Author archives: Cathy Ruse

The Future of Our Nation Depends on the State of Our Schools

by Cathy Ruse

May 30, 2019

This week the Supreme Court declined to accept a case over whether government schools may force students to follow transgender ideology in official school policies, against science and female students’ privacy rights.

They won’t be able to avoid the issue for long.

We send our children to private, Christian schools. Tuition is high; the financial burden on our family is significant.

But we have determined that government schools are just not an option.

Still, I have come to believe that the future of our nation depends on the state of our public schools.

Last week I chaired a panel on education at Family Research Council’s Watchmen on the Wall conference for pastors.

I opened the panel with the premise that today’s government schools are a serious threat to the minds and souls of Christian children in America.

Is that an overstatement? I don’t believe it is.

Fewer than 5 percent of U.S. kids are homeschooled today. Only 10 percent attend private schools.

The vast majority of American children are educated in government schools—schools that are declining academically, despite the mountains of tax dollars we heap on them.

The notion that a nation’s schools might promote the cause of the nation is a relic of the past. American public schools are often hostile to America. There is much less history taught today—less civics, but more activism. Capitalism is degraded, socialism is promoted—with our tax dollars.

Every week brings news of another school district embracing radical sex-ed for kids, in the face of parental objections—or worse: behind parents’ backs.

Worse even than graphic sex lessons is the new transgender ideology that is forced on children in public schools.

The Human Rights Campaign, Planned Parenthood, Genderspectrum.org, and GLSEN (the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network) are targeting public schools.

They’re going into schools with slick lesson plans for teachers. They demand an answer to the question: “Are you a safe space for LGBT kids? If so, put up this sticker in your classroom.” And so the walls of our public schools are littered with political propaganda that families would never allow in their own homes.

Genderspectrum.org has what looks like a war room chart—four ways to get transgender theory into a public school. They call them “entry points”: interpersonal, instructional, and so on.

One mom at a targeted school said: “Entry points are what a thief uses to break into your house. It feels very much the same way to me.”

And they have gained entry.

Many school districts are now teaching the innocent souls under their care that some of them are born in the wrong body.

Most people know that’s a lie. We know that every child is born in exactly the right body. But it’s children who are being propagandized this way. And it’s a very short step from rejecting God’s creation to rejecting God.

What are these schools doing to children’s souls?

A 2016 nationwide survey found that 35 percent of college freshman call themselves atheist or agnostic. Thirty-five percent.

Now, keep in mind, this is not the result of some radical college professor. These are incoming freshmen, reflecting the cumulative influence of 13 years of public education.

The environment in public schools is hostile to people of faith today. Religious viewpoints are shunned and are replaced with a dogmatic secularism.

Christian families must wake up to the fact that public schools are an actively and strongly secularizing agent in Christian children’s lives.

But the answer cannot be simply to turn our backs or walk away.

There is far too much public money on the table to leave to the ideologues in the education industry to mold the next generation in their image.

Justice demands that we help these children—we’re talking about 86 percent of American kids.

But wisdom demands it, too. These kids will be our nation’s future teachers, doctors, lawyers, politicians, and presidents.

As Abraham Lincoln said: “The philosophy of the school room in one generation, will be the philosophy of government in the next.”

And also the philosophy of the culture in the next.

We must help families who have no other choice for their kids. We must also help the many good and faithful teachers and administrators who are faithful to their calling to educate and not indoctrinate, but who feel isolated and alone against the tide.

If we care about our nation, we must care first about our nation’s schools.

Under the “Equality Act,” A Woman’s Place is in the Bleachers

by Cathy Ruse

April 15, 2019

Last week, the Heritage Foundation presented another compelling panel on the impact of the transgender movement on women and girls, and its chief legislative vehicle: Nancy Pelosi’s so-called “Equality Act.”

Featuring women leaders like Beth Stelzer of Save Women’s Sports and Jennifer Bryson of Let All Play, the panel examined the devastating impact that this political movement is having in the lives of real women and girls, and women’s sports in general.

The panel included Bianca Stanescu, mother of Selina Soule, the Glastonbury High School Track and Field athlete who had to compete against two large, biological males who identify as girls. Surprise! The males came in first and second place, and Selina was knocked out of the New England regionals for which she otherwise would have qualified.

Not long ago, men dominated sports in this country. That was before Congress passed Title IX to give women an equal opportunity to participate in sports.

There’s nothing “equal” about forcing women to compete against biological men.

Yet that’s what the so-called “Equality Act” will require, a bill being pushed now by transgender activists and their allies.

The Equality Act will not only make men’s sports dominate again—it will relegate women and girls to the bleachers.

But not to worry, there’ll still be two divisions on the playing field: Men competing against men, and men who identify as women competing against each other.

What if Abortion Laws Reflected the Actual Views of Americans?

by Cathy Ruse

April 11, 2019

On Saturday I led a panel discussion on “Abortion Until Birth: What Happened in New York, What Almost Happened in Virginia, and What Lies Ahead in the Federal Courts.”

I was joined by Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Greg Schleppenbach of the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops’ Pro-Life Secretariat, and Jeff Caruso of the Virginia Catholic Conference.

The following are excerpts of my introductory remarks.

***

One of the most celebrated phony arguments for a right to abortion is the Famous Violinist.

It’s a thought experiment, by a supposed moral philosopher (Judith Jarvis Thomson), and it goes like this:

Imagine you wake up in a hospital bed, and discover that your circulatory system has been connected up to the circulatory system of an unconscious famous violinist, lying beside you.

The violinist has a serious kidney infection, and a rare blood type—and you are the only match.

The hospital director comes in and says:

  • It was wrong for the Society of Music Lovers to kidnap you and place you in this difficult position.
  • But without the use of your kidneys, this man will die.
  • And, well, it’ll take 9 months for him to get well.

Are you morally obliged to make your kidneys available to this violinist for 9 months?

You’re supposed to conclude: no, you have the right to choose what happens in, and to, your body. You’re not obligated to put your body in service of another’s life, even that of a famous violinist.

The argument fails, of course. For many reasons. Chief among them is that mothers and children are natural allies, not enemies—not strangers on a hospital bed. 

But this is what modern abortion politics has done to our thinking.

The first American feminists never saw the child as the enemy. Elizabeth Cady Stanton said women had been treated as property; how degrading that we should treat our own children as property to be disposed of as we see fit.

What would they say about our abortion culture today?

According to the Guttmacher Institute, founded by Planned Parenthood, approximately 4 percent of abortions are done for the mother’s health. And 3 percent for “possible problems affecting the health of the [baby].”

Taken together, that’s 7 percent.

That means 93 percent of abortions are done on healthy women with healthy babies.

What are the reasons for these abortions?

Well, the women told Guttmacher they couldn’t afford a baby, they didn’t feel ready, they were having relationship problems. Or their husbands, or boyfriends, or parents wanted them to have the abortion.

There’s a pattern here, if you look for it. Of women who needed financial help, but no one gave it to them. Who needed emotional support, but no one provided it.

Of women who may have wanted the baby, but were surrounded by people who wanted the baby gone.

Feminists for Life says abortion is a reflection that we have failed to meet the needs of women—that: Women Deserve Better Than Abortion.  

They say the slogan “It’s my body, it’s my choice” has really become “it’s her problem.” The rest of us are off the hook.

The truth is, they know it’s a baby. And they’ve known it for a long time.

Even the Famous Violinist argument concedes there’s another person in the equation.

Planned Parenthood activist Amy Richards wrote an essay in the New York Times Magazine about being pregnant with triplets, and having two of her babies aborted.

After reciting a list of ways her life would change if she were to have triplets, she concluded, with a final lament, that she would have to “start shopping only at Costco and buying big jars of mayonnaise.”

She recounted how Peter, her boyfriend, stared at the sonogram screen and said, “There are three heartbeats, and we’re about to make two disappear.”

If you’re a Planned Parenthood activist, why tell your story this way? Why the heartbeats? Why the mayonnaise?

Very clearly, she’s telling us that she knows they’re really babies.

But she’s also clearly telling us that she doesn’t have to have a good reason to abort them—she can, just because she wants to.

And legally speaking, she’s quite right.

Forty-six years ago, the Supreme Court took abortion policy-making out of the hands of the people, and made abortion-until-birth a constitutional right.

Roe v. Wade made abortion legal before but also after viability, until birth, for “health” reasons.

And then Doe v. Bolton, defined “health” as “all factors”—“physical, emotional, psychological, familial, [or] the woman’s age.”

That’s why pro-lifers speak of “abortion on demand.” That’s why Amy Richards speaks of big jars of mayonnaise.

Most people have no idea how extreme U.S. abortion law is.

If American law on abortion reflected Americans’ views on abortion, the law would look very different.

And that’s exactly what politicians in New York were afraid of: That the people would get to have a say, again, on abortion policy.

Boys Competing Against Girls Steal Another Win

by Cathy Ruse

February 25, 2019

Two boys finished in first and second place over all the girls in the 55-yard dash at the state track championship meet in Connecticut earlier this month.

Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood have dominated in their sport for two years. That’s because they are actually boys who are allowed to compete against girls.  

