Welcome to Family Policy Matters, an engaging and informative weekly radio show and podcast produced by the North Carolina Family Policy Council. Hi, this is John Rustin, President of NC Family and we're grateful to have you with us for this week's program. It's our prayer that you will be informed, encouraged and inspired by what you hear on Family Policy Matters and that you will feel better equipped to be a voice of persuasion for family values in your community, state and nation. And now here is our host of Family Policy Matters, Tracey Devette Griggs. Thanks for joining us this week for Family Policy Matters. So many conversations about families today focus on the desires and perceived rights of adults, often at the expense of children.
Experience and data are increasingly pointing out the flaws of this adult centered mindset and a new book hopes to reframe that debate. Katie Faust is founder and director of Them Before Us, an organization devoted to putting the focus back on the fundamental rights and well-being of children. When it comes to conversations about parenting and family, Katie began her public campaign to champion the rights of children in 2012 after she worked for the world's largest Chinese adoption agency. She joins us today to discuss her new book, Them Before Us, Why We Need a Global Children's Rights Movement. Katie Faust, welcome back to Family Policy Matters. Thank you, Tracey.
Thanks for letting me chat with your audience. Well, I remember the first time I read about your very simple concept on looking at public policy issues concerning children and families through the lens of what's best for children. It was actually a surprisingly clear way to make decisions on these very complex issues. So why do you suppose this is such a startling concept in our society today? The concept is that children's rights should come before the desires of adults. And when it comes to marriage and family issues, that goes against pretty much everything our culture is promoting.
Right. This idea that adults have a right to happiness. We use these kind of terms like they have a right to choose. They have a right to marry. They have a right to parenthood, but they don't actually have a right to those things. They may want them. They may desire them.
They may be desperately pursuing them, but they don't have rights to that. But when we look at natural law, when we look at the largest treaty throughout the globe, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, we see that children have a right to their own mother and father. And social science supports that that is the best place for children to be raised in the home of their married biological parents. And that concept is very threatening to any and every adult these days, whether you're single or married or gay or straight. It insists that adults conform to the rights of children. And that means adults have to sacrifice and adults have to do hard things.
And that is probably one of the most countercultural messages in 2021 America. So how and when did this dramatic shift happen? Well, I think that a lot of us kind of in the marriage and family world would look back at the dispute over marriage, the definition of marriage and when gay marriage first started to be debated. But the shift actually took place long, long ago, back in the late 60s, when we started passing no fault divorce laws.
You know, that is where we really started to hear the narrative. Well, if the adults are happy, the kids will be happy or kids don't need a married mom and dad. They just need to be safe and loved. And that same kind of chorus has been echoed through every new iteration of family, whether it was the rise of single motherhood by choice in the 90s through, you know, the reproductive technology movement, sperm and egg donation that was right on the heels of that to the debate about the definition of marriage now into issues like surrogacy. And so that legal and cultural shift has been underway for a long time. And as far as I can tell, there's no slowing down unless we can really, really start to articulate a compelling secular case for why every new iteration of modern family is really just code for child loss.
You know, kids have to lose something to be in those families. And that's an injustice. You just rattled off several issues this kind of thinking could have a profound effect on.
But let's take one. Could you just talk about third party reproduction? Tell us how changing the way we think about the rights of children could affect how we think about this. You know, usually we look at third party reproduction, the use of sperm and egg donation or surrogacy. I think especially people in our world think about it from the perspective of, well, this is a way to help infertile couples have children. And of course, those of us kind of in the pro-life world say, well, that's great because we love babies. And so anything that brings about more babies or helps loving people have babies, how could that be a bad thing? And then, of course, we empathize with the infertile heterosexual couple who desperately wants a biological connection to a child.
And so we say, well, of course, it makes sense that you'd want a sperm donor because then you get to be pregnant and you get to have a connection with your biological child. And, you know, really, it's love that matters. And so if they're being raised by a dad who's not biologically connected to them, well, that's no big deal. And so when we look at it from the adult's perspective, we think, well, sure, no big deal. It's OK until you look at it from the child's perspective.
Right. Until you recognize and read the stories of kids who were created through these arrangements. And what we've tried to do, especially in our book, but in all of our work, is highlight the harms and the damage that goes along with forcing a child to lose a relationship with one of the adults to whom they have a natural right, their father or mother at the moment of conception. And the identity crisis that many of these kids struggle with, the instability that results in their households, the feelings of commodification that they experience, knowing that their conception was a monetary transaction based on a monetary transaction.
And then, of course, the often unseen harms. And that is the reality that only seven percent of children created in laboratories will be born alive. And so when you actually look at the rights of children, their right to life and then their right to their mother or father, we see that these technologies are not child friendly and no amount of adult desire or longing or loss ever justifies forcing a child to sacrifice their fundamental rights. So even when it comes to technologies like this that we can be sympathetic towards, when we look at the reality of the harms of children, we realize this isn't something that anybody in the pro-life or pro-family world should be endorsing. What we give you in this book that you've never heard before is the stories of kids who have had to live through it.
And by the time you're done, you realize there's no way that I can support a lot of these new kind of family arrangements without understanding that kids are going to pay the price. You're listening to Family Policy Matters, a weekly radio show and podcast of the North Carolina Family Policy Council. This is just one of the many ways NC Family works to educate and inform citizens across North Carolina about policy issues that impact North Carolina families.
Where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive and life is cherished. For more information about NC Family and how you can help us to achieve this incredible vision for our state and nation, visit our website at ncfamily.org. Again, that's ncfamily.org. And be sure to sign up to receive our email updates, action alerts, and of course, our flagship publication, Family North Carolina Magazine.
We'd also love for you to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Why do you prefer to reframe this whole question rather than debate these conversations about family structure? What's the value there? I am happy to debate. Let's make that clear because we have the best research, we have the best studies, we have common sense, we have natural design, we have biology, we have the five major religions on our side when it comes to questions of the mother, father, child bond, and the importance of marriage between a child's mother and father. But what we don't want to do is play whack-a-mole with all of these different topics, right? And that's how a lot of times how conservatives, Christians, pro-lifers, pro-family people have responded. Oh, definition of marriage.
Well, let's respond to that. Oh, and then here's commercial surrogacy and that's a different response. No, all of these different issues, everything that has to do with marriage and family. Polygamy, cohabitation, marriage, divorce, sperm and egg donation, surrogacy, even adoption. All of those issues are not separate conversations.
They're all one conversation. And that is, are you respecting or are you disregarding the rights of children? And so through the book especially, we have really tried to offer people that simple lens. We don't have to come up with all these different disparate responses. There is one question that needs to be at the forefront of our mind and that is, are the rights of children being respected or not? Because if the rights of children are respected in personal decisions and policy decisions, you are going to come out with the right conclusion every time.
So that's the lens that we try to give people when they're filtering through these different questions about marriage and family. Sometimes people see so many needs on so many different planes and they don't feel like one small thing that they might do writing a letter or going to visit a legislator would have an effect. But it does, doesn't it, when it all adds up?
It does. And there's lots of ways to do this. You know, I think one of the biggest ways is, well, okay, think of it this way. We have made incredible gains in the pro-life movement because we have focused exclusively on a child's right to life. We can have that exact same kind of impact when we focus on a child's right to their own mother and father. There are hundreds of incredible pro-life organizations out there fighting for a child's right to life in the womb. Then Before Us is the only organization that is fighting for children's rights on this side of the womb. This is the next frontier of the children's rights battle.
And we have made it easy, I hope, to see why this matters. I'm giving you the tools that you need to advocate, but also to have these conversations with friends, right? A lot of these conversations need to take place on your Facebook threads and even in conversations with people at church or people sitting poolside with you or at soccer practice. And so we want to equip you to be a children's rights advocate. And once you read the book, once you really are familiar with these arguments, these studies, and especially the stories of kids, you're going to be armed.
You're going to be confident. And you're going to be able to take this message to whatever corner of the world you inhabit. And that is really where the work is going to begin. And of course, this is very important in regard to the health of children, but there's more on the line as well, right? The decline of the family unit has been linked over centuries to the strength of our society, our civilization, hasn't it?
Absolutely. We spend a little bit of time in chapter one where we outline why children have a natural right to their mother and father, the harms that go along with mother and father loss. But then we talk about the harms that children experience that they're at disproportionate risk for when they are, for example, fatherless, massive increase in child poverty, teen suicide, teen homelessness, teen incarceration, teen pregnancy, high school dropouts. I mean, every single issue that we are spending millions and millions and billions of dollars fighting really comes down to, are you defending children's right to their own mother and father? And if you could remedy that, if children could be raised by their married mother and father, do you understand we would decimate nearly every social issue that we are facing today? And if you can't do that, then you just need to resign yourself to building more prisons, spending more money on welfare, spending more money on anti-poverty programs, spending more money on public school counselors who are helping kids through all of these traumas and failing. Because the reality is that no school, no Head Start program, no prison, no amount of counseling can ever remedy this problem because the state cannot love a child. And that is what mothers and fathers provide, right? They are the best chance that a child is going to be loved, be safe, be protected, be provided for.
So yeah, nobody's going to get anything they want, neither on the left nor on the right, unless we can defend children's fundamental rights to their own mother and father. Well, we're just about out of time, unfortunately, for this week. But before we go, Katie Faust, besides getting a copy of your book, where can people go to stay connected with you and see what you're doing? You can go to thembeforeus.com. At the very bottom of the homepage, you can subscribe to our newsletter and stay up on all of the different legislative efforts, you know, where we're writing letters to legislators to make sure that they consider the rights of children. You can stay up on all the new stories we're publishing, all of the news headlines that we're covering. That's a great place to just keep your knowledge fresh. The book is the best resource.
That is where you will find the mountain of evidence and stories. And we've really tried to lay it out, both as a book that is easy to read, but also as a reference. We really tried to take every major issue and question that has to do with marriage and family, and put it right there in the detailed table of contents so you can go directly to the area, you know, that you need at that moment.
So we want you to be equipped. We want you to stay abreast of everything we're doing. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter, but come to our website, subscribe so you don't miss anything. And of course, the name of that book is Them Before Us, Why We Need a Global Children's Rights Movement. Katie Faust, founder and director of the organization Them Before Us, thank you so much for being with us today on Family Policy Matters.
You've been listening to Family Policy Matters. We hope you enjoyed the program and plan to tune in again next week. To listen to the show online and to learn more about NC Family's work to inform, encourage and inspire families across North Carolina, go to our website at ncfamily.org. That's ncfamily.org. Thanks again for listening and may God bless you and your family.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-23 03:11:15 / 2023-09-23 03:17:27 / 6