There’s No Such Thing as “Safe Sex” For Kids

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Today’s BreakPoint: There’s No Such Thing as “Safe Sex” For Kids

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In 1984, only 14 percent of Americans wore seat belts. Anyone else remember bouncing unrestrained around the back of the family station wagon like I did? Three years later, after seat belt laws were enacted in 30 states, that percentage tripled to 42 percent. Last year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 90 percent of Americans faithfully buckled up while on the roads…

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Sliding toward Pedophilia

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Today’s BreakPoint: Sliding toward Pedophilia

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Each chapter of the sexual revolution has featured an updated version of the same myth: “Don’t worry, the kids will be fine. Sex with anyone anywhere? The kids will be fine. Separate marriage from procreation? The kids will be fine. No-fault divorce? The kids will be fine. Graphic sex education in schools beginning in kindergarten? The kids will be fine. Same-sex marriages eliminating either a mom or a dad from the picture? The kids will be fine. 

They weren’t…

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The Call to Be Countercultural

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Today’s BreakPoint: The Call to Be Countercultural

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JOHN STONESTREET WITH MARIA BAER

Two years ago, when Jackie Hill-Perry, a talented writer, poet, and speaker, spoke at a Wilberforce Weekend, she had the entire room leaning forward in their chairs. A powerful speaker with a powerful testimony about following Christ out of a lesbian lifestyle–no one in the audience wanted to miss a word.

Recently, Perry shared her testimony in a YouTube interview with Christian comedian KevOnStage. After leaving a long-term relationship when she gave her life to Jesus and after years of discipleship and deep involvement in the Church, Jackie married Preston Perry, a poet and apologist. They have two daughters, with a third baby on the way.

When, in the YouTube interview, Jackie shared she still struggles with same-sex attraction, her host was noticeably surprised. So was his audience. Many commenters accused Jackie of “suppressing her true self” and “denying the humanity” of others with same-sex attraction. After days of social media pressure, KevOnStage decided to take down the video.

The anger directed at the Perrys reflects a sad fatalism that permeates both the LGBTQ movement and the so-called “gay-affirming” Christians. Their critique is rooted in a bad idea, that our sexual desires fundamentally define us. Therefore, anyone with same-sex attraction will be ultimately powerless against it. No other temptations or sins are thought of this way…

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WAP and “Cuties”

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Today’s BreakPoint: WAP and “Cuties” What America’s Number 1 Song Says About Us

BP 8 26 2020

JOHN STONESTREET WITH DAVID CARLSON

Though Americans remain a morally serious people, at least in our quickness to condemn each other as “Hitlers” for various misdeeds, we are clearly not concerned with moral consistency. We demand churches close to stop the spread of COVID, but not Wal-marts, bars, or casinos. We protest police violence with acts of violence. We celebrate Hugh Hefner as some great liberator of women, and, weeks after his death, condemn Harvey Weinstein. We say “character counts” when it’s their guy in office, but not when it’s our guy.

Then, last week, after three-plus years of the #MeToo movement protesting the objectification and abuse of women, the most objectifying song in history, one that reduces women to nothing more their private parts, hit #1 on the charts. I couldn’t possibly share the lyrics of this song … any of them. Please, do not look them up. The two women rappers who perform this song repeatedly call themselves prostitutes, although not using that word, and beg men to treat them as such.

By any definition, legal or otherwise, America’s most popular song and its accompanying video are best called pornography, and is available everywhere to anyone of any age…

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The Aftermath of Bostock: A Cultural Seismic Shift

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The Aftermath of Bostock: A Cultural Seismic Shift

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It takes a phrase like “seismic shift” to describe how much the 2015 Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges altered the political and cultural landscape. Not only did it redefine marriage across cultural sectors and an entire nation, it had a huge impact on religious freedom. In an instant, those who held traditional beliefs about marriage became social pariahs.

If the Obergefell earthquake was the legal and cultural equivalent of a magnitude 7, last week’s Bostock v. Clayton County decision may be a magnitude 9. If you’re like me and had to look up how earthquakes are measured, that’s about 100 times as powerful…

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Marriages Hit a New Low

Mark ‭10:6-9‬ “But from the beginning of the creation, God made ...

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BreakPoint Daily

Marriages Hit a New Low

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How We Rebuild a Culture of Commitment

JOHN STONESTREET  WITH SHANE MORRIS

According to a new report by the National Center for Health Statistics, marriage in the United States of America has never been less popular. Today, in the U.S. there are only 6.5 weddings for every 1,000 people, the lowest rate since we started keeping records just after the Civil War, and despite the fact that millennials, who are the biggest generation in American history, are in their peak marriage years right now. And, these numbers are pre-COVID-19. As the report’s lead author suggests, the economic fallout of the virus will likely “further discourage marriage in the near term….”

