“Family Values”

We did not lose this election on values. Many may say or believe this, but it isn’t true and I recommend you don’t buy into it.

What Are “Family Values”?

Do these not include things like war, security and the economy? All issues require some level of pertaining value; if one has no values, can one still have a valid perspective on war or the economy?

I find it disturbing that people were somehow convinced that the term “family values” does not envelop essentially everything that, in ways obvious and subtle, affects the family, and not just a few particular religious-based issues. If one has little value for the family, or value for the family on a level lower than value for business, how can they make fair judgments on, for example, economic policy?

Definition of “Family Values” as “Pro-” and Not “Anti-“

“Family values” is not a synonym for “anti-gay”. Something important to remember in this respect is that gays are parts of families. Gays have as much of a right to “family” as anyone. Ostracizing your gay child is not “family values”. Kicking them out of the house and refusing to speak to them is not “family values”. And, what, are we trying to say, by using “family values” as a blanket for an anti-homosexual agenda, that gay people should not have parents?

I’ve argued the “homosexuality is not a choice; here are the reasons” thing on so many occasions that to do so again in this post would be unnecessarily redundant. I shouldn’t have to bring up the same arguments every time I make an additional point about a given subject.

As far as “pro-life” is concerned, “pro-life” is, ultimately, “anti-abortion”. It does not actually mean “for/in support of-life”. If it really meant that, the people who claim to be “pro-life” wouldn’t be so hasty to use the lives of innocent people in other countries as currency to buy a false sense of security from the same people providing us with the insecurity and fear. [see sub:1] If Bush was really “pro-life”, he wouldn’t have created such a miserable environment in which people are terrified of having children due to economic constraints and shortfalls. [see sub:2] “Pro-life” is apparently only the desire to keep people from not reproducing; there’s no relation at all to the quality of that life after it leaves the womb. You can’t be “pro-life” and “anti-social programs” at the same time.

[sub:1] It’s the equivalent of making up a monster, saying he lives in Canada, then sending out a hunting expedition to kill him. Of course, the threat of terror is very real, but is of no greater a quantity than before the September Eleventh attacks. There was terrorism before that–Bin Laden attacked targets overseas and killed many people before attacking inside of our country; Tim McVeigh blew up a federal building in Oklahoma City; et cetera. One major successful terrorist attack does not necessarily mean we are more threatened. It’s not like the organization got experience points from the attack and leveled up to, like, Lv6 Terrorist Paladins.

[sub:2] Funny how, during the Clinton administration, abortions actually decreased in number significantly, but during the Bush administration, the trend reversed.

“Family values” can be religiously motivated, but one need not be religious to have morality or values. I have no problem with religion in itself; what I view to be a problem, and a major one, is a particular approach to religion. (Explained in This Post.) The Bible has a great philosophy. “Be nice to each other”, essentially. A dangerous problem arises when the spreading of the message becomes more important than the message itself. Eventually, the message to be spread becomes “spread the message”. And when the effects of worship on one’s mind and body become the personal goal of belief, that’s not religion, that’s self-serving addiction. [see sub:3] Belief in Jesus shouldn’t be a requisite for non-damnation. This misses the point of the Gospel portion of the Bible entirely. I think the idea is supposed to be that being nice to each other shouldn’t depend on whether or not one man existed, or whether or not you believe in him. Would you really think Jesus wouldn’t care if you were an asshole to everyone as long as you believed in him? The belief itself isn’t as important as the message. Jesus didn’t strike me as the type to be that self-important and greedy. “I don’t care if you’re jerks to each other as long as you say you believe in me!” Think of Jesus saying that.

[sub:3] For the record, Jesus would not have believed in a supply-side economy. Nor would he want to get rid of social programs. Nor would he favor less taxes for the rich. Nor would he favor ostracizing homosexuals. Nor would he be all that keen on viral propogation of a distorted version of his message.

Read the Gospel of Supply-Side Jesus HERE. (Thanks to Djur for digging up the link.)

I’m not a religious person, but I think there’s a lot to be learned from the Bible, in its philosophy. I can do without the supernatural fantasy aspects, but when the entertainment element is stripped away, there’s a clear, great message to be found.

The problem is selectively literal interpretation of the Bible, mostly in its fantasy/entertainment elements. If I wanted, I could find a way to justify any agenda simply by interpreting particular passages from the Bible in a certain way. I could find support for genocide, or for killing unarmed men. I could find support for beating people to death, or setting them on fire. I could find support for killing children. The stories aren’t something upon which one should base their religious philosophy– there’s already a fantastic philosophy in there to use.

Let me tell you a story about selective literal interpretation of religious doctrine:

There once was a group of people who had a book with an interesting philosophy. They believed this book to have been given them by their god. It was filled with stories, and lessons to be learned. However, some of the people looked at the book in such a way as to justify a particular agenda, and they found that, if one read it a certain way, it supported their rather unusual worldview. Others tried to convince them otherwise, but they would not concede. After careful planning, believing beyond any doubt that they had the support of god, they flew stolen airplanes into buildings in the United States and killed many people.

To any fundamentalists who may be reading: Do you see any parallel? At all? I’m not trying to be condescending, and I don’t want to insult your intelligence, but it really seems to me as though the parallel of other religions with similar frames of mind just doesn’t register. While you feel that you are right in your views of religion, there are dozens and dozens of other groups who feel the exact same way. They, too, feel as though others are wrong. They, too, feel as though thinking anything other than the views of their own faith will be a “failure” of some kind of divine “test”. Your approach to your beliefs isn’t special in any way.

I know you don’t want separation of church and state, but there are churches other than yours, and faiths other than Christianity, and I can assure you that abolition of that stipulation will ultimately result in your disappointment. There are reasons those kinds of safeguards are in place. And again, morality is not dependent upon whether or not one is religious. Atheism and morality are not mutually exclusive. Just because one doesn’t believe in something/someone, that doesn’t mean they don’t subscribe to the same fundamental philosophy. If one doesn’t believe in god, that doesn’t mean they think we should all be assholes to each other.

You know a country that doesn’t have separation of church and state? Iran. It’s not the only one, either.

If this election had truly been about “family values” and “morality”, for the real definitions of those terms, it would have been a landslide Kerry victory.

2 thoughts on ““Family Values””

  1. One other thing I found interesting regarding religious fundamentalism was something I noticed while reading a letter in the local paper. The guy said he would vote for kerry, but when kerry says he sympathesizes with the beliