Be the One!

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Be the One!

James R. Aist

“The King will answer, ‘Truly I say to you, as you have done it for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you have done it for Me.’ (Matthew 25:40)

Recently, I began to reflect on some of the instances when someone took the initiative to step up and be the one who blessed me by filling a need in my life that I couldn’t fill on my own. As a result, I felt a flush of gratitude and appreciation for these thoughtful and generous people and for what they did for me. I am writing this article to encourage you to be on the lookout for opportunities to “be the one” yourself. As you read on, keep in mind that my family had to move every 2-3 years, because Daddy was a Methodist minister. So, hold on, we’re going to move around a bit!

Let me begin by sharing with you three of the blessings that came quickly to my mind that day. The first of these happened when I was about 12 years old, we were living in Evening Shade, Arkansas, and Daddy didn’t have much time to spend with me at that time. Mr. Thomas was the Principal of the local school and a very avid and accomplished fisherman. He was firm with the students, but he also had a sweet, calming spirit about him. We knew that he had our best interests in mind. I greatly admired and respected Mr. Thomas. Well, one Friday afternoon, he approached me at school and asked if I would like to go fishing with him the next day! At first, I was taken aback that he would think of me, a 12 year old boy, as a fishing buddy. But I quickly agreed to go, and we had a great time together. He treated me as if I were his equal, at least for that one afternoon, and I learned some things about fishing from a real master.

The second blessing came to me about three years later. I had just been selected to be on the varsity basketball team at Batesville High School and was about to experience my first away game. I had some warm clothing to help keep me warm on the long, cold school bus rides from away games, but I hadn’t thought much about anything more substantial for the coldest nights. My family couldn’t afford anything warmer for me anyway. Then one day as I was passing by the old General Store in Bethesda on my way home from basketball practice, the store owner, Mr. Porter, caught my attention and asked me to come inside, because he had a surprise for me. So, I went inside, and he handed me a large, flat, cardboard box. When I opened the box, inside was a brand new, hooded, parka, perfect for long, cold bus rides late at night! He said to me, “I didn’t want you to get cold coming back from your away games, so I got you this.” Well, I was quick to thank him for the gift, and I was amazed that he would even think to do that for me, when I hadn’t even given it a thought myself until then.

The third blessing I will share with you came a couple of years later when I had made the basketball team at Springdale High School. We lived 6 miles away, in Elm Springs, I didn’t have a car, and my parents were unable to provide me a ride home after away games. So, it seemed to me that I would have to give up on playing basketball for my last two years of high school, which would be a major letdown, to say the least. So, I told  coach Sanders that I couldn’t play after all, and why, but he was not discouraged. “Don’t worry,” he said. “I will give you a ride home after the away games.” “But that’s six miles each way, it will be very late at night, and you have a family to go home to after the games!”, I countered. “Thats OK,” he said, “I want to do it.” Once again, I was amazed that he would make that kind of sacrifice for me. It hadn’t crossed my mind to ask him for a ride, and I wasn’t even his star player.

As you can see, the common element in all three of these stories is that someone saw a need in my life and just took care of it themselves. That is what “grace” looks like. Grace cannot be either earned or deserved; it can only be offered and received. And so it is with salvation: we are saved, not by works, but by the grace of God through the gift of faith in His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. So, as we continue our journey through life, let’s extend grace to those around us as the opportunities arise and as we are able. Let’s us “Be the One!” In doing so, we will not only be helping someone in need (that’s a good thing), but we will also be glorifying God by modeling His grace to others.

(To read more of my articles with biblical themes, click HERE)

 

Homosexual vs. Heterosexual Parenting: Is There Really “No Difference”?

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Homosexual vs. Heterosexual Parenting: Is There Really “No Difference”?

 James R. Aist

(Note: numbers given in parentheses refer to specific references listed in the “References Cited” section at the end of the article)

“Children of homosexual parents are about 12-15 times more likely to become homosexual than are children of heterosexual parents.”

Introduction

Gay activists have insisted for years that there is no difference in the outcomes of parenting by homosexuals when compared to heterosexual parenting. Indeed, The American Psychological Association (APA) officially supports this claim. And the homosexual movement has used this claim to influence court decisions in favor of allowing homosexuals to legally adopt children. But, is this claim actually supported by the scientific facts? In other words, are the outcomes of homosexual parenting really equivalent to the outcomes of heterosexual parenting?

The APA Brief on Homosexual Parenting

In 2005, the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Concerns Office of the APA published a brief (i.e., literature review) on this topic (1). In this brief, they cited 59 published articles in support of their summary claim that “Not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents.” However, in 2012, Loren Marks published a detailed analysis and critique of the scientific merit of that brief and the literature upon which it was based (2). Marks found that the studies cited in support of the APA summary claim are woefully lacking in sound scientific principles: 1) 77% of the studies are based on small, non-representative, biased samples of fewer than 100 subjects each; 2) 44% of the studies did not include a control group (i.e., a heterosexual comparison group), which is an absolute necessity for properly designed scientific studies of this nature; 3) 13 of the 33 studies that did include a control group used single parents, instead of two-biological-married parents, for the comparison; 4) the remaining 20 of these 33 studies with control groups ambiguously specified the make-up of the heterosexual control groups as “mothers” or “couples”; 5) the studies evaluated in the brief focused selectively on “gender-related outcomes” (such as, sexual orientation, gender identity, self esteem and self concepts) while societal concerns (such as excessive drinking, drug use, truancy and criminal offenses) were usually ignored; 6) none of the studies tracked societally significant long-term outcomes into adulthood, thus leaving the critical issue of parenting outcomes essentially unaddressed; 7) the brief seems to draw inferences of sameness of parenting outcomes based on analyses of small, non-representative samples lacking necessary statistical power; and 8) although the brief claims that “Not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents”, it ignores or dismisses two, scientifically sound studies published years earlier that did find evidence suggesting that children of lesbian or gay parents are disadvantaged in several significant respects relative to children of heterosexual parents. [This selective omission of two articles presenting contrary findings, even though the articles have considerable scientific merit (2), belies the strong pro-gay bias of the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Concerns Office of the APA, which can also be easily detected in the mission statement (1) of that office.]

Noting that “Not one of the 59 studies referenced in the 2005 APA brief compares a large, random, representative sample of lesbian or gay parents and their children with a large, random, representative sample of married parents and their children”, Marks concluded that the strong assertions made in the APA brief were not substantiated by the published studies used, and were, therefore, unwarranted. In other words, as of 2005, scientific research had failed to prove that there is no difference between homosexual and heterosexual parenting, contrary to the conclusions in the (strongly biased) APA brief.

Studies Reporting Differences in Parenting Outcomes

The first two of these studies were published by S. Sarantakos. His 1996 paper (3) was a comparative analysis of 58 children of heterosexual married parents, 58 children of heterosexual cohabiting couples and 58 children living with homosexual couples, all matched according to socially significant criteria (e.g., age, number of children, number of parents in the household, education, occupation and socio-economic status). This study has some possible methodological weaknesses and confounding factors, but it also has several strong points of scientific design not present in the studies used for the APA brief (2). [It is significant that the comments of Marks (2) on this paper represent, in effect, a very favorable, post-publication, peer review.] Sarantakos (3) found several important criteria related to the children’s schooling in which homosexual parenting was apparently inferior to heterosexual parenting, including language, math, sports, sociability, learning attitude, parent-school relationships, support with homework and parental aspirations. Based on his results, he concluded that “…in the majority of cases, the most successful are children of married couples, followed by children of cohabiting couples and finally by children of homosexual couples.” Then in 2000, he published a book entitled “Same-sex Couples” (10). According to Marks (2), in this book, Sarantakos published the results of another research project in which he, once again, used two comparison groups, a married couple sample and a cohabiting couple sample, examined several outcomes of societal concern, and, very significantly, reported long-term outcomes in adults 18 years of age or older. Based on his results, which he obtained from statements made by the adult children of the parents, he concluded that adult children of homosexual parents report drug and alcohol abuse, education truancy, sexual activity and criminality in higher proportions than adult children of (married or cohabiting) heterosexual couples. Additionally, Marks (2) noted that Sarantakos (10) reported that “the number of children who were labeled by their parents as gay, or identified themselves as gay, is much higher than the generally expected proportion.” I will return to this finding later in the article.

Now let’s turn to several, more-recent studies, all of which were published in reputable, peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Regnerus (4) used a large (nearly 3,000), random sample of American young adults (ages 18-39) called “The New Family Structures Study.” This large, random sample avoided some of the major flaws of the earlier studies on this topic, such as very small sample sizes, biased sampling approaches (i.e., “convenience sampling”, where the data set is obtained by placing ads in homosexual publications and soliciting volunteers) and non-representative data sets (usually including only lesbian parents) (2). The study found that numerous, consistent differences do exist between children of parents who have had same-sex relationships and those with married, heterosexual parents. More specifically, he found that children of homosexual parents are more likely than those raised by heterosexual parents to suffer from poor impulse control, depression, suicidal thought, require mental health therapy, identify themselves as homosexual, choose cohabitation, be unfaithful to partners, contract sexually transmitted diseases, be sexually molested, have lower income levels, drink to get drunk, and smoke tobacco and marijuana. The study used a cross-sectional design (like a snapshot in time), and so the author was quick to point out that, although many differences were found, the results do not prove that the negative outcomes were caused by homosexual parenting itself. Nonetheless, this research clearly indicates that the claim that there are no differences in parenting outcomes must be re-evaluated with further research. And it also raises the possibility that homosexual parenting may, in fact, produce numerous, negative outcomes in adulthood, when compared to heterosexual parenting.

This publication (4) generated a firestorm of criticism and condemnation, some of which came from other researchers in social science. Accordingly, Regnerus answered the critics with new analyses (12). In this follow-up study, he discussed six of the most common and/or important criticisms and made several changes in response to the criticisms: an important change in the way he referred to homosexual parents and three major adjustments to groups and group assignments within the data set. The results were similar to those in the original article (4), but the magnitude of some of the differences declined somewhat. Thus, this new analysis of the data confirmed the conclusions of the original article; namely, that real differences do, in fact, exist in many outcomes that may be related to homosexual parenting vs. heterosexual parenting, including, but not limited to, sexuality, sexual behavior, educational attainment, smoking and arrests (12). And, once again, Regnerus emphasized that his results do not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between homosexuality and the negative outcomes. The onus now lies with his critics to prove him wrong.

Next, I want to summarize two related articles that compared the academic achievement of children with homosexual parents to those with married, heterosexual parents. Allen et al. (5) reexamined a previous study by Rosenfeld (11) that used a restricted sub-sample of a large, U.S. data base, the U.S. Public-Use Microdata Sample of the 2000 census. Rosenfeld concluded that “When one controls for parental SES and characteristics of the students, children of same-sex couples cannot be distinguished with statistical certainty from children of heterosexual married couples.” Using the same data set, but alternative comparison groups, an unrestricted sample and incorporating controls for the subgroups omitted in the Rosenfeld study, Allen et al., found that children being raised by same-sex couples are 35% less likely to make normal progress through school compared to children of heterosexual, married parents. The second of these two studies (6) used a much larger, random sample of the 2006 Canada census to examine high school graduation rates. The results showed that children living with gay and lesbian families were only about 65% as likely to graduate high school as were children living in heterosexual married families. Moreover, daughters of homosexual parents did considerably worse than sons in this study. This paper confirms the findings of Allen et al. (5), and these two studies, taken together, cast doubt on the ubiquitous claim that no difference exists; children living with same-sex parents do, in fact, perform poorer in school when compared to children from married, opposite sex families (6). However, these two studies also had a cross-sectional design; therefore, cause-and-effect inferences, or conclusions, cannot be made as to why these differences exist. Yet the results do raise the possibility that homosexual parenting itself may, in fact, result in poorer performance in school, when compared to heterosexual parenting.

The last study that I want to summarize addresses a difference found also in the Sarantakos (10) and Regnerus (4) studies: namely, that children of homosexual parents are much more apt to become homosexual themselves. The general consensus among researchers in this field of inquiry has been that there is no such difference. Schumm (7) conducted two meta-analyses of the results from previous studies concerning this issue (a meta-analysis combines and analyzes data from selected published studies in order to increase the sample size sufficiently to detect smaller differences and increase statistical power, thereby compensating for the small sample sizes and lack of statistically significant differences in the selected studies). The main thrust of his report deals with statistical analyses of the results of ten studies involving family histories of adult children with homosexual parents. The results of these analyses showed that 45% of the adult children of homosexual parents were homosexual. Using a verifiable figure of 3% as the prevalence of homosexuals (gay, lesbian and bisexual) in the general population, I calculated that adult children of homosexual parents are about 15 times more likely to be homosexual than are adult children of heterosexual parents. This difference is not only statistically significant, it is also clearly of a very large magnitude. But Schumm didn’t stop there. He proceeded to take data from 26 other studies that had concluded that there is no difference and to analyze them in a similar manner. When he restricted the data to those children who were 17 years old or older at the time the data were collected (in order to address the issue of adult outcomes per se), he found that 28% of the adult children of homosexual parents were homosexual, whereas only 2.3% of the adult children of heterosexual parents were homosexual. Thus, in this meta-analysis, adult children of homosexual parents were about 12 times more likely to be homosexual than were adult children of heterosexual parents. How could these extremely large and statistically significant differences (12-15 fold) come about? Schumm discussed five of the possibilities: 1) parental modeling of sexual orientation; 2) parental preference for the child’s sexual orientation; 3) the child’s greater questioning of their own sexual orientation; 4) parental desire for grandchildren; and 5) non-parental modeling of sexual orientation by homosexual friends of the homosexual parents. Regardless of the mechanism(s) involved, these results, taken together, strongly suggest that the post-natal environment of children with homosexual parents has a powerful influence on the development of homosexuality in the children, and that, in turn, argues persuasively against the popular notion that homosexual people are “born gay.” The strength of this argument is easily appreciated when one considers the fact that identical twin studies have demonstrated conclusively that the maximum contribution of all pre-natal influences (genetics, hormones, etc.) on the subsequent development of homosexuality can be no more than about 10%-15% (8). Some of the remaining 85%-90% post-natal influence could very well be a result of environmental and experiential factors inherent in the homosexual parenting context.

Possible Confounding Factors

Are there other factors commonly experienced by children of homosexual parents that may contribute to the negative outcomes of homosexual parenting reported in these studies? Osborne (9) identified several such factors, including divorce of the biological parents, social and structural stigmas targeting homosexual parents and their children, and multiple family forms (i.e., various combinations of remarriage, single parenting, cohabitation, adoption and step-parenting). The presence of these untested confounding factors makes it impossible, at present, to conclude that the sexual orientation of homosexual parents causes most of the negative outcomes in their children; nor does it rule out such a conclusion. That said, it appears to me that the most likely negative outcome of homosexual parenting that might be heavily influenced by the homosexual orientation of the parents is the homosexual orientation of their adult children, because 1) the effect has been reported in at least three separate studies using different data sets, and 2) the effect is so large (up to 12-15 fold) that it would not be expected to be attributable to unaccounted for, confounding factors. Perhaps the courts should not be so quick and eager to legalize homosexual adoption after all.

Summary

Gay activists have insisted for years that there is no difference in the outcomes of parenting by homosexuals when compared to heterosexual parenting. In 2005, the APA published a brief on this topic. In this brief, they cited 59 published articles in support of their summary claim that “Not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents.” However, in 2012, Marks published a detailed analysis and critique of the scientific merit of that brief and the literature upon which it was based. Marks found that the studies cited in support of the APA summary claim are woefully lacking in sound scientific design and principles and concluded that the strong assertions made in the APA brief were not substantiated by the published studies used, and were, therefore, unwarranted. Several other, more scientifically sound, studies have provided evidence that, indeed, there are many, often large, and very significant differences in the outcomes, possibly related to homosexual parenting compared to heterosexual parenting. These differences include inferior performance in school, a much lower graduation rate, poor impulse control, depression, suicidal thought, requirement for mental health therapy, cohabitation, unfaithfulness to sexual partners, contraction of sexually transmitted diseases, sexual molestation, lower income levels, drunkenness, tobacco and marijuana use and a very strong tendency for the adult children of homosexuals to self-identify as homosexual. In fact, adult children of homosexual parents are about 12-15 times more likely to be homosexual than are adult children of heterosexual parents. While it is not possible from these studies to conclude that the homosexual orientation of the parents directly or indirectly caused most of the negative outcomes found in their children, the results strongly suggest the possibility that homosexual parenting may not be equivalent to heterosexual parenting after all. The exception may be the homosexual orientation of the adult children of homosexual parents, which, in all likelihood, is heavily influenced by the homosexual orientation of the parents. At the very least, the claim that there are no differences in the outcomes of homosexual vs. heterosexual parenting should be re-evaluated with further research, based on the most scientifically sound research presently available. Perhaps the courts should not be so quick and eager to legalize homosexual adoption after all.

References Cited

1. Committee on Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Concerns of the American Psychological Society. 2005. Lesbian and Gay Parenting. (click HERE)

2. Marks, L. 2012. Same-sex parenting and children’s outcomes: A closer examination of the American Psychological Association’s brief on lesbian and gay parenting. Social Science Research 41:735-751. (click HERE to download)

3. Sarantakos, S. 1996. Children in three contexts: Family, education, and social development. Children Australia 21(3), 23–31.

4. Regnerus, M. 2012. How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study. Social Science Research 41:752-770. (click HERE)

5. Allen, D., et al. 2013. Nontraditional Families and Childhood Progress through School: A Comment on Rosenfeld. Demography 50(3), 955-961.

6. Allen, D. 2013. High school graduation rates among children of same-sex households. Review of Economics of the Household 11:635-658.

7. Schumm, W. 2010. Children of Homosexuals More Apt to Be Homosexual? A Reply to Morrison and to Cameron Based on an Examination of Multiple Sources of Data. Journal of Biosocial Science 42:721-742.

8. Aist, J. 2012. Are Homosexual People Really “Born Gay”? (click HERE)

9. Osborne, C. 2012. Further comments on the papers by Marks and Regnerus. Social Science Research 41:779-783.

10. Sarantakos, S. 2000.  Same-sex Couples.  Parramatta, N.S.W:  Harvard Press

11. Rosenfeld, M. 2010. Nontraditional Families and Childhood Progress Through School. Demography 47(3):755-775.

12. Regnerus, M. 2012. Parental same-sex relationships, family instability, and subsequent life outcomes for adult children: answering critics of the new family structures study with additional analyses. Social Science Research 41:1367-1377. (click HERE)

(For more articles on HOMOSEXUALITY, click HERE)

 

 

 

Who’s Guilty?

Who’s Guilty?

by Guest Author, Angie Brown

Mr. Callahan, a physical education teacher, was standing below the upper hallway talking to other teachers when a large piece of chalk hit him directly on the top of his balding head, with such force as to bring tears to his eyes. With a shocked look on his face, Mr. Callahan raced up the stairs, passing pretty Miss Gertie Levelle, the school’s top student, who was on her way down the stairs. As he reached the top of the stairs, he confronted a group of boys milling around in the hallway. These students had assembled in the upper hallway and were waiting for classes to start.

“Who dropped that chalk?” he roared. No one answered. Yanking a note pad out of his coat pocket, he said, “I want names.”  Hurriedly, he wrote: Frederick, Finley, Cassidy, Holson and Green.  “I want you fellows in the Principal’s Office after classes.  Every one of you,” he ordered.  The bell rang and the students began filing into their respective classrooms.

