Mariette Ulrich

Dangerous housewives

Mariette Ulrich
By Mariette Ulrich
Image

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.

Only 6 days remain!

Support pro-life news. Help us reach our critical spring fundraising goal by April 1!


Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Credit: John-Henry Westen, LifeSiteNews
John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

, ,

Vatican’s doctrine chief: ‘Absolutely anti-Catholic’ to let bishops conferences decide doctrine or discipline

John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry
By John-Henry Westen

VATICAN, March 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has rejected outright the idea floated by Germany’s Cardinal Reinhard Marx that various bishops’ conferences around the world would decide for themselves on points of discipline or doctrine. 

“This is an absolutely anti-Catholic idea that does not respect the catholicity of the Church,” Cardinal Müller told France’s Famille Chrétienne in an interview published today

The question was raised because Cardinal Marx, the head of the German Catholic bishops’ conference and a member of Pope Francis’ advisory Council of Nine, told reporters that the German bishops would chart their own course on the question of allowing Communion for those in “irregular” sexual unions.

“We are not a subsidiary of Rome,” he said in February. “The Synod cannot prescribe in detail what we should do in Germany.”

Vatican Cardinal Müller remarked that while episcopal conferences may have authority over certain issues they are not a parallel magisterium apart from the pope or outside communion with the bishops united to him.

Asked specifically about Cardinal Marx saying that the Church in Germany is “not a subsidiary of Rome,” the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said pointedly “the president of an Episcopal Conference is nothing more than a technical moderator, and as such has no special teaching authority.”  He added moreover, that the dioceses in a particular country “are not subsidiaries of the secretariat of an Episcopal conference or diocese whose Bishop presides over the Episcopal Conference.”

Click "like" to support Catholics Restoring the Culture!

The CDF head warned that “this attitude makes the risk of waking some polarization between the local churches and the universal Church.” He did not however believe that there was the will for Episcopal conferences to separate from Rome.

The important interview also saw Cardinal Müller contest the notion that the pastoral practice or discipline could change while retaining the same doctrine. “We can not affirm the doctrine and initiate a practice that is contrary to the doctrine,” he said.

He added that not even the papal Magisterium is free to change doctrine. “Every word of God is entrusted to the Church, but it is not superior to the Word,” he said. “The Magisterium is not superior to the word of God. The reverse is true.”

Cardinal Müller rejected the notion that we would have to modify Christ’s unflinching words totally forbidding divorce and remarriage.  We cannot “say that our ministry should be more cautious than Jesus Christ Himself!”  Nor could we, he added, say that Christ’s teaching is out of date or that “we need to correct or refine Jesus Christ because He lived in an idealistic world.” 

Rather, the cardinal said, bishops must be ready for martyrdom.  Quoting Jesus he said, “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and if we speak all kinds of evil against you because of me.”

Advertisement
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

‘Groundbreaking’: Kansas may become first state to ban dismemberment abortions

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben
By Ben Johnson

TOPEKA, KS, March 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Kansas will become the first state in the country to ban a procedure in which unborn children are dismembered in the womb, if Gov. Sam Brownback signs a bill that recently passed the state legislature.

The state House passed a ban on dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortions, called dismemberment abortions in common parlance, by 98-26 on Wednesday.

The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, which had already passed the state Senate in February 31-9, now heads to Gov. Brownback's desk.

Brownback, a staunch defender of life, is expected to sign the act into law.

"Because of the Kansas legislature's strong pro-life convictions, unborn children in the state will be protected from brutal dismemberment abortions," said Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee, which has made banning dismemberment abortions a national legislative focus.

The procedure, in which an abortionist separates the unborn child's limbs from his body one at a time, accounts for 600 abortions statewide every year.

Nationally, it is “the most prevalent method of second-trimester pregnancy termination in the USA, accounting for 96 percent of all second trimester abortions,” according to the National Abortion Federation Abortion Training Textbook.

“It’s just unconscionable that something happens to children that we wouldn’t tolerate being done to pets,” Katie Ostrowski, the legislative director of Kansans for Life, told The Wichita Eagle.

Leading pro-life advocacy groups have made shifting the debate to dismemberment a national priority, with similar legislation being considered in Missouri and Oklahoma. Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D., who is NRLC's director of state legislation, called the bill's passage in Topeka “groundbreaking.”

"When the national debate focuses only on the mother, it is forgetting someone," she said.

The abortion lobby has made clear that it is uncomfortable engaging in a public relations tussle on this ground.

Elizabeth Nash, the senior state issues associate of the Guttmacher Institute, said that dismemberment is “not medical language, so it’s a little bit difficult to figure out what the language would do.”

On the state Senate floor, Democrats tried to alter the bill's language on the floor by replacing the term “unborn child” with fetus. “I know some of you don’t believe in science. But it’s not an unborn child, it’s called a fetus,” said state Senator David Haley, D-Kansas City.

If the bill becomes law, the abortion industry has vowed to fight on.

Julie Burkhart, a former associate of late-term abortionist George Tiller, said the motion's only intention is “to intimidate, threaten and criminalize doctors.”

“Policymakers should be ashamed,” she said, adding, “if passed, we will challenge it in court.”

Gov. Brownback has previously signed conscience rights protections and sweeping pro-life protections into law.

Advertisement
Featured Image
Ryan Rodrick Beiler / Shutterstock.com
Anne Hendershott

,

How NOT to move beyond the abortion wars

Anne Hendershott
By Anne Hendershott

March 26, 2015 (CrisisMagazine.com) -- A few years ago, when an undergraduate student research assistant of mine—a recent convert to Catholicism—told me that he was planning to meet with a well-known dissenting Catholic theology professor who was then ensconced in an endowed chair at a major metropolitan Catholic university, I told him: “Be careful, you might end up liking him too much.” I jokingly told my student not to make eye contact with the theologian because he might begin to find himself agreeing with him that Catholic teachings “really allow” for women’s ordination and full reproductive rights—including access to abortion.

I was reminded of that conversation this week when I began reading a new book by yet another engaging Catholic theology professor at a major metropolitan university who also claims (pg 6) that the argument he puts forward in his book, Beyond the Abortion Wars, is “consistent with defined Catholic doctrine.” Written by Charles Camosy, associate professor of theology at Fordham University, the new book purports to be in line with Catholic teachings and promises “a way forward for a new generation.” But, Camosy delivers yet another argument for a woman’s right to choose abortion when confronted with an unborn child that he has described—in the past—as an “innocent aggressor.”

Indeed, Camosy has spent much of his career trying to convince us that he knows Catholic teachings better than the bishops. Criticizing Bishop Olmsted for his intervention and excommunication of a hospital administrator for her role in the direct abortion at a Phoenix Catholic hospital, Camosy suggested in 2013 that “the infamous Phoenix abortion case set us back in this regard.” Implying that Bishop Olmsted was not smart enough to understand the moral theology involved in the case, Camosy claimed that “The moral theology in the case was complex—which makes the decision to declare publicly that Sr. McBride had excommunicated herself even more inexplicable. The Church can do better.” For Camosy, “Catholics must be ready to help shape our new discussion on abortion. And we must do so in a way that draws people into the conversation—not only with respectful listening, but speaking in a way that is both coherent and sensitive.”

This new book is likely Camosy’s attempt to “draw people into the conversation.” But, there is little in his book that is either coherent or sensitive. Claiming to want to move “beyond” the abortion wars, Camosy creates an argument that seems designed to offend the pro-life side, while giving great respect to those who want to make sure abortion remains legal.

Especially offensive for pro-life readers will be Camosy’s description of the abortifacient, RU-486 as a form of “indirect abortion.” The reality is that RU-486, commonly known as the “abortion pill,” effectively ends an early pregnancy (up to 8 weeks) by turning off the pregnancy hormone (progesterone). Progesterone is necessary to maintain the pregnancy and when it is made inoperative, the fetus is aborted. For Camosy, who claims that his book is “consistent with settled Catholic doctrine,” this is not a “direct” abortion. To illustrate this, Camosy enlists philosopher Judith Jarvis Thompson’s 1971 “Defense of Abortion”—the hypothetical story of the young woman who is kidnapped and wakes up in a hospital bed to find that her healthy circulatory system has been hooked up to a famous unconscious violinist who has a fatal kidney ailment. The woman’s body is being used to keep the violinist alive until a “cure” for the violinist can be found. Camosy makes the case—as hundreds of thousands of pro-choice proponents have made in the past four decades—that one cannot be guilty of directly killing the violinist if one simply disconnects oneself from him. Likewise, for Camosy, simply taking the drug RU 486 is not “directly” killing the fetus. He writes:

The drugs present in RU 486 do not by their very nature appear to attack the fetus. Instead, the drug cuts off the pregnancy hormone and the fetus is detached from the woman’s body…. Using RU 486 is like removing yourself from [Judith Jarvis Thompson’s] violinist once you are attached. You don’t aim at his death, but instead remove yourself because you don’t think you have the duty to support his life with your body…. Some abortions are indirect and better understood as refusals to aid (pp 82-83).

