Oh, and Poly and Freyr, thank you for the laughs.
Thanks Poly…It isn’t quite that bad. If it were she wouldn’t keep showing up to share a beer and a cigarette and start asking me questions like she does. I think she struggles with it. Poor baby, she’s never been a deep thinker anyway. It’s her church and her husband. I don’t say bad things about her church of course. I even liked her pastor and went there for awhile, he was a witty fellow. Until the day they asked us all to sign a petition to stop legislation in Hawaii on same sex marriage. I quit going.
The other night we talked about this very subject, gays. She asked me “Do you think it’s OK for gays to be raising children in that environment?” And I asked her, “What environment is that? Do you know any gay couples that are raising kids?” She said; “No, but do you think it’s OK for kids to grow up in an alcoholic houshold?” And I said, “Probably not the ideal situation but weren’t we talking about gays? And I didn’t hear your pastor ask me to sign a petition to outlaw alcoholics from marrying?” “But how can that lifestyle be good for children?”, she asked. And I replied; “How do you know it isn’t?” “Do your kids really care what you and Bubba do in bed? And since you don’t even know any gay couples, and wouldn’t know of any kids your kids might know who are being raised that way. How does this effect you?” She says; “Well it just doesn’t seem right?” “Why?” I ask; “You don’t think it’s contagious do you?” Then she got pissed. “No it’s wrong!” And I ask; “But what difference does that make to you, it’s not your soul? Even if you believe that God doesn’t like it, how does their behavior effect you? God specifically says that it isn’t your place to judge, he will”
Poor baby, I think she wants to be her old self, but she doesn’t want to go against her husband or the church that has been good to her.
Other suggestions: most United Churches of Christ are pretty focused on love and social justice. Episcopal churches vary all over the lot, but the majority are as well (some are veddy socially elite, some are rockbound conservative, but most speak to the sorts of views I’ve espoused here). Methodism (and Presbyterianism): in my experience are in general lagging behind the others I’ve mentioned, but Jodi apparently belongs to one of the nicest Methodist churches I’ve ever heard of. Most Baptist churches are more Falwellian than not, but there are some strongly liberal ones.
Local gay newspapers and resource centers often maintain lists of “accepting churches” – while this isn’t something you’re specifically looking for, it’s a dead-sure certainty of listed churches that their heart is in the right place.
Uh, oh! dogsbody, Esprix may have infected you with the dread UU virus! Be watching for the symptoms: when you start quoting Buddha and Christ in the same post, or start talking about “the inherent dignity of every human life,” you’ll know you have come down with it. (I’m immune: liberal Episcopalianism is like vaccination: you get a mild case of the bug, and become moderately tolerant without losing your Christianity.)
Actually, my creeping UUism is all Satan’s fault - and if you don’t think I don’t want to crack up every time I think about the fact that Satan gave me religion…
Well, okay, Satan and Mother Coyote, but I can’t get her to join the board…
Don’t blame me! It’s not my fault! (But http://www.uua.org is a good start. ;))
As to the OP, and to quote Dan Ackroyd from “Spies Like Us,” “We mock what we don’t understand.” People fear the unknown and people fear change, and they fear those things that go against what they believe (for whatever reason) when there’s tenuous reason to keep believing it.
Just remember, and to quote a bumper sticker, “Hate is not a family value.”
Here’s my theory.
They start with a premise that was not derived through study or rational thought. Instead, it’s taken on faith. All subsequent evidence must be made to fit that premise.
There are some problems in our society that have been linked to weak family units. (eg. People seek out gangs for a sense of belonging that they lack at home). Family advocacy groups then make the logical (to them anyway) connection that “weak family unit” = “untraditional family unit”.
So anyone that espouses non-traditional family units is trying to introduce weaker family units, which will lead to rampant crime, rip apart “true” families, and destroy society as we know it.
Focus on the Family can be pretty persuading in this argument. They use research that proves the traditional family unit is the legitimate one. Unfortunately, most people accept this research at face value, not realizing that much of it comes from extremely questionable and biased sources, such as exposed fraud, Paul Cameron.
I’ve heard of that too and I think it’s a crock. A girl that I work with just thinks that “it’s awful that so many people have affairs and get divorced and that these “single mothers” think they can raise their children by themselves!” I told her off for saying that because I was recently divorced with 2 kids under age 3 and I was doing just fine without a man around and so were my kids. But this is a woman who wouldn’t know how to be alone if her husband died… she’d be lost and I think that’s sad.
I think family values are whatever you want them to be. My values/morals are just that… MINE. I don’t push them on others and I don’t let others tell me that mine are wrong. I also think that a family is whatever you make of it. A childless couple is as much a family as a couple with one or more children. Just MHO.
Now that everyone’s worked up on this, I’d like to make a suggestion: the next time you hear the Fundamentalists go off on “same sex marriages” tearing apart the traditional family and how young children are corrupted by being raised by two men or two women; challenge them on it. Ask them for proof, ask for a citation. Have them prove their point. They’re making a conclusion with no data.
I think that all too often, they spout this nonsense, yet no one challenges them on it. So challenge them! Ask them to prove their point! The next time something like this comes up before your city or county government, get involved and make sure they don’t get away with spouting nonsense. If they can’t give a cite or prove their point; make it clear that all they’re spouting off is their IN-expert opinion on a subject they know nothing about.
If they’re not challenged, then people will keep taking what they say as the truth. We need to show others that it’s NOT the truth. Get involved!
Whose traditional family, though? I mean, that’s my question (see the OP, and ITR champion’s followup. Or Tracer & Poly’s followups to the OP, for that matter, tongues in cheeks or not… ;)) - to me, a traditional family is one where mom works, dad works, and if gramma and granpa are still around they watch the kids until the kids are old enough to work. Seems to me that that’s a much more accurate view of the traditional family, unless you have/had the fortune to grow up in an “old-money” family. Of course, even in those cases Mom rarely stayed home to watch the kids…
Freyr, that’s part of why I started this - to get solid information (well, semi-solid, anyway) so that when I find myself in one of those situations I can hold my own. I so seldom get passionate about anything…
The Euro-centric, Christian, 1950s era nuclear family. One dad (breadwinner), one mom (housewife), legitimately concieved-in-marriage children.
Single and same-sex families need not apply.
At least, that’s my impression while being raised Mormon, one of the biggest “pro-family” groups out there.
I wonder if LDS President Hinckley realized who he was paralleling when he said:
“We are not anti-gay. We are pro-family.” Hinckley, defending Proposition 22 campaign in California.
“I’m not anti-black, I’m pro-white.” David Dukes, defending his involvement in the KKK.
The next time someone pops off with anti-homosexual “destroying the family” rhetoric you should tell them to support gay marriages. After all, if they allowed gays to marry they could eliminate all that “fornication!”
As some of you know, I’ve only recently returned to the SDMB after a bit of Internet exile. So I did not see this thread until it grew to its current length, without a single serious attempt to answer the OP.
I’d say that there are two reasons why conservatives label GLBT activism as “attacking the family.”
Firstly, the simplest: Many conservatives believe, not entirely without justification, that men and women have fundamentally different natures. They are of the opinion (and this is, of course, entirely opinion) that children are best raised by a combination of those natures, and anything that promotes something else (i.e., gay marriage or single parenthood) to equivalent status is likely to result in children being intentionally raised in less than optimum conditions.
However, I’d venture to say that that first reason applies to very few of the “GLBT activism attacks the family” crowd. For the more common root, one must look at said activism not in a vacuum, but rather, in the context of what came before it. Organized gay activism did not exist until after such events as the sexual revolution of the 60’s, the skyrocketing divorce and teen pregnancy rates, Roe vs. Wade, and the rise of AIDS and the vocal condom chorus.
Conservatives have long believed that abstaining from sex prior to marriage creates a more stable couple and, eventually, family unit for the involved parties. They see marriage as a contract that enforces responsibility for one’s sexual actions, and that any measures that decrease that responsibility as a source of decay for the importance of the family unit. So you have no-fault divorce, which allows one spouse to drop another, and their children, without any indication of a responsibility for the impact that these actions have (except, perhaps, a support check). Abortion not merely legalized but raised to the level of a constitutional right, absolving sex partners from any responsibility for even considering the possibility that the creature inside the woman is, in every way but time, their child.
Moreover, when some societal problem arises whose root can clearly be traced to non-marital sex, the response from such groups is not toward greater responsibility, but toward less of it. Teens getting pregnant, serial sex partners getting AIDS? Publicize condoms, not responsible behavior. Children being born out of wedlock in record numbers? Deny that it ever wasn’t that way. Children deprived of one parent’s frequent presence…and usually the other parent’s attention as well, as that one has to go to work for monetary support and seek a new companion for emotional support? Downplay the impact by insisting (with no particular evidence) that it was just as bad or worse when parents who weren’t necessarily lovey-dovey made a point of keeping together for the kids’ sake. Somehow, even though these problems did not reach epidemic proportions until the late 60’s at earliest, those who favor the sexual revolution and its outcome…the political left in America…refuse to accept that their promotion of a sexual “anything-goes” attitude had anything to do with it.
And in addition to refusing to accept any responsibility for these actions, such groups practice a scorched-earth policy in defense of sexual freedom. One excellent example is the political alignment of the Catholic church. Once upon a time, the Catholic church was considered extremely left-wing, marching in opposition to the death penalty and the Vietnam War alongside folks who are today identified as liberals. With Roe vs. Wade, all that changed. Suddenly, the Catholic church was a terrible right-wing oppressor, and for one reason only: they would not back any policy that involved promotion of sex outside of marriage.
