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Mental Health and Chasity

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In a recent professional seminar discussion on the relational dynamics of chastity and monogamy  with mental health professionals in Arlington VA a powerful concept came to the fore:  the centrality of relationships to the life of each person.  A person’s life is as good as the relationships he or she has formed.  
The most powerful human relationship is that of marriage. One therapist noted: “In lots of our work the marriage is the client. We often treat the marriage not the individuals.”  That this relationship is quite sensitive to the lifelong chastity of the couple was the focus of much of the discussion.
 As the charts on the demographics of sexual partnering were reviewed the conclusion drawn was that chastity is the virtue which gives sex its due. The sexual relationship, fundamental to the continuance of the human race, will go powerfully in one of two different directions: binding the couple forever in love and fidelity or instead leaving the permanent weakness of a bond that ended in rejection.  Chastity leads to the first; multiple partners lead to the second. The following chart shows the percent of stable marriages as relating to the number of sexual partners experienced.
The demographic data on the US population tells a sad story: the impact of rejection after sexual coupling is writ large across the United States and continues from one generation to the next as the following chart illustrates. Whether a father leaves and when he leaves has a big impact on his daughter by the time she reaches her teens.

The generations of the United States are weakening as marriage relationships become more unstable and rejection among parents spreads.

Close Mindedness

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Almost thirty years ago Allan Bloom wrote the wakeup call to America with the Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students.  All of those students who were students then have grown up and a number occupy chairs of sociology in our leading universities and sadly are now an even more problematic part of academia.  

Nowhere is the closing more obvious, more openly practiced than in sociology when the issue is one relating to sexuality:  be it abortion, contraception and, these last few years, on homosexuality. 

It is a given in all sciences that the most important data is the data that does not ‘fit’ the preconceptions of practitioners and commentators in a field.  It is the most important because it is from such data (once confirmed as reliable) that new insights arise.

It is also a given of human nature that data which disturbs preconceptions will be resisted by most, because of entrenched ideas, attitudes or interests.  However it is the role of the sciences to foster amongst its aspiring practitioners intellectual habits and attitudes that will override these normal reactions.  But in American sociology the opposite is the case when the sacred cows of sexuality are crossing the street.  In this case, not only are these normal human proclivities not eradicated, instead they are aggressively fostered and formed in undergraduates, doctoral candidates, post-doc researchers and young untenured professors. They are all being shaped to not pay any attention to contrary data on the sexual.  Should they dare to do so they will suffer the consequences that range from failing grades, denial of entry to graduate school or tenure or publication. No American journals now carry contrary data in the area of homosexual parenting since the Regnerus dust-up as no editor wants to suffer the harassment James Wright, eminent editor of Social Science Research suffered, nor any professor to suffer as Regnerus did.  

The bullying is not subtle. Yet it is effective and, in the land of the free, has closed down the debate on campus.  The grandchildren of the “greatest generation” are no match for the “thought-dictators” in this sector of the social sciences. But contrary data can never be made non-contrary. It just is. It just will be.  It will continue to be the prime way forward in the discipline.  It is a respecter of no political alliance, right, left or center.  It cannot be. It will always be a thorn.  And a boon to true science. 

Abortion and Breast Cancer

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month—an occasion to promote knowledge about the disease and commemorate those who have battled it. But in the hoopla of pink ribbons and 5k runs, a vital medical fact has gone unnoticed by the mainstream media: Abortion is an independent risk factor for breast cancer.
To the great detriment of women, this fact is little known. Radical feminists have successfully hijacked breast cancer awareness month as a time to spur their liberal propaganda, and have bullied a handful of breast cancer organizations into doing the same.
However, the biology of the breast confirms that induced abortion is indeed a risk factor for breast cancer. In developmental biology a lobule, or a unit of breast tissue, can undergo four stages. An infant is born with Type 1 lobules. After puberty, the number of Type 1 lobules increases, and some Type 1 lobules become Type 2 lobules.  Both Type 1 lobules and Type 2 lobules are vulnerable to cancer. During the first half of pregnancy, the number of Type 1 and Type 2 lobules greatly increases. However, around 20 weeks after conception, these cancer vulnerable cells mature into cancer-resistant Type 4 lobules. After 32 weeks of pregnancy, sufficient Type 4 lobules have developed that a mother is protected against breast cancer, and she begins to incrementally gain the benefit of risk reduction that will maximize at 40 weeks. By the end of a normal pregnancy, 70 to 90 percent of the mother’s breast is composed of cancer-resistant Type 4 lobules. After birth and after a mother has lactated and breastfed, Type 4 lobules regress to Type 3 lobules, which retain the epigenetic changes that protect against the development of cancer. With each additional pregnancy subsequent to her first, a woman’s risk of breast cancer will decrease another 10 percent.
Therefore, disruption to a pregnancy—and the corresponding termination of lobule development—can leave a woman with an excessive amount of Type 1 and Type 2 cancer-vulnerable lobules that have not yet maturated.  As a result, an induced abortion (presumably prior to 32 weeks) as well as a miscarriage in the second trimester increase the risk of breast cancer.
In the case of an induced abortion, the woman’s breasts contain an increased number of cancer-vulnerable Type 1 and Type 2 lobules, but hav not yet developed cancer-resistant Type 4 lobules. The longer a woman is pregnant before an induced abortion, the more cancer-vulnerable Type 1 and Type 2 lobules she will develop.
A miscarriage (also known as spontaneous abortion) may increase a woman’s risk factor for breast cancer, depending on when the miscarriage occurs. First trimester miscarriages do not increase the risk factor for breast cancer. First trimester miscarriages generally occur because a woman has not produced enough estrogen and progesterone to sustain the pregnancy. These low levels of estrogen and progesterone are also insufficient to stimulate breast development (ie. increase the number of Type 1 and Type 2 lobules). However, a second trimester miscarriage does increase a woman’s risk factor for breast cancer. These miscarriages generally occur due to physical abnormalities. Therefore, the breasts have an increased number of Type 1 and Type 2 lobules that have not yet matured into Type 4 lobules. Sadly, the same applies to premature deliveries prior to 32 weeks.
Because radical feminists distort this information, millions of women have been deprived of basic knowledge of medical care. However, the Marriage and Religion Research Institute is committed to empowering women by providing the facts and statistics for them to make their own informed decisions. Therefore, we have composed two easily accessible reports on the abortion breast cancer link: first, “Induced Abortion and Breast Cancer (Short version)” summarizes the most important biological facts about the link; second, “Induced Abortion and Breast Cancer” delves into specific scientific explanations. Both reports include easy-to-read diagrams, and explain why studies claiming to debunk the abortion-breast cancer link are fatally flawed.

Children and Happiness: What is the Link?

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By: MARRI Intern

What does an ideal family look like? Two parents, one daughter, and one son? Two cohabitating adults and no children? Christians place high value on family and children, which often leads to sizably larger households, benefitting all of society. As one MARRI publicationindicates, larger families (of 3 or more children) contribute more to the economy than families with two or fewer children. Unfortunately, few couples of any religious or secular traditions choose to have more than two kids, citing economic woes or other factors. But because children make parents happy, shouldn’t more couples opt to expand their families anyway? Not necessarily. 
If a couple based their child-bearing decisions merely on what makes them personally happy, what would they choose? According to Gross National Happiness by Arthur Brooks, they might reasonably choose not to raise any children. From Brooks’ research, it may be claimed that offspring do not in fact to make parents happy. If you’re skeptical, just read the angry comments from two parents who, by the gamble of in vitro fertilization, are pregnant with twins and are less than thrilled about it. Though the backlash from other readers might suggest these parents are an anomaly, their anger towards their twins seems to verify Brooks’ research. His findings claim that “marital happiness takes a nosedive as couples move from childlessness to having their first baby; it continues southward until about the time the oldest child starts school” (Brooks 64).
The more surprising finding, however, is that for parents with more than four children, reported happiness levels climb back up with each subsequent child. Following this trend, parents with eight children report the same level of happiness as couples with only one child. Brooks’ assessment reflects MARRI’s, in that these parents create a different type of family based on their beliefs. And while very few couples opt for more than two children at all, those with four or more kids tend to be affiliated with a religion that highly values children and family life (such as Catholics, Evangelicals, or Mormons).
Lest he leave couples determined to never bear children, Brooks makes an important qualification about the happiness factor: For both Brooks (and MARRI), it is clear that though children may appear to make parents less happy in the moment, these longsuffering mothers and fathers serve a crucial role in developing future citizens. Children give parents meaning, a feeling more akin to the “moral quality of life” than to elation (Brooks 69). And while the joys of parenting feel more like misery than euphoria at times, the purpose-filled experience of parenthood leaves mothers and fathers satisfied with their childrearing work, a feeling far more enduring that luxury or leisure.

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes…divorce?

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By: MARRI intern

Growing up, my dad would say that no matter what he would always love my mom. At the altar, many people will say the same thing. Unfortunately, America’s divorce rate is a sign that commitment through thick and thin is increasingly rare.
Most people would agree that in some situations, like infidelity, it is acceptable to seek a divorce. Simply being tired of being with the other person or no longer “feeling” in love, however, are not legitimate reasons. People like to believe that every problem in life has a quick fix. If a pipe is leaking, use duct tape. Or if a vase breaks, grab the super glue. But marriage is neither a pipe nor a vase, as divorce is certainly not duct tape or super glue. Notice that even the easy fix solutions mentioned above were about holding things together, not pulling them apart permanently.
About 40-50% of marriages will end in divorce. This does not reflect a moral understanding of marriage as it was intended to be. In the Bible, the Church is called the bride of Christ. Certainly Christ is hurt by His bride’s failure to keep his commandments, but His love is unwavering. Shouldn’t our marriages imitate that?
Just like any other couple, my parents had their arguments. I can remember the steam coming out of their ears when they were upset at each other, but arguments would always end with the same “I love you.” They are now approaching their 33rd wedding anniversary, and I truly believe that their commitment to each other even in the hard times got them there.
Til’ death do us part isn’t just an idea; it’s a choice. Make your choice before you stand up in front of the church or forever hold your peace.

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes

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By: MARRI Intern

Frank Baird has taken literally the saying not to judge someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes.  Originally working at the Valley Trauma Center as a Rape Crisis Advocate, Baird also took on a role as a Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee,  progressing to become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  Baird began to see and understand that violent crimes against women, such as rape, do not just affect the individual.   The serious nature of the crimes also affects the entire community: their family, friends, and significant others.  
Baird chose to organize the event “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” where men don a pair of red heels and literally walk a mile.  The event is used to increase awareness of sexual assault and domestic violence, creating a safe environment for preventative education and informing the community about services available for recovery.  
Most people aren’t aware that two thirds of violence against women is committed by someone known to the victim, and that ninety seven percent of the perpetrators will never spend a day in jail because fifty four percent of cases are not reported to police.  
In a working paper, MARRI is exploring the correlation between the type of relationship mothers are engaged in is correlated to intimate partner violence.  Results have shown that married mothers have a lower risk of being abused by the father of the child than cohabitating mothers, dating mothers, or mothers not in a relationship with the father[1].  The research even demonstrates that regardless of whether they are pregnant or not women are subject to the same likelihood of domestic abuse[2].  Furthermore, children who grow up in a home affected by parental aggression are subject to a higher incidence of behavior problems, future perpetration of abuse themselves and generally poorer outcomes than children who do not witness conflict between their parents[3].  MARRI research (slides 2-6) indicates that children who grow up in a two parent family are 33% less likely to experience abuse than a child whose biological mother is in a cohabitating relationship.   
Overall, the increased awareness among communities via the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” is a tremendous step.  Not only is it educating the public on aspects of a culture they are otherwise unlikely to experience, it also educates women about the resources in their community if they are in an abusive situation, or feel threatened and need assistance. 


[1]Rachel T. Kimbro, “Together Forever? Romantic Relationship Characteristics and Prenatal Health Behaviors” Journal of Marriage and Family 70, no. 3 (2008): 750.
[2]Menachem Fisher, Dalit Yassour-Borochowitz, Efrat Neter, “Domestic Abuse in Pregnancy: Results from a Phone Survey in Northern Israel,” Domestic Abuse in Pregnancy 5 (2003): 35.
[3]Cheryl Buehler, Christine Anthony, Ambika Krishnakumar, Gaye Stone, Jean Gerard, and Sharon Pemberton, Interparental conflict and youth problem behaviors: A meta-analysis,” Journal of Child and Family Studies 6 (1997): 233-247;

Adoption: What If?

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By Lindsay Smith, Intern

Have you noticed it’s not always an actual problem which bogs down our minds, bodies and spirits (at least mine anyway), but rather the unknown?  When I’m face-to-face with a problem, my determination kicks in high gear.  I want to find a way over it, around it, or through it, and thanks to God’s grace, I can.  Tangible problems do not burden me as much as those two, little, whispering words: “What if.” 

Perhaps you have felt this way at some point – maybe specifically about adoption.  Having experienced an adoption in my family, I know there can be a lot of “what ifs” throughout the process.  Sometimes those two little words can seem larger than life and greater than any current problem.  However, MARRI’s research brings reality back to these “what ifs,” and the reality is “Adoption Works Well.”
What if we adopt:
You might make fewer trips to the doctor because your child is more likely to “enjoy excellent health” while overcoming any physical delays and even in-utero drug effects as a result of his or her placement.  Adopted children excel academically, even beyond children from biological families, and “eventually, there are no differences between the IQ scores of adopted siblings and those of biological siblings reared together.”  Within a home, family dynamics are also strengthened through adoption: “A study of 450 adolescents found that adoptees communicate more positively and have more positive relationships with their parents than do even biological children.” 
Undoubtedly, parents of adopted children will experience struggles, as do parents of biological children.  Not all family structures are the same, and MARRI explains here the benefits for all children of living in an intact married family.  Based on this research, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that “married adoptive parents adjust more successfully than unmarried parents.”  Research also shows the earlier you adopt a child, the easier the transition and adjustment.  However, “all children will benefit, regardless of their age at placement.”  If children have such a positive response to adoption, perhaps the better question is, “What if we don’t adopt?”
What if we don’t adopt:
All over the world children are aging out of orphanages or foster care systems without a forever family.  Annually in Russia, 10,000 youth like these teens find themselves on their own.  Without a place to call home or a mom and dad to lean on, many tragically resort to crime, prostitution, or simply decide their lives aren’t worth living.  This is the answer from only one country, and sadly many other countries cry out with similar responses.  There are 153 million orphansin the world.  2007 was a record year for adoptions: 133,737 domestic adoptionsand 19,569 international agency adoptions* took place.  Since each of these numbers represents a precious boy or girl who joined a family, we should celebrate them.   However, the sobering truth is these adoptions affected only 0.1% of the world’s orphans.  Many, many more children still need a home, and I would hope Christians are the first to help. 
Adoption in its truest form is a response to the love and gospel of Jesus Christ.  We were adopted into His kingdom, so we in turn adopt children into our homes.  Not just so they will have an earthly room, bed or siblings, but so they may have a chance to know about a Heavenly Father who is recklessly and passionately pursuing their adoption to Himself. 
On Sunday, November 4th, churches all over the United States and the world will be celebrating “Orphan Sunday.”  Started by the Christian Alliance for Orphans, this Sunday raises awareness for the plight of the orphan through local church services. 
And that’s not a “What if.”
* Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2011). How many children were adopted in 2007 and 2008? Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau. 14.