Obama Fights Little Nuns: War on Religion by JOAN FRAWLEY DESMOND

4 01 2014

nun1jpg-065cf5f65d3ed5ae_largeWASHINGTON —The U.S. Department of Justice registered its opposition to a temporary injunction for the Little Sisters of the Poor, after Justice Sonia Sotomayor directed the administration to respond by Jan. 3, 10am Eastern.
The Little Sisters of the Poor, a religious order of nuns who care for the elderly and the poor, had petitioned the high court for an 11th-hour reprieve, and, on Dec. 31, Justice Sotomayor granted a temporary stay, while requesting the administration to respond to the petition within three days.
“The solicitor general, on behalf of respondents, respectfully files this memorandum in opposition to the emergency application for an injunction pending appellate review or, in the alternative, a petition for a writ of certiorari before judgment and injunction pending resolution,” stated the Justice Department in papers filed with the high court at the Jan. 3 deadline.
The administration’s stance underscored its commitment to upholding one of the most contentious elements of the Affordable Care Act, even when the plaintiff challenging the law was a religious order dedicated to sesrving the needy.
The brief, filed by Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr., echoed many of the administration’s past objections to an exemption for religious nonprofits and restated the importance of providing contraception and other services free of charge to female employees. It further argued that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act did not apply to the Little Sisters’ specific concerns, and it noted that not one court of appeals had ruled on the merits of cases filed by religious nonprofits.
The White House has provided an “accommodation” for religious nonprofits that object to the mandate on moral grounds but are not exempt from compliance with the federal law. Under the accommodation, the government requires objecting religious employers to sign a self-certification form that allows the mandate’s provisions to be implemented by a third-party administrator. The Little Sisters contend that signing the form makes them complicit in the provision of services that violate their deeply held moral and religious beliefs.

‘Permission Slip’ for Abortion Drugs and Contraceptives
“The government demands that the Little Sisters of the Poor sign a permission slip for abortion drugs and contraceptives or pay millions in fines. The sisters believe that doing that violates their faith and that they shouldn’t be forced to divert funds from the elderly poor they serve to the IRS,” said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and lead counsel for the Little Sisters, in a statement released after the Justice Department filed its brief opposing a temporary injunction.
The Obama administration has defended its “accommodation” as a reasonable solution for religious nonprofits that oppose the mandate on moral grounds, arguing that nothing more is required than for the Little Sisters and other plaintiffs to sign a self-certification form.
But Rienzi said that the government’s insistence that plaintiffs sign the form suggested that the action was important.
“The government now asks the Supreme Court to believe that the very thing it is forcing the nuns to do — signing the permission slips — is a meaningless act. But why on earth would the government be fighting the Little Sisters all the way to the Supreme Court if it did not think its own form had any effect?” Rienzi said.
“If the administration believed its contraceptive mandate was valid, it would join the Little Sisters’ request for Supreme Court review because the government has lost almost all of the cases in the lower courts. Instead, its brief today is devoted to trying to keep the court out of the issue, which would leave hundreds of religious organizations subject to massive fines for following their religion.”
For-profit and nonprofit employers have filed a total of 91 legal challenges against the HHS mandate. The U.S. bishops have pressed for a broad exemption that would shield all employers who object to the mandate on moral grounds.
The Becket Fund is representing a number of for-profit and nonprofit plaintiffs that have filed legal challenges to the mandate, including the Eternal Word Television Network. The Register is a service of EWTN.
The Becket Fund also represents Hobby Lobby, a large craft-store chain, and the Supreme Court has agreed to hear oral argument for this case in March, with a decision expected by late June.

Government’s Arguments
In the brief filed with the high court today, the Justice Department was intent on explaining why the legal issues in the Hobby Lobby case were different from the lawsuit filed by the Little Sisters, with the apparent goal of discouraging the justices from taking up this case or granting a temporary injunction for all religious nonprofits that will face massive financial penalties if they do not comply with the mandate.
“Applicants are not … situated like the for-profit corporations that brought suit in Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Sebelius. … The employer-applicants here are eligible for religious accommodations set out in the regulations that exempt them from any requirement ‘to contract, arrange, pay or refer for contraceptive coverage,’” stated the brief.
The Justice Department’s brief further noted that the religious order was covered under a “church plan,” which meant that it was “exempt from regulation under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).”
While ERISA is responsible for enforcement of the mandate, church plans are specifically excluded from its enforcement authority.
Since the church plans would not be subject to enforcement, the government argued, the religious freedom of organizations holding such plans was not under threat.
The administration offered the same argument in papers filed in a Brooklyn court, where the Archdiocese of New York and four New York-area Catholic nonprofits sought relief from the mandate.
In that case, Judge Brian Cogan provided two Catholic schools and two healthcare services with a permanent injunction. He said the legal challenge had merit, despite the fact that the church plans were actually shielded from ERISA’s enforcement authority.
According to Cogan, “Plaintiffs allege that their religion forbids them from completing this self-certification, because, to them, authorizing others to provide services that plaintiffs themselves cannot is tantamount to an endorsement or facilitation of such services. Therefore, regardless of the effect on plaintiffs’ TPAs [third-party administrator], the regulations still require plaintiffs to take actions they believe are contrary to their religion.”

Other Concerns
In its brief filed with the high court today, however, the Justice Department acknowledged the plaintiffs’ fears that the self-certification form could be used in the future to authorize enforcement of the mandate. Such enforcement could be put in effect, stated the Justice Department, “if Congress were to amend the Affordable Care Act … to grant the government ‘some authority outside of ERISA to enforce’ the contraceptive-coverage provision or if the departments ‘promulgate new regulations that apply to church for the courts.’”
While dismissing the plaintiffs’ concerns as irrelevant in the short term, the government’s brief noted, “if relevant new regulations were issued, applicants could renew their request for injunctive relief in light of the changed circumstances.”
During a Jan. 3 conference call with the press, Eric Rassbach, deputy general counsel with the Becket Fund, also noted another reason for the Little Sisters’ concern about signing the self-certification form. The Little Sisters had also contracted with another third-party administrator, Express Script, Inc. (ESI), a prescription drug provider, which is not a “church plan.”
During a Jan. 3 interview with the Register, Daniel Blomberg, a lawyer with the Becket Fund, told the Register: “ESI provides pharmaceutical drugs, such as Plan B and ella, and they have made no such guarantees [that they will not provide it to patients covered under their plans] and have no religious objection to providing it.”
The self-certification form “authorizes whomever receives it that they have permission to provide the drugs, and it is the means of reimbursement for ESI. Until Express Script receives that form, they will not get paid for the cost of the drugs,” added Bloomberg, who noted that the government accomodation provides incentives for third-party administrators to offer such provisions when religious employers refuse to do it directly.
He noted that, in papers filed with a lower court, the government had dismissed the Little Sisters’ fears about signing the form as an “invisible dragon.” In fact, said Bloomberg, the LIttle Sisters had every reason to avoid signing a document that would trigger such provisions. And he noted that when criminal conspiracy charges are filed, those who “give material aid and assist someone to do wrong” are also held accountable.

Next Step Is Unclear
It is not yet clear what steps the high court will take now. Rassbach said during the press call that the Little Sisters’ lawyers would file a reply with the court, but he could not provide a timeline for when Sotomayor, or the entire court, might respond.
Douglas Laycock, an expert on religious-freedom issues at the University of Virginia Law School, told the Register, “A stay for three days after hearing from only one side tells you that she takes the issue seriously, but it doesn’t tell you what the whole court will do after they hear from both sides.”
Joan Frawley Desmond is the Register’s senior editor.

