Kathleen Gilbert

Bay and her Boys: the story of a single mom, three boys, and the family that wouldn’t lose

Kathleen Gilbert
Kathleen Gilbert
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May 13, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Bay Buchanan is not a mom you want to cross.

Pat Buchanan’s policy-wonk sister, once the youngest-ever U.S. treasurer under Ronald Reagan, Bay is well-dressed, well-spoken, and could probably handily cut you down in a live televised debate on trade policy.

She has just published a book that features herself on the cover. Ms. Buchanan looks crisp but relaxed above a wide white collar, red cardigan, and understated jewellery, not unlike her appearances on CNN and MSNBC. Yet for this cover, she ditched the debate table and is instead flanked by three handsome, smiling men.

These are the surroundings she likes best - the three boys she raised alone from the moment two decades ago that the political strategist known for her “rapid-fire retorts” found herself staring at a handful of divorce papers. When their father abruptly walked out of their California home, Billy was four, Tommy was two, and Stuart had not yet been born.

In “Bay and Her Boys: Unexpected lessons I learned as a (single) Mom,” we get a fascinating view of what Bay herself surely wished she could have seen that dreadful first day: just what happens when a sharp analytical mind and a truly indomitable will turn to attack full-force the problem of bringing three boys across the ocean of a fatherless childhood.

The results are extraordinary, and Bay wants everyone, especially single moms, to know that - no matter what the statistics say about kids without dads - it can be done.

Ms. Buchanan lays out a short list of the essentials: put the kids first. Strip parenting down to the basics. Give your kids a home to love. Rely on family traditions. With an unflagging determination to “love being your kids’ mom,” she says, these will get you through.

But she insists early on: this success is simply impossible under the illusion that single motherhood is a system that inherently works. Instead, it’s precisely because of her clear-eyed certainty that a father is irreplaceable that she says she was equipped to meet her son’s real needs.

It is a bittersweet testimony to the importance of family that stands at the heart of the book. That man, to her nothing more than a painful void in her life, was more than solid gold in the eyes of her boys. No matter how thin the scraps of that gold, she decided, they would have them all.

Even though friends pushed her to take advantage of her large extended family and great job opportunities in Virginia, Bay stayed in California after the divorce to give her boys a chance to see their dad in custody visits - which were often rescheduled or dropped - for six years. And her sons couldn’t be more grateful.

“What little time I did spend with him is more precious to me than all the riches in the world, more precious than anything, save time spent with my Mom,” wrote Stuart.

“Today,” wrote Billy, the eldest, “I would trade most anything for a moment longer with Dad.”

It’s a truth about family Buchanan couldn’t have missed if she tried. The product of a strong Catholic family of nine children, she often reflects in “Bay and her Boys” on her own father’s role in her life, anchoring her family deep into a home that flourished with strong affections.

When she describes the cluttered, comfy home her boys grew up in, although Bay acknowledges it’s far from the ideal of her own childhood home, her words betray a deep pride. She and her sons agree: however messy, however overrun with pets (the house had twelve furry additional members), their home was the boys’ sanctuary and Bay’s masterpiece.

“My house wasn’t just a building where I ate, slept, and loved. It was where I always wanted to eat, sleep, and live. And I wasn’t the only one; my friends felt the same way, and if any of them try to deny it, ask them how many days they spent at their own homes during the summer,” wrote Stuart. “And my house was hardly the biggest, or the cleanest, or the nicest. But we loved it, and that made all the difference.”

Bay’s advice on building a physical home was plain: “Design it around them,” she wrote, “and join them there.” She molded her home the way she molded her own life.

Throughout the book are peppered stories of how kids clashed with career - or more accurately, with whatever assignment she happened to snatch up in those unsteady years. One live debate in Texas on the impact of U.S. trade policy on agribusiness required hours of research that evaporated into a sleepless night with a vomiting 9-year-old. At other times, Bay came away the victor, turning down producers of the political talk show Equal Time offering a co-host position until they agreed to tape the show when her boys were at school.

Her honesty about these clashes is brutal. “For years,” she wrote, “I had heard so-called experts talk about the need for moms to set aside personal time and private space. ...

“And every time I did, I laughed out loud. What were these people talking about?”

“Many professional women argue that they’ve worked too hard getting to where they are, that they’ve got too much to lose if they put it all on hold, that they’ve grown accustomed to the money their career provides,” she mused. “I suspect many are just scared.

“It’s a huge change for them, a significant sacrifice that takes them out of their secure world and drops them into unchartered waters. But being a good mom means putting your kids ahead of your career along with everything else in your life.”

The book is an often funny, often incredible testimony to the force of a full-throated “yes” to life and family, even after a family has been broken. Bay’s intelligence and intimidating drive focused like a laser beam on how to be her son’s mom, no compromises, period. An analytic precision that could have launched her to the top of the political map was instead poured into the title she valued most.

Bay, who now resides in Virginia, says that she hopes the book will fill an appreciation gap for single moms who feel battered by both sides of the aisle.

“It is indisputable that life is tougher for kids raised without a dad in their home but, for millions of us, that is no longer an option for our kids and we struggle every day to see that our kids beat the awful odds,” she said in an interview accompanying the book. “Surely, I would often think, there is a message of hope for us - an encouraging word or some guidelines on how we too can succeed? But I never heard it from the right or left.”

Ultimately, “Bay and her Boys” is a fascinating tribute to the power of motherhood - single or married - and a heartening encouragement to all moms who feel beaten by the odds.

“It’s our job to see that our kids make it. It is tough and, at times, brutally difficult, but we can do it, and we can do it well,” she wrote.

“Numbers don’t tell our story. We do. We are moms.”

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PBS defends decision to air pro-abortion documentary ‘After Tiller’

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By Dustin Siggins

Under pressure for showing the pro-abortion documentary "After Tiller" on Labor Day, PBS' "POV" affiliate has defended the decision in response to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews.

The producers of the film say their goal with the documentary, which tells the stories of four late-term abortion doctors after the killing of infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller, is to "change public perception of third-trimester abortion providers by building a movement dedicated to supporting their right to work with a special focus on maintaining their safety.” 

POV told LifeSiteNews, "We do believe that 'After Tiller' adds another dimension to an issue that is being debated widely." Asked if POV will show a pro-life documentary, the organization said that it "does not have any other films currently scheduled on this issue. POV received almost 1000 film submissions each year through our annual call for entries and we welcome the opportunity to consider films with a range of points of view."

When asked whether POV was concerned about alienating its viewership -- since PBS received millions in federal tax dollars in 2012 and half of Americans identify as pro-life -- POV said, "The filmmakers would like the film to add to the discussion around these issues. Abortion is already a legal procedure."

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"This is an issue that people feel passionately about and will have a passionate response to. We are hopeful that the majority of people can see it for what it is, another lens on a very difficult issue." 

In addition to the documentary, POV has written materials for community leaders and teachers to share. A cursory examination of the 29-page document, which is available publicly, appears to include links to outside sources that defend Roe v. Wade, an examination of the constitutional right to privacy, and "a good explanation of the link between abortion law and the right to privacy," among other information.

Likewise, seven clips recommended for student viewing -- grades 11 and beyond -- include scenes where couples choose abortion because the children are disabled. Another shows pro-life advocates outside a doctor's child's school, and a third is described as showing "why [one of the film's doctors] chose to offer abortion services and includes descriptions of what can happen when abortion is illegal or unavailable, including stories of women who injured themselves when they tried to terminate their own pregnancies and children who were abused because they were unwanted."

Another clip "includes footage of protesters, as well as news coverage of a hearing in the Nebraska State Legislature in which abortion opponents make reference to the idea that a fetus feels pain." The clip's description fails to note that it is a scientifically proven fact that unborn children can feel pain.

The documentary is set to air on PBS at 10 p.m. Eastern on Labor Day.

Kirsten Andersen contributed to this article.

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He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it

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By Pete Baklinski

A Christian man was executed during the night by a high-profile ruler after making an uncompromising defense of real marriage.

The Christian, who was renowned for his holiness, had told the ruler in public that his relationship with his partner was “against the law” of God. The Christian’s words enraged the ruler’s partner who successfully plotted to have him permanently silenced.

John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint.

While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.

According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, “It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,” Herodias became “furious” with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech.

Herodias found her opportunity to silence John by having her daughter please Herod during a dance at a party. Herod offered the girl anything she wanted. The daughter turned to her mother for advice, and Herodias said to ask for John’s head on a platter.

Those who fight for real marriage today can learn three important lessons from John’s example.

  1. Those proudly living in ungodly and unnatural relationships — often referred to in today’s sociopolitical sphere as ‘marriage’ — will despise those who tell them what they are doing is wrong. Real marriage defenders must expect opposition to their message from the highest levels.
  2. Despite facing opposition, John was not afraid to defend God’s plan for marriage in the public square, even holding a secular ruler accountable to this plan. John, following the third book of the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 20:21), held that a man marrying the wife of his brother was an act of “impurity” and therefore abhorrent to God. Real marriage defenders must boldly proclaim today that God is the author of marriage, an institution he created to be a life-long union between one man and one woman from which children arise and in which they are best nurtured. Marriage can be nothing more, nothing less.
  3. John did not compromise on the truth of marriage as revealed by God, even to the point of suffering imprisonment and death for his unpopular position. Real marriage defenders must never compromise on the truth of marriage, even if the government, corporate North America, and the entire secular education system says otherwise. They must learn to recognize the new “Herodias” of today who despises those raising a voice against her lifestyle. They must stand their ground no matter what may come, no matter what the cost.

John the Baptist was not intolerant or a bigot, he simply lived the word of God without compromise, speaking the word of truth when it was needed, knowing that God’s way is always the best way. Were John alive today, he would be at the forefront of the grassroots movement opposing the social and political agenda to remake marriage in the image of man.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

If he were alive today he might speak simple but eloquent words such as, “It is against God’s law for two men or two women to be together as a husband and wife in marriage. Marriage can only be between a man and a woman.” 

He would most likely be hated. He would be ridiculed. He would surely have the human rights tribunals throwing the book at him. But he would be speaking the truth and have God as his ally. 

The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice. May God grant his faithful the grace to persevere in whatever might come. St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

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The Wunderlich family Mike Donnelly / Home School Legal Defence Association
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German homeschoolers regain custody of children, vow to stay and fight for freedom

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

One year to the day since a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, and forcibly removed all four of the family’s children, aged 7 to 14, a state appeals court has returned custody of the children to their parents.

The reason given for the removal was that parents Dirk and Petra Wunderlich continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.

The children were returned three weeks after being taken, following an international outcry spearheaded by the Home School Legal Defense Association.

However, a lower court imposed the condition on the parents that their children were required to attend state schools in order for them to be released, and took legal custody of the children in order to prevent the family from leaving the country.

In a decision that was still highly critical of the parents and of homeschooling, the appeals court decided that the action of the lower court in putting the children in the custody of the state was “disproportional” and ordered complete custody returned to the parents, according to a statement by the HSLDA.

The Wunderlichs, who began homeschooling again when the court signaled it would rule this way, said they were very pleased with the result, but noted that the court’s harsh words about homeschooling indicated that their battle was far from over.

“We have won custody and we are glad about that,” Dirk said.

“The court said that taking our children away was not proportionate—only because the authorities should apply very high fines and criminal prosecution instead. But this decision upholds the absurd idea that homeschooling is child endangerment and an abuse of parental authority.”

The Wunderlichs are now free to emigrate to another country where homeschooling is legal, if they choose, but they said they intend to remain in Germany and work for educational freedom.

“While we no longer fear that our children will be taken away as long as we are living in Hessen, it can still happen to other people in Germany,” Dirk said. “Now we fear crushing fines up to $75,000 and jail. This should not be tolerated in a civilized country.”

Petra Wunderlich said, "We could not do this without the help of HSLDA,” but cautioned that, “No family can fight the powerful German state—it is too much, too expensive."

"If it were not for HSLDA and their support, I am afraid our children would still be in state custody. We are so grateful and thank all homeschoolers who have helped us by helping HSLDA.”

HSLDA’s Director for Global Outreach, Michael Donnelly, said he welcomed the ruling but was concerned about the court’s troubling language.

“We welcome this ruling that overturns what was an outrageous abuse of judicial power,” he said.

“The lower court decision to take away legal custody of the children essentially imprisoned the Wunderlich family in Germany. But this decision does not go far enough. The court has only grudgingly given back custody and has further signaled to local authorities that they should still go after the Wunderlichs with criminal charges or fines.”

Donnelly pointed out that such behavior in a democratic country is problematic.

“Imprisonment and fines for homeschooling are outside the bounds of what free societies that respect fundamental human rights should tolerate,” he explained.

“Freedom and fundamental human rights norms demand respect for parental decision making in education. Germany’s state and national policies that permit banning home education must be changed.

"Such policies from a leading European democracy not only threaten the rights of tens of thousands of German families but establish a dangerous example that other countries may be tempted to follow,” Donnelly warned.

HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris said that acting on behalf of the Wunderlichs was an important stand for freedom.

“The Wunderlichs are a good and decent family whose basic human rights were violated and are still threatened,” Farris said.

“Their fight is our fight," Farris stressed, "and we will continue to support those who stand against German policy banning homeschooling that violates international legal norms. Free people cannot tolerate such oppression and we will do whatever we can to fight for families like the Wunderlichs both here in the United States and abroad. We must stand up to this kind of persecution where it occurs or we risk seeing own freedom weakened.”

Visit the HSLDA website dedicated to helping the Wunderlich family and other German homeschoolers here.

Contact the German embassy in the U.S. here.

Contact the German embassy in Canada here.

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