by Lela Mayfield
February 13, 2015
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This week is National Marriage Week, fitting given that the week culminates in Valentine’s Day (that’s Saturday, guys; forget at your peril).
It is oddly unfitting that Valentine’s Day is also when the film “Fifty Shades of Grey” is being released and marketed aggressively. One of the marketing tools being used for the film isa little Teddy Bearholding not roses or a box of chocolates but handcuffs. Another is jewelry: For example, jeweler Janet Cadsawan is selling a “double handcuff necklace” for a mere $150.
“Fifty Shades” is based on the best-selling book of the same name. The book and movie go beyond mere graphic depictions of sexual intimacy, which are, of course, pornographic and exploitative in their own right. As commentatorRichard Swiernotes, “It is a story of a girl being sexually molested, over and over again, by a male figure with all the power, all the control. It is the classic abuse scenario.” The movie features horrific scenes of violent sexual abuse, to the point that the female star of the movie, Dakota Johnson, saysshe doesn’t want her own parents to watch it.
The movie is pornography of a particularly vile type. It celebrates things – abuse, rape, violence against women, manipulation, male domination – our culture claims to protest.
Radical sexual autonomy is now society’ssummum bonum. When combined with an ethos of moral relativism animated by the denial of an infinite, personal God Who has revealed His moral will clearly and with finality, this autonomy has led to growing chaos – and growing darkness.
Inreports being released today by FRC’s Marriage and Religion Research Institute, we learn that just 46 percent of U.S. teenagers ages 15-17 have grown-up with both biological parents always married. In the African-American community, “only 17 percent of black teenagers reach age 17 in a family with both their biological parents married.”
Marriage is in crisis. Human dignity, whether through promiscuity, pornography, homosexual behavior, or whateverother deviation from God’s standard for sexual intimacy, is being degraded. Is there hope?
Yes, in part because the conscience is not wholly dead: Even Ms. Johnson, who willingly subjected herself to what Yale cognitive scientist Joshua Knobe has called“animalization,”has sufficient shame and horror at her own cinematic acts that she does not want her parents to view them.
This is good news for followers of Jesus. Christians should take note that “the works of the law (remain) written on the heart” (Romans 2:15). That should give us a clue as to how to make public arguments during an era of moral disarray, and also provide an entry point for us to share the transforming Gospel of Jesus Christ.
With God, there no shades of grey, no “variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17). His truth is always the same, and resonates in all but the most calloused of hearts.That’s good news for troubled marriages, broken hearts, and a wounded culture.
Family Research Council
P.S. Don’t miss my colleague Jessica Prol’s wonderful meditation on meaning, marriage and singleness, “Marriage Haves and Have-Nots Don’t Have To Square Off” inThe Federalist.
- Bobby Jindal Makes the Case for Why Common Core Won’t Work, in Tech Terms–The Blaze
- Adding up the costs of new Common Core tests–Marketplace
- We Are Losing an Entire Generation of Laborers to Student Loan Debt-timcasteel.com
- Oops—White House Loses $22 Billion on Student Loan Plans–Fiscal Times
- This Millennial Paid Off $23,375 in Student Loans in Just 10 Months–TIME
Human Dignity and the Sanctity of Life
- Abortion and the Obamacare Exchanges: Still Not What the Doctor Ordered-Townhall
- Fewest Americans Satisfied With Abortion Policies Since 2001-Gallup
- Oral contraceptive and breast cancer risk among women 20 to 49 years of age-Cancer Research
- “The Drop Box”: Pro-Life Documentary to Hit Theaters March 3, 4 and 5–Townhall
- Girl wants to provide for orphange from which her sister is adopted–Morris Daily Herald
Adult stem cells
- Did (Adult) Stem Cells Save Gordy Howe?–New York Magazine
- MD Anderson, Rice Study Reveals Ovarian Cancer Related Metastasis Supplied By Abdominal Stem Cells–Bionews-Texas
- Debate over history of US Christian bioethics–Bioedge.org
- UK Parliament OK’s Three-Parent Babies – is US Next?–Aleteia
- Euthanasia: Supremes turn Canada into Belgium!-LifeSite
- Why Assisted Suicide Is the Wrong Choice for Christians–Christian Post
Marriage & Family
Economy and the family
- Obamacare Co-Ops Cost Taxpayers $17,000 Per Enrollee–The Daily Signal
- Challenges facing low-income individuals and families in today’s economy–American Enterprise Institute
- Man Allegedly Forced to Choose Between Newborn with Down Syndrome and Wife-People
- Parenting and depression: Fathers, especially fathers of blended families, are at risk-Brigham Young University
Homosexuality and Gender Issues
- Dear Justice Kennedy: An Open Letter from the Child of a Loving Gay Parent-Public Discourse
- Queering Agriculture?-City Journal
- New Research on Same-Sex Households Reveals Kids Do Best With Mom and Dad-Public Discourse
- Emotional Problems among Children with Same-Sex Parents: Difference by Definition-Catholic University of America
- Emotional Problems among Children with Same-Sex Parents: Difference by Definition–Social Science Research Network
- The Girl in the Tuxedo: Two Variations on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity–Public Discourse
- A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Vomitorium–The Federalist
- Survivor of domestic violence and sexual abuse Brooke Axtell performed a moving speech prior to Katy Perry’s performance at the Grammys-Christian Science Monitor
- Sex Slaves on the Farm- Newsweek
- Griswold and the Defense of Traditional Marriage-North Dakota Law Review
- Falling Marriage Rates Reveal Economic Fault Lines-New York Times
- How marriage makes people healthier-The Economist
- The Left and Absolute Sexual Freedom-American Thinker
- SCOTUS Rolls against Alabama Tide on Marriage–FRC Update
- A tale of three stories: Confusion over same-sex marriage in Alabama–Get Religion
- Truth about ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’: Movie glamorizes sexual violence, domestic abuse-FoxNews
- Bill Bans Federal Employees from Watching Porn at Work–Federal Times
- Expert: 50 Shades of Grey spikes online porn consumption among women–Health Canal
Religious Liberty and Persecution
- InterVarsity Victory in Sex Discrimination Case Is Good News for All Parachurch Ministries-Christianity Today
- NJ Judge Bars Experts Who Believe Homosexuality Is Disorder in Lawsuit Against Gay Therapy Group–Christian Post
- New Jersey Student Wins Legal Fight Over Pledge of Allegiance Against Atheists–Christian Times
- Religious believers must speak in the public square, Archbishop Chaput says–Catholic San Francisco
- Inventing the Crusades-First Things
- The President’s Small World–RedState
- At the prayer breakfast, President Obama struck a patronizing tone–Washington Post
- The National Prayer Breakfast: The Protest–Juicy Ecumenism
Religion in Public Life
- Overcoming Cynicism, Even After You’ve Seen How the Sausage Is Made–Christianity Today
- Are Christ and Christianity Coercive? A Christian Economist’s Perspective–Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics