Author archives: Jessica Prol

The frosting can’t cover it up

by Jessica Prol

October 17, 2013

Yesterday Planned Parenthood wished itself a Happy 97th Birthday. Its Facebook page and Twitter feed featured the image of a single candle, atop a frosted and sprinkled cupcake, with the following words: “97 years ago the first Planned Parenthood clinic opened in Brooklyn,New York. Today, we celebrate the 3 million patients that come to us every year for high-quality, affordable health care.”

The American Life League took the meme head-on, with a counter-candle and a counterfactual of its own: “Planned Parenthood is celebrating its 97th birthday. But the 6,300,000 babies aborted in its facilities won’t even have one.”

Predictably, Twitter lit up in loud, 140-character disagreements on the subject. Such disagreement isn’t surprising. Our nation remains deeply divided on the merits of the Planned Parenthood business, but there’s quite a bit going on below the frosting-fight.

So, before you take a bite out of that cupcake, or even fling frosting at “the other side,” here are a few things to consider about Planned Parenthood:

  • Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest provider of sex education. It uses millions of taxpayer dollars to create explicit books, videos, social media pages, curriculum and campaigns that promote sexual experimentation which leads to an increased need for contraception and sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment.” (Source: Alliance Defending Freedom)
  • [I]n 2010 Planned Parenthood Federation of America performed 329,445 abortions. In 2009, the number of abortions was 332,278 and in 2008 the number was 324,008. The Guttmacher Institute (originally founded to be the research arm of Planned Parenthood but later becoming an independent body) reports that the total number of abortions in the United States in 2008 was 1,210,000. Therefore in 2008, PPFA provided approximately 27 percent of abortions in the United States.” (Source: America’s Abortion Provider: What Everyone Should Know About Planned Parenthood)
  • According to estimates, a first trimester non-subsidized abortion costs approximately $550. As reported in their 2010 annual report, Planned Parenthood performed 329,445 abortions, yielding approximately $181,000,000 in revenue—solely from abortions performed that year. In contrast, Planned Parenthood made 841 adoption referrals in 2010… In the annual report for fiscal year 2010, the organization claimed an excess of revenue over expenses of 18.5 million dollars… PPFA’s 2010 annual report indicates that it received approximately 46 percent of its income from federal, state and local government grants and contracts. In other words, taxpayer dollars fund nearly half of PPFA’s budget. In 2010, $487,400,000 was paid to PPFA by the government. Another $233,800,000 of PPFA’s budget came from contributions and gifts.” (Source: America’s Abortion Provider: What Everyone Should Know About Planned Parenthood)
  • Planned Parenthood keeps medical standards low to keep overhead low. This puts women at risk. Hundreds of medical complaints have been filed against the organization, and many women have suffered botched abortions or died because of their practices. Medical citations include: non-medical personnel performing medical functions, failing to disinfect and remove blood stains from tables between abortions, using abortion pills after their expiration date, reusing unsanitary sponges to clean instruments, allowing fetal matter and frozen blood to build up on freezers.” (Source: Alliance Defending Freedom)

That is just the beginning. We haven’t even begun to discuss the psychological, emotional, and physical trauma that many a woman faces after trusting Planned Parenthood with the life-altering decision to abort her child.

There is a better way to help women. “A Passion to Serve” illustrates that reality.

If you, or someone you know, are facing a difficult, unexpected pregnancy, there are thousands of people who are prepared to help you. People are reading and waiting to take your phone call.

Don’t get fooled by the pretty little cupcake. There’s so much hiding under the frosting.

On the intersection between “gayness” and Christian practice

by Jessica Prol

October 10, 2013
On a cold morning this past January in Gresham, Oregon, Aaron Klein sat down with two customers at the bakery he owned with his wife, Sweet Cakes by Melissa. The two women, a bride and her mother, were making plans to purchase a wedding cake. Before discussing the details, Klein asked his customers a few standard questions. When would the wedding be? What was the groom’s name? At the second question, there was an awkward hesitation, and the mother explained that this would be a wedding between two brides. Klein politely but firmly told them that because of his and his wife’s Christian beliefs, they would not bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. Without a word, the bride and her mother got up and left.
About ten minutes later, the bride’s mother returned to the bakery and began to debate Klein using biblical references to claim that her daughter was created that way and there was nothing wrong with her marriage. Klein was firm, asserting that he would not be involved in a lesbian wedding. When he refused to back down, the woman left. About two weeks later, Klein received a complaint letter and an official investigation notice from the Oregon Department of Justice.

But the saga is not over. In a recent post for The American Spectator, Claire Healey tells how Aaron and Melissa Klein faced additional harassment for their decision—harassment that eventually led them to close their doors. It is sobering to infer that consistent Christian witness will, at times, collide with the celebration of sexual license.

 

It is also sobering to know that the Kleins are not alone. Family Research Council has partnered with The Liberty Institute, to document hundreds of challenges to religious liberty and practice across the United States. You can review and download that report here: religioushostility.org. Not all of these cases deal with the crossover between Christian witness and sexuality, but it is an especially tumultuous intersection.

But some mainstream Christians and progressive advocates have banded together to proclaim that need be no friction, no disagreement, no critique of homosexual practice. Their premise: Haters gonna hate and we’re “Not All Like That.”

I understand why the “Not All Like That” (NALT) movement is attractive to my peers. It is a rare and difficult sort of person who loves making enemies. I have met them, but I don’t find they make the most loyal friends.

But what if NALT is selling a counterfeit Gospel, spreading a lie that masquerades as love?

The question looms large on our public conversation. For today, I begin by offering a few resources that begin to inform an answer:

Happy Birthday, Pride and Prejudice!

by Jessica Prol

January 30, 2013

As dedicated fans will know, Pride and Prejudice turned 200 years old on Monday, January 28.

ABC’s Diane Sawyer’s opened her anniversary segment noting that Pride and Prejudice is “book that cracked a vital code—the eternal secret of how a man can be irresistible to a woman.” ABC gives us a brief history of the book and montage of its popular iterations over the past 200 years. But while leading man, Mr. Darcy certainly is “the thinking woman’s heart-throb,” he’s more than a romance icon.

A few years ago, my friend Brian Brown noted some the reasons in a post titled, “Why Men Like Jane Austen.”

This is the Austen hero. Chesterton observed, “When Darcy, in finally confessing his faults, says ‘I have been a selfish being all my life, in practice though not in theory,’ he gets nearer to a complete confession of the intelligent male than ever was even hinted by the Byronic lapses of the Brontes’ heroes or the elaborate exculpations of George Eliot’s.” This kind of self-aware yet self-confident manhood does not impress in the way that a quick wit or a quick sword does. Rather, it inspires respect—something we too often do not know how to gain, because for the Austen hero, “manly” is not something he does, like rescuing a damsel in distress; it is something he is. There is an integrity to him that transcends situation.

Today, such integrity and selflessness still merit respect and admiration. That’s what most (if not all) single ladies hope for in a spouse.

But for anyone who’s not convinced that such Austenesque virtues are timeless, I offer you a brassy and boisterous reminder that marriage “still works.” The recently married young commentator Steven Crowder opined on the topic, over the weekend. His post, “A man’s top 5 reasons to grow up and get married” is worth the read. It’s not aimed towards the marriage-minded single, and could be frustrating for anyone fruitlessly pursuing marriage. But it’s a bold wake-up call aimed at the loafing bachelor who thinks marriage is out-dated.

So, gentlemen, skim Crowder’s “Top 5 Reasons” and then grab a copy of Pride and Prejudice. The cultural milieu has altered. But there are still Mr. Darcy’s and Elizabeth Bennett’s to be matched.

Thank you and goodnight, Judge Bork

by Jessica Prol

December 20, 2012

Yesterday, a conservative icon and one of the brightest legal scholars met his Maker.

Judge Robert Bork died on Dec. 19 at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington County of complications from heart disease. He was 85.

He has been lauded by the conservative think-world as a titan in the legal field, generous with both his time and wisdom.

I never met Mr. Bork in person, but I met his mind and his books at the rather tender age of 14 years. I credit (and teasingly blame) my thoughtful father—who doubled as my history teacher. Dad planted the seeds of political curiosity and nurtured them with his ”you-go-girl” encouragement.

What started as an 8th grade class assignment—writing letters to one’s Congressman—led to a larger adventure. I admit to sifting through Slouching Towards Gomorrah and The Tempting of America in search of good footnote-able quotes (as any junior high student is wont to do). What emerged? A rather passionate and precocious letter to Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen sharing my concern about judicial activism.

The Lutheran Brotherhood plucked my letter out of its pile and invited me to Washington, DC as their New Jersey representative in the RespecTeen National Youth Forum. I made my debut on the talk-show circuit, on the O’Reilly Factor—a rather twiggy girl, trembling behind a large pair of glasses. Mr. O’Reilly was rather nice to me and told me that if they didn’t listen to me in Washington, I should let him know.

You’ll have to take my word for it, because my VHS copy of the segment has been mercifully misplaced amid the family archives. I do, however, live with the mild anxiety that some “friend,” somewhere, will produce said clip at a distinctly inopportune moment. For any such creative folks reading this post: this should not be construed as a dare.

My precocious advocacy slowed down a bit—and most people in my life breathed a sigh of relief. But the little seeds did grow into something larger. By 2005, I was a Witherspoon Fellow, reflecting on how judicial temperament mattered, when reviewing the nomination of John Roberts for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court: “Judicial Activism and Suggestions for Senators.”

In the ensuing few years, I served three members of Congress: Rep. Jim Ryun (KS-2), Rep. Bill Sali (ID-01), and Rep. Bob Inglis (SC-04). Ironically, I became the Hill staffer who took the meetings with the next generation of junior constituent advocates. I had to break through my own cynicism about the political process (no, the Congressman didn’t get the chance to read almost any of the letters… that was my job). But I learned to convey the lesson I had learned a decade earlier—political advocacy helps us begin to take ownership of this great American experiment.

Many people have inspired me to serve in public policy. I have parents and teachers to thank. But I also want to say thank you to Judge Bork. In closing, I leave you with one of his quotes:

The judicial adoption of the tenets of modern liberalism has produced a crisis of legitimacy. Contrary to the plan of the American government, the Supreme Court has usurped the powers of the people and their elected representatives. We are no longer free to make our own fundamental moral and cultural decisions because the Court overseas all such matters, when as as it chooses. The crisis of legitimacy occurs because the political nation has no way of responding. The Founders built into our government a system of checks and balances, carefully giving to the national legislature and the executive powers to check each other so as to avoid either executive or legislative tyranny. The Founders had no idea that a Court armed with a written Constitution and the power of judicial review could become not only the supreme legislature of the land but a legislature beyond the reach of the ballot box. Thinking of the Court as a minor institution, they provided no safeguards against its assumption of powers not legitimately its own and its consistent abuse of those powers. Congress and the President check and balance one another, but neither of them can stop the Courts adventures in making and enforcing left-wing policy.

He’s a little more bombastic than I remember as a kid. But he’s also rather prophetic.

Thank you and good night, Judge Bork.

We are not cookie-cutter…”

by Jessica Prol

November 30, 2012

We are not cookie-cutter…” That’s just one phrase that’s hit me from Shared Hope International’s annual conference. I’ve spent much of yesterday and today surrounded by heroes. Some of these heroes who have survived years of sexual abuse as a young child. Others, are dedicating their lives to counseling, mentoring, licensing, and advocating for the minor victims of domestic sex trafficking.

If you’re new to this issue, check out Family Research Council’s publication, titled “Modern Slavery: How to Fight Human Trafficking in Your Community.”

Another excellent resource, is the state-specific report card, Protected Innocence Challenge, that Shared Hope released yesterday.

The Protected Innocence Challenge is a comprehensive study on existing state laws designed to inspire and equip advocates. Under the Challenge, every state receives a Report Card that grades the state on 41 key legislative components that must be addressed in state’s laws in order to effectively respond to the crime of domestic minor sex trafficking. In addition, each state receives a complete analysis of this 41-component review and practical recommendations for improvement.

For more information about FRC’s work with Shared Hope, click here.

Permission to disagree, Ma’am.

by Jessica Prol

November 28, 2012

There’s been a buzz amidst DC’s commenting community about why we still should (or shouldn’t) care about General Petraeus’s now un-secret extracurricular activities with Mrs. Paula Broadwell. People with stronger opinions, more information, and bigger microphones have already discussed and dissected the matter.

Some writers call to greater responsibility and higher standards, others to greater flexibility and understanding. Some are a bit more nuanced, like the Walter Russell Mead’s blog post, “America’s Addled Puritanism.” My goal is not to parse the entire discussion, but to suggest that it is appropriate and at least slightly refreshing that our highest intelligence officers still be held accountable for a breach of trust and integrity in their personal relationships.

But West Point graduate-turned-comedian Laura Cannon seems to disagree. In last week’s Washington Post op-ed, “No sex? Permission to speak freely, Sir.” Ms. Cannon notes the following:

West Pointers are human beings, even those with names such as David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell. I think I have the standing to make this declaration, because I’m a fellow graduate. West Point is long on molding military officers, but a bit short on humanity. Its mission statement stresses the intent to commit every graduate to a career of professional excellence and service, embodying the values of “duty, honor and country.” How does West Point do that?

Here’s how: Rules! Hundreds upon hundreds of rules that govern every facet of human conduct imaginable, including my favorite: no sex in the barracks.

The problem, as Ms. Cannon sees it, is that David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell have been persecuted primarily for being human. Since leaving military service Ms. Cannon has, according to her website www.warvirgin.com, left her Jesus-addiction behind and stepped where no veteran has before, by offering “a candid, irreverent look at the comically naughty, sexually-charged underbelly of the military…”

As a proud sister of a U.S. military-service academy graduate, I concede that Ms. Cannon’s angst regarding military academy life is worth engaging. Over the years, my brother has (much more respectfully) shared stories of the ways that he and other cadets would attempt to stay afloat amidst a sea of rules—rules that often seem irrelevant or even counter-productive to the stated goal of building up the next generation of leaders. For a more intellectual discussion of modern military academies (and a rousing disagreement in the comments section), I recommend Professor Bruce Fleming’s article in The Chronicle Review, “The Few, the Proud, the Infantilized.”

But one thing Prof. Fleming and Ms. Cannon both recommend is to lift the no-sex-on-campus ban. Ms. Cannon does so with a comic and irreverent tone. Mr. Fleming does so in a more academic and detached manner, suggesting the academy should have ‘no opinion’ on matters of sexuality.

But would such a ban-repeal, as Ms. Cannon suggests, allow cadets to be “more human”? It does, of course, depend on what we mean by human. Is it truly human to pursue any sexual impulse, whenever one wishes, with whomever one wishes?

This, it would seem, is premise of sexual revolution. In The Atlantic‘s thorough and engaging essay on the topic, Hanna Rosin explores the following:

The hookup culture that has largely replaced dating on college campuses has been viewed, in many quarters, as socially corrosive and ultimately toxic to women, who seemingly have little choice but to participate. Actually, it is an engine of female progress—one being harnessed and driven by women themselves.

So where has all this gotten us? Ms. Rosin seems a bit more optimistic than I, about the empowering nature of sexual license… especially for young women. But logically, if indiscriminate, few-feelings-attached hookups are normal to the human (American) college experience, it would make sense to extend such license, even to military academies and combat zones.

But what if sexual license is not the definition of authentic humanity? Failed contraception, broken hearts, and lingering pang of the morning-after all whisper that authentic humanity is not finally found in sexual liberty. And the social science—illustrated in unforeseen pregnancies and grueling divorce proceedings—loudly suggests that sexual license hasn’t delivered.

So if General Petraeus or Ms. Cannon (or anyone else, for that matter) begins to find that pleasure isn’t keeping its promise, I suggest that they meet a famous warrior king who learned a very difficult version of the same lesson (the story can be found in 2 Sam 11-12). King David made a “human” decision by chasing the lovely, married Bathsheba. The king faced devastating consequences. But he also knew great restoration. I suggest that, in confession and restoration (Ps. 51), King David rediscovered what it meant to be “truly human.”

Young Evangelicals, Common Ground, and the New Social Witness

by Jessica Prol

November 5, 2012

How do we expect young Evangelicals to vote? With Election Day tomorrow and every vote in the balance, the question remains: Are these millennials the reliable moral majority of their parents generation? Or have they called a truce on the culture wars?

On October 16, I joined a panel of seven young Evangelicals behind the microphones of the National Press Club. We hailed from a diverse set of policy organizations and came, in part, to answer that very question. What are the political priorities for todays young Evangelicals?

More specifically, we discussed the results of a recent survey, conducted by Sojournersa Christian advocacy organization dedicated to promoting social justice, often in collaboration with progressive political means. The Sojourners blog post suggested that we all had agreed to call a truce on cultural warfare and settled on a new common ground. But are the culture wars over?

On August 15, an armed gunman entered my workplace. He confronted my colleague, announced his profound disagreement with my organizations politics, and proceeded to fire his weapon three times. Thankfully, he only wounded my colleague in the arm. The suspect was carrying Chick-fil-A sandwiches and 50 rounds of ammunition. He has since been arrested and charged with assault with intent to kill and committing an act of terrorism while armed.

If these are the culture wars, I sincerely hope they are over. That said, I and other young Evangelicals must face the uncomfortable and undeniable reality: our nation remains deeply divided on our social ethics. And some of us young Evangelicals have accepted the uncomfortable but compelling call to advocate for the most vulnerable human lives, promote a biblical and natural view of marriage, and use the freedoms given by God and articulated within the Constitution.

Even the numbers within the Sojourners study suggest that a majority of young Evangelical millennials have not abandoned the principles championed by their parents. My fellow panelist, and Executive Director for the Manhattan Declaration, Eric Teetsel has already written to this point. His blog post titled, Evangelicals on Common Ground is well worth the read.

I personally dislike the label of culture warrior. If my aversion is naive and semantic, age and faithful, hard work will cure me and Ill carry the badge. But I suggest that there is a growing cohort of cheerful young Evangelical advocates. We may, perhaps, have a gentler tone than the cartoon version of our parents advocacy. But many of us promote and prioritize the principles that our parents did.

This may be the common ground that Sojourners celebrates. If it truly is common ground, I suggest that (like any common room in my living experience) it requires upkeep. If we have truly entered such a cultural moment, I offer the following guiding principles:

An unconfused civility:

I invite us to show greater grace and civility in our public conversations. Such civility would steer us away from assuming each others motives. It would keep conservatives from assuming that progressives intend to bankrupt the nation and shred the Constitution. In turn, progressives might refrain from suggesting that conservatives hate the poor and relish the thought of perpetual warfare.

Such civility might slow us down a bit, restore our respect for each others humanity and motivations, and lend itself to more intelligent collaboration on specific issues. In the absence of such all-or-nothing advocacy and bombast, a politically diverse group of young Christians might begin to make authentic progress on specific concerns such as welfare reform, education reform, and human trafficking. It may not be the most effective fundraising technique for individual advocacy organizations. It may move us toward more authentic reform.

Clarity on our -ologies:

Even under a shared umbrella of Evangelical commitment, we would be wise to address how our theology, anthropology, and eschatology inform our social agenda. Volumes could and have been written on each -ology and its implications for public service. But just a quick glance at what this might mean for todays Evangelicals.

Left, right, or centerare we more concerned about having God in our political camp, rather than being on his side? In contrast, will we refuse to cherry-pick bible verses for our own political agendasto the exclusion of other calls to holiness, humility, and compassion? Our theology inevitably shapes our priorities.

A biblically-informed anthropology encourages us to protect all humans as image-bearers of the living Godcradle-to-grave. But progressive/conservative disagreements regarding social and economic policies often stem from our different theological understanding of brokenness and evil. I believe that my progressive friends more readily locate the problem of evil primarily in situational variables, rather than in personal responsibility. But when we fail to dignify the needy by holding them accountable, our good intentions may serve to exacerbate the need. However, my conservative and libertarian friends run the risk of ignoring the social contexts into which so many are born. When we ignore the devastating implications of victimization, (fatherlessness, abuse, a failed educational system, etc) we similarly fail to offer authentic hope and suggest that the Christianity is a graceless thing.

