A round-up of recent religion and media stories in the news. Continue Reading →
Kathryn Joyce reveals what’s really going on with the adoption reform bill currently being debated in Ohio. Continue Reading →
An exclusive excerpt from Unhitched: Love, Marriage, and Family Values from West Hollywood to Western China (pp. 50-55), a book by Judith Stacey, released from NYU Press last month.
by Judith Stacey
Gay fathers were once as unthinkable as they were invisible. Now they are an undeniable part of the contemporary family landscape. During the same time that the marriage promotion campaign in the U.S. was busy convincing politicians and the public to regard rising rates of fatherlessness as a national emergency,1 growing numbers of gay men were embracing fatherhood. Over the past two decades, they have built a cornucopia of family forms and supportive communities where they are raising children outside of the conventional family. Examining the experiences of gay men who have openly pursued parenthood against the odds can help us to understand forces that underlie the decline of paternity as we knew it. Contrary to the fears of many in the marriage promotion movement, however, gay parenting is not a new symptom of the demise of fatherhood, but of its creative, if controversial, reinvention. When I paid close attention to gay men’s parenting desires, efforts, challenges, and achievements, I unearthed crucial features of contemporary paternity and parenthood more generally. I also came upon some inspirational models of family that challenge widely-held beliefs about parenthood and child welfare. Continue Reading →
Former Revealer managing editor Kathryn Joyce has a new article in the May 9 print edition of The Nation. You can read it online here. You can listen to Nation editor Betsy Reed and Kathryn talk about the evangelical adoption movement here. An excerpt from the article:
As a way for conservative evangelicals to reclaim the social gospel message from liberal churches, adoption is a perfect storm, too, seemingly defining antiabortion activism as more truly “prolife”—or “whole life,” as one Bethany staffer coined it—while providing a new opportunity, as recent orphan theology texts explain, to spread the gospel. In Reclaiming Adoption, Cruver bluntly declares, “The ultimate purpose of human adoption by Christians, therefore, is not to give orphans parents, as important as that is. It is to place them in a Christian home that they might be positioned to receive the gospel.”
From Obit Mag’s recent send-off to Jane Russell who died last week, “A Figure of Contradiction”:
Born Ernestine Jane Geraldine Russell, the actress hailed from Bemidji, Minn., a place she seemed anxious to leave. At 19, she had an abortion, then illegal, and the operation was so botched that she was unable to bear children. In 1943, she married Bob Waterfield, her first boyfriend and a Los Angeles Rams quarterback; that marriage ended a quarter of a century later. Her second marriage, to actor Roger Barrett, came to an abrupt end after just three months when while making love to Russell, he suffered a heart attack (as who would not?). Russell’s third marriage lasted another 25 years.
During all this time, she made adoption her work and her life. She adopted a daughter and two sons; in 1952 she founded the World Adoption International Fund (WAIF), which claimed to have facilitated more than 50,000 adoptions. She also lobbied strongly for financial aid for those who adopt handicapped children.
Russell never was too clear on how she managed to reconcile the various parts of herself, especially the devout Christian (or as she once phrased it, “a teetotal, mean-spirited, right-wing, narrow-minded, conservative Christian bigot”) and the sexy strumpet. But then why should she have managed to reconcile anything?
“Christians have bosoms too,” she used to say, with perfect accuracy.
Mary Valle: My favorite cheek-shaved, neck-bearded Catholic convert, Ross Douthat, weighs in today (sort of? His columns seem to consistently defy “logic” and “making a point”) on abortion and infertility. Citing a recent MTV broadcast of a show in which a teen mother has an abortion, an article about how years of Pill usage makes women forget about their fertility, and last Sunday’s spectacular about the making of very special “twiblings” in his own paper, he ends with a little sniffy blort about America’s unborn — “No life is so desperately sought after, so hungrily desired, so carefully nurtured. And yet no life is so legally unprotected, and so frequently destroyed.” Continue Reading →