The Father-Removing Gay-Procuring Child Abuse Racket

[Trigger warning for child abuse denialism]

I promised in my earlier article on Stephen Baskerville’s Faith & Reason lecture that I would devote more attention to his views on child abuse. Here I am, ready to fulfill that promise! To summarize Baskerville: First, mothers are the true abusers and it is removing the father from the home that is the real cause of child abuse. Second, child protective services exists to take children from innocent heterosexual families and sell them off to gay and lesbian couples. Oh yes.

Let me start by quoting from Stephen Baskerville’s 2002, article, “The Truth about Child Abuse.”

As the Heritage report confirms, the safest place for a child is an intact, two-parent home — that is, a home with a father in it. Children’s natural protectors are their fathers. Even feminist Adrienne Burgess observes that “fathers have often played the protector role inside families.” Removing the father is what exposes the children to danger.

Yet removing fathers is precisely what family court judges routinely do at the mere request of mothers, who file two-thirds to nine-tenths of divorces. Ironically, this is often effected with trumped-up charges of child abuse, though statistically biological fathers seldom abuse their children . . . .

. . .

The logic is marvelously self-justifying and self-perpetuating, since by eliminating the father, government officials can then present themselves as the solution to the problem they themselves create. The more child abuse — whether by parents or even by the social work bureaucracies themselves — the more the proffered solution is to further expand the child abuse bureaucracy. . . .

If we do not have the courage to tell the truth about who is abusing children and the role of government in permitting and even encouraging them to do it, then all our professed concern for children is mere posturing.

Oy.

Baskerville’s comments are clearly the result of paranoia. The idea that the government is intentionally breaking apart families so that it’ll have business for its social services and child protection divisions? Really? That’s one heck of a conspiracy to keep the top on. Further, Baskerville suggests elsewhere that he wants to do away with no-fault divorce, because apparently forcing women to stay married to men they do not want to be married to (or vice versa) would totally make things better for their children. Except, not.

Does Baskerville seriously think that child abuse didn’t exist before no-fault divorce? Does he think dysfunctional, broken, and abusive families did not exist before no-fault divorce? You really can’t get more naive or ahistorical than that. Baskerville speaks of a “child abuse epidemic.” It’s as though he doesn’t realize that the reason we’re so aware of child abuse today is that we’ve finally recognized it as something that is a problem and in need of fixing. It’s also as though he doesn’t realize that child abuse rates are currently going down.

Now let’s talk about causation and correlation. What Baskerville is doing here is the equivalent of saying “Look, married families are stabler and better off financially—it must be because they’re married! Everyone should get married and then every family will be stabler and better off financially!” Why is it that so few people seem to be able to consider that perhaps those families are married because they are stabler and better off financially, and not the other way around?

It is true that by a number of factors, children in married households fare better than children not in married households, but it does not follow that children currently in unmarried or divorced homes would be better off if their parents would just get married. There are a variety of factors that explain why children in married families fare better (including the fact that married families are generally better off financially, and include two parents who have chosen to parent cooperatively and presumably have a positive relationship with each other). Forcing or pressuring couples to marry or stay marry who would not otherwise have married would not necessarily replicate those factors.

Next, Baskerville says that fathers are children’s “natural protectors.” Like I said in my previous post addressing his statements, it seems as though Baskerville is always ready to assume the best of men and to assume the worst of women. Is it so hard to say that both fathers and mothers are children’s “natural protectors,” but that either can also fail in their role as protector and instead mistreat a child? Instead, Baskerville does a whole lot of minimizing of abuse perpetrated by biological fathers. I showed Baskerville’s article to a friend who was abused by her biological father (and for whom a divorce ended that abuse), and her response was “that man is insane.” I can’t say I disagree.

For the record, I did some digging and it appears that women commit slightly more than 50% of child maltreatment, and that most of the maltreatment committed by women is committed by biological mothers while roughly half of the maltreatment committed by men is committed by biological fathers. This shouldn’t be surprising given that women (and especially biological mothers) do by far the majority of the child rearing and caregiving. As a percentage of the child maltreatment they commit, biological mothers are more likely to neglect children while biological fathers are more likely to physically abuse children; in other words, the type of maltreatment committed by mothers and by fathers differs. (Also, as a reader pointed out, if fathers do seek custody they are actually very likely to get it, including primary custody. The reason more women get custody of children than do men is that fathers are less likely to ask for it.) But you don’t get any of this from a reading of Baskerville’s article.

I’m not saying that children shouldn’t have their fathers in their lives, or that fathers are more dangerous than mothers. What I am saying is that Baskerville is dead wrong in his assertions. Baskerville’s suggestion that forcing people to marry or stay married will put an end (or nearly an end) to child abuse because it will ensure that fathers, children’s “natural protectors,” remain in the home ignores so many facts and factors and variables that I’m not sure why anyone would take him seriously.

Now I want to quote from Baskerville’s 2004 article, “Could Your Children Be Given To “Gay” Parents?

In the debate over gay marriage, strikingly little attention has been paid to the impact on children. Some question the wisdom of having children raised by two homosexuals, but the best they can seem to argue is that serious flaws vitiate the literature defending it.

Almost no attention has been devoted to what may be the more serious political question of who will supply the children of gay “parents,” since obviously they cannot produce children themselves. A few will come from sperm donors and surrogate mothers, but very few. The vast majority will come, because they already do come, from pre-existing heterosexual families. In Massachusetts, “Forty percent of the children adopted have gone to gay and lesbian families,” according to Democratic state Sen. Therese Murphy.

Sen. Murphy seems totally oblivious to the implications. “Will you deny them their rights?” she asks. With some 3 percent of the population, gay couples already seem to enjoy a marked advantage over straight ones in the allocation of supposedly superfluous children.

But whose rights are being denied depends on how deeply we probe and what questions we ask. Granting gay couples the “right” to have children by definition means giving them the right to have someone else’s children, and the question arises whether the original parent or parents ever agreed to part with them.

Not necessarily. Governments that kind-heartedly bestow other people’s children on homosexual couples also have both the power and the motivation to confiscate those children from their original parents, even when the parents have done nothing to warrant losing them.

. . .

This is the bureaucratic milieu – largely hidden from all but those who must endure it – into which gay marriage advocates want to inject millions of new couples in search of children to adopt.

The number of truly abused children cannot begin to fill this demand without government help. We know that statistically child abuse in intact two-parent families is rare, and two-thirds of reports are never substantiated. Yet even in those instances of confirmed abuse, a little digging reveals the pernicious hand of the government generating business (and children) for itself.

Child abuse is overwhelmingly a phenomenon of single-parent homes. Government and feminist propaganda suggest that single-parent homes result from paternal abandonment. In fact, they are usually created by family court judges, who have close ties to the social service agencies that need children. By forcibly removing fathers from the home through unilateral or “no-fault” divorce, family courts create the environment most conducive to child abuse and initiate the process that leads to removal of the children from the mother, foster care, and adoption. Gay adoption is simply the logical culmination in the process of turning children into political instruments for government officials.

What this demonstrates is that same-sex marriage cannot be effectively challenged in isolation. Opponents must bite the bullet and confront the two evils that pose a far more serious and direct threat to the family than gay marriage: the child protection gestapo and the even more formidable “no-fault” divorce machine.

Blatant homophobia alert! The gays are coming for your children! Because yes, that’s actually what Baskerville says here, plain and simple—that child protective services exists to take children from healthy heterosexual families and sell them off to gay and lesbian couples, who cannot procreate on their own. Way to drum up hatred and fear! The idea that there might be children out there legitimately in need of adoption, and that gay parents might help relieve the pressure on the foster care system by adopting some of the children now considered unadoptable, does not even register for Baskerville. Let me draw out a specific sentence for a moment to illustrate the extent of Baskerville’s dishonesty:

In Massachusetts, “Forty percent of the children adopted have gone to gay and lesbian families,” according to Democratic state Sen. Therese Murphy.

First, it’s Senator Therese Murray, not Senator Therese Murphy. Second, while I did find the reported quote in an actual news article, Murray was quite simply wrong. According to an estimate reported by the New York Times, “65,000 adopted children live in homes in which the head of the household is gay, or about 4 percent of the adopted population.” In other words, Baskerville has built his entire argument on a blatant falsehood. (As an aside, Murray may have actually meant to refer to the statistic that 40% of adoption agencies have placed at least one child with a gay or lesbian couple.)

Baskerville’s continual profiling of single-parent homes as being the ones with child abuse problems while married homes are free from the problem of child abuse is also starting to grate on me. Yes, certain factors, such as stress or financial tension, can make child maltreatment more likely. However, Baskerville almost seems to give married households a free pass entirely when it comes to child maltreatment, and I don’t think it should be hard to see why that is a problem. Child maltreatment is committed in married households, and assuming that it is not or that accusations of abuse in a married household must be false will mean that child maltreatment in married households will go overlooked. (Self fulfilling prophesy, anyone?) After all, part of the reason for the imbalance in child maltreatment statistics between married households and unmarried or divorced households is already that child maltreatment in married households is easier to hide and cover up.

And then there is Baskerville’s severely conspiratorial view of the world. I can’t help but feel that Baskerville has started with his conclusion and worked from there. Baskerville wants to believe that marriage is always best, and therefore he asserts that marriage somehow makes children immune to abuse and that when social services steps in the charges must be false. Similarly, Baskerville wants to believe that gay marriage and the “homosexual agenda” is insidious, so he asserts that they’re using child protective services as a tool to take children from healthy heterosexual families and claim them for themselves. I wonder what Baskerville would say if the statistics showed that single parent households had lower rates of child maltreatment than married households. Somehow I’m doubting he would suddenly become an advocate for divorce.

