But economist Jennifer Roback Morse, founder and president of the Lake Charles, La.-based Ruth Institute, a nonprofit to end family breakdown by energizing survivors of the sexual revolution, sees sexual "liberation" that became widespread in the 1960s to 1980s in a far different light.
"The sexual revolution is irrational, it is impossible and it cannot stand on its own," Roback Morse said recently at the conservative think-tank, the Acton Institute. "It requires force and a lot of propaganda. Just because it's ridiculous doesn't mean it's harmless. It's a totalitarian movement that no Christian should have anything to do with."
No-fault divorce, remarriage, cohabitation and anonymous donor conception have taken a toll on children who once had – or never had - two-parent families. The moral and cultural consequences carry on once the children become adults, said Roback Morse, senior fellow in economics at the Acton Institute and a regular contributor to National Review Online and The National Catholic Register, who received her doctorate in economics from the University of Rochester.
Compounding the problem are government enforced laws and programs that drive a wedge with families while expanding expenditures and enforcement of laws.
Needed: people with self-control
"For a free society to survive, you've got to have people who can control themselves and who have a conscience and can use their freedom without bothering people too much," said Roback Morse, author of several books, including, Love and Economics.
"Children need their own parents so they can learn to control themselves. You develop a conscience by being in the personal care of your own mother and dad. Kids are not potted plants where you can come and water them once in awhile. The conscience is developed inside the family and this is completely compatible with Christian teaching."
Roback Morse said the alternative forms of families – divorce, parents never marrying, cohabitation and remarriage – attempt to persuade the culture at large that it's ultimately OK because children are resilient; they don't need to live with both parents; and don't care if their parents are not married.
Don't believe it, Roback Morse said.
Don't do it
"One of the most common things that the culture tells children is this: 'daddy and mommy are getting a divorce,'" she said. 'We still love you honey, we just don't love each other anymore.' From the child's perspective, each parent is half of who they are. So when the parent is saying, 'we still love you, but we just don't love your other parent,' you're saying two things that are contradictory. In a child's little mind this doesn't add up. One of the things that happen to children, particularly if there's remarriage involved ... know that Jesus said clearly no remarriage after divorce. He says never get a divorce. He says if you remarry, that's adultery; don't do it."
"When mom goes off and remarries that child feels like a left over from the previous relationship," Roback Morse said. "Mom is now focused on her new husband, they have a baby together, maybe, and that new baby has a home where both of her parents are living and the child from the first relationship has two half-time dads, instead of having one full-time dad. This is what is so upsetting and difficult and painful for the children."
And Roback Morse added there are many "reluctantly divorced" people than what was once known; meaning at least one partner in the marriage did not want to divorce.
Welfare programs replacing families
Which leads to how the state – or government – breaks down the family.
A totalitarian country
First, the breakdown of the family gives the government fuel to expand on expenditures for programs and, second, it is increasingly becoming a totalitarian country with laws it should not be enforcing.
"The social welfare programs that are supposed to take the place of the family are the fastest growing, largest expenditures of the modern state," said Roback Morse, adding the estimated annual cost with the federal government 10 years ago was $112 billion. "So whether it's education, criminal justice or psychological services, taxpayers are paying for a lot of the cost of family breakdown. And of course you're not really making up for what the child has lost.
"Many employees involved in those (welfare) programs don't mind if they expand. I'm not suggesting they want family breakdown to happen, but there is this sort of perverse incentives that can work in these kind of things."
No-fault divorce is no friend of marriage or the family, Roback Morse said.
"No fault divorce means that the state takes sides with the person who wants the marriage the least," she said. "Therefore somebody has to step in to enforce the divorce. It doesn't happen every single time but if it came to that, the police can come and make you move out of your house and enforce a separation of a person who has committed no crime. A recent study came out that said over 70 percent of divorcees take place against the wishes of one party. Only 24 percent of men and 27 percent of women said we both wanted it to end.
"That means three-quarters of divorces are reluctantly divorced people, so the state is empowering itself enormously by having this type of policy."
It's for these reasons why Roback Morse said she wants her tombstone to read: Kids Need Their Own Parents. That's why she dedicates her time to the Ruth Institute. Its resource center provides decades of research and educational tools to support individuals and families harmed by divorce, the "hook-up culture" and other forms of family breakdown.
"Our dream is that every child be welcomed into a loving home with a married mother and father, so that every child can have a relationship with his or her own parents unless a tragedy prevents it," she said.
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