Mike Ciandella and Katie Yoder

Warren Buffett has given over $1 billion to pro-abortion groups since 2001

Mike Ciandella and Katie Yoder
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May 13, 2014 (NewsBusters) - They say the key to successful investing is diversification. But Berkshire Hathaway Chairman & CEO Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor known as the  “Oracle of Omaha,” is a one-issue man -- and that issue is abortion.

Through the foundation he financed with more than $3 billion of his own money, Buffett donated $1,230,585,161 to abortion groups worldwide from 2001 to 2012. These groups, including Planned Parenthood, NARAL and the Population Council, either campaign for pro-abortion legislation, perform abortions themselves, or helped develop the controversial abortion drug RU-486. Buffett gave an additional $21 million to these groups between 1989 and 1996. (Tax forms between 1997 and 2000 are not available.)

So the $1.2 billion that Buffett gave to these organizations is enough to pay for the abortions of more than 2.7 million babies in the womb. Those figures come from the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, which says the average amount paid for a surgical abortion in the United States is $451 for the first trimester. That accounts for the majority of abortions.

To put that in perspective, Warren Buffett donated enough money to abortion groups to perform as many abortions as there are people in the entire city of Chicago.

Moreover, in giving to Planned Parenthood, Buffett is aiding an organization whose employees have been caught winking at confessions of prostitution and sex trafficking, whose management has a history of bullying and holding positions so extreme that one of its lobbyists suggested babies born alive after “botched” abortions should have no legal protections.

Those positions are hardly mainstream as abortion has become increasingly controversial, and Buffett's views are not those of the majority of Americans. According to the Gallup polling company, 48 percent of Americans considered themselves pro-life in 2013, while only 45 percent viewed themselves as “pro-choice.”

One year ago, on May 13, 2013, the infamous abortionist Kermit Gosnell was convicted of three counts of murder and one count of manslaughter in a case the major media tried their best to ignore. Another of the groups Buffett funded inspected Gosnell’s clinic -- subsequently described in court documents as a “house of horror” -- and didn’t report conditions at the “worst abortion clinic” the inspector had ever seen to Pennsylvania authorities.

But while Buffett has poured more than a billion dollars into the abortion industry, the media have turned a blind eye. Despite 545 stories on and interviews with Buffett on ABC, CBS and NBC since 2001 when our tax return data began, the networks only mentioned Buffett’s abortion funding once. This was in reference to his wife and her support of Planned Parenthood. Nowhere did any of the network morning or evening news shows mention the extent of his donations to fund the abortion industry.

Buffett’s actions have sparked fury in the pro-life community. Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins deemed Buffett the “sugar daddy of the entire pro-abortion movement.” Lila Rose, the president of Live Action, called Buffett a “genocide maker” and likened his funding of abortion to “money invested for genocide by warlords."

That runs contrary to the media's incessantly positive portrayal of Buffett. But, as Rose noted, “There’s a gross lack of reporting around the abortion issue” and Buffett’s giving “needs to be publicized.”

Contributions Linked to Late Wife’s Support of Abortion

After the 2004 death of Warren Buffett’s wife, Susan Thompson Buffett, the Buffett Foundation became the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation. This foundation, located in Omaha, NE, manages Buffett’s “charitable” giving. In 2006, he expanded the foundation's giving potential with $3 billion of his own money.

Mrs. Buffett had been president of the foundation and was  concerned about overpopulation. She supported “family planning,” including abortion, to curb the global human population. A decade after her death, the foundation continues that work.

Pro-abortion activist Tracy Weitz heads the foundation’s domestic operation. Weitz worked at Planned Parenthood as well as The Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health with a focus on “a national strategic plan to secure access to later abortion care.” An outspoken abortion blogger at publications including RH Reality Check and The Huffington Post, she once defined abortion as “a moral action undertaken by moral agents.”

