Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Family and Personal Relationships, 11th Edition
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Issue: Are Traditional Families Better Than Nontraditional Families?
YES: Allan C. Carlson and Paul T. Mero, from “The Natural Family: A Manifesto,” Howard Center (2006)
NO: Mark Good, from “Nontraditional Families and Childhood Progress through School,” Original essay written for this volume (2012)
Allan Carlson is President of the Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society and Distinguished Fellow in Family Policy Studies at the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. Paul Mero is President of the Sutherland Institute and a Trustee of the ALS Foundation. Carlson and Mero argue that America needs to return to a traditional family headed by a man and woman. Mark Good is a Professor of Counselor Education at West Chester University and the President of Opn-Wyd, a diversity and communication company. Good argues that diversity in traditional and nontraditional families is healthy. In fact, he argues that it can be damaging to hold up the traditional family as the ideal familial structure.
Issue: Are Teenagers Too Young to Become Parents?
YES: The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, from “One in Three: The Case for Wanted and Welcomed Pregnancy,” The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy (2007)
NO: Simon Duncan, Claire Alexander, and Rosalind Edwards, from “What’s the Problem with Teenage Parents?” Tuffnell Press (2010)
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy is dedicated to reducing teenage pregnancy. Their research argues that teens face significant consequences if they have unplanned pregnancy. Simon Duncan, Claire Alexander, and Rosalind Edwards have written a chapter in a book about teen pregnancy and parenting. This chapter, which takes a global perspective by looking at another Western society, England, argues that teenage pregnancy and parenting is not a problem.
Issue: Is Polyamory a Good Alternative for Relationships and Families?
YES: Elisabeth Sheff, from “What You Can Learn from Polyamory,” Greater Good (2017)
NO: Alan J. Hawkins, Betsy VanDenBerghe, and Lynae Barlow, from “The New Math of ‘Consensual Nonmonogamy’,” National Review (2017)
Elisabeth Sheff, PhD, CASA, CSE is an educational consultant and expert witness serving sexual and gender minorities. She is the author of The Polyamorists Next Door and When Someone You Love Is Polyamorous, as well as numerous academic and legal articles about polyamory, gender, families, and sexual minorities. Sheff presents evidence that the basic tenets of polyamory are not only healthy, but can teach monogamists skills for healthier relationships. Alan J. Hawkins is a professor and Lynae Barlow an undergraduate student in the Brigham Young University School of Family Life. Betsy VanDenBerghe is a writer based in Salt Lake City. Hawkins and VanDenBerghe are the authors of the National Marriage Project report “Facilitating Forever.” Hawkins, Barlow, and VanDenBerghe argue that power dynamics, individual suffering, and preservation of family norms are all key reasons why polyamory is untenable.
Issue: Should Same-sex Adoption Be Legal?
YES: Elizabeth A. Harris, from “Same-Sex Parents Still Face Legal Complications,” The New York Times (2017)
NO: Jules Gomes, from “Is Gay Adoption Wrong? The Children Say Yes,” Anglican Ink (2017)
Elizabeth Harris has been a culture reporter at The New York Times since 2009. In her tenure at the times, she has written from a variety of positions on issues from real estate to education foreign affairs. Harris argues that although same-sex adoption is legal in most cases, there are state-by-state laws that challenge potential parents and a shifting legal landscape that can result in a parent being a legal stranger to their own child simply by driving across a state line. Jules Gomes writes for The Anglican Ink, a publication of Anglican Television Ministries in Milford, Connecticut. Gomes reports on a study conducted in the United Kingdom by Robert Oscar Lopez and Brittany Klein titled: Jepthah’s Children: the innocent casualties of same sex adoption. In his article, Gomes argues that bearing children is not a right, but a responsibility and a gift. He states that gay or lesbian adults should sacrifice their homosexuality and raise a child in a home with both a husband and wife (for the good of the child) or sacrifice their desire to have children.
Issue: Does Having a Transgender Parent Hurt Children?
YES: Brynn Tannehill, from “Here’s What It’s REALLY Like Having A Transgender Parent,” TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc. (2016)
NO: Caitlin White, from “A Void Wider Than Gender: Here’s What My Life Has Been Like Since My Father Came Out as Trans,” Vice (2015)
Brynn Tannehill graduated from the Naval Academy with a BS in computer science in 1997. She earned her Naval Aviator wings in 1999 and served as a campaign analyst while deployed overseas. In 2008, Brynn earned a MS in Operations Research from the Air Force Institute of Technology and transferred from active duty to the Naval Reserves. In 2008, Brynn began working as a senior defense research scientist in private industry. She left the drilling reserves and began transition in 2010. Since then she has written for OutServe magazine, The New Civil Rights Movement, and Queer Mental Health as a blogger and featured columnist. Brynn presents the first-person narrative of her 8th-grade daughter about what it is like to have a transgender parent. Caitlin White is a writer in Brooklyn, New York, and a regular contributor to Brooklyn Magazine. Caitlin writes poignantly about the challenges she experienced when her parent came out to her as transgender. While an advocate of trans people, she writes about the difficulties faced by a child whose parent changes their gender identity.
UNIT 2: Contemporary Issues in Relationships
Issue: Is Cybersex “Cheating”?
YES: Susan A. Milstein, from “Virtual Liaisons: Cybersex Is Cheating,” Original essay written for this volume (2009)
NO: Crystal Bedley, from “Virtual Reality: Cybersex Is Not Cheating,” Original essay written for this volume (2009)
Susan Milstein is a Certified Health Education Specialist and a Certified Sexuality Educator. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Enhancement at Montgomery College in Maryland, as well as the Lead Consultant for Milstein Health Consulting. Milstein contends that while it is difficult to create a universal definition of cheating, the majority of people feel that cybersex outside of a primary relationship is cheating. Crystal Bedley argues that the anonymous nature of cybersex means that it is not cheating.
Issue: Is the Hookup Culture on College Campuses Bad for Heterosexual Girls?
YES: Amy Julia Becker, from “Hookup Culture Is Good for Women, and Other Feminist Myths,” Christianity Today (2012)
NO: Timaree Schmit, from "Hookup Culture Can Help Build Stronger Relationships," Original essay written for this volume (2014)
Amy Julia Becker argues that hookup culture demeans women. From a Christian perspective, she argues that sex leads to greater life fulfillment when removed from the hookup culture. Timaree Schmit argues that hookup culture is nothing new and that it can be healthy for people to have different sexual experiences.
Issue: Are Open Relationships Healthy?
YES: Donald Dyson, from “Seeing Relationships Through a Wider Lens: Open Relationships as a Healthy Option,” Original essay written for this volume (2009)
NO: Stanley Kurtz, from “Here Come the Brides: Plural Marriage Is Waiting in the Wings,” The Weekly Standard (2005)
Donald Dyson is an associate professor of human sexuality education at Widener University and has served in leadership capacities at Widener University’s Center for Human Sexuality studies. Dyson argues that there are essential qualities of a healthy relationship and that an open relationship can be successful. Stanley Kurtz, a writer and senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, argues that allowing same-sex marriage will create a slippery slope, eventually leading to plural marriages. Kurtz contends that such marriages prove destructive to the institution of marriage itself.
UNIT 3: Contemporary Issues in Parenting
Issue: Do Parents Have the Right to Deny Their Children Lifesaving Medical Care Due to Their Religious Convictions?
YES: Calvin P. Johnson, from “Closing Statement for Parents: In Re the Matter of the Welfare of the Child of Colleen and Anthony Hauser,” Minnesota District Court, Fifth Judicial District (2009)
NO: John R. Rodenberg, from “Opinion of the Court: In the Matter of the Welfare of the Child of Colleen and Anthony Hauser,” Minnesota District Court, Fifth Judicial District (2009)
Calvin P. Johnson, Esq., is the attorney for the parents, Colleen and Anthony Hauser. Johnson argues that the government forcing medical care for the Hauser child violates his religious liberty and is abusive to this child. John R. Rodenberg is the District Court judge in this case. Rodenberg argues that all parties are acting out of convictions for the best interest of the child. He also argues that the state has a compelling interest to act against Hauser’s religious views for medical care since the child is only thirteen years old.
Issue: Is Internet Pornography Harmful to Teenagers?
YES: Wayne Grinwis, from “Is Pornography Harmful to Teenagers? Yes!” Original essay written for this volume (2009)
NO: Justin A. Sitron, from “Why Porn Is Not Harmful to Teens,” Original essay written for this volume (2009)
Wayne Grinwis has been a Sexual Health Educator for Planned Parenthood for 15 years. He is also Adjunct Professor in the Department of Health at West Chester University. Grinwis credits Andrea Daniels for help with this article. Grinwis argues that pornography is all right for adults, but for teenagers, it can create unrealistic expectations about sex, provide a negative and inaccurate sexuality education, and increase sexual violence against women. Justin Sitron is an Assistant Professor of Education at Widener University. Sitron argues that pornography has no negative impact on teenagers and, in fact, has potential benefits. Sitron contends that Internet pornography can be helpful in providing teens an opportunity to see real bodies, a chance to learn about sex from seeing rather than doing, and an open door for communication with parents.
Issue: Should There Be Harsh Penalties for Teens Sexting?
YES: Lisa E. Soronen, Nicole Vitale, and Karen A. Haase, from “Sexting at School: Lessons Learned the Hard Way,” National School Boards Association, Inquiry & Analysis (2010)
NO: Julie Hilden, from “How Should Teens’ ‘Sexting’—The Sending of Revealing Photos—Be Regulated?” Findlaw.com (2009)
Lisa E. Soronen, Nicole Vitale, and Karen A. Haase are writing on legal issues for the National School Boards Association. This article encourages administrators to hand over cell phone sexting cases to the appropriate law enforcement agencies. Julie Hilden is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School. A former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, she has more recently appeared on Good Morning America, Court TV, CNN, and NPR. Hilden argues that harsh penalties are extreme and unjust.
Issue: Is Traditional Masculinity Harmful to Boys and Men?
YES: Brianna Attard, from “Toxic Masculinity: How Our Current System of Gender is Harmful to People,” The Sydney Feminists (2017)
NO: Paul Nathanson, from “A Requiem for Manhood,” Australian Institute of Male Health and Studies (2018)
Brianna Attard is a researcher and writer at The Sydney Feminists, Inc. She wrote her first article for TSF on toxic masculinity. Brianna enjoys volunteering and working for organizations that operate within a feminist framework. She outlines Toxic Masculinity and its impact on women, men, and interpersonal interactions. Paul Nathanson has a BA (art history), a BTh (Christian theology), an MLS (library service), an MA (religious studies), and a PhD (religious studies). Of particular interest to him is the surprisingly blurry relation between religion and secularity: how religion underlies seemingly secular phenomena such as popular movies and political ideologies. Nathanson argues, through the use of cinematic examples, that there is a need among men for creating identity through masculinity.
Issue: Should Parents Allow Puberty Blocking Hormones for Their Transgender Children?
YES: Jacqueline Ruttimann, from “Blocking Puberty In Transgender Youth,” Endocrine News (2013)
NO: Michelle Cretella, from “I’m a Pediatrician: Here’s What I Did When a Little Boy Patient Said He Was a Girl,” The Daily Signal (2017)
Jacqueline Ruttimann is a freelance writer living in Chevy Chase, Maryland. She argues that pubertal blockers allow transgender youth to carefully consider transition and decreases the need for cross-sex hormones later in life, which results in fewer health risks for the individual. Michelle Cretella, MD, is the president of the American College of Pediatricians, a national organization of pediatricians and other health-care professionals dedicated to the health and well-being of children. She argues that no one is born transgender, and that “gender confused” children should be supported in their biological sex through puberty.
UNIT 4: Families and Systems
Issue: Should Illegal Immigrant Families Be Able to Send Their Children to Public Schools?
YES: William Brennan, from Majority Opinion, Plyler v. Doe, U.S. Supreme Court (1982)
NO: Warren Burger, from Dissenting Opinion, Plyler v. Doe, U.S. Supreme Court (1982)
William Brennan is regarded as one of the greatest intellectual leaders of the twentieth-century -Supreme Court. He was regarded for writing extraordinarily forward-thinking opinions, especially regarding civil rights and civil liberties. This case proves no exception, as he captures an issue that seems even more pertinent today than when the Supreme Court addressed it. Brennan believes that children who are in the country and undocumented have a constitutional right to a public education. Warren Burger was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court during a time in which it was slowly moving in a more conservative direction. He was an instrumental voice in many cases before the Supreme Court that had a more conservative outcome. Burger believes that undocumented immigrant children have no constitutional right to an education.
Issue: Should Teachers in Schools Have Firearms?
YES: Michael W. Goldberg, from “I’m a School Psychologist — And I Think Teachers Should Be Armed,” Forward (2018)
NO: Eugene Scott, from “A Big Question in the Debate About Arming Teachers: What About Racial Bias?” Washington Post (2018)
Michael W. Goldberg is a School Psychologist. He earned his Masters in Psychology at SUNY New Paltz, and was born in Brooklyn in 1963, where he was raised by his Orthodox Jewish grandparents. He argues that arming specially trained teachers will decrease the likelihood of school shootings as well as decrease subsequent trauma for students. Eugene Scott writes about identity politics for The Fix. He was previously a breaking news reporter at CNN Politics. Scott argues that in schools, where racial bias among teachers has been well documented, arming teachers will likely result in the unwarranted deaths of students of color.
Issue: Should Cyber-Bullies Be Prosecuted?
YES: Brianna Flavin, from “Is Cyberbullying Illegal? When Comments Turn Criminal,” Rasmussen College Blog (2017)
NO: J. Graffeo, from “People v Marquan M.” New York State Law Reporting Bureau (2014)
Brianna Flavin is a freelance writer, content marketer, adjunct professor, and poet. She argues that cyberbullying is culturally pervasive and should be criminalized to prevent tragedies such as teen suicide and school shootings. The opposing view is presented by the verdict of the New York Court of Appeals in a case that argued that the cyberbullying law enacted was considered a violation of the defendant’s First Amendment free speech.
Issue: Should Parents of School Shooters Be Held Responsible for Their Children’s Actions?
YES: Alia E. Dastagir, from “After a School Shooting, are Parents to Blame?” USA Today (2018)
NO: John Cassidy, from “America’s Failure To Protect Its Children From School Shootings Is A National Disgrace,” The New Yorker (2018)
Alia E. Dastagir is a reporter covering cultural issues, including gender, race, and sexuality. She argues studies consistently show that teen violence is mitigated by consistent, nurturing adult influence and that those adults need to take their responsibility seriously. John Cassidy has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1995. In 2012, he began writing a daily column about politics and economics on newyorker.com. Cassidy argues that the federal government, in its unwillingness to stand up to gun lobbyists, is responsible for the ongoing epidemic of school shootings.
Issue: Is the Criminal Justice System Unfair to Black Families?
YES: Samantha Daley, from “The Criminal Justice System Is Failing Black Families,” Rewire.News (2014)
NO: Kay S. Hymowitz, from “Did Mass Incarceration Destroy the Black Family? No, and Here’s Why,” City Journal (2015)
Samantha Daley is a reproductive justice activist and a supervisor at a homeless shelter for youth and a writer in Echoing Ida, a project of Forward Together. She argues that the criminal justice system’s biased treatment toward black families creates a system that passes down racial disadvantage from generation to generation. Kay S. Hymowitz is the William E. Simon Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal. She writes extensively on childhood, family issues, poverty, and cultural change in America. She argues that issues within Black families are an under-considered part of the mass incarceration problem.