Chuck Colson

Embracing the moral order: Jane Austen’s marital advice

Chuck Colson
By Chuck Colson
Image

July 21, 2011 (Breakpoint.org) - The experts have a lot of ideas about why marriages crumble. But one of my favorite answers comes from someone who gave literary marriage advice — some 200 years ago: Jane Austen.

Miss Austen had a delightfully satirical eye — an approach to life that was reflected in her novels. But as Benjamin Wiker points out in his new book, “10 Books Every Conservative Must Read,” Austen, the daughter of a clergyman, also had a strong and biblical core of common sense — especially when it came to romantic relationships. Her books reflect the moral order, and celebrate marriage.

Wiker notes that Austen lived during the early Romantic movement. The Romantics lived a life “defined by the passions of the moment. For them, to feel is everything.”

In her novel, “Sense and Sensibility,” Austen describes the inevitable consequences of this approach to life. It’s the story of two sisters, both of whom fall deeply in love. The elder sister, Elinor, “has learned to govern and guide her passions by reason,” Riker says — and ultimately marries a man of good character.

By contrast, the younger sister, Marianne, indulges her passions without regard for prudence. Although Elinor warns Marianne against giving her heart to an attentive young man she barely knows, for Marianne, Wiker notes, “passion is the thing. Feelings must take the place of judgment.” And “being a creature of sensibility, Marianne has no sense,” no interest in learning good moral judgment, which involves “training feelings by habit and reason.”

Marianne had yet to learn what C.S. Lewis taught: that the question is not what feelings we happen to have, but what feelings we should have. Therefore, Wiker says, “We must educate ourselves to train our thoughts and feelings to correctly reflect the actual moral order.”  Marianne saw no need to do this — which is why, in time, her heart was broken by the worthless young man she’d so quickly — and imprudently — fallen in love with.

Unfortunately, our culture has taken Marianne’s attitude to its logical — and tragic — conclusion, Wiker notes. Like the Romantics, modern liberalism celebrates “the victory of sensibility over sense, the passions over reason, self-absorption over moral duty, romantic anarchy over tradition.”

Jane Austen would have been “rightly horrified at our not heeding her warning, but unsurprised by the results” — including, sadly, the high divorce rate, and the seduction of so many unthinking young women by men of bad character.

How much happier we would be if both men and women took the time to learn good moral judgment, and retrain their more impulsive feelings to reflect the moral order. Instead of rushing headlong into marriage, they should go slowly, inviting the advice of wise parents, friends, and church counselors.

While it may be “a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife,” as Austin satirically put it, — she would make sure her readers learned a more serious point: That the route to marital happiness is recognizing that there is a moral order, and that we ignore it at our peril.

Reprinted with permission from Breakpoint.org

Support hard-hitting pro-life and pro-family journalism.

Donate to LifeSite's fall campaign today


Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
'Don’t ever say ‘yes’ to that. It’s terrible,' said Robertson.
John Jalsevac John Jalsevac Follow John

Phil Robertson: Never vote for politicians who support ‘ripping human fetuses’ from mom’s womb

John Jalsevac John Jalsevac Follow John
By John Jalsevac

Phil Robertson is known for not pulling any punches when it comes to expressing his opinions on controversial issues, and he certainly didn’t disappoint at the Outdoor Extravaganza in Louisiana earlier this month.

Speaking to a massive crowd of some 8,000 outdoors enthusiasts at the CenturyLink Center, Robertson blasted Christians for not getting active in the political sphere.

“There are about 90 to 100 million of us who claim Jesus. The problem is only half of you register to vote and out of the half of you that registers to vote, only half of that group actually goes and votes,” Robertson said, according to the ShrevePort Times.

“Therefore, when you’re looking up there and griping and complaining about what you see in Washington D.C., you might as well shut up,” he added. “The reason they’re there is we’re putting them there. If you don’t get anything else out of this, remember this — register to vote for crying out loud.”

But Robertson reserved his strongest remarks for politicians who support abortion.

“If the dude or woman is for ripping human fetuses out of their mother’s womb, don’t ever vote for that,” Robertson said bluntly. “Don’t ever say ‘yes’ to that. It’s terrible.”

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

Robertson also lamented the increasing secularization of the United States.  

“We’ve lost it folks,” he told the crowd. “We ran God out of our schools. We ran him out of the entertainment business. We ran him out of the news media. We’ve run him out of the judiciary, and we’ve run him out of Washington D.C.

“Well, what you get is what is left up there. They’re ungodly. You agree?”

Ever since A&E’s Duck Dynasty became the most popular reality show in TV history, members of the Robertson family have earned a name as unapologetic defenders of traditional Christian values.

At the Outdoor Extravaganza, Phil was accompanied by his wife, Miss Kay, and eldest son Alan, who also addressed the crowds. 

Phil’s blunt deliveries have occasionally landed him in hot water – most memorably when he addressed the topic of homosexuality in an interview with GQ magazine, earning him a short-lived suspension from his TV show by A&E.

But Robertson refused to apologize for the remarks despite intense pressure from homosexual activists and leftist groups.

“They railed against me for giving them the truth about their sins,” Robertson later said about the response to his GQ interview, pointing out that in the interview he had simply quoted Scriptural prohibitions against homosexuality and a variety of other sins.

"The news media didn't even know it was a verse," Robertson said. "They thought I was just mouthing off."

Share this article

Advertisement
Ulrich Klopfer wide
Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

Four Indiana abortionists could lose their licenses over reporting violations

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben
By Ben Johnson

The attorney general of Indiana, Greg Zoeller, has asked a state board to review the medical licenses of four abortionists, including an out-of-state abortionist who failed to report two cases of statutory rape.

The Indiana Medical Licensing Board will review the cases of Dr. Ulrich “George” Klopfer, Dr. Resad Pasic, Dr. Kathleen Glover, and Dr. Raymond Robinson.

A press release from the attorney general's office called Klopfer's “the most egregious complaint.” Klopfer, who lives in Crete, Illinois, failed to report abortions of two 13-year-olds – one at his Women’s Pavilion abortion facility in South Bend and another in his office in Gary.

All abortions must be reported to the Indiana State Department of Health, and abortions performed on minors younger than 14 must also be reported to the Indiana Department of Child Services within three days. Under state law, children under the age of 14 are incapable of consenting to sex, so any sexual relationship with them is considered likely statutory rape.

Klopfer reported the two abortions 116 days and 206 days afterwards, something he described as “an honest mistake.” Klopfer faces a misdemeanor criminal charge in both Lake and St. Joseph county in connection with those allegations.

Every single one of the 1,818 abortion reports Klopfer turned in to state authorities between July 2012 and November 2013 was false or incomplete, Zoeller says. The doctor often omitted the father's name and had a habit of listing the date of every abortion at 88 weeks gestation.

The abortionist is also charged with 13 violations of the state's informed consent law.

“The pending criminal charges brought by county prosecutors along with the sheer volume of unexplained violations...merits review by the Medical Licensing Board to determine whether disciplinary action is warranted,” Zoeller said.

The other three abortionists work at the Clinic for Women in the Indianapolis area. According to a press release from the state attorney general's office, they “are in alleged violation of similar record-keeping and advice and consent laws regarding abortion procedures,” but they face no criminal charges.

The allegations were collected and submitted by Indiana Right to Life, which combed through Klopfer's records. “Our legislators passed laws regarding consent and record keeping to ensure high standards of quality and care for Hoosier women,” Indiana Right to Life President and CEO, Mike Fichter, said. “We're disappointed that these abortion doctors apparently did not willingly comply with Indiana law. We hope the Medical Licensing Board immediately schedules hearings.”

“If found guilty, we believe the abortion doctors should be fined and their licenses to practice in Indiana should be revoked," he added.

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

His views were shared by national pro-life leaders. “We are encouraged by the filing of these Administrative Complaints today and urge the Board to revoke Ulrich Klopfer’s medical license due to the fact that he placed young girls in serious risk of continued rape and other abuse by neglecting to report,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “Each of these abortionist require stiff discipline in order to impress it upon others that laws are meant to be followed and that they are not above it.”

Zoeller's complaint did not mention a third abortion of a 13-year-old that Klopfer reported after the legal date. The abortion took place in Fort Wayne in February 2012, but he did not report the procedure until July. Police subsequently filed two charges of child molestation against Ronte Lequan Latham, who was then 19-year-old.

Tensions this produced with another physician in his Fort Wayne office led to the first abortion facility closure of 2014.

The epidemic of underreporting presumed statutory rape is not limited to Klopfer. Between 58 and 75 percent of abortions performed on Indiana girls under the age of 14 were not reported in accordance with the law, according to an investigation by Amanda Gray of the South Bend Tribune.

Klopfer had a history of run-ins with authorities. In 2010 and 2012, state inspectors found that he allowed the bodies of aborted babies to be stored in a refrigerator alongside medicine the office gave to women who came in for the procedure.

The board has not yet set a date to hear evidence and make a judgment about their fitness to practice. If the board objects, it could respond by issuing a reprimand, suspending a license, or revoking the abortionists' medical license and imposing fines.

The accused may continue performing abortions until the board makes a final decision. 

Advertisement
Featured Image
President Obama speaks at Planned Parenthood's national conference in 2013.
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

Obama remakes the nation’s courts in his image

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins
Image

It has often been said that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is President Obama's greatest achievement as president. However, that claim may soon take second place to his judicial nominees, and especially their effect on marriage in the United States.

In a new graphic, The Daily Signal notes that while President George W. Bush was able to get 50 nominees approved by this time in his second term, Obama has gotten more than 100 approved. According to The Houston Chronicle, "Democratic appointees who hear cases full time now hold a majority of seats on nine of the 13 U.S. Courts of Appeals. When Obama took office, only one of those courts had more full-time judges nominated by a Democrat."

Three of the five judges who struck down state marriage laws between February 2014 and the Supreme Court's Windsor decision in 2013 were Obama appointees, according to a CBS affiliate in the Washington, D.C. area. Likewise, the Windsor majority that overturned the Defense of Marriage Act included two Obama appointees, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Obama has nominated 11 homosexual judges, the most of any president by far, says the National Law Journal.

Only one federal judge has opposed same-sex "marriage" since the Supreme Court's Windsor decision. He was appointed under the Reagan administration.

This accomplishment, aided by the elimination of Senate filibusters on judicial nominees, could affect how laws and regulations are interpreted by various courts, especially as marriage heads to a probable Supreme Court hearing on the constitutionality of state laws.

Democrats eliminated the filibuster for all judicial nominees except for Supreme Court candidates last year, saying Republicans were blocking qualified candidates for the bench. However, the filibuster was part of the reason Democrats were able to keep the number of approved Bush appointees so low.

The Supreme Court may hear multiple marriage questions in its 2015 cycle. 

Share this article

Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook