2.28.2015

Sharing in the Blame for the Redefinition of Marriage?

Husband/wife wedding rings 

Focus on the Family at http://jimdaly.focusonthefamily.com/why-we-share-the-blame-for-the-redefinition-of-marriage/?utm_source=nl_dalyfocus&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=242510&refcd=242510&crmlink=content-keep-reading  offered a somewhat new explanation for the recent redefinition of marriage from their President, Jim Daly.  Here are some excerpts from that post:

"...As Christians who support traditional one-man, one-woman marriage, to do? [While] activist judges have gutted the state's definition of what marriage truly is, ...[j]udges aren't the only ones to blame for this assault on God's design and definition of marriage. We, as Christians, share a portion of the blame, too. Here's why:


Decades of no-fault divorce have undermined the concept of lifelong commitment. Many Christians simply tire of their spouse and allow themselves to be whisked away by a fantasy, that the grass will be greener on the other side of the fence. Premarital sex and cohabitation have become commonplace among those professing to be Christian. [Read about how much this can cost at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2205349 .] Calls to our Counseling department reveal that Internet pornography is destroying marriages on a daily basis. And many individuals, again including younger evangelicals are simply choosing to forgo the altar altogether. In fact... for the first time ever, more than half of U.S. adults are unmarried. At Focus, we vigorously continue our efforts to uphold the concept of one-man, one-woman marriage, but currently the trends are not moving in our favor. So, what if the Supreme Court decrees that across our nation marriage is no longer reserved for the union of one man and one woman? Does that mean marriage ceases to have meaning for the Christian?  On the contrary, I think our witness to the beauty and goodness of true marriage becomes all the more important. It will be up to us to show a fraying culture that marriage is so much more than "just a piece of paper," or merely an association of any two or more people who profess to love each other.


Marriage is a sacred union of a man and a woman that brings with it myriad benefits to spouses, their children, and society at large that simply cannot be replicated by any other relationship. I would go so far as to say a society cannot ultimately flourish, even long survive, without stable marriages at its core.


Above and beyond that, for Christians, is the recognition of what our marriages symbolize. In some mysterious way, the Bible tells us, the husband-wife bond is a reflection, a miniature representation, of the relationship Jesus has with His bride, the Church (Eph. 5:31-32). When we demonstrate unwavering commitment and sacrificial love to our spouse, we are mirroring to our culture the very love Christ has for His people. What an awesome responsibility and privilege!  ... Research tells us that for those Christians who take their faith seriously, the divorce rate is notably lower, but even so it is still far too high. What kind of testimony might we have to our neighbors if our divorce rate as believers was but a fraction of the general population? [For some solutions to this see http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1949256 , Realistic Reconciliation in an Age of Divorce.] Here at Focus we are doing everything in our power to see that vision become a reality. We invest a great deal of our effort and energy into creating resources to help couples not just survive, but thrive.


Roughly one-third of our radio broadcasts are devoted especially to the topic of strengthening marriages. Our website is packed with helpful information, including in-depth answers to hundreds of the most frequent marriage-related questions we receive. I'm also very excited about our new Family Project video curriculum, a long-awaited follow-up to our Truth Project series. It details the incredible importance of God's basic design for the family, along with its companion feature film, "Irreplaceable."  In addition, we have a licensed professional counseling staff standing at the ready to help with marriage (and parenting) challenges and crises, all at no charge. And earlier this year, we welcomed the amazing folks at the National Institute of Marriage into our Focus family. They do great work with on-site intensives that have helped rescue thousands of marriages from the brink of divorce.

In short, whatever struggles or questions you may be facing in your marriage, we can help.


Am I concerned about the state of marriage in our nation? Certainly, but I'm not disheartened. I'm also disinclined to lay all the blame for our current circumstances at the feet of rogue judges or even those who advocate for the legalization of same-sex marriage. It's time for us to own up to our own sin and get our own house in order. We can educate, encourage and pray for the culture – but we cannot control it. However, we do have it within us to take our own marital commitment seriously. However challenging the season, I'm actually excited about the opportunity ahead of us. As our culture continues to drift from the stable moorings of our past and we experience ever greater chaos and confusion as a nation, our neighbors, friends, and colleagues at work and school will be searching for answers in their own lives.Will we be there to point them to the Gospel and to the One who can show them the Way? One of the most powerful ways we can do that is by loving our spouse the way Christ loves His church."    -Jim Daly, Focus on the Family


Marriage's redefinition has been happening for a generation due to divorce and cohabitation.  Find out more about how this redefinition toward same-sex marriage affects marriage at  http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=269418. Family restoration can happen when Christians begin to think seriously about marriage and the implications of the lifetime marital commitment. 

2.27.2015

#FiredForFaith - A Fire Chief and a Cop Fired Over Marriage Views

Kevin Cochran, the Atlanta Fire Chief who was fired for his faith that informed his values on marriage, is fighting back and suing the city of Atlanta over his unjust termination.  Alleging the city terminated his employment because of his belief in traditional marriage.  See his recent interview at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVGVQhDg_lU&feature=youtu.be. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, states Cochran's was fired "solely" because:

…[Cochran] holds religious beliefs concerning same-sex marriage and homosexual conduct that are contrary to the mayor's and the city's views on these subjects, and because he expressed those beliefs in the non-work-related, religious book he self-published. See the full story at the Daily Signal at http://dailysignal.com/2015/02/18/former-fire-chief-sues-atlanta-mayor-firing-solely-beliefs-marriage/. 

 

Eric Moutsos, a police officer in Salt Lake City was fired after being ordered to march in the city's gay pride parade, and objecting based on his faith.   See more about his story at http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/the-prophetic-eric-moutsos/.  He did not refuse to provide police security for the parade; he declined to march in it as an advocate.  "Two days later I was brought into one of the commander's offices. They took my badge and my gun for discrimination. My sergeant then drove me home and took all of my equipment, said I could not perform as a police officer. I thought I was in a dream. I was devastated," he said. "I have protected free speech events several times that I disagreed with. But I will protect them. I believe in the First Amendment — so much that even if I disagree with a particular message, I will still be there to protect it. Because without them being able to say what they want to say, I wouldn't be able to say what I want to say. It wasn't about protection or security. What I felt was that, 'You are going to be a participant and look like you advocate this particular cause. And I don't,'" he said. "We should be there to protect everybody's rights. But I felt the participation was a little much." Also according to the American Conservative, as stated by the police chief, refusing to march in a gay pride parade constitutes "bias, bigotry, or hatred" in his ranks.

 

No person should be fired for a view of marriage based on a personal faith in Jesus Christ.  People willing to stand for their views on marriage informed by that personal faith realize that marriage is essential to a foundation toward family restoration.

2.26.2015

Cake Bakers, Farmers and Florists Forced into Views Opposed to Their Faith & Family Values

In 2012, Jack Phillips respectfully declined to use his creative talents at his bakery, Masterpiece Cakeshop, to promote and endorse a same-sex ceremony due to his stance on biblical marriage. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission ordered that he ignore his beliefs and create cakes for same-sex celebrations. He must also re-educate his staff that his religious beliefs about marriage are, according to the state, "discriminatory," and that he can no longer run his business according to them. Jack's case is now in the hands of the Colorado Court of Appeals.  See his story in the video at Alliance Defending Freedom.org at http://blog.alliancedefendingfreedom.org/2014/07/29/crumbling-freedom-cake-artist-sent-to-reeducation/ .

Like Jack Phillips,
Rob and Cynthia Gifford, the farming couple from upstate New York who were fined $13,000 for politely declining to host a same-sex marriage ceremony on their property have also been forced to deny their faith.  Alliance Defending Freedom filed a petition in New York state court asking for review of their New York State Division of Human Rights decision which requires them to allow a same-sex couple to marry on their property against their will, in violation of their faith. They have been fined $10,000 to be paid to the state and $3,000 in "mental anguish" fees to the couple. And as in the case of Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop, the state requires the Giffords and their staff to be "reeducated."
 
Now the owner of Arlene's Flowers in Seattle, Washington is being sued for all her personal assets for declining to provide the floral arrangements for a same-sex wedding, as the state attempts to force her into surrendering her personal faith in Jesus Christ.  She is represented by Regent Law alumnus Kristen Waggoner, and you can see their Kelly File interview at http://www.foxnews.com/transcript/2015/02/24/exclusive-florist-who-refuses-to-do-gay-wedding-speaks-out/Read the florist's open letter to her Attorney General at First Things at http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2015/02/stand-with-barronelle-stutzman.  
 
Media pressure and state bullying cloaked in civil rights to oppress  Christian faith and the view that marriage between a man and a woman is the foundation for family is now forcing alternative views of marriage on those who do not hold those beliefs.  These governmental efforts actively abridge free exercise of religion, and family strength, forcing individuals into beliefs they do not hold.  To learn more on this problem download the free article on "Fairness, Accuracy and Honesty in Discussing Homosexuality and Marriage," at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=317699.   Elizabeth Oklevitch and I predicted these outcomes of being told what to believe when confronted with same-sex marriage in Section III of our article at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2462093.
 
Family strength and restoration require freedom of religion for every family - including cake bakers, farmers, and florists being sued, relentlessly pursued, and ruined for their faith.

2.25.2015

New Research on Children with Same-Sex Parents

New social science research on the effects of same-gender parenting on children is coming to light. D. Paul Sullins, researcher and professor at the Department of Sociology at Catholic University in Washington D.C. has recently published some important literature on children with same-sex parents.

In his work "Emotional Problems among Children with Same-sex Parents: Difference by Definition," published by the British Journal of Education, Society and Behavioural Science, February 2015 (Forthcoming), which is available at SSRN at http://ssrn.com/abstract=2500537 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2500537, Sullin’s research points out that children with same-sex parents in the United States suffer twice as many emotional problems as do children with opposite-sex parents, and four times the emotional problems of children raised by their own joint biological parents.  Since no same-sex partners can be joint biological parents, such families cannot, by definition, achieve the aggregate level of child benefit that is the case in (non-adoptive) opposite-sex intact marriages.

This empirical study was designed to test whether small non-random sample findings that children with same-sex parents suffer no disadvantage in emotional well-being can be replicated in a large population sample; and examine the correlates of any differences discovered.  Using a representative sample of 207,007 children, including 512 with same-sex parents, from the U.S. National Health Interview Survey, prevalence in the two groups was compared for twelve measures of emotional problems, developmental problems, and affiliated service and treatment usage, with controls for age, sex, and race of child and parent education and income. Instruments included the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) and the Kessler Scale of Psychological Distress (SPD). Bivariate logistic regression models tested the effect of parent psychological distress, family instability, child peer stigmatization and biological parentage, both overall and by opposite-sex family structure. The results revealed that emotional problems were over twice as prevalent (minimum risk ratio (RR) 2.4, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.7-3.0) for children with same-sex parents than for children with opposite-sex parents.  Risk was elevated in the presence of parent psychological distress (RR 2.7, CI 1.8-4.3, p (t) < .001), moderated by family instability (RR 1.3, CI 1.2-1.4) and unaffected by stigmatization (RR 2.4, CI 1.4-4.2), though these all had significant direct effects on emotional problems.  However, biological parentage nullified risk alone and in combination with any iteration of factors.  Joint biological parents are associated with the lowest rate of child emotional problems by a factor of 4 relative to same-sex parents, accounting for the bulk of the overall same-sex/opposite-sex difference.  The study concluded that joint biological parentage, the modal condition for opposite-sex parents but not possible for same-sex parents, sharply differentiates between the two groups on child emotional problem outcomes.  The two groups are different by definition.  Intact opposite-sex marriage ensures children of the persistent presence of their joint biological parents; same-sex marriage ensures the opposite.  However, further work is needed to determine the mechanisms involved.


In another study entitled, “Child Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Same-sex Parent Families in the United States: Prevalence and Comorbidities,” to be published by the British Journal of Medicine and Medical Research 6(10):987-998, January 2015, available at http://www.sciencedomain.org/abstract.php?, Sullin’s research found that ADHD is twice as prevalent among children with same-sex parents than in the general population.  That empirical study presents the first population data on attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) among children raised by same-sex parents with the aims 1) to test whether residence with same-sex parents is associated with higher ADHD prevalence, and 2) to observe and assess any clinically significant aggravators or comorbidities.  The study looked at aggregate data for 1997-2013 from the U.S. National Health Interview Survey
yielded a representative sample of children from 207,007 households, including 512 with same-sex parents, permitting inferential comparisons.  The results revealed that ADHD was more than twice (OR 2.4, 95% CL 1.6-3.4) as prevalent among children with same-sex parents than in the general population, after controlling for age, sex, ethnicity and parent SES. Comorbidities with general emotional problems and defiance behavior were standard. ADHD risk with same-sex parents was reduced among adopted children (OR 0.54 95% CL .27-1.1 ), null in the presence of parent psychological distress, and substantially elevated in the presence of stigmatization (OR 7.3 95% CL 1.4-38.1). In same-sex families, children with ADHD were over seven times (OR 7.5 95% CL 1.2-46.8) more likely to suffer stigmatization due to impaired interpersonal coping skills.
Conclusion: Diagnostic intake for ADHD should include parent sexual orientation, and treatment
programs should include resources to bolster anti-victimization skills, particularly for children with
same-sex parents. Results suggest the presence of shared genetic factors for same-sex attraction and ADHD, though more research is needed to confirm.

In a third study, “Bias in Recruited Sample Research on Children with Same-sex Parents Using the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ),” published by the Journal of Scientific Research and Reports 5(5): 375-387, January 2015, available at http://www.sciencedomain.org/abstract.php?iid=751&id=22&aid=7750, Sullins found that sample bias in studies of same-sex parenting is large and pervasive.  There were no results based on random population samples--but four-fifths of results from studies using non-random recruited samples--have been favorable to children with same-sex parents.  The objective of that study was t
o test for the presence of bias on use of a common psychometric instrument, the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), in studies of children with same-sex parents using a recruited convenience sample.  The design of the study used non-parametric quasi-experimental two-group comparison, working with results from five qualifying studies, two with random samples and three with recruited samples, were compared with normative population data, assessing the percent of comparisons favorable or unfavorable to children with same-sex parents for six subscale measures.

This study revealed that in the recruited samples 79.3 % (range: 75-83) of comparisons were favorable to children with same-sex parents, compared with no favorable comparisons (0%, range 0-0) in the random samples. Two additional random samples with related measures were also adduced, also with no favorable comparisons (0%, range 0-0).  What this means is that the evidence suggests a strong bias resulting in false positive outcomes for parent-reported SDQ in recruited samples of same-sex parents.

Each of these three studies are ground-breaking in a very controversial field of study.  Children need parents, both a mother and a father. Indeed, Rethinking Mom and Dad (http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2462112 )  is a most significant aspect of family restoration.