classes and conducts research on family relationships. He currently serves as Program Director for Child and Family Studies in Louisiana State University’s School of Social Work. Marks received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from BYU, and his Ph.D. from the University of Delaware.  Since beginning his work at LSU in 2002, Dr. Marks has centered his research efforts on religion and families, and has published more than 70 articles or chapters, as well as the book Sacred Matters (with Wes Burr and Randy Day). He has also studied children’s outcomes in various family forms—and strong African American families.  His research has received national media attention from outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Times, The Boston Globe, and The Wall Street Journal. Loren was honored with college-level teaching awards in 2005, 2009, and 2013.  In 2011-2012, LSU nominated him for the national Carnegie (CASE) Professor of the Year Award—and nominated him again in 2014. He is Co-Director (with Dr. David Dollahite) of the American Families of Faith Project that includes about 200 Christian, Jewish, and Muslim families from all eight regions of the United States. Findings from this ongoing project have resulted in over 50 scholarly articles/chapters and two in progress books.

The Kindle edition of the book is currently $7.99. The volume is basically one stop shopping for this issue, so if you ever debate on this, get the book.

The best philosophical book on the definition of marriage is “What is Marriage?” by Girgis, Anderson and George.

I think if you are interested in same-sex marriage as a policy issue, you should get both of these books first.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Common Core and amnesty supporter Jeb Bush adds gay activist to staff

This is from SteveDeace.com.

He writes:

Jeb Bush may be destroying any hope of becoming the GOP standbearer in 2016, but he’s well on his way to throwing one hell of a gay pride parade.

First he hired David Kochel, an aggressive advocate of homosexual marriage and a former Romney hack, as one of his top campaign advisors.

And now Tim Miller, the openly gay executive director of America Rising PAC, has been hired has the Bush campaign’s communications director.

Bush has good company, though, when it comes to letting the fox into the hen house on marriage politics. Miller previously served as spokesman at the Republican National Committee and for the presidential campaigns of John Huntsman and John McCain.

Miller, 33, is not shy about promoting his gay lifestyle on social media, and “loves to mock conservatives” who defend marriage being between one man and one woman, according to a website that promotes homosexuality.

I checked on the hires to make sure, and yes, it’s true (Jim Miller, David Kochel). It makes me think that Bush is a squish on defending marriage, and the religious liberty of conscientious objectors to the gay agenda. This is a sure sign that Jeb Bush would evolve to support gay marriage if elected President. He’s not reliable on social issues.

Jeb Bush is also in favor of federal control of education policy (“Common Core”):

No Republican is tied to Common Core in the way Jeb Bush is. The governor, through his leadership of the non-profit Foundation for Excellence in Education, played a notable role in the creation and promotion of the standards and he has stood by them ever since. At an education reform conference in November, his keynote address included a firm defense of the Core, which he said ought to represent “the new minimum” for academic standards in the U.S.

[…]An October Gallup poll found that nearly 60 percent of Republican parents oppose the standards while under 20 percent support them, and the numbers have been steadily getting worse. With Bush beating out every other potential primary opponent except Mitt Romney in recent primary polls, the pressure to constantly attack him is irresistible.

I think that we should abolish the Department of Education, or at least give parents more choice.

Jeb Bush is also in favor of amnesty and opposed to border security:

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, one of the Republican Party’s talked-about candidates for president, commented in an April 2013 video: Amnesty for some seems a sound idea. And now, some in the conservative camp are expressing shock.

His remarks, at a conference with the Hispanic Leadership Network and interview with Univision, included an expressed view that DREAMers — the children of parents who came to the country illegally — should have an “accelerated path” to citizenship and that it was “ridiculous” to think otherwise, CNN reported.

“I’ve never felt like the sins of the parents should be ascribed to the children, you know,” Mr. Bush said on the 2013 video. “If your children always have to pay the price for adults’ decisions they make — how fair is that? For people who have no country to go back to — which are many of the DREAMers — it’s ridiculous to think that there shouldn’t be some accelerated path to citizenship.”

He also commented that “it’s not possible in a free country to completely control the border without us losing our freedoms and liberties,” CNN said.

I think we should secure the border and not give illegal immigrants a path to citizenship unless they come in through legal immigration. I do favor work permits, but that’s not Bush’s position. He favors amnesty.

He’s certainly not my candidate in the 2016 GOP primary. Way too far to the left for me.

The latest polls

Here are the latest polls from Real Clear Politics:

Polls from Real Clear Politics

Polls from Real Clear Politics

Still early on, but looking good for Scott Walker. Right now, I like Walker, Jindal and Perry in that order. Cruz is good but lacks the accomplishments I am looking for in a candidate.

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