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A Letter to my Children: Please Choose Marriage

In Abstinence, Child Development, Choice, Cohabitation, Education, Families, father, Marriage, Media, motherhood, Parenting, Sexual Freedom, The Family, Values on August 3, 2015 at 8:01 am

writing a letterby Erin Weist

Someday I hope my children make it a priority to get married. I know it will only get harder to keep the traditions of family-building alive, rampant as societies are with self-serving choices. I wanted to write a letter in hopes of expressing to them why I think marriage is important and why I hope they choose this path when the time comes.

My dear sweet babies,

I know you will only be babies for a little while. I know when this letter becomes really pertinent to your life you will be grown and moving into adulthood. I hope you are happy. You can do this by making choices that lead to overall happiness. Unfortunately the world around you is full of sophistries that try to lie about ways you will be happy. These ways are generally self-serving and focus on immediate pleasures rather than true, long-term happiness. One of the things that I truly hope for your futures is that you make it a priority to find a good spouse and create a family together.

Many voices around the world say that marriage isn’t important, that it is too binding, that people need to be free, that relationships should be fluid. Please don’t listen. Your mother (who loves you more than you will know until you have your own children) begs you to turn away from these ideas. Marrying your father was the best decision I’ve ever made and has brought me some of the single greatest blessings in this life—especially all of you! Many people will also say that you don’t need a spouse to have children, that you can co-habitate with multiple partners of any gender at any given time, even simultaneously. Again, please don’t heed these selfish lures. They may tout happiness and freedom but they are meant only to ensnare and enslave. Women & men were made to be together—mating for life, as it were! When you follow the ends of these purposes you will find happiness!

I love your dad so much and I know he loves me, but these are only words. Real love also comes through actions, not immediate pleasure. It’s the support of one another through difficult choices or trials. It’s encouraging each other to set lofty goals, both individually and as a couple, and seeing it through in attaining those goals. It’s intimacy on a much deeper level than can be found anywhere else. It’s putting the needs of another human ABOVE your own. This will be preparation for becoming a mother or father to your own children.

As an example, while writing this letter I have been interrupted several times by one of you when it is way past bedtime (no, I won’t tell you who) and each time I have been stern and annoyed at the disruption. Finally when it came to tears I realized that I wasn’t practicing what I preached—putting someone else’s needs above my own. So I asked my sweet child, “what do you need?” The reply, “a hug,” was a sweet reminder of the lessons I’ve learned as a mother about selflessness and how those actions truly bring peace and happiness. Now he is in bed and we are both filled.

Family life may not be the only place to learn these important lessons but it is specially created to be the most intensive course in learning and joy that we can ever have. I want the best for all of you, I hope you want the best for yourself and never settle for any counterfeit. I hope your father & I present to you a positive image about the joy & benefits of marriage and that you’ll want that life for yourself. We love each other and we love you. Don’t ever settle for anything less yourself.

Love, mom.

Do Parents Matter?

In Abstinence, Child Development, Cohabitation, Courts, Families, father, Freedom, Government, Marriage, Parenting, Same-Sex Marriage, Sexual Freedom, Single Mothers, Supreme Court, The Family, Values on July 31, 2015 at 11:21 am
parents with adult sonby Mekelle Tenney
Do children need both mom and dad? This has become a very controversial question. Do children do best in a home where both the mom and dad are actively involved in their child’s life? This question has been brought up several times in the debate on same sex marriage. However this concern has been dismissed in most cases based on the lack of evidence to support the claim that children do best with both a mother and father. Due to the fact that same sex marriage is a fairly new concept in America it is safe to say that perhaps that is true. We don’t have enough data on same sex couples to conduct the proper research, at least here in America. However the question of needing a mom and a dad has been asked long before the same sex marriage debate came around. Society has been dealing with the effects of the broken family long before this issue came up.
The state of the family in America.
Currently 40.6% of  babies born in the United States are born to unwed mothers
According to the US Census one in three American children grow up without a father present in the home.
Divorce rate in America is between 40% and 50%.
Over 40% of cohabiting couples have children.
48% of women cohabitate with their spouse or partner before they marry.
What difference does it make?
The following are just a few of many findings surrounding parenting and child development.
Toddlers with involved fathers are better problem solvers and have higher IQs by age three.
Children with involved fathers are 43% more likely to have mostly all A’s in school.
Children with involved fathers are 33% less likely to repeat a grade.
 Girls with involved fathers have higher self-esteem and are less likely to become pregnant as a teenager.
Studies show that by 8 weeks of age infants can notice the difference between a male and female interacting with them.
Fathers encourage competition while mothers encourage equity. Many psychologists believe that it is dangerous to have only one of those parenting styles. In order for a child to develop healthy socially as well as mentally they need both parenting styles.
Psychologists have also found that mothers and fathers communicate differently with their children. They have also found that children need both forms of communication for healthy social development.
Mothers naturally care for and nurture their children while fathers tend to play and interact. Again, both are needed in a child’s development.
What now?
With the legalization of same sex marriage The number of children without mothers or fathers in the home will continue to increase. The social science surrounding the issue of child development and the need for both male and female influence will continue to be ignored. And the children are the ones who will pay the price. What a selfish generation we have become.
Continue to support the family!
Though the statistics shared earlier about the state of the family may seem very discouraging it is important for us to remember that the family still needs advocates. Though we lost the battle on marriage there are still many other battles to fight and our involvement is critical. We must continue to stand for the family, be aware of what goes on in congress and how it affects the institution of the family, be informed, and speak up! The family needs you and your voice.

Carrot cake and a dash of divorce at my wedding reception

In Cohabitation, Divorce, Marriage on July 30, 2015 at 12:09 pm

carrot cakeBy Jimmy Bridges

Toward the close of our wedding reception, my wife and I said our goodbyes to family and friends. One particular guest, age 21, parted with the following words, “congratulations you two, I hope it lasts.” There was a strange casual, uneasiness in his tone, suggesting that the outcome of lasting marriage or divorce was completely out of our hands and that everyone on earth knows that fact. We smiled, thanked him for his “support?” while feeling a bit unsettled shortly thereafter. We felt unsettled because a wedding and reception are usually accompanied by individuals who are filled with hope for the happy couple. Was this guest filled with fear and despair? I knew for a fact that he was not. He seemed just as happy and hopeful as the next guest throughout the reception. Then why did he say this so matter-of-factly?

The attitudes of marriage differ according to age group, gender, and culture. In this article I focus mainly on cohabitation as a byproduct of shifting marriage attitudes, though there are many more. It is difficult to specifically determine societal effects on the shifting attitude towards marriage. It seems reasonable to think that whatever an individual and their partner decide on, in regards to their relationship, has no effect on anyone else except that individual and their partner. However, as further research is done on the byproducts of shifting marriage attitudes (i.e. cohabitation, dropping fertility rates, gender blindness to parenting, and more), we begin to see that one’s decision to either marry or cohabit before living together, have children or not, or provide a child with a mother and father actually does affect others—both directly and indirectly.

The attitude of many good young people in the United States towards marriage is not always a hopeful one. In fact, the positive attitude towards marriage is waning as evidenced in the rise of cohabiting couples.1 There seems to be a great fear or an uncertainty looming over the heads of many young people that marriage can only end in divorce. This attitude is destructive to future marriages, future children, and society’s functioning as a system dependent on intact families.

“Let’s just live together” – think again

Living togetherThe above story is only one example of the growing attitude regarding marriage in our society. Media is replete with the myth that cohabitation is a smart, even necessary step to “test drive”2 the relationship. From Dear Abbey3 to NBC news, society is buying into the assumption that cohabitation actually helps prepare a couple for marriage. However, credible research continues to show that cohabitation not only has no effect on improving the relationship after marriage, but is shown to have negative effects on the couple’s relationship quality after marriage.4

Studies that focus on the practice of cohabitation find that in no way does this practice improve the future marriage of that couple. In many cases it has negative effects on the future marriage and increases risk of marital disillusionment. One such study was entitled Should We Live Together and was written by David Popenoe and Barbara Dafoe Whitehead (2002)5 through the National Marriage Project. In summary, the research they reviewed on cohabitation concluded the following; “There is no evidence that if you decide to cohabit before marriage you will have a stronger marriage than those who don’t’ live together, and some evidence suggest that if you live together before marriage, you are more likely to break up after marriage” (p. 15). Another recent study by Jose, O’Leary, and Moyer (2010)6 was entitled Does Premarital Cohabitation Predict Subsequent Marital Stability and Marital Quality? The study concluded the following; “Couples who cohabit before marriage are more likely to divorce than couples who do not cohabit before marriage.”

