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Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

Is It the Economy Again?

In Abstinence, Birth Rate, Cohabitation, Divorce, Families, father, Marriage, The Family, Values on March 20, 2015 at 7:16 am

empty ring boxGary Boyd

Seth Freed Wessler, writing for nbcnews.com, charges the economy with the low percentages of married young people and the rapidly diminishing institution of the American middle-class family. As industrial and professional jobs for men that paid a living wage 50 years ago have dried up, Wessler asserts that those of traditionally marriageable age no longer give marriage a high priority, since marriage no longer secures financial stability.

In his article, Mr. Wessler uses the real-life and current example of a young couple with a child who have not married, in order to show that the economic pressures brought to bear on them have caused them to make other choices than marriage and the traditional family.   He quotes the couple and recounts their experience.

Michael Bridges and Laura McCann had a longstanding relationship. McCann came up pregnant, and delivered their baby a few months after McCann finished college. Today, they are still not married. In fact, they separated two years after the baby was born.

Statistics cited by Mr. Wessler are undoubtedly true. Marriage rates are down, when compared to 1960. Births of children to unwed parents are up. Most young couples are choosing to bypass marriage and jump directly into having kids, or avoiding both marriage and procreation. The question, however, is whether the economy can be blamed, or must we look to the erosion of morals and values.

While couples having babies today are often not staying together, would it still not behoove them to do so economically? The Earned Income Credit is not enough on which to live for a year, and even though the mother may no longer stay home full-time, are two incomes still not more than one? Does it not cost less to house two adults in one apartment than in two apartments?

The answer, regrettably, is an erosion of our values. After the baby was born, and the responsibility to its care established, McCann was quoted as saying: “We weren’t going to stay together just because we were together, if it wasn’t the right thing”.

Again, the article does not give the causes of the couple’s choice to separate. The undertones suggest possible disenchantment with each other or a desire to move in different directions. However, in the absence of abuse or infidelity, how could staying together not be the right thing? The question is one of perspective and priority.

Until the real issues are addressed, society will continue its march towards the increased barbarism and unravelling of civilization that loom inevitably before us, and away from chewed-up-and-spit-out traditional family in the trail behind us.

What You Say Matters

In Child Development, Families, father, Marriage, Media, motherhood, Parenting, The Family, Values on March 15, 2015 at 8:34 pm

self esteem talkKelsi Shipley

Recently I had a conversation with an adorable five-year-old boy. At one point he confided in me that he thinks his mom is a negative person. Knowing this boys mother, I was surprised by the accusation, and assured him she wasn’t. We talked about a few other things, and then as we parted ways he exclaimed, “Wait! I don’t know what negative means!” In the best five-year-old terms I could think of, I explained that when you are negative, you are not very happy about what happens around you. He then got a puzzled look on his face and said, “Oh. My mom is always happy.”

This experience made me wonder where he had heard that his mom was a negative person. Had family members said it? Had dad said it? Had mom said it about herself? How we talk about ourselves affects our children’s opinions of us, and their opinion of themselves.

Throughout the day we are constantly thinking to ourselves through our inner voice. We use this voice to make critical decisions, and to analyze situations. To describe this inner voice, psychologists use the term self-talk. Our self-talk can be positive or negative. Self-talk often becomes our outer voice and unfortunately, our negative thoughts about ourselves are often expressed before our positive ones.

“I can’t do that work project. Carol would do a much better job.” “If Joe really knew me, he wouldn’t say such nice things about me.” Not only have you probably had these thoughts, you’ve probably expressed them out loud.

Children often mimic their parent’s habits, reactions, and expressions about themselves. Children with lower self-esteems often make negative remarks about themselves, don’t want to try new things, or give up easily. “I’m dumb. I’ll never get this assignment” “I can’t do this.” “What’s the point?” Some feelings of self-doubt are normal, but when these feelings affect everything we do, it can be debilitating.

A child’s self-esteem, as well as an adult’s, is a valuable tool in helping them to succeed. If we want children with healthy self-esteems, we must have a healthy self-esteem ourselves. The following are suggestions of ways to increase your self-esteem which then, by example and teaching, may increase your child’s self esteem.

  1. Feel your thoughts: You don’t have to like the negative thoughts that you are feeling. You also don’t need to believe them. However, it is important to truly feel these thoughts. Author Karol K. Truman has said that, “Feelings buried alive, never die.” Find out where these thoughts are coming from. Use the phrase “I feel______about________because________. This will help you identify how you truly feel, and why you feel that way.
  2. Adjust your thinking: Use “I can” statements to change your understanding. “I can do this work project.” “It does matter, and I can do it.” Encourage yourself to keep progressing. Write down the positive things you are doing, and look back on these notes when you need them. Also, ask yourself what you can do to make a situation less stressful.
  3. Forgive yourself. Life is hard. We all make mistakes. Daily. Learn how to forgive yourself. Work hard to make the changes you need to make, but don’t be so hard on yourself that you forget who you are, or your capacity for greatness.

Youtube sensation Kid President made a video for babies on the day they are born. He said, “You’re gonna need a pep talk sometimes, and that’s OK. For now, remember this: You’re awake. You’re awesome. Live like it.” Each of us will not always feel great about ourselves. We will make mistakes. However, each of us has the capacity to be great, and to help others feel better about themselves.

Just like the five-year-old boy I talked to is watching and listening to his parents self-talk, your child is watching and listening to yours. What you say truly does matter. Your self-esteem, and your example will have a greater impact on your child’s self-esteem than you can ever imagine. Take Kid President’s advice, “You’re awake. You’re awesome. Live like it.”

 

 

Marriage Anybody’s Way

In adoption, Child Development, Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA, Families, Free Speech, Gender, Government, Homosexuality, Human Rights, Marriage, Parenting, Proposition 8, Research, Same-Sex Marriage, Sexual Freedom, Sexual Orientation, The Family, Values on March 13, 2015 at 7:30 am

three-way marriageGary Boyd

Proponents of same-sex marriage have won ground over their opposition during the last two decades. In a rather scary, yet perfectly logical article, Joseph Farah gives us an idea of what may be coming next.

This past Valentine’s Day, Thailand saw a three-way same-sex marriage ceremony, one which Mr. Farah speculated might well have been the first of its kind. The author hastened to express that the three-way ceremony was not legally binding even in Thailand, but that certainly the demand for even more liberal marital configurations will be made by society’s perverts and their friends, anywhere they may be found.

Let us consider the implications. First, and really nothing new, mere review for most, when same-sex marriages are wrongfully legitimized by the government, the same-sex couple, legally married, now has access to the rights and protections afforded any other legally married couple. Such rights include the right to adopt and raise children. While abhorrent to me personally as well as many others, society has warmed up to this idea, and the expression of anything to its contrary catalyzes hot contention in public discourse.

Now, use your imagination for a moment. What is the most sordid conceivable connubial consortium you can come up with? Maybe one has always had a thing for his sister, or sisters, or perhaps his best friend, some breed of canine.

Globally, would society go to such extremes? While nobody can know for certain, the possibility cannot be dismissed. Only several decades ago were sodomy laws overturned. At that point in time, did anyone, even its architects, ever believe that same-sex marriage would become reality in their own lifetimes?

I was a teen in the 1980s, and was first introduced to the idea of same-sex marriage sometime in the latter 1990s. When Question Two was on the ballot in Nevada, defining marriage as being between a man and a woman, the idea that same-sex marriage would be legalized, at least in our state, was laughable, and Question Two passed with 80 percent of the popular vote. The ponderous shift in public opinion over the last 20 years could possibly continue with similar momentum over the next 20 years. It could head down a road, the end of which we cannot now fathom, just as I, in 1995, could not even have conceptualized the possibility of same-sex marriage.

And what of the children? Are synthetic family configurations equally as effective as the natural ones in stabilizing society? Will not the children grow up to be even more the animal than those who raised them?

An adequate work on the proven superiority of the traditional nuclear family to society would require a page length into the hundreds. A 350 to 550 word blog cannot begin to address the topic, yet we know from both religious and secular sources, as well as from the history of other nations, that the traditional, nuclear family is the environment best calculated for raising of children in a manner that instills in them the work ethic, honesty, and integrity necessary for productive citizenship, and when we deviate from that model, we walk in crooked paths, the end of which we cannot know.

Appreciating Your Siblings

In Birth Rate, Child Development, Divorce, Families, Family Planning, father, Grandparents, Health Care, Marriage, The Family, Values on March 10, 2015 at 8:29 am

siblingsTashica Jacobson

My Nutrition and Foods teacher, in high school, was a fun talkative lady. She cared about each of her students and had unique way of getting us to look at the world. One day she told us that both of her parents were only children…which at first doesn’t appear too unusual. It’s not unheard of to be an only child. But then she told us to think about what this meant and how that would influence her life. “It means,” she told us, “that my parents have no siblings, but that I also have no uncles, aunts, or cousins. So you can imagine how much fun family reunions are.”

Her statement made me take a moment to look at my siblings and gain an even greater appreciation for having them. Not only will I have an amazing support system throughout all of my life because of them, but I have so many adventures and good memories already because of each one of them. Ask anyone that knows me well and they’ll be able to tell you that my siblings are an enormous part of my life. I could write a whole book on how amazing each of them is, but for this paper I’ll look at the benefits that siblings have on each other throughout all of life.

Our siblings  affect how we relate to other people, how we see ourselves, and provide the support system that we will have in later years. These relationships accomplish all of this because “it’s a bond unlike any other that we have in our lives.” This is why parents are encouraged to promote affection and closeness between their children.

Health

Studies have shown that having siblings can lead us to be more active and healthy. That a blessing to have a constant playmate. Activities that require physical activity like sports, tag, water fights, or hiking, are activities that more often require someone to do them with. Even eating habits improve because of siblings. When children have someone close in age to base food intake on, they eat smaller portions, and healthier foods.

Social skills

Positive social skills are more easily developed because of interaction with siblings. Brothers and sisters provide an opportunity to interact with peers on a daily basis. It provides a chance for children to do good deeds for one another and allows for positive interactions. Even fighting provides an opportunity for siblings to learn. Children are able to learn social rules regarding conflict. They learn how to control their emotions and work through their frustrations with other people, along with developing forgiveness, compromise, and sympathy. Mastering these traits helps us in all of our relationships throughout life; having good relationships with siblings, has even been shown to decrease the likelihood of divorce.

Mental Health

Mental health is also improved when siblings have good relationships with one another. They lend support to each other, provided a listening ear, and give children someone “who’s got their back.” A child’s likelihood of depression is decreased when they have  siblings that are dealing with the same family crisis and stresses as they are. This support system extends into later life as siblings often become each other’s closest friends in adulthood. From them we also have an extended support system in aunts, uncles, cousins, and nieces and nephews. This support system encourages individuals to take on challenges, and stay positive during difficult situations. Mental health benefits are also seen specifically when we have sisters. A combination of studies found that “having a sister protects adolescents from feeling lonely, unloved, guilty, self-conscious, and fearful.”

Every situation with siblings is unique. Age differences, gender, and overall experiences will vary but I can speak from personal experience that having siblings is fun. And more than that it provides opportunities for growth and learning. The friendships and support that we develop with them will continue throughout childhood and be a factor even in later life. Healthy sibling relationships should be promoted and cherished.

Do we Really Need Dads?

In Child Development, Education, Families, father, Gender, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, Schools, The Family, Values on March 6, 2015 at 9:28 am

father wrestling with sonErika Walker

In the realm of family studies the role of mothers is often researched and discussed. After all, between the two parents mothers typically spend the most time with their children, and are therefore responsible for the majority of the teaching, comforting, disciplining, and nurturing.

So what do dads do? Do they serve a purpose in the lives of their children besides providing for their physical needs? Do children even need a father in their lives? Many women and men share this skeptical mentality toward fatherhood. It seems that the role of fatherhood has lost significance or has been undermined in importance in recent years.

Unbeknownst to many, fathers serve a very important role in the healthy development of children socially, intellectually and psychologically. “Dr. David Popenoe, one of the pioneers of the relatively young field of research into fatherhood stated ‘Fathers are far more than just ‘second adults’ in the home… Involved fathers bring positive benefits to their children that no other person is as likely to bring’” (Rosenberg).

Loving relationship with child’s mother

One of the most significant ways that a father influences his child’s life is through his relationship with the child’s mother. If the mother and father share a loving relationship both parent’s parenting behavior is likely to improve. For instance, “a father who has a good relationship with the mother of their children is more likely to be involved and to spend time with their children and to have children who are psychologically and emotionally healthier.