Perhaps there are some readers who will find Camosy’s argument convincing, but I am not sure that many faithful Catholic readers will agree that it is consistent with settled Catholic doctrine.

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

As one who is hardly a bystander in the abortion wars, I wanted to like this book. As an incrementalist who celebrates every small step in creating policy to protect the unborn, I had high hopes that this book would at last begin to bridge the divide. A decade ago, in my own book, The Politics of Abortion, I joined the argument begun by writers like Marvin Olasky in his Abortion Rites: A Social History of Abortion in America, that it is more effective to attempt to change the hearts and minds of people than to create divisive public policy at the federal level. I share Charles Camosy’s desire to end the abortion wars—but this war cannot end until the real war on the unborn ends. This does not mean that the two sides cannot work together—battling it out at the state level—where there is the opportunity for the greatest success. But, complex philosophical arguments on whether RU 486 is a direct or indirect form of abortion are not helpful to these conversations.

Camosy must know that we can never really “end” the abortion wars as long as unborn children are still viewed as “aggressors” or “invaders” and can still be legally aborted. Faithful Catholics know that there is no middle ground on this—the pro-life side has to prevail in any war on the unborn. It can be done incrementally but ground has to be gained—not ceded—for the pro-life side. Besides, Camosy seems a bit late to the battlefield to begin with. In many ways, he seems to have missed the fact that the pro-life side is already winning many of the battles through waiting periods, ultrasound and parental notification requirements, and restrictions on late term abortion at the state level. More than 300 policies to protect the unborn have been passed at the state level just in the past few years. The number of abortions each year has fallen to pre-Roe era levels—the lowest in more than four decade.   Much of these gains are due to the selfless efforts of the pro-life community and their religious leaders. Yet, just as victory appears possible in many more states, Camosy seems to want to surrender by resurrecting the tired rhetoric—and the unconscious violinists—of forty years ago.

While it is disappointing, it is not unexpected considering Camosy’s last book lauded the contributions of Princeton’s most notorious professor, Peter Singer—the proponent of abortion, euthanasia and infanticide. Claiming that Singer is “motivated by an admirable desire to respond to the suffering of human and non-human animals,” Camosy’s 2012 book, Peter Singer and Christian Ethics: Beyond Polarization, argues that, “Though Singer is pro-choice for infanticide, on all the numerous and complicated issues related to abortion but one, Singer sounds an awful lot like Pope John Paul II.”  In a post at New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, a progressive organization led by Rev. Richard Cizik (a former lobbyist for the National Association of Evangelicals who was removed from his position because of his public support for same sex unions, and his softening stance on abortion) Camosy wrote that he found Singer to be “friendly and compassionate.”  Camosy currently serves on the Advisory Board of Cizik’s New Evangelical Partnership—where he has posted Peter Singer-like articles including: “Why Christians Should Support Rationing Health Care.”

One cannot know the motivations of another—we can never know what is in another’s heart so it is difficult to know why Charles Camosy wrote this book. It must be difficult to be a pro-life professor at Fordham University—a school known for dissenting theologians like Elizabeth Johnson. But, if one truly wants to advance a culture of life in which all children are welcomed into the world, it would seem that inviting Peter Singer to be an honored speaker to students at Fordham in 2012 is not the way to do it, nor would claiming that RU-486 “may not aim at death by intention.” Perhaps it is unwise to continue to critically review Camosy’s work from a Catholic perspective because it gives such statements credibility—and notoriety. But, as long as Camosy continues to claim that his writings and policy suggestions—including his newly proposed “Mother and Prenatal Child Protection Act”—are “consistent with defined Catholic doctrine,” faithful Catholics will have to continue to denounce them.

Reprinted with permission from Crisis Magazine. 

Share this article

Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook