Asking the Right Questions about Marriage

Over at The Public Discourse, Professor Emeritus Jameson W. Doig of Princeton began a dialogue with Professor Robert George also of Princeton on the proper definition of marriage today. Professor Doig’s point appears to be that Professor George has not been consistent in his views. My point is not to defend Professor George: he is a big boy and can take care of himself.

My point is that Professor Doig’s entire article avoids some important questions. How will redefining marriage redefine parenthood? Are we happy with that redefinition? And do we really want to change the relationship between the State and the citizen in the way that this redefinition really entails?

The problem begins with Professor Doig’s very first paragraph.

I want to begin with two Vermonters, Ann and Ellen, who have been together as a couple for more than thirty years. They have three children—Bert, who has graduated from college and is now married (to Maria) and working in a small business in Vermont, and Alison and Beth, who are in high school, both doing well in their academic work and excelling in soccer. One of the three is adopted, and Ann is the birth-mother of the other two.

Ripped out of the picture, by design.

Ripped out of the picture, by design.

Do you see who is missing from this equation?  Without knowing anything else about this family, we know that the father of Ann’s biological children has been safely and legally escorted off the stage. The children will never have the opportunity to have a relationship with their father.

Most children have a legally recognized right to know and be cared for by both of their Read more…

The Sexual State: The Purpose of our government

What is the purpose of government?  Let us look around us to draw the conclusion. Based on what we observe our government doing, we would have to conclude:

The real purpose of the government is to give people the sex lives they want, with a minimum of inconvenience.

You want to have sex without having a baby? No problem, we’ll give you contraception at no cost to you.

You want to have sex and you got pregnant and you don’t want the baby?  That’s inconvenient. We’ll give you an abortion.

Surprise! Babies: inconveniencing adult sex lives since time immemorial

Surprise! Babies: inconveniencing adult sex lives since time immemorial

You want to have sex with someone you aren’t married to?  Your spouse and children are inconvenient.  We’ll give you a no-fault divorce so you won’t be inconvenienced by your obligations to your spouse and children.

You want to have sex with a person of your same sex AND you want to have a baby. That is really inconvenient. We will restructure the legal system and subsidize the technology that will make it possible for you to obtain all the babies you want without the inconvenience of having to deal with the child’s other parent.

None of this is in the Constitution, you say?  You are correct. But no matter. Judging from the government’s behavior in the HHS Mandate, the subsidizing of Planned Parenthood and other policies, these are the government’s priorities now.

Are you fed up with the lies of the Sexual Revolution?   If you are ready to move from being a Victim to being a Survivor, to being an Activist for Positive Change, join us.  No one else is doing what the Ruth Institute is doing: inspiring the Survivors of the Sexual Revolution to share their stories and create a new narrative around marriage, family and sexuality. 

Categories: Sexual State Tags:

Dear Bob: Letters to a Hopeful Marriage Apologist

Note: I get many letters from people asking for studies or quick answers to defend marriage to their friends. I get so many of these requests, I decided to put together a set of standard responses. I hope this series will be helpful for more people than those particular individuals who have written to me. With some time and study and practice, anyone can become a Marriage Apologist within their own sphere of influence! 

Dear Bob,

Anyone can become a Marriage Apologist, including you!

Anyone can become a Marriage Apologist, including you!

Thanks for your note. I am so glad that you feel motivated to explain the truth about marriage to your friend.  I am eager to enlist you in our campaign for “one man, one woman, for life!”

I am sorry to say, however, that I cannot just give you a list a studies “showing gay marriage is bad for society.”  First off, such studies don’t exist in the form that you are asking about. And second off, your friend is unlikely to be persuaded by such empirical evidence anyhow.  But you probably guessed that already!

Let me give you a few first steps. First: educate yourself about marriage itself. If we don’t know what marriage is, and why it is good for society, we won’t have a clue as to the significance of a gender requirement.

( And BTW, I suggest that you avoid the term “gay marriage” and similar terms.  Our position is that there is no such thing as “gay marriage.”  We should not argue about whether “gay marriage is good for society.”  That already accepts your opponents’ terms of debate. But I digress.)

As a first step in educating yourself, I suggest studying Love and Economics. You can do this two ways. If you are a reader, you

Listen to Ruth Institute podcasts.

Listen to Ruth Institute podcasts.

can buy the book from the Ruth Store and read it. If you are a listener, you can go to our podcast page and listen to this recent talk that I gave to about 150 law students. I think it will be a good level for you, reasonably sophisticated, without assuming Read more…

Tip #27 from 101 Tips for a Happier Marriage

July 16th, 2014 No comments

Listen to what your spouse is tring to tell you during a conflict. Sometimes conflict arises because one person is trying to hold the other accountable for misbehavior, bad habits, or character flaws. You’d probably rather hear about your character defects from your spouse who loves you, than from your boss during an exit interview.

How well do you typically do on your New Year’s resolutions? Did you lose ten pounds? Are you down to only a pack a day? Are you exercising eight days a week? Well why not work on something a little more internal? Park your pride in the still-cluttered garage, and listen to what your spouse has to say. You may not enjoy it at the time, but you may end up thanking him or her later.

Get your copy here. And don’t forget that you can order a special personalized edition signed by both authors by ordering here.

Transformational marriage

Very interesting article over at Ethika Politika, called “Choosing Transformational Marriage,” by a young lady named Elizabeth Stoker Bruening.  She makes the point that we are all so freaked out over whether we stay married or get divorced and how we feel, that we overlook the transformational nature of marriage itself.  She observes that the raft of “quick fixes” to prevent divorce or create happiness:

already mistake the nature of the institution. In the ‘romantic’ view, marriage … was only ever a declaration of love; the deluge of media mediating on how to restore affection, satisfaction, or interest to a marriage is evidence of this

"till death do us part"

“till death do us part”

sense of divorce as the inevitable outcome of weakened sentiments.