Given their times, these boys would lose if they competed against other males. They can only beat girls. This fact alone makes the biological differences between the sexes crystal clear. If a boy, with all of his physical advantages, can only beat girls, with her comparative disadvantages, there is nothing about this to be proud of. It is simply cheating, and girls are getting tired of it.

Martina Navratilova, the 18-time Grand Slam tennis champion and celebrated gay activist, has now been vilified and punished because she says it’s unfair to force women to compete against biological men. These new rules, she wrote in The Sunday Times, “reward cheats and punish the innocent.”

These boys are not only stealing wins from girls, they’re stealing coveted scholarships into female collegiate athletics. It is no surprise that one of the girls competing against the boys called it “demoralizing.” Selina Soule would have qualified for the New England regionals which would have allowed her to run in front of more college coaches, if the two competitors who identify as transgender hadn’t taken the top spots, according to the Associated Press.

This is what radical feminists call female erasure. Others refer to it as the male invasion of female space.

Rick Moran of the American Thinker asks:

Will there ever come a tipping point where this idiocy is exposed? It may be coming next year at the Olympics. Transgendered athletes will compete for the first time. Whether they win medals or not, they are taking slots meant for women.

When men who identify as women compete against women, they’re not achieving a sports victory. They’re just lying, cheating, and stealing.

The Cost of Sending Your Kids to Public School Just Might Be Their Souls

by Cathy Ruse

February 11, 2019

Recent decades have seen “Mommy Wars” about daycare and breastfeeding. Are we on the cusp of a new fight over whether to send your kids to public school?

If so, I say bring it on. It’s long overdue.

Should we pull our kids out of public school? Millions of parents with children in public schools can’t believe they’re asking this question. But they are.

Family Research Council hosted an expert panel on this question last week. Grab a cup of coffee and an hour and watch it here.

The panel features Mary Hasson, a lawyer and writer with the Ethics and Public Policy Center discussing her new book, Get Out Now: Why You Should Pull Your Child from Public School Before It’s Too Late.

The first consideration for people of faith is, well, faith. Does attending government schools impact a child’s faith as an adult? Hasson cited bracing research that suggests it does. In one study on Catholic children, only 5 percent continued to practice their faith as adults after going through public school as kids, compared to 40 percent who kept their faith after attending Catholic schools. Evangelical children experience a similar loss of their Christian faith.

Not only are American public schools hostile to religious faith, there are hostile to America. Hasson discussed how there is much less history taught today—less civics, but more activism. Capitalism is degraded, socialism is promoted—with your tax dollars.

But the game-changer, said Hasson, is the “fractured concept” of the human person that public schools now teach. Sex confusion and transsexualism are dogma. And this anti-science propaganda is producing disturbing results: some schools see up to 20 percent of their students identifying as LGBTQ, said Hasson.

Even when schools allow parents to excuse their children from classes about their changeable genders, “you can’t opt a child out of the school culture.” Schools have embraced the idea that, since any child can be “trans,” every child must be treated as potentially “trans.” This approach is “baked into the culture” of government schools today.

Activist and public school parent Meg Kilgannon provided another perspective on the question. There’s too much public money on the table to just leave it to liberals to use as they wish to ruin our nation’s children. While conservatives bicker endlessly about charter schools vs. vouchers, Leftists are happily spending our tax money molding the nation’s young minds in their image.

Kilgannon knows the fight in Fairfax County fight well. She is a parent activist par excellence who has stayed in the system but fought to protect her kids every step of the way.

If conservative and Christian families leave, what about the children left behind? These children, said Kilgannon, will be our nation’s future teachers, doctors, lawyers, politicians, presidents, etc. The future of our nation is inextricably tied to the state of our public schools today.

Both panelists agreed that there are good and faithful teachers and administrators who are faithful to their calling to educate and not indoctrinate. But they find themselves in a tenuous position if they question the radical sex ed or identity politics that their professional associations peddle.

Both agreed, too, that parents’ first duty is to their children.

Hasson’s final point has stayed with me more than any other. Every education choice bears a cost, she said. The cost of private schools can be a mountain of tuition dollars, the cost of homeschooling includes time and lost income. But the cost of public schools just might be your children’s souls.

Hotel Trans: Check In Any Time, But Never Leave

by Cathy Ruse

February 5, 2019

Transgender ideologues have tremendous power in our culture, and they’re wielding it against the least powerful. If children and their families can survive the pill-pushing gender clinicians, they still have to face the virtue-signaling politicians and their speech bans.  

It’s the Hotel Transgender: You can check in, but you can never leave.