The research continues to show that this tend does not prove to be beneficial to the marriage agreement. Why then has the uninformed society fallen into the trap of thinking that it is only sure way to “test drive” the vehicle of marriage? Part of the reason may have to do with the fact that many young people are simply uninformed. To be frank, researching the possible effects of cohabitation on a relationship with the love of one’s life is not common protocol—especially for the infatuated young adult. The attitude, like the one expressed in the well-intentioned young man in the story above, gives us a snap shot of the environment that is becoming “normal” for today’s youth. If it is becoming normal that most marriages will eventually fail and that a serious relationship ought to begin within a noncommittal atmosphere (i.e. cohabitation) then what might this mean for the future stability of our society?

We as a society have long since understood the self-evident truth that marriage is not an easy task. It requires a strong, loyal commitment between a man and a woman; a commitment needed to withstand the difficulty of raising children. When we step back and consider society at large, what are we prone to consider? We might be wise to consider what it may look like in the future. We may also consider who will fill the offices and chairs of competent leaders who will guide and guarantee safety, equality, and civility from society’s members. These considerations lead us back to our main issue at hand. Marriage provides an ideal setting where husband and wife commit to one another in raising children, children who will then end up taking the place of future leaders within our society. If we are still under the impression that our marriage attitudes affect no one but the couple, we ought to reconsider this attitude. Behind the backdrop of these considerations and current research on the byproducts of shifting marriage attitudes, we might reconsider the trend of cohabitation as one of the worst ways to “test drive” the vehicle of marriage.

Jimmy BridgesJimmy is a graduate of BYU-Idaho and plans to attend graduate school in pursuit of a masters in Marriage and family therapy.  His passion is in family science. “Social science is not perfect, but it is currently all we have as a society to give us a glimpse of where we have been, where we are at, and where we are going. The hope is that as we become more informed we become more responsible citizens.”

 

References

  1. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr064.pdf
  2. http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/04/04/17588704-the-new-normal-cohabitation-on-the-rise-study-finds?lite
  3. http://www.uexpress.com/dearabby/2013/6/15/daughter-living-with-boyfriend-doesnt-get
  4. http://www.stateofourunions.org/2012/SOOU2012.pdf
  5. David Popenoe & Barbara Dafoe Whitehead (2002) Should we live together?
  6. Jose, O’Leary, & Moyer (2010) Does premarital cohabitation predict subsequent marital stability and marital quality?

 

 

More than two Parents: Not so New and Not so Enlightened

In Abstinence, adoption, Child Development, Choice, Cohabitation, Courts, Diane Robertson, Families, father, Feminism, Free Speech, Freedom, Government, Marriage, Parental Rights, Sexual Freedom, The Family, Values on July 29, 2015 at 3:10 pm

child 3by Diane Robertson

In 2013 California made it legally possible for children to have more than two parents. More states will surely follow suit. The diversity-in-family-structure-loving-liberals think this is enlightened. They’re working hard to bring society out of the dark ages of Married mother and father families into the “Brave New World” of many parents.

Except this idea isn’t so brave and isn’t so new. Some children have already had a similar experience through divorce and they are speaking outThe Ruth Institute is collecting stories from children of divorce. As it turns out divorced couples, remarried couples, step families, broken families, and shared custody don’t actually feel so enlightened to the children who grew up in these situations.

One such personal story, told by Jennifer Johnson, illustrates what it actually feels like growing up with 5 parents. Johnson’s parents divorced when she was about three. Her mother remarried once and her father remarried twice. Johnson explains what her life was like growing up with five parents:

“it means going back and forth between all those households on a regular basis, never having a single place to call home during your most tender and vulnerable years. It means having divided Christmases, other holidays, and birthdays–you spend one with one parent, and another with the other parent, never spending a single holiday or birthday with both parents. Imagine having each of your parents completely ignore the other half of you, the other half of your family, as if it did not even exist. Meanwhile, imagine each parent pouring their energy into their new families and creating a unified home for their new children. These experiences give you the definite impression of being something leftover, something not quite part of them. You live like that on a daily basis for 18+ years.”

So why would so many adults push for this type of family brokenness and even make it possible for many adults to have legal control over a child? It’s called selfishness. Adults want this so they can have children and have sex with whoever they please and at whatever stage of life they wish. They want this sort of life legal so their partner can make medical and educational decisions for their children. They want convenience for themselves, but not their children.

Johnson writes about a woman, Masha Gessen, a prominent LGBT activist, who grew up with a married mother and father and speaks frankly about how her children have 5 parents. Gessen bemoans the fact that there, as yet, isn’t a way for her children to have all of their parents legally:

“I have three kids who have five parents, more or less, and I don’t see why they shouldn’t have five parents legally… I would like to live in a legal system that is capable of reflecting that reality, and I don’t think that’s compatible with the institution of marriage.”

Johnson’s replies to Gessen simply calling out the truth of the matter:

“If what I had is so great, then why don’t they want it as children? Here’s my conclusion: they want it as adults but not as children. They want the benefits of the socially conservative family structure when they are children. But as adults, they want sexual freedom, or at least they want to appear ‘open minded’ and ‘tolerant’ about others sexual choices, even at the expense of children, even though they themselves would never want to live under what they advocate. It’s a bizarre sort of a ‘win-win’ for them, I guess.”

Children don’t need more than two legal parents. Society doesn’t need diversity in family structure. All children and all of society needs responsible adults who marry before having children, work daily on a loving relationship and together raise their children in stable, happy homes. It can be done and would be the source of a truly “enlightened” society!

Marriage: The Anti-Poverty Weapon

In Abstinence, Birth Rate, Child Development, Choice, Cohabitation, Families, father, Marriage, motherhood, Sexual Freedom, The Family, Values on July 28, 2015 at 9:07 am

wedding ringsby Carol Soelberg

It was all over the news last week: “U.S. poverty heads toward highest level in 50 years.” Other countries around the world, notably Greece and Spain, continue to struggle with insolvency and surging rates of poverty. Economists and other experts point to all sorts of reasons: unemployment, the global recession, strains on government safety nets, globalization, outsourcing, automation…. But I have yet to read anything this week that points to the greatest contributing factor to poverty – the breakdown of marriage and family.

Forgotten in the conversation is the fact that marriage is the strongest anti-poverty weapon that we have! In fact, several years ago the liberal-leaning Brookings Institution pointed out that “the proliferation of single-parent households accounts for virtually all of the increase in child poverty since the early 1970s.” (1)

In 2003, noting the dramatic difference in poverty rates between married-couple families and single mother families, Robert Rector of The Heritage Foundation wondered what would happen if the parents of 3.93 million children living in poverty had married. So using the marriage rates from 1960, he theoretically “married” those parents. The result: instead of 3.93 million children living in poverty, we would have 0.75 million children living in poverty. You can see the details of his analysis here.

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau: A child living with two married parents is more than three times less likely to be living in poverty than a child living with either a single or cohabiting mother, or with both unmarried biological parents. (2)
 

Non-marital childbearing and cohabitation at the center of the problem

Single parent homes are rapidly becoming the norm. As the ranks of the unwed mothers climb (41 percent of all births in the U.S. and over 70 percent in the African-American community), no one seems to dare mention the critical importance of marriage. Even though much is said about the poverty of unwed mothers and their children, there is an extreme reluctance to mention pre-marital sex, non-marital childbearing and cohabitation as a focal point of the problem.

Few want to discuss how, on average, those who live together without the benefit of marriage will see a 58 percent reduction in their lifetime wealth relative to those who are married.(3) [75 percent reduction in wealth for those who never long-term partner or marry at all.] Or, that the poverty rate for children living in cohabiting households is about five times the poverty rate of married couple households [31 percent vs. 6 percent]. (4)

Few are willing to talk about the effects of divorce and its affect on wages and the economic stability of individuals, particularly women and children, nor its impact on family wealth overall.

This much we know and must talk about: 

No other social institution has ever provided or will ever provide the same level of benefits as marriage between a man and a woman. Objective studies have consistently shown that man-woman marriage is, among other things, the optimal and most effective means of (1) bearing children; (2) raising children and providing for their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual welfare; (3) transforming males into husbands/fathers and females into wives/mothers; (4) bridging the male-female divide; and (5) channeling healthy sexual activity and discouraging unhealthy sexual activity. (5)

It must be stated repeatedly: strong marriages and families are an essential part of strong and healthy economies. 

You and your family are part of the solution

A wise man has said: “No success can compensate for failure in the home.” By the same token, we directly and severely limit our success as individuals and as nations when we neglect the home and don’t see its success as a key to our prosperity!

The loss of human capital that occurs from family breakdown stunts economies in so many ways, but most tragic is the human misery we inflict upon ourselves and upon our children.

Here’s what you can do: 

1. Prepare for marriage or work at making your own marriage successful.
2. Have children and put their growth into happy, productive citizens at the center of your busy lives.
3. Recognize that no marriage or family is perfect, but strive to create and model a healthy and successful family.
4. Get educated and speak up. Family capital is a very real thing. Share the message of not only the social and religious importance of marriage and family, but make people aware of the fiscal impact of strong families.
5. If you are just promoting conservative fiscal public policy and not emphasizing the importance of the social issues, then you are missing an important part of the solution.
6. At every opportunity, advocate for traditional marriage and mother-father families. As always we at United Families International welcome and need your support as we strive to do the same.

Some Thoughts About Honey and Vinegar

In Choice, Families, Free Speech, Marriage, Values on July 27, 2015 at 7:45 am

married couples upsetby Rebecca Mallory

      ” You can catch a fly with honey a lot easier than with vinegar” is no truer than with a happy marriage. We’ve all heard and read countless derogatory comments about marriage lately. “It’s old-fashioned”, “women don’t need men”,  “marriage ties you down”. Belittling each other in public sadly seems to be the norm. The other night I was with some friends at dinner and we were listening to (ok totally eavesdropping) on a conversation next to us. These five women were talking rather loudly about  their spouses. Basically, they were “husband bashing”. They were literally trying to outdo each other with examples of the dumb things their husbands had done and what failures they were at being a spouse. I don’t know about you, but that kind of talk makes me cringe. I detest hearing someone belittle their spouse or children in public or to other people. Of course these women were laughing hysterically as they each tried to “one up” the last comment. Almost a “my husband’s worse than yours” contest. I even wondered how much of it was exaggerated to get a laugh. Even if it were all true, who wants to hear it? So destructive. I understand that not everyone has a perfect marriage and it sometimes helps to vent and get support, but seriously? No good comes from this kind of vile talk.

older married couple I used to have my own business doing Ad Specialty items for companies. I guess I was expected to wine and dine clients and take them to lunch, etc. I didn’t really enjoy that and rarely did it. My assistant and I used to go to lunch almost three times a week and laugh ourselves sick. That was way more fun. However, there was one client I thoroughly enjoyed taking to lunch. He was in his upper 60’s or getting very close to retirement age. We always went to Black Angus and always got the prime rib. As soon as we sat down he would start talking about his dear wife Virginia and how he totally idolized her. He would almost get teary as he reverently talked about their special marriage, about how she was the best cook, the best housekeeper, the funniest, best grandmother, etc. On and on. I absolutely loved it and loved hearing him. The first time I met her, I literally thought she’d be on a pedestal. He put her there in my mind. Though she wasn’t literally on a pedestal, I held the highest regard for Virginia because of what her husband had said over and over and over. Though that was over 15 years ago, I still have so much respect for this sweet man who adored his wife and wanted the world to know it.

What about the opposite? I know several people who can’t say anything good about their spouse. “He’s lazy, he doesn’t make enough money, she’s a slob, she’s gained so much weight, the house is always a mess, he’s never home, he doesn’t do this, he doesn’t do that.” Honestly! Such a downer! What spouse would possibly look forward to going home and being assaulted with that?  It makes me think way less of the person blathering on and on than the poor spouse in question. Someone who speaks kindly and positively about their spouse skyrockets to the top of character in my book. I try to avoid people who are negative and talk down about their spouse. It’s like someone grabbed the front of my shirt and started pulling me down, down, down. Such a drag!

If you’re one of those people who “spouse bash” consider this for a minute. What if you made up with him/her between the time you bashed him/her with your friends and now, but your friends don’t know things are better? Because of you, they still think he’s/she’s a jerk. Is that fair? And more importantly, what about you? “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” (John 8:7) Is that you? Because it certainly isn’t me. I am a flawed person just as is my spouse. Two imperfect beings trying to create a life together.  Each makes mistakes on a daily basis, yet each just wants to be loved and accepted despite those flaws.  Would it be so difficult to just let some things slide once in a while and “don’t sweat the small stuff?” My daughter has a friend who literally screams at her husband the second he walks in the door until bedtime. Guess what he does now? Gets up early to leave “for work” but actually just goes to his mom’s house and hangs out because he doesn’t want to hear his nagging wife. He stays as late as possible at work too. Who wouldn’t?

So how much different would your marriage be if you immediately stopped gnawing and picking at the not so perfect things your spouse does? That’s what you expect him/her to do for you, right? (No “yea, buts” inserted here). Do you want to be judged by how you judge others? I sure don’t! Kind of puts it in perspective, huh? Picture your spouse sitting around with a bunch of friends firing off the dumb things you’ve done lately. Not good, and totally unfair.

husband helping wife In this world of cynicism and hardness, people are starving for a kind word of encouragement; especially to and from those we love most. I just saw a quote on Facebook that said, “A kind word makes you the most beautiful person in the world, no matter what you look like.” Isn’t that the truth? We’re in the middle of building a house so my husband is completely hooked on an HGTV show called “Fixer Upper”. This couple Joanna and Chip Gaines from Waco, Texas are the hosts. They are a little cheesy at times but so sweet to each other and their four small children. It’s such a breath of fresh air to see such love and admiration between husband and wife. And boy, are they talented!!

So bottom line is this. Marriage is vitally important; especially with the persecution  and downplay of importance that this sacred institution has been assaulted with lately. Sit down right now and make a list of all the great and positive things about your spouse. Better yet, praise him/her out loud for these great things! It may be a challenge at first but once you’re on a roll, I’ll bet you think of a ton of things to be grateful for. I’d do it here for my spouse but it would be way too long. (He might be looking over my shoulder so I threw that in!) Here’s the best one though, he loves me for who I am, flaws and all. What a great guy, huh? Honey or vinegar… Which do you prefer?

“Dear God, Some of us still care”

In adoption, Choice, Courts, Families, Free Speech, Freedom, Gay rights, Gender, Homosexuality, Marriage, Same-Sex Marriage, Sexual Freedom, Sexual Orientation, Supreme Court, The Family, Values on July 23, 2015 at 2:03 pm

Gays in paradebe Fae Emily Love

I have not wanted to address the Supreme Court ruling lately for a number of reasons. It has nothing to do with the fact that I have no backbone to stand up for my beliefs when they are under attack. I do.

The situation is difficult when there are gay family members who demand the privilege of marriage and yet they are willing to sacrifice their family relationships for their choice of living a gay lifestyle.

My family collectively has made great progress to prove they love those members of the family-despite their choices. Many of my family members caution me to say nothing of my beliefs for fear I would be wrecking their efforts to return the gay loved ones back to the family.

Good-intentioned family members have silenced me and my desire to voice my convictions on the matter of same-sex marriage. “I” am the one, they say, who has been falsely led in the world.

I am surprised at the ridicule we receive because of our views, and yet the gay lifestyle and their views are being paraded in front of me 24/7; to the point of these gay family members screaming at me and irreverently gesturing at me when I say nothing.

I don’t know the hearts and minds of all the LGBT in society. This is MY experience. These people want to adopt and raise up other people’s children because they cannot have biology together to sustain or create life of their own. These people demand money because they are considered a “family.”

Children dance naked in the street covered in rainbow feathers. The supposedly “responsible parents” protest with vulgar language and use sexually explicit gestures and public displays of affection that would be beyond upsetting if a heterosexual person were to do the same.  Regardless of what I do, I feel like I lose my family and rights to my religious convictions.  I can choose the appreciation of my family to sit quietly, or take the praise of the inappropriately behaved gay pride supporters outside parading in the street. Sure not all gay people are like this, but even the more reasonable and soft spoken will not willingly listen to what I feel is important.

How can people who care about families have both safety of their religious freedoms and the harmony of their families staying united?

Good people united to promote a greater awareness of good strong values that strengthens society would make the United States and beyond a different world. In the meantime, I have to trust God that allowing the Supreme Court ruling to unfold will teach society what happens to our families when we throw out all moral goodness and divine appreciation down the toilet.

 

 

Conversation killers

In Abortion, Choice, Courts, Families, Free Speech, Freedom, Gender, Gender Identity, Homosexuality, Human Rights, Marriage, Religious Freedom, Religious rights, Same-Sex Marriage, Sanctity of Life, Sexual Freedom, Sexual Orientation, Supreme Court, Values on July 16, 2015 at 8:20 am

conversation debateby Ally Fife

Is it possible to have a rational discussion about same sex marriage? Each side, pulling further and further apart, throw words of bigotry and hate that seem to stop all conversation before it even starts. So much of our back and forth is just a ploy to force our beliefs on others or to sidetrack any conversation with a moral tone.  It seems we may be doomed to a life of chit chat about things of no consequence.

So what exactly is discussion supposed to accomplish?

Webster’s Dictionary of 1828 defines discussion as “the agitation of a subject with a view to elicit truth.”  Everyone wants to be heard and understood. We each provide differing opinions and sharing them helps us work through ways to compromise. We hope to say something that might resonate with others, or cause them to re-think their beliefs. The key point, however, is to separate truth from falsehood, and that requires moral absolutes.Our founding fathers debated and yelled and cooperated and fought for the ideals they believed would make this country great. They even came to a compromise because they pushed forward to find solutions that everyone could live with. They weren’t all immediately gratified with the results;  that is what propelled them to create the Bill of Rights. One of those rights is the freedom to practice religion as we see fit.  Is it even possible then,  to find a solution that everyone can live with when it comes to same sex marriage? Part of the problem is that the argument is dependent upon one’s belief of right and wrong, which cannot be forced upon another as fact. When we try to nullify the right to a belief, we undermine our freedom of religion. The very people who cry out “unfair,” or that others are “close minded” are being the same themselves when they refuse to allow morality to be part of the discussion.

Will future legal proceedings put a stop to the anger?

We have history to thank for the resounding NO to this question. We have seen what Roe vs. Wade has done to our country. We continue to be a very polarized and angry society when it comes to abortion. It’s another topic where mud is flung haphazardly and discussions, 40 years later, are still cut short by mantras that hurt, but don’t solve the problem. Which means it is up to us as individuals to have conversations that foster understanding over animosity.

How do we do that?

Many of us feel we have the duty to stand up for our beliefs, and so we must. Debaters throughout history were driven by their belief in what they were debating.  They respected the  debate process as a way to come to a mutual understanding.  In the end, they even respected their opponent, if they were clear and concise rather than emotional and malicious. So we must become good at communicating our opinions, while also listening and responding to differing opinions.   In a sense, we need to hone our debating skills through practice. Our home and families provide an ideal opportunity to explore beliefs and discuss them without fear of verbal abuse. In doing so, we can get comfortable with speaking our minds and teaching our children to do likewise.

As you practice the art of debate, keep in mind the following advice.

  1. Know your own beliefs. This requires study, meditation, and challenging our thoughts. Then study the opposition. It is imperative to understand the core beliefs of others in order to be prepared and have compassion.  Writing down key points helps.
  2. Know the facts. Using facts instead of feelings can defuse some of the passionate outbursts. The family guide on sexual orientation found at unitedfamilies.org  has many insights and updated data.  I’ve also found discussingmarriage.org to be helpful, with easy to understand video segments, and arguments for and against.
  3. Enter the dialogue with a desire to share love for people, but oppose unacceptable behaviors. It’s not about who is right, but what is right. Focus on getting to the truth.
  4. Acknowledge hurtful remarks. Ignoring unrestrained insults only gives permission for the behavior to continue. Begin with, “I would love to have a discussion with you, but don’t feel it’s necessary for you to berate me.”
  5. Sometimes we have to remind the other person in our conversation that our beliefs are just as valid as theirs.  We need that reminder too.
  6. Take it from a different angle. Instead of jumping right into the same-sex marriage argument, try a less emotional, but related topic, like the best home environment for children.
  7. Remember its okay if it just doesn’t work. There are topics that some people can’t discuss beyond the emotional. Recognize this in the conversation and end it quickly while preserving the relationship.

“Legislation in the Home: My Fear for the Future”

In Child Development, Choice, Courts, Democracy, Families, father, Free Speech, Freedom, Gender, Government, Human Rights, Marriage, motherhood, Parental Rights, Parenting, Religion, Religious Freedom, Same-Sex Marriage, Supreme Court, The Family, Values on July 10, 2015 at 11:22 am

mom with daughter prayingby Erin Weist

The media stories that have been overwhelming my news feeds lately have dealt with the transition of the traditional family. They have covered the current dogma of the fluidity of gender, the worldly view of traditional parental roles that are seen as archaic, the insubordination of childrens’ needs to those of adults, and everything in between. The traditional family, as is now being defined, is no longer important, only hedonistic tendencies geared toward personal satisfaction.

These are not the things I want my children taught about the holy institution of the family. I recognize families don’t all look the same but I want the absolute best for my children so I will always encourage them to reach for the ideal. This ideal, in our family, is a loving husband & wife with children in their home. But how long will I be given the freedom to teach them these ideals?

Business owners are being persecuted for standing up for these beliefs and told that their religion needs to be checked at the door, that it is no longer welcome in the public sector. Churches are folding to the pressure and allowing the definition of family to be mutated into a public creation rather than a divine one. Schools are adapting to the latest mainstream ideas and assimilating them into curriculum.

What happens now when I want to dissent? What happens when I stand up and say, “That’s how society does things but that’s not how we do things in our family,” and then my children take those things into a public sphere? Will they be ridiculed? Or worse, will we be forced to cease those teachings in our own home? Right now those basic human rights seem protected, but there are many losses to freedom that have occurred in the past decade that I would never have imagined. What will happen in the next ten?

I want my sons to know that my greatest wish for them would be to become husbands and fathers someday. And I want my daughter to know the greatest joy I have in life is being a wife and mother and that I earnestly hope she has the same honor someday. I want my children to know that marriage may be defined by societies and cultures another way but that in our family it is between one man & one woman, a husband & a wife.

In other words I want them to know that a woman cannot be a wife without a husband and a man cannot be a husband without a wife. This is not meant to demean others and their lifestyle choices. These are basic designations that have become confused in the world and that make this difficult life even more confusing to navigate because of unclear definitions.

Just as I teach them in clear terms about their gender and what it means to be a boy or a girl, I want to teach them what it means to be a husband or wife. How long before I, as a mother in my own home, am sentenced by law to attend “sensitivity training” or “diversity training” just as many in a business sector have been for trying to proclaim similar things? I believe the end of all basic human rights will be when I am legislated regarding what I can teach in my own home. Ten years ago I would have said that was a ludicrous suggestion. In current political climates around the world I am afraid it is not so unimaginable. And that is not a world I want to imagine at all.

Never Cease and Desist

In Choice, Constitution, Courts, Democracy, Diane Robertson, Free Speech, Freedom, Government, Homosexuality, Human Rights, Marriage, Media, Non-Discrimination, Religious Freedom, Religious rights, Same-Sex Marriage, Supreme Court, Values on July 8, 2015 at 7:37 am

free speech no moreby Diane Robertson

If ever there was a time in U.S. History for Americans to rise up and stand together the time would be now. People may celebrate the Obergefell ruling legalizing gay marriage, but what many need to realize is that with this single ruling, the governments, both state and federal, may grant itself the power to punish speech. This will affect gay and straight, young and old, religious and non-religious.

Well before the legalization of gay marriage in Oregon, a privately owned bakery refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple. Before the Obergefell ruling, the Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries fined the owners, Aaron and Melissa Klein, an incredible $135,000. After the ruling, the Commissioner ordered the Klein’s to, “cease and desist from publishing, circulating, issuing or displaying, or causing to be published … any communication to the effect that any of the accommodations … will be refused, withheld from or denied to, or that any discrimination be made against, any person on account of their sexual orientation.”

Not only have the Klein’s been severely punished for refusing services, they are ordered, by law, not to talk about it. They cannot even say that they would refuse service because of their religious beliefs. The state of Oregon has not only taken away their freedom to act on their beliefs, but has taken away their freedom to talk about their beliefs.

Once the government grants itself the right to limit speech for something, it will not stop. Never in history has a government taken up power over the people and given it back. If history proves true, and it usually does, there won’t be any speech that is above government scrutiny.

Only one thing can really be done, and that is we must never “cease and desist” from writing and speaking. Everyone needs to be talking, writing, and publishing about the Klein’s treatment by the Oregon government. If everyone speaks out, this will not continue. The Oregon government cannot punish everyone in America.

No matter their sexuality, religion, race, or any differences, all Americans ought to be willing to protect each other from a government that would grant power unto itself and forcefully limit the speech of the people.

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