Yet, all these projects intend to manipulate marriage to better serve one’s own purposes, while … marriage is better thought of as a purpose to be served, in which the long story of love unfolds.

Marriage lasts wherein the couple allow themselves to be transformed by it, and faithfully commit to that transformation, re-orienting the way they relate to one another and the marriage itself by willful habitation to the virtues of charity and kindness.

I agree with Mrs. Bruening that the best view of marriage is to see it as a purpose worth pursuing, rather than as a vehicle for Read more…

Biblical Sexual Ethics Workshop

July 14th, 2014 Comments off

Sponsored by the Salt and Light Council

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse will be speaking July 22,  6-7pm PST8-9pm CST9-10pm EST.,  on The Marriage Debate and the Sexual Revolution.”

Place: Join.Me meeting:

REQUIREMENTS: This will be a nationwide, Join.Me meeting from The Salt & Light Council (SLC) office hosted by Dran Reese, SLC President. Viewers will need a computer and a phone line. Space is limitied. First come, first served. Invite your church or group and watch it together.

Jennifer is a Senior Fellow in Economics at the Acton Institute and regular contributor to National Review Online and The National Catholic Register. She received her Ph.D. in economics from the University of Rochester. Until recently, Jennifer was a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution. She has been on the faculty of Yale University and George Mason University, and is the author of Love and Economics: Why the Laissez-Faire Family Doesn’t Work. Jennifer was named as “one of the top nine Catholics of 2013” by Our Sunday Visitor News Weekly.

Sexual revolution fallout: Mike Dickinson sets bounty for sex tapes, nude photos of Kendall Jones

July 11th, 2014 Comments off

Did you hear about the controversy brewing on Twitter? A congressional candidate and “left wing liberal” named Mike Dickinson has created a bounty of “100k” for nude pictures and/or sex tapes of Kendall Jones. You may recognize Kendall’s beautiful face from Facebook or elsewhere. She’s the cheerleader who is an accomplished hunter. Dickinson’s Twitter stream has many, many requests like this: Read more…

Only 3 more days of Dr J’s Challenge to Improve your marriage

July 10th, 2014 Comments off

Remove all forms of sarcasm from your vocabulary.  “Sarcasm” comes from a Greek word meaning to tear flesh like dogs. There is

Your guide to a happier marriage. Start now with Tip #39 and Dr J's challenge.

Your guide to a happier marriage. Start now with Tip #39 and Dr J’s challenge.

never a good time to tear your spouse’s flesh.  So take my one week challenge and live without sarcasm until Sunday.

Yes, if you started late, I will still allow you to participate in my One Week Challenge. Just eliminate sarcasm from your life on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, send me an email to telling me you took the challenge. I will send you a Free Prize!

BTW, this is Tip # 39 from our book, “101 tips for a happier marriage.”  You can get your copy at the Ruth Store. Or, join Dr J’s challenge and get a free prize. Or both!

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Are you fighting same-sex marriage but not divorce?

July 10th, 2014 Comments off

Have we been too focused on “same sex marriage” and not focused enough on divorce? I think so. So when I see tweets like these, I can’t help but think, “Yea, you have a point.”

divorce hypocrisy


divorce hypocrisy


divorce hypocrisy


Divorce is a big problem that Christians have not confronted adequately. Thus, we have lost our witness and moral authority in regards to the institution of marriage. At least, that’s how it looks to me. But no need to despair about it, because you can…

Join us as we inspire the survivors of the sexual revolution. This includes people who’ve been divorced as well as children of divorce! It’s easy to get started: sign our petition, download a free e-booklet by signing up for our newsletter, make a tax deductible donation to support our work, or share this article with your friends.

Categories: Divorce Tags:

Did you know? The Pill increases stroke risks as much as smoking.

July 9th, 2014 Comments off

The Sexual Revolutionaries are in an uproar over the Hobby Lobby decision. The idea that anyone anywhere objects to paying for someone else’s contraception for any reason whatsoever is all it takes to be labeled “anti-woman.”

Let’s take a sober-minded look at a serious question: Are contraceptive drugs really pro-woman?

Birth control empowers women the way smoking empowers the Marlboro Man.

Birth control empowers women the way smoking empowers the Marlboro Man.

A 2012 study[1] of 1.6 million Danish women shows that women who used oral contraceptives at intermediate doses, had a risk of strokes that was 1.3 to 2.3 times as high as the risk among non-users of contraceptives.  Meanwhile, the lowest dose oral contraceptives had risks that were .9 to 1.7 times as great. That is to say, the lower doses are safer, but still not risk-free.[2]

Should we be worried? Listen to the chipper reports on this study. An article in Web MD,  was entitled, “Heart, Stroke Risk Low

With Birth Control Pills: No-Estrogen and Lowest-Estrogen Contraceptives Safest, Study Finds.”

 “Risk today is significantly lower than it was decades ago in the era of high-dose pills,” says University of Copenhagen professor Ojvind Lidegaard, MD, who led the research….In an editorial published with the study, Arizona State University researcher Diana B. Petitti, MD, MPH, writes that the Danish study should reassure women and their doctors about the safety of oral contraceptives.”

Well, perhaps, the risks are lower than they used to be.  But still, the risks of strokes are nearly doubled compared with women who did not use oral contraceptives at all. Isn’t that risk worth taking a bit more seriously? Isn’t that reason enough to explore some non-hormonal family planning alternatives?

The Boston Globe continues with the cheerful reporting.  The title of its article on this study, was, I’m not making this up, “Birth Read more…