Put Kids on Drugs, and They’ll Stay Trans

Last week I attended a panel of feminists, self-identified lesbians, and former trans-identified people at the Heritage Foundation, all speaking against the transgender agenda.

It was standing room only. The stories of what this movement is doing to women and children—and young men—are utterly horrifying. I challenge any mother to listen to these stories without crying.

Their stories are tragically familiar. Experts tell parents they must affirm their children’s sex confusion and put them on puberty blockers to “buy them time” to explore their true identity. This is now the default position. But “buying time” is a line no parent should buy.

Anecdotal stories abound of puberty blockers being the first step in an inevitable march toward the transsexual life. In the only study to date following gender dysphoric children who were socially affirmed and put on puberty blockers, 100 percent of the children continued to identify as transgender, and pursued further sex-change interventions.

One. Hundred. Percent. This stands in stark contrast to gender dsyphoric children who are allowed to go through puberty naturally. The American Psychiatric Association reports that up to 97.8 percent of boys and 88 percent of girls experience an end to their sex confusion and do not end up identifying as transgender adults.

Putting kids on puberty blockers does not let them choose anything. It makes the choice for them.

Outlaw Talk Therapy, and They’ll Stay Trans

Why are adolescents suddenly announcing they’re in the wrong body? Dr. Lisa Littman of Brown University examined this question in her study of hundreds of cases of Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria. She reported her findings in a peer-reviewed study that transgender ideologues tried (somewhat successfully) to squelch.

Some teens are rejecting their physical bodies because of trauma (like rape) and psychiatric distress (like abuse), but these influences are routinely ignored by gender specialists in their zeal to further the trans agenda. But the most eye-opening part of the study is the outsized role of social media and peer pressure in this phenomenon. The stories reported by Littman are tragic.

How do we help suffering kids who find themselves sucked into this dangerous “social contagion”? Trans activists are making sure we can’t help them at all.

They have persuaded fifteen states and the District of Columbia to pass laws outlawing talk therapy for teens who want to stop feeling they were born in the wrong body. These therapy bans, originally designed to deny help for kids who seek talk therapy to end unwanted same-sex attractions, have now been expanded to deny help for kids who want to accept their biological reality. New York is the latest to join this list.

The impact of these laws is nothing short of cruel. If a girl suffers from sex confusion, if she wants to find happiness living as a female, she has nowhere to turn.

But if she wants help living as a man, that she can find. The trans lobbyists made sure of that. These laws specifically allow “counseling for a person seeking to transition from one gender to another.”

Choose the right identity, children, otherwise the government won’t let you have a therapist.

That’s the transgender movement today. You can check in, but you can never leave.

The APA is Crazy: “Traditional Masculinity is Psychologically Harmful”

by Cathy Ruse

January 11, 2019

The American Psychological Association (APA) has decided that “traditional masculinity is psychologically harmful.”

That’s what should be known as traditional asininity. According to the APA, “[t]he main thrust of the subsequent research is that traditional masculinity—marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression—is, on the whole, harmful.”

The APA’s report condemns itself. It should be read far and wide. But reader, be warned that you will encounter gibberish like this: “Though men benefit from patriarchy, they are also impinged upon by patriarchy.” 

Rod Dreher rightly sees this nonsense as yet another diktat from the elites: “The more I think about it, the more Soviet this seems. Dissent from gender ideology (not just the transgender stuff, but the establishment’s view of what men and women are)? Well, then you must be insane. Expert opinion says so!”

I agree with David French at National Review: “We do our sons no favors when we tell them that they don’t have to answer that voice inside them that tells them to be strong, to be brave, and to lead.” 

I have daughters, not sons. But I pray my daughters marry masculine men, not the kind the APA would mold.

The ERA: A Bad, Old Idea

by Cathy Ruse

January 10, 2019

Yesterday a senate committee in Richmond voted in favor of Virginia ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Yes, I am speaking of your grandmother’s ERA.

The deadline Congress set for states to ratify the amendment has long since passed—nearly three decades ago. Proponents couldn’t convince enough states that it was a good idea within the deadline, and since then five states have withdrawn their ratification.

The issue is officially moot. But proponents hope they can convince enough states to go through the motions anyway, and then convince a lawless judge to ignore the deadline.

The Left loves lawless judges.

Women deserve to be treated with respect and fairness. We can all agree on that. But the ERA won’t deliver these things—in fact, it will undermine them.

The same lawless judges who might ignore ratification deadlines could also employ the ERA to eliminate the recognition of male and female. But that puts men in women’s shelters and prisons. It puts men in women’s bathrooms and showers. It puts men in women’s sports.

We don’t need that kind of help.

The ERA is not only anti-woman, but anti-children—especially the most vulnerable waiting to be born. 

Proponents say the ERA is not about abortion. But look at what they do: Every time a state considers ERA language that is abortion-neutral, they kill it. That’s because abortion is at the heart of the ERA.

Women deserve safe spaces, privacy, and a level playing field. Children deserve a fighting chance to be born.

When the Virginia Senate takes up the measure in the days ahead, they should waste no time in putting to rest this bad, old idea.

Parents Beware of Puberty-Blocker Propaganda

by Cathy Ruse

December 19, 2018

Transgender activists promote puberty blockers as safe, effective, and reversible.  A new column at The Federalist details why medical experts disagree.

Originally used to treat prostate cancer, puberty blockers are also used for endometriosis and “precocious puberty” (for girls under 8, boys under 9).

But using puberty blockers to stop normal puberty is “off label,” meaning no research has been done to prove the safety of such use and the FDA hasn’t approved the drug for this purpose.

Extreme Side Effects

One of the puberty blockers frequently administered to girls who identify as boys is called Lupron.

Even with on-label use, Lupron is associated with loss in bone density and weak and brittle bones. Tragically, and ironically, another side effect is severe depression and suicidal ideation. The transgender lobby likes to wag a finger at parents and say: “Do you want a transgender child or a dead child?” But look at the drugs they are pushing on children.

Lawsuits

Not sure if a drug is totally safe? Look at the lawsuits. Lupron manufacturer AbbVie has been sued by a woman who took Lupron 14 years ago for endometriosis and now has widespread arthritis and suffers constant pain: “My body is on fire.” Another lawsuit charges Lupron with causing extreme bone density loss in an individual who took the drug starting at age 17.

Other Cases

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports on another patient who took Lupron for precocious puberty at 10 after which she suffered such severe pain that she was put in a wheelchair in 5th grade. An Atlanta GYN who specializes in endometriosis reports many women suffering memory loss after taking Lupron.

Are Puberty Blockers Reversible?

No. The lost years of bone development cannot be regained, say medical experts.

According to endocrinologist Michael Laidlaw:  

There is an exquisitely timed release and change of multiple hormones during normal puberty. Among these are growth hormone and the sex hormones which account for the growth spurt including bone growth and development. It has been shown that puberty blockers interfere with the expected increase in bone density in adolescence such that the bones are not as strong as they would be had normal pubertal development been allowed. This is due to the effect of dropping sex hormone levels to subnormal levels. These lost years of bone development cannot be regained.

Why Some Medical Experts Call This Psychological Child Abuse

Up to 98 percent of gender dysphoric boys and 88 percent of gender dysphoric girls will experience an end to their sex confusion after naturally passing through puberty, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition.

That means only about 5-10 percent of effected children will pursue further sex-change interventions.

But how many children on puberty blockers pursue further sex-change procedures? One hundred percent, according to a Dutch study reported in The Journal of Sexual Medicine. The study, evaluating the impact of puberty blockers on 70 children, found that all 70 went on to take cross-sex hormones.

What This Means for Parents

Parents who visit a gender specialist for a suffering child, beware. Puberty blockers like Lupron are said to buy time to allow your child to explore his identity. But for many children—100 percent of them, according to a key study—they are a one-way ticket to transgenderism.

Pronoun Police Get VA Teacher Fired

by Cathy Ruse

December 10, 2018

The pronoun police have marched into small-town America.

A high school French teacher in the tiny Virginia town of West Point has lost his job. His offense? He asked permission to avoid pronouns when referring to a biological girl student who now identifies as a boy.

Peter Vlaming (pictured) was fired last week in a unanimous vote by the local school board (all Democrats) because of his Christian belief that God made humans male and female, and that a girl cannot become a boy.

Vlaming was willing to use the student’s new masculine name, and to avoid using pronouns altogether with this student. But he was not willing to use a false pronoun. “I did agree to use the new masculine name [and] to avoid female pronouns,” said Vlaming, but “I won’t use male pronouns with a female student.”

Keep in mind, Vlaming’s position was not a failure of courtesy. Third person pronouns are not used face-to-face, they are used when talking about a person who is absent. Vlaming was happy to use the student’s new masculine name. But that was not enough for the school. They ordered him to use male pronouns for the student even when he was not in the presence of the student. 

Students are allowed to remain silent during the Pledge of Allegiance, but this teacher was not allowed to remain silent when it came to pronouns. Use a false pronoun, or lose your job.

God bless this teacher—he would not speak in denial of God’s truth about male and female, and for his silence the government terminated him.

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