“Post-revolutionary men and women are living in ways that are profoundly unnatural for the ineradicably social creatures that we are; and many are suffering as a result, at times without even knowing the name of what ails them. This preoccupation, and the desire to do something about it, continues to shape my work.”
Pillar: Sexuality & Family
The second pillar of a decent society is the institution of the family, which is built upon the comprehensive sexual union of man and woman. No other institution can top the family’s ability to transmit what is pivotal—character formation, values, virtues, and enduring love—to each new generation.
The religious liberty triumphs of the past several days are important, but they’re not enough. Not nearly so. We need to contend about the truth of the matter. Through legislation and litigation, we need to make it clear that it’s lawful to act on the convictions that we are created male and female and that male and female are created for each other. Privacy and safety at a shelter, equality on an athletic field, and good medicine are at stake for everyone—religious or not.
No natural lawyer in the classical natural law tradition derives an ought from an is because, when it comes to practical reason, natural lawyers do not derive ought. Rather, they begin with the first principles of practical reason, which are underived. They then use these principles together with an understanding of the nature of the thing at hand to arrive at moral conclusions.
Many critics of the new Title IX revisions regarding campus sexual assault think that a healthy hook-up culture is achievable. However, they must contend with the fact that sexual assault and casual sex share an underlying premise: sexual desire takes priority over other considerations.
Justice Gorsuch’s position would either require the elimination of all sex-specific programs and facilities or allow access based on an individual’s subjective identity rather than his or her objective biology. When Gorsuch claims that “transgender status [is] inextricably bound up with sex” because “transgender status” is defined precisely in opposition to sex, he presumes the very sex binary his opinion will help to further erode.
Before Covid-19’s pernicious spread, another health phenomenon had reached epidemic proportions and is still occurring on a global level. Unlike the virus, its vulnerable population is the young—especially young girls.
Advocates for family fluidity routinely level two claims against the nuclear family: first, that it is a mere “blip” on the historical map, and second, that it is largely unconnected to the well-being of individuals (especially children). In both instances the goal is to diminish its significance as a valuable form of kinship structure. For all their popularity, however, neither assumption withstands scrutiny.
The UK Supreme Court has upheld a claim for a woman to pursue four commercial surrogacy pregnancies in California at the expense of the UK taxpayer. This Judgment is extraordinary in that commercial surrogacy is illegal in the UK, and two Supreme Court Judges dissented from the Judgment on the grounds that it is against public policy for a court to award damages to enable conduct abroad that is illegal in the UK.
The point of recent attacks on Dr. Paul McHugh is not to take him down. Rather, it is to signal to every other mental health and medical professional in the country—from psychiatrists to endocrinologists to surgeons to therapists and counselors—that the ideology of transgenderism will brook no dissent.
A powerful antidote to such atomistic existence, loneliness, and alienation, is found in the family: productive, resilient, and together. A family-centered life with the home as the engine of education and economics orders one’s vocations and roles in ways that build lasting familial bonds and provide stability amid a changing world. COVID-19 quarantining provides an opportunity for this reality to sink in.
Dr. Stephen Levine highlights biological, social, and psychological (mental health) risks in medically “transitioning.” Without explaining these risks and determining that the patient fully understands them, a medical practitioner has failed to obtain informed consent—if such consent is even possible. The second of two essays.
Assisting a gender dysphoric patient in “transitioning” without laying out the full panoply of medical, psychological, and social consequences violates the physician’s ethical obligation to obtain truly informed consent. The first of two essays.
Research over the last decade has solidified the finding that sexual minorities are far more likely to have faced adverse experiences during childhood—experiences that they ought to be able to explore in therapy.
It is helpful for older teens to understand and admire the ideal of sexual integrity. Call them to greatness, while also setting down clear guidelines of what is and isn’t permitted in their opposite-sex friendships while they are under your care. We advise parents to initiate advanced conversations with both sons and daughters about how sexual desire is tricky to control, but absolutely manageable with time-tested strategies. Teens should also be taught about the dangers—and avoidability—of STDs, and encouraged to show compassion and empathy towards peers who don’t know how to live sexual integrity. Finally, let your teens know that you have great confidence in their ability to live out sexual integrity and practice true love and authentic friendship. But even if they make a mistake, they can always make amends, rectify, and start again.
In this segment, we continue our Tips by turning to the early teenage years, when conversations should be less about the mechanics of sex and more about the philosophy—or the meaning of sex. Remind them that sexual activity can lead to babies, and that babies born outside of wedlock suffer an injustice. Give them more advanced strategies for mind and body safety in today’s world, and balance it all out with positive messages about sex as a beautiful gift-of-self in marriage.
As a parent, you are in the best position to teach your children about sex. Mom and dad should be the first to introduce the subject—better a year too early than five minutes too late. By instilling good habits and ideas from an early age and having honest conversations with your children as they grow, you will help them to understand their sexed bodies; practice body safety; be on guard against porn; and marvel at how babies are made.
A pattern begins to emerge as we survey some of the best and longest outcome studies on gender transition: the longer the studies and the better the methods, the more negative the results.
Why would Scientific American urge a ban on therapies that may free some from an identity associated with greater depression and suicide, and yet never question “treatments” for gender dysphoria that lead to increased confusion, depression, and suicidal tendencies?
Informed by the best practices from social science and the best of religious belief, parents can raise their children with the benefits of a meaningful faith, as part of a nurturing community, in a manner that honors children’s humanity, their growing autonomy, and their spiritual choices.
The Pediatric Endocrine Society recently issued a statement claiming that the effects of puberty-blocking medications on normal puberty are reversible. Has the FDA determined that there is scientific evidence to validate this claim? Have there been any rigorous long-term studies addressing this question? Is social transition truly harmless? Is it ethical to continue this experiment on children? The answer to all of those questions is no.
Every time we fail to muster the courage to do what’s right, what God is calling us to do, there is behind that failure a still deeper failure: a failure of love.
Faith and family: for many of us, these are not only the most important parts of the Christmas season. They’re also the things that make life most worth living.
The team at Public Discourse doesn’t pretend to have all the answers, but we do think we’re asking the right questions, and getting the right thinkers to propose some of the answers. That’s one thing that we hope will always be our hallmark: thoughtful, reasoned discourse, which is rigorous yet still accessible to the educated layman.
The first recommendation of the U.S. Commission on Unalienable Rights should be directed to the same State Department that houses it: Stop using the UN to advance sexual ideologies that have no basis in international human rights law.
Transgender performance of femaleness can only be a parody, because no amount of “bottom surgery” will make a male into the kind of human being who has the natural power to bear a child. The woman has the spontaneous, natural power to make space for the other, which embodies the spiritual reality to which all human beings are called.