We are, indeed, called to be Matthew 25 Christians. In addition to caring for the poor, imprisoned, and persecuted (Matt. 25:40), we usher in the kingdom of God through small faithfulness like investing the masters money (Matt. 25:14-30), and waiting with our lamps full (Matt. 25:1-30). I caution Christian friends of all political stripes to be avoid immanentizing the eschatonor confusing ones role as Christs hands and feet, with bearing the weight of ushering in the kingdom of God.

Knowing the length of your arm:

We are the Facebook generationtrying to be faithful and relevant amidst the clutter of an active Twitter feed and 24/7 news cycle. We may know more about the worlds events and needs than did our parents at our age. But I suggest that we are also more distracted and fragmented. In this dizzying swirl of information and friendships we run the risk of detaching ourselves from authenticin-the-flesh communities. We are tempted to find our own churches, families, and neighborhoods too small for our grand ideas. I suggest that the rising generation of Christians, regardless of political affiliation, should place a higher priority on individual relationships, hidden faithfulness, and commitment to a local body of believers.

God has used his peoplelike William Wilberforce, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Martin Luther Kingto organize great social resistance to social evils. But it is the paradox of the Christian life: God often uses individuals who are prepared to be small, hidden, faithful, and accountable to other believers. We may be called to wrestle with monumental injustice, but we will be most effective when we remain attentive to the challenges at our doorstep and the efforts already being made to alleviate such problems.

A new social witness:

Has the rising generation abandoned the culture wars? I hardly know. I, personally, am prepared to cross partisan lines to address genuine human need and offer authentic freedom. But more fundamentally, I aim to follow Christs call to follow him both in private and in public life. In a recent lecture, Dr. Owen Strachan called upon todays Christian leaders to a disciplined vitality and a new social witness. I close with his words:

This movement… refuses to be seen as the religious wing of a given party. It is, however, grounded in the public witness of Christians offered in the past 30-40 years, and it is grateful for the sacrifices made by those who have gone before. This movement does not consider the church a PAC, nor America the new Israel. Its tone is charitable and courageous, because this movement derives ultimate confidence and identity not from the city of man, but from the city of God.

Lets bring that new social witness to our churches, our families, our jobs, and our polls.

Cohabitation: Everyones doing it?!

by Jessica Prol

August 30, 2012

But, mom, everybodys doing it?!

It might have been your favorite childhood expression as you lobbied for that new toy or extra handful of cotton candy.

But for todays millennials its an underlyingif unstatedreason why so many decide to pack up their belongings and move in with their significant other.

According to the CDCs March 22, 2012 National Health Statistics Report, cohabitation (before first marriage) has risen significantly over the past 25 years and contributed to a delay in first marriage for both women and men.

Bloomberg.com reviewed at the data through a personal finance lens in their article, Living Together Trumps Matrimony for Recession-Wary Americans. Quoting theUniversity ofVirginias Brad Wilcox, the article noted that In todays economic climate, many young adults are reluctant to pull the trigger…. They may be unemployed or underemployed or not know what the future looks like. Theyre hedging their bets.

But the cohabitation-trend isnt limited to the younger generation. According to a new study, more and more Americans over age 50 are choosing to live with their partner instead of getting married.

If everyone is doing it, why discuss the trend; or to put it bluntly, who exactly cares?

Since the creation of marriage itself, the Christian tradition has clearly taught that sexual intimacy outside of marriage (and cohabitation, by definition), is a step away from the holiness and commitment that God intends for his people.

Modern Christian leaders, therefore, wrestle through their role in how to council church members or other believers who are cohabiting, but desire to marry. Last September, Christianity Today invited various Evangelical leaders to weigh in on the question: Should Pastors Perform Marriages for Cohabitating Couples?

But the questions surrounding cohabitation continue, even in the public space outside of our churches. In an April NY Times Opinion piece, clinical psychologist Meg Jay warned that far from safeguarding against divorce and unhappiness, moving in with someone can increase your chances of making a mistake or of spending too much time on a mistake.

Earlier this month, Huffington Posts Women Blog highlighted offered the following: Cohabitation? 5 Questions To Ask Before Moving In Together. The author offered no moral qualms about cohabitation but, throughout her piece. noted the inherent obstacles to a successful move, considering how many couples do not survive that first year of living with one another.

Does cohabitation matter? On Thursday, August 30 marriage expert Mike McManus revealed the myths and risks of cohabitation and offered solutions for your church and your community.

Everybodys doing it, never saved you from the childhood bellyache. It may also fall short when it comes to more adult decisions.

Click here to view the video recording.

Fathers, Be Good to Your Daughters

by Jessica Prol

July 12, 2012

I walked past a sweet moment yesterday. It was the hour for busy professionals to catch a quick dinner, before heading home. But one cafe table caught my eye.

A blue-shirted, bespectacled man had lost his tie and sat with his elbows gently planted on the table and directed an attentive gaze across it. His date sat on the edge of her seat, feet barely reaching the ground.

I have no idea if the girl was talking about camp or Barbies or her favorite movie, but dad was paying attention. I nearly pulled out my cell phone camera to capture the moment. I thought better of it and merely shot a quick text to my dad. I saw a cute little girl on a date with her dad and it made me think of you and our special Friendly’s dates. Thanks for those. I love you!

Ive been in his life for nearly thirty years and I got this response, in just two minutes flatMelt my heart! love you too my girl.

I know dads and daughters dont always have the sweet relationship that I enjoy with my father. And I dont even know if my dad was secretly hoping that Id have been a boy. But this friendship of ours has been one of my most profound I have known.

In a recent blog post, Fathers, Dont Abort Your Daughters, author Timothy Dalrymple eloquently educates the reluctant father regarding the unique joys of parenting a girl. He shares a bit of his own story in the following words:

I had told myself that I just wanted a healthy baby, boy or girl. But when I first learned that the child growing within my wifes womb was a girl, I felt a pang of disappointment. I had always looked forward to the father-son relationship. This will sound egotistical and it is precisely that but I had also wanted to see what a boy with my genetic inheritance, but with the opportunities and direction I could give him, could accomplish.

Dalrymple also explains how that preference for a male child has become one of the most horrifically ironic trends to evolve from a womans supposed right to abort her child.

As many besides me have noted, its one of the most tragic ironies of the modern political world that this supposedly great victory for womens rights has led to a cheap replacement for female infanticide. And the social pathologies that arise when the male-female ratio is out of whack are also terrible for women, especially (since there are too few women for every man to have a wife) the dramatic increase in prostitution and sex-slavery and human trafficking.

The entire post is well-worth the read. Check it out at his blog, Philosophical Fragments.

Facebook Inc. valued above McDonalds Corp.: What does that mean for your kid?

by Jessica Prol

May 15, 2012

Whether we like it or not, kids are now spending far more time with media and technology than they are with their families or in school — as much as eight hours a day on average in the United States alone. So wrote Jim Steyer, founder of Common Sense Media, a San Francisco think-tank focusing on media and families.

Facebook Inc is now worth more than Citigroup Inc. and McDonald’s Corp. But even when parents keep their kids off of the social networking site, numerous other apps and social media start-ups are vying for their use. The Wall Street Journal reported that 20 companies pitched online and mobile products for kids in Pasadena, Calif., at the 6th annual Digital Kids Conference, just last month.

The technological landscape is ever-changing and one mother-daughter team has an eye on the challenges of parenting in this brave, new world.

Concerned by the brevity of contemporary childhood and the crisis of premature sexualization brought on through “sexting” and related activities, Dr. Brenda Hunter and her daughter Kristen Blair have tackled these themes in a new book titled, From Santa to Sexting: Helping your Child Safely Navigate Middle School and Shape the Choices that Last a Lifetime.

Join us at noon on Friday, May 18th as Dr. Brenda Hunter and her daughter Kristen offer research, stories, and resources to help keep kids safe and strong in middle school.

RSVP today!

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