One of the group, Rob Finley, a druggist’s son, spoke up first, “I guess we’re in for trouble.”  The town lawyer’s son, Sam Frederick, had thoughts a little more serious, saying “I sure don’t want any black marks against me.  I’m gunning for a scholarship.” John Cassidy, the well-fed lad whose parents operated a local restaurant, had a more optimistic feeling.  “It can’t be all that bad”, he said, “You know how Callahan makes mountains out of mole hills.” Eric Holson was a preacher’s kid and was rather worried.  He said nothing, but when he related the incident to his parents, his father promptly gave him one of his sermons. The farm boy, Russ Green, didn’t like being detained, but, as he was one of the group, he had to go along. Needless to say, the boys weren’t anxious for classes to dismiss.

After school, the boys seated themselves in the Principal’s Office and the door was closed.  The Principal, Mr. Bigalo, said, “I have here a report from Mr. Callahan that someone deliberately dropped a large piece of chalk on his head this afternoon.  I ask the guilty one to step forward.”  There was shuffling of feet, but no admission. The Principal continued, “Gentlemen, you may not think this is a serious matter, but dropping even a small item like a piece of chalk on a person’s bald head can be a painful experience.  There is tremendous force there, as was proven by Mr. Callahan’s reaction.  We’re not going to let it happen again.” Still, there was no response. The boys were kept waiting about an hour.  Finally, Mr. Bigalo said, “Tomorrow you will all come again, and every day, until the culprit is found.  You may go.” The boys left, grumbling to each other on their way out.

Now, just prior to the incident, pretty Miss Gertie Levelle, arms bulging with books and paraphernalia, had walked to the end of the upper hallway and adjusted her load on the top of the railing. On her way to the Home Economics Room for her sewing class on the first floor, she was hurrying down the stairs with a better grip on her belongings, when Mr. Callahan came running up the stairs to confront the boys. During the sewing class, after cutting out her cloth, Gertie was ready to mark her corduroy fabric.  As she spread it out, she looked around for her marker, but couldn’t locate it anywhere. “Miss Jordan,” Gertie said, “may I borrow your chalk.  I seem to have lost mine.  It was a brand new piece, too.” Miss Jordan was about to open her desk drawer when she suddenly stopped, thought for a moment and said, “Gertie, I think I know where we can find your new chalk.  Let’s go see Mr. Bigalo.”

And the moral of the story is…things aren’t always as they seem.

(For more short stories by Angie Brown, click HERE.)

A Little Olean History

A Little Olean HistoryBradner Stadium

by Angie Brown, Guest Author

In May of 1930, from all over the city, the streets in Olean, NY, were filled with groups of school children marching in orderly fashion.  They were headed for the East Olean Park, where they all assembled to perform at the baseball field, Bradner Stadium.  The civic leaders and school teachers planned something different for this Arbor Day.  They came up with an exciting idea, making this an exciting day.  I was in the eighth grade and a part of it, so I  remember it well. As far as I know, this was the only time this presentation was carried out.

All of the school children from the age of about ten through high school would execute, in unison, simple exercises at the stadium.  The exercises were practiced and perfected in the classrooms.  The children would wear pastel colored dresses and shirts.

On the day of the presentation, the weather was perfect: warm and sunny.  Each teacher led her class through the streets, on their way to the stadium.  Extra police were on duty at every intersection.  Traffic was diverted to one-way and was sparse.  Arriving at the park, the groups were escorted through the short tunnel to their designated places on the field.  With pride and joy, the parents and friends filled the bleachers.  It was a “full house.”

Right on time, the music started and the exercises commenced, a beautiful spectacle of arm raising and foot stepping of hundreds of youngsters, all in unison. The pastel colors added to the beauty and pageantry of the students’ movements on the ball field.

At the close of the program, the audience was encouraged to join in singing the national anthem with the students. An enormous applause ended the gaiety and excitement of the performance.  What an artistic presentation for all the people of Olean to enjoy, and such an encouraging and fulfilling endeavor for the students!

(For more articles by Angie Brown, click HERE)