Similarly, a mother who feels affirmed by her children’s father and who enjoys the benefits of a happy relationship is more likely to be a better mother” (Rosenberg). But the benefits don’t stop there.

Research has shown that wives perceptions of the father-child relationship and father involvement with the children was one of the strongest predictors of wives’ marital quality (Galovan). Though each of these will positively affect the child, the greatest advantage that is gained by a child from the healthy relationship between parents is the behavior it models for children. Both boys and girls benefit from this behavioral modeling.

From observing the healthy relationship between father and mother, boys learn how they are to treat women and to resolve conflict without acting aggressively toward them. “Girls with involved, respectful fathers see how they should expect men to treat them and are less likely to become involved in violent or unhealthy relationships” (Rosenberg). This is a significant contribution in children’s lives because in many cases it could eradicate relationship violence, postpone premarital sex, and prevent teenage pregnancies.

Cognitive ability and Academic success

Father involvement also directly affects a child’s cognitive ability and academic success. There have been numerous studies conducted showing that fathers influence their child’s cognitive capacities throughout their life starting from infancy. The U.S. Children’s Bureau says that “fathers who are involved, nurturing, and playful with their infants have children with higher IQs, as well as better linguistic and cognitive capacities” (Rosenberg). “The influence of a father’s involvement on academic achievement extends into adolescence and young adulthood” (Rosenberg). Adolescents with involved fathers are more likely to stay in school, are 43 percent more likely to make mostly A’s, and “are 33 percent less likely to repeat a grade”(Rosenberg). This is important because children who take their education seriously are more likely to gain a college education, pursue a career, and be able to support themselves.

 

Socially and Psychologically

Children also benefit from father involvement socially and psychologically. “Even from birth, children who have an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their surroundings, and, as they grow older, have better social connections with peers… and more likely to exhibit pro-social behavior ” (Rosenberg).

How does a father provide all that? Well, infants who receive high levels of affection from their fathers are more securely attached and are therefore much more willing to explore their environment. In addition, fathers generally spend more of their one-on-one time with their infants and toddlers “in stimulating, playful activity than do mothers. From these interactions, children learn how to regulate their feelings and behavior” (Rosenberg). This is actually much more significant than it might seem. These types of skills keep children from getting into trouble at home, at school, and in the neighborhood. Involved fathers’ children are much less likely to get into fights or participate in delinquent behavior.

Don’t discount the role that a father plays in a child’s life. Children need fathers, as role models, as playmates, as caregivers. Their presence in a child’s life or lack thereof will have lasting effects for generations to come. The key to being a positive influence is being involved.

References:

Galovan, Adam M., Erin Kramer Holmes, David G. Schramm, and Thomas R. Lee. “Father Involvement, Father–Child Relationship Quality, and Satisfaction With Family Work: Actor and Partner Influences on Marital Quality.” Journal of Family Issues 35.13 (2013): 1846-867. SAGE. Web. 5 Jan. 2015. <jfi.sagepub.com>.

Rosenberg, Jeffrey, and W. Bradford Wilcox. “Fathers and Their Impact on Children’s Well-Being.” Child Welfare Information Gateway. U.S. Children’s Bureau , n.d. Web. 30 June 2012. <http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/usermanuals/fatherhood/chaptertwo.cfm&gt;.

 

Is This Not Tyranny?

In adoption, Constitution, Courts, Defense of Marriage Act, Democracy, Diane Robertson, DOMA, Families, father, Free Speech, Gender, Government, Homosexuality, Human Rights, Marriage, Non-Discrimination, Parental Rights, Proposition 8, Religious Freedom, Same-Sex Marriage, Sexual Freedom, Sexual Orientation, Values on March 4, 2015 at 9:35 am

tyranny alertDiane Robertson

Tyranny is defined as cruel and oppressive government or rule, or cruel, unreasonable, or arbitrary use of power or control. Countries that embrace religious freedom are typically free from tyranny, while those nations who insist on certain beliefs lean toward tyranny.

Nations with a state enforced religion such as Saudi Arabia or communist nations where established religions are banned like China, offer little to no religious freedom.

In the most tyrannical countries in the world, the one thing the government can never enforce or stifle is thought and belief. Unless a person declares or publicizes their thoughts and beliefs, laws can have no hold over them. Everyone in the entire world can believe or think what they will.

With the exception of violent acts, for a nation to be free of tyranny, that nation must allow the people to speak their mind and act on their beliefs without punishment. Man is only free when he can live according to his conscience.

Religious freedom has been the norm in the western world for more than two centuries. However, things are changing. Due to mass embracing of secularism and “sexual rights” in these nations, those freedoms are rapidly eroding.

Laws have been made and enforced that disallow people to speak or act on certain beliefs.

In my state, the legislature is working on forming a law that will allow the LGBT community protections for housing while still allowing people to live according to their beliefs. I like this sort of compromise. But as I started reading comments from a local online newspaper, I realized that many people do not want a compromise. Many comments were along these lines:

“Offering exemptions for discrimination on religious grounds is immoral.”

“If their ‘line of work’ is the wedding industry perhaps they should choose a line of work more suited to their belief system.”

“Religious leaders already have religious protections, its called the 1st Amendment… if you give people the right to discriminate outside of an religious organizations, you’ll open a can of worms that will be headed for court, wasting tax payer dollars in the mean time on a court case that won’t win.”

“Really? Have your “marriage beliefs” been outlawed? Not in the least; you can still believe anything you want, you just can’t use your beliefs against your customers. It is not the business of a business to make value judgements about their customers.”

 

There are hundreds such comments from people who feel like freedom to think or believe something should be enough, unless it is what they think or believe– they want the right to act on their beliefs. In fact, they want the government to enforce people to act only according to an approved set of actions– theirs. Well give the government something to regulate and enough people telling them to do so and the government will.

Today many people who dare to disclose their beliefs or act on them are in trouble. They are being fired from their jobs, fined absurd amounts of money, and forced to undergo change of belief training, politely called “sensitivity” training.

A judicial magistrate in England has been suspended for privately stating his belief that children need a mother and a father. According to the Daily Mail:

“Richard Page told colleagues behind closed doors during an adoption case that he thought it would be better for a child to be brought up in a traditional family rather than by a gay couple.

He was shocked a week later when he found he had been reported to the judges’ watchdog for alleged prejudice, and was suspended from sitting on family court cases.

He has also been ordered to go on an equality course before he is allowed back in the courtroom.”

We have all heard about Baronelle Stutzman, the Christian florist being sued by her State Attorney General for referring a gay couple to another florist for the couple’s wedding. And then there’s the photographer in New Mexico, and the bakers in Colorado and Oregon.

There’s also the CEO of Firefox fired for donating to his state’s marriage amendment campaign.

A couple in New York had to pay a fine and undergo sensitivity training for refusing to use the home they lived in for gay wedding ceremonies, and a police officer in Utah was fired for asking to direct traffic instead of performing motorcycle stunts in the Gay Pride Parade.

Is this not cruel and oppressive rule or unreasonable, and arbitrary use of power or control? Is this not the definition of tyranny?

It certainly knows no bounds. Those enforcing this new sexual secularism in our nations will say, “if your religion does not allow you to do what I say, then just change your line of work.” But as time goes, it becomes clearer and clearer that no line of work is exempted. Judges, lawyers, doctors, school teachers, business owners of all sorts, and even computer programmers have not been exempted. No one is exempt. It’s clear that if these sexual secularists could find a way for the government to regulate thought and belief, they would. In the meantime, they are doing what they can to intimidate all who do not believe as they do, and to do only what they approve.

 

 

Progress Not Perfection

In Families, father, Grandparents, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, The Family, Values on March 3, 2015 at 8:02 am

hiking togetherNathalie Bowman

The Quest for Perfection is all consuming. Many women have an ideal of the perfect life, and beat themselves up for not being able to attain it, or they put on a mask and pretend they’re perfect even though they know they’re not. Neither way brings happiness. What, really, is “perfect”?

There are as many definitions of perfect as there are people trying to attain it. Think about how you would define your perfect self. Does the thought bring you joy? Or does it feel heavy? The never ending pursuit of perfection can get old fast, but somehow, we still manage to want it, thinking it will do us some good.

Instead of perfection, how about having joy in the journey and recognizing progress?  It reminds me of the time I hiked the Grand Canyon from the North Rim to the South Rim in one day; it was over 23 miles. We started early in the morning, and hiked in darkness with only a flashlight to guide our way for the first several hours on the trail. I wanted to be “perfect” and make a good impression, because this was my first official date with my boyfriend (who later became my husband). As we went on, the sunrise was beautiful and the day began to get warm. By the time we got to the bottom of the canyon, I was a bit worn, but we still had the most difficult part of the hike ahead of us-going up the South Rim. I was getting worried about my strength to make it all the way up.

