Shut up, Macron

So the French President stuck his foot in his mouth and stirred up an internet backlash.

‘My Family Is Not the Product of Ignorance’: Harvard Grad and Mom of 8 Takes on French President

The president of France shouldn’t speak for women—and certainly not on how many children they decide to have.

French President Emmanuel Macron recently said, “I always say: ‘Present me the woman who decided, being perfectly educated, to have seven, eight, or nine children.”

“Please present me with the young girl who decided to leave school at 10 in order to be married at 12,” he added during his remarks at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Goalkeepers” event, which was held last month in New York.

Of course, most women agree with Macron on child brides.

But it’s insulting to moms of large families to imply a big family is akin to marrying off children.

I spoke to one such woman, Catherine Ruth Pakaluk, an assistant professor of social research and economic thought at the Catholic University of America, who has eight children—and no regrets about that.

“When I saw [Macron’s] quotation, my first thought was, ‘Hey, wait a second, I exist, and I know lots of people like me that exist,’” Pakaluk, who received her bachelor’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania and her doctorate at Harvard University, told The Daily Signal in an interview.

She added that she thought plenty of moms of large families would share the reaction to Macron of thinking that, “Hey, wait, I exist, and my family is not the product of ignorance.”

Pakaluk also started a hashtag: #PostcardsforMacron, to showcase the big families some educated women choose to have. (See the rest here)

Plenty of moms have contributed pictures of their beautiful large families to #postcardsforMacron.

Macron’s comments about women having “too many” children are stupid for many reasons but the one about girls leaving school too young to marry… projection anyone?  Good grief.  He wasn’t a child bride obviously, but he is young-ish, childless, white, male, and the boy toy of a much older woman — a woman who was a teacher at his school!  He probably should have kept his mouth shut.

Other than incensing all the educated mothers of large families, he also brought on well deserved criticism for his elitist, patronizing attitude.  Only people with degrees are intelligent apparently.

Melody Lyons of the Essential Mother had a perfect response:

I don’t care what the president of France thinks about my motherhood and he doesn’t care what I think. Perhaps I shouldn’t even waste my time with this but I’m not writing for him.

I know that for every highly educated, wildly successful mother-of-many out there (and all the internet posts suggest they are abundant!), there are even more throughout history who are like me…

…A woman who started her family instead of finishing college.

….Who didn’t think the weight of debt was a good trade-off for the value of a degree.

…Who has gained knowledge and experience outside of the popular institutional model.

…Who believes that our creative purpose is not defined by a certificate.

The truth is that civilizations were built on the servant leadership of “uneducated” women who poured their natural gifts into the care of their husbands and children… who have gone on to lead the world.

It is not a weakness of womanhood that we bear this role. It is our genius. JPII said, “To serve is to reign” and those of us who rock the cradle understand this on a deeper level than men.

But the worldly reality is that even if Macron cared about the level of our education or our resumes (he does not), he can always point to the many women like me and say,

“She proves my point.”

I’m not going to play that game with him or the internet because, honestly, I can’t win it. I’m not educated or successful in any way that he specifically means. I also do not buy into his agenda (which is really his issue).

And… it doesn’t matter at all.

At the end of the day, Macron will still think I’m a stupid breeder and I will still have 8 children. Nothing about seeing alphabet soup after my name will ever change his perspective because his point is not really about education… it’s about elitist, narcissistic power, antagonistic to the heart of Jesus Christ.

My own true value as a mother will only ever be weighed correctly by the Power of my God, not by some haughty flash-in-the-pan politician.

To every mother who didn’t participate in the public hashtag event because perhaps you stumbled over your skinny worldly resume…

You are free. You are not defined by men like Macron. He IS talking about you but it doesn’t matter. Neither are you defined by the resume of another woman. They ARE impressive but irrelevant to the genius of your own life.

You are doing it the way the majority of women throughout history have done it. Without fancy modern degrees and accolades. Giving the best part of yourself to your family. Heroically. Quietly. Intelligently. Wisely. Keeper of the flame of love. Guardian of Joy and Faith. Carrying the weight of the restoration of culture on your back.

