There’s so much more to caregiving than government ‘support’ – Mero Moment, 7/8/14

elderlyThis post is a transcript of a 4-minute weekly radio commentary aired on several Utah radio stations.

Big-government advocates at AARP tell us that Utah ranks dead last in support for family caregivers. To be clear, AARP means that Utah ranks dead last in providing government support for family caregivers. A claim to which most Utahns would respond, “Well, isn’t that the cultural point of family caregiving?” We care for our own loved ones for a variety of reasons, including that most of us feel as if caring for our elderly parents and relatives is our personal responsibility.

The AARP research isn’t news. It’s politics. They admit that 89 percent of adults with disabilities in Utah are satisfied with their quality of life. Nearly every solution AARP has to the genuine needs of elderly Americans involves your tax dollars.

I was 26 years old when I asked to be and was appointed legal guardian for my disabled sister, my only sibling. I remember our small two-bedroom apartment in Provo back then. I was a student at BYU. My sister shared a bedroom with our two young daughters. When our son was born, we put his crib in the living room. We sacrificed to care for her.

Today, my elderly parents and my sister live with us. Mom is at a rehabilitation facility due to a broken hip. Dad has dementia and my sister has developed even more health complications. My wife and I live in our basement because my parents and sister can’t go up and down steps. Caregiving is what we do. We feed them. We shop for them. We handle their finances. We drive them to appointments. We keep them company. We have their health care proxies.

I think I can speak confidently for all family caregivers when I say – we’re exhausted. My wife and I hardly have time for each other. Family caregivers do need support but not like AARP thinks.

Here’s the support we could use. Read more

Self-selected sample sinks same-sex study

iStock_000002098320MediumAn Australian study about the well-being of children in families headed by same-sex couples has been seized upon as an indication that the children benefit from an ungendered structure that creates “a more harmonious family unit … therefore feeding on to better health and well-being.”

But wait a minute, and look deeper.

In addition to the problem of comparing children to the general population rather than children raised by married couples, you have the problem of a sample recruited through gay and lesbian media and events, and the problem that results are reported only by the parents.

Here are some other things we noticed looking at the actual study. The mean age of participants is 5.12 and the median age is 4. That doesn’t give us many years to pick up differences. Unfortunately, the study doesn’t report the corresponding demographics for the comparison group.

The number of children in the sample born while the current relationship is ongoing also seems much higher than is generally the case where far higher percentages of children of same-sex couples were conceived in a previous relationship.

The measures used seem to focus on physical health which (especially at the young age of the participants) would not seem to be very responsive to parenting, unless asthma is caused by parents. (The most touted value, “family cohesion,” is not defined.)

In an article for the Witherspoon Institute’s Public Discourse website pointing out the problem with the study’s methodology, social scientist Mark Regnerus writes:

[T]his non-random sample reflects those who actively pursued participating in the study, personal and political motivations included. In such a charged environment, the public—including judges and media—would do well to demand better-quality research designs, not just results they approve of.

Snowball sampling doesn’t cut it. When I want to know who’s most apt to win the next election, I don’t ask my friends whom they support. Nor do I field a survey asking interested people to participate. No, I want a random sample of the sort often conducted by Gallup, NORC, or Knowledge Networks.

Another reason for healthy skepticism is that the [study] participants—parents reporting about their children’s lives — are all well aware of the political import of the study topic, and an unknown number of them certainly signed up for that very reason. As a result, it seems unwise to trust their self-reports, given the high risk of “social desirability bias,” or the tendency to portray oneself (or here, one’s children) as better than they actually are.

So our question is this: Will the left and its academics take the path of integrity (dismissing this study because of its methodology) or the path of hypocrisy (embracing this study, despite its methodology, simply because its conclusions fit their ideological paradigm)?

Utah beware! A list of ‘extremists’ and potentially ‘very dangerous’ people at the World Congress of Families

Family_playing_a_board_gameYou may have heard a Human Rights Campaign (HRC) spokesman claim on Utah radio that Sutherland Institute will be bringing 3,000 “extremists” and “very dangerous” people to Utah to attend the ninth World Congress of Families (WCF) next year.

That struck us as an odd and rather irrational claim, given who has attended and spoken at WCF: presidents of nations, religious leaders and people of faith from most major religious denominations, widely published scholars and researchers, high-level government officials, and extraordinary people engaged in helping the less fortunate around the world. While this description evidently leads the HRC to see “extremists,” it reminds us of the majority of mainstream Utah.

In any case, we thought it would be useful to provide a brief list of some past WCF attendees, supporters and speakers. Read more

Sutherland’s amicus brief calls marriage and family ‘pre-political institutions’

Wedding ringsSutherland Institute filed an amicus curiae brief Monday with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in the state’s appeal of Kitchen v. Herbert – the case in which the judge struck down Utah’s Amendment 3, briefly allowing same-sex marriages to be performed.

Judge Robert Shelby wrongly “characterized the ‘goal’ of Utah’s marriage amendment as ‘imposition of inequality’ as if legislators had gathered in a brainstorming session to determine how to harm the chances of same-sex couples, and came up with a thing called marriage to which these couples could be intentionally excluded,” the brief says.

Marriage and family are “pre-political institutions,” it says. “Given that marriage and family are pre-political and not mere instruments of state policy, they are fundamental to a system of ordered liberty …”

“All of this is not to say the state has no role to play in regards to marriage and the family. The state can, and ought to, provide a legal structure for the family to be recognized and it can protect the integrity of that structure.”

Click here to read the full brief.

Why the ‘natural family’ matters to the community

Family beachMany Utahns are asking why, exactly, the “natural family” is so vital.

The short answer is this:

A free society requires formal and broad recognition that the natural family is the fundamental unit of society. Marriage is the cornerstone of the natural family.

Defining marriage as between a man and a woman is the central characteristic of this cornerstone because a man and a woman provide a free society with many vital benefits such as child-bearing and child-rearing.

An equally important benefit comes from the complementarity between a man and a woman – combined, men, women and children are healthier, more prosperous, better educated, happier, more communal and transcendent, and physically safer.

In other words, the natural family promotes limited government; any other “family” formation increases government dependency.

The recent Judge Shelby ruling, on the backs of several Justice Anthony Kennedy rulings, has dethroned the natural family as the fundamental unit of society and replaced the natural family with selfish individualism – meaning these radical court decisions seek to center a free society on any chosen behavior between consenting adults, regardless of the common good and the state interest.

If you believe in limited government within a free society, you would support the natural family as the fundamental unit of society.

For more on the social science research, you can read this report, “Why Marriage Matters,” found here: http://sutherlandinstitute.org/…/why_marriage_matters.pdf

Dodgy social science in the Utah same-sex marriage case

graduationIn their recent submissions to a federal court judge who’s being asked to mandate same-sex marriage in Utah, the plaintiffs included a declaration from a sociologist, Charlotte Patterson, who commonly weighs in on litigation with the message that mothers and fathers are interchangeable. The problem, of course, is that there are now studies with larger sample sizes and employing better methodologies than have been conducted in the past which indicate there are real differences in outcomes for children raised by married mothers and fathers compared to those raised by same-sex couples.

For instance, a very recent Canadian study that suggested poorer educational outcomes for the latter. The plaintiffs’ expert tries to minimize this study.

We asked the author of the Canadian study, Dr. Douglas Allen of Simon Fraser University, for his response to the treatment of his work in the “expert” affidavit. Read on for his response:

Read more

Family and poverty

familypovertyOn Father’s Day 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama spoke at the Apostolic Church in Chicago. He spoke about families and how tragic it is that half of all black children live in single-parent homes. He said this rate had doubled during his lifetime, and he lamented that “fathers have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it.”

The presidential candidate spoke of the societal ills caused by this weakening of the family. It results in poor education, higher crime and rising poverty. His remarks have application to every family of every race in America. The principles of two-parent homes and the advantages they give to children are undeniable.

