Saturday, June 18, 2011

An argument for marriage? Unwed parents are six times more likely to split by the time their child is five

Perhaps this just shows that more stable people have more stable children

Unmarried parents are six times more likely to split by their child's fifth birthday than those who are married, say researchers. Cohabiting partners face a 'disproportionate' risk of breaking up in the early years of their son or daughter's life.

The study from the think-tank the Jubilee Centre will reignite concerns that Britain is fast becoming a nation of broken homes.

The trend is particularly worrying because other research shows that children brought up by couples, especially married couples, are likely to do better than youngsters in single parent homes.

Last year Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith warned that children from broken homes are nine times more likely to commit a crime than those from stable families.

Researchers from the Cambridge-based think-tank analysed data from more than 14,000 households and 22,265 adults. Among parents who were living together when their first child was born, 37 per cent separated by the time the child reached five. For couples who were married at their child's birth, the figure was 6 per cent. By the time the child was 16, 16 per cent of married couples had separated compared to 66 per cent of cohabiting couples – a four-fold difference.

For couples who initially cohabited but subsequently got married, the corresponding risks of separation were 7 per cent and 29 per cent at the child's fifth and 16th birthdays. This is still a 20 per cent and 80 per cent greater risk compared to couples already married when their first child was born, according to the report, Cohabitation: An Alternative to Marriage? which is published on Monday.

Dr John Hayward, director of the think-tank, said: 'All the evidence suggests that families headed by married, biological parents who have not previously lived together provide the best environment for both the individuals involved and their children. 'This has huge personal, social, economic and political consequences for us all.'

Office for National Statistics figures show that nearly one child in three lives without their mother or father.


The Discriminatory Application of Non-Discrimination Policies

After months of deliberation, the University of Texas at San Antonio Career Center has agreed to post job announcements for a pro-life, Christian residential home for needy pregnant women. UTSA originally declined to post the announcements on the ground that they were "discriminatory."

In this case, Adoption Priorities, a Christian organization that provides adoption services, recently launched the Amaris Home Project. The project provides assistance to expectant mothers by providing a safe and compassionate home in which they may reside during their pregnancy. Adoption Priorities desired to hire "house parents" who would live at the facility, serve the needs of the residents, and act as Christian role models for them.

Amanda and Mitchell Way, Adoption Priorities' leaders and UTSA alumni, sought to post a job announcement at the career center.

Current students and alumni use the center to find jobs. The announcement stated that Adoption Priorities was seeking a "pro-life married Christian couple" who would provide "care, oversight and spiritual guidance" to a group of up to four women living in the home. One spouse was required to have Christian ministry experience.

UTSA rejected the announcement as written, indicating that requiring the house parents to be pro-life and Christian was impermissibly discriminatory. Under the logic of UTSA's position, Adoption Priorities could not post a job announcement at the career center unless it was willing to hire an atheist, pro-abortion, same-sex couple to serve as house parents.

The Alliance Defense Fund wrote a letter to UTSA, explaining that the school was violating legal protections of religious liberty by rejecting the announcement. The letter also explained that both Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the analogous Texas state statute exempt religious employers from their bans on religious discrimination.

UTSA refused to change its mind, and ADF attorneys sent a "notice of claim" under the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a necessary prerequisite to litigation. The subsequent communications between ADF attorneys and UTSA eventually caused UTSA to agree to post Adoption Priorities' job announcements in their original form. I applaud UTSA for getting it right . . . finally.

This situation illustrates a widespread and serious problem. Too many governments are inappropriately applying non-discrimination rules to religious groups that maintain their religious character through their personnel choices. They refuse to acknowledge that there is an enormous difference between, say, General Motors refusing to hire Hindus to work on its assembly lines and a synagogue wanting its rabbi to be Jewish.

In some cases, applying non-discrimination rules to religious entities is simply a means for marginalizing unpopular groups. Hostile government bureaucrats are increasingly using rules banning discrimination on the basis of “sexual orientation” to punish organizations that embrace traditional sexual ethics and reject same-sex “marriage.” Witness the way the Boy Scouts of America have literally been locked out of public facilities around the country, all because it requires that its members “not advocate or engage in homosexual conduct.”

This simply should not be. The freedom to speak our minds and live out our faith unencumbered by governmental intrusiveness is guaranteed by the First Amendment. But it’s a guarantee that often seems to dangle by a thin thread when confronted with political correctness inherent in the misguided application of non-discrimination policies. The Alliance Defense Fund is in the fight, and plans to stay in the fight for as long as it takes to make sure our First Liberty is well protected.


