Attacks on the Family - What?

Every time I hear this phrase I find myself mad enough to spit. It’s been used to describe folks vocally moving away from religion, to the GLBT community…I’m sure if I sat here long enough (or ran a search engine) I could find other groups that it’s been applied to.

I mean, WTF? Whose family are these groups supposedly attacking? What damage is being done to said family? Particularly if one considers that a good case can be made that the “nuclear family” of dad who works outside the house and mom who stays home and takes care of the 2.5 kids is an invention of the late 1940’s, early 1950’s, when WWII was over and we had to get Rosie out of the factory so that the men could have “their” jobs back…

So, why this phrase? What is it supposed to mean, and is it just religious groups that throw it around so freely or is there something I’m missing?

It never ceases to amaze me how some people see a differing opinion or lifestyle as an “attack” on their own.

What these people fear is that a lifestyle or opinion that they do not share will become attractive to the people, and thus become the norm. They don’t want to see their kids living or thinking in that way, nor do they wish to be surrounded by what they see as “wrong.”

There is no “damage” done, in actuality. Every generation claims that the world is going to hell in a handbasket, and yearns for the (nonexsistant) “old days” where children were polite and well behaved, polititians were honest, values and morals reigned supreme, and no one would EVER flip you the bird after nearly running you off the road.

dogsbody wrote:

Now now, we all know that ancient Man hunted, and ancient Woman stayed back home and sewed baby clothes out of the buffalo skins…

Tracer Why I…ooh…and…Aargh…Oh…

Actually, if we can make accurate assumptions about the behavior of Ancient Man from the behavior of modern hunter-gathering peoples, then we can assume that Ancient Man, in addition to enough hunting and fishing to get him out of the house for a while, also occupied his time by hanging out with his pals, gambling, drinking, and taking drugs while Ancient Woman did most of the work.

And I regret that we have placed such ancient and honorable practices behind us while pursuing that abberation of the 20th century, the “nuclear family.”

No, no, no! They made baby clothes out of fluffy bunny pelts. (Check the Pit; they’re about done flaying one now. ;)) They made robes for the men out of the buffalo skins, so they could lounge around in them after they got back from the hunt.

After, of course, cutting off the wings and barbecuing them… :smiley:

I do have the same problem with this “Family Values” BS. It’s shorthand for “we mean conservative Christian but we can’t say that in this context” and fails to take into account the variety of people and the variety of ways in which they live.

Which does not necessarily mean modern choices. What about the woman who chooses to stay with her parents and take care of them in their old age, then remains an aging spinster? Is that a failure to practice “family values”?

What about the two women I know who made a home together, adopted two “differently-abled” children, and have been serving as temporary foster parents to several others? And does it make a difference if they occupy one bedroom, or two?

And in what way is it “family values” to restrict who can join forces to form a family?

I think it is Ward and June with their two kids Wally and the Beave.Oh, how we all wished we had parents like that. :wink:

Thank you, grienspace - believe it or don’t, but when I composed the post yesterday I could not come up with any of the names from that show.

As fer the rest of yous…(well, except Poly in this case)… :wink:

I think that the greatest attack on the family came in the 40’s and 50’s. That was when white people were told that they had to form nuclear families and live in the suburbs in single-family dwellings, basically dismantling the extended family that was more common in earlier generations.

When people start carping about how certain policies or ideas are anti-family, just ask, “What is a family?”, and watch them squirm.

Good point. Before we had the government pensions, do you think the elderly were by and large looked after till death by their children? I have this vision of the Waltons before me, which never had a chance in my 50 years of lifetime. My wife and I wanted to take in her father, who is penniless and scraping by with his social security, but he is proud and doesn’t want to be a burden although he wouldn’t be.

I’ll just leave this to a wonderful mother who wrote a letter to a Vermont newspaper while the same-sex rhetoric was going on, saying:

-Sharon Underwood

So I’ve been reading “Stealing Jesus” by Bruce Bawer (i think I will mention this book every chance i get). He talks about how un-Christian the “family values” of people like James Dobson (Focus on the Family) are. (He sounds a lot like you Poly :slight_smile: )

It’s not easy to read the gospels as defending the “traditional family”. Jesus says (Matt 5:46-47) if you love only the people who love you, your doing no better than the publicans (republicans :smiley: ?). Being a Christian, rather, is about thinking of the rest of the world as part of your family, no matter if you find them or what they belive or how they have sex weird and disturbing.

Dobson is horrified at the thought of just anybody calling themselves a family, especially if their basing it on something as inconsequential as love. I quote:

“A family is made up of people related by blood, marrige {obviously heterosexual marriage}, or adoption {presumably only the ones that meet the legal standard}.”

“…you could end up defining a family as five homosexual guys who love each other. Until one of them stops loving them and you have a family of four.”

Whereas Jesus called his diciples his family (Matt:12:48-49)
Twelve guys unrelated by blood, marrige or adoption who are a family because they all love each other (of course I don’t know whether or not they were gay). Come to think of it, just like in Dobsons example one of them stopped loving the other ones and for a while they were a family of 11.

Has Dobson or any other “family values” crowd even read the Gospels?

Betenoir, I don’t deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Bawer. But thank you for the compliment! :slight_smile:

And dogsbody, thank you for starting this thread.

Maybe a bit of my own account might help make the point here:

I was the only grandchild of my grandparents. My youngest living relative was my mother, who was 38 when I was born.

I married a wonderful woman whose chances of having children were very slender, and in fact we did not beget any.

For the last ten years she and I have been a part of a wonderful extended family.

In 1991 we took in three troubled, effectively runaway boys of 16 and 17. One was our neighbor’s youngest son, who had effectively been thrown out of his parent’s house. The second was his cousin, who had been physically abused. The third was the cousin’s best friend, who had proceeded in one day to get into arguments with his (soon-to-be-ex-)boss, his (soon-to-be-ex-)girlfriend, and his mother, and hitched 30 miles to the one stable factor in his life, his friend. Through mutual caring we were able to reunite the boys with their families and help deal with the issues that had provoked the problems. (Through virtually no influence of ours, #2’s abusive parents found God and repented of their abusiveness.) And #1 ended up marrying #3’s cousin, while #3 married #1’s sister. Both sets had wonderful little children of their own. (Wanna see pictures of my grandkids? :D) And this complexus, including most of the parents, and we constitute a “manufactured” family.

And Dr. James Dobson can kiss our entire… well, we’re not in the Pit, so let me suggest he can kiss our left little toes. :wink:

Do people actually agree with Mr. Dobson?
Oh how ironic it would’ve been had one of his children turned out gay.

I used to get his “newsletter”, which was filled with ranting about how “they” are after the family and determined to destory it. How, I wonder?
Me and my son are a family, yet Dobson writes about how boys who grow up without fathers are much more likely to end up in jail. Hey thanks a lot.

**dogsbody wrote:

I mean, WTF? Whose family are these groups supposedly attacking? What damage is being done to said family?**

One of the writers in the local alternative paper envisions a scenario like this:

(fade in on Ward and June in the '90s)

(Ward comes home after a long day at his nebulous job) “June, I’m home, dear!”

(June comes out of the kitchen, licking on a spatula that’s covered in cake icing. She wearing pearls and nice dress and high heels) “That’s nice, dear. How was your day?”

“Oh, fine, fine.” Ward looks troubled. “June, I heard some distrubing news on the radio while driving home. Did you know that homosexual people in Vermont now have this thing called civil unions?”

“No, honey, I hadn’t heard that. I just listen to Perry Como LPs on the hi-fi all day”

“Well, they do. And I’ve been thinking, if these homosexual people have this ability to form this partnership, well, I just can’t love you anymore! To think that these homosexual people can do this, well, it’s a mockery of marriage and … after all these years together, I just CAN’T love you anymore!”

"Oh, Ward, that’s just terrible! And I agree, completely! The idea of two men or two women being able to do… THAT well, it just frightens me so much I’m going to pack my things and run back to mother.

"“Yes, those darn homosexuals, ruining everything for us! And that just shows how evil and nasty they are. Why, they’re all the way in Vermont, thousands of miles from here and yet their insidious poison has killed our marriage!”

You know, Ward and June should have realized something with that Eddie Haskell always hanging around Wally, and neither of them ever dating a girl. :wink:

I’ve stayed away from most threads here that deal with religion since I began on the SDMB. It used to make me mad that Christians got such a hard time here. Now I’m often one of those people that give Christians a hard time. You see I do still consider myself a Christian. No matter how hard I’ve tried to find an alternative I still believe in the teachings of Christ. (I’ve also come to believe that all religions share a common measure of “truth”.) The problem is that I cannot seem to find a place to worship in fellowship with others that love and revere his teachings as I do. I’m getting old now and once again I’ve left the church, resentful of the hatred and intolerance that I hear spewing forth from the pulpit. Their “family values” are not values at all, they are the same “values” that brought about the Inquisition and keep women in spritual bankruptcy for generations.

There are some of us who still believe that the most important commandment that the Lord has ever given is to “love your neighbor as you would yourself”.

It upsets me terribly when I have a conversation with my increasingly “fundie” sister about gays, women, and even poor people. She tells me not to say bad things about her church. I’d never say anything bad about some of the wonderful dedicated people that attend her church. But I am tired of that pastor they listen too every Sunday corrupting my sister. I actually yelled at her the other other day. I told her that I had every right to be angry at someone who would attempt to destory the sweet woman that I’ve known all her life. I am after all her sibling and it angers and frustrates me to see her mind, heart and soul being twisted by this doctrine of intolerance.

And the seriously sad part is that most all of these people truely believe now that they are compelled by the word of God to feel this way. Most people that make up the churches we are talking about are just ordinary people. People who don’t really have anything to gain in their personal lives by feeling this way. They are being sold a bill a goods in the form of salvation. They believe they are doing the right thing. The authority of the church holds them in sway. I know some people will say that they should be more discerning, but they are being persuaded. They are being persuaded by people who are supposedly better educated then themselves about the ways of God. Some people simply do not feel they have the right to question that authority.

Oh well, I ramble. There are some people out here who call themselves Christians and just do not associate that belief with intolerance and hatred.



Needs2know, if you haven’t already, go talk with people here like Polycarp, Jodi & Danielinthewolvesden. They’ll show you what you’re looking for.


Needs2know, I hear you loud and clear. And it annoys the hell out of me that people pervert Jesus’s teaching to this sort of thing.

Truly, I think that the Gospel of love will ultimately prevail. Hate and various phobias are not something on which people can build a faith. And all it takes is getting to know one of “those evil others” to realize that he or she is not evil or truly other. For some, unfortunately, it comes too late; read Matt_mcl’s post above for one true sad story of that sort.

In the interim, some things to deal with:
[li]Be positive, not negative. Don’t condemn your sister’s church; knowing her as you do, show her where they are going wrong.[/li][li]Focus on Jesus’s message in talking to her (and in your own thinking). He called for love of fellow man, avoiding judgment, being yourself humble but forthright in saying what you believe.[/li]Find a church that shows this sort of caring. Suggest that you might be willing to go there if she goes with you. In order to “save you” she’ll jump at the chance.

Poly, thanks for the compliment. I hoped you’d respond to the OP - I’d love to hear Jodi’s and DITWD’s responses to this - as well as even FriendOfGod or Jenkinsfan’s input. Or, Hell, even Wildest Bill’s input - if he can make himself understood. :slight_smile: (Bill, j/k)

The phrase may annoy me, but the truth is I want to understand where people are coming from rather than respond in a knee-jerk fashion.

Needs, I find it very odd to be saying this, but maybe you should look in to either your local UU church, or into the Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship - I think they may be a place you’d feel comfortable. (I’d link to their site, but it appears to be down right now and I don’t want to give you a bad link.)