Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Marriage - What is the Big Deal?

Marriage is under a barrage of attacks in our culture. Issues such as no-fault divorce, cohabitation, same-sex marriage, and the contraceptive mentality (which separates sex and babies and makes it about pleasure alone) have brought us to the point where marriage is an institution that has been relegated to the trash heap of history. This is unfortunate, because the issue couldn't be a bigger one - without strong marriages our culture WILL collapse. It isn't a matter of IF but WHEN. If you study history you will not find a culture where marriages were denigrated as much as they are presently and yet the culture survived.

So, what to do? We need to turn the trends around and fast. This is why our next Distinguished Speaker in St. Mary's Distinguished Speaker series, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Dr. Morse will speak on "Natural Marriage: Lifelong, Exclusive Union - Woman and Man" This presentation will take place April 8 at 7:00 pm in the church, at St. Mary’s Catholic Center. The presentation is free and open to all. (FACEBOOK INVITE HERE)

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D. is the founder and President of The Ruth Institute, a project of the National Organization for Marriage, to promote life-long married love to college students by creating an intellectual and social climate favorable to marriage.

She is also the Senior Research Fellow in Economics at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty.

She is the author of Smart Sex: Finding Life-long Love in a Hook-up World, (2005) and Love and Economics: Why the Laissez-Faire Family Doesn’t Work (2001), recently reissued in paperback, as Love and Economics: It Takes a Family to Raise a Village.

Dr. Morse served as a Research Fellow for Stanford University’s Hoover Institution from 1997-2005. She received her Ph.D. in economics from the University of Rochester in 1980 and spent a postdoctoral year at the University of Chicago during 1979-80. She taught economics at Yale University and George Mason University for 15 years. She was John M. Olin visiting scholar at the Cornell Law School in fall 1993. She is a regular contributor to the National Review Online, National Catholic Register, Town Hall, MercatorNet and To the Source.

Here are two articles from Dr. Morse that lay out the argument about why traditional marriage advocacy is necessary and urgent.
A snip from the first one:
When I give campus talks on the risks of cohabitation, I can always count on some smarty to challenge me saying that the risks are not really so great to people like himself. What he usually means (and it is almost always a “he”) is that the statistics are skewed by a large number of poor, uneducated cohabiting couples who are at higher risk for all sorts of problems anyway. Unspoken, but implied, is that he is cohabiting himself and plans not to change based on anything I say.

So, he might argue, this particular boyfriend was just a loser, while the cohabiting men of his own social circle are not. Women of higher income and education will not face such serious problems as this woman living in a hotel room with a creep. But studies that control for education and income still find that cohabitation is risky.

We have created a culture that says sex, marriage and childbearing have no necessary relationship to each other. This culture, like any culture, is made up of the decisions of all of us: the things we choose to do and not do, the justifications we offer for our actions, the things we celebrate and the things we condemn. We have an indirect impact on the culture and therefore on the people around us. Every problem of the poor is exacerbated by the failure of marriage. The “alternatives to marriage” are destroying the culture of the poor.

So I present this challenge to my young friends on campus: “You might get away with participating in social practices that become much more destructive as they trickle down into the lower classes. It is not social justice to claim for yourself the rights to behaviors that you can manage but are a disaster for the less fortunate. Do you want to be part of the solution or part of the problem?”

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