Of course, even more problematic than his suggestion that child abuse allegations regarding children in married households should be assumed to be false (given that kids in married households don’t get abused, of course) is Baskerville’s view of child protective services. The entire system, Baskerville argues, is a racket. Now, is there some abuse in the system? Sure. Name the system, there generally is. But is there some sort of national conspiracy to kidnap children from their parents and adopt them off to gay couples? No. Child maltreatment is a real problem and child protective services serves a critical role helping protect our weakest and most defenseless citizens. One way to improve child protective services would be to properly fund it, because as it is case workers run large case loads for tiny salaries. But that’s not going to happen as long as there are people like Baskerville running around arguing that child protective services is a child-stealing racket.

And you want to know what’s scary? Patrick Henry College, which is closely allied with (and shares a founder with) the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), hired this guy. What does this say about the positions taken by HSLDA, which not infrequently becomes involved in child abuse cases and is explicitly working to change child abuse laws and the way child protective services operates?

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • Caroline Galwey

    Gay couples often step in to adopt children who have been in the care system for years, getting more and more difficult to place with normal families all the time. The idea that they are kidnapped from their homes to supply gay couples is beyond ludicrous and won’t stand up to a moment’s scrutiny.

    • Sally

      And I think many would agree we’ll have to modify words like “normal” in this context, as what is normal is changing.

  • Jackie

    So his wife leaves him, for reasons obvious to me at least, and the man spends the rest of his life drawing general conclusions based on his personal experience? And I’m no longer surprised HSLDA would hire him, given all I’ve learned about that organization. Scary. Can say I’m glad I was always too lazy to join. Besides I never felt threatend by the “authorties.”

    As for his assertion that social workers are dying to take away your children to keep the systrm running, he’s willfully blind to the fact that some kids go back to parents when maybe the shouldn’t because other kids need the spot in foster care more. And biological fathers rarely abuse their children? Find people who are willing to admit the truth about their lives and you’ll hear a different story. So many people tell it like they wish it was, and because they think they’re alone in their experience. Idiots like this just increase their sense of isolation.

    • AnonaMiss

      On the other thread AAAtheist posted a link to a document he wrote about his experience. His wife didn’t just divorce him, she successfully obtained a restraining order preventing him from seeing their kids without her supervision.

      Methinks Stephen’s standards of what is or is not ‘child abuse’ are out of line with society at large’s…

      • Jackie

        Thanks for the heads up. I’d missed that. It sounds like it was a normal divorce for the time – he got visitation every 2 weeks and he was prevented from flying her back to Britain. He calls it stripped of custody without a lawyer but it was just that first hearing. He would have had another one before it was all final. Notice he doesn’t explain that or if the custody terms were changed. 3 hours with a newborn would be normal for a guy whp lived far away – does he really think she should have been taken from her primary caregiver for longer when he wasn’t around her? It wasn’t like he lived in the same town or close by.

      • brbr2424

        I agree, it was the first hearing of probably many and the kids were infants. The second one was still inside the body of the mother. If he had taken the high road, enjoyed every minute with the kids and given the appearance of being a wonderful parent, he would have ended up with close to 50% custody. He should have hired a normal lawyer, not a father’s rights nutcase, who would have offered this advice although I don’t know if he would have taken good advice. Judges don’t favor the parent that appears unhinged.

        When the dust settles, the father who fought tooth and nail for custody ends up not wanting anything more than brief visits, particularly if they remarry. That’s what happened in my case.

        Divorced women can look at this piece of work and say, I guess my ex wasn’t the worst of the worst after all.

      • The_L1985

        Indeed. From what I understand, divorced fathers are often given the short end of the stick, but even if that IS the case a lot of the time, that’s totally not what happened in the Baskerville case.

      • Alix

        I find myself wondering what he considers legitimate discipline, actually. My dad, who was similarly baffled by his kids being “taken away,” considered strangling his son a fine way to reassert the proper household hierarchy, for example.

      • whatcom mom

        For a particularly chilling example of “legitimate discipline” confusion (in this case both parents) there is now an extended clip of Carri Williams’s testimony at trial for her daughter’s Hana’s death. She really doesn’t get it.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=up4d_VeA4l0

      • brbr2424

        Wow, I never saw the camera pointed at that part of the courtroom. It’s packed. All those people cherished the life of Hana. I’m glad Carri faced them and saw all those people there to support the girl that Carri had nothing but contempt for.

      • whatcom mom

        I don’t think this is from the courtroom, though I’m not certain. I think it was a community meeting in Seattle. Many from the community did come up each day to bear witness at the trial, however.

      • The_L1985

        …Strangling his son?

        Homer Simpson isn’t supposed to be a role model, people!

      • Alix

        Dad’s reasoning, such as it was, was that my brother was defying him and nothing else had gotten through (which, to be fair, it hadn’t – because my dad was abusive, and my brother was sticking up for himself), and apparently strangling a teenager is a legitimate response to having your authority challenged. >.>

        He still has absolutely no fucking clue why what he did was wrong, or even that it is wrong. Dad remains, to this day, baffled as to why we won’t associate with him, and stunned and betrayed that a) I called the cops on him and b) Mom divorced his ass.

    • Sally

      “So his wife leaves him, for reasons obvious to me at least, and the man spends the rest of his life drawing general conclusions based on his personal experience?”
      It does seem incredibly childish. His wife got the better of him so he’s going to go around crying foul for all of society. Whahhh!
      When my mom left my dad (not for mistreatment or abuse, but for legitimate reasons none-the-less), he was in complete denial about why and her right to do so. He acted like a child about it for a time (which is understandable for a time). Then he got over it. They’re actually friends now and grandparent together.

      • Jackie

        How great they get along now. How healthy. If you read Stephen’s bio in various places, you notice he never mentions his children. Most do even if they’re divorced, especially if they’re talking about family issues. Maybe he’s chosen not to visit them or claim them.

      • CarysBirch

        “The government took them from me, they’re not my problem anymore.” Not a real quote, just the kind of pouting and sulking one expects from someone with that level of entitlement.

      • brbr2424

        I was divorced in 2003. It’s not natural to hold a grudge that long. This guy was divorced in 1997. It’s been 15 years, and the marriage was very brief. He’s has some mental issues that need attention. I can’t help to cheer on the ex wife for taking that positive step in her life.

      • Alex Harman

        I’d guess he hasn’t been in a relationship since then, and not because he doesn’t want one — I doubt he’s willing or able to conceal his hatred and contempt for women even for the duration of a first date.

  • Stev84

    Marriage is also heavily subsidized by the government. Both financially and by giving married couples many rights that shouldn’t always be tied to marriage. So it’s no surprise that married couples often have it better when some of the most trivial things become hard to do when you aren’t married.

    And this from the people who otherwise decry any and all government welfare and social programs.

  • Fina

    “In the debate over gay marriage, strikingly little attention has been paid to the impact on children.”
    Are you KIDDING me? Other than the “it’s unnatural”-crowd, that’s basically all you hear from opponents of gay marriage! I actually had to laugh hard at this for a few minutes, though of course it’s not actually funny – how out of touch can a human being possibly be?

  • Sally

    “Gay adoption is simply the logical culmination in the process of turning children into political instruments for government officials.”
    This makes no sense. It is a wild assertion, not a conclusion based on any facts he presents.
    The following sentence does make sense.
    Speech-making is simply the logical culmination in the process of turning a relatively small number of college students into religious instruments for certain right-wing Christian leaders.

    • ZeldasCrown

      Even if all his other facts are correct (which they are not), this statement does not follow logically. None of the arguments he presents have anything to do with gay people. If he was representing reality correctly (we’ll just pretend for the sake of argument) a more logical conclusion would be “CPS has become corrupted, time for reform”, not “CPS is stealing children from good homes to give to gay couples.” It’s pretty obvious that he’s starting with the conclusion he wishes to be true, but that conclusion is so far out there that he can’t twist statistics and other information anywhere near close enough to get to even “well, that’s a stretch, but I could see how the institution would have the capabilities to do what you suggest”. He couldn’t even find a single case study to show that this is something that happens (I know anecdotes, or only one instance don’t prove anything on their own, but he couldn’t even find the weakest level of verification of his claims to show that stealing children happens more than never).

  • VS

    Libby Anne, may I suggest that you put a trigger warning at the top of your post, for those of us who came from these lovely little intact families and who absolutely WERE abused by our biological fathers? This guy’s words are so incredibly offensive and completely untrue!! My parents staying married is exactly what caused abuse to continue for me. I would have been much better off had my mom left my dad and she absolutely should have gotten a restraining order and kept us from him! Sorry, I know it’s not logical, but triggers aren’t. Reading this horrid person write that abuse from biological fathers is rare really hit a trigger for some reason. Your analysis is great, it’s just this guy’s insane writings… Thanks.

    • John Kruger

      If you found this intense, be VERY careful with the links. Naturally one should expect a certain amount of shocking detail in a link labeled “You really can’t get more naive or ahistorical”, but wow there is a wide spectrum and it is horrifying how far people have gone in that direction in the past.

    • AAAtheist

      Actually, Libby Anne did put a trigger warning here (at the very top).

      It says “Trigger warning for child abuse denialism” in brackets (right underneath the title and date).

      • Jayn

        I think she saw this comment and added it. It wasn’t there when I first loaded the page.

      • AAAtheist

        Sorry about that. I just assumed it had been there originally.

  • Mary C

    Wow. The government is conspiring to steal children and give (sell?) them to gay people. Who knew.

  • Anna

    My family does foster care in Kansas and the government giving kids to gay couples? That is a lie. Our agency just got a new director who purposely will not let gay couples have children, even taking away kids from gay couples where the placement was working out fine. If anything, the social service agencies are harming the children of gay couples.

    • Angela

      I’ve heard before that the case worker can deny or remove a placement based on nothing more than “gut instinct” or the belief that it just wouldn’t be a good fit which results in discrimination of gay foster parents, especially in more conservative areas. Also in many places the biological parents are able to make requests based on race, religious preference, etc and that the agency has to comply if they can.

      • Rose

        This is a bit off topic but your comment made me curious. Are there any resources for LGBTQ foster children? I mean, coming out is hard enough, I can’t imagine it with an unstable family situation. Not to mention there are a lot of conservative foster parents. Do agencies match children to homes that will be supportive of their personal views, or just the parents’ views?

      • Angela

        I’m not aware of any specific resources but I’ve never looked into it either. I do know that at least here the state covers any counseling or family therapy, even after the child’s been officially adopted so I imagine that would help. Ideally the caseworker would be sensitive to this when finding a placement or remove children from homes that are discriminating against them but I don’t think they would be able to override the parents if they were insisting on placement with a fundamentalist family (provided one was available).

        A few years ago I knew of a foster child who was relocated despite the fact that she’d been with her current family for over a year and was thriving. The reason was because the girl was jewish and the foster parents were not religious (although they did drive her to synagogue each week). The girl (age 13) didn’t want to leave and her caseworker recommended against it, but the judge ruled on behalf of the bio mom and it actually wound up being a terrible situation for her. The really lame part is that the bio mom is totally non-practicing herself but was just getting jealous of the attachment to the foster parents.

      • Leigha7

        I didn’t realize parents who had their kids taken away had that level of input. I guess I can kind of understand it, but it still seems weird to me. Religion has a very strange place in our society.

    • Saraquill

      Ugh, that’s disgusting.

  • Amtep

    “… at the mere request of mothers, who file two-thirds to nine-tenths of divorces.”
    Well, which is it? That’s quite a spread. It smells like a rhetorical trick. It’s probably more like 60%, which he rounded up to “two-thirds”, then he threw in the nine-tenths figure because it makes it sound bigger. You know, just like one-half to nine-tenth of people are women.

    • Sally

      Not only that, but *why* are more women than men filing for divorce? So they can abuse their children? So they can give their children to gay couples? Or is it perhaps because the men are behaving badly? Divorce is a consequence.
      Now of course there’s a huge variety of reasons anyone files for divorce. And of course there are some women who have terrible reasons for divorcing just like there are no doubt some men who divorce for bad reasons. But the fact that more women than men file for divorce in no way means that more women than men have lame reasons. The more likely explanation is that more women than men are mistreated by their spouses. But even that claim would need facts to back it up.
      He’s confusing the consequence with the cause.

      • trinity91

        I think what’s most likely going on is that the couple is agreeing to get divorced and because filing paperwork with local agencies frequently falls under “housework” that women are far more likely to be the ones going to the courthouse to file the paperwork, not that she is seeking a divorce that her husband does not want

      • Sally

        Hmm, interesting theory. I wonder what constitutes “filing.” Can a couple file for divorce “together” or is only one allowed to file “against” the other (which I’m not even saying is necessarily contradictory for a no-fault divorce)? Or is it a matter of one person getting the ball rolling but they’re not filing against the other, per se. That would be important to understand when someone claims more women than men file. (Maybe those who have filed for divorce can shed light on this.) Might even vary by state, right?

      • trinity91

        It depends on the state. When my mom filed for divorce from my father in NM they both had to file the paperwork together. When she filed against her now ex-husband because she was filing under abandonment as the reason for divorce, he didn’t need to file anything. In Washington only one person has to physically file the paperwork, but both people have to fill out and sign part of the paperwork. It’s still going to be listed by the courts as the woman filing instead of both because she is the one who physically went to the county clerk.

  • http://Thechurchproject.me/ Tracey

    My husband and I are a heterosexual couple preparing to adopt through a private agency. Our agency has the somewhat unique policy of allowing gay couples and even singles to adopt. It is our understanding that this is rare. Why, one place we looked into specified the couple be straight, Christian, and over 30 years old! Many agencies are Christian and can serve whomever they wish. Maybe this guy is writing from a bizarro universe parallel to our own?

    • Sally

      I think he’s referring to adoption through the foster care system, specifically Child Protective Services which is run by the government (at state level, I believe).
      I don’t believe private adoption agencies have the power to remove children from abusive homes against parents’ will. That’s the power he’s talking about the government misusing (again, CPS) (his wild claim) to place kids in homes parented by gay couples.

      • Marta L.

        I’m not sure it’s quite that simple. CPS removes the child, but I believe in many areas CPS works with private groups to handle the actual adoptions. Kind of like how a government building may contract with a private company to provide janitorial services, I’m fairly sure CPS will contract with private groups to administer the adoptions.

        As I recall, this became a thing when Illinois passed gay marriage and the government cut off contracts with anyone refusing to place kids with legally-married gay couples. Though now that I think about it, those groups may have been involved in certifying foster families. Something like that. Anyway, I expect you do see situations sometimes where the foster or adoptive parents are working with a private group to adopt a kid removed by CPS.

    • Stev84

      Not rare (unless you mean private adoptions only maybe). I think single people can adopt in all states, though they may have it harder to compete against couples for a placement. Which makes the opposition to gay adoption even more stupid. I can understand banning adoption by singles, but not by couples. Yeah the couple doesn’t have legal ties through marriage, but adoption ties both parents to the child and leads to responsibilities that can be legally enforced.

      For example there is currently a case in Michigan were a lesbian couple adopted a couple of children (who no one else wanted), but only one of them adopted each one. Now they are suing so that both can adopt them.

      • trinity91

        Why should a single person be banned from adopting? Some people do not want to be in a relationship but still want to raise children.

      • http://Thechurchproject.me/ Tracey

        They shouldn’t be banned! The fact that our agency specifies singles as ok means other agencies must be saying ‘no’. And as someone else pointed out its probably different through social services/foster system.

      • The_L1985

        There are some states that ban single parents from adopting solely to stop gay people from being able to adopt–because those states also tend not to have legalized same-sex marriage.

      • trinity91

        I’m well aware of this. I was replying to the OP’s position that singles should be banned. He makes a claim and does not back it up. I want a reason for discriminating against people.

  • M.S.

    Fathers are the “natural” protectors of the family. Really? Watch one nature show, and see where the father animal is. He hits it and quits it. The mother animal does EVERYTHING… protects / teaches to feed / etc…. the father literally isn’t even around. So no, in nature, the fathers are not the protectors of the family. Just to be accurate.

    • attackfish

      Depends on the species. Some animal fathers are very involved, and plenty of animal mothers lay eggs and leave. Some species even combine that strategy, with the female leaving the children to the male to rear. Animal reproductive and parenting strategies are widely varied.

      • The_L1985

        There are even species where your Dad used to be your Mom, like oysters and some varieties of fish.

      • attackfish

        Nature is so great!

      • Stev84

        In seahorses it’s the males who give birth. They are also very bisexual.

        At the other extreme there is the New Mexican whiptail lizard. An all-female species that reproduces through parthenogenesis (but still engages in mating behavior). It’s the state’s official reptile.

      • Sally

        Emperor penguin fathers are critically involved.
        I do think most female mammals are the primary caregivers and protectors, though.
        And of course someone like Baskerville is going to deny any correlation between humans and animals anyway.

      • attackfish

        I love emperor penguins. If emperor penguin fathers weren’t extremely nurturing and involved, the species would not survive.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        Leaping lesbian lizards!

      • Conuly

        And even within a species, there can be variation. Look at cats! Many tomcats actively harm kittens, to the point where mama cats hide their young from them. Others, however, are indifferent to kittens, and a few even like kittens and want to take care of them. (You see the same variation in queens. Some are good and competent mothers, some will take in any kitten they see, some are awful and abandon their kittens at a young age, some are super smothering. Often a badly parented kitten will grow to be a bad mother cat, just like with humans, but just like with humans it isn’t universal.)

        That’s cats. Humans are infinitely brighter and more variable than cats are. I mean, I love them (and a bit more than I like most people), but they don’t have the ability to choose that we do. If they can vary that much (and they can), humans certainly can’t be constrained into two-dimensional roles.

      • Sally

        I knew cats would come into this at some point! :)

      • Conuly

        If I’m anywhere near a conversation, it’s a given.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        If I don’t get to it first.

        Cat slaves. We are Legion.

      • Alix

        The cats are all: Who needs thumbs? We have humans for that!

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        Just wait.

      • Alix

        LOL. My cat has just figured out how to turn doorknobs, so we have had a rather eventful week. The day she figures out how to unlock things, we’re doomed.

      • attackfish

        Oh yes, you see the same thing with dogs. One of my female dogs used to try to nurse her toys until we adopted a puppy, after which point, you could see the “Why did I want this? Being a mother stinks!” written all over her face. Another female dog we have we think might have been a mother, because of her swollen mamaries, and I can’t imagine her with a puppy, because she’s incredibly spoiled and jealous. Another female dog we had we had to find another home for (a very involved process that we seem to have taken significantly more care in than quite a few people have in finding homes for unwanted adoptees) because she kept trying to eat our puppy. Another female dog, our alpha female, is excellent with children and puppies until they get to be “teenagers” (the quotation is because in dogs, this is when they’re about a year old) at which point they drive her crazy. She’s also the stereotypical “father”, protector, disciplinarian, etc. Her partner, our alpha male (by the way, alpha does not have anything to do with most people’s perceptions of it, in the wild, the alphas of the pack are the parents, and the rest are their puppies, juvenile, and young adult offspring) was very involved with the puppies and younger dogs, taking care of them, playing with them, cleaning them, distracting them when they drove our alpha female up a wall… very much a “mother” figure. One of our males who came to us as a puppy had been taken from his mother at two weeks old, and had behavior problems. Now, he’s our alpha male, and I can see where he learned how to be a daddy, because he does it just like our previous alpha male did for him. There’s so much variation within any species, especially social species, especially humans that making any kind of gross generalization of what’s natural and what isn’t is a little absurd.

      • Conuly

        Adolescent might be a better word than teenager, I have that same problem talking about cats in that developmental range! I, uh, can talk about other things than cats, though.

      • attackfish

        Post-pubescent, but still not adult? I used juvenile for that elsewhere when talking about wild wolves. I used teenager mostly because there are so many Christian groups that Libby has talked about that claim that “teenager” is purely a social construction of our modern liberal world, and pride themselves with doing away with teenagerhood among their children. Anyone with experience with juvenile animals knows this is ridiculous.

      • Hilary

        But why would you want to?

      • RowanVT

        I had a foster puppy for a day (before she needed to be euthanised because of sepsis) had her left rear leg chewed off by her father when she was 2 hours old.

    • M.S.

      Woah, we’re getting technical! ;-) My only point being that men are *not* necessarily the “natural” protectors.

      • Noelle

        Sometimes, especially on heavy topics, it’s nice to talk about kittens and puppies and penguins for a bit.

      • M.S.

        Well I’m happy I could create a diversion then! ;-)

  • disqus_0lZXkBrl0I

    Suddenly it’s a horrible thing if gay couples are doing what heterosexual couples have been doing for years! That is taking babies from their biological homes. God forbid you are a single young woman who has a baby. Your child deserves better than you and should be adopted by a loving couple. Now gay people want to be that couple and suddenly he’s singing a new tune about how unnatural adoption is. Apparently adoption is only a great thing when it is used to punish women for having sex outside marriage and for the benefit of heterosexual couples.

  • Mel

    I don’t even know where to start.

    “Fathers are “protectors of children”.” No real support for that statement. Can be disproved by a single case of child abuse by fathers.

    “Mothers file 66%-90% of divorces.” The only way I could see that working is if it is qualified by the words “Divorces initiated within families with children living at home.” The person who files the paperwork may or may not be the person who initiates the divorce.

    “Fathers seldom abuse their biological children.” Odd how the king of stats can’t find a statistic for this one. Do we just ignore non-biological children?

    So 40% of adoptions out of foster care go to the 3% of the state population who are gay? I don’t have time to run the numbers, but that sounds absurd.

    Are we just glossing over the entire issue of neglect? 70% of CPS cases involve neglect, not abuse. It would not surprise me that 66% of suspected abuse cases are not substantiated, but abuse is a relatively small portion of CPS casework.

    • KarenJo12

      I’m a lawyer. I haven’t done CPS cases, but I am a litigator. The evidence for neglect would be difficult to obtain and would look a lot like “being poor.” I have friends who handle these cases, and they tell me that CPS has to be very careful to avoid labeling conditions of poverty as neglect, like inadequate food or too much TV. Even things like ER visits from injuries can be mislabeled, since kids fall and hurt themselves for many reasons. (a few years ago my older son had two head injuries in a month. CPS guidelines require doctors to report such things. i was lucky because each incident happened at a different day camp, which the pediatrician duly reported.) Abuse, by contrast, is proven by more obvious evidence.)

      • Mel

        Oh, yeah. I get that. I’ve worked with students who live in conditions that could be labeled neglect. Often, we can work with local organizations or charities to help correct ‘neglectful’ situations. Most of the families are having to make a series of hard choices due to poverty. We can usually find some additional supports that can minimize some of the neglect.

        I meant more along the lines of the fact that the speaker seems to be selectively picking facts about CPS. Yes, most potential reports of abuse are never substantiated. As a mandated reporter, I’ve had some situations where I needed to file a report that later turned out to be unsubstantiated. My parents once were interviewed by CPS because someone thought my twin sister was being abused or neglected or something. That was unsubstantiated – she was a premie who was very small due to gastric issues. Looking back, Mom and Dad say that the annoyance of being interviewed once was a trade-off they were willing to make to protect other children who were actually being abused.

      • David Kopp

        Exactly. I’ve had CPS come talk to me twice because our previous daycare provider was an idiot. But the only change I’d make in the process was choosing a different daycare provider that didn’t argue with my doctor and me about a diagnosis, or lose her mind when things weren’t exactly like the development charts said they should be (they’re actually better, but she didn’t know how to interpret that). CPS was stellar.

    • Alex Harman

      “So 40% of adoptions out of foster care go to the 3% of the state
      population who are gay? I don’t have time to run the numbers, but that
      sounds absurd.”

      Same-sex couples would likely be a higher percentage of couples seeking to adopt than of couples overall, since unlike opposite-sex couples they don’t have the ability to procreate without the help of a third party sperm donor or surrogate mother; however, the 40% number is not correct anyway.

  • mary

    Hmmmm…. hate to point this out, but if one dad is great, wouldn’t two dads be twice the awesome? If women are so horrible, shouldn’t all kids go to families with two dads?

    • Sally

      Now that is a logical conclusion! It isn’t necessarily true, but at least it follows logically from his assertions. Oh, I can see his face turning red.

      • TLC

        His face isn’t turning red from embarrassment. He’s pissed off that you engaged your brain, thought about what he said, and questioned it — you didn’t just believe his BS. And since you’re femaile, he’s doubly enraged.

    • attackfish

      But then they wouldn’t have a mother! Because somehow women are evil child abusers, but their place is in the home taking care of the children. What?

  • AAAtheist

    “… As the Heritage report confirms, the safest place for a child is an
    intact, two-parent home — that is, a home with a father in it.
    Children’s natural protectors are their fathers. …”

    Well, nature (including non-human species) uses wide, varied, and complex modes of parenting (such as adoption, co-parenting with siblings, aunts and uncles, females only within a group, males only within a group, mothers only, fathers only, etc.) and the list could go on and on if Stephen Baskerville would care to look at science instead of through his narrow, traditionalist, patriarchal goggles.

    We’ve all seen far too many “family men” abuse spouses and children. The traditional nuclear family doesn’t get a pass when it comes to child abuse. It needs mentioning: authority over a family isn’t protection of that selfsame family (or from that selfsame family, for that matter).

    • Alix

      Personally, I want him to crack a decent anthropology textbook, and look at the wide array of family structures and child-rearing strategies used by humans.

      Patriarchy: neither as innate nor as obvious as Baskerville thinks.

  • Angela

    Anyone who has dealt with foster care or the family court system would know how ridiculous these claims are. For one thing it is extremely difficult to terminate parental rights, especially if the parents contest it. The rights of the parents by far supersede the rights of the child for a safe environment. It’s not uncommon at all for children to be returned to parents who have repeatedly abused or neglected them and show no inclination to change. In fact in my state the most common reason that parental rights are terminated is that parents voluntarily relinquish them to get out of paying child support. Sure every once in a while you may hear of an overzealous social worker who removes children unnecessarily (although you also need to bear in mind that caseworkers are not at liberty to discuss cases with the press so what you see on the news often isn’t the entire story) but this is soooo rare. The government does not want your children. They don’t have the resources to support the ones they already have and reunification is nearly always the goal.

    As for custody hearings it is true that many judges are biased toward naming women as the primary custodial parents, especially in more conservative areas. However, in most cases this is not a result of judicial bias but due to the fact that women are more likely to be the primary care givers. Even if both parents work full-time the judge will generally try to determine who did most of the day-to-day parenting and award primary custody to that parent so that it is least disruptive to the child. However, the idea that women can simply tell the judge that the father was abusive to get his rights terminated is ludicrous. In my state the judge will not even admit these claims without evidence (photos, medical records, police or CPS reports, etc), especially if there were no accusations or reports prior to divorce proceedings. It’s actually far more common for legitimate claims to be dismissed than visa versa.

    • Jayn

      I’d also want to know in how many cases fathers seek primary custody. If, say, in 10% of cases fathers get custody, but 80% they don’t even ask for it, that doesn’t actually reflect judicial bias.

    • Sally

      “The government does not want your children.”
      I think that says it in a nutshell.

    • TLC

      I know the CPS system isn’t perfect, partly because caseworkers are so overwhelmed. Most caseworkers would love to have the time to think up all these “evil plots” against families and children, let alone carry them out!

  • ZeldasCrown

    Baskerville claims that 2/3 of child abuse allegations are unsubstantiated (does anyone have a secondary source for this number? I’d imagine the number would be reasonably high, for reasons related to KarenJo12′s post below). If the true goal of CPS was to steal children away from their biological parents (as he also claims), wouldn’t the number of substantiated claims be much higher than 1/3? Wouldn’t an organization whose sole purpose is to “[turn] children into political instruments for government officials” use the simple existence of an allegation as enough proof to remove children from their parents? They wouldn’t care if there was actually abuse or not, they’d only be concerned with being allowed to remove as many children as possible.

    • Firemind

      I think he means unsubstantiated to HIS standards, not CPS’s.

      • ZeldasCrown

        Could be. It’s hard to tell because a-he doesn’t really cite any of his numbers and b-doesn’t give any explanation of “this is what CPS says, and these are my calculations to show that is wrong.”

        However, 2/3 doesn’t seem too unreasonable to me. As others have said elsewhere in this discussion, there’s a lot of reasons why many claims are unsubstantiated. a-Poverty looks a lot like neglect, b-there are a lot of cases where a child is injured (but not from abuse) and it gets called in (for example, my brother was door knob height for a while, so he kept running into them until he grew a little more-he’d occasionally get facial bruises. As far as I know, nobody ever called CPS, but had they, it would have been one of those unsubstantiated claims). I’m sure there are other reasons too. Plus, it’s not as though 100% of substantiated claims result in the kid(s) being taken away permanently. Kids might stay in the home with regular visits until the parents demonstrate things have changed, of be removed temporarily until the parents clean up their act (say if they have a substance abuse problem, or if something in the house is unsafe and they have to fix it or something).

        I guess the moral of the story is that he hasn’t come even remotely close to proving this giant conspiracy actually exists, not even using his own numbers.

    • Sally

      I think you make a good point. If there were a true conspiracy, they’d do more with their power than they’re doing.

  • attackfish

    I think the paranoia, bigotry, and general lack of logic in Baskerville’s tirade has rotted my brain. Many states still don’t allow gay couples or even unmarried people to adopt, so how can CPS be created and designed to funnel kids from happy heterosexual homes into gay ones?

    After all, part of the reason for the imbalance in child maltreatment
    statistics between married households and unmarried or divorced
    households is already that child maltreatment in married households is
    easier to hide and cover up.

    Thank you so much for saying this. In my own family, we had a very difficult time getting government agencies to respond to allegations of neglect in the home of one of my relatives, because she was happily married, white, and middle class. Didn’t mean she wasn’t starving her children. Because of this, abuse of children that was going on during a marriage often doesn’t come out until after a divorce, after they stop being the societal picture of what “good parents” look like.

    The thing is, I have seen CPS do some awful things, but they have always
    been against a family that was somehow disadvantaged. The one that I
    saw up close was a woman who was disabled, and had four disabled
    children, all with invisible genetic illnesses (all of the kids shared
    the same rare illness with their mother, my own immune disorder, which
    is how I know them, but one of them also had cystic fibrosis, thus
    illnesses instead of illness). Her ex-husband asserted that she had
    Munchhausen syndrome by proxy. CPS took the children away for a week,
    without medical care, before realizing that yes, these children really
    were extremely sick, and their mother was not inducing it.

    As to mothers abusing children and fathers protecting them, I don’t even know what to say. Firstly, as you noted, plenty of men abuse. Secondly, the idea that many women abuse isn’t in any way a surprise to anyone! Feminists aren’t claiming that men are evil, and women are saints, in fact more patriarchal people do that to justify women in the home, and men’s mistreatment of women (women are just more nurturing and kind, men can’t help themselves, etc.). Feminism radically, asserts that women are people, and people are flawed, individual, and sometimes incredibly cruel. Children as a population are hierarchically under women in society, so most women, if they were going to abuse, would abuse children. Only someone like Baskerville, who seems to think that any drift away from total patriarchy is proof of a modern matriarchy, and is unable to handle the idea that maybe we aren’t trying to replace one hierarchy with another would be able to miss this so badly.

    The idea that a man is there to protect his children from his wife’s abuse of them does not sound like a healthy basis for a happy marriage. A man married to a woman who would be abusing their children if she thought she could get away with it should be doing everything he could to get himself and his children out of those circumstances. Same with a woman married to a man, or anyone in a relationship with anyone who would hurt their children. It would be impossible for me to love and build a life with anyone who would hurt my children, and yet Baskerville asserts that all heterosexual relationships are built on just such a bond.

    If women are as Baskerville describes, why would any man want anything to do with us? Why would heterosexual marriage hold any appeal? Why would they leave their children in the care of us? He is furious over being “forcibly divorced” yet if his wife is a woman, and women are eeeeeeeeevil, why is he so unhappy to be rid of her? And also, if single mothers all become abusive without men around to stop them, why would CPS need to take children away from happy heterosexual families to give them to gay people? There would be plenty of abused children of single mothers desperate for a safe home. And if all women are eeeeeeeeevil and abusive, then we really shouldn’t be around children anyway, and if that’s the case, a gay male couple is ideal for protecting the sweet innocent children (lesbians on the other hand would be twice the eeeeeeeeevil).

    • badgerchild

      I told my ex, who had gotten deep into MRA bullshit, that if women were so horrible, then why was he still married, and indeed, why wasn’t he gay? That wasn’t a good day. It was followed a few weeks afterward by me saying, “If I make you so unhappy, and it’s my fault, then clearly you should leave and do better on your own. How does the first of next month sound?”

      • attackfish

        I’m glad he’s your ex.

  • Gillianren

    1. Isn’t a married gay couple an intact, two-parent household?

    2. My best friend’s mother is essentially a lesbian; the only long-term heterosexual relationship she’s ever been in was with my best friend’s father. It’s actually really easy for a lesbian to have a child without going through adoption.

    3. My own household as a child would have been much better off had our breadwinner not, you know, died. This is part of why my mother neglected me. She had to in order to keep me fed and housed. (The emotional neglect, not so much, but the sheer lack of time she had to spend with me, especially alone, was logistical.) I was one of the dreaded latch-key kids of the ’80s, in fact, and it’s not because Mom kicked Dad out. As it happens, she’s been on something like three dates since he died, and I didn’t know about any of them. She’s still completely devoted to my dad’s memory. However, we were part of that statistic about two-parent households’ being better off, too.

    4. A few years later, my mom put me and my younger sister into a Catholic group therapy for kids program. It was for children whose parents were dead or divorced. As always happens in these situations, everyone assumes that they’re worse off than the others. But part of the calculus that goes into that includes such things as “well, you aren’t being abused anymore and that’s better.” In part because kids are selfish and will find any reason to believe they’re the worst off, but in part because we as seventh-graders recognized that being away from an abuser is better for you. What’s this guy’s excuse?

    • attackfish

      I just wanted to point out that as a bisexual woman, the phrase “essentially a lesbian” here troubles me. Just as many gay and lesbian people have heterosexual relationships before coming out to themselves and others, many bisexual people have their identities erased and subsumed into the labels of gay, lesbian, or straight, especially if they tend to form relationships with one specific gender more often. Unless your best friend’s mother identifies as “essentially a lesbian”, using it for her is problematic.

      • Gillianren

        She doesn’t seem to be attracted to men. I’m not sure she was ever really attracted to my best friend’s father. She doesn’t, so far as I can tell, identify as anything in particular. It’s not that she isn’t into labels. It’s that she simply doesn’t think about them. For what it’s worth, though, both of my best friends are bisexual, so I’m aware that bisexuality is a thing. Just not one I associate with this one person.

      • attackfish

        Alright, that’s good to know. It’s just something to keep in mind.

      • Angela

        What if it’s the individual herself though that identifies as such? I have known a few friends who do not clearly identify with lesbian or bi. For example, I know a woman who identified exclusively as a lesbian and then out of the blue fell in love with and married a man. She doesn’t really feel comfortable with the label “bi” because apart from him she’s never experienced attraction to a man. But she also doesn’t feel comfortable identifying as a lesbian in a heterosexual marriage. So the words she describes herself with are “mostly lesbian.”

      • attackfish

        Which is why I said it’s problematic unless the woman in question identifies that way herself.

        A lot of people seem to think that bisexual means being atracted to only men and women, and atracted to both at the same degree, which is silly. As Robyn Ochs, the bisexual activist put it, “I call myself bisexual because I acknowledge
        that I have in myself the potential to be attracted—romantically and/or sexually—to people of more than one sex, and/or gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.”

        “If it’s you, it’s okay” situations are always tricky of course, and why I trust the labels people give themselves.

  • http://www.wideopenground.com/ Lana

    I’ve heard all kinds of conspiracies about the CPS, including this one, but blaming single women for child abuse is beyond me. The man has issues.,

  • Hilary

    This was interesting, since *I’m* one of those homosexuals hoping to adopt. But given everything that people have read me post here, what do you think regarding adoption: would Penny and I be better, or the type of straight family Baskerville would approve of?

    • Angela

      When my firstborn was only a few days old my mom decided to make it a “teaching moment” by asking, “Can you imagine handing him over to two gay men to raise?” I replied that I really wasn’t prepared to hand him over to anyone but that was too wishy-washy for her so she continued to press her point, trying to corner me into admitting that she’s right. She completely could not understand why anyone would rank things like love and stability over sexuality for potential parents. I can’t imagine what it must be like for you to be up against that type of discrimination. For what it’s worth I hope that you won’t be waiting too much longer for placement.

      • Rosa

        Hope your mom doesn’t support Crisis Pregnancy Centers, which often pressure women who want to parent into relinquishing instead.

      • Angela

        Actually if you read my previous comment you’ll see that she used to be very involved with the Mormon equivalent which is LDS social services. When she was talking with the moms she’d be very kind and supportive, claiming that her scare tactics were simply giving them the information they needed to make an “informed” choice. If they still opted to keep the baby (unmarried) she’d be supportive to their faces but then spread it all around how selfish and immature they were being. She even likened single parenting to the equivalent of playing russian roulette with babies’ futures.

      • Hilary

        Thanks. First we have to get married, then work out which agency we’d work with, and start that whole process. Realistically, I’d be surprised if there is a baby in our spare bedroom any earlier then 9 months out, but I hope not much longer then 18 months. We’ll see what happens.

      • Lucreza Borgia

        What steps are you going to take to make sure that the biological parents were not coerced into adoption?

      • Hilary

        Thats a valid question, and I’m not offended you asked. I want to be a parent with Penny, I think we’d be good parents for a child who needs a good family, but I DO NOT want to be part of a baby stealing racket. I don’t totally know what is going to happen, but at each step I’m going to evaluate the ethical choices very carefullly. So far, these are the steps I’m planning on taking:

        1. Not going international. It is beyond too expensive, there is no country in the world that will allow openly gay parents to adopt and we’re not lying about our family. I think there are just too many risks all around with international adoption.

        2. Going for an open adoption. If at all possible, I want to meet the biological parents to know from them personally that this is not a forced choice. I want them to know who we are, and how we would raise a child who is both theirs and ours (pronouns getting awkward but I hope you understand what I’m getting at). I want my children to know who they are and where they come from, and that means knowing their biological families as much as is safely possible.

        3. Doing our homework to the Nth degree with whatever agency we go with. Checking for scandals, checking policies, checking outside reviews, not going with anything not properly liscenced. Checking word of mouth from other adoptive parents and birth parents. Penny is more inclined toward private newborn/infant adoption, I’m more inclined toward fost/adop, meaning we’re fostercare parents where either the children go home for good, or we adopt for good. However, that is something for us to settle privately.

        4. Trusting our gut, brain, and intuition. Every single time money is exchanged, making sure there is crystal clear reasons why, and we can independently check the policies and where that money goes to.

        5. Study up on every adoption scam there is, to learn the signs if we get close to one of them. Anybody who askes for so much as $0.05 without perfect transperancy can shove off.

        6. Overall, be careful, be informed, and work for as much openness, integrity, and transparency with all parties involved as posible.

        Like I said, this is a valid concern. We haven’t even started yet, for all we’ve been thinking about it for years. Now that we can get legally married, it finally feels like the right time. Anybody placing a child with us is doing so with the upfront knowledge that we are two women, we’re Reform* Jews, and we are raising Jewish children at our temple with UCC* Christian extended family. Hopefully that will weed out some of the Christan crazies.
        (*Both very liberal denominations in our respective religions)

        That’s the best answer I have right now. These are my principles – we’ll see what happens when applied to reality.

      • Lucreza Borgia

        If the difference between a family keeping their child and you adopting the child is a couple thousand dollars in aid, which would you choose? To help the person parent or help them by adopting their child?

        While pre-birth matching sounds awesome and amazing for all involved, it can also be a covert form of coercion. Agencies push for it because of the affect it can have on the parents, especially the mother. By the time of the birth, the bio parents can be so involved with you and so caring of you that they go through with the adoption just because they don’t want to disappoint you.

        http://www.adoptionbirthmothers.com/is-your-adoption-agency-ethical/

      • Hilary

        Lucreza
        If it were just a matter of $5,000, WIC, descent childcare, healthcare and some really good parenting classes vs my chance to adopt, I’d rather see the child’s bio parents get the help. I’ll bookmark the site and go through it when I’m not in the middle of getting my house ready for ~50+ people showing up on Sunday.
        I’ll keep talking about this with you, but right now I’m seeing everything I never bothered to look at in my kitchen and it ain’t pretty. TTYL.

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

      This isn’t even a question, right? Of course you and Penny would be much better parents than the type of people Baskerville would approve of.

      By the way, good luck on the adoption and congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

  • Alice

    He does realize that people who identify as LGBT consist of less than 6% of the population? And plenty of them are not looking to adopt children? So even *IF* his crazy hypothesis about LGBT couples and CPS being eeeeevil co-conspirators was true, it wouldn’t make any sense for CPS to take such a large number of children.

  • lawrence090469

    At least in Minnesota the child welfare agencies have the good sense to send foster children to the good Christian, and totally not gay, home of Michelle and Marcus Bachman.

    • Hilary

      Well, to be fair, Minnesota also defeated an anti-marriage equality amendment by popular vote, and Gov. Dayton signed into law same sex marriage in MN. So after Penny and I get married next week, we can start figureing out how to adopt as a married couple, just as much legally married as the Bachmans.

      • whatcom mom

        Next week! Mazel tov!!

      • Hilary

        Thanks! We’re doubling it up with Sukkot, the fall harvest festival. I just got a sukkah set up this evening, a guy from the temple brotherhood lent us his. We thought we’d have a small family get together/ Sukkot open house, but everybody wants to come! Half the choir (I’m an alto, Penny soprano) is coming, and the young adult group, several people from Torah study, friends, friends from work, about 50 people are showing up in our back yard this weekend. Arrgghhh!!!!

        We’ve been together for 14 years, and had a wedding 10 years ago. Vows, rings, caterers, flowers, I stomped on the glass, everything but the license. Our rabbi signed our ketubah* and he’s really looking forward to signing our legal license.

        *Jewish wedding document. We had an egalitarian one made for two brides.

      • Alix

        That sounds awesome. :) Best wishes to y’all.

      • Hilary

        Thanks for the encouragement, I need all the help I can get getting my house ready.

      • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

        Well that’s not too bad, getting two parties! Congratulations to you both and many good wishes for a (continued) happy life together!

      • Shayna

        Congratulations on the impending nuptials!

      • Hilary

        Thanks!

  • Christyinlosangeles

    This guy is living in some sort of weird, disturbing alternate universe. I used to work in foster care, assessing potential foster parents and placing children, and in Chicago and Los Angeles, at least,the foster care system is chronically short of foster families, and most foster care case workers are perpetually scrambling to place a kid ANYWHERE. (I can tell you from personal experience that I placed kids in foster homes where I was pretty sure the placement would fail, simply because there was absolutely no other option.) Right now, Los Angeles is desperately short on foster families, and case workers have to make about 100 calls on average to find a placement. The emergency shelters are overloaded with kids sleeping on cots.

    Because of the lack of foster homes, it is FAR more likely that a child will remain with an abusive family when they should be removed than the other way around. Substantiated sexual abuse will get a kid out of the home pretty fast, and physical abuse of very young children, but for older children the physical abuse and neglect has to be REALLY bad before a kid will be removed from the home- especially if it is a white, middle-class family.

    Here, gay couples do adopt a disproportionate numbers of foster kids out of the system – to which I say, thank you. If they have any knowledge of how the foster care system actually works, I’ve seen some pretty religiously conservative people who voted for Prop 8 admit that being with a gay couple is a hell of a lot better than a group home or bouncing around a dozen placements. You’d have to actually be insane to think otherwise.

    And if I was part of a massive child-stealing racket, you’d think I would have been paid more than $30,000 a year.

    • Angela

      I’ve also heard that gay parents tend to foster more in some places simply because they have a hard time going through private adoption agencies. Many agencies will not even place kids with homosexuals and even when they do many birth mothers opt not to. I’ve never seen any statistics on this but it makes sense.

      • Christyinlosangeles

        I think it depends a lot on where you are. Any adoption agency in California that receives state funding can’t discriminate based on sexual orientation – but if an adoption agency is purely privately funded, I’m not sure what the rules are. But California has stronger anti-discrimination laws than most states, so if you’re in Alabama or something, I’m sure it’s different.

      • Hilary

        The least wanted children go to the least valued parents. Why should white hetero Christian homes take in broken black or hispanic kids? I know that is not true because I follow several blogs of those exact family types and some of them are amazing in how hard the parents work to get their kids the therapy and support they need, yet the overall feeling persists.

  • Angela

    This is exactly the kind of arguments my mother likes to make. It’s a slightly different issue but for awhile she was responsible at her church (Mormon) for “helping” pregnant, unwed mothers. She would claim that the church supports whatever choice they make (except abortion of course) but just would like to give them some statistics to help them make an “informed” choice.

    She would then proceed to present them with series of heavily biased and questionable statistics about the bleak futures of single mothers and their children (though strangely if the couple were to marry then all of those problems would disappear). I would try to point out the fallacies like the fact that even when young couples marry the chances that they will still be together in 5 years is unlikely, or the fact that many of the statistics she’s using were from the 70′s, or that other indicators such as education levels or familial support can greatly impact the results but she would doggedly insist that her information was accurate. Then I would try to argue that even *if* everything she said was true that it still would mean that many children of single parents still turn out just fine but according to her that’s irrelevant because it’s just pure luck.

    Anyway I know this is a bit off topic but it is just soooo reminiscent of debating with her because 1. The “statistics” are grossly exaggerated (or just made up altogether) and 2. Even if his information were true he does absolutely nothing to acknowledge that there are still some biological fathers who abuse their offspring and suggest an appropriate solution.

  • Limeade

    It’s infuriating how these people will bleat on endlessly about how a woman’s ~most important~(and only possible) job is as a mother to teach and rear the children, but then turn around and say that it’s the fathers who matter most in a child’s life- look at all the concern trolling about ‘fatherless’ homes being horrible and how gay marriage is destructive because it ‘makes fathers optional’ and how a father’s involvement or lack thereof determines how successful the child will be. Can fundi men stand not having something revolve 100% around them?

    • attackfish

      Oh my god, this! A woman’s most important job is to be a mother, but being a mother really doesn’t matter that much. According to their logic, there is nothing a woman can do of any real value at all.

      • David Kopp

        Well, yeah. You expected someone supporting an authoritarian, patriarchal system to say anything different?

      • attackfish

        No, I’m just wondering why they’re so astonished when we see through it.

      • Alix

        Because they don’t see a disconnect. What is central to an authoritarian’s mindset isn’t logic, but whether statements agree with their moral framework and broader worldview.

        These people honestly believe that logic is a liberal lie, or at least nothing more than a fancy rhetorical trick … unless they can twist it to their own ends. It is literally all about supporting the authority, not about truth.

      • Alix

        I knew one person who said that basically the role of the woman is to teach what the father wants taught and raise the kids according to the rules and views of the father . . . and that a mother basically has no discretion involved, especially if it contradicts even the slightest of the father’s views.

        So woman contribute by being mindless slaves doing the drudge work, not by having any actual input.

      • attackfish

        Ahahahahah! No. Hands that rock the cradle rule the world.

      • Alix

        Oh, I agree with you, believe me. But that’s the mindset, and it’s why they’re so damned concerned about crushing the will out of women.

      • attackfish

        More and more every day, I realize these people saw The Handmaid’s Tale as an instruction manual instead of a cautionary tale.

      • Alex Harman

        Well, of course: they’re exactly the people Atwood was cautioning the rest of us against.

      • Limeade

        So women are expected to do all the work in a relationship, be totally submissive extensions of their husband, and even endure beatings/rape by him. But remember, it’s the men who are the protectors!!! barf

        I wonder if they realize this philosophy makes no sense, and just pretend it does so they can reap the benefits.

      • Alix

        No, they don’t realize it doesn’t make sense. Authoritarians argue from the conclusion: women should be submissive, men are awesome, whatever. And then they work their way backwards, and what matters isn’t logic but whether something seems to support a notion they like.

        Authoritarians are, very literally, not interested in truth or correctness as we define those terms, but in the inviolate truth and correctness of their chosen authorities. There’s a very fundamental disconnect between how authoritarians and non-authoritarians think, and it results in us arguing past each other because we’re operating on different fundamental principles.