While Buffett himself rarely mentions abortion in public, his late wife Susan stressed his support during an interview on “The Charlie Rose Show,” which aired shortly after her death. She said that “Warren feels that women all over the world get shortchanged. That’s why he’s so pro-choice.” His daughter Susie also referenced her father’s stance on issues like population control: “That’s what my father has always believed was the biggest and most important issue, so that will be the focus,” for the foundation.

And Warren Buffett’s biographer, Roger Lowenstein, characterized him as holding “a Malthusian dread that overpopulation would aggravate problems in all other areas -- such as food, housing, even human survival.”

Buffett’s Massive Support for Planned Parenthood

Buffett’s donations have gone to dozens of pro-abortion groups, but none more than abortion giant Planned Parenthood. It received $289,811,421 -- nearly one-fourth of his total abortion contributions. But Planned Parenthood’s actions -- from supporting sex-selective abortions to targeting minorities with abortion funds -- have increasingly attracted anger from conservatives.

In Florida last year, a lobbyist for the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates told the state legislature that the fate of an infant born alive in a “botched abortion” “should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician.” In other words, the baby, a living, breathing, child, should have no legal protection from infanticide -- even after leaving the womb.

In 2012, the pro-life group Live Action released two videos of Planned Parenthood staffers assisting a Live Action actor with setting up a sex-selective abortion. In 2011, Planned Parenthood was the target of another undercover video with Live Action’s Lila Rose and Project Veritas’ James O’Keefe. Rose, then 22, posed as a 15-year-old prostitute while O’Keefe pretended to be a pimp who sought abortions for Rose and other underage prostitutes. In the video, Planned Parenthood workers assured O’Keefe that procuring these abortions would not be a problem.

Planned Parenthood paid out $2 million earlier this year after 24-year-old Tonya Reaves' death from uncontrollable bleeding after an abortion. Reaves had a 1-year-old son at the time of her death.

But the organization still claims to be all about “health.” Planned Parenthood tirelessly promotedObamacare this year, and stands to gain from it, since the Affordable Care Act includes coverage of abortions.

Abortion is only part of the organization’s controversial activity. Planned Parenthood has no problem encouraging teenagers to be sexually active, instructing that there’s “nothing bad or unhealthy” about multiple sex partners, as well as promoting bondage and sadomasochism. There’s also the time when President Cecile Richards warned that, if Planned Parenthood lost funding, the organization could no longer provide mammograms -- mammograms which it never offered in the first place.

Other criticisms of Planned Parenthood include:

Investing Beyond Planned Parenthood

Buffett didn’t stop there.

Planned Parenthood’s ally, NARAL Pro-Choice America, received $4,696,883 from Buffett. NARAL is dedicated to unrestricted abortion and repeatedly bashes those who differ, claiming that “anti-abortion” is “anti-American” and accusing pro-lifers and tea partiers of “lying and cheating.” The organization recently made headlines after allegedly persuading Google to delete crisis pregnancy center ads. Afterward it surfaced that NARAL made up the story, according pro-life blogger Jill Stanek.

NARAL even dedicated its annual report to late-term abortionist George Tiller who “compassionately and heroically served women.”

Buffett also donated to Advocates for Youth, which hosted an event to fight the “stigma” and “shame” of abortion while debuting its new book “1 in 3: These Are Our Stories.” Anyone could come to this event -- except for the media.

Buffett donated over $24 million to the National Abortion Federation (NAF). The Grand Jury Reporton the Gosnell case bashed NAF, “an association of abortion providers that upholds the strictest health and legal standards for its members.” The report explained how, when Gosnell applied for admission, a NAF evaluator “readily noted that records were not properly kept, that risks were not explained, that patients were not monitored, that equipment was not available, that anesthesia was misused.” While “It was the worst abortion clinic she had ever inspected,” and she refused Gosnell’s application, she ”never told anyone in authority about all the horrible, dangerous things she had seen.”

National Abortion Federation President Vicki Saporta later criticized Gosnell -- for not “ensuring fetal demise.”