Courtesy of NCR





Marry Late, Divorce Early By Mary Eberstadt

3 01 2014

Late marriageAlas and alack, the end of summer turned out to abound in the sort of personal news one really dreads hearing – especially the more one hears it. Several friends and acquaintances now have the same problem in common: they are all getting divorced. And though every divorce is apparently unhappy in its own way, the similarities among these cases are striking enough to suggest some common denominators. All have occurred among older, married, financially (and apparently otherwise) stable people. All have involved small families – most often, an only child. And each was a shock.
All of these divorcing partners, in other words, had ostensibly followed today’s secular wisdom about marital happiness to a T: don’t rush into marriage, take time to find yourself first, establish your own career before settling down, don’t have more children than you can afford. So what went wrong?
I suggest that at least part of the answer – and by extension, perhaps part of the explanation for the staggering Western divorce rate more generally – might be summarized in two words: late marriage. Of course, we can all conjure examples of blissful marriages made in mid-life or even later, just as we can all think of early ones that have been flaming disasters. But if we step back from individual cases and look instead to the general good, the pluses of early marriage do loom large.
Many a sociologist would quarrel with that point, of course. Teen marriages, they remind us, are in fact the most likely to break up. As the contrary-minded sociologist Mark Regnerus has recently observed, that cautionary note is true – and truly misleading; for who said we were talking about teens here? What about marriage in the slightly higher demographic – say, people in their twenties? Why aren’t our churches and other organizations dedicated to family life encouraging more of that?
Regnerus has written a compelling essay in the August 2009 Christianity Today called “The Case for Early Marriage.” He zeroes in first on one particular (and rarely discussed) problem with discouraging early marriage: it means that men and women generally are expected to stay chaste during the same years that are best for childbearing, and in fact far longer than many of them will. “Over 90 percent of Americans,” he observes, “experience sexual intercourse before marrying,” and “the percentage of evangelicals who do so is not much lower.” (The percentage of Catholics probably isn’t, either.) Yes, abstinence education is all to the good, and yes, religious teaching itself is not at issue here; to the contrary, it is a given. “I’m certainly not suggesting,” the author concludes, “that they cannot abstain. I’m suggesting that in the domain of sex, most of them don’t and won’t.”
Regnerus goes on to detail other drawbacks to waiting till today’s fashionably older ages to tie the knot. It encourages men to have a ridiculously prolonged adolescence, as the popular “culture” of many twenty-something males readily demonstrates; it encourages churches to lean too heavily on sexual ecstasy as the foundation of marriage itself; it forces many women, especially believing Christian women, to look long and hard for a suitable partner in a world where many men their age have become anything but; and very seriously indeed, such waiting risks compromising the fertility of any woman who wants to have a family of size – sometimes even the fertility of any woman who wants a child, period.
To these minuses admirably addressed by Regnerus, I would add one other potential plus for earlier marriage that sociologists have yet to grapple with: treating marriage like the home version of Waiting for Godot also risks perpetuating a kind of human consumerism, a habit that cannot possibly be good for anyone.
After all, once a sufficiently large number of relationships have all failed to lead to marriage for one reason or another, it becomes terribly tempting to view the whole enterprise as more like comparison shopping than spiritual discernment. For example, I once knew a man who had dated a great many women by his late twenties – so many that his friends privately rejoiced when one finally appeared who seemed perfect for him. They shared the same religion, political views, and other interests; she was smart, successful, and what today would be called a real babe, to boot. Yet the consumer’s diffident response upon meeting her rang far more of the Consumer Checkbook than of the swain. “I’m not sure,” he temporized. “Her complexion seems really sallow.” Needless to say, no walk down the aisle.
This is what comes of people shopping, perhaps – the destructive habit of making comparative checklists about human beings. No one does it consciously, of course; but still the pernicious voice of experience assesses the goods. He gained thirty pounds, and my other boyfriends never would have, it tells some people, or she looks great for her age, but not as great as my secretary who’s ten years younger, and if only I had married X, Y, or Z instead, we wouldn’t be having all these financial/medical/romantic problems.
Of course there are good reasons to wait for marriage, chiefly that it is the single most important earthly decision that many of us will make, and that the world we live in does indeed make it easier than ever for things to fall apart. That said, from the point of view of trying to bring more, rather than fewer, thriving families into that same world, Regnerus is right: there’s much to be said for bucking the prevailing cultural aversion and marrying young.

Mary Eberstadt is a research fellow with the Hoover Institution





Fast and Furious Children Growing up in a Media Saturated World By John Flynn, LC

15 12 2013

Fast and Furious Children Growing up in a Media Saturated World By John Flynn, LC

Violence, video games, and sex: what effect does it have on children and adolescents? The latest contribution to this debate comes in a book recently published in Australia.
“Growing Up Fast and Furious,” is a collection of essays edited by Wayne Warburton and Danya Braunstein (The Federation Press).
In his contribution Warburton, Deputy Director of the Children and Families Research Center at Macquarie University (Sydney), noted that in the United States children aged 8-18 are exposed to an average of almost 11 hours of media each day. Children in other countries might not reach this level, but they are not far behind, he added.
In recent years media is not only more portable but it is also easier for children to access it in multiple places within and outside the home. This means it is increasingly difficult for parents to monitor their children’s media consumption, Warburton observed.
Looking at the research Warburton commented that media is a powerful teacher, for both good and bad, and the effects can be both short and long-term.
John P. Murray, who has been researching children’s social development for almost 40 years in the United States in a number of academic position, looked into the matter of the effects of media violence.
Some decades ago studies clearly demonstrate that the viewing of violence and aggressive behaviour are clearly related, but they do not establish a cause and effect relationship.
Video games
More recent studies do, however, lead to the conclusion that viewing violence does affect the attitudes and behaviour of viewers, he said.
Violent video games was the topic of an essay by Warburton and Craig A. Anderson, a professor of psychology at Iowa State University. Video games can enhance the lives of children and adolescents they said, but exposure to anti-social and violent video games increases the likelihood of a range of negative outcomes, they warned.
Video games, they noted, can improve visual and spatial skills and can also be a valuable instrument in teaching children. They can also lead to less desirable outcomes, such as addiction to video games, attention deficit, and increased aggression.
Spending more hours playing video games is linked to poorer school performance and research has shown that excessive exposure to violence leads to desensitisation to violence and a decrease in empathy.
In fact, the U.S. military forces use video games for training purposes and the Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik, responsible for the the massacre on Utoya island in 2011, stated that he used computer games to help him prepare for his attack.
This is not to claim that media violence is the sole or even the most important source of violent behavior, the authors cautioned. Other factors, such as a violent home environment, are, however, hard to deal with while media violence can be controlled more readily.
Cyber-bullying was an issue examined by Ed Donnerstein in his essay. Donnerstein, a professor of communication at the University of Arizona, said that various surveys in different countries indicate that between 15 to 35% of teens report being bullied online. Moreover, 10 to 20% admit to bullying others.
Safe at home?
The place where a child was considered to be most secure, at home, has now become a place where they can be a victim, he noted. Moreover, because of the anonymity of the aggressor and the permanence in cyberspace of the material the effects can be harsher than bullying in person.
Louise Newman, a professor of developmental psychology at Melbourne’s Monash University, examined the subject of sexualization. This topic goes much further than a simplistic opposition between censorship as opposed to openness, she affirmed.
There is an increasing body of evidence pointing to the potential harm of the sexualization of children, particularly those of primary school age, she said.
“Of particular concern is the way in which sexualization impacts on self-development,” Newman commented. This has led to worries about the relationship between media representations of the ideal body and the self-esteem of girls.
“The representations of girls and women as sexual objects and boys and men as sexual predators are ubiquitous and particularly reinforced in some media and music sub-cultures,” she added.
Alan Hayes and Carole Jean, both from the Australian Institute of Family Studies, commented that the exposure of children to violent, sexualized, or exploitative material is at odds with the aspiration to be a child-friendly society.
A culture that engenders exploitation and desensitisation leads to what they termed “the democratization of dysfunction.”
While there is still much to learn about the impact of the media on children the jury is not out they affirmed and there is solid evidence of the ill effects of a media diet rich in violence and sexualized material.
What is also clear, they said, is that there is a gap that needs to be closed between knowledge and action. While it is certainly true that individuals need to make appropriate choices society does have a collective responsibility that cannot be overlooked, they concluded.

 





Sexual Re-connection By PETER KREEFT

7 12 2013

 

Sexual Reconnection

To see that the Sexual Revolution has been radical in thought as well as behavior, just look at the revolution in language. When people use the word “morality” today they almost always mean sexual morality. That’s a remarkable new development, an astonishing narrowing; it’s as if we started to use the word “state” to mean only Russia, or the word “technology” to mean only “computers”. The reason for the new development is obvious from my two comparisons: sex, Russia, and computers are where there have been the most radical revolutions.
No one speaks of a revolution in any other area of morality. No one speaks of the Property Revolution or the Bearing False Witness Revolution. In fact the rest of the natural moral law is pretty much still in place. Almost no one defends terrorism, sadism, cannibalism, insider trading, nuclear war, environmental pollution, rape, hypocrisy, torture, or murder. We are still “judgmental” about those things. But if it has anything to do with sex we dare no longer be “judgmental”.

Look at the non-impeachment of President Clinton. No U.S. President would ever have survived public revelation that he was any of these immoral things I just mentioned, or even a deliberate liar about anything else except sex.

Look at abortion. No one defends killing innocent, defenceless human beings, except for sex. That is what abortion is. The whole purpose of abortion is backup birth control and the whole purpose of birth control is to have sex without babies. If storks brought babies, Planned Parenthood would go broke. Sex is the motor that drives the abortion business.

Look at divorce. Suppose there were some practice that did not involve sex that had the same three scientifically provable effects that divorce has. First, it betrayed your most solemn promise you ever made to the person you said was the most important person in your life. Second, it was child abuse, it maimed your children’s psyches, it made a happy life and a happy marriage and family much, much harder for those vulnerable little people you brought into the world and who remained largely dependent on you for their future. Third, it infallibly guaranteed that your society would die, would self destruct. No society in history has ever survived without stable marriages and stable families. It is the one absolutely indispensable foundation of everything else, for it is the first and most intimate way that individuals form communities and emerge from selfishness. But these three things are exactly what divorce does. More than that, it’s a form of suicide, the suicide of the new person, the two-in-one-flesh created by marriage. How healthy would you think a society is if half of all its individual citizens committed suicide? But half of our families commit suicide, and society is composed of families, not just of individuals. But divorce is tolerated and accepted because it’s about sex. Suppose it was proved that something else, something not connected with sex, had these three effects. For instance, smoking, or single malt scotch, or ferris wheels. You’d have absolute prohibition, not tolerance.

