At the UN, Conservative Christian Agenda Cloaked in Human Rights Language

If you had wandered into the hall on that afternoon of Friday, September 12, you might have been forgiven for assuming that you were witnessing a ceremony commemorating the Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted 25 years ago (and still awaiting ratification by Somalia, South Sudan, and the United States of America).

In the spacious Room XXIII of the Palais des Nations, home of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, six pre-adolescent children were declaiming a text that sounded very human-rights-ish, with articles—one for each youth—on protecting, respecting, and establishing a number of things.

But if you had listened carefully, everything would have started to sound a bit off.

The text being read was in fact not the 1989 human rights treaty but instead  “A Declaration on the Rights of Children and Their Families: A Call From the Children of the World.” The subject of the event was not as the protection of children as such but the “protection of the family,” and the non-governmental organization hosting it was called the UN Family Rights Caucus.

Discourse about the family is now the fulcrum of a major struggle over the human rights of sexual and gender minorities at the UN. In this struggle, American conservatives are claiming ground globally that they are losing locally in the national shift towards marriage equality.

Do it for the families

The rhetoric of the “Declaration on the Rights of Children and Their Families” is crafty, if not particularly well-crafted. Its six brief articles constitute a mash-up of the sort of language found in aspirational or non-binding resolutions, such as those routinely debated and passed at the Human Rights Council, and the distinct sort of language appropriate to legally binding treaties—referring to nation-state “parties” to the agreement, of which there are of course none in this case.

The contents of the Declaration, as well as its pseudo-legal tone, reveal it immediately as a polemic. It supplies us with a primer on the ongoing rhetorical appropriation of human rights discourse on the family by U.S. conservative activists and a coalition of UN member states, helpfully condensed onto three handsome sheets of parchment paper.

The “right to life” in Article I extends to unborn life:

Whereas the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before, as well as after birth.

Article II, “Each Child has the Right to a Family,” draws on canonical language from the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR):

Recognizing that the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

In Article III we learn that this right to a family is “the right to a married mother and father.”:

Recognizing that children and youth who reside in a stable, intact family with a married mother and father, generally exhibit greater well-being in every measurable indicator including physically, socially, emotionally, economically and academically; and that the child shall have the right, as far as possible, to know and be cared for by his or her parents (CRC Art. 7);

We call upon States Parties and the United Nations system to discourage sexual relations and childbearing outside of the marital bond, and to promote the institution of marriage as the best environment for children.

The article on religion is noteworthy for affirming a positive “Right to a Religion”—in contrast to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, the standard in accepted international instruments. Here again, the Declaration cites the UDHR but omits its crucial inclusion of the “freedom to change” belief and highlights “the right of parents to guide the moral and religious education of their children.”

Thus, it exemplifies one conservative response to the challenge of children’s rights of conscience: to subordinate them utterly to the rights of parental autonomy.

International law wonks may note that in embracing the rights of “the family” and the rights of children to faith-based and faithful heterosexual parents, the Family Rights Caucus is contradicting two common conservative impulses when it comes to human rights. The first is to reject so-called collective rights. Rights are said to belong to individual persons, not to collective entities such as families, except in the derivative sense that individuals are entitled by their individual rights to be in collectivities in various ways.

The other conservative impulse is to reject so-called positive rights, rights that are said to place a heavy burden on states to provide something to the rights-holders (in contrast to negative rights, which merely obligate states to refrain from interfering in their exercise). The positive-negative distinction is often mapped onto the distinction between supposedly positive social, economic, and cultural rights and supposedly negative civil and political rights— a flashpoint since the Cold War confrontation between communism and the capitalist democracies. (For a succinct critique of this mapping, see Jack Donnelly, Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice.)

Perhaps unwittingly, the Declaration’s take on children’s rights would obligate states to do no less than to provide two hetero guardians for all children and to prevent these parents from straying either from each other or from the bosom of Abraham—positive rights that apparently God himself cannot satisfy.

Appropriating human rights

Who is the UN Family Rights Caucus? I asked Michael De Dora, who was at the Human Rights Council in his capacity as the UN representative for the Washington-based secularist NGO Center for Inquiry (full disclosure: a position I once held). He pointed me to co-moderator, Sharon Slater, a conservative Mormon who is notorious among progressives for her globetrotting activism against LGBTQ equality and public health policies that include condom use.

Slater’s Family Watch International (FWI) has been deeply involved in promoting abstinence-and fidelity-only initiatives in Uganda and has praised Nigeria—where same-sex couples can face up to 14 years in prison or stoning at the hands of Sharia courts—as “a strong role model” for other regional governments “on how to hold on to their family values despite intense international pressure.”

The Human Rights Campaign has reported that FWI’s annual, invitation-only global policy forum for UN delegates often includes testimonials from people “cured” of “homosexuality” by conversion therapy. According to FWI literature, “so-called ‘homosexual rights’ are driving much of the current worldwide assault on marriage, the family and family related issues.”

Nevertheless, the Caucus’ discourse linking the family to children’s rights and global developmental is not without scholarly and evidentiary respectability. At the Geneva symposium, a former dean of the J. Reuben Law School at Brigham Young University (and a Mormon elder), Bruce C. Hafen, presented a sophisticated analysis of the Convention on the Rights of the Child—which even sympathetic commentators concede is a conceptual mess.

And W. Bradford Wilcox presented empirical research linking family characteristics with important measures of child health and wellbeing. Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, may be familiar to many readers for his frequent contributions to the Atlantic and Slate, in which he offers evidence-based arguments for the economic and social benefits of two-parent married households.

FWI has been a major player in the push to insert protection of the family—the traditional family—into what are called the UN’s post-2015 development goals, the successor to the Millennium Development Goals. The group’s website declared victory with the adoption of a resolution on the protection of the family at the 26th session of the Human Rights Council. During the debate, a representative of the Caucus sparred with a representative of Amnesty International over the inclusion of ‘various forms of the family’ in the language.

The amendment was defeated by a “no action” procedural rule late in the debate and the resolution passed with support from a coalition of twenty-six nations including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China, India, Venezuela, Russia, and the African Group. Opposing the resolution were Austria, Chile, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Montenegro, Korea, Romania, UK, and the United States.

Reprisals are expected during the current session of the Council. The positioning of “the family” as the best protector of children’s health and rights is the latest in a large-scale and ongoing appropriation of human rights rhetoric in the service of global campaigns against the rights of sexual and gender minorities—rights that are far from secure in international law.

  • NancyP

    So where’s the outrage over polygyny, whether orthodox Islamic or traditional animist? Where are the rights of children to believe in Christ rather than in the religion of their father, the man owning the household? Where’s the outrage over child marriage, over failure to educate girl children, over failure to protect children from being sexually used and abused by their father or other senior men in the extended family? I thought not…

  • Neraly Normal Frederick

    I think you will find that W Bradford Wilcox is a member of that charming completely misogynist outfit called Opus Dei, the serious members of which practice bodily mortification on a daily basis. Such a practice is deeply psychotic, a grotesque form of double-minded sex and body negative puritanism.
    Personally I would not let my children come anywhere near such people

  • cranefly

    “Recognizing that the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society…”

    What in God’s hell does this even mean? Seriously. I don’t know what this means.

  • ngatchou

    one to one for one from one the right gate we for the world justice constitutions. this to end the crise are injustly take place to nations.
    so this have to stope. we for it. welcome to the understanding. Thank’s lot.

  • Corey

    Do children in one parent families have less rights than those with two parents? As its estimated that 50% of all heterosexual marriages end in divorce, it seems any argument that would support any success of child rearing via an “intact” heterosexual marriage is hardly worth the trouble. Too bad the USA doesn’t stand behind all its own tax paying law abiding citizens. That aside, the UN has no power over US law, not does the International Court for that matter. Ironically, the same people that generally demonize both of those, being conservatives, would welcome them with open arms if there were a hint of support for anything anti-LGBT. I may have missed this in my reading, but were there any LGBT married couples or “families” there? It seems there should be it.

  • Aravis Tarkheena

    To be fair, this is hardly a new or an evangelical idea. It’s at the beginning of Aristotle’s “Politics”, a foundational text in the Western political theory.