Into this atmosphere comes GLBT activism. Taken by itself, such issues as workplace equality and even gay marriage (except to those who believe reason # 1, above) are not destructive to the fabric of the family, and might not have aroused such spirited opposition. However, the GLBT activists tend to be aligned with the sorts who are gung-ho on abortion, condom distribution to children and support for unmarried parents. As such, conservatives identify them not with a civil-rights attitude, but with a sexual “anything-goes” attitude, which they see as an erosion of the feeling of responsibility that is so important to the family unit.
Chaim, I agree with much of what you say, but I’m not sure that the connection to your ultimate point is very strong. You attribute the conservative opposition to gays and lesbians to their alignment with those who have taken a permissive attitude (to use the conservatives’ word) on heterosexual sex and hetero family structure.
The problem I have is that, in all my (many) years around conservative Christians, the negative reaction they have toward gays is far stronger than that they have toward single moms, divorced parents, etc. Only abortion seems to get the same rise out of them, and I’m not sure that’s always the case.
So I have to conclude that there’s something about homosexuality that sets off the fundies, that would still set them off powerfully if hetero families hadn’t changed since the 1950s.
Thanks for the invite, but my views are so much in line with Polycarps- that I would start sounding like a “dittohead”. A loving, committed, homosexual couple, with (often adopted) children is certainly a “family” with “moral values”. And those that hate, fear & attack* such folks are not following JC’s teachings, IMHO.
- disgaree with, or “not for me” or “could be better”- I could maybe buy, but hatred is right out.
The “skyrocketing divorce rate” has always been a pet peeve of mine.
The divorce rate increased in the last half of the 20th century because, in the first half of the century, there was no such thing as a “no-fault divorce.” If you wanted to get divorced in 1947, it wasn’t enough that you wanted to break up. The state forced you to stay married. You could only get a divorce if you could prove “grounds” for divorce, such as adultery or cruelty or gross marital negligence. Stories abound about married couples living in those Dark Ages of divorce law, who had to pretend to have extramarital affairs just to be allowed to divorce each other.
Once various states started passing “no-fault divorce” or “dissolution” laws in the 1960s and 1970s, disenchanted married couples started taking advantage of them. It is my not-so-humble opinion that if no-fault divorce laws had existed several decades earlier, the divorce rate would have been just as high half a century ago as it is now.
My guess is it’s the “Eww, ick!” factor. “You stick it where?!”
Just a brief word on this whole responsibility issue. I can definetly see why some people would regrad the promotion of birth control as an invitation to practice lower standards of responsibility. However, we should always keep in mind that human beings are sexual beings, and that attempts to promote abstinence among teens are not as successful as some would like to think. In fact, during the 50’s, the teen pregnancy rate was higher than it was today (I’ll try to find some stats on that.) Back then, however, people tried to ignore the problem by arranging marriages for 17- and 18-year-olds when a pregnancy occurred. We need to simply accept the fact that teenagers will have sexual encounters, and when they do, everyone is better off if they have access to birth control.
>> The next time someone pops off with anti homosexual “destroying the family” rhetoric you should tell them to support gay marriages. After all, if they allowed gays to marry they could eliminate all that “fornication!”
A friend of mine (who is bisexual) has an even better solution: gay adoption. If they all have 4 little kids to take care of, they won’t have time for any sinful or wicked deeds.
Oh, I’m not denying that this is true. But I think the passing of no-fault divorce laws was an outgrowth of the growing attitude in society of less family responsibility. In other words, it’s certainly possible that if no-fault divorce laws existed earlier they very well might have been used, but the feeling of responsibility that held a family together back then was of such strength that no-fault divorce laws weren’t an issue people gave much thought to.
That wasn’t “ignoring” the problem, that was addressing it. It was forcing people to take responsibility for their actions. Don’t look at the rate of teen pregnancy merely by checking out statistics on the age of the mother, look at the rate of unwed births. Back then, people who realized that they have created new life in the world accepted their responsibility to properly nurture that child.
Chaim Mattis Keller
Oh yeah. There’s a good basis for social policy. Not to mention the fact that plenty of heterosexuals stick it there and plenty of homosexuals don’t.
Not that I’m disagreeing with, regretable I think it’s very big factor.
Yup. That’s just what they’re asking for. To get married and have children. How anti-family can you get?
And after they start all these families they want to go out and defend our country in times of war. How can these people be stopped?!
Since I’m talking about gay parents, I want to adress Chaim’s point about the need for male and female influence.
As someone raised by a single mother, I have, in fact, started to believe that I missed out on something not having a father around. And that as the world is made up of men and women, there is something to be said for being raised by one of each. But…so? Obviously two loving parents of the same sex are better than a loving mother and a father that beats you up (or visa versa). One loving parent is better than two that ignore you. We’ve got such a surplus of warm loving supportive families we’re going to start being picky?
Who in this world grows up under optimum circumstances?