The moral revolution is confined to sex. We are not allowed to steal another man’s money without being put into jail, but we can steal another man’s wife. You cannot betray your lawyer without being severely penalized, but you can betray your wife, and SHE is severely penalized. You cannot kill bald eagles or blue whales without being a criminal but you can kill your own children as long as you do it a second before the two blades of the scissors meet in the middle of the umbilical cord rather than a second after, or a second before the body emerges from the birth canal rather than a second after. What kind of logic is this?

Obviously the mind behind the Sexual Revolution is not overly attached to logical consistency, and there is little hope of changing the mind that defends that revolution by logical arguments, however infallible they may be. You need more than logic to unscramble the brains of an addict. The argument will find no soil in the brains to grow in because the brains are already scrambled. Do you really think sex addicts can think more clearly than drug addicts? If anything, it’s the opposite. Drug addicts don’t usually defend their addiction with elaborate rationalizations and new philosophies of moral relativism; sex addicts almost always do. And only about 5-10% of Americans are drug addicts, probably about twice as much as that if we include alcohol. But the vast majority are sex addicts. According to a recent poll, over 50% of the men who attend Church every Sunday are addicted to pornography. That’s not 50% of men, or even 50% of Christian man, but 50% of the small, elite cream of the crop who are in church every Sunday. It is a literal epidemic.

What then do we need to defeat this revolution, which has brought about such immense destruction, and eventual death, to families, and eventually to society? Reason, logic, argument, science, facts, common sense, compromise, return to tradition – none of these are strong enough. What is strong enough? Only one thing. Nothing less than Jesus Christ will do.

Why? Because the heart of the error of the Sexual Revolution is the identifying of love with sex. Christ undoes this fundamental confusion by showing us – not just telling us but showing us – what love is.

The Beatles are right: all you need is love. But not the kind of love they mean. Why is it true that all you need is love? Because God is love, and all you need is God. If you have God plus ten million other things, and if I have God alone, you don’t have a single thing more than I do. Love and the lack of love transforms everything else. We’d all rather be in love in Detroit than divorced in Hawaii.

Christianity centers on two equations: God is love, and love is (revealed in) Christ. Look at this second equation. Do you want to know what love is? Look at Christ. I Corinthians 13, the most popular chapter in the Bible, read at nearly ever wedding, is a description of Jesus Christ. It’s not an abstract definition of an ideal, it’s a concrete description of the historical fact of Jesus Christ. As Pope John Paul II loved to say, Jesus Christ shows man to himself. Without Christ we do not know ourselves. We are like a dog in a cage at the airport who has chewed off his own dog tag with his name and his address. He does not know who he is or where his home is. That’s us without Christ. For He’s the Mind of God! He designed us, for God’s sake. I mean that literally, not profanely: He designed us for God’s sake. For the God who is love. But what kind of love? A new and different kind, and that difference was so radical that it converted the world. It wasn’t theology that converted the world, it was love. Mother Teresa converted souls without number just by being what she was, a saint, an example of this new love, this total love, this Godlike love.

Jesus predicted that would happen. He said, “By this will all men know that you are my disciples, by the love you have for one another.” If that love was something already known, if it was romance or erotic love or liking or compassion or philanthropy or civility or fairness or justice or mercy, all of which are wonderful things, but if that was all it was, if the love Christ was talking about was not radically new and different, then He could not possibly have meant what He said. It would contradict itself. It would mean: “The world will see the difference between you and them by the fact that you all share the same kind of love. They will be able to distinguish My disciples from everybody else by the fact that their kind of love is not different from everybody else’s.”

It means, of course, exactly the opposite. Our human loves are forms of desire, feeling, eros, need. These need-loves are very good things. Men need women and women need men, physically and spiritually and socially and emotionally and biologically. And children need adults and adults need children. And teachers need students and students need teachers. But the love Christ brings is the love God is, and God does not need anything. God is sheer gift.

That’s why Jesus came, and why He died, and why He shed so much blood. He didn’t have to. One drop would have saved the world. Why did He give 12 quarts? Because He had 12 quarts to give.
Now let’s connect this new love, this love that is the very nature of God, with sex. The Sexual Revolution has disconnected it; we need to reconnect it. How? First of all in our thinking, and then in our acting. Without the right thoughts, we won’t do the right acts. Without a road map, we won’t find the right road.

We’ve already seen how radical the Sexual Revolution is. It’s a radical change in behavior, of course, but even more radically, it’s a radical change in thinking. And the most radical change in thinking is not an addition but a subtraction. The single most radical result of all the immense amount of sex education that we’ve had in the last 50 years has been not a new knowledge but a new ignorance: ignorance of the most essential thing about sex, the essential meaning and purpose of sex, the very essence of sex. Sex creates babies. They’re not accidents! Pregnancy is not a disease. They’re what sex does if you let it do its thing. Sex makes new immortal persons. Sex is incredibly, magically, supernaturally creative because it images the Creator. It’s part of the image of God. That’s why the first time the Bible mentions “the image of God,” in Genesis, it immediately mentions sex: “And God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God created He him: male and female created He them.”
No official teaching in the Church’s 2000 year history, no official document, has ever been so hated, despised, ignored, and disobeyed as Humanae Vitae. What is the most unpopular teaching of the Church today? Nothing comes even close.

We moderns think sex is for us; it isn’t; it’s for our children. We moderns think we’re so enlightened because we’re not legalists any more, we’re personalists, we’re about people, not about laws or rules or commandments. We think of the people who make sex, and we want those people to have fun and be happy. Which is fine, but we’re so fixated on the fact that people make sex that we’ve ignored the fact that sex makes people.

But we’ve redesigned it so that it doesn’t make people any more. We’ve contracepted it. But since it is God’s way of creating, we’ve contracepted God. That’s exactly like redesigning the Mass so that you put a condom over the priest’s mouth when he’s about to say This Is My Body so that Jesus can’t come and create the miracle of transubstantiation, because you don’t want that new life, all you want is the thrill of playing at it. That’s what contraception is. It’s putting a condom on God, putting a barrier or a diaphragm between God and the miracle He might otherwise perform in you.

No official teaching in the Church’s 2000 year history, no official document, has ever been so hated, despised, ignored, and disobeyed as Humanae Vitae. What is the most unpopular teaching of the Church today? Nothing comes even close. It’s the teaching of the Church about sex that is by far the main reason the world hates and fears the Church today. For the Church is “judgmental” about our society’s addiction and real religion. False religion, false gods, can be overcome only by true religion, by the true God.

Humanae Vitae was prophetic. The Pill was a nuclear bomb. It split the atom of the family by splitting the atom of sex, splitting its pleasure from its fruit, its unitive from its procreative end, splitting sex from life.

How does Christ revolutionize the Sexual Revolution? Not by turning back the clock, not by a new Victorianism, not by opposing religion to sex, but by showing their real and profound connection. What is that connection?

It’s exactly the opposite of what Freud thought it was. Freud argued that religion is only a poor substitute for sex. Christ shows that sex is a poor substitute for religion, for real religion, that is, a kind of religion Freud knew nothing about. Freud thought love was a substitute for lust. Christ knew that lust was a substitute for love. If Freud were right, it would follow that the more sex you have the less religion you want, so that happily married people who have a lot of happy sex would become atheists. It doesn’t happen. The predictions are not verified. The data falsify the theory. Sexually active people don’t become atheists. Even in college. The college hookup culture has turned colleges into free whore houses, a randy man’s impossible dream. But even these men, and certainly their free whores, are not happy atheists. They’re neither atheists nor happy. Satisfying their sexual hunger is not satisfying their spiritual hunger any more than it did for St. Augustine. It looks as if God isn’t a poor substitute for sex but sex is a poor substitute for God.

But let’s be honest, among all the substitutes for God, sex is a pretty good one. And that’s because it’s a kind of icon of God. Eros is an image of agape. And the love between the sexes is an image or icon of the love between the persons of the Trinity. Only very good things can become addictions and idolatries. No one gets addicted to paper clips or worships mud. You can’t make a religion out of washing machines. But you can make one out of sex.
In short, by God’s design in creating us, we are hardwired for the spiritual marriage, for becoming one with God; that’s why we are so thrilled at becoming one with each other, as the images of God. As we are images of God, the sexual union is an image of union with God. It is an appetizer of Heaven, a faint image of the Beatific Vision.

Sex is close to religion because the ultimate end and center and point of all true religion is a spiritual marriage to God. That’s what we are designed for, that’s the only thing that will keep us in unbored ecstasy for ever. That’s what the Bible says. The last event in human history, at the end of the Apocalypse, is the marriage between the Lamb and His bride, Christ and His Church, God and man. That’s the end, point, purpose, highest value, greatest good, meaning, consummation and perfection of human life.

Why is sex such a thrill? Because it’s one of the few things in life that’s like that. It’s literally an ecstasy – the word means “standing-outside-yourself”, self-forgetfulness, self-transcendence, the overcoming of that hidden inner loneliness that every one of us brings into the world with that wonderful and terrible little word “I”. The “I” is restless until it becomes a “We”. And ultimately, that’s because God is a “We”.
It’s not the physical excitement that’s the greatest excitement in sex, it’s the personal excitement of knowing that this other person has accepted you into his or her inner sanctum, body and soul. It’s the intimacy, the oneness, the we-ness, when we know that the one we love loves us, when the two streams of loving and being loved meet like two beams of light becoming one, or two rivers of volcanic lava blending. The two really do become one, and paradoxically, in that one moment when they are the most totally lost in each other, each one discovers the deepest secret of his and her own individuality. At what other moment do lovers attain the peak of their individual fulfillment if not at that moment when they are the most totally lost in each other? Why does that happen? Because that’s what God is: and that’s why that’s the ultimate law of life: the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, that that’s the only way it lives. You lose your life, and that’s the only way to find it. You give, and that’s the only way to receive. You forget yourself, and that’s the only way to find yourself. It’s a kind of mystical absentmindedness. You become the other, without ceasing to be yourself.

There are other peak experiences in life that can give you some of that thrill, that are similar to sex, but they are usually much weaker and rarer. Great music, for instance, or surfing a great wave. But God designed sex to be the #1 way. That’s why He didn’t design babies to come from listening to Beethoven or from hanging ten in the tube.

In short, by God’s design in creating us, we are hardwired for the spiritual marriage, for becoming one with God; that’s why we are so thrilled at becoming one with each other, as the images of God. As we are images of God, the sexual union is an image of union with God. It is an appetizer of Heaven, a faint image of the Beatific Vision.

St. Thomas Aquinas says: “No man can live without joy” (i.e. without ecstasy, which is much more than happiness, because happiness can be somewhat under your control and therefore boring, but joy is always a gift and a surprise). Aquinas continues: “No man can live without joy; that is why those who are deprived of true, spiritual joys, necessarily go over to carnal pleasures.” The origin of the Sexual Revolution is religious. The Revolution could not have happened without the loss of true religion, the loss of spiritual joy, the loss of religious passion, the passionate love of God. The Revolution could not have happened without that, and also without the Pill, of course, which allows us to have sex without consequences and lifelong responsibilities. We have given up the two deepest, longest, greatest joys, the eternity-long love of God and the lifelong love of spouse and family and children, the two joys that come from the most total self-giving, the radical adventure of holding back nothing; and we’ve given these up these two great dramatic things for what? For the shallower, temporary, smaller pleasures that are so small because they have to hold back something, hold back total self-giving which includes fertility and family and future and commitment. These are crazy adventures. What a crazy adventure kids are! Having fits is less crazy than having kids. And we are bored and therefore unhappy because we are hardwired for the all-or-nothing, wild, total romance and all we find is some cool, controlled kicks.
So we lie. We pretend we are happy. Our most basic social liturgy is “How are you?” And the answer has to be “Fine,” even if your dog just died, your mother in law is coming to live with you forever, your kids think you’re a dork, and your wife is collecting the phone numbers of divorce lawyers. We’re all fine.

If we’re all fine, how come the suicide rate for teenagers rose 5000 per cent between 1950 and 1990? What could possibly be a more unarguable index of increasing unhappiness than that?

And how does Jesus Christ answer that? What does Christ have to do with the Sexual Revolution and its causes and its consequences? Everything. Because Christ alone gives us intimacy with God, and that’s the thing the Sexual Revolution is looking for but doesn’t know it. As Chesterton said, When the adulterer knocks on the door of the brothel, he’s really looking for a cathedral.

Therefore Christ alone is the answer to the Sexual Revolution. Because nobody else gives us intimacy with God.
What I’ve said will strike some of you as bizarre. How dare I bring these two things together, Christ and sex? I must bring them together, because they are the two most passionate things in our lives, and because they both are revelations of the same God, the God of love.

What I’ve given you is the essential point of John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. That is the Church’s answer to the Sexual Revolution. The Church always responds to new heresies with new definitions, new insights, new restatements of eternal truths. How important is this response? As important as the Sexual Revolution. The importance of St. George depends on the importance of the dragon. The importance of Dr. Von Helsing depends on the importance of Dracula.

What I’ve given you is the essential point of John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. That is the Church’s answer to the Sexual Revolution. The Church always responds to new heresies with new definitions, new insights, new restatements of eternal truths.

And how important is the dragon, or the Dracula of the Sexual Revolution? Well, that depends on how important the family is, for exactly the same reason: because the Revolution is doing a Dracula on the family.

And how important is the family? It is only the foundation for all human society, and the source of the greatest human happiness (and, when messed up, the greatest human unhappiness), because it is the image of God. God is not a lonely individual. God is a family.

I think the family is even more important to God than doctrinal orthodoxy, because the family is the very image and presence of God among us. Islam and Mormonism are both theological heresies, but they are multiplying faster than Christianity, and God is blessing them because Mormons and Muslims today are much more faithful than Christians are to their families, to sexual morality, to marriage, and to procreation.

Muslims tried to conquer Christian Europe for 13 centuries with the sword, and failed; they are succeeding now with a far more powerful weapon: mothers. They are having children and families, and Christians aren’t. Therefore God is giving them Europe because they deserve it and we don’t.

This is outrageous because neither Muhammad nor Joseph Smith is the answer to the Sexual Revolution. Christ is. He does not just teach the Big Picture, as the Pope does; He IS the big picture. He does not just teach us the Word of God about sex, he IS the Word of God about sex. He does not merely teach the spiritual marriage, He IS the spiritual marriage. He is the whole meaning and end and point and consummation of sex, and of our whole lives, in this world and in the next. He is the Mind of God, He is the inventor of sex the icon and the mediator of the Heavenly ecstasy, the mystical marriage, of which it is the icon. To know Him is to know the meaning of all things. Outside of Him, we do not know God, or ourselves, or the meaning of life, or the meaning of death, or the meaning of sex.

There is more than that to say about a Christian anthropology and about a Christian philosophy of sex. Many more things than this are needed. But nothing less.

 





Uganda Winning the Battle Against HIV/AIDS — Using Abstinence SARAH TRAFFORD

3 12 2013

Uganda Winning the Battle Against HIV/AIDS — Using Abstinence SARAH TRAFFORD

Uganda Winning the Battle Against AIDS — Using Abstinence
SARAH TRAFFORD
Uganda may be on its way to wiping out AIDS by using the Biblical values of chastity and fidelity, a new Harvard University study finds. According to the study, abstinence education has shown significant effectiveness in reducing AIDS in Uganda, with the HIV infection rate dropping 50 percent

The east African nation is making a big impact with the revelation that the AIDS epidemic can be curbed. Riddled with HIV infections since the 1970s, Uganda has found miraculous success by using abstinence as its prevention strategy. Promotion of abstinence through billboards, radio programs and school sex education curricula has resulted in a slow and steady drop in HIV infection rates, as well as new attitudes about conquering AIDS in Uganda.
“Uganda is one of the countries that attach great importance on promoting abstinence among our youth,” said Ahmed Ssenyomo, minister counselor at the Ugandan Embassy, in a speech to the African American Youth Conference on Abstinence.

When the program started in the late 1980s, the number of pregnant women infected with HIV was 21.2 percent. By 2001, the number was 6.2 percent. The Harvard study also reported Ugandan adults are not having as much risky sex: of women 15 and older, those reporting many sexual partners dropped from 18.4 percent in 1989 to 2.5 percent in 2000.

The emphasis on abstinence in Uganda’s program is unique. In other nations with high HIV infections, such as Zimbabwe and Botswana, condoms have been promoted as the answer to ending the AIDS crisis. In Botswana, 38 percent of pregnant women were HIV positive last year, contrasted with 6.2 percent of Ugandan women.

Much of the program’s success is due to the nation’s willingness to look beyond the sexual revolution to the past.

“What we’re seeing in parts of Africa is communities responding to the epidemic by saying, ‘Let’s see what’s in our culture — how can we deal with this with what we had in the past?’ ” Susan Leclerc-Madlalas, a medical anthropologist at the University of Natal in South Africa, told the Associated Press. “What they had most of the time was a way of regulating sexuality.”

Many AIDS officials reject abstinence as a potential prevention strategy despite evidence that promotion of abstinence and fidelity have significantly reduced AIDS cases in Uganda over the past decade.

“Millions and millions of young people are having sexual relations,” said Paolo Teizeria, director of Brazil’s AIDS program, at the 14th International AIDS Conference. “We cannot talk about abstinence. It’s not real.”

Abstinence is often dismissed as a potential prevention method. Condom promotion and “safe-sex” initiatives have long been thought to be the answer to stopping the spread of HIV: Instead of encouraging people to curb their libidos, these initiatives have tried to provide “safer” ways of exercising them. However, in many African nations condoms aren’t looked upon kindly: there are a variety of urban legends that circulate in some regions that condoms are either ethnic cleansing tools or actually spread HIV themselves. (During the Cold War, the Soviet KGB spread “disinformation” that the United States created the AIDS virus to kill off Africans.)

“Ugandans really never took to condoms,” Dr. Vinand Nantulya, an infectious disease advisor to Ugandan leader Yoweri Museveni, told The New Republic.

The abstinence initiative in Uganda goes far beyond those who are already having sex — it starts with the education and promotion of an abstinence program for youth called “True Love Waits.” Thirty thousand Ugandan youth are currently involved with the program. Launched in Uganda in 1994, True Love Waits focuses on abstinence until marriage as a way to prevent all sorts of adverse consequences associated with extra-marital sexual activity.

“Encouraging marriage, monogamy or abstinence, delaying the onset of sexual activity, discouraging promiscuity and casual sex, reducing the supply and demand of illegal drugs or providing treatment to drug addicts … are the absolute most effective approaches to reducing the risk of HIV,” Rep. Mark Souder (R-Indiana) and six other members of the U.S. Committee on Government Reform said in a letter to the United Nations.

The United States and other countries have yet to embrace abstinence promotion as a mode of AIDS prevention. The United Nations recently predicted that AIDS will wipe out half the population in some African countries. In Uganda, the proverbial sun is starting to shine from the rain cloud of AIDS deaths — and it’s looking brighter.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Sarah Trafford. “Uganda Winning the Battle Against AIDS — Using Abstinence.” Culture and Family Institute (July, 2002).

This article reprinted with permission from Culture and Family Institute. Culture and Family Institute is an affiliate of Concerned Women for America 1015 Fifteenth St. N.W., Suite 1102 Washington, D.C. 20005 Phone: (202) 289-7117 Fax: (202) 488-0806 E-mail: mail@cultureandfamily.org

THE AUTHOR

Sarah Trafford is an intern for the Culture & Family Institute of CWA and a Political Science major at The College Of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio.

Copyright Culture and Family Institute

 





Man Killer: Money by Schaefer

26 11 2013

Man Killer: Money by Schaefer

Integrity is the foundation of a great man and once it is broken, it can never be completely restored. Like a an ornament that has been shattered into a million pieces, it can be glued back together, but when held up to the light, the cracks are still clearly seen.
Three specific areas, money, sex and power, have preyed on the integrity and claimed the lives of thousands of great men throughout history. While beneficial when viewed and handled properly, these three areas have a unique way of warping into something quite toxic, a sort of man poison, and the ripple effect can be tremendous. These man killers leave a terrible path of carnage: careers ended, families ripped apart, hearts broken and potential wasted.
It is not a matter of if you will face temptations in each of these areas, it is a matter of when. You can say, “It won’t happen to me,” and become another man taken down in his prime, or you can set up systems in your life that increase your chances of finishing strong with your integrity intact.
We start this three part series on the topic of MONEY.
“The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good,” proclaimed Gordon Gecko, in the 1987 movie classic, “Wall Street.” He went on to explain that greed had been the source for human progress. There is no doubt that many great inventions and breakthroughs came as a result of greed, but the problem with greed is that it always ends up making you do things you wouldn’t normally do.

Greed has a funny way of making integrity and moral boundaries seem much more flexible or even non-existent. Lying, cheating, stealing all become normal methods of operation rather than despicable acts. And in the end, the emptiness is still not filled. Take for example the culture of Enron just before its downfall (warning some adult language):
Notice the attitude of these traders. Who cares who gets hurt as long as I’m getting mine, as long as I’m moving up the ladder.
Most of us watch this video and say, “There is no way that I would ever be like that!” But greed, like other destructive vices often comes about slowly, subtly, without any signs that would cause alarm bells to ring.
Money itself is not bad nor is the desire to make money. Money is a necessary part of life, it’s just the way the system works. It’s a tool, and tools are neither good nor bad; their value rests in how they are used. Many people misquote the Bible as saying, “Money is the root of all evil.” But the verse actually posits that it is “the love of money” which is the problem. The man trap begins when we start defining ourselves by our material possessions – believing that money and its trappings are the answer to our happiness. It’s a small, but deadly twist in our natural desire as men to be providers and industrialists.
The problem with defining ourselves by what we have is that we never have enough.
There will always be someone that has more money, a bigger house, a newer car and cooler toys. We convince ourselves that if we could just have a few of those things we would be happy, the race would be over and we would be content.
But, it never happens. Even when we get the house of our dreams, soon a new neighbor moves in next door and builds a castle that would make the Royal Family jealous. And the cycle continues. Soon we find ourselves consumed by money, the slave, rather than the master.
Tolstoy once wrote a short story concerning greed in which a man named Pahom was given a wonderful, but unusual, opportunity to acquire some land. For a thousand rubles he was told that starting at sunrise he could walk around as large an area of land as he wanted and by nightfall, if he had reached his starting point, he would be given the amount of land his path had encircled.
Driven by his lust for land, Pahom rushed far away from his starting point, trying to gain more land than he could handle and ignoring signs that perhaps he was going too far. At the end of the day, the sun begins to set and Pahom attempts to rush back, realizing the seriousness of his error. But he is too late and drops dead a very short distance from his starting point, just as the sun sets. The story then reads, “His servant picked up the spade and dug a grave long enough for Pahom to lie in, and buried him in it. Six feet from his head to his heels was all he needed.”
Like Pahom, we often get caught up by the desire to add more, but in the end greed costs more than it gains.
So how does one go about keeping their hearts and hands clean in the area of money? The following are three simple, but highly effective immunizations:
1) Be Careful – Money is powerful. It’s allure can lead men to do things that breech their integrity and eventually ruin their lives. So it makes sense to be on guard. Being careful involves consciously monitoring your attitude towards the money in your life. Are you feeling desperate to earn more, constantly anxious that you don’t have enough, or jealous of others’ success? Your heart might be going down a slippery slope.
As much as we try to be aware of ourselves, it is always best to have friends and family that can act as mirrors for us. Ask those closest to you to tell you when they think your attitude is changing in regard to money and things. It may not always be the most comfortable question to ask, but it’s much better to catch a problem early than save your pride and fall hard later.
2) Be Generous – One of the best antidotes to greed is giving. There is something incredible that happens in people’s hearts when they give their money or possessions to others in need. Suddenly, the things we couldn’t live without aren’t so important after all. Giving keeps us from clinging onto our possessions too strongly.
I like to think of being generous as practicing being rich. Many people justify their lack of giving by citing insufficient funds. “I would give if I had more money,” is the common logic. The reality is, if you are not giving in your poverty, you will never give in your wealth. Generosity is a habit that must be cultivated, it doesn’t just spring up when the bottom line hits a certain level. People who don’t realize this often become even more greedy and less generous as their standard of living increases. So give early, give often.
3) Be Thankful – Several years ago I had the opportunity to travel to Thailand after the tsunami as part of a relief team. The devastation was everything you would imagine and more. Villages completely wiped off the map, families of 5 or 6 people now down to 1 or 2, and lots of nightmares.
But, what struck me most was not the horror of the event, but the incredible spirit of generosity embodied by the refugees we met. People who had lost everything they owned tried to scrape together a few things to share with us as we went about rebuilding their homes. If anyone had an excuse to hoard their possessions and be a little greedy, it was these people. Yet, they were generous and gave us food, water, etc. with a smile on their face.
These refugees were richer than most Americans I knew, not in money or possessions, but in spirit. They understood that even after their lives were torn apart, they still had something they could be thankful for and something to give. This left a tremendous impact on me as I looked at my life and all of the incredible things I had been blessed with. It made me intensely thankful to live where I did, with the people I lived with and for the opportunities I had been afforded.
And maybe that’s where greed falls short causing us to look outside at money and things rather than inside. At physical wealth rather than the wealth of the spirit. In looking to money for fulfillment and happiness we always come up short, it simply can’t do the job. The sooner we understand this the sooner we can truly conquer greed.

 





VIDEO Fighting the New Drug (2’25”)

22 11 2013


We need to talk about pornography. Wait, don’t go. This is important. You see, pornography affects all of us.
It’s not a question of if you get exposed, but when. So what, right? Some people say it’s not a big deal.
They’re wrong. Viewing pornography changes your brain. That’s right, it actually CHANGES YOUR BRAIN.
When you see pornography your brain is over-exposed with chemicals, the same chemicals that are released with hard drugs. They make you come back for more. Overtime your brain starts to rewire itself.
And it doesn’t take long until you crave it. You have to see more. You’re addicted.

And that ADDICTION takes over your life. It takes you away from your friends, your family, everything you love.
Addiction doesn’t care who you are. It doesn’t think about your future. It just wants to be satisfied.

Now we know what you’re thinking, “It won’t happen to me.” Maybe you’re right, but what if you’re wrong?
Why take a chance? Get the facts about pornography. Fight the New Drug.

 





“What Does The Incredible Hulk Think About Abortion?” By Kristen Hatten

31 10 2013

 “What Does The Incredible Hulk Think About Abortion?” By Kristen Hatten

Thank goodness an actor whose name you may not recognize finally broke his silence on the great issue of abortion. I don’t know about you, but it’s very difficult for me to form opinions on serious moral issues without knowing the viewpoint of the third guy.
Mark Ruffalo ( Aka the Incredible Hulk) attended a rally held in Mississippi, in support the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, an abortion center, which was in danger of closing if its physicians can’t obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital. So far, they’ve been unsuccessful.

Mark Ruffalo in a ridiculous statement, which practically overflows with idiocy and wrong, tells the story of his mother, who was “forced” to have an illegal abortion.

“It was shameful and sleazy and demeaning,” said Rafealo, “when I heard the story from my mother, I was aghast by the lowliness of a society that would make a woman do that. I could not understand its lack of humanity; today is no different.”

I’m gonna suggest that you pause and reread that again. Let it sink in.

Okay, first of all, does it weird you out when people are happy their mom had an abortion? I’ve heard that before and it makes me deeply sad. My mom’s crisis pregnancy resulted in my twin brothers, and I love them more than I can say. Also, Mark. Dude. That could have been you, bro.

Oh, Mark Ruffalo. Let me explain something to you. I’ll try to use small words: the fact that your mom’s abortion was illegal is not what made it “shameful and sleazy and demeaning.” Abortion is those things, legal or not.

When you go on to say, “What happened to my mother was a relic of an America that was not free nor equal nor very kind,” I have to go pace in a circle around my coffee table. Because… just… WHAT? Do you think a woman who kills her baby out of fear or selfishness is “free?” Do you think giving an unborn human being absolutely zero right to life is equality? Is dismembering a baby because her mother doesn’t want her “kind?”

It was a time when women were seen as second rate citizens who were not smart enough, nor responsible enough, nor capable enough to make decisions about their lives.

Oh, as opposed to these glorious years of legalized abortion, when women are “not smart enough, nor responsible enough, nor capable enough” to care for their children or place them for adoption? Liberation is paying someone to kill our kids? That’s empowerment? We’ve escaped oppression by passing it on to our children?

My own mother fought to make herself more than a possession; she lived her life as a mother who chose when she would have children, and a wife who could earn a living if she so chose.

I would like to remind Mark Ruffalo that Hugh Hefner is a supporter of abortion “rights,” and that disgusting NBA players these days have “abortion contracts” with their girlfriends. Rappers tweet about the cleansing, saving power of abortions, angering feminists, who don’t mind it when abortion “liberates” women from children, but apparently do resent the idea that it liberates men from women and children.

Ask your average college bro if he supports abortion because he respects a woman’s choice, or because it’s an easy out.

You know who else loves abortion? Sex criminals. Think about it: taking the underage girl you’ve been pimping or the daughter you’ve been raping to a clinic is a quick and easy way to get rid of the evidence.

Mark, there are ways of choosing when to have children that don’t involve killing some of them, and believe it or not, I know some women who have managed to have careers without having a single abortion. Shocking, I know.

There was no mistake in us making abortion legal and available on demand. That was what we call progress. Just like it was no mistake that we abolished institutional racism in this country around the same time.

This statement made me LOL and then have to look at photos of puppies on the Internet for fifteen minutes to quell my rage.

Look what you’ve done to me, Mark Ruffalo.

To defend abortion and condemn institutional racism in the same sentence, with a straight face… I can’t even.

Black people make up 12% of the U.S. population and about 35% of abortions. Planned Parenthood has placed most of their clinics in minority neighborhoods. Institutional what now?

There is nothing to be ashamed of here except to allow a radical and recessive group of people to bully and intimidate our mothers and sisters and daughters for exercising their right of choice. Or use terrorism and fanaticism to block their legal rights or take the lives of their caregivers.

(Psst! He’s talking about us.)

If providing alternatives, counseling, and practical assistance to women in crisis pregnancies is bullying and intimidating, I guess I’m a bully. Calling the people who disagree with you terrorists and fanatics is not very progressive and tolerant, Ruffalo. It’s also 100% wrong. As usual, the standard media narrative is a load of bull corn. In the 50 years since Roe, a lunatic fringe who do not deserve to be called “pro-life” have killed eight abortion providers – and been disowned by the movement and punished.

By contrast, as Susan B. Anthony List tells us:

There have been over 300 murders and 152 attempted murders in the name of the pro-abortion cause since Roe v. Wade. 551 women have died from botched abortions, and over 1,000 have been the victims of various sex crimes.

(See the statistics at Pro-Choice Violence.)

I’m not surprised that yet another West Coast yahoo repeats some stuff he heard, doesn’t bother to do any thinking of his own, doesn’t bother to educate himself, but instead sees to it to “educate” all us fanatical, backwards jerks in flyover country who dare to question his obviously superior values system.

Ruffalo had the gall to end his little speech with this:

I invite you to search your soul and ask yourself if you actually stand for what you say you stand for.

Right back at you, Mark. Right back at you.
Kristen Hatten

 





Obama-Care The Worst Thing To Happen Since Slavery By Dr Ben Carson

12 10 2013

Obama-Care The Worst Thing To Happen Since Slavery By Dr Ben Carson

Dr. Ben Carson didn’t mince words: Obamacare is “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.”
Dr. Carson made the declaration about President Obama’s sweeping health care mandate Friday during a speech at the Values Voter Summit.
PHOTOS: Civil disobedience: Angry Americans flout shutdown rules
“It is slavery because it aims to make all of us subservient to the government,” he said. “It was never about health care. It was about control.”
Dr. Carson further compared the new health care reform to policies envisioned by Vladimir Lenin, one of the fathers of socialism and communism.
“Socialized medicine is the keystone in the establishment of a socialist state,” Dr. Carson told the audience of some 2,000 supporters of traditional values.
Such a comment may seem paranoid to some, he said, “but I would say if you know anything about history, how could you not bring it up?”
When people in the executive and legislative branch don’t have to participate, but everybody else has to, “that’s not America, that’s Russia,” he added.

-Washingtontimes.com

 





Porno is as Addictive as Drug and Alcohol : New Cambridge studies

8 10 2013

Watching porno

Recent Cambridge study showing identical brain activity in addicts to pornography, drugs and alcohol is “spot on.”
According to The Sunday Times of Sept. 22, neuropsychiatrists at Cambridge found that the portion of the brain stimulated in drug and alcohol addicts lights up in the same way as it does for porn addicts viewing explicit materials. The brains of those who are not in the habit of using porn did not react in the same manner to the same materials.

“That kind of brain research is spot-on, and there have been a number of different approaches and studies that have said the same thing,” said Bruce Hannemann, co-founder of Elizabeth Ministry International and its program Reclaim Sexual Health.

“It doesn’t surprise me at all that more and more, people are finding out that there are patterns of addictions that are similar across the board,” he told CNA Sept. 25.

Hannemann, a retired chemistry professor, said that “whatever you have as a thought in your mind, actually changes the chemistry of your brain.”

Reclaim Sexual Health is an online recovery program that helps those addicted to, or in the habit of, unhealthy sexual behaviors. It utilizes the neuroscience of addiction to allow users to ‘re-program’ the chemical pathways in the brain which result in, and subsequently foster, sexual addictions.

The program is based on the knowledge that “the brain truly changes with every thought that we have,” and was developed by a team which included neuroscientists, therapists, neuropsychologists, cognitive- behavioral scientists, and professional trainers.

Hannemann likened Reclaim to a “gym” for the brain, as it is a series of exercises which is meant to “re-train, re-wire your thought processes.” The exercises help people to “unlearn that (poor) habit, and how to re-learn healthy habits, in terms of their sexuality and relationships with other people; it’s really a very comprehensive exercise program, and it has to be worked as an exercise program.”

“It all fits the pattern of what we would expect to have happen in human anthropology,” Hannemann explained, and indeed the pattern of breaking a vice by educating one’s self about the good and habitually acting towards that good – developing the corresponding virtue – fits the description of vice and virtue described by Aristotle more than 300 years prior to Christ.

“It’s our choice to put our brain cells to use to follow our old habits, or to wire them into new behaviors and habits, and really re-learn our lifestyle,” said Hannemann.

He said the mind “is really capable of telling the brain what to tell your body to do,” but that in the case of addictions, “your brain has become so habituated … that it starts to function on such an automatic level that you kind of take your mind out of the picture.”

When a pornography addict is presented with explicit materials, chemical signals from the senses “go directly to the brain’s pleasure center and call up dopamine … without being processed by the mind any more.”

Reclaim’s exercises are meant to re-train the brain so that the physical reaction to seeing provocative material will no longer be something that happens in the person, but can come under the person’s control and be a personal act – a chosen act that can be controlled, rather than an automatic something-that-happens.

“It doesn’t matter how hopelessly involved someone is with porn, and masturbation: if they start practicing putting their mind into the proper decisions and context, the brain chemistry will follow, because the mind controls the brain – you habituate yourself to a holy lifestyle,” Hannemann said.

Reclaim is a Catholic re-brand of another secular program, which was requested by Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay. Hannemann related that shortly after Bishop Ricken’s appointment to Green Bay in 2008, he called the Elizabeth Ministry into his office and directed them to develop programs to deal with human sexuality and to start with pornography, as it as one of the biggest detriments to family life.

When Reclaim was launched in May 2012, Bishop Ricken sent letters to his fellow American bishops “telling them about this program and endorsing it; he’s been a very strong backer.”

Hannemann described Bishop Ricken as “a man of action. He doesn’t like to sit around, he likes to get things done.”

The program of exercises, which is recommended to be followed for at least six months, includes video training, a calendar to track progress, a forum, an online journal, assessments, and a personal trainer, all of which are used anonymously. The program is $49 a month, but if users commit to staying for six months and pay up-front, they are given a discount worth one month’s use.

“In terms of what we’ve seen out there in healthy and unhealthy behaviors, we know this is working, really making a difference in people’s lives,” Hannemann said. “If they follow the prescription, the program, and make the necessary changes, it will change their life.”

He recommended using the program in concert with prayer and the Sacraments, but stressed that if people use only prayer and the Sacraments, if they are in the state of a sexual addiction, they will often be unsuccessful.

“That’s why were so excited about this – we have one more thing we can give them, some tools to work on the biology and biochemistry, as well as the theology, and that’s where the real success lies, I think. We have a real integrated approach here.”

Pornography addiction is not only a problem among adults, Hannemann noted, an observation that has been made increasingly by scholars and other authorities as well.

The British government intends to filter pornography off of internet connections by default, to “protect our children and their innocence,” prime minister David Cameron said in July.

And a Sept. 25 report by the Daily Mail records the shock of a former soft core pornography magazine editor at finding how much, and how graphic, pornography 13 and 14 year-old children have been exposed to through the internet.

Hannemann said that Reclaim has received many requests for help from youth – children in middle school and high school – who realize they need help with a burgeoning addiction to pornography.

“They’re begging us for help.”

He noted that Reclaim hopes to develop a program “that would be available for teens, that would be completely free to them, anonymous, that they could work on doing the brain chemistry and changing their behaviors, but not have to spend the money they don’t have.”

“That’s our biggest project right now,” he said, and Reclaim is currently trying to raise funds to produce such a program for teens.
Carl Bunderson (CNA/EWTN News)

Need help to overcome porn addiction?  Please read the Porn Circuit





Live Together Before Marriage Get Divorced After Marriage: Strange World By Janet Smith

3 10 2013

 Live Together Before Marriage Get Divorced After Marriage: Strange World By Janet Smithcohabitation and divorce2

We live in a strange world in which people live together before marriage and get divorced after marriage. There is a much higher divorce rate for those who cohabit. The figures just go up and up. About 65 percent of those who cohabit before marriage get divorced. About 50 percent of the rest of the people do, but since more and more couples cohabit, the divorce rate is just going to just keep climbing and climbing.

As a matter of fact I think some people get divorced before they get married; that is, some people have two or three extended cohabitations, get “divorced” from them, and then they get married.

I feel I must apologize to those in this room who are younger than I. I often feel that my generation — I am 55 — owes anybody younger than we are a big apology. They call my father’s generation “the great generation”, they lived through a depression; they worked very hard. My parents are of that generation: they have been married 58 years. It’s just incredible. I think a good name for my generation would be “the stupid generation.” Whereas, my parent’s home is very well ordered, if you looked into my refrigerator, you wouldn’t know when I last did anything in that refrigerator. It’s a kind of scary place. I find it hard to pay my bills on time. I find it hard to get the oil changed in my car. I have a hard time doing what my parents do with great ease. In fact, my whole generation is pretty much always stressed out. We were exceptionally stupid in our youth. We were the generation that started the whole drug and sexual revolution. We went off to college and experimented with drugs. We thought that that’s what college is all about. We’ve got to smoke marijuana, if not take a little bit of cocaine and LSD. Yeah, well, why not? That’s what you do when you got to college. And certainly have sex. Our poor parents, they had to get married to get sex. They had to rush into marriage. We thought they probably married some totally unsuitable person so they could have sex. I remember hearing people say, “You wouldn’t buy a car without taking it for a test drive, so surely you wouldn’t get married without having a test drive. And you wouldn’t buy a car without taking several for a test drive. So certainly you would do that in respect to marriage. You’ve got to find what model you like.” We thought that way. That’s my generation.

My generation went down a lot of dead ends and fell into huge potholes and we’re having a hard time climbing out. I want to save other people from going down those same dead ends and falling into those same potholes. If you don’t know exactly what you think would be the right direction, at least look at what we did and do something different. It doesn’t much matter what it is, just do something different.

Divorce Rates

I would like now to make a case that contraception is a factor leading to the increase in divorce. In the 1960s, 1 out of 4 marriages in the United States ended in divorce. Compared to the rest of the world and the US itself for most of its existence, that is a very high rate of divorce. At the turn of the century in the United States well under 10 percent of marriages ended in divorce. The divorce rate had been climbing up all century — contraceptive use had been increasing all that time as well. Again, in 1960 the divorce rate was 1 out of 4 marriages. By the mid 1970s 1 out of 2 marriages ended in divorce. It has stayed right about there.

Why did the divorce rate double between the 1960s and the 1970s? That’s a social revolution of unprecedented proportions. Never in the history of mankind has the divorce rate doubled in a short 10 to 15 year period. Why did it? Robert Michael, an economist from the University of Chicago, studied this phenomenon. As an economist he was interested because divorce, just like unwed pregnancy, is terrible for the economy. For some extended period of time people who are in divorced households often live on about half the income they had prior to the divorce. As an economist Professor Michael finds financial explanations most persuasive for explaining the increase in the incidence of divorce. He says that he has the data to show that couples who have a baby in the first two years of marriage and another one in the next two years — two babies in the first four years of marriage — have marriages that will last a lot longer than those who don’t. He explains that women who have babies early in the marriage become financially dependent upon their husbands. Even if things are going badly in the marriage, they’re going to stick it out and work at the marriage because a woman with babies at home needs the support of her husband. Now women are delaying childbearing until four or five years into the marriage. By that time a woman is established in her own career. She’s financially independent and so if the marriage goes badly and there are no children, she can kick her husband out. Even if they do eventually have children, she’s established herself in a career and she can take care of the children.

I suspect there is great deal of truth in Professor Michael’s explanations but I would like to suggest a few others. I think that when people have babies, they become much better people. In another talk I claim that the purpose of children is to make adults out of their parents. In fact, a person married to a parent is married to a better person. Being a parent nearly forces the parents to acquire certain virtues. Parents must become more disciplined, more charitable, more responsible, more hard-working. It’s hard work to get up in the middle of the night to take care of someone who’s crying and to change diapers and to plan for college and all the rest. That’s hard work. Both spouses take life more seriously. It’s as natural as can be.

One of my favorite people on the face of the earth is the first time father. I have had the great privilege and pleasure of seeing several of my male friends shortly after their first baby was born. Within about three sentences they all say the same thing. They float about 2 or 3 feet off the ground, they’re kind of dazed and they say: “Everything is different now.” And they mean it. Yesterday they didn’t care how good the school system is, who the chief of police is, whether the playgrounds are safe. Now that they have a baby, they do. They want to make this world safe for their children.

Robert Michael also says that adultery has skyrocketed since contraception has come on the scene. Can anybody figure out why that might be the case? If 80 percent of women are using some form of contraception, that makes a lot of women and a lot of men think that there is no problem with having sex with someone who is married to someone else. Many people had multiple sexual partners before they married. They don’t see any particular reason to stop after they get married. Because, you see, sex was no big deal before they got married. There’s no particular reason to think that it’s a big deal after marriage. Before marriage, sex was not an expression of lifetime love. Sex was not exclusive before marriage. It was just a fun thing to do with another person. How, when you get married, do you all of a sudden turn sexual intercourse into something that is profound, something that is a deep, intimate, exclusive expression of love for one person? How to do that 180-degree turn?

That’s why I want to talk about natural sex — which is not what people in our culture are having. The pattern in marriage in our culture is this: people have generally three sexual partners or more before they get married. Most people have sex in high school. If not in high school, certainly before they leave college. Maybe by the time they leave college, they are on their second or third partner. They split up with their current partner because there’s no real relationship there. Now they are out in the real world and it’s hard to find somebody. They start dating, pretty quickly they have sex, if not right away, eventually. Before long they are spending all their time at his place or hers. So they move in with each other. Why pay rent on two places? After a period of time people are saying: “When are the two of you going to get married?” The couple looks at each other and say: “Why don’t we get married? The sex is pretty good; we don’t fight that much; and who wants to start all over again?” That’s what I call “sliding into marriage.”

Currently people have had several sexual partners before marriage: some of those break-ups were accompanied with some degree of heartbreak, probably much confusion, perhaps some regret and guilt. Nearly everyone brings some sexual “baggage” in a marriage. Nearly all of the sexual intercourse they have ever had and will ever have is contracepted sexual intercourse. They contracepted before marriage and after marriage. Within marriage, they stop for a short period of time to conceive a child and then contracept again. Then they stop for a short period of time to conceive child number two. Then they get sterilized and then they get divorced. That’s the pattern in our culture, over and over again. People have had a very short period of time, if any, of what I want to call natural sex. They have never had a prolonged period of sex with someone whom they deeply love, to whom they have made a lifetime commitment, and with whom they are open to having children. Most of their sex life is contracepted, some of it in an uncertain relationship.

After one of my talks a man came up to me and said you missed a step in that little story you told. He said after the vasectomy or tubal ligation, one or other of the spouses often engages in an adulterous affair. He said he saw it at his place of work all the time. Man after man came in after he had a vasectomy and before long he was having an affair and before long he was divorced.

What you need to know is that couples using natural family planning almost never divorce. This is the biggest selling point of natural family planning when I’m talking to college students. The fact is, young people hate divorce. Either they’ve grown up in divorced households and they know the pain of divorce very personally or their friends have. Even if a couple has been married for 25 or 30 years and they think they are never going to get divorced, their kids don’t think that. The kids know someone else at school who went home and dad was packing up or mom was gone and they think it could happen to anybody. And so they’re living in this very fragile world. “Yeah, I don’t think Mom and Dad are going to get divorced, but Kevin didn’t think his mom and dad were going to get divorced either and they did.”

There is also an amazing difference for couples who don’t have sex before marriage. People who don’t have sex before marriage have an immensely lower divorce rate. Abstaining before marriage is one of the surest predictors of not getting a divorce. There is a study that shows that of people who were born between 1933 and 1943, 83 percent of the males were virgins when they got married and 93 percent of the females were virgins when they got married. And every decade thereafter it goes down about 10 to 15 percent of those who were virgins when they got married. Staying a virgin until marriage is one of the surest predictors of a long lasting marriage. Is that bizarre? Why would it be bizarre? You’ve waited for this one person. You probably chose this person fairly carefully. You said I’m saving myself for marriage, so I’m not just going to slide into marriage. I’m going to be very careful about this relationship. I am going to get to know someone slowly, let someone get to know me. The sex isn’t going to be at the beginning of the relationship; the sex is going to be at the beginning of the marriage. We’ve got a lot to know about each other before we can even begin to think about making that commitment.

Contraception’s Bad Consequences

What are the bad consequences of contraception?

It facilitates sex outside of marriage.

It increases the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases.

It leads to unwanted pregnancy and single parenthood.

It causes and leads to abortion.

It contributes to divorce and it contributes to social chaos.

Does anybody think there might be a reason to rethink our enthusiasm for contraception?

 





Meet Nordic Hotel Chain Owner Who Stopped Offering Pornography: Petter Stordalen

17 09 2013

stordalen5

While many American hotel executives refuse to rid their businesses of pornography, Petter Stordalen, owner of one of Scandinavia’s largest hotel chains, is leading the way forward.

A bit more than a year ago, we sent letters to the chief executive officers of our nation’s largest hotel chains, respectfully asking them to stop offering pornography in their hotel rooms. We said:

We are, respectively, a Christian and a Muslim, but we appeal to you not on the basis of truths revealed in our scriptures but on the basis of a commitment that should be shared by all people of reason and goodwill: a commitment to human dignity and the common good. As teachers and as parents, we seek a society in which young people are encouraged to respect others and themselves—treating no one as an impersonal object or thing. We hope that you share our desire to build such a society.

Pornography is degrading, dehumanizing, and corrupting. It undermines self-respect and respect for others. It reduces persons—creatures bearing profound, inherent, and equal dignity—to the status of objects. It robs a central aspect of our humanity—our sexuality—of its dignity and beauty. It ensnares some in addiction. It deprives others of their sense of self-worth. It teaches our young people to settle for the cheap satisfactions of lust, rather than to do the hard, yet ultimately liberating and fulfilling, work of love.

One hotel chain, Marriott, informed us that they were “phasing out” offerings of pornography in their hotel rooms. Another, Hilton, defended its participation in the pornography business by appealing, dubiously in our view, to libertarian principles. Others, so far as we can tell, have ignored our plea.

We wish to reiterate that plea here, however, by holding up to the American hotel executives the highly laudable actions of Petter Stordalen, owner of Nordic Hotels, one of Scandinavia’s largest chains. Mr. Stordalen, after becoming involved in international efforts to fight the horrific practice of trafficking women and girls into sexual slavery, announced that pornography would no longer be offered to his customers. In a public statement explaining his decision, he said:

The porn industry contributes to trafficking, so I see it as a natural part of having a social responsibility to send out a clear signal that Nordic Hotels doesn’t support or condone this.

He’s right. The pornography industry is corrupt through and through—inherently so. It should come as no surprise that it is connected to something as exploitative, degrading, and dehumanizing as human trafficking. Bravo to Petter Stordalen for refusing to continue profiting from peddling the industry’s wares.

Of course, even if trafficking were not part of the reality of the industry, good people should be opposed to pornography and unwilling to profit from it. As we said in our letter to hotel executives:

We beg you to consider the young woman who is depicted as a sexual object in these movies, as nothing but a bundle of raw animal appetites whose sex organs are displayed to the voyeurs of the world and whose body is used in loveless and utterly depersonalized sex acts. Surely we should regard that young woman as we would regard a sister, daughter, or mother. She is a precious member of the human family. You may say that she freely chooses to compromise her dignity in this way, and in some cases that would be true, but that gives you no right to avail yourself of her self-degradation for the sake of financial gain. Would you be willing to profit from her self-degradation if she were your sister? Would you be willing to profit from her self-degradation if she were your own beloved daughter?

The reality is, however, just as Mr. Stordalen depicts it. Human trafficking is part of the reality. And it is time for his fellow hotel executives to face up to that fact.

Indeed, it is time for Mr. Stordalen’s American counterparts to follow his commendable example. If Nordic Hotels can demonstrate this kind of moral and social responsibility, then there is no reason that Hilton Hotels and the other large chains cannot. Let them stop trying to deceive the public—and perhaps even themselves—with rhetoric about respecting or even protecting their customers’ liberty. Pornography is a social plague with horrific real-life consequences for real live people—addicts, spouses, children, communities, girls and women trafficked into sexual servitude.

At this late season of our nation’s experience with the social costs of pornography there is no longer any excuse for supposing that porn is merely a form of harmless naughtiness. Even the socially very liberal nation of Iceland is moving to ban or severely restrict it by law. Whatever one thinks of legal prohibitions or restrictions, everyone should recognize that pornography is a moral and social evil that no decent person would want to profit from or have anything to do with.

Robert P. George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University and a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School. Shaykh Hamza Yusuf is President of Zaytuna College.
—- Public Discourse





If There Must Be A Head In The Family, Why The Man? By C.S Lewis

11 08 2013

If There Must Be A Head In The Family, Why The Man?

As long as the husband and wife are agreed, no question of a head need arise; and we may hope that this will be the normal state of affairs in a Christian marriage. But when there is a real disagreement, what is to happen? Talk it over, of course; but assuming they have done that and still failed to reach agreement. What do they do next?
They cannot decide by a majority vote, for in a council of two there can be no majority. Surely, only one or other of two things can happen: either they must separate and go their own ways or else one or other of them must have a casting vote.

If marriage is permanent, one or other party must, in the last resort, have the power of deciding the family policy. You cannot have a permanent association without a constitution.

If there must be a head, why the man? Well, firstly, is there any very serious wish that it should be the woman? As far as I can see, even a woman who wants to be the head of her own house does not usually admire the same state of things when she finds it going on next door. She is much more likely to say “Poor Mr. X! Why he allows that appalling woman to boss him about the way she does is more than I can imagine.” I do not think she is even very nattered if anyone mentions the fact of her own “headship.”
There must be something unnatural about the rule of wives over husbands, because the wives themselves are half ashamed of it and despise the husbands whom they rule. But there is also another reason; and here I speak quite frankly, because it is a reason you can see from outside even better than from inside.

The relations of the family to the outer world—what might be called its foreign policy—must depend, in the last resort, upon the man, because he always ought to be, and usually is, much more just to the outsiders. A woman is primarily fighting for her own children and husband against the rest of the world. Naturally, almost, in a sense, rightly, their claims override, for her, all other claims. She is the special trustee of their interests.

The function of the husband is to see that this natural preference of hers is not given its head. He has the last word in order to protect other people from the intense family patriotism of the wife. If anyone doubts this, let me ask a simple question. If your dog has bitten the child next door, or if your child has hurt the dog next door, which would you sooner have to deal with, the master of that house or the mistress? Or, if you are a married woman, let me ask you this question. Much as you admire your husband, would you not say that his chief failing is his tendency not to stick up for his rights and yours against the neighbours as vigorously as you would like? A bit of an Appeaser?
C.S Lewis








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