    The family is the most basic–in the sense of fundamental–social unit. Aristotle argues that larger scale social organizations — the village, town, and eventually City-state — are developments from that most fundamental unit.

    Aristotle would have also agreed with the idea that it is the most fundamental *natural* unit, in the sense that it is the ground from which human society *literally* springs, via reproduction. (For Aristotle, human beings are inherently social animals.)

    I’m not giving any credence to they myriad idiotic inferences that evangelicals and others may draw from this point, but the point itself does not strike me as particularly controversial.

  • Dean

    Wonder if abortion would fall under this new definition of “Family” rights?

  • Frank6548

    Children deserve both a mother and a father, purposefully not providing them this basic need and right is nothing short of child abuse.

  • fiona64

    So, more nonsense from the religious right who a) do not understand the difference between a zygote and an infant, b) want to demonize single-parent and same-sex parent families for no reason other than animus, and c) demonstrate their desire for a world-wide Dominionist/Reconstructionist order.

    These people need to seriously STFU and stop pretending that their hate is based on Jesus’ teachings.

  • fiona64

    Obviously not, since they want to afford rights to zygotes.

    Zygotes, you see, are people.

    Women, not so much. Women don’t need rights. /snark

  • Studies have shown repeatedly that children thrive in a family regardless of the gender of the parents, their marital status, or any situation where the children feel safe, secure, and loved. Unfortunately for these conservatives, they only see and hear what they want to hear, and quite frankly, most of their children are far more messed up than those from other families. Their children show a level of blind ignorance and obedience that borders on the obscene in many instances, and I have seen far too many of these conservatives who abuse their children using the Bible as justification.

    Children learn things like love, tolerance, compassion, and peace from their parents’ examples. They learn about trust and honesty and honor. They should also be taught how to mind their own business and recognize when their rights are actually threatened and when they are not. I am always reminded of a song from “South Pacific” when the young officer is explaining to the French plantation owner why he cannot marry the Polynesian girl. He sings “We are careful taught to hate”, and with conservatives and what they teach, this is far too often the case.

    Children need love and understanding and respect, something I seldom find in the homes of conservatives. That they would use people to support their arguments are highly prejudiced is not surprising, but that the UN would even give them any kind of platform is disturbing. But, I guess everyone should have their say in any argument, as long as no one gets hurt. This group however seems intent on not only hurting children, but demonizing those that they love, regardless of gender or marital status. I guess when your whole life is poison, you just cannot help spreading it around.

    I am waiting for the strong, honest Christians who do not preach hate and death to stand up, though. Until then, I am afraid we are all in for a very difficult and dangerous era of conservative hate and death.

    Rev. Devon J. Noll
    New Word Universal Fellowship Church
    http://www.newworduniversalfellowship.org

  • Succinct and to the point! Excellent.

  • Harry Underwood

    English, please?

  • Harry Underwood

    Your statement is about as useful and meaningful as Whitaker’s mantra.

  • NavyBlues05

    Many children deserve many things but when reality steps in and removes one parent, the children suddenly become defiled and condemned. Why?

  • NavyBlues05

    Is the man married?

  • Why do God’s followers feel that they need deception and weaseling to spread his influence? Why don’t they just go to the UN and say “WE NEED TO FORCE GOD INTO CHILDREN’S LIVES”, and let God work his will from there?

  • Jim Reed

    They are pawns in the religion wars.

  • Jim Reed

    Why do God’s followers feel that they need deception and weaseling to spread his influence?

    The Lord’s followers work in mysterious ways.

    Why don’t they just go to the UN and say …

    The UN is the beast of the book of Revelation. (maybe)

  • Jim Reed

    We’re all doing what we can. America is deeply divided now, so it is limited how much we can help anyone else.

  • cranefly

    You’re right. It should be a priority to make sure women have comprehensive health care, including birth control. We can’t have them dying in childbirth, leaving their other children motherless.

  • Frank6548

    No not at all. Stuff happens. But to willingly deny them both a mother and father is nothing short of child abuse.

  • Frank6548

    Women are free to choose to use the brith control of their choice and pay for it. Condoms are usually free.

  • cranefly

    Tell that to Mississippi.

    Where on earth do you live, where condoms are free? Do you live at a college campus student activities fair? That would explain a lot.

  • cranefly

    I should have known Aristotle was behind it. He seems to be behind a lot of bad ideas that Christians have clung to. Justifications for slavery and misogyny, geocentrism… Yet the Christian right seem to disagree with his opinion that family springs naturally, feeling that it needs to be imposed by the State.

    I have a problem with the point because “family” could mean anything, but they are using it as code for a very narrow, privileged, questionably-natural “ideal.” And they’re using it as a weapon against other families.

  • Aravis Tarkheena

    Aristotle is not specific as to the definition of “family.”

    Aristotle is one of the best philosophers of antiquity. If we judge ancient thinkers by modern standards, none will hold up, and we all will be the more impoverished for it. The bad uses of an ancient source do not preclude the possibility of good uses.

  • cranefly

    I agree. My biggest problem with Aristotle is the way he is used by Catholicism, which is not exactly his fault.

  • Frank6548

    CondomfinderDOTorg

    Almost all local governments give away free condoms.

    You are wrong again.

  • cranefly

    Nice of you to help us all out by posting a website that generates the nearest Planned Parenthood. According to that website, the nearest free condoms are a long drive away. Gas isn’t free.

    P.S. Have you ever been to Planned Parenthood, or other charity health clinic? They don’t give you a lifetime supply. “Free condoms” usually means a little candy bowl of condoms in the waiting room. It’s kind of a gimmick. Anyone who gets all their reproductive healthcare needs met by a candy bowl an hour’s drive away probably doesn’t have
    enough sex for a healthy marriage.

  • Frank6548

    There are plenty of free condoms out there if you want them. No one is keeping birth control from anyone who wants it.

  • NavyBlues05

    Define willingly, please.
    How is it nothing short of child abuse? Define that as well.

  • NavyBlues05

    Teachers in public schools are being prevented from teaching young men how to use these “free” condoms. And outside the military and the politically shuttered family planning centers, where the heck have you seen free condoms distributed? Men got free condoms on base, they weren’t allowed to give them to women…especially overseas. And I just can’t see churchy folks teaching their churched up males how to correctly use a condom…without sexually abusing them.

  • Labataille

    Thank you for the level-headed, intelligent response. At the end of the day – if a child grows up learning to be a good member of society and being shown love (sometimes tough!) and feels secure, will that child ever question if his/her parents are married or what their status is?

  • Labataille

    So we have to ask every child of a single-parent household about their circumstances. If their mother died and they are left with their father, they are okay – we don’t have to defile and treat them like something is wrong with them. We also will not classify them as abused. However, if a a child has two moms, this child shall be treated as a pariah and we can assume they are an abused child. Similarly, if a woman has a child but the father is no involved, that child shall be treated differently by us in society.

    This is the logic of the right.

  • Frank6548

    Try to pay attention.

    To willingly bring a child into the world without ensuring they have a mother and a father is child abuse. It’s about the adults and what they want, not what the child needs.

    Nothing was said about treating the victim (the child) any different.

    The selfishness is pitiful.

  • Frank6548

    Willingly means willingly. If you are not married as man and woman then bringing a child into the mix is abuse. Children deserve to have both their father and mother involved in their life.

  • Frank6548

    Oh please.

  • Labataille

    I see where I mixed a few comments together when responding. Apologies. I understand the selfishness view (I feel the same way about couples who choose to do fertility treatments rather than accepting that they are not meant to reproduce and should adopt children). However, I do stop short of calling people who want a child as being abusive. There are just too many examples of people who have kids (in two parent, hetero households) who couldn’t care less about those kids. Why would that be better than a same-sex couple having a kid they actually want or a single parent providing a home for a kid they actually want?
    At the end of the day, all this proves is that we cannot make blanket statements that say a household is better JUST because it has a mother and a father. Everything depends on the circumstances.

  • Frank6548

    It’s ok it’s hard to keep track of things on comment boards.

    No doubt that there are many people who have kids who shouldn’t but that in no way makes it ok for others to bring a child into a situation without a mother or father. The reason it takes both a man and a woman to make a child shows that a loving father and mother are what children deserve. Adding another opportunity to not provide what a child needs is not the answer. Using a child to make the abnormal appear normal is also absurd and abusive.

  • NavyBlues05

    You still haven’t defined how it’s child abuse.
    Also, who or what authority identifies this as abuse and adjudicates each case?

  • Frank6548

    If you can’t understand why it’s important for a child to have both a mother and a father and think denying them this basic right is not abusive I don’t know what else to say.

  • phatkhat

    Bwahahahahaha! Not if you live in the Bible Belt, Bucko! If you live in that repressive, Southern, ultra-conservative, tea-partying part of the country that you want to see spread to everywhere, there aren’t any free condoms, especially not from the local gub’mint.

  • phatkhat

    Oh, please, right back atcha.

  • NavyBlues05

    Children born out of wedlock are repeatedly subjected to negatively biased treatment in this country. They’re marginalized in my community constantly and have been for decades. I see more positive productivity from single parent families than I do from “intact religiously normative” families.

  • Frank6548

    That’s just not true. A simple search for S Carolina condoms revealed….

    The South Carolina Contraceptive Access Campaign, a project of New Morning Foundation in partnership with Advocates for Youth, works to ensure that teens and young adults have the information, skills, and services they need to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy and STDs, including HIV. We work in four metropolitan areas in SC: Greenville, Spartanburg, Columbia and Charleston.

    The main goal of the Initiative is to ensure that young people know everything they need to know about sexual health, including where they can get birth control and condoms in their communities.

  • Frank6548

    Good one! :rolleyes

  • Frank6548

    Once Again the fact that children are abused does not make it ok to add another form of abuse and say it’s ok.

  • phatkhat

    To willingly bring a child into the world knowing you can’t feed him/her is more like abuse. But good Catholics and evangelicals do it all the time, because BC and abortion are shunned.

    Kids need love and security. Period. If a single person or a gay couple can provide it, then fine. Many kids in two-parent households ARE abused – mentally, physically, and sometimes sexually. Pretending that is not the case is being willfully blind.

    Also, there are no RELIABLE studies that indicate that children in gay households are any less secure, loved, and well-adjusted than kids from hetero households.

  • JoyceArthur

    This is a very good article, thank you. However, I do object to the total exclusion of women via the repeated phrase “sexual and gender minorities.” Women are not a minority. It makes the article appear strangely one-sided and missing a major point, as if only the rights of children and LGBT people are at stake, when we know the Christian Right is largely focused on opposing women’s rights.

  • NavyBlues05

    It’s Not Abusive. It’s Not A Right. What’s abusive is the meddlesome tendency of conformists to point out their differences thus marking them for collective abuse from society. By your logic, it behooves any widow/er to remarry as soon as possible or face labels “charges” of abuse by people such as yourself. There are a quite few military widows and widowers near my town who would tell you to pound sand. One family of note couldn’t afford to have a man marry their mother, she would have lost a great deal of benefits putting the new family into serious financial constraints.
    I grew up watching this happen in the south. I watched my father and uncle endure all sorts of crap that carried over from their youth during The Depression. You know who heaped on the most abuse, the church goers and hide bound conformists.

  • Frank6548

    Stop embarrassing yourself. So you’d rather kill the child? Pitiful.

    There are more than enough studies done that prove children do better with a loving mother and father.

  • Frank6548

    I am not sure we are having the same conversation.

  • NavyBlues05

    Well, they are prevented. Sex Ed was part of the mandatory PhysEd/Health class. Religious exemptions were the only way to avoid them. Certain topics were discussed in single gender classes. In towns heavily control by religious entities…well, let’s just say that I had several friends who were suddenly whisked away in shame to an “aunt” for about 10 months… or a month. A Baptist led orphanage was home to a lot of kids labeled as un-adoptable (race) in my part of the south.

  • phatkhat

    And then they tell them they will go to hell if they use them, LOL. But those are urban areas. Rural areas are much more fundamentalist and repressive.

  • NavyBlues05

    Yes, they most certainly are.
    Birth Control for women is expensive and often unattainable. I was in the military and was challenged frequently on why I was using birth control pills…until they saw how anemic I was without them. It seems that a medical necessity for hormonal treatment (birth control medication) flies right over the head of many. OTC at a Walmart drug store display case just won’t cut it for some women and could end up killing them. You DO know of the inefficacy of condoms, right? It’s greater than birth control pills.

  • phatkhat

    And a lot of those Baptist orphanages have been exposed for child abuse, too. Southern Baptists remain biased against those who are not lily white – unless they stay in their own segregated churches, of course.

  • NavyBlues05

    It is neither abusive nor a right for a child to have both a mother and father.

  • NavyBlues05

    “How” is it a form of abuse? Identify, name, label the abuse they suffer.

  • NavyBlues05

    BINGO!

  • phatkhat

    The military can be very patriarchal. Back in the 80s I had a devil of a time getting my tubes tied. My (female) gyn was okay with it, of course, but the male surgeon wanted my (estranged) husband to sign that he was okay with it. One would hope we have advanced since then, but it appears not.

  • Frank6548

    We all want the best of everything. We get what we can afford and adjust our behavior accordingly. That’s maturity.

    If your doctor writes you a prescription for a medical condition it should be covered. Birth control itself however is not a medical condition.

  • phatkhat

    It’s not a child, Frank, it’s an embryo, in most cases. It has no brain, and therefore is only technically “alive”, and is NOT viable. Very few abortions are done after viability, and those are almost always because a) the woman’s health/life is at risk or b) because the fetus is afflicted with some fatal abnormality.

    Studies show that children do better with love and security. Studies showing that hetero parents are better than gay parents have been debunked.

  • Frank6548

    A child’s primary education is the responsibility of the parents not the state.

  • Frank6548

    There may be less choices in rural areas that’s true. But free condoms are still available to people who want them.

  • NavyBlues05

    If you site the Regenerus study in any of your references, you’ve lost your argument. He survey results were heavily influenced by the Heritage Foundations. His peers shotgunned his methodology as unsound.

  • Frank6548

    Of course it’s a right. It’s how children get created, it what’s children deserve and it’s in their best interests. Honestly I am stunned that anyone would argue about this. I guess selfishness is a strong force against reason.

  • Frank6548

    Really? As I said if you don’t understand I don’t know I what else to say. Thankfully many do understand and will fight for the rights of children.

  • Frank6548

    And if you are going to,trot out the SS parenting studies they are invalidated as well.

    This is joke.

  • phatkhat

    I think maybe it is a google translation into English. They are notoriously bad. A lot of people, myself included, can read and understand other languages, but cannot speak or write them.

  • Frank6548

    You couldn’t more wrong and the facts support it.

    Stop being so selfish!

  • NavyBlues05

    Birth control is prescription medication that addresses a medical need. The VA refused to continue my B/C due to my age (wise) but REFUSED to address the reason I needed them. Cost me $1400 to get the IUD that corrected the anemia. VA, Medicare, and Tricare refused to accept the medical need as determined by a licensed OB/Gyn.

    Getting what you can afford and adjusting behavior accordingly creates the chronic conditions that surface repeatedly in ERs.

  • NavyBlues05

    Wrong, it’s also on the local community where they reside. Unless of course if they’re in the Quiverfull or Warren Jeffs cults that believe in abject isolation.

  • Frank6548

    In certain circumstances the hormones and devices that are used for birth control have other medical uses. I have no problem with that.

    However if you are looking for birth control you are free to pay for it.

  • Frank6548

    The parents have the primary responsibility of care and education of their children. Are you really arguing this point?

    And leave off the irrelevant, albeit deserved jabs at others. It weakens your position.

  • NavyBlues05

    How they get created has nothing to do with hetero-normative family construction standards determined by man.
    Selfishness? Lost me on that one.
    I argue about it because the irresponsible behavior by adults that results in the delivery of a child doesn’t in and of itself constitute abuse if one of those adults is absent throughout the child’s life.
    There are no empirical studies/surveys to support this. The efficacy of Same Sex parenting hasn’t been addressed by the scientific community long enough to produce the adequate data for comparative analysis. This a newly recognized and semi accepted demographic in the field of sociology.

  • NavyBlues05

    What SS parenting studies? There aren’t any because society norms demand hetero normative family constructs. Anything out of the norms is quickly labeled as something negative and to be castigated.

  • NavyBlues05

    I most certainly understand abuse, you have no idea how much I do.
    Family construct plays no role in the type of abuse heaped upon innocent children.
    Hetero-normative family construct fails repeatedly to protect children from sexual abuse, mental cruelty, physical assaults…etc, etc.

  • NavyBlues05

    I partially agreed with you. Parent(s) do have the primary responsibility of educating their offspring. Depending on the state, parent(s) are required to do no more than feed, clothe, and house their offspring.

  • Frank6548

    There is very little data, an extremely small sample size to draw any conclusion that SS parenting is a good thing. Anyone who trots that out appears desperate.

    There is millennia of data proving father, mother, child families are the best for children. No getting around that.

  • Frank6548

    No people refuse to protect children. It’s not the blame of the normal and best practice of a father-mother-child family.

    You are appearing more and more desperate to affirm your unsupported opinions.

  • Frank6548

    Oh there out there. Meaningless but people do try and use them to “prove” their fallacious opinions.

  • NavyBlues05

    Could you give a hint as to where I may read of these studies? As I stated earlier, the Regenerus study was deemed flawed by his peers at the Texas university where he conducted it. Funding for the study came from a heavily biased source, too…the Heritage Foundation. That was another factor in determining the validity of this survey.

  • NavyBlues05

    Oh… okay. Quit stomping your feet kid.
    I have worked directly with parents and children for over 30 years. The last three have been as a disabled retiree dealing with intact families who cannot seem to keep it together for the sake of the kids. One family taken in was same sex…they got jobs and got back on to their feet again. Very loving family and well adjusted kids.
    The majority of the other families were single mothers, single dads, and hetero couples…talk about dysfunctional idiots. I had to step in and help the kids via social workers and teachers. It was the hetero-normative idiots that gave the the most difficulties. Domestic assaults, dangerously neglected children, repeated drug arrests, sex offender registered scum but they stay married ’cause as you say…children have the right to a mom and a dad…who happen to be the source of their misery.

  • Frank6548

    Regenerus’ study still stands despite the attempts to discredit it.

    Here is a sample of what’s out there.

    Glenn T. Stanton, Why Marriage Matters: Reason to Believe in Marriage in Postmodern Society, (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1997);
    David Popenoe, Life Without Father, (New York; The Free Press, 1996);
    Sara McLanahan and Gary Sandefur, Growing Up With a Single Parent: What Helps, What Hurts, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1994)

    Cohabitation, Marriage, and Child Wellbeing: A Cross-National Perspective

    David Popenoe

  • Frank6548

    Good for you. I mean that!

    Once again your illogical conclusions fail. The fact that abuse exists does not open the door to make a different kind of abuse ok. And you are working with troubled families to begin with. It’s just not relevant as to the truth that kids deserve both a mother and father.

  • NavyBlues05

    It’s small amount of empirical data that undermines the declaration that only hetero-normative parenting succeeds.

    Millennium of data? Um where might this data be located? I’m really interested in reading this. Thousands of years worth of data…has it been digitized yet? Are the authors known?

  • Frank6548

    I posted some already but really I can’t believe you are arguing this. Do you have a personal stake in the issue? I do not.

  • NavyBlues05

    Some interesting reading… if you’re open to reading it, that is.
    http://www.aamft.org/imis15/aamft/Content/Consumer_Updates/Same-sex_Parents_and_Their_Children.aspx

  • Frank6548

    That’s a great example where the conclusion doesn’t fit the data. It will take several generations or more to be able to come to any reliable conclusions.

    It was not that long ago that we really started to see the damage of divorce in children after decades of data.

  • Tony Thompson

    Women are not a minority in numbers but due to marginalization, discrimination, & oppression women are a social minority.

  • Judith Maxfield

    My reaction:
    What’s with that photo of the kids? Looks like it was taken in Kansas – very mayonnaise-like of healthy white kids – oh, complete with a male speaker. Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore. The world is made up of many family and community types, many without enough food or economic security. Most are not white. BTW: There are economic and survival issues that cause women/girls to be in marriages. It could be cultural, but many are also for mere survival.
    This is true in parts of Africa. ( Its also true for Africans who are LGBT, as explained by a visiting African Anglican Bishop to us white Christians here in Monterey CA.) How insulting to prop up post colonial views on the world.

  • Rmj

    You also have to understand Aristotle didn’t mean “nuclear” family. In Rome, for example, “family” was a large group, and included what we call in-laws, as well as servants. And then there’s the whole idea of who is in charge of the family, who has a voice in the family, etc., etc., etc. Some of that goes into Paul’s “house churches,” which were usually truly in houses, and included a lot of people connected to a “house” in a sense we wouldn’t accept at all today (for Paul it was more like a modern apartment house, where everyone was either related to everyone else by blood, or by marital and business ties).

    “Family” is not a unitary concept applicable across all cultures and times, even if we use the same word whenever we speak of it or translate Aristotle.

  • Frank6548

    Holds up mirror….

  • Harry Underwood

    *Looks at mirror* Bitch, I look ***flawless! 🙂

  • cranefly

    I think we’re on the same page. It makes sense to me, for a philosopher like Aristotle to observe what Aravis pointed out: That people naturally come forth in “families,” and go somewhere from there, especially if family can be defined in the various expansive ways you describe. The Christian polemics described in the article seem to be arguing the opposite point, apparently afraid that families won’t come forth (properly) unless forced by the government. I can’t imagine being so fearful that “society” might embrace diverse kinds of families, or trusting the government (of all things) to regulate family relationships. I would probably get angry just thinking about it, if I weren’t too bewildered at the very idea.

    It’s trippy to ponder the notion that the nuclear family is society’s “unit.” I am an adult with no children and divorced parents in another state. I haven’t belonged to a nuclear family for many years, and I have no real power to change that. Am I not part of society? Should I still be allowed to vote, then, according to them? This rhetoric doesn’t just marginalize certain kinds of families, it erases the individual person as an independent “unit” with rights of his or her own. It subordinates every human relationship and stage in life to optimal breeding potential. I can’t wrap my head around it. I want to hear someone to defend this monstrous idea beyond the smokescreen of soundbites.

  • All things being equal (which they often are not)…children do best when they have a mother and a father. A female …and a male. Kids do better with both.

  • Frank6548

    Funny!

  • The refusal to actually use real science is only matched by their refusal to accept other cultural practices, most significantly the many kinds of family extant in the world.. This is infuriating. I get so tired of ignorance masquerading as morality.

  • I just want to point out that in most cases, a gay couple will adopt rather than create new life. The kids would be left in an orphanage otherwise and I hope you agree a gay couple who actually want a child is a better option than leaving the child in an orphanage!

    Apart from that though, an Australian study recently showed children in same-sex families were doing fine. I can’t remember the details but I’m sure you can find it if you’re interested.

  • Frank6548

    A gay couple cannot produce life as a couple.

    There is not enough data to make any conclusions yet but all children deserve both a mother and a father. I am not sure kids would be better in a gay home than in a good orphanage while waiting for a mother and a father,

  • CelestialTones

    Well said, Reverend! They also forget about how many of the children born in these ‘traditional’ families are LGBT!!! So if they are really about protecting children…they are sure doing a crappy job of it….
    ~An LDS Christian who cares about children and his LGBT brothers and sisters, as well as the numbers of LGBT youth who are trying to take their own lives because of family, religious, and community rejection.
    http://familyproject.sfsu.edu/family-videos
    http://mormonsbuildingbridges.org/

  • R

    I think that when they said gender minorities, they meant transgender people and nonbinary people.

  • DC10

    Wow folks the world has changed that’s for sure – There is a lot of hate here towards Christians – how understanding and open minded of the posters here – not to be like those bigoted Christian folk since they are all so backward and archaric in their thinking – And damn them all for saying the Family unt should be one man and one women. Those Christian are so intolerant of everything… Not unlike this article, or the posters here – Yikes, and pretend there is mirrior here if you can… :O)