Friday, April 4, 2014

Dispatches From The Culture War



Bishop Paprocki, Springfield, Illinois
Here’s a quick notice of several items of interest in the news today.  In Illinois two consecutive bishops have backed up a parish priest who has been refusing communion to pro-abortion, nominally Catholic, Senator Dick Durbin [link].  As both Fr. Z and canonist Ed Peters point out, the fact that this is even news speaks volumes about how far we have to go; all the more reason to give a hearty public thanks to Bishop Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield, and pray that his example catches on.

On a less heartening note, two items in today’s National Review Online regarding marriage, and how it has become a major front in the Culture War.  First, a piece by the editors about Brendan Eich [link], who was driven from his position as CEO of Mozilla, a company he helped to create, simply because he had donated $1,000 to a pro-marriage group a few years ago.  Further evidence that the political Brown Shirts who keep pushing on this issue (and the minuscule 3% of the population that identifies as homosexual is just a convenient cover [link]) cannot be reasonable, and will not compromise, because they are not looking for solutions to particular problems: they want to win. Period.

The second item in National Review is a piece by Mona Charen  [link] about a panel discussion on feminism in which she participated hosted by the Heritage Foundation.  Charen focused on many of the social consequence of feminism:

     . . .  I was quoting the social science that scholars across the political spectrum agree upon — namely, that a focus on women’s progress and glass ceilings and “leaning” this way and that misses the most important news: Men are falling behind. A larger percentage of women than men finish high school. Women now earn 57 percent of bachelor’s degrees, 63 percent of master’s degrees, and 53 percent of doctorates. Men are earning less and dropping out of the labor force at alarming rates. Women are earning more and taking a larger percentage of managerial and supervisory posts.
     The decline of marriage hurts men as well as women and children, but its effects are not evenly distributed. Among the college-educated, divorce has declined and unwed childbearing is rare. By contrast, among high-school dropouts, most women will have their first child before getting married and rare is the unmarried couple who remain together
for life.
     The collapse of marriage among the uneducated and partially educated has unquestionably been a social and economic disaster. The data are overwhelming that children raised by married parents are happier and healthier, do better in school, and are more likely to attend and finish college than their peers from single-parent homes. This is true without regard to race or ethnicity. In fact, being raised by a single mother is a better predictor of poverty than race or ancestry.
     Those concerned about income inequality, poverty, and social health, I argued (and I was joined in this by my fellow panelists), must be concerned about rebuilding the marriage norm.  . .

The talk was also attended by left-wing Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank, who somehow missed the whole point of the exercise:  “Milbank focused narrowly on the political implications of our talk,” that is, winning and losing, and who has the power.  Those of us who are concerned by the trends and statistics Charen cites, on the other hand, would do better to recognize that the solutions to these problems are far beyond the reach of politics, but are rather to be found in the much deeper realm of culture (and, we Catholics would argue, religion). That’s why we fight for family, fatherhood, and freedom of religion: because that's where we find God's program.