For instance, in the 1960s the U.S. poverty rate was 13.3 percent. Forty years later, despite huge gains in our national wealth, the rate had only crept downward to 12.8 percent. Many have cited this number as proof that the economy during this time only rewarded the rich or the lucky. But the truth is that the poverty rate decreased dramatically for every single demographic group, no matter how you slice up the numbers. Married, unmarried, children or childless – the poverty rate decreased across the board. So why did the total rate drop so little?

Click here to find out why, and much more, at Utah Citizen Network.

DOMA ruling reveals ultimate goal of "gay rights" activists

Rainbow hat

The following post is a transcript of a 4-minute weekly radio commentary aired on several Utah radio stations.

Recent Supreme Court decisions regarding homosexual rights have confirmed the validity of the old adage that, “The devil always oversteps his bounds.” In the Defense of Marriage case, Justice Anthony Kennedy reminded every Utahn leery of “gay rights” why we’re right to be suspicious. The goal isn’t equality or fairness under the law. The goal is public acceptance of homosexuality.

Justice Kennedy told Americans that all attempts to defend traditional marriage are acts of animus, malice and irrationality. He left no room for exceptions. This is a great lesson for our Utah Legislature to remember when it convenes for the 2014 legislative session and is asked to, once again, support a statewide nondiscrimination law.

Like Justice Kennedy’s opinion, the basis for nondiscrimination laws is one person’s perception that another person is motivated by hatred and bigotry. The proposed Utah law is based on what one person thinks about another person’s thoughts. It assumes any unwitting landlord or employer is guilty until proven innocent if some homosexual doesn’t get his way. It is an unjust and immoral legal construction. Read more

Understanding the “Gay Agenda”: Part 1 – In the Beginning

By design, Ryan White was made the face of AIDS in the 1980s.

By design, Ryan White was made the face of HIV/AIDS in the 1980s.

The following is part 1 of a multi-part series covering some of the history and tactics of the “gay rights” movement.

By the fall of 1987, AIDS was devastating the homosexual community throughout America. The well-documented promiscuity among homosexuals was a breeding ground for what became known as the “gay disease.” Homosexual males at the time comprised more than 95 percent of known cases of AIDS. Deaths of both out and closeted celebrities of HIV-related symptoms were trending in the news. Cover stories about how “Patient Zero,” the infamous and highly promiscuous male flight attendant Gaëtan Dugas, accused of spreading HIV unconscionably, seemed to be the only news at the time. Predictions of a pandemic were voiced through the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.

The truth turned about to be somewhat different. Yes, Africa has been slammed by HIV (not surprising, even within a traditional heterosexual African culture, where anal sex is viewed as a legitimate form of birth control). But America was saved, relatively speaking, from the predicted pandemic. Why? Because HIV always has been primarily a “gay disease” – and there just aren’t that many practicing homosexuals in America (a statement, by the way, known as “The Big Lie” among many homosexual advocates). Yes, needle-using drug addicts have added to those numbers, as have cases of contaminated blood among hemophiliacs. But, by and large, HIV-related illnesses occurred most frequently among homosexuals.

So it was curious in October 1987 that sponsors of the first federal funding bill in the U.S. House of Representatives related to AIDS was titled “The Ryan White Act,” named after a hemophiliac boy who contracted the virus from contaminated blood. Ryan White became the poster child for AIDS in 1987 – not promiscuous homosexual Gaëtan Dugas, but an innocent little boy born with hemophilia. That story played better in Peoria. Read more

‘Feminism has betrayed an entire generation of women’

Rebeccawalker

Rebecca Walker (photo: David Fenton, 2003)

In 2008, the daughter of novelist Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple, wrote about how her mother’s extreme feminism poisoned her life. Rebecca Walker rued her upbringing and praised the happiness that motherhood has now brought her. Her article caused a bit of an uproar at the time.

My mother’s feminist principles coloured every aspect of my life. As a little girl, I wasn’t even allowed to play with dolls or stuffed toys in case they brought out a maternal instinct. It was drummed into me that being a mother, raising children and running a home were a form of slavery. Having a career, travelling the world and being independent were what really mattered according to her. …

Feminism has betrayed an entire generation of women into childlessness. It is devastating.

Five years later, mother and daughter are still estranged, and the original piece by Rebecca Walker is worth reading again.