Not only does Buffett give to groups that provide abortions and campaign for more abortion access, but also he gives to groups accused of performing forced abortions and sterilizations in third world countries. EngenderHealth, for example, which provides sterilization in Vietnam, has received at least $32,452,618 from Buffett. A New York Times article from July 14, 2010, discussed a possible connection between Buffett and the Ryan program, which trained OB/GYNs to perform abortions. According to the Times, “[t]here is no line item for the Ryan program or the Family Planning Fellowship. But the foundation paid out around $50 million to universities with one or both of the programs.” The article also quoted doctors at these universities who claimed that Buffett had funded the program.

Buffett gave $23,864,162 to the Population Council, the group responsible for beginning clinical trials needed to get the abortion drug RU-486 approved by the FDA. RU-486 is used to terminate pregnancies as late as 9 weeks, and has led to the deaths of at least 14 women, according to an FDA report. Buffett gave to the Population Council during the early 1990s when it was testing RU-486. The money was specifically earmarked for “clinical trials.”

Buffett’s Personal Agenda

Buffett’s support for abortion goes back decades.

Abortion is such an important issue to Buffett that he vowed to pull all donations rather than stop funding pro-abortion groups. In 2003, a 34-year-old homeschool mom’s protest made headlines when she revealed that Buffett was funding abortion causes. This caused a discussion by the Berkshire Hathaway leadership about whether or not the company should continue to fund abortion groups. So Buffett allegedly put a stop to all Berkshire Hathaway charitable donations across the board.

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Despite Buffett deciding that his multinational conglomerate holding company Berkshire Hathaway was done giving money to any charity, the Berkshire Foundation, headed by Buffett’s sister, Roberta Buffett Bialek and funded by Berkshire Hathaway, gave $50,000 in 2011 alone to the Center for Reproductive Rights. The Berkshire Foundation only gives away roughly $400,000 a year.

Buffett’s friend and vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Charles Munger, himself worth $1.2 billion, helped push Buffett to become pro-choice. According to Munger, “It was emotionally hard for me to become pro-choice because I do have reverence for human life,” but “when I thought through the consequences, I found it necessary to overrule that part of my nature.”

When abortions were legal in California, but still illegal elsewhere in the country, Buffett and Munger sponsored a “church” dubbed the Ecumenical Fellowship that helped women find places to get abortions. Munger once raised his glass at a party for Los Angeles obstetrician Keith Russell, declaring that “I want to toast Dr. Russell for the thousands of babies he didn’t deliver,” according to “Damn Right: Behind the Scenes with Berkshire Hathaway Billionaire Charlie Munger” by Janet Lowe. Buffett himself wrote the foreword to this book, with nothing but praise for Munger, whom he has known since 1959.

Munger was proud of the role he and Buffett had played. “We were way ahead of the national office of Planned Parenthood in arranging abortions,” said Munger. “The Planned Parenthood chapter in Los Angeles wanted to get into that business, but didn’t know how. We merged our church, the Ecumenical Fellowship, headed by the same guy who headed the Clergy Counseling Service, into the Los Angeles chapter of Planned Parenthood.” Munger was a trustee and chief financial officer for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles for “many years.”

According to “The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life” by Alice Schroeder, the Ecumenical Fellowship was “part of the country’s abortion underground railroad.” This "underground railroad" helped women find places to get abortions in states where it was already legal before Roe v. Wade.

Buffett and Munger were also involved in People v. Belous, an early abortion case, which was cited during Roe v. Wade. The case declared laws against abortion in California to be unconstitutional. “Munger helped write the opinion. Buffett said he had never seen Munger ‘so fired up,” Schroeder explained in “The Snowball.”

“It’s very hard to argue that the earth would be better off in terms of average happiness or livelihood with twelve billion people instead of six,” Buffett argued in “The Snowball. “There is a limit, and if you don’t know what that limit is, you’re better off erring on the safe side. It’s a margin of safety approach for the survival of earth.

In 1994 Warren Buffett said that the world would have far fewer problems “if you could make every child born in this country and this world a wanted child … the closest thing we have to that is Planned Parenthood. Until women have the right to determine their reproductive destiny, we’re in an unequal society.”

Following in their father’s footsteps, the charities of Buffett’s three children, Susan, Howard and Peter, also support Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups. These include the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the NoVo Foundation and the Sherwood Foundation.

The Culture and Media Institute reached out to both The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation and Berkshire Hathaway. The phone number for the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation appeared to be disconnected, but the website states that “The Buffett Foundation responds to questions about College Scholarships and the Alice Buffett Outstanding Teacher Award only. We will not respond to any other inquiries.” CMI is currently waiting for a response from Berkshire Hathaway.

The Media Turn a Blind Eye to Buffett's Abortion Funding

The grandfatherly “Oracle of Omaha” is a media favorite. Journalists seek his opinion on taxes and the economy, relish his close ties to President Obama, and always want to hear his business prognostications. So it’s odd that, although ABC, CBS and NBC have mentioned Buffett in 545 broadcasts since January 2001, the three broadcast networks only once alluded to Warren Buffett’s connection with abortion during their morning and evening shows.

And that story wasn’t even explicitly about Warren. When Buffett’s first wife passed away in July 2004, NBC’s Tom Brokaw mentioned her “major” support for Planned Parenthood in a “Nightly News” obituary.

And it isn’t as though they haven’t talked about his other charitable activity. The broadcast networks also consistently gushed over Buffett’s philanthropy and “incredibly generous” character. For example, on July 30, 2013, the entire “Good Morning America” team fawned over Buffett’s decision to auction off a tour of a chocolate factory for charity. ABC co-anchor Lara Spencer called him “incredibly generous” and praised “his pure imagination,” comparing him to the character Willy Wonka.

The Pro-life Response

But while the media practiced bias, pro-life organizations expressed outrage at the amount of Buffett’s support dedicated to the demise of babies in the womb.

To the Culture and Media Institute, Lila Rose, president of Live Action, described Buffett’s “money to fund abortions for minority women” as something that “rivals the money invested for genocide by warlords”  “By investing this money,” she stressed, “Buffett put himself up there with other genocide makers of the past.”

This “huge scandal,” she noted, “needs to be publicized and could negatively hurt Buffett’s business if people found out that his money was going to fund abortions.”

But “finding out” will prove a challenge as Rose pointed out the “gross lack of reporting around the abortion issue,” both nationally and internationally.  

Like Rose, Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins recognized that “there is a media bias that we're competing with” on Buffett, the “sugar daddy of the entire pro-abortion movement.”

“An activist with his money,” Buffett, “has made really his life’s passion destroying human life” and “single-handedly is ensuring the destruction of millions of children worldwide,” Hawkins said.

By exposing Buffett’s actions, Hawkins hoped, “we might be able to reduce the amount of money he’s giving” as well as “ inspire other philanthropists to consider countering what Buffett's doing.”

Director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council, Arina Grossu, voiced similar concerns. “What kind of ‘philanthropy’ is this? Injury and destruction of human life is no philanthropy at all,” she challenged. Noting that abortions impact poor, minority communities the most, Grossu lamented, “He could be doing so much good with his money and instead, he is choosing to destroy the lives of countless mothers, fathers and children around the world.”

Jeanne Monahan, president of the March for Life, told CMI that Buffett’s “charitable” donations were far from charitable. Instead, they “sadly undermine and exploit the inherent dignity of the human person – in both moms and developing babies,”  Monahan said.

She called Buffett’s giving and research on drugs such as RU-486 “alarming.” When in times of distress women need real health care, love and support, not abortion,” she urged.

“The destruction of human life is not a solution for combating poverty or disease or aiding certain parts of the world lacking basic resources,” she continued. “Abortion is never a solution; it creates more problems. Real solutions help those in need, they do not end human life or exploit the dignity of the human person.”

Methodology

All information on the Warren Buffett’s charitable donations were gathered through the 990 tax returns for the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, which he heads. The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation went by the name The Buffett Foundation until 2004. The name change occurred after the death of Warren Buffett’s wife, Susan Thompson Buffett. These tax forms are available to the public, no special permission was required to view them.

According to these tax returns, Buffett gave $1,230,585,161 between 2001 and 2012. He gave an additional 21,042,004 to these groups between 1989 and 1996, adding up to a grand total of $1,251,627,165. The Culture and Media Institute could not get copies of the tax returns 1997 and 2000 for Buffett’s foundation.

The network tally was determined by searching for “Buffett” in transcripts from ABC, CBS and NBC on Nexis and analyzing the result..

The following is a list of pro-abortion groups that have received funding from the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation. This list does not include any groups that provide contraceptives, but not abortion, or groups that encourage natural family planning methods. The only groups included on this list, and in the final tally, were groups which either provided abortions themselves or advocated for abortion or access to abortion.

  • Abortion Access Project
  • Center for Reproductive Rights
  • Central Iowa Family Planning
  • Funders Network on Population, Reproductive Health and Rights
  • NARAL
  • National Abortion Federation
  • National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association
  • Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health
  • Planned Parenthood
  • Religious Coalition for Reproductive Health
  • Society of Family Planning
  • Catholics for a Free Choice
  • Grupo de Informacion en Reproduccion Elegida
  • Ibis Reproductive Health
  • Medical Students for Choice
  • Ms. Foundation for Women
  • National Institute for Reproductive Health
  • Abortion Access Project
  • Gynuity Health Projects
  • Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights
  • Family Health International
  • National Partnership for Women and Families
  • Feminist Majority Foundation
  • Guttmacher Institute
  • Advocates for Youth
  • DKT International
  • Irish Family Planning Association
  • Marie Stopes International
  • National Women’s Law Center
  • Pathfinder International
  • Population Council
  • Population Services International
  • Engender Health
  • Venture Strategies for Health and Development
  • Willow Foundation
Reprinted with permission from NewsBusters

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‘It’s a miracle’: Newborn girl survives two days after being abandoned in a field

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

The survival of a baby who was abandoned by her mother and left in a field for two days has been described as "a miracle" by the doctor attending the newborn girl.

"She had been left alone naked, and weighed less than a kilogram, in part because she was so severely dehydrated," said Doctor Barbara Chomik at the hospital in the northern Polish city of Elblag, according to a report from Central European News.

"It is a miracle that she survived under those conditions for so long. It is simply a miracle," Dr. Chomik said.

The report said that the child's mother, Jolanta Czarnecka, 30, of Ilawa in northeastern Poland, had concealed her pregnancy from friends and fellow workers, and had given birth in a field during a lunch break, then returned to work.

When blood was noticed on her clothing, the woman at first claimed she had accidentally given birth in the toilet and the baby had gone down the drain.

However, when investigation found no evidence supporting her claims, Czarnecka admitted to having given birth to the child in a nearby field and leaving her there.

When searchers found the child, two days after her birth, the little girl was dehydrated and covered with insects.

Czarnecka is facing charges of attempted murder for allegedly abandoning her child.

Czarnecka, who has entered a not guilty plea to the charges against her, could be sentenced to five years in prison if she is convicted.


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To the Christians who think 50 Shades is all sorts of awesome: Please, stop and THINK

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By Jonathon van Maren

It’s pretty depressing when you realize that, in 2014, many people seem to think that destruction of human dignity is a small price to pay for an orgasm.

I suppose when I write a column about a book that just sold its 100 millionth copy I shouldn’t be surprised when I get a bit of a kickback. But I have to say—I wasn’t expecting hundreds of commenters, many saying they were Christian, to come out loudly defending the porn novel 50 Shades of Grey, often tastelessly interspersed with details from their own sex lives.

People squawked that we “shouldn’t judge” those who practice bondage, domination, sadism and masochism (BDSM), and informed me that “no one gets hurt” and that it “isn’t abuse” and said that it was “just fantasy” (as if we have a separate brain and body for fantasy).

Meanwhile, not a single commenter addressed one of the main arguments I laid out—that with boys watching violent porn and girls being socialized to accept violence and torture inside of a sexual relationship, we have created a toxic situation in which people very much are being hurt.

In response to the defenders of this trash, let me make just a few points.

  1. Not all consent is equal.

People keep trumpeting this stupid idea that just because someone consents to something or allows something to happen, it isn’t abusive.

But if someone consents to being beaten up, punched, slapped, whipped, called disgusting and degrading names, and have other things done to them that I will choose not to describe here, does that make it any less abusive? It makes it legal (perhaps, but it certainly doesn’t make it any less disgusting or violent.

Would you want your daughter to be in a relationship with Christian Grey? Would you want your son to turn into Christian Grey? If the answer is yes to either of those, someone should call social services.

Anyone who works with victims of domestic and sexual assault will tell you that just because someone permits something to happen or doesn’t extricate themselves from a situation doesn’t mean it isn’t, in fact, abuse. Only when it comes to sex are people starting to make this argument, so that they can cling to their fetishes and justify their turn-ons. Those women who defend the book because they think it spiced up their sex life are being incredibly selfish and negligent, refusing to think about how this book could affect other women in different situations, as well as young and impressionable girls.

In the words of renowned porn researcher and sociologist Dr. Gail Dines:

In his book on batterers, Lundy Bancroft provides a list of potentially dangerous signs to watch out for from boyfriends. Needless to say, Christian [Grey of 50 Shades of Grey] is the poster boy of the list, not only with his jealous, controlling, stalking, sexually sadistic behavior, but his hypersensitivity to what he perceives as any slight against him, his whirlwind romancing of a younger, less powerful woman, and his Jekyll-and-Hyde mood swings. Any one of these is potentially dangerous, but a man who exhibits them all is lethal.

The most likely real-world ending of Fifty Shades of Grey is fifty shades of black and blue. The awful truth in the real world is that women who partner with a Christian Grey often end up hightailing it to a battered women's shelter with traumatized kids in tow. The less fortunate end up in graveyards.

  1. 50 Shades of Grey normalizes intimate partner violence…

…and sickeningly, even portrays it as romantic and erotic. Amy Bonomi, Lauren Altenburger, and Nicole Walton published an article on the impact of 50 Shades last year in the Journal of Women’s Health. Their conclusions are intuitive and horrifying:

While intimate partner violence (IPV) affects 25% of women and impairs health, current societal conditions—including the normalization of abuse in popular culture such as novels, film, and music—create the context to support such violence.

Emotional abuse is present in nearly every interaction, including: stalking (Christian deliberately follows Anastasia and appears in unusual places, uses a phone and computer to track Anastasia’s whereabouts, and delivers expensive gifts); intimidation (Christian uses intimidating verbal and nonverbal behaviors, such as routinely commanding Anastasia to eat and threatening to punish her); and isolation (Christian limits Anastasia’s social contact). Sexual violence is pervasive—including using alcohol to compromise Anastasia’s consent, as well as intimidation (Christian initiates sexual encounters when genuinely angry, dismisses Anastasia’s requests for boundaries, and threatens her). Anastasia experiences reactions typical of abused women, including: constant perceived threat (“my stomach churns from his threats”); altered identity (describes herself as a “pale, haunted ghost”); and stressful managing (engages in behaviors to “keep the peace,” such as withholding information about her social whereabouts to avoid Christian’s anger). Anastasia becomes disempowered and entrapped in the relationship as her behaviors become mechanized in response to Christian’s abuse.

Our analysis identified patterns in Fifty Shades that reflect pervasive intimate partner violence—one of the biggest problems of our time. Further, our analysis adds to a growing body of literature noting dangerous violence standards being perpetuated in popular culture.

  1. Really? Sadism?

I notice that commenters rarely break down what the acronym “BDSM” actually stands for: bondage, domination, sadism, and masochism. If they did, they could no longer make the repulsive claim that “love” or “intimacy” have anything to do with it.

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The definition of sadism is “enjoyment that someone gets from being violent or cruel or from causing pain, especially sexual enjoyment from hurting or punishing someone…a sexual perversion in which gratification is obtained by the infliction of physical or mental pain on others.”

As one of my colleagues noted, we used to send sadists to a therapist or to prison, not to the bedroom. And 100 million copies of this porn novel have been unleashed on our society informing people that getting off on hurting someone is romantic and erotic. It is a brutal irony that people who scream about water-boarding terrorists are watching and experimenting with sexual practices far more brutal. As one porn researcher noted, some online BDSM porn promotes practices and behaviors that would be considered unlawful under the Geneva Convention if they were taking place in a wartime context.

It seems the Sexual Revolutionaries have gone from promoting “safe sex” to “safe words”—just in case the pain gets too rough. And none of them seem to be volunteering information on just how a woman is supposed to employ a safe word with a gag or bondage headgear on.

But who cares, right? Just one more casualty on our culture’s new Sexual Frontier.

  1. “It’s just fiction and fantasy and has no effect on the real world!”

That’s total garbage and they know it. I’ve met multiple girls who were abused like this inside of relationships. Hotels are offering “50 Shades of Grey” packages replete with the helicopter and private suites for the proceedings. According to the New York Post, sales of rope exploded tenfold after the release of the book. Babeland reported that visits to the bondage section of their website spiked 81%, with an almost 30% increase in the sale of things like riding crops and handcuffs.

I could go on, but I won’t. As Babeland co-founder Claire Cavanah noted, “It’s like a juggernaut. You’d be surprised to see how very ordinary these people are who are coming in. The book is just an explosion of permission for them to try something new in the bedroom.”

  1. What does this book and the BDSM movement say about the value of women and girls?

I’d like the defenders of this book to try stop thinking with their nether-regions for just a moment and ask themselves a few simple questions: What does sadism and sexual torture (consensual or not) say to our culture about the value of girls? What does it say to boys about how they should treat girls? The youth of today are inundated with porn and sexually violent material—is nobody—nobody—at all worried about the impact this has on them? On the girls who are being abused by boys who think this is normal behavior—and think it is normal themselves?

Dr. Gail Dines relates that when speaking to groups of women who loved the book, they all grow deathly silent when she asks them two simple questions: Would you want your daughter to be in a relationship with Christian Grey? Would you want your son to turn into Christian Grey?

If the answer is yes to either of those, someone should call social services.

__

This book and the sadism it promotes are an assault on human dignity, and most of all an assault on the worth and value of girls and women. Please consider the impact you will have on your daughters and the vulnerable and confused people around you when you read and promote this book. Anastasia Steele is, thankfully, a fictional character. But real girls are facing these expectations and demands from a culture that elevates a sexual sadist to the level of a romantic hero. Ask yourselves if you want their “love” and “intimacy” to include sadism and domination, or real respect.

Because you can’t have both.

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Ryan T. Anderson

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New York Times reporter: ‘Anti-LGBT’ people ‘deserve’ incivility

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By Ryan Anderson

As I recounted Monday at The Daily Signal, The New York Times reporter Josh Barro thinks some people are “unworthy of respect.” Yesterday Barro doubled-down and tweeted back at me that “some people are deserving of incivility.” He argued that I am such a person because of my views about marriage policy. You can see the entire exchange on my twitter page.

What Josh Barro says or does doesn’t really affect me. I’m not a victim, and I’ll keep doing what I do. But incivility, accepted and entrenched, is toxic to a political community. Indeed, civility is essential for political life in a pluralistic society.

It also has deep roots.

The Hebrew Bible tells us that all people are made in the image and likeness of God and have a profound and inherent dignity. Sound philosophy comes to a similar conclusion: as rational beings capable of freedom and love, all human beings have intrinsic and inestimable worth. And so we should always treat people with respect and dignity—we should honor their basic humanity. We should always engage with civility—even when we sharply disagree with them. Faith and reason, the natural law and the divine law, both point to the same conclusion.

Just as I think the best of theology and philosophy point to the conclusion that we should always treat people with respect, so I think they show that marriage is the union of a man and a woman—and that redefining marriage will undermine the political common good.

The work that I’ve done for the past few years for The Heritage Foundation has been at the service of explaining why I think this to be the case. Bookish by nature, I thought the best contribution I could make to public life was to help us think about marriage. So while my early work after college was in philosophy and bioethics, and my graduate coursework was in the history of political philosophy, I put my dissertation about economic and social justice on hold so I could devote myself to this debate at this crucial time.

Along with my co-authors, a classmate of mine from Princeton and a professor of ours there, we set out to write a book making what we considered the best philosophical argument for what marriage is and why it matters. Our book seemed to help the Supreme Court think about the issue, as Justice Samuel Alito cited it twice. The reason I’ve written various and sundry policy papers for Heritage, and traveled across the country speaking on college campuses, and appeared on numerous news shows (including, of course, Piers Morgan) is that I know the only way forward in our national debate about marriage is to make the arguments in as reasonable and civil a spirit as possible.

Some people, like Barro, want to do everything they can to shut down this discussion. They want to demonize those who hold contrary viewpoints. They want to equate us with racists and claim we are unworthy of respect and ought to be treated with incivility. This is how bullies behave. In all of recorded history, ours is the first time where we can have open and honest conversations about same-sex attraction and marriage. This discussion is just beginning. It is nowhere near being over.

All our fellow citizens, including those identifying as LGBT, should enjoy the full panoply of civil rights—the free exercise of religion, freedoms of speech and press, the right to own property and enter into contracts, the right to vote and have a fair trial, and every other freedom to live as they choose, consistent with the common good.

Government redefinition of marriage, however, is not a civil right—nor will redefining marriage serve the common good. Indeed, redefining marriage will have negative consequences.

We make our arguments, in many fora, as transparently as possible. We welcome counterarguments. And we strive to treat all people with the dignity and respect they deserve as we carry on this conversation.

One of the most unfortunate parts of my exchange with Barro last night was his reaction toward those who identify as LGBT and aspire to lives of chastity. They freely choose to live by their conviction that sex is reserved for the marital bond of a husband and wife. Some of them also seek professional help in dealing with and perhaps even diminishing (not repressing) their same-sex sexual desires.

I have written in their defense and against government coercion that would prevent them from receiving the help they desire, as New Jersey and California have done. Barro describes my support for their freedom as “sowing misery…doing a bad thing to people…making the world worse.”

There really is anti-LGBT bigotry in the world. But Barro does a disservice to his cause when he lumps in reasonable debates about marriage policy and the pastoral care that some same-sex attracted persons voluntarily seek out as, in his words, “anti-LGBT.” If we can’t draw a line between real bigotry and reasonable disagreement, we’re not helping anyone.

This debate isn’t about restricting anyone’s personal freedom. However it goes, people will remain free to live their romantic lives as they choose. So too people who experience same-sex attraction but aspire to chastity should be free to lead their lives in line with their beliefs, and to seek out the help they desire. We can have a civil conversation about which course of action is best—but let’s leave aside the extremism.

Barro asks, “Why shouldn’t I call you names?” My answer is simple: you should not practice the disdain and contempt you claim to abhor.

All my life, I’ve been educated at left-leaning institutions. Most of my friends disagree with me about these issues. But they’re still friends. And their feedback has made me a better person.

My final tweet to Barro is where I still remain committed: “people on all sides of LGBT debates and marriage debates need to find a way to discuss these issues without demonizing anyone.”

Reprinted with permission from the Daily Signal, where you can find Ryan Anderson's Twitter exchange with Barro.


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