I knew my boyfriend enjoyed the great outdoors as much as I did, and I wanted it to be the perfect day as I made a grand impression on him. As we went up the steep switchback trail, he was holding my hand to keep me going up the trail at his pace, which was faster than mine.

I felt like I was going to throw up. My body did not want to take one more step, but I kept going. I was so grateful for the resting points along the way. Finally we made it up to the top, and it was beautiful. In spite of my desire to impress and be “perfect,” the journey wasn’t perfect–I made my boyfriend wait for me to rest when he may have preferred to go on; we had to wait for mule trains to pass us; we were tired and sore and thirsty. But we made it, one step after another. The beauty was in the progress along the way, even though our experience didn’t fill my “perfect” expectations. In spite of it all, we look back at that experience with wonder and awe because of the progress we made together.

It’s about progress, not perfection. Life can be like my experience hiking the canyon–at first I wanted it all perfect.  Then as we pushed on through the journey, I realized that the perfection was in the progress, not in the unattainable ideal.

Progress is putting one foot in front of the other and not giving up.

It’s getting up in the morning to care for our families or go to work when we’d really rather stay in bed.

It’s doing the little things that add up and that help us along the way.

Progress is forgiving ourselves when we make mistakes, letting go, and moving past the frustration.

Taking steps and acknowledging our progress creates peace and confidence, even through the hard days.

Next time you start getting uptight because you’re not “perfect,” take a deep breath and find evidence of the good things–even if it’s little steps-and banish those thoughts of “perfection!” It’s always good to improve yourself, to set goals and move forward, and the easiest way to do that is to let go of the myth of “perfection,” love yourself as you are, and enjoy your progress.  

 

 

Rights vs. Laws

In Abortion, Constitution, Courts, Defense of Marriage Act, Democracy, Education, Free Speech, Government, Health Care, Human Rights, Marriage, Non-Discrimination, Parental Rights, Religious Freedom, Same-Sex Marriage, Sanctity of Life, Schools, Sexual Freedom, Sovereignty, Supreme Court, Values, Women's Rights on March 2, 2015 at 7:26 am
 Bill of RightsRebecca Mallory

       No doubt you have witnessed in the past few weeks, months, or years, people from different groups wielding signs declaring their RIGHTS! They have a right to a living wage, they have a right to a job, they have a right to marry someone of their own sex, they have a right to a college education, etc. They are wrong.
In these cases, the only real thing these people have a right to is their “freedom of speech.” No one has a right to a job, wage, education, or health care. Sorry guys. Modern American “education” has failed you. The only rights besides “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are stated in the Bill of Rights which are the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution which have one thing in common: they tell the government what it cannot do to the citizens.
The Bill of Rights, not the bill of laws, not the bill of suggestions, not the bill of hopes, the Bill of Rights details what human beings have rights to, and every one of them limits what the government can do to people. Now, before your blood pressure sky-rockets, let’s look at the difference between rights and laws.

       When the American Founding Fathers gathered in a hot sweltering room in Philadelphia to create the Constitution, they merely had an idea. They wanted to create a land of freedom where men and women could govern themselves without a stifling or tyrannical government. This document was “inspired by God,” and the rights declared therein were created by God. This is easily verified by original documents written by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, etc.
The United States Code calls them “organic law” which means they cannot be taken away by men. These laws are natural. Rights do not exist just because a politician, or president decrees it. Only in communist or tyrannical regimes is that a question, and it’s only a question because your natural right, your natural yearning, your independence, your freedom, has been taken away from you. The only thing a government can do is take rights away from you.

   If those are rights, then what are laws? Laws are made by men. Many laws are necessary to provide an orderly society but most man-made laws can easily be assessed as politicians denying your right by passing a law which then limits that freedom. If this is done in a democratic way, we can then work to reverse the law, but if you live in a dictatorship, you have no way to deal with it. You are forced to abide with no recourse.

    What about those who live in tyranny? If rights come from government, then people that live in communist countries don’t have the right to be free.  They have the right to live in tyranny because their governments have created it. Their governments have written the laws that say, “You can’t be free, you’re not free, you can’t say what you want, you can’t think what you want.  If we hear about it and we don’t like it, you’re going to prison.”  Really? That’s a right for someone to live that way?

        It’s been fascinating to watch recent laws change on a whim in this country, almost completely circumventing congress or other branches of government. Those pushing a certain agenda change the narrative by screaming that it’s a right! Instead of working through the democratic channels and changing the law set forth by the very system they created!
This is an easy sell because a large number of people are sadly ignorant of how the system works and so their immediate reaction is, “Yeah! It’s my right! Healthcare is my right! I can do what I want! You owe me a big house and nice car! I can abort my baby! It’s my body!” No you can’t. Those are not rights nor ever have been. Those are laws that have been enacted by a relative few in each case. There’s nobody that can grant that right.  You’re not born with it.  Besides, it can be taken away.  If it can be taken away, it’s not a right.  “I have a right to whatever I want.”  No, you don’t.  You have to earn it.

     It’s right there in the Declaration:  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” Natural law.  We’re born with this.  They are the “right to life, the right to liberty, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness.”   The natural state of the human being is yearning to be free and wanting to be happy.  Is that not true, by the way?  In this country you’d have to get people to really stop and think about it, because they accept all this, take it for granted, because it’s all they’ve known. Present this idea to most people around the world and they’ll never believe that such a place exists. Any wonder people risk their lives to get here at any cost?

You may not believe in God which is pretty much a definition of religion or what you believe, right?  Do you believe it’s your right to worship the way you choose? Or do you believe that someone in government permits it? No human being can grant you that right. If you believe rights come from man, then someone could easily declare that everyone belong to the Church of Whatever right now. Fortunately, rights do not come from man.

No group of men will have the power to take away your freedom.  The Founders wrote it so because they understood where our rights came from. It was brilliant.  And from the beginning of the existence of the Constitution of the United States, it’s been argued over, because obviously to big government politicians, dictators and tyrants, etc., this is a problem for them.  That’s why the United States is a target.  People have been trying to defeat the United States forever because when we say it’s an “outpost for freedom,” “it’s a shining city on the hill,” “it’s a beacon.”  It’s the only place.  That’s why everybody wants to come here.

But as exceptional and special as this republic is, it is extremely fragile. The Constitution of this Republic will only work if people are righteous and good; capable of governing themselves. When they can’t and become unruly, flawed human beings step in and chip away at those freedoms under the guise that government will provide everything free and take care of you cradle to grave.

Hopefully you’re smarter than that. Read a little history and you’ll once again discover, it never happens. They can’t do it and they never will. They say they are just trying to protect you, your family and your health but many in government naturally succumb to greed, temptation, power, lust and all by-products of a bloated and out of control government. They may band-aid something temporarily, but here’s a better idea, America. Pick up those “unalienable rights you were endowed by our Creator” and go out and make a better future for yourself and your family. Be exceptional.

(Many of these ideas came from Rush Limbaugh’s radio show on February 13, 2015. It was a brilliant treatise defining rights and laws. You can read the transcript in entirety from his website.) 

A Word on Marriage

In Constitution, Courts, Democracy, Free Speech, Gender, Government, Homosexuality, Human Rights, Marriage, Same-Sex Marriage, Values on February 27, 2015 at 7:51 am

same sex marriage vs. constitutionGary Boyd

A Fox News article titled Judge defies Texas law to wed same-sex couple under one-time order discusses a case out of Texas, where a judge ruled in favor of a same-sex couple receiving a marriage license. The ruling was made due to health concerns that may preclude the couple from seeing final resolution on the same-sex marriage question, the answer to which is expected this spring when the question goes before the United States Supreme Court.

Many aspects of this case could be discussed, including the place of a state court in such a matter, relative to federal courts, the sickening sentimentality that carried the decision, and the possibility of a precedent having been set for same-sex couples who can show exposure to a life-threatening condition. A review of the most basic principle that is violated by the same-sex marriage issue seems in order, as additional leaks in the dam spring forth in ever-greater abundance as the time nears when the U.S. Supreme Court will either shore up those leaks, or obliterate the dam.

Perhaps in no country throughout the entire span of the Earth’s history has as much been said about the rights of humankind that in the United States of America. A denial of the right to representation when confronted with increased taxation fomented, arguably, the Revolutionary War. Our Constitution, the ultimate law of the land, would never have been adopted without the guaranty of its first several amendments, commonly called the Bill of Rights. Since then, all kinds of rights have been championed and gain for citizens generally or specific societal demographics previously deprived.

Rights, however, represent only half of a two-part, mutually-dependent system. We see the second part, rarely, if ever, showcased in public discourse: the companion principle of obligation. What is the implication of the theory of rights and obligations when applied to same-sex marriage? If one has a right to marry, another has an obligation to recognize the marriage. Though plenty of emotional, ill-reasoned rhetoric supports the supposed right of same-sex couples to marry, nothing proves an obligation upon others to recognize the marriage.

Insisting on encumbering those opposed to same-sex marriage with an obligation to recognize the repugnant institution violates the most basic, God-given right of liberty. On commercial, religious, and even social levels, citizens everywhere would be obligated to suppress their individual consciences by dealing with those whom they morally oppose, leading America on to repeat the history described by General Douglas MacArthur:

History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline. There has been either a spiritual awakening to overcome the moral lapse, or a progressive deterioration leading to ultimate national disaster. (Manchester, William. American Caesar. Annapolis, MD, Naval Institute Press.)

I am grateful for marriages where religious conscience plays a major role in the relationship, and in the rearing of children. Such a blessed institution constitutes the fabric of society, and provides for all that is good that our nation enjoys, stabilizing and moralizing both nations and individuals.

No, Mama, Money Can’t Buy My Love

In Child Development, Drug Use, Families, father, Grandparents, Marriage, Media, motherhood, Parenting, The Family, Values, working mothers on February 26, 2015 at 9:19 am

dad and son playing chessElise Ellsworth

Christian preacher and theologian Peter Marshall once counseled a couple whose family was being ripped apart by excessive materialism – “What good is a beautiful house,” he asked, “filled with expensive furniture, if there isn’t any love between those who live inside the house? What good are expensive clothes and beautiful adornment if there aren’t love, contentment, and happiness in the hearts of the people wearing the clothes?” (A Man Called Peter, 143). These are questions worthy of our consideration in today’s increasingly materialistic world.

The modern quest for more and better stuff has taken a toll on the family. Studies show that materialism is harmful to happiness, to marriages and to children. Of course, a certain amount of material things are necessary to our physical and spiritual wellbeing. And there are some very good parents – my own included – who have been blessed materially. However, the addictive covetousness of “keeping up with the Joneses” has caused many adults to work longer hours and to spend more time in consumption activities. In the process, they have neglected their families. Name brand clothing, fancy cars, restaurant food, expensive furnishings and electronic gadgets are poor substitutes for eating, talking, listening, recreating, learning, laughing and playing with our children.

One example of a place where this destructive cycle of consumption has taken its toll is the country of Great Britain. In 2007, a UNICEF survey of child welfare ranked Great Britain at the bottom of industrialized countries.

The study found that British children were two times more likely to have been drunk by the age of fifteen and significantly less likely to be in two parent families than children elsewhere. They were also more likely to have tried drugs and had one of the worst diets in the developed world.

A follow up survey in 2011 found that British parents were failing in large part because of obsessive materialism. They spent long hours away from home in the quest to provide more material goods for their family. Meanwhile, their children were being raised by poor parental substitutes – including television and digital media.

The author of the 2011 study, Agnes Nairn, discovered that: “While children would prefer time with their parents to heaps of consumer goods, [their] parents seem to find themselves under tremendous pressure to purchase a surfeit of material goods for their children.” This pressure left parents “too tired” for time together with their families.

The British are not the only ones trapped by compulsive materialism. Many of us in today’s world have fallen prey to the false notion that buying more things will increase our happiness. Have all these things that we are seeking bought us anything but a hollow empty place in our souls? We cannot buy true friendship. We cannot buy love.

What are some nonmaterial things that we can give our children and families? Here are some ideas from a list compiled by veteran teacher Erin Kurt, who asked students in classrooms across the world what they appreciated about their parents: “Tuck your children in at bedtime. Sing them a song. Hug and kiss them. Tell them that you love them. Talk with them privately. Discipline your children. Leave special messages on their pillows or in their lunch bag.” Your time will mean far more to them than anything you can buy. And it won’t cost you a dollar.

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