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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.

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We should endorse true claims of value—especially those related to marriage and the family—and reject specious ones. But discussing different family forms in terms of “privilege” smuggles in conclusions before the discussion begins.
As a recent British court decision correctly affirmed, the puberty blocking treatments being given to gender-dysphoric young people constitute experimental medicine. There is neither demonstrated efficacy nor evidence on long-term outcomes, and the risk of serious harm and irreversible damage is real. The same standards of medicine should be applied to gender dysphoria as other medical issues.
A moral theologian urges Pope Francis to bring his forceful defense of prenatal children into a more central place of his pontificate. It is time to stand up firmly and forcefully for their dignity in a culture which increasingly sees them as disposable things that can be violently discarded.
What if religious and conservative higher education ceased speaking about marriage and family life as an accomplishment and began to treat marriage and children as that which enable human flourishing and a meaningful future?
Carrie Gress and Noelle Mering’s Theology of Home project is a counteroffensive against the dominant feminism of our culture, which has greatly degraded home and homemaking. Their latest book addresses the question of what it means for women to live fruitfully.
How to achieve a lasting peace in our cultural conflicts is the great difficulty remaining for us. We should not paper over important differences. But, as Andrew Koppelman and Adam MacLeod demonstrate, we can discuss them in a conciliatory spirit of friendship.
According to Carl Trueman, focusing myopically on problems with sexual morality often results in misguided responses to the sexual revolution. Instead, we must grapple with “a much deeper and wider revolution in the understanding of what it means to be a self.”
To combat “toxic masculinity,” the APA suggests teaching boys to express their emotions and insecurities more openly. They say components of traditional masculinity such as stoicism, self-reliance, and competitiveness deter men from forming close relationships with other men. But if men really are born less “nice” than women, then our task is not simply to strip away negative social constructs. It is time we stop talking down to boys as if they were dim-witted girls and offer them opportunities to build character and provide meaning to their lives.
The end of the pandemic is now in sight. Let’s hold on to the good things we have learned and the good habits that we have established. That means no phones in the bedroom, a good night’s sleep, and more time together as a family. If we can do those things—if the end result of the pandemic is a strengthening of the family—then there may be a silver lining to this cloud.
I was looking forward to my one or two children, and a life of ongoing validation through the achievement-acclaim-advancement sequence to which school had accustomed me. Is large family life an icon of the Lord’s emptying of himself on our behalf? No more, I believe, than any Christian life deliberately modeled upon His example.
The question that divides us is how we ought to respond to reproductive asymmetry: the reality that women carry disproportionate burdens due to our special role in human reproduction. What makes one a feminist is the view that this basic inequality at the heart of reproduction is one that deserves, in justice, an affirmative cultural response. We wish not only for maternity to be celebrated for the true privilege it most certainly is, but also for women to be encouraged and supported in other contributions they make. This requires that the burdens of childbearing ought to be shared not only within the family, but also across the wider society too.
Now that Roe v. Wade is on the brink of being overturned, we need to have conversations across the partisan divide and heal our nation’s wounds.
More deeply understanding the truth about marriage and human sexuality will help all of us flourish. And that is what a pastor like Pope Francis desires. We can understand—indeed we share—the frustration of our fellow Catholics with the ways in which the Holy Father conducts interviews and the ways in which the media distorts them, but we must not do anything to undermine the truth that sets us free.
The law must protect the freedom of parents to seek, children to receive, and doctors to practice good medicine. The law must protect the ability of doctors and families to help children feel comfortable as what they actually are—namely, male and female children—not to radically and irreversibly transform their bodies.
When we speak of protecting people “whatever their sexual orientation,” we must realize the term is not as simple as most assume.
If we combine the beauty of art and the power of narrative with rational argument, we can convince people of the worthiness of marriage and family life more effectively than by argument alone. Anna Karenina is an example of how to do this. It beckons the reader to choose the better path, contrasting the destructive adultery of Vronsky and Anna with Levin and Kitty’s enchanting journey into the life of married love.
Despite Andrew Koppelman’s good-faith efforts, he has not accurately stated important, fundamental convictions of religious liberty proponents concerning the character of moral reasoning and the nature of law.
Andrew Koppelman surely is correct that a same-sex couple must find it humiliating and embarrassing to be turned away from a wedding vendor. He is also right that the costs of using public law to remedy such indignities are significant, especially for the conscientious owners whose livelihoods are at stake. So, what to do? What we need is an institution that is capable of resolving these fraught disputes on a case-by-case basis. Fortunately, the common law provides such institutions.
Individuals who are victims of abuses against their fundamental human rights can and should be defended and protected using existing human rights laws and norms, regardless of their race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, or any other distinguishing characteristic. UN member states and human rights advocates alike should work to promote and protect fundamental, natural human rights, not redefine or eliminate rights based on their particular policy preferences.
While I do not intend to vote for Biden, I am adamant that a Christian may in good conscience vote for him so long as it is not because of the evils he supports. Recognizing this fact is crucial for those who care about Christian witness in a fallen world. When our moral witness becomes entirely tied to prudential political judgments, we swap our faith in a transcendent redeeming God who offers us salvation for a politician or party who promises to create heaven on earth.
Soviet misunderstandings of the market were replicated as misunderstandings of the family—with damaging and dehumanizing consequences. Though Soviet family policy has mercifully ended, it is still worthwhile to examine its central ideas, because they live on today in Western family policy.
While both presidential candidates have changed their views on abortion over the past decades, their actions in recent years clarify the direction that they would likely take while in office. President Trump has maintained a consistent pro-life record in office that affects the regulations of various executive agencies and American leadership on the world stage. On the other hand, former Vice President Biden has moved to support his party’s current position of actively promoting federal funding for the abortion industry and cementing abortion as a constitutional right.
“One Billion Americans” is more than a cheeky provocation. It is a reflection on what it might take to restore American vitality, and the policy steps needed to get us there.
In an era of new options, more choices, greater temptations, high expectations, consistent anxiety, and endemic uncertainty, nothing about the process of marrying can be taken for granted—even among those belonging to a faith that has long encouraged it. In an era of independence, intentionally becoming interdependent seems increasingly risky.

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