Economic factors do, of course, affect marriage rates. Even before COVID closed everything down, single breadwinners could find it quite difficult to support a growing family. In recent decades, the “marriage gap,” the different marriage rates between upper and lower income Americans, has become more pronounced, with marriage becoming more and more a luxury of the wealthy.

At the same time, it’s a worldview mistake to think that economics alone can explain what’s happening to marriage. As Bradford Wilcox with the Institute for Family Studies reminds us, “there was no marked increase in divorce, family instability, or single parenthood at the height of the Great Depression.” By contrast, Cornell sociologist Daniel Lichter points out that some of the biggest drops in marriage rates, at least in recent years, have occurred during economically prosperous times.

The bigger factor here is not money but culture.

Exhibit A: As marriage has receded, cohabitation has increased in both numbers and social acceptability. Pew reports that a quarter of unmarried young adults are living with a partner. That’s the highest percentage since our record-keeping began.

The rise of cohabitation has followed not only a shift of attitudes about out-of-wedlock sex, but about the institution of marriage itself. Several years ago, another Pew study found that more than half of young people in America thought marriage was “obsolete.” As one pastor remarked on Facebook, young people who pursue the skills necessary for marriage are often treated as if they’re wasting their “real” potential, and those who get married in their early or even mid-twenties can inspire a level of shock and shame that was once reserved only for couples “living in sin.”

Even worse, our culture’s current portrayal of the “good life” involves career-minded singles living in chic urban apartments, sowing their wild oats on casual dating and hookup apps, and leading lives incompatible with a spouse, much less children.

The road to rebuilding a culture that values marriage will be long and arduous, but we do have some clues about what works when it comes to creating and preserving that kind of culture. The Institute for Family Studies reports that, contrary to a popular but mistaken talking point, the institution that remains the single best refuge for marriage is the Church. It is still true, even today, that among the surest predictors that a couple will get and stay married is how regularly they attend religious services. That’s why bringing people to God and bringing people together are so often a package deal.

Even so, the Church simply must first embrace her God-given task of re-catechizing His people about what marriage is. Too often, the Church is trying to put a band-aid of sexual morality on the gaping wound of bad Christian thinking about marriage that is often no different than the larger culture: That marriage is either a lifestyle accessory, a waste of youth, or an institution of personal happiness. We won’t know what marriage is, or how to do it, unless we know what God created marriage for.

Hint: Though companionship is certainly a wonderful side-benefit of a healthy marriage, God didn’t create marriage to solve Adam’s loneliness problem. Check the text again: He created marriage to solve Adam’s aloneness problem. It’s an important distinction that not only explains what marriage is for, but sets the groundwork for all of the moral expectations God gives us about sex and marriage.

Even after the wedding, the Church is still the best place to strengthen marriages, a necessary task if we are to see the kind of culture where people think of lifelong marriage as part of the good life. Recently, J. P. DeGance joined me on the BreakPoint Podcast to talk about a unique, data-driven approach to help pastors identify struggling marriages and then works to help save them in their communities. Working with pastors and churches in Jacksonville, Florida, DeGance’s organization, Communio, saw the divorce rate drop 24 percent in just three years. That’s many times faster than the national average.

Saving existing marriages is essential to encouraging new ones. How many young people are out there that have never seen a single marriage work? How can we expect them to trust an institution that, in their view, not only consistently fails but also causes so much pain and heartbreak when it does?

J.P. DeGance will join Katy Faust, Pastor Bob Fu, and Student for Life president Kristan Hawkins for Module 5 of our upcoming  “Truth. Love. Together” virtual event. He’ll be talking about how the Church can help restore a marriage culture. The Truth.Love.Together event is absolutely free. Sign up and learn more here.

 

 

Anderson Cooper and the New Normal

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Anderson Cooper and the New Normal

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Why Surrogacy Is Oppression

JOHN STONESTREET  WITH MARIA BAER

A couple of weeks ago, a woman had a baby. Childbirth, of course, happens tens of thousands of times a day in the United States, but this baby was a product.

A couple paid a doctor and an agency to secure the child. The mom’s relationship with the child is governed not by biology, but by contract, one with clauses and exceptions and conditions. A man who made no genetic contribution is being called the child’s other “father,” along with Anderson Cooper, a major media celebrity, which is why this baby’s birth made national headlines.