Out With Ethics, In With Therapy

Crime and punishment went out with Dostoevsky; ours is an age of neurosis and treatment. Rather than just resign from Congress and go away, please, the Hon. Anthony Weiner, M.C., is "entering professional treatment at an undisclosed location...." That's the latest word from the wire services.

Why is no one surprised? Because in this therapeutic society, quaint concepts like guilt, shame, repentance, atonement and the rest of those medieval superstitions gave way long ago to the talking cure. Especially for politicians and other upwardly mobile types who suddenly find themselves not so much famous as notorious. And much in need of some well-publicized rehab.

The triumph of the therapeutic, to use Philip Rieff's phrase, is near complete when the concepts of right and wrong are replaced by well and sick. In the Therapeutic Society, no one does wrong and needs to be disciplined.

Instead, the patient is considered disturbed and in need of treatment. Which may explain why the ethics-free zone of American politics, and American life in general, keeps expanding.

Forget those deadly sins like lust and pride; they're just symptoms of a psychological disturbance. It should not surprise when the country's best-known congressman -- at least he was last week -- takes some time out "so that he can get evaluated and map out a course of treatment to make himself well."

That was the word from his spokeswoman, who says he's requested "a short leave of absence" from Congress. This would be good news if only it weren't a short leave but permanent. And could somehow assure his absence from the news, too.

Instead, the message from his spokesflack, freely translated, is: This congressman doesn't need to resign, just see a shrink. As if he couldn't do both.

Here is Dr. Greenberg's expert analysis: This boy is in the grips of an addiction more powerful than just sending naughty pics to young women; he's addicted to political power. There's a lot of that going around.

The most striking thing about the X-rated adventures of A. Weiner isn't what he's had to say for himself, but his colleagues' purely political response to his antics. Some of them seem to resent his behavior not because it is shameful of itself, but because it's such a distraction from politics as usual.

To quote Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the congressperson who heads the Democratic Party and is almost always good for this kind of quote, "This sordid affair has become an unacceptable distraction." From what, next year's congressional campaign?

When politics supplants religion as the center of our lives, anything that distracts from politics is treated as a kind of profanation -- an intolerable distraction from the sacred rites of power worship.

One aim of a well-ordered political system should be to recognize and encourage values beyond politics. Such a system would encourage virtue among its citizens, not treat it as an irrelevance. When any discussion of ethics, character and responsibility is considered just a distraction from important things like politics, the science and art of power, then our priorities are badly out of order.

Martin Luther King, seeking to return us to first things, put it this way:

"Cowardice asks the question -- is it safe? Vanity asks the question -- is it popular? Expediency asks the question -- is it political? But conscience asks the question -- is it right?"

For some time now we've been asking the wrong questions.


Cattle export compromise?

(Under the influence of animal rights activists, the Australian government has banned Australia's exports of live cattle, on the grounds that the animals are "cruelly" slaughtered in Muslim Indonesia)

Cattle held in quarantine could be exported to Indonesia within days under a $9 million industry plan being considered hy the Gillard Govemment. The plan was put to Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig by peak industry body Meat and Livestock Australia as an alternative to paying $5 million in compensation to cattle graziers who have been hurt by the ban on live exports.

Senator Ludwig is considering the plan but also wants MLA to pay compensation to cattle producers. Govemment sources said a compromise deal could be announced within days.

Under the industry plan, cattle would be traced and Australian animal welfare officials would be present in each abattoir to train workers and ensure cattle were humanely slaughtered.

The MLA claims there are now ll Indonesian abattoirs with equipment to stun cattle before slaughter and another three facilities could soon have stun guns. The plan includes an audit of Indonesian abattoirs to make sure they comply with intemational standards, and improvements to facilities.

MLA managing director David Palmer said the plan could be tested by a partial lifting of the trade ban. “The industry has told us clearly they don’t want contingency funds, they want an export facility," Mr Palmer said last night

Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd yesterday said he had discussed the trade ban with Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa during a recent trip to Europe. “We discussed this matter thoroughly,” Mr Rudd said. “We will manage this one through, although there will be some challenges on the way,”

Mr Rudd also confirmed he had discussed the trade halt with Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Thursday, after which the pair were seen walking in an awkward silence together.

The export ban caused emotional debate in Federal Parliament this week, with the Greens securing another inquiry into animal welfare and Independents Bob Katter and Andrew Wilkie calling for urgent intervention by the Govemment to send stun guns to Indonesian abattoirs.

The above report appeared in the Brisbane "Courier Mail" on 18 June


Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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