You don’t owe an explanation to Macron. And when his legacy dies with his mortal body, yours will live on through your children through history and eternity.

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Those Rotten Misogynist Apostles

The Christendom Advocacy and Support Coalition sure likes to put stupid things on Twitter.

CASCmagd

I guess that Thomas though all the other apostles were women then:

Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

This Is Why You NEVER Apologize

You’d think the right thing to do is apologize to someone who got hurt.  It’s a good, Christian thing to do.  Simcha Fisher gets to crow after getting a better apology out of Christendom College following her ghastly posts on the alleged rape epidemic caused by teenagers not being able to hold hands.  Still, it’s not nice to assume that just because there’s serious problems with Fisher’s account that we should assume that these women are lying.  What harm is there to apologize for not doing better?  We can always do better.

But the lesson is there down in the comments:

Any idea then, why he apologized, if they didn’t really fail some of their students?

Apologies are admissions of guilt; it doesn’t matter if you really did anything or not.  Now they’ve got you.  Now they’re calling for the president of the college to resign.  And when he resigns what then?  There’ll be some other demand and another and another.  Until it’s not the same college anymore.  Or it doesn’t exist at all.

A little thing to note: Simcha Fisher is such a good journalist that she links to a rape victim whom she refers to as an “anonymous blogger,” an anonymous blogger whose #MeToo post is signed with her name.  (Archive link just in case.)  That’s some tiptop reporting there, Simcha.

She’s smelled blood in the water and probably the increased traffic from stirring up a controversy.  It’s not over yet:

We are currently working on corroborating seven other stories of sexual assault of Christendom students, including students who are currently enrolled at Christendom. These reports were grossly mishandled by the administration that is still in office.

I wonder… why this college?  Has she been doing this other small, Catholic colleges and I just missed it?  I didn’t see anything about it.  So what’s so special about this particular college that it warrants all this time and attention and “investigative” bloggerism?

The Pro-Life President

Never-Trumpers and Liberal Christians (and even some supposedly Conservative ones) say that Trump isn’t really pro-life because “he’s an immoral jerk!” and “just look at how he treats immigrants!”  They are “upset” and “embarrassed” to have him supporting their cause since he’s actually “bad” or that he’s “just faking it to manipulate voters.”  (News Flash: he doesn’t have to live up to campaign promises; very few politicians bother.)  Despite their pathetic whining and oh-so-convincing reasoning, Trump just might be the best pro-life president we’ve had. 

I saw an intelligent comment about the President’s support of the Pro-life movement.  The gist of it was this: it doesn’t even matter if it’s just “lip-service,” the fact that the President of the United States is willing to reach out and put even verbal support behind the movement is no small thing, and when/if no president is willing to even pay lip-service to the movement, the moral compass of our country is no longer just severely damaged, but entirely gone.

It shows that there are enough people left in the USA that care, enough pro-lifers to be worth speaking to and for.

Plenty of people in the Pro-life movement are happy to have the President’s support and consider it a lot more than just lip-service.  Multiple organizations have lists of Pro-life victories achieved since Trump became president:

Pro-Life Wins During President Donald Trump’s First 100 Days in Office

The Pro-Life Agenda: A Progress Report for the 115th Congress and the Trump Administration

Donald Trump is the most pro-life president in American history

There is also widespread recognition that, in addition to the expected resistance and roadblocks created by the Democrats to delivering on pro-life campaign promises, Establishment Republican have been responsible as well.  Fr. Hodges, writing for LifeSiteNews, puts it like this:

From the start, it was clear that Trump may have exaggerated his abilities, but he really meant it when he said he was pro-life.

In fact, as so many other true conservatives have pointed out, the main obstructionists to an all-out pro-life, pro-marriage, and pro-family agenda sweeping the nation have been establishment Republicans already in position before the Trump juggernaut.

During his presidential campaign Trump promised to defend the innocent pre-born and his administration has followed through with many actions so far.  He recently gave a speech for the March for Life.  Following in the the footsteps of previous Republican (but not Democratic) presidents, he made a Proclamation of January 22, 2018, as National Sanctity of Human Life Day.

As one supporter put it, “Taken together, these statements and follow-up actions have defined him as the one of the strongest pro-life allies ever to occupy the White House.”

 

The Presidential Proclamation:

“Today, we focus our attention on the love and protection each person, born and unborn, deserves regardless of disability, gender, appearance, or ethnicity. Much of the greatest suffering in our Nation’s history — and, indeed, our planet’s history — has been the result of disgracefully misguided attempts to dehumanize whole classes of people based on these immutable characteristics. We cannot let this shameful history repeat itself in new forms, and we must be particularly vigilant to safeguard the most vulnerable lives among us.

“This is why we observe National Sanctity of Human Life Day: to affirm the truth that all life is sacred, that every person has inherent dignity and worth, and that no class of people should ever be discarded as “non-human.”

“Reverence for every human life, one of the values for which our Founding Fathers fought, defines the character of our Nation. Today, it moves us to promote the health of pregnant mothers and their unborn children. It animates our concern for single moms; the elderly, the infirm, and the disabled; and orphan and foster children. It compels us to address the opioid epidemic and to bring aid to those who struggle with mental illness. It gives us the courage to stand up for the weak and the powerless. And it dispels the notion that our worth depends on the extent to which we are planned for or wanted.

“Science continues to support and build the case for life. Medical technologies allow us to see images of the unborn children moving their newly formed fingers and toes, yawning, and even smiling. Those images present us with irrefutable evidence that babies are growing within their mothers’ wombs — precious, unique lives, each deserving a future filled with promise and hope. We can also now operate on babies in utero to stave off life-threatening diseases. These important medical advances give us an even greater appreciation for the humanity of the unborn.

“Today, citizens throughout our great country are working for the cause of life and fighting for the unborn, driven by love and supported by both science and philosophy. These compassionate Americans are volunteers who assist women through difficult pregnancies, facilitate adoptions, and offer hope to those considering or recovering from abortions. They are medical providers who, often at the risk of their livelihood, conscientiously refuse to participate in abortions. And they are legislators who support health and safety standards, informed consent, parental notification, and bans on late-term abortions, when babies can feel pain.

“These undeterred warriors, many of whom travel to Washington, D.C., every year for the March for Life, are changing hearts and saving lives through their passionate defense of and loving care for all human lives. Thankfully, the number of abortions, which has been in steady decline since 1980, is now at a historic low. Though the fight to protect life is not yet over, we commit to advocating each day for all who cannot speak for themselves.

“NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 22, 2018, as National Sanctity of Human Life Day. I call on all Americans to reflect on the value of our lives; to respond to others in keeping with their inherent dignity; to act compassionately to those with disabilities, infirmities, or frailties; to look beyond external factors that might separate us; and to embrace the common humanity that unites us.

“IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this nineteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand eighteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.”

DONALD J. TRUMP

#MeToo Comes to Catholic Education

Simcha Fisher has two rather long articles talking about three rapes/sexual assaults which allegedly happened to students of Christendom College, a small Catholic college in Virginia.

Part 1
Part 2

It’s best if you take the time to read it as I’m not going to go through them bit by bit but rather focus on some points that they raised in my mind.

The tone and focus of the articles puts a definite spin of blame on the college’s draconian anti-PDA rules and sex-segregated dorms. The rules caused the women to be raped because she had to go off campus to be raped– I mean hold hands with her boyfriend. Obviously the policy should change. This college can then become like other colleges and the women can be raped in their dorm rooms instead of in cars. Because women never get raped on campuses where they’re allowed to hold hands and sit next to each other. The implication that keeping kids from kissing in the cafeteria causes this is beyond stupid.

The articles also faults the college for not have done anything about a rape which occurred off campus and which the victim didn’t bother to report to anyone until long after they could do anything about it. The rape occurred in a national park and was under federal law enforcement jurisdiction. The park LE told the victim there was pretty much nothing they could do. So if the feds can’t do anything, what do you expect the college to do? Take the girl’s word with no evidence and throw the guy out?

A great deal is made out of Christendom not having a policy in their student handbook on how sexual assault is dealt with. This is decidedly naive of the college’s part. Did they foolishly assume that since they were Catholic that it could be understood that students weren’t supposed to be going around committing mortal sins on other students? What does rather put the college’s actions in a bad light is a comment on Christendom’s “apology” posted later which claims the school expels students for having sex period. If, as the article implies (and this coming from Simcha Fisher is a big IF), members of the college staff did believe that the one girl was pulling a “regret” instead of it being rape, then both she and the alleged rapist should have been expelled anyway. But again we’re stuck on the problem of how on earth they could prove what did or didn’t happen.

“Victim blaming” in the current zeitgeist is one of the worst sins possible to commit, but the accounts the women give are not so perfect that you can’t find fault with them.

Being assaulted or raped is a terrible, psychologically damaging thing to happen to a person. The women talk about being unable to attend class because their rapist will be in the room. So why would they come back to the campus the next year when they could have escaped? When they could have stayed home and not spent thousands of dollars in tuition for the pleasure of being trapped on what looks like a rather small campus with a rapist?

I have come across other accounts where women claim to have been “raped” where they allege the man forced them to preform oral sex on him. There is a serious problem with this. The victim in these cases has to… perform an action. She has to do something as opposed to being pinned down and having something forced on her. Now, she is being threatened but, if I remember from my theology classes right, this kind of action is still voluntary in the weak sense. Just because you’re in fear of bodily harm doesn’t absolve you of all guilt in performing an immoral act. If someone put a gun to my head and said they’d kill me if I didn’t murder someone else, I don’t get a free pass to murder them just because I was in fear of my life. This is all unpleasantly ironic given the references in the article to St Maria Goretti who was stabbed to death fighting off a guy trying to rape her.

The implication I take from the article is one that I’m sure the authors would be horrified by and which I do not like at all:

Women have no agency.

Zip, zero, nada. They can’t do anything and it’s not their fault anyway. This college was supposed to have somehow, magically made the world completely safe for them. They couldn’t fight back against their rapists. They didn’t even understand what the word “rape” meant.  You even see this in a couple of the comments: these women behaved the way they did because they were taught to behave like that.  They have pushed every responsibility onto someone else.  The college, the policies, the culture, anything.

If you were raped or sexually assaulted, I’m very sorry this happened to you.  But sometimes you can’t blame anyone else except the rapist.  It isn’t possible to create a completely safe world.  We can try with all our might and it will not happen.  Catholics of all people should understand this.  We live in a fallen world.  Could this college have responded better?  With the obviously slanted take the Fishers give the articles, it’s hard to say for certain.  Maybe.  Can the college change to prevent future rapes?  Most likely: NO.  I’m tempted to say: yes, if they become a single sex institution, but if this were an all girls school, the girls would still go off campus and get raped.  Because people are bad and there will always be bad people.  Women need to remember this and recognize that they too have a part in keeping themselves safe.

Identity Politics = children who are crying out to belong?

I’ve wondered about the connection between identity politics and un-met needs to belong and to be part of a “tribe,” a community, but I hadn’t yet followed that train of thought far enough back.

In The Primal Scream of Identity Politics, Mary Eberstadt provides as assessment of  identity politics and our culture that takes us back to the foundation: the family.  She examines several other authors’ analyses of identity politics (and our cultural climate) and concludes that while some have noticed important factors, no one has gone deep enough in their questions and conclusions.  The whole thing is worth a read.

“Mine! Mine! It’s mine!” The manifest panic behind cries of “cultural appropriation” is real—as real as the tantrum of a toddler. It’s as real as the developmental regression seen in the retreat to campus “safe spaces,” those tiny non-treehouses stuffed with candy, coloring books, and Care Bears. In social science, the toddler’s developmental “mine!” is called the “endowment effect”—the notion that humans ascribe extra value to possessions simply because they’re theirs. Some theorists consider it a subset of another human proclivity: loss aversion.

Maybe that cultural scream of “mine!” is issuing from souls who did have something taken from them—only something more elemental than the totemic objects now functioning as figurative blankies for lost and angry former children. As of today, less than 65 percent of American children live with both biological parents, even as other familial boughs have broken via external forces like the opioid crisis, criminality and incarceration, and globalization. Maybe depression and anxiety have been rising steadily among children and teenagers for a reason. Maybe the furor over “appropriation” unveils the true foundation of identity politics, which is pathos.

Did anyone really think things would turn out otherwise—that the massive kinship dislocations of the past 60 years wouldn’t produce increasingly visible, transformative effects not only in individual lives and households, but on politics and culture, too?

After all, it defies common sense to believe that the human surroundings during one’s formative years have no effect on the life to come. There’s also a library of social science, now over half a century in the making, tracing the links between fatherless homes and higher risks of truancy, criminality, psychiatric trouble, and the rest of the ledger suggesting that ripping up primordial ties hasn’t done society any favors. It’s all there, no matter how many of us have deep reasons for wishing otherwise.

One irony is certain. While identity politics has become an object of conversation in the left-leaning circles of Anglo-American and European political thought, deliverance from today’s disfigurations cannot come from the same quarter. The reason is simple. Not only identitarians but also liberals and progressives who are now anti-identitarian or identitarian-skeptical all agree on one big thing: The sexual revolution is off-limits for revision anywhere, anytime. It is their moral bedrock.

No-fault divorce, out-of-wedlock births, paid surrogacy, absolutism about erotic freedom, disdain for traditional moral codes: The very policies and practices that chip away at the family and drive the subsequent flight to identity politics are those that liberals and progressives embrace.

Then there are related family-unfriendly social realities that they also deem benign. Pornography, which once upon a time some feminists objected to, is now the stuff of their full-throated enthusiasm. Prostitution has been re-defined as the more anodyne “sex work.” And, of course, abortion is—in the unnervingly theological modifier applied to it by Hillary Clinton and many others on the left—“sacrosanct.” In the end, asking liberals and progressives to solve the problem of identity politics is like asking the proverbial orphan with chutzpah who murdered his parents.

Yes, conservatives have missed something major about identity politics: its authenticity. But the liberal-progressive side has missed something bigger. Identity politics is not so much politics as a primal scream. It’s the result of what might be called the Great Scattering—the Western world’s unprecedented familial dispersion.

Anyone who’s ever heard a coyote in the desert, separated at night from the pack, knows the sound. Maybe the otherwise-unexplained hysteria of today’s identity politics is just that: the collective human howl of our time, sent up by inescapably communal creatures who can no longer identify their own.

My very simplified conclusion after reading all of The Primal Scream of Identity Politics is this: maybe all the immature, hysterical acting out going on in this country really can be traced back to the destruction of the family or put more personally, mommy and daddy weren’t there to provide a stable, loving childhood.  Today’s adults were yesterday’s children who were spoiled rotten in many ways, but not given what they really needed to be able to grow-up into mature human beings.

Antifa picks another target

Antifa, perhaps bored by their usual targets or just lacking something to do, has added a Catholic men’s conference to their list of “hate groups” deserving of being shut down. Since they have no grasp on what truth means, they have no problem spinning a theological conference designed to help men become better husbands and fathers into a woman-hating, white supremacist organization.  If the facts don’t fit your narrative, just ignore the facts!

Church Militant, the organizer of the conference, addressed the Antifa threat in a a press release:

FERNDALE, Mich. (ChurchMilitant.com) – Church Militant, a 12-year-old Catholic media apostolate, with headquarters in the Detroit suburb of Ferndale, is coming under attack by Antifa-related protestors claiming the religious organization inspires a “culture of rape” and is “white supremacist.”

The group Michigan Peoples Defense Network (MPDN) is planning a demonstration at Church Militant’s third annual Strength and Honor Conference, to be held in Sterling Heights, Michigan on Saturday, August 5. The conference is entirely theological in nature, offering talks on the essential role of sacrificial masculinity required of Catholic men to be good husbands and fathers. MPDN’s aim is to shut down the event.

In a further effort to intimidate, MPDN is holding a press conference on the sidewalk in front Church Militant studios Friday, July 28, right by the front door, announcing the August 5 protest.

The claims by MPDN are completely false and unfounded. The claim that Church Militant is a promoter of white male supremacy is immediately contradicted by the following facts:

  • Church Militant has legal immigrants (including first-generation immigrants) employed in key roles.
  • Half the organization’s departments are headed by women (one who is a legal immigrant)

Additionally, the claim that the conference is about “men’s rights” is a deliberate distortion. The conference is about men’s obligations, not “rights.”

Church Militant absolutely condemns and abhors the lies and violence that have become the hallmark of the Antifa movement, which MPDN members associate with on social media. Church Militant is not a hate group; MPDN is the real hate group, trying to intimidate religious organizations into silence and shut down a conference meant to help men become better husbands, fathers, sons and brothers by fostering the virtues of humility, charity and sacrifice.

Church Militant is further disturbed by the group’s thinly veiled threats of physical violence present in the language of their site and Facebook page. This kind of discourse cannot be allowed to stand in a civilized nation.

Church Militant is open to discussion with anyone, and have indeed made this a hallmark of the work conducted here for a dozen years, but we will not be cowed by lies and thug tactics becoming so commonplace on the Left.

Let’s hope an organization called Church Militant won’t be cowed and won’t let their conference be shut down.

Proving yet again that facts do not matter to Antifa, look who one of the organizers of the men’s conference is:

Christine Niles, a Vietnamese immigrant who helps run… [Church Militant] expected to spend this week preparing theological materials and getting ready for the group’s annual conference for men.

Instead, Niles, who is editor-in-chief of Church Militant, has been in consultations with local law enforcement after learning that a left-wing group is drumming up support to shut down the conference, which will take place on Aug. 4-6 at locations in Ferndale and Sterling Heights, Mich…

The theological conference causing controversy, titled “Strength and Honor,” is billed as “offering talks on the essential role of sacrificial masculinity of Catholic men to be good husbands and fathers” and to equip attendees with tools to “gain the spiritual and mental tools to be strong leaders among the faithful.”

Did you catch that?  A Vietnamese immigrant woman is the editor-in-chief of Church Militant and one of the main organizers of the men’s conference with the goal of focusing on sacrificial masculinity and teaching men to be good husbands and fathers.

To Antifa, this equals a hate group that “promotes a hateful, anti-woman message,” a “culture of rape,” and is “white supremacist.”  In a Facebook post about the planned demonstrations against Church Militant, they added this:

“Many of the church’s points are lifted from or are identical to ‘men’s rights’ discourse, which focuses on reducing women’s agency and reproductive rights… The community will picket and protest to shut down the hateful messages spread at this conference… The church also peddles racist, anti-Muslim rhetoric, painting Muslim migrants and refugees as sexual predators… As the radical Christian right rises in America, having supported Donald Trump’s campaign of hatred against the most marginalized, it is more vital than ever that the community stands against hate draped in a cross.”

What strikes me most about this statement is the ignorance.  Many of the church’s points are lifted from… the men’s rights movement?  That is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard… aside from ignoring all the facts right in front of their faces that contradict every statement they make.

Ms. Niles responded in a statement on behalf of Church Militant:

“The real bone of contention that MPDN has with Church Militant is not the spurious claims and lies it’s telling, but the positions we take on morality and decency… Church Militant is not a hate group; MPDN is the real hate group, trying to intimidate religious organizations into silence and shut down a conference meant to help men by fostering the virtues of humility, charity and sacrifice.”

If a religious group hosting a conference to promote the virtues of humility, charity, and sacrifice can become a target of Antifa, no one with conservative and/or Christian positions is safe.

And they say there’s no war going on against Christians and conservatives…