Cooper is a homosexual man. He and his now-ex partner hired a woman to be a surrogate, a practice increasingly common in the U.S. The headlines announcing the couple’s acquisition were universally fawning, as if this story carried none of the extraordinary details listed above at all: Anderson Cooper talks first weekend as new Dad;” “Anderson Cooper announces birth of his son; urges people to hold on to ‘moments of joy.’”

None of these articles, in fact not a single one that I could find in any major publication anywhere, even hinted that there might be any ethical concerns with Cooper’s purchase. In fact, when author Joyce Carol Oates mentioned on Twitter – after explicitly congratulating Cooper, by the way – that she found it curious the news coverage never mentioned Cooper’s hired surrogate at all, she was excoriated.

The speed at which our culture is able to normalize a behavior thought just yesterday to be somewhere between questionable to unthinkable is stunning. To not mention any shred of ethical hesitancy around the decision to purchase procreation, particularly by a couple who chose an intentionally sterile union in the first place, is one thing.

To gush over the doting dads as if the way this whole thing happened is quite unremarkable? Well, that’s something else entirely. After all, culture is often most powerful in our lives where it makes the least amount of commotion. When something is no longer considered debatable, and is instead assumed, it’s been normalized.

This story demonstrates that commercial surrogacy, including cases in which the child is intentionally deprived of its mother, is now fully normal.

We’ve repeatedly pointed out the many ethical problems with surrogacy on BreakPoint: it assumes “children” are a right that God never promised; it assumes a Gnostic view of human bodies and relationships; it denies children the opportunity to be raised by their biological mom and a dad; it treats children as products instead of image-bearers; it poses a significant risk for women to be exploited financially.

We’ve also talked about the disastrous consequences of the sexual revolution, especially how it has divorced sex, marriage, and procreation and devalues other human beings for how they can serve our own sexual desires.

Here, in this story, we have a new chapter of this: Two men who choose a sexual relationship that doesn’t include a uterus still consider themselves entitled to the products of a uterus. And so, they hire a uterus, not really the whole woman. After all, their decision makes the woman a mom, but they don’t want that part of her. They only want the part that will allow them what they want.

We see the world through the stories we tell ourselves, and each reporter who told this story tacitly agreed that Cooper and his partner were the good guys. As Joyce Carol Oates quickly discovered when she asked why the baby’s mom should be left unnamed, the protagonist role was already taken, and it would be awkward to cast the hired help as the antagonist. So, they just didn’t mention her at all. That was probably what was specified in the contract anyway.

But what about her? Was she, as most women who agree to surrogacy tend to be, lower-income? Was the financial pressure simply too great to not be attracted by the payday?

Perhaps the strangest part of the growing cultural acceptance is how surrogacy is so often championed by the Progressive Left, especially as it has increasingly served the cause of same-sex marriage. Yet, it violates almost every central tenet of the worldview they claim.

After all, if anything is “capitalism run amok,” it’s commercial surrogacy. Is there a more disgusting display of greed than the rich paying the poor for their babies? And, surrogacy exploits the vulnerable. It robs women of their bodily autonomy, especially when contract clauses commit them to reproductive decisions, including abortion. Increasingly, surrogacy is about two wealthy men using a woman for her body, while appropriating a role that only she can fulfill.

Surrogacy is also the final chapter of a culture that prioritizes adult happiness over children’s rights, in this case by offering a service only the very wealthy can afford. Surrogacy denies that children have rights to their mother and father, and that a mother has a right to her own child. Like transgenderism, surrogacy denies biological realities, in this case the miraculous bonds, both physical and emotional, that connects mothers with their children. Surrogacy serves money, and makes winners and losers. The losers are always women and children. The winners are always those with big bank accounts.

If there were a segment of culture that should rebuke surrogacy but often doesn’t, it would be the Progressive Left, which fancies itself the champion of the vulnerable, the poor, and of women. Some do, in particular feminists who see the potential for exploitation.

If there were another segment of culture that should rebuke surrogacy but often doesn’t, even more so in fact, it would be Christians. Some do, but too many don’t, mostly because their worldview analysis stops at what’s normal, rather than what’s right.

Behind Anderson Cooper’s money and these headlines is this baby’s mom. No matter what we tell ourselves about how willing she was or how better off she is now, she is harmed and so is her son – who somehow knew from the moment he was born to look for her. Unfortunately, he won’t find her. Shame on us.

Resources:

New York Legalizes Commercial Surrogacy

John Stonestreet & Roberto Rivera | BreakPoint | April 15, 2020

Women Are More Than Wombs

John Stonestreet & Shane Morris | BreakPoint | February 28, 2020

The Sexual Revolution and Its Victims

John Stonestreet | BreakPoint | September 24, 2019

What Would You Say about Men Competing as Women?

BreakPoint Daily

What Would You Say about Men Competing as Women?

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JOHN STONESTREET  WITH ROBERTO RIVERA

On February 29, Megan Youngren made sports history. Not by breaking a world record, or by overcoming a particularly devastating injury. No, Youngren became the first openly transgender athlete to compete at the U.S. Olympic marathon trials.

As is almost always the case with athletes competing across gender lines, Youngren is a biological male who attempted to make the U. S. Olympics women’s team. And even though Youngren didn’t make the cut, no doubt he is just the first of many men who will try to seek Olympic glory by competing against women.

And that means there’s more than a good chance we’ll find ourselves in conversations about the fairness of biological men in women’s sports.

The latest in our “What Would You Say?” video series tackles this question. Each video offers clear, articulate, and useable answers to tough cultural issues like this one. Here’s just part of the latest video, with Joseph Backholm’s response to the question of men competing as women:

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The Fairness for All Act

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The Fairness for All Act

JOHN STONESTREET WITH DAVID CARLSON  09 Dec 2019

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New Legislation Falls Short

On Friday, Republican Representative Chris Stewart of Utah introduced the Fairness for All Act, which, as Christianity Today reports, “would prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination in employment, housing, and places of public accommodation, including retail stores, banks, and health care service providers.”

In essence, just like the proposed Equality Act supported by House Democrats, the Fairness for All Act would place sexual orientation and gender identity on par with race and religion as protected classes under the Civil Rights Act.

But there’s a major difference between Fairness for All and the Equality Act. The Fairness for All Act seeks to exempt religious organizations such as churches and nonprofits. So, for example, “Churches wouldn’t be required to host same-sex weddings. Christian schools wouldn’t have to hire LGBT people. Adoption agencies could receive federal funding even if they turned away same-sex couples looking to raise children.”

As such, Rep. Stewart and supporters of the Fairness for All Act see the bill as balancing religious freedom and LGBT rights.

Now I believe Fairness for All is a well-intentioned bill. And I believe that its supporters are truly trying to find ways to compromise with LGBT rights in order to preserve our religious liberties in the end.

But this Act is the wrong piece of legislation at the wrong time.

The Act would enshrine into law something that simply is not true, and for Christians that’s got to be a non-starter: that alternative sexual orientations and transgender identity are equal to race, that they are somehow immutable, something someone is born with. As my colleague Shane Morris discussed with me on BreakPoint This Week, the “born with” idea is a useful fiction created by the early proponents of the gay-rights movement to win public approval for their cause. They succeeded, of course, but it does not make the fiction any more true.

Second, the Act is addressing a non-issue. Back in the 1960s, the Civil Rights Act addressed a very real problem: There were entire swaths of the country where African Americans couldn’t find a hotel room, buy gas, or get a meal. And so public accommodations were necessary so African Americans could fully participate in society. That most certainly is not the case today with the so-called “sexual minorities.” When two men targeted cakeshop owner Jack Phillips to force him to design a cake for their same-sex wedding, they knew full well that there were plenty of cakeshops nearby that would gladly do what they asked.

This raises another problem with the Fairness for All Act: Its exemptions “would not apply to for-profit businesses with 14 or fewer employees.” In other words, if you’re a Christian business owner, and not a church or a religious non-profit, you’re on the wrong side of the law—outside of the Act’s protections. Meaning Fairness for All isn’t really fairness for all.

And, as I explained on BreakPoint This Week, this act continues the ghastly idea that people of faith who insist on religious liberty are the bad guys. That they are bigots who need to be “exempted” precisely because they want to deny the rights of others.

The Fairness for All has its roots in what’s called the Utah Compromise, which was a state measure largely championed by the LDS church. It hasn’t worked in Utah and it’s not a good idea for federal legislation. In fact, these ideas were birthed under a previous presidential administration openly hostile to religious liberty—and when it looked like the next administration would be as well.

But elections matter. Federal courts and the Supreme Court are growing more conservative and more respectful of religious liberty. Now is simply not the time to give up the rights of individual believers in order to preserve the freedoms of religious institutions alone.

Now, do I think the Fairness for All Act will pass? No. Nor does Rep. Stewart. The Democrats hold the House and see no need to compromise at all on LGBT rights and religious rights.

And while there may be a way to truly balance these rights in the future, The Fairness for All Act isn’t it.


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