Wednesday July 6, 2022  

Good Morning!  

The “Success Sequence” is a term first coined by Barbara Dafoe Whitehead and Marline Pearson.

“Take these three steps, and you will be walking a path that leads to prosperity for men and women of all races and backgrounds,” they wrote. “First, get at least a high school degree. Second, get a full-time job and three, get married before having children.”

Dr. Brad Wilcox would agree:

  1. The Surprising Case for Marrying Young

Dr. Brad Wilcox writes for the Institute for Family Studies:

Our analyses indicate that religious men and women who married in their twenties without cohabiting first — a pattern which describes Joey and Samantha’s path to the altar to a “T” — have the lowest odds of divorce in America today.

We suspect one advantage that religious singles in their twenties have over their secular peers is that they are more likely to have access to a pool of men and women who are ready to tie the knot and share their vision of a family-focused life. Today, young singles like this are often difficult to find in the population at large.

This was certainly Joey and Samantha’s experience. They met at a party put on by Catholic friends. She says that knowing Joey shared her faith made her comfortable getting more serious, especially in a New York scene where many men she had met took a more short-term orientation to relationships. “The religious guys are more long-term guys, the guys you want to marry and the guys you want to bring home to mom and dad,” she observes, adding, “they’re going to share my morals and my values and have perhaps a similar background.” By contrast, other guys are more likely to be “one-night-stands or (just) looking to have a good time.”

Her intuition here is sound. Shared faith is linked to more sexual fidelity, greater commitment and higher relationship quality. One Harvard study found that women who regularly attended church were about 40% less likely to divorce. The family-friendly norms and networks found in America’s churches, mosques and synagogues make religion one of the few pillars of strong and stable marriages in America today.

Many young adults today believe cohabitation is also a pillar of successful marriages, one reason why more than 70% of those who marry today live together before marriage. But the conventional wisdom here is wrong: Americans who cohabit before marriage are less likely to be happily married and more likely to break up.

Couples who cohabited were 15% more likely to get divorced than those who did not, according to our research. A Stanford study cited other research finding that the link between cohabitation and divorce was especially strong for women who cohabited with someone besides their future husband.

The conventional wisdom holds that spending your twenties focusing on education, work and fun, and then marrying around 30 is the best path to maximize your odds of forging a strong and stable family life. But the research tells a different story, at least for religious couples. Saving cohabitation for marriage, and endowing your relationship with sacred significance, seems to maximize your odds of being stably and happily married.

Waiting to move in together until after the wedding has made everything “so exciting,” says Samantha, “because since we did wait then it makes marriage that much sweeter.”

  1. The Highland Park Shooting and ‘Freedom From Fear’ 

Bob Greene writes in the Wall Street Journal:  

The children, a boy and a girl, are tucked safely into bed. Their mother leans over them, a soothing yet worried expression on her face. Their father stands beside her, in his hand a newspaper with the banner headline screaming the word HORROR.

They are parents trying to comfort their children in a brutal, violent world. They are depicted in a painting done almost 80 years ago, which quickly became talked about from coast to coast. The artist was Norman Rockwell and the title was “Freedom From Fear.”

The image, and its message, came to mind on the Fourth of July, the one day each year when Americans, as if by muscle memory, strive to recall what Rockwell’s vision of our country felt like. Some argue that Rockwell’s America was impossibly idealized: the sunny optimism, the unembarrassed patriotism, the unified striving for the goodness that life can offer.

But on the Fourth each year, with its parades, brass bands and children marching through town squares with their pets or riding bicycles down main streets as neighbors cheer from the sidewalks, there are earnest echoes of that elusive America, and of a yearning for what it represented.

When gunshots sounded Monday morning in Highland Park, Ill., and the parents on the sidewalks did what they could to protect their boys and girls from the carnage, the melancholy wisdom found in that old Rockwell painting felt suddenly present-tense. Freedom from fear: the one precious thing every mother and father wishes it were possible to bestow upon their sons and daughters.

The boy and girl in that painting were falling asleep during a time of war. The newspaper headline referred to the Blitz of London by German planes. Today’s American blitzes are homegrown and seem all but constant. The gunfire that plagues U.S. cities, the shelter-in-place drills that have become commonplace in elementary schools, the wariness that has been built into 21st-century childhood—how does a parent compete with such ominous forces?

In Rockwell’s artwork, published in the March 13, 1943, Saturday Evening Post as the last in his series of “Four Freedoms” paintings, the answer to the question was achingly basic. The best gift a parent can provide a child in a world beset by terror is simply to be there; to provide, through the power of presence, the reassurance that a family will make it through the night. That sunrise, despite everything, always awaits.

It is true for a family and it is true for a nation. The shadows in the children’s room are deep and dark. But as the boy and girl drift into slumber, the parents stand silent guard, putting their own fears aside, as parents always have. In a world spun out of control, it is the best they can do.

  1. After Roe, architect of Texas abortion law sets sights on gay marriage and more 

From the Dallas Morning News:

If Jonathan Mitchell were a comic book character, he would be drawn holding a lawbook in one hand and in the other, a sledgehammer.

Best known as the architect behind Senate Bill 8, the state law that deputizes everyday Texans as abortion bounty hunters, Mitchell has spent years arguing that the U.S. Supreme Court should reverse its decision in Roe v. Wade. His legal theories and court cases helped lay the groundwork onto which the ruling came toppling down.

But as the rest of the country was bracing for the fall of Roe, Mitchell was already moving on. Since opening up a one-man legal shop in Austin four years ago, he has jumped headlong into myriad other lawsuits over everything from the contraceptive mandate to affirmative action and same-sex marriage.

Mitchell says his goal is to systematically dismantle decades of rulings he believes depart from the language of the U.S. Constitution or that impose constitutional rights with no textual basis. With the Supreme Court moving ever more his way, the cases he brings may be a bellwether for the direction of the nation’s legal establishment, and, by extension, the nation itself.

  1. Today’s Fight for Religious Freedom

From First Things:

Parents who hold traditional moral views have the duty, and the right, to raise their children in the faith. Those who oppose state-imposed morality have the duty, and the right, to fight for their understanding of God and man, of human nature and freedom, and what makes for true happiness. The attempt to coerce them, to cancel them, to silence them represents an impulse worthy of totalitarian China, not America.

Unfortunately, this problem has also entered American foreign policy. The State Department is demanding that nations with traditional moral beliefs either accept contemporary Western views of sexual morality, or risk losing life-saving aid and life-changing investment.

This is the opposite of advancing religious freedom for all. Pope Francis has rightly called it “ideological colonization.” It is an assault on human dignity. It disrespects and disregards the religious conscience that lies at the heart of religious freedom. It is unworthy of our nation and any nation that purports to defend justice, human equality, and human freedom.

A society that affords all its citizens full religious freedom generates good things for everyone. So let us stand as one in fighting for religious freedom, especially those of us blessed to live in democratic nations.

  1. Children’s Library Association Pushes Gender Confusion On Kids With Pro-LGBT Summer Reading List 

From The Federalist:

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) is pushing multiple LGBT recommendations in its 2022 Notable Children’s Books and Summer Reading Lists. Some of these books include a simple picture of a gay union, while other suggestions are fully centered around transgenderism, but in each case, these recommendations are meant to normalize and promote LGBT values and lifestyles to children.

By the ALSC adding these books to the reading list, it communicates that these works are of “especially commendable quality, books that exhibit venturesome creativity, and books of fiction, information, poetry, and pictures for all age levels (birth through age 14) that reflect and encourage children’s interests in exemplary ways.”

For example, children from birth to preschool are encouraged to read “The Pronoun Book” by Chris Ayala-Kronos to complete the summer reading list. As kids just begin to learn how to talk and read, they can also get a head start on trans pronoun propaganda.

In this book, young readers are taught that they can’t know what people want to be called. A boy may want to be called a “she” instead of he. A girl may desire to use plural pronouns such as they/them or a “neopronoun” such as co, ey, per, or xe.

  1. Sex shop owner in Washington state, who serves on school board, to host classes on ‘pleasure’ for kids as young as 9 

From TheBlaze:

A Washington state school board director who owns a sex shop says she will host events for children as young as 9 at her adult store which will discuss topics like “sexual anatomy for pleasure” and “safer sex practices for all kinds of sexual activities.”

Jenn Mason is the school board director for Bellingham Public Schools. She is also a sex educator and the owner of WinkWink, an adult store that advertises itself as “a woman-owned sex shop delighting in expertly curated sex and body products, lingerie, and books.”

In August, Mason will hold several sex education workshops aimed at children in her store. The classes are called “Uncringe Academy,” and their purpose is to “[help] young people to feel comfortable around these topics so that they can advocate for their own bodies, health, and well-being.”

Mason is offering two classes, one for kids aged 9-12 and another for teenagers 13-17. The workshops “will vary for developmental appropriateness,” according to a description of the event.

  1. Another Public University Learns It Can’t Punish Christian Speech Because it ‘Offends’ 

From the Daily Citizen:

A federal court has issued a preliminary injunction blocking the University of Idaho from imposing “no contact” orders on three law students who are members of the Christian Legal Society (CLS) campus club as well as the club’s faculty adviser for answering a question about biblical marriage from another student, who was offended by the answer.

In April, the Daily Citizen brought you the story of the circumstances surrounding the university’s gag order on the three Christian law students, which began during a university-wide  “moment of community” held in response to an anti-LGBT slur left on a whiteboard at the Boise campus. The CLS members attended the event to condemn the slur and publicly support and pray in solidarity with their fellow students.

At the event, another student – a lesbian – asked one of the CLS members, Peter Perlot, why the club required its officers to affirm that marriage is between one man and one woman. After a polite response from Perlot about the biblical definition of marriage, and an offer to follow up with the questioner, several days passed. Then, at a campus panel with the American Bar Association (ABA) having to do with the law school’s accreditation, she publicly denounced CLS and its policies as bigoted.

The CLS members attending the ABA event defended the club’s policy and raised the larger issue of discrimination against CLS and its beliefs.

8.   Classical Christian schools don’t need government help 

From World Magazine: 

There’s little doubt that the revival of classical education is being fueled by churches and religious parents who recognize that the removal of morality goes hand in hand with the decline of culture. As a result, organizations such as the Association of Classical Christian Schools and Classic Learning Test thrive and provide valuable resources to these nascent schools. And there’s been a massive increase in demand for educational materials related to classical education.

In higher education, religious and faith-friendly schools such as Hillsdale College and the University of Dallas are starting programs to help produce teachers and administrators trained to work at classical Christian schools. This isn’t happening a moment too soon. From my experience hearing from educators across the country, only a shortage of available teachers and administrators for Christian and classical schools is restraining already explosive growth.

Precisely because I would like to see this boom in Christian and classical education continue indefinitely, I would encourage the people behind these efforts not to put too much faith in what the Carson ruling might portend. As public schools fail and parents exit the system en masse, there will be more attempts at creating school choice programs that use tax dollars to fund private schools. Even if these programs are well-intentioned, once a school becomes largely dependent on public money, school administrators may find themselves one election away from the state attempting to control how and what they teach.

While it’s nice that the Supreme Court is reaffirming the Constitution’s promises of freedom of religion rather than freedom from religion, the fact is that churches have never needed the state’s money or permission to build schools. Deciding to build a school is a risk for churches and religious communities with limited resources. Still, in surveying the toxic educational wasteland created by secular progressivism, both obligation and opportunity present themselves. The need for classical Christian schools is clear. If you’re considering founding such a school, be fruitful and multiply.

  1. Red states recovered faster from COVID pandemic than blue states: report 

From the NY Post:

Republican-run states such as Florida, Texas, Utah, and the Carolinas enjoyed a swifter economic recovery from the pandemic compared to Democratic-leaning states which saw residents and companies leave for lower-tax havens, according to a report.

Federal data shows that red states have seen their share of total US jobs grow beginning in February 2020, a month before the start of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Journal cites statistics from the Brookings Institution which found that GOP-run states added 341,000 jobs in the last two-and-a-half years.

During that same period, blue states lost some 1.3 million jobs.

10.      8 Reasons Chick-fil-A is America’s Favorite Restaurant 8 Years in a Row – And 7 Have Nothing to Do with Food 

From The Daily Citizen:

The company’s chicken sandwiches and waffle fries are undeniably good, but what are the distinctives that sets the chain apart from the rest?  Here are just eight:

1. It’s about more than selling chicken: Founded in 1946 by S. Truett Cathy, the group’s corporate purpose is lofty, but foundational, stating their desire is:

To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.

2. It’s about more than making money:Corporate leadership has put a priority on staff care and personal development. Many of its store operators began as hourly workers. They pledge to their team:  

Chick-fil-A is committed to a workplace culture where everyone is treated with honor, dignity and respect. And, our policies, practices and benefits support this goal. 

3.They follow biblical principles: Since their first store in Hapeville, Ga., the company has been closed on Sundays. Even as they’ve grown and expanded, leadership has resisted calls to open seven days a week. While this practice may “cost” them in extra Sunday revenue (some estimate $1 billion a year), the policy has seemed to attract personnel who share similar values and priorities.

“Closing our business on Sunday, the Lord’s Day, is our way of honoring God and showing our loyalty to Him,” Chick-fil-A’s founder, Truett Cathy, wrote. “My brother Ben and I closed our first restaurant on the first Sunday after we opened in 1946, and my children have committed to closing our restaurants on Sundays long after I’m gone. I believe God honors our decision and sets before us unexpected opportunities to do greater work for Him because of our loyalty.”

4. They’re friendly, hospitable and well-mannered: It may not be that workers at every other fast-food restaurant are rude, but it’s clear Chick-fil-A workers are screened and trained to exude warmth and make guests feel welcome.

5.They’re accurate and efficient: According to QSR’s Drive-Thru Performance Study, Chick-fil-A lags in wait time at the drive-thru – but that’s only because 1) they’re super popular and 2) they take the extra time to make sure orders are correct.

6.They give back to their community: The WinShape Foundation is the charitable arm of Chick-fil-A. Based in Rome, Ga., the group sponsors marriage and professional retreats, provides homes and care for children in foster care and helps fund numerous educational programs for youth.

7.They support our military, police and pastors and Bible studies: Whether wearing “Back the Blue” t-shirts in Texas, setting up a “Missing Man Table” in Georgia, or hosting weekly church groups, operators aren’t afraid to stand up for what is right and true and just.

8.The Food and the Sauces: Okay, maybe Chick-fil-A’s long-standing popularity has something to do with its delicious food. The “secret sauce” is particularly good – though it would be nice if they would make those packets a little bigger, don’t you think?

All the best!

Photo from Shutterstock.