The Institute for American Values just released a groundbreaking report this week called “The Taxpayer Costs of Divorce and Unwed Childbearing” [PDF]. Using very conservative calculations, the study estimates that fragmented families cost the American taxpayer at least $112 billion a year. Put another way, over the last five years American taxpayers have spent $500 billion on the war in Iraq and $560 billion on broken families.
There has been a flurry of attention in recent weeks over the revelation that a female-to-male transgender (that is, a person born female who now self-identifies as male) is currently pregnant. Although she had her breasts removed and took male hormones (which allowed her to grow a beard), this woman chose not to have her sexual organs altered as part of her transition to manhood. Still possessed of a uterus, this individual has now become pregnant by artificial insemination. Both as the butt of jokes and as a pop culture phenomenon (as certified by an appearance on Oprah), this person has been widely referred to as the pregnant man.
We owe a debt of thanks, therefore, to Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby for pointing out the obviousthat Tracy LaGondino, who now uses the name Thomas Beatie, is not, in fact, a man at all, but a woman with a serious psychiatric problem known as Gender Identity Disorder. The sensation surrounding this pregnancy should remind us yet again of the ironyand utter absurdityof the claims of the homosexual and transgender movement. They would have us believe (on no evidence whatsoever) that homosexuality is genetic, fixed at birth, and immutable; while our sex, which is written in the chromosomes of every cell of our bodies, is malleable and can be changed at will.
In the last week a story from England has gained considerable notoriety due to the troubling questions it raises about the political neutrality of searches conducted by Google, the internet search behemoth. In March 2008, Englands Christian Institute (the Institute) informed Google U.K. that it wished to place this ad (see below) to promote its pro-life papers when Google visitors searched for abortion service websites:
In an e-mail dated March 19, 2008, Google U.K. denied the Institutes request to place the advertisement on pages producing abortion-related search results. Google stated that it denied placement because Google policy does not permit the advertisement of websites that contain abortion and religion-related content. Additionally, Google noted that it retained the right to exercise editorial discretion when it comes to the advertising we accept on our site.
No further explanation was given until April 10th, when Google U.K.s media office issued the following comment: We only allow ads that have factual information about abortion.
Googles insulting comment speaks volumes about the companys prejudices. My quick review of papers posted on the Institutes website found studies that thoughtfully combined Christian Biblical teaching, Christian ethical analysis, accurate discussion of scientific facts, and reasonable public policy conclusions. For example, the 76-page study on the Morning-After-Pill is very well reasoned even if does not come to the same conclusions Googles staff would reach about the ethics of using emergency contraception.
Well, this story will continue to develop because the Institutes attorneys wrote to Google informing them that the companys actions violate the U.K.s Equality Act of 2006. Apparently, that law prohibits religious discrimination in the provision of a good, facility or service, and the Institutes attorneys believe its actions fall within protections afforded by the law. If courts in the United Kingdom interpret such laws in a manner similar to the way an American court would, the Institute probably has a good case.
This will be an important legal contest for the United Kingdom should it go to court. If Christian organizations can be banned from advertising on pages produced by specific search terms then freedom of speech on the internet is in grave danger. If push comes to shove, Google may find that millions upon millions of Christian web users can take their searches elsewhere, and Googles stock price has already lost around $300 from its 52-week high.
I am not quite sure what has gotten into Dick Armey these days, but he sure is grumpy. He opened fire this week on a proposal that we have floated calling upon the White House to establish a Family Czar to revive an initiative first undertaken by Ronald Reagan.
Armey not only misses the target on almost every point, his facts are wrong, including his claim that I endorsed a Republican presidential candidate that he opposed. I didnt endorse; my role at FRC is not to elect presidents, but to shape policy and that is exactly what we are proposing with the idea of a Family Czar.
Armey mistakenly claims we are calling for the creation of more government intrusion into the lives of Americas families. Like Mr. Armey, I have a legislative record that is solidly conservative, for limited and smaller government. I hold to my conservative credentials and our proposal reflects them. Mr. Armeys disregard for the importance of strong families is shocking. If we are willing to create issue-specific White House policy coordinators, some of whom the media has deemed czars, is it too much to ask the government to recognize the value of the family and our need to strengthen rather than usurp it?
Ronald Reagan understood the fact that America as a country could be no stronger than its families; that is why he had a quasi-family czar in domestic policy advisor Gary Bauer. That is why in 1987, by executive order 12606, President Reagan pushed the traditional family to the forefront in Washington by requiring government agencies to consider the impact their policies would have on families before issuing them. The measure was designed to block intrusive federal action and slow the growth of government. Among the orders strong provisions was a requirement that federal agencies ask whether a planned action helps the family perform its functions, or does it substitute governmental activity for the function?
When families prosper the nation prospers. Unfortunately, President Clinton rescinded the executive order when he took office. Efforts to pass the measure through Congress during Mr. Armeys watch were unsuccessful. Had it succeeded there is little doubt the gains of the Left would have been braked not accelerated.
Working off the language of President Reagans Executive Order 12606, I wrote and passed The Family Impact Statement legislation in my home state of Louisiana. I am convinced it will be a valuable tool in the hands of a true conservative like Governor Bobby Jindal, and I think it would be a good step for a White House committed to the traditional family unit. Calling on government to consider the impact of its proposals on the family, whether it is the strength of the marital commitment, the rights of parents to raise their children as they see fit, or the familys budget, is a conservative idea. But to give it life, the family must be given priority. Im not wedded to the term Family Czar, and the images it unintentionally evokes certainly give Mr. Armey a bone to pick, but he can rest assured we support solutions that push authority and financial resources back to the smallest government of all, the home.
Inner-city Catholic schools are rapidly vanishing, according to the Thomas B. Fordham Institutes new report, Who Will Save Americas Urban Catholic Schools? Since 1990, 1,300 Catholic schools have closed, displacing 300,000 students and costing taxpayers $20 billion to absorb these students into public schools. These closures have had little to do with performance and much to do with Catholics leaving the inner cities for suburbia.
The report calls on parishioners, philanthropists, and others who recognize the quality educational option Catholic schools can provide, even to non-Catholics, to support these inner-city schools directly and through development and marketing plans that will ensure Catholic schools remain a vibrant and valuable player in American education.
Ted Turner, apparently chomping at the bit to promote the agenda of the global warming alarmists, says we will be eating one another by mid-century. Always hungry for a headline, Turner is sure to grab a few by suggesting that the world’s population, exacerbated by global warming, will lead to scarcity of resources.
What’s on Turner’s menu of solutions? Population control.
“We’re too many people; that’s why we have global warming,” Turner said. “Too many people are using too much stuff.”
Of course what happens when people don’t comply? If it is a good idea, then government has to make you comply, whether it’s wearing seatbelts, bicycle helmets or limiting your quiver to two.
There is even more to the call for population control, like China’s forced sterilization and infanticide and the liberal West’s advancement of same-sex relations.
Stanford University professor Paul R. Ehrlich, in his book The Population Bomb, predicted millions of people would die of starvation in the 1970’s and 1980’s without the type of population control that Turner is calling for. The hysteria created by Ehrlich paved the way for the United Nations Population Fund.
The UN projected that the planet would be overrun with 11.5 billion people. Ehrlich was wrong. The UN now is quietly saying the population boom will fall far short of their projections. World population is projected to peak at 8.5 billion and then start a steady, long-term decline which many countries are already experiencing and multi millionaires promoting doomsday scenarios.
So we might very well have fields where no crops grow, not because of climate change, but because of an intemperate climate for humans caused by radical public policies.
While the piece to which Pat links certainly displays the courage of the leaders of Harvard’s True Love Revolution, I have to say I was not a fan of it. It struck me as a brutally unfair portrayal of what is going on in Cambridge. For example, the author asks one of the co-presidents his thoughts about the other and coaxes from him some fairly awkward comments. The author then relays these comments to the other co-president. What purpose does this serve other than to sow discord? At the same time, the Times has a long history of making young conservatives seem incredibly strange, and TLR probably could have been more cautious going in.
One nasty piece by a snarky journalist doesn’t change the interesting facts of this chastity phenomenon, though. It’s a growing and exceedingly complex movement. Pat mentions Princeton’s Anscombe Society as the college chastity prototype, describing it as “an Ivy League version of True Love Waits.” While True Love Waits and Anscombe certainly have many of the same goals, I’m not sure if that accurately reflects Anscombe’s mission. In a rare example of good reporting, the Times piece describes Anscombe as justifying its views on chastity through rigorous intellectual means. That certainly conforms to my observations in college of both the society itself and of the people who were in it. Princeton’s chastity society was inspired by the profoundly rigorous essay “Contraception and Chastity” by Elizabeth Anscombe (the English philosopher who occasionally bested C.S. Lewis in argument). On the other hand, True Love Revolution and True Love Waits come at the question in a very different way. Which approach happens to be better is beside the point. It is important to note, though, that there are wildly different approaches to promoting chastity in young people, and that they are flourishing in the Ivy League of all places. No wonder the New York Times felt inclined to try and take a hatchet to one of them!
March 31st marks the third anniversary of the death of Terri Schindler Schiavo. I would feel remiss in not alerting our readers to the excellent Washington Times op-ed on her case by Nat Hentoff published today. As Mr. Hentoff points out:
The reason Congress asked the federal courts to review the Schiavo case was that the 41-year-old woman about to be dehydrated and starved to death was breathing normally on her own and was not terminal.
This was not a right-to-die case, as the author notes. Rather, it was about the right to continue living.