      • attackfish

        One of the characteristics of the authoritarian mind is that it seems really comfortable with cognitive dissonance. In this instance, for example, they simultaneously believe in the Victorian “Angel of the House” ideal, that women are more morally pure than men, and should be kept safe from the outside world, and are ideally natured to create a haven in the domestic sphere for her children and husband, and also the older, Medieval idea that women are evil, sinful,
        temptresses, more vulnerable to satanic influence. Or, it is a woman’s job to raise the children, but mothers are evil and will abuse their children given half a chance. You can’t have both, unless you do some serious mental gymnastics. These people have their gold metal in mental gymnastics.

      • Alix

        Oh yes, though I’ve seen authoritarians try to reconcile the two by saying that women are only pure if kept properly sheltered and if they remain properly devout, and that the story of Eve proves that women may be naturally more pure (if raised right) but are also naturally weaker in the face of temptation. So. >.>

      • attackfish

        That makes no sense whatsoever, but nothing that comes out of their mouths ever does.

      • Alix

        It takes a very particular and carefully-maintained worldview for that sort of thing to make sense, and usually requires believing in spiritual forces like a very active Satan to work. It’s not really a surprise that the people most likely to believe in “spiritual warfare” are authoritarians.

      • attackfish

        That’s the other thing about authoritarians, they’re all deeply afraid… of all the wrong things! Which is why everyone must bow to authority, because authority makes them feel safe.

      • Alix

        Also, fwiw, some of these people believe women are more susceptible to temptation because they’re supposedly so innately pure. Like, they have no immunity to it, or something, and are led down the garden path by the evil forces in the world.

      • The_L1985

        So, in other words, I’m a five-year-old child instead of a grown woman. Good to kno.

      • Alix

        Butbut, women are inferior to men! Just like children! Only men really grow up!

        …Gah. >.> It’s at the point where just the phrase “women and children” sets me twitching in annoyance.

      • Hilary

        I’ve noticed that too. It’s like truth vs Truth(TM). What’s really going on, what can we measure and observe, vs some platonic ideal that is inviolate, pure, and completely unresponsive to reality.

      • Alix

        That said, I do suspect some are playing a con, basically. Authoritarianism makes people ripe for conning. But not all of them – many, if not most, are true believers.

      • Alix

        Also (sorry to keep spamming you; I’m on a roll), from their perspective it does make sense.

        1. Women are naturally made to be extensions of their men.

        2. When women don’t act this part, problems happen, and they can point to all manner of problems that can be tenuously linked to uppity women.

        3. Women must thus be forced to be in their proper places, so calamity doesn’t happen, because they’re too willful/sinful to stay on their own.

        4. “Beatings” – you mean discipline, of course. And marital rape doesn’t happen – that’s what a woman’s for.

        5. Men are the protectors and providers of their dependents. A man’s role is to provide enough for the woman (but he needs her solid backing to be able to provide; unemployment and financial troubles are usually due to women not doing their jobs properly), and to protect women and children from other people, and children from the sinful influences of unbroken mothers.

        …It’s despicable, but if you take as your founding principles the notion that women are inherently lesser/made for men and that men rule by natural right, it makes a twisted sense.

      • Limeade

        Don’t be sorry, this is a really interesting, if a bit disturbing, glimpse into the authoritarian mindset. You can definitely see this cognitive dissonance in the conservative trolls that come through here every so often(especially in abortion/complementarianism posts)

      • The_L1985

        Not always. Here’s a link to a relatively short e-book that explains the cognitive-dissonance in more detail. It’s also free, unless you pay for the dead-tree version, and free books are always a good thing. :)

    • Hilary

      No. Full stop. If everything didn’t revolve 100% around them, they’d collapse in a nervious heap.

  • http://www.carpescriptura.com/ MrPopularSentiment

    I accidentally read the line as “Children’s natural predators are their fathers.” I was like “WOAH!” Then I realized it didn’t make any sense in context.

  • Lyric

    Er. I am really hesitant to say this, because I’m half-Ukrainian and that makes it really not my term to throw around, but . . . is this blood libel? Or is that only when a group is accused of taking kids to kill them?

    • Alix

      “Blood libel” can be applied more broadly, but at least how I hear it, it usually involves accusations of, if not actual death, violent harm.

      • Lyric

        Ah, okay. So, not blood libel, then.

        Still, it comes pretty close. And I do think that this sort of rhetoric contributes directly to violence against gay people, considering that the people who buy into it very likely also believe that gay people are pedophiles.

        A pity one man can’t be listed as a hate group.

      • Alex Harman

        The SPLC might consider listing Patrick Henry College as a hate group if this is typical fare there.

      • Lyric

        That’s true. They list the MRAs, after all. I don’t think they list individuals, but I hadn’t thought about the fact that he’s representing the institution to some extent.

    • Hilary

      I’ve got great grand parents from Kiev. This does seem to be skirting close to blood libel, accusing a terrible stereotyped evil ‘other’ of stealing Christian children to torture and use then.

      • Alix

        I’ve got great grand parents from Kiev.

        Hey, so do I. :)

      • Hilary

        No wonder we get along well on line. I’m Jewish Russian/Kiev/ Ukrane-ish on my dad’s side, and German Catholic on my mom’s side, with an Irish great grandmother in there somewhere.

      • Alix

        Grandpa’s parents both immigrated from Ukraine and settled in Pennsylvania. Grandma is a mutt from Vermont, and the only person in the family who can trace her lineage on this continent back past the last century. That’s on my dad’s side. Mom was born to poor Irish immigrants who settled in Appalachia, but was adopted by more American Mongrels of mostly German and Polish descent. :)

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Not Kiev, but the Ukraine/Russia/Poland area is where all of my great-grandparents were from. They were shtetl folks though, not city ones.

      • Hilary

        Thanks, now I’ve got Fiddler on the Roof starting up in my head. “If I were a rich man . . . .”

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Lol. At least it’s a fun song, but it will get stuck in one’s head for days on end.

      • Hilary

        It does, and it lends itself it parody at the drop of a hat. When I was responding to Whatmom com about ideas for social workers I kept thinking “If I was a social worker, yi di di di yi di di di dum . . .”

      • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

        So does this one: “The hills are alive, and they’re eating children..”

      • The_L1985

        It’s a good thing I was drinking water, or you’d have to pay for me a new laptop! :P

      • Lyric

        My grandparents on my father’s side were from Lviv. They were decently educated, but I think that Jewish people were among the groups that my grandfather was paranoid about. (The list is actually fairly short: (1) people who weren’t Ukrainian, (2) people who were the wrong sort of Ukrainian, and (3) people who were entirely the right sort of Ukrainian but looked at him funny. Issues, he had them.) And I know the Ukrainians have committed numerous crimes against the Jews in the past, so I try to walk softly.

        But when you think about it, Baskerville’s audience is probably also part of the group that hears extensive propaganda connecting gay people with pedophilia. And then he comes along claiming that there’s an active and organized effort to take away children . . . so it may not be exactly the same thing, but I think it ticks off some of the boxes that made blood libel such a frighteningly effective weapon.

      • Alix

        I think it ticks off some of the boxes that made blood libel such a frighteningly effective weapon.

        Oh, definitely.

    • Conuly

      That’s an interesting thought.

      Blood libel as a concept, predates Christians, as it happens. The Romans used it against the Carthaginians, and then later against early Christians, who in turn used it against Jews for the next several centuries. And of course, “Jews take babies to sacrifice!” parallels the contemporaneous story that “gypsies take kids for eeeeeevil!” Other people may have told the same stupid stories about their hated neighbors, I don’t know.

  • brbr2424

    I believe this guy has a teen daughter that he has been having decades long bitch fit over not getting more custody. I wonder how he squares having one of these vixen female of the species with his DNA with his utter contempt for women.

  • Frimp

    So after reading both this post and the one preceding it, I’m about 99% certain that Baskerville beat his wife and child and is mad that they were able to get away from him.

    I’m completely serious. The way he denies, twists the facts, and turns the tables on victims screams abuser. He’s not just nuts; he’s downright scary.

    • Alix

      I agree, with one difference: I’m not sure he ever physically harmed them.

      He might have. On the other hand, it’s not like the only forms of abuse are physical.

      • Frimp

        That is a good point. You don’t ever have to hit someone in order to abuse her/him. And there is the possibility that he never stepped over the line, whether it be in a mental, emotional, or physical sense.

        But even if he never did, he argues in a way that would support someone who did, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that his wife left him.

  • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

    All you had to say was that he’s an MRA. This kind of victim-blaming and distortion are pretty typical for the mindset, as is the white-hot anger around no-fault divorce. Oh, and don’tcha love the scare quotes around “parent;” he explains it by saying that gay people can’t have children of their own–which will be news to the many gay men and women who do in fact have biological children, and also news to the many step- and adoptive parents who bravely fill the shoes for their children. Someone who can’t have kids can’t be a parent? Well, that’s not toxic as all get-out.

    Between his rage at no-fault divorce, his repeated harping on how innocent and good fathers always are in hetero marriages, and his wild accusations and distortions, I’m going to agree with Frimp–this guy either hugely abused someone (physically, emotionally, etc) or is furious that this person successfully got away from him. It’d be instructional to see just what his marital and domestic-violence history looks like, wouldn’t it?

    BTW, re: the abortion thread. It’s not loading Disqus anymore. I think we broke it. I’ll check back later and see if it’s working again, haven’t forgotten you, but I can’t get into any responses on that thread at all with any method at my disposal.

  • Highlander

    I’m going to have nightmares about those child abuse stories now. Sincerely, thank you for including them. Some things should inspire nightmares.

  • Marta L.

    Okay, first on the evil baby-snatching and selling-to-teh-gayz CPS, isn’t this the kind of thing that a few statistics could disprove? Look at the number of kids removed from homes, compare that to the number of children placed with known gay parents, and show that the vast majority actually go to heterosexual parents, both because LGBT potential parents are a fairly small slice of the population and because of homophobia in many areas. I’m not at all implying there’s any truth to this claim, but it just seems so obviously falsifiable…

    One thing I honestly don’t get is how the same people can both claim total depravity and at the same time put so much blind faith in the reliable goodness of people in their own families. I mean, if you truly believed that all have sinned and all have fallen short of the glory, doesn’t that mean there will be a predictable portion who will fail their children, whether the context is through home-schooling or abusing children or failing to protect your child from the harpy you married? Wouldn’t you want *some* authority, *some* system of checks-and-balances? This is a completely serious question, Libby Anne, and I’d be interested to see a post on this question if you’re interested: how do these people balance their views about the general brokenness of human nature against their other view that any oversight of the family is just unreasonable?

    The only sliver of truth I find in this view is that children are generally safer from abuse when there are two parents in the home than when there’s only one. All other things being equal, and usually they’re not, I can see why having that built-in check would help address this problem. But that’s not because of gender – it’s just that having another pair of eyes, another person who cares about the child’s wellbeing, seems like a natural safety net. Of course it’s not a perfect one which is why we need government oversight, but I do think single abusive parents are more dangerous than married ones for that reason.

    • Marta L.

      Having read through some of the comments below, I want to clarify two things:

      1) I said: “Look at the number of kids removed from homes, compare that to the
      number of children placed with known gay parents, and show that the vast
      majority actually go to heterosexual parents, both because LGBT
      potential parents are a fairly small slice of the population and because
      of homophobia in many areas.”

      That may sound like I’m downplaying the very real work gay adoptive and foster parents do. Not my intent. And now that I think about it, there may be more gay parents than I imagined since gay parents can’t procreate biologically. That said, I suspect there are still quite a few heterosexual adoptive/foster dads and mums out there, and there’s much more of a need for placements than homes available. Unfortunately, foster care is a boom economy. So while it may not be quite as clear as I originally thought, it still seems like the kind of claim that’s falsifiable in theory, and quite easily.

      2) I said: “The only sliver of truth I find in this view is that children are
      generally safer from abuse when there are two parents in the home than
      when there’s only one. All other things being equal, and usually they’re
      not, I can see why having that built-in check would help address this
      problem.”

      I can see how some people abused inside “intact” nuclear families might find this suggestion offensive. And really, I should have been clearer. I meant that there might be a safety-net in some cases – that this seemed like a point worthy of discussion rather than the rest which was complete and utter bullshit. That said, I do see the ways a two-parent household could lead to less outside scrutiny and the other parent being an enabler rather than a possible witness. I didn’t mean to imply this was clearly a good argument, just that it was the one bit that I thought might be worthy of discussion.

    • Alix

      Wouldn’t you want *some* authority

      That’s actually what they want, but what they want is their authority. This iteration of fundies doesn’t think the government is on their side (that’s not, historically, always been their view), so they’re seeking other ways to reassert what they view as the proper authority.

      Total depravity as a doctrine doesn’t stand completely alone. It’s usually paired with the notion that if people do precisely what (their view of) the Bible tells them to do, they’ll still be horrible sinners, but they’ll be operating as close to God’s plan as possible. They see the proper home structure and the proper community structure as the exact kind of check-and-balance system you’re talking about, which is why they get so pissed when people point out how patriarchal headship and church charity and authority fail. It’d be somewhat akin to someone telling us that all the structures of democracy are so fundamentally flawed we have to toss out the whole lot and go back to absolute monarchy.

      • Marta L.

        This is what’s confusing to me, Alix. As I understand it in many of these communities you don’t have even other people in the fold willing to look into the family. Isn’t the father supposed to be the absolute law for his family? Perhaps the expectation is that action should reflect Biblical ideals, but it’s still one person’s responsibility to implement them. It seems that if you truly believe humanity (and specific humans) is helplessly sinful, then that following God’s commands would not happen consistently or all at once.

        Maybe I am being hard-headed, and perhaps I should not look like logic here. But it does seem that there are two views at work here that are fundamentally at odds with each other.

      • Alix

        It doesn’t make sense from the outside, not really. We’re operating on some entirely different fundamental assumptions about human nature.

        The father’s not necessarily completely absolute law, though often he is. In a lot of fundie thinking, he’s still subordinate to the pastor, and of course to God. But yeah, he’s still effectively the absolute ruler of the household.

        This kind of patriarchal doctrine rests on the fundamental notion that if everyone performs their roles as they are meant to, everything will work out properly. You see this in Debi Pearl’s book where she talks about how properly being submissive will turn even a bad husband good – whether Pearl herself honestly believes that, a lot of people do.

        When pushed, these people will admit that fathers can fail. But usually, they see fathers as being failed: by willful wives, by disobedient children, or undermined by society. And of course the ideology itself can never fail, only be failed by people who don’t execute it perfectly enough.

        …Not sure that helps, really.

      • Marta L.

        I guess I really am having a hard time wrapping my head around this. I don’t deny that there’s a kind of logic here, it’s just one I don’t seem capable of seeing myself. A lot of that is because I grew up Christian and still am Christian, but it was a much more functional kind of Christianity. A kind of moderate-progressive mainline Protestantism. So I grew up with and am still surrounded by (to take one example) a respect for authority placed over us, religious and otherwise (you know, Romans 13 and all that) but it’s paired with a healthy skepticism for the fallibility of all humans and all human institutions. So you submit but submit with caution and skepticism. The same pieces are there, but they fit together in a completely different way.

        I’m not trying to deny that people like Baskerville exist – I know they do, and I know from friends I have in more evangelical corners of Christianity that they do have influence, even among people I wouldn’t necessarily label fundamentalist. (This is not the first time I’ve heard his name.) But when I look at what folks like this claim, it’s just so counterintuitive because the most basic assumptions about human nature, the best way to protect ourselves and those placed under our care from harm, they’re so different I find myself wondering: how are we getting this out of the same book and tradition? It just seems nonsensical at a certain point. So I’m not sure that what you said helps me understand the reasoning better, but I’m also not sure that’s entirely your fault.

      • Alix

        They’re starting from their conclusions, not from the Bible. That’s how authoritarians argue: from the end. So they’re coming at it from the perspective that men ought to be heads of household and arguing from there, which is the other reason their arguments don’t always sync up – as you note, they have to both show why this is necessary and why it’s better than a reasonably-structured secular society, and they have to wedge it in to their other beliefs, such as total depravity.

        They can force it to work, sort of, but from our perspective it never does quite make sense because of some of the leaps they have to make to get things to line up properly.

      • Ibis3

        how are we getting this out of the same book and tradition?

        Because “the” book is an anthology and “the” tradition an amalgam. Neither is a monolith handed down from A Source. They were created by men*–lots of different men, living in different cultures across centuries, with different concepts of god(s), different views on authority, and different moral viewpoints. It only makes sense that modern people would select different elements and filter them through their own (largely pre-existing) understandings.

        *That’s deliberate. Men. Not people.

      • Alix

        I should add that because the other core tenet of much of Christian thinking is a focus on forgiveness, when authority figures do fail, people are usually pushed to forgive and forget. Not forgiving is sinful! What do you mean, don’t trust that they’ve changed? Butbut, grace.

        These are the same people, by the way, who get utterly outraged at the notion that the secular authorities ought to get involved in abuse scandals in the church. It not only undermines their authority, which they honestly see as higher than a secular government’s, it undermines their (rather coercive, imo) doctrine of forgiveness and grace.

      • Ibis3

        They are also the same people who advocate retributive, vengeful “justice” and even torture and capital punishment when the state *is* involved. Grace is good enough for the church, but mandatory minimum sentences and no mercy from the state, please (at least when applied to people they don’t like).

      • The_L1985

        I didn’t get it either until I read The Authoritarians (ack, I’m starting to sound like an ad!), but a lot of it is a stubborn refusal to examine one’s own beliefs, out of fear of doubt.

  • Marta L.

    As an aside, am I the only one who’s beyond amused by the name, “Baskerville”? I’ve become quite a fan of the “Sherlock” BBC program, and the connection to the “Hound of the Baskervilles” episode is cracking me up. A paranoia-inducing drug distributed through the air to everyone in the vicinity – that seems just about right.

    • tyler

      all i could think about was the font

    • Susie M

      Thaaank youu. I thought the similarities uncanny.

  • Monala

    There’s also this weird idea in his mind that somehow most women would prefer to be single mothers living off state benefits than in a committed relationship with someone they love and respect, who works with them to support the household and care for the kids. He can’t seem to grasp that women sometimes want out of relationships because there are problems with the relationship, not because they find “single and on welfare” their preferred state of being.

    • Jayn

      It also kind of assumes that such an arrangement is an option. I know someone who is way too hung up on being with the father of her kids–they’ve broken up several times now, even though ‘single’ is clearly not how she wants things. It’s not always the woman who ends the relationship (plus, of course, break-ups aren’t the only ways women can become single mothers), in which case preference doesn’t even matter.

  • Betty Borrough

    “The number of truly abused children cannot begin to fill this demand without government help. ”

    “Fill this demand” refers to ‘the gays’ adopting. “Without government help.” obviously means unless CPS steps in. “The number of truly abused children” – he refers to them as existing, referred in a way that says they exist EVEN IF CPS is NOT involved…
    So, out of his words, the truth:
    There are truly abused children that will not begin to fill ‘the gays’ desire to adopt unless CPS steps in.

    I don’t think he meant to endorse CPS getting involved, or to admit the fact of truly abused children .

  • Kagi Soracia

    Oh, god. Reading that man’s comments made me physically ill. I had to skim them because I just physically couldn’t handle it. What in the name of god is all of that garbage, oh my god. I’m still shaking, I probably should have skipped it entirely, but thank you so much for neatly breaking it down like that. Thank you. It’s good to know that someone…doesn’t…my words are gone. That you can… see through the bullshit and… bring reason into the subject. I’m sorry, I’m usually more coherent.

    • Kagi Soracia

      I can’t even read the comments, though I appreciate all the good people continuing the effort of picking apart the wrongness…apparently this subject is just full of triggers for me, and I’m not sure why. I just…can’t. :/


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