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Archive for the ‘Family & Culture’ Category

Comeback kid, Ed Swiderski, wins heart, final rose

Comeback kid, Ed Swiderski, wins heart, final rose

Ed Swiderski, the 29-year-old tech from Chicago, made a stunning proposal in Monday night’s final episode of ABC’s The Bachelorette that will go down as the biggest comeback in franchise history.

Swiderski had left the program early in the season under pressure from his boss and a skyrocketing U.S. unemployment rate, but the charming, soft-spoken ex-workaholic  returned episodes later in a major gamble to win the heart of Vancouver’s proud daughter, Jillian Harris.

Fans expecting a final shoot out between two suitors were treated to a gutsy, if  slovenly, copycat return from Reid Rosenthal, the  No. 3 man whom Harris dumped in the penultimate episode. But alas, it was too little too late for the indecisive but cheerily neurotic Philadelphian real estate mogul.

The shocker of the night may have been the loss of Kiptyn, the show’s front runner and exemplary model of human DNA perfection. For all of  of his energy, charm, and levelheadedness, the Kipster couldn’t pull out a win over the down-to-earth Chicagoan. Despite a set of abs that would make a xylophone jealous, and a California lifestyle best described as “work hard play hard,” Kiptyn may have been too restrained—or disinterested—to throw caution to the wind and submit to ABC’s romantic fantasy…er, reality show. 

With enough twists and turns to give both Jillian and ABC viewers vertigo, the final episode eventually stopped spinning, and the final rose ended up in the hands of suitor Ed—which may have been a good thing after all. Like Jillian,  Swiderski expressed an ability to think of Jillian in the long term—80 years in one statement. His interest in family life and in growing old together with Harris, not to mention a robust Midwestern work ethic, have all the early makings of lifetime of commitment.

Of course, while the final ceremony ended in a beautiful engagement, the couple has now spent months back in the real world, thousands of miles apart. By this time Ed has returned to the daily work grind, and Jillian has had time to reflect on the dramatic loss of Kip and Reid.

Viewers clamoring to hear from the couple now that the ABC has closed up its  multimillion dollar Cupid Camp for another season can tune in to the post-season reunion special, “After the Final Rose.” The show airs Tuesday night at 10pm EST.

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Dawson's Infamous Piltdown Man Paleontological Hoax

Dawson's Infamous Piltdown Man Paleontological Hoax

Writing for the The Jewish State newspaper, Arthur Goldberg and Michelle Cretella make the case that homosexuality has no known genetic links and therefore all who claim gay marriage is a “civil rights issue” are engaging in a dangerous science fiction.

The article offers expert opinion from a medical and legal perspective. Cretella is an M.D. who chairs the Sexuality Committee at the American College of Pediatricians, and Arthur Goldberg is a lawyer and executive secretary of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality.

In support of the claim that homosexuality is neither inborn or immutable, Goldberg and Cretella cite a prominent lesbian professor of developmental biology and gender studies at Brown University, Dr. Anne Fausto-Sterling:

[Although the claim that homosexuality is genetic] provides a legal argument that is, at the moment, actually having some sway in court, [f]or me, it’s a very shaky place. It’s bad science and bad politics.

The authors add that “more than 100 scientific studies indicate that change of sexual orientation is possible” and highlight a 2003 study by Dr. Robert Spitzer that found “dissatisfied homosexuals are able to make substantial long-term changes in orientation.”

But aren’t homosexual couples simply looking for the same long-term marriage living as everyone else? Goldberg and Cretella cite homosexual doctors David McWhirter and Andrew Mattison who, after a conducting a study on 156 male couples with a long term commitment, discovered that the average length of monogamy for those males was “under two years.” Goldberg and Cretella find additional support for this non-monogamous-couples experience from gay activist Andrew Sullivan, who claimed that homosexuals “have a need for extramarital outlets,” and lesbian writer Camille Paglia, who said gay magazines openly promote “the bigger bang of sex with strangers” and advocate “monogamy without fidelity.”

Goldberg and Cretella go on to address the health risks of homosexuality, citing  a 1997 International Journal of Epidemiology study which found homosexual males have a life span that is eight to 20 years lower than heterosexual men. After looking at the research, the authors write:

Higher parent mortality and promiscuity increased rates of domestic violence and greater rates of divorce are not healthy for children. Consequently, acceptance of gay marriage requires a disregard for the best interests of children. It follows logically that if marriage is defined merely by “who we love” regardless of what is in the best interest of children, then the government has no right to discriminate against those with other sexual orientations including orientations toward children or animals. This is why advocates of pedophilia, group marriage, bestiality and incest cite gay marriage victories as their own. It is also no coincidence that within 10 years of legalizing same-sex marriage every Scandinavian country legalized polygamy.

The article concludes that due to the grave social and personal costs of the broken family in the U.S., Americans need to strengthen traditional marriage law, not weaken it through spurious legal fictions.

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Bachelorette Jillian Seeking Trad Marriage (ABC Press Photo)

Bachelorette Jillian Seeking Trad Marriage (ABC Press Photo)

While Wes revealed his boozy inner user after taking truth serum, and Tanner showed off his pervy side in his undies, Bachelorette Jillian Harris demonstrated once again that she’s “in it for the right reasons.”

In this week’s episode of ABC’s Bachelorette, the fashionable Vancouverite said her goodbyes to nice guy Jake and passed up the creepy-yet-irresistible smarm of Tanner’s foot massages and “blessed package.” As always, the graceful Jillian does it with class and with an eye to finding someone truly “fit for marriage.”

During her one-on-one date with Rob—after which she throws the young 25-year-old bartender from the train, quite literally—Ms. Harris says that she’d consider him more seriously if he had five or ten more years on him, noting that she’s ready to start a family.

It’s the insistent focus on children that marks Jillian Harris as this television season’s top spokesperson for traditional marriage. Unlike clueless lost souls Jon & Kate, who apparently think marriage is a commitment for “as long as we both shall love,” Harris knows marriage is about finding a suitable partner who will say “I do” to both her and to their future children at the altar, and provide for the daily care of the tribe for life. In a word, the girl “gets it”: marriage and family are the same word.

What do you think of this season’s Bachelorette Jillian? Will she be smart enough to dump the guitar-strumming Wes as recommended by Bachelorette royalty Trista Sutter? Will she hang on to Kiptyn and never let go? Will she finally figure out the heady but lovable Reid? Watch the YouTube video preview and find out what to expect next week as Jillian’s home-town dates bring the show into the home stretch.

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Bachelorette Jillian Harris Looking for True Marriage (ABC Press Photo)

Bachelorette Jillian Harris Looking for True Marriage (ABC Press Photo)

We’re only weeks into the new season of ABC’s The Bachelorette, and already Vancouver native Jillian Harris is advocating powerfully for the traditional model of marriage.

Lovely and passionate Lady Jillian was of course a fan favorite in last season’s The Bachelor, where fate dealt her a happy rejection resulting in her own starring role in The Bachelorette, Season Five.

What do you think of Jillian so far? Is she clearer headed than DeAnna Pappas? Is she smarter and more realistic about reality TV courtship than Chicago’s Jennifer Schefft? Is she as graceful and dedicated to family as Trista Rehn of “Trista and Ryan” fame?

Sure, it’s unrealistic to expect total strangers to arrive at a 6-week dating camp and come home with an ABC TV-arranged marriage that’s built to last. But it does make great advertising for traditional marriage.

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Jon & Kate Plus OctoThe nonstop media buzz about “Octomom”  Nadya Suleman’s new TV series and also Jon & Kate’s marital meltdown has created a 16-ring media circus, featuring 16 needy children doing tricks for live audiences–and big ratings.

But unlike most tabloid like coverage, for once this media circus has the right focus: the well-being of children. Whether it’s Octomom’s shocking narcissism or Jon and Kate’s lack of shared commitment to their marriage and kids (see: ‘Jon & Kate sep-a-rate’, and ‘Recap: What a Difference a Week Makes‘), the American public is observing a live demonstration on the necessity of permanent marriage law and mandatory marriage success training—for the sake of protecting children.

The ongoing drama has provided audiences with a media-sponsored morality tale regarding both the high cost and intensive labor involved in raising kids. In the case of Octomom, the moral of the story is that it is virtually impossible to raise kids as a single parent. Numerous state and private child-care agencies have permanently set up camp with Octomom just to make sure her kids live, eat, take medicines, and get a fresh change of diapers. In the case of Jon and Kate Plus 8,  the TLC reality show has given viewers a window into the dangers to children when marriage is focused on the hair, the personal self ambitions, the book tour, the spas, the romance (or lack thereof), the money, the ratings–everything except the kids. It’s no coincidence that, in both of these cases, the parents desperately need TV and book deals just to survive the high cost of raising families. There’s just no getting around the fact that marriage (or the lack of it) has enormous consequences for kids. The headlines say it all:

These reports and countless RSS feeds like them are cosmic proof that marriage is indisputably oriented to the procreation and long-range nurture kids. In addition, humans know instinctually that adults are bad people whenever they place their own personal interests above those of the collective whole of the family. In essence, the train-wreck troubles of Octomom and Jon & Kate Gosselin are round-the-clock PSAs warning of the dangers of broken families, adult-focused marriages, and reckless unwed motherhood. Could there be a more convincing case for mandatory premarital education and immediate marriage law reform, including the repeal of no-fault-divorce laws?

Fortunately, there’s a bright positive to this otherwise negative family meltdown: the babies themselves. They are the heroes of this drama and the force that causes people everywhere to rush in to save them from reckless adult behavior and weak marriage laws. The 16 babies are undoubtedly the most effective campaigners for child-focused marriage (and surely the most articulate spokespersons against legalized abortion as well).

It’s a fitting justice that out of these two very confused situations there should come 16 dynamic poster-children for family-oriented marriages and a new culture of life.

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Did anyone see the ABC News report on the “Theology of the Body” movement and relationships expert Christopher West?  Although it’s clear that ABC crafted the report to be sensational and controversial (as seen by watching West speak in context: “The Playboy and the Pope”), the coverage seemed to affirm the importance of having the Church talk candidly about sex and its purpose in life. Watch the ABC report here:

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FFP-0902_SMF-Selected_finalMark your calendars, everyone. The Florida Family Policy Council has announced its participation in the upcoming 13th Annual Smart Marriages conference, which will take place July 8-11 in Orlando, Florida.

The summer event, which will be held at the Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, is the largest annual gathering of pro-marriage forces in America. A full 2,000-plus attendees will descend upon Orlando to explore the benefits and riches of marriage as presented through literally hundreds of educational activities, seminars, keynote addresses, and workshops. Activities will be led by 200 top experts in the field, including John Gray, Gary Chapman, Steve and Alex Kentrick, and more. 

The conference, which is organized nationally by the Smart Marriages Coalition and promoted locally through the Strong Marriages Florida campaign, is ideal for anyone interested in helping couples build strong, stable, happy marriages. Topics range from sex and communication skills to pre-marital training and parenting. Sessions are targeted to meet the needs of engaged couples, newlyweds, seasoned couples, new parents, blended families, empty-nesters, and more.

The cost of the Smart Marriages Conference is $415 (students or spouses – $315), although a discount rate is offered for early registration. In addition, there is a 20 percent group discount (register 4 from your church and a 5th person attends free).  Shingle Creek Hotel rates are $115 Single/Double ($125 Triple); call the hotel at 866-996-6338 and ask for the Smart Marriage rate.

For more information or to register online, visit the Smart Marriages Conference Web site. You can also view the conference flyer through the Florida Family Policy Council site.

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