W. Bradford Wilcox wrote recently at National Review about the link between school shootings and sons of divorce or fatherless homes. Of course, fatherlessness is rampant in the ranks of one group where most shootings in America today occur: urban gang members. I remember a chaplain who served in a few Texas prisons telling me that he always asked new groups of men to whom he spoke how many of them had grown up in a home with their biological fathers. He didn’t recall even one ever saying “yes” to that question.
Of interest, also, is an article and interview at Dappled Things, “Restoring Faith in Fiction: A Visit with Walker Percy and Paul Elie,” by Joseph O’Brien, who is editor of Tuscany Press, as well as an award-winning journalist and a poet. O’Brien lives with his wife and nine children on a homestead in the Driftless region of rural southwest Wisconsin. He is the staff writer for The Catholic Times of the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin. Two excerpts:
Walker Percy: “The self becomes itself,” Percy writes, “by recognizing God as a spirit, creator of the Cosmos and therefore of one’s self as a creature, a wounded creature but a creature nonetheless, who shares with a community of like creatures the belief that God, who transcends the entire Cosmos and has actually entered human history—or will enter it—in order to redeem man from the catastrophe which has overtaken his self.”
DT: In your article, you admit that there are rare exceptions of fiction being written today with faith integral to the story. But why do you feel you have to qualify even these works?
Paul Elie: I feel I can’t find them and if I do find them characteristically they’re set in the past. Gilead(2004) [by Marilynne Robinson], for instance, is a wonderful book, but as I say in the essay, it’s a book that’s the exception that proves the rule in that it’s set in 1950s and the man who’s telling the story is already old. The plausibility of his account has to do with the fact that at some level it’s quite believable there were pastors who were thoughtful readers of the classics in 1955.
This story from the Witherspoon’s Public Discourse is not surprising.
In the new film Delivery Man, Vince Vaughn plays David Wozniak, a man who discovers that he’s the biological father of 533 children—all conceived through his anonymous sperm donations. Now, almost two decades after his “donations” (from which he netted over $20,000), 142 of those children have filed a lawsuit against the sperm bank to reveal his identity. They want to know their biological father, gain access to their medical histories, and discover their roots.
The film is fictional—but it’s not far from reality. In 2011, the New York Timesreported the story of one donor with 150 confirmed offspring.
The rest of the article is about the rights of children and the conflict with the desires of adults. But I want to focus briefly on the donation of ‘gametes.’
In the United States, there’s an open and unregulated market for gamete donation. Unlike Canada and most European countries, which limit the number of times a man can sell his sperm and have mandatory database registries where donor children can access their biological parents’ medical histories, the United States enforces no such regulations.
I am not sure what moral principle requires us to limit the number of times a man call sell his sperm–ONCE you’ve granted him the right to do that in the first place. Siring 5 or 150 children via donation–why limit the quantity?
This raises, to me, the question: If a man can father 150 children by putting his sperm into the wombs of, let’s assume, 150 women, why can’t he instead–for the sake of the children and the issues of rights addressed in the article–place his sperm in the wombs of, let’s say, only 5 women and identify himself as the father AND take another step toward responsibility and create a more stable relationship structure for a) the women b) the children and c) the community by legally marrying all five women?
In another case, if a single man may impregnate 5 single women without impunity, and if the state elects to financially support the single mothers (who do not choose to abort), why wouldn’t the state prefer or at least allow that the man marry the five women and support them and their children? Now, that’s not my idea, but we’ve travelled so far down the road of utilitarianism when it comes to procreation that we’ve lost our way. Nothing that appears around the next bend in the road will surprise me (I hope).
Following a two-thirds majority vote for on a referendum, Croatia will be adding the definition of marriage as the union of a man and woman to its constitution to help prevent legislators from mandating “gay marriage” in the future. Two-thirds of parliament members would have to approve any such future amendment to the constitution to change the definition.
Croatia citizens have lately become energized to fight against the sexual anarchist agenda, as they have also turned back a public school sex ed curriculum that was promoted by pedophiles (of the Kinsey-inspired variety, used in the U.S., aimed at elementary school children.)
“Armed men burst in the monastery of St Thecla in Maaloula [Syria] this afternoon. From there, they forcibly took 12 women religious,” Mgr Zenari said, citing a statement from Patriarchate.” Please pray for these dear Sisters in Christ, friends.
by Janice Shaw Crouse
Putting behind us the sad melee that Black Friday has become and the stress of looking for the right gifts for loved ones, the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas –– two of our nation’s most family-saturated holidays –– are a good time to ponder the special meaning of marriage and family. Exactly why is it that the visit to grandmother’s house for holiday celebrations is such a treasured tradition and such an enduring, iconic image? Why are we so drawn to it, whether or not it has been a part of our own personal experience? What makes it tug so at our hearts?
Undoubtedly it’s because the event –– whether in wistful imagination or actual reality, whether smooth and warm or rough and gritty –– represents the embodiment of some of our deepest needs, hopes and dreams, a particular fulfillment of a vital part of our very humanity. It is difficult not to conclude that the need for such family connections is as hardwired in us as our need for a mate.
For one thing, family gatherings embody a connection to our history, to something larger than ourselves, of belonging to a whole which includes those no longer present but who, by their own marriages, created new branches from which we have grown and to which we are still linked.
Those who have been blessed first hand by joyful reunions with loved ones not seen for a while know well the joy of celebrating our place in the family tree. We have abundant reason to give thanks that our ancestors embraced the bonds of matrimony and commenced to build something that enriched their lives along with all who were touched –– directly and indirectly –– by the tapestry of the family unit. (more…)
It this the real reason for the Mosaic prohibition of pork? Although Eugene M. McCarthy (PhD, Genetics) doesn’t come out and say it. He think he has just found good evidence that human beings arose from a hybridization process, one which got started with a pig mating with a chimpanzee. The rest is pseudo-history.
TO mark the 50th Anniversary of the death of C. S. Lewis, Regent Audio is offering a series of FREE audio downloads in memory of Clive Staples Lewis–“Remembering Jack.”
The series includes J. I. Packer, Alister McGrath, Alan Jacobs, Ralph Woods, Douglas Gresham and James Houston. But the FREE offer expires at midnight, Tuesday, November 26–tomorrow. I just downloaded the lot, one at a time into the shopping cart, adding the code at the end of the order. It’s free after you set up an “account” which means simply your e-mail and a password. Pretty straightforward.
So much for free speech, open exchange of ideas in the U.S.? Well, to be clear, obviously no one has an absolute right to hold a meeting in the US Senate Office Buildings, but the World Congress of Families had received sponsorship from Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) to hold a conference on the family. The Human Rights Campaign, it is reported, pressured Kirk to cancel the meeting, which he did. He is my US Senator, so I called his Washington office, and a staffer told me they were aware of the story but had “no comment” to make about it. So here is the World Congress of Families’ press release (disclosure: FSJ is a sponsoring organization of the WCF)–
World Congress of Families Managing Director Larry Jacobs said he was appalled that U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R, Il.) bowed to the demands of radical sexual extremists and cancelled the use of the Dirksen Senate Office Building for a pro-family symposium.
Kirk’s office had reserved a room at Dirksen for a Family in America symposium titled “Family Policy Lessons From Other Lands: What Should America Learn?” The Senator caved in to pressure from the Human Rights Campaign – which promotes the redefinition of marriage for same-sex couples and special rights for so-called “LGBTQI” individuals including transgenders – and withdrew his sponsorship of the room at Dirksen.
Thanks to the timely intervention of House Speaker John Boehner, a room was secured in the Longworth House Office Building and the symposium went ahead as planned on November 15th.
Speakers included Janice Shaw Crouse, Ph.D., Senior Fellow at the Beverly LaHaye Institute, and Austin Ruse, President of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute. The moderator was Dr. Allan C. Carlson, Ph.D., President of The Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society (which publishes The Family in America quarterly) and International Secretary of the World Congress of Families.
Jacobs commented: “HRC acted as if the forum was intended solely to support Russia’s widely misunderstood 2010 child protection law which bans heterosexual indecency and pornography and whose amendments to add non-traditional sexual relations were enacted overwhelmingly by the Duma in June. Actually, the presentations and the journal discussed covered a broad range of family policy initiatives from all over the world to help the natural family, including the promotion of marriage and large families, parent’s rights, the promotion of home-schooling, the encouragement of family-owned businesses, the benefits of religious faith, the protection of women and children from human trafficking, and the legal protection of life from conception to natural death – such as the Russian anti-abortion law passed in 2011 that bans abortion for babies older than 12 weeks and requires that 10% of advertising be used to warn women of the health risks of abortion, including infertility, cancer, and death.”
For detailed analysis and research of many family policy issues in America and around the world, read the summer issue of The Family In America: A Journal of Public Policy, online at www.familyinamerica.org.
Jacobs continued: “It is shocking that a United States Senator would bow to pressure from these militants and refuse to facilitate the discussion of vital issues affecting children, family, life, and the economy. Groups like HRC have set themselves up as arbiters of what may or may not be discussed at public forums. Instead of meeting us in the marketplace of ideas, they take the low road of smears and intimidation, seeking to foreclose the healthy debate that’s vital to a democracy.”
“The Congress is part of the United States government, and – as such – should be open to all points of view. What other groups would HRC like to keep from exercising their First Amendment rights in this regard – the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention, most African-American churches, all of which disagree with the sexual radicals on one or more family issues?”
World Congress of Families urges its constituents and other concerned Americans to contact Senator Mark Kirk’s office – 524 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington DC, 20510, Phone: 202-224-2854, Fax: 202-228-4611 – to protest his actions.
World Congress of Families VIII with the theme “Every Child A Gift: Large Families, the Future of Humanity” will be held in Moscow, September 10-12, 2014. The opening session of WCF VIII will be in the Congress Hall of the Kremlin Palace. A special WCF parliamentary session will also be held in the Russian Duma and special scientific forum at Lomonosov Moscow State University. The closing ceremony will be held at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral. For more information visit the Russian websites at www.worldcongress.ru.