Mariette Ulrich

Dangerous housewives

Mariette Ulrich
By Mariette Ulrich
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May 7, 2012 (Mercatornet.com) - Has enough been made of the Hilary Rosen “stay-home-moms-don’t-work” calamity? Maybe yes, maybe no, but as a college-educated full-time mother of seven, I am not about to let it go without comment. (I wish I could have weighed in a bit sooner, but, well, I was busy with family activities.)

Ms Rosen took a lot of heat for her remark about Anne Romney, from all sides of the political spectrum: fellow Democrats scrambled to distance themselves; even Mrs. Obama tweeted her displeasure. Far from censuring Ms Rosen, however, the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto says she deserves thanks for being an “honest feminist”.

Taranto points out that, beginning approximately with Freud’s influence, the denigration of motherhood has been an ongoing “major theme in American culture”. If the disparagement of motherhood (especially the full-time variety) is a socio-political creed, then feminism is its prophet and the Democratic party, despite its avowals to the contrary, its church-home base.

From Hillary Clinton’s 1992 condescending “I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas” to the present day, the Democrat-feminist complex (can I call it the Dem-fem to save time?) has been clear on how it regards the choices of women who don’t march in lockstep with their agenda.

Heritage Foundation’s Jennifer Marshal believes that Mrs Clinton’s remark was consistent with comments made by feminist matriarch Betty Friedan in her 1963 book The Feminine Mystique: “I am convinced there is something about the housewife state itself that is dangerous,” wrote Friedan, describing the homemaker as consigned to “a comfortable concentration camp”.

Who knew that wiping noses, driving kids to soccer, dusting the furniture, and catching up on the school day over a plate of freshly baked brownies constituted living dangerously?

And why, decades after Friedan raised the alarm, are so many women refusing to buy into feminism’s brand of salvation? As Marshall points out, most young women today still view marriage and motherhood as desirable life goals. When they achieve that aspiration, nearly 70 per cent of full-time working mothers with children under 18 claim that they would prefer to work part time or not at all (Pew Research Center report, 2007). 

Feminism continues to tout “choice” ad nauseam while excoriating women who make the “wrong” choices according to the Dem-fem creed. Marshall calls this the “feminist mystique”, which (ironically) fails to treat women as intelligent individuals capable of making their own choices, but instead demands conformity to a “feminist norm”. She notes that feminists still make the mistake of categorizing women as a class.

You still hear politicians, male and female, talk about the “women’s vote” or “women’s issues”. When was the last time (or the first time?) anyone talked about “men’s issues” or the “men’s vote”? Treating women as a voting bloc is in itself a bizarre form of condescension, where we are seen, not as individual human beings, but as a homogeneous special interest group, and one with permanent victim status.

Frankly, a lot of people (and not just stay-home moms) are sick of this condescension. Hence the pushback. New York Times Sunday op-ed columnist Frank Bruni, defends his own late mother:

I know that she was proud of how she spent her time and chafed mightily at any career woman who in any way insinuated that she was performing a servile or trivial function. And since she’s no longer around, I’ll chafe for her. What Rosen said was inaccurate, gratuitous and a sad example of the way politics is practiced today.

Bruni argues, however, that Rosen’s remark ultimately generated too much political hay since her comments did not represent the Obama administration. Many mainstream media pundits likewise called the story a “non-controversy”. I beg to differ. The Dem’s reaction (to Rosen’s statement) was mere damage control: the fact that it’s an election year requires the Dem-fems to repress their true feelings about homemakers’ choices. And repression is never a good thing, is it, ladies?

As WSJ’s James Taranto points out, Rosen’s attitude does reflect feminist thought on the subject, which also tends to coincide with Democrat policy. Neither movement is a friend of traditional families and/or gender roles. Few dare suggest (with certain cultural exceptions) that such roles should be enforced or even promoted, but in the current climate they are not even respected or given equal shrift—even when traditional roles and attitudes are chosen by many Americans.

This is perhaps because the logistics surrounding such choices are not always clearly understood. Taranto, for example, says: “[A]n increasing number of women are choosing domestic life, finding it a liberating alternative to working for a boss. But to do so requires a husband with considerable means.”

Mr Taranto, you disappoint. This is buying into Rosen’s back-pedaling, class warfare-inducing view that Mrs Romney was able to stay home and raise her children only because her husband is a millionaire. Families—and there are many—who make great personal sacrifices (career, financial) to have one parent at home are weary of hearing that full-time parenthood is a luxury. For many working class families, moreover, spousal education levels, stagnant wages and punitive tax regimes make it frankly (and ironically) financially unappealing for the wife to work outside the home. A New York Times report in the wake of the Rosen-Romney fracas refuted the stay-home-mom-as-luxury myth, noting that 65 per cent of stay-at-home, married mothers of children under 18 live in a household with an annual income below $75,000.

The vast majority of stay-home moms, regardless of income or social status, choose to stay home because home and family is where we find fulfillment. Betty Friedan wasn’t right about much, but she was certainly correct that such women are dangerous: we repudiate the feminist world-view, and find self-actualization in (brace yourself) loving and serving our families.

Many of us are college educated. We think, we read, we discuss, we protest, and we vote. (Thanks, Suffragettes!) As National Post’s Marni Soupcoff observes, many homemakers indeed joined a tea party, but not quite the one Hillary Clinton had in mind. In this, we potentially threaten the existence of feminist political power; thus, feminism cannot validate our choices. Evidently, this has not yet occurred to Frank Bruni, who still seems naïvely befuddled by the Rosen debacle:

What’s most bothersome about Rosen’s comment… was its betrayal of what the Democratic Party and feminism at their best are supposed to be about: recognizing the full diversity of human experience and empowering everyone along that spectrum to walk successfully down the path of his or her choosing, so long as it poses no clear harm to anyone else.

Well said, but he misses a big fat irony: in the view of many persons (male and female) with traditional values, the Dem-fems are constantly and relentlessly advancing an anti-life, anti-marriage, anti-family, anti-human, anti-freedom agenda, which poses a clear threat, not only to individuals, but to the fabric of society and by extension, the future of the nation itself.

Bruni remembers how his own mother was vexed by the feminist notion that full-time motherhood somehow meant “turning your back” on your college education: ‘“I haven’t turned my back on my education,” she continued, adding that she used it daily “to make my home the center of learning it should be.”

And there, perhaps, we hit on the chief danger posed by traditional motherhood: if moms and dads are influencing their children, there is less chance they’ll succumb to the Dem-fem worldview. Taranto notes:

Fifty years ago, Ann Romney’s life would have made her just a regular woman. Today, she is a countercultural figure—someone who lives in a way that the dominant culture regards with a hostile disdain. And she has chosen to live that way, which is why Hilary Rosen, as an intellectual heiress to Betty Friedan, regards her as a villain rather than a victim.

Of course, smart moms know who the real villains are, and we’re teaching our children (future voters and taxpayers) to recognize them too. Living dangerously? Bring it on.

Mariette Ulrich writes from western Canada. She blogs on Family Edge. This article first appeared at Mercatornet.com and is reprinted under a Creative Commons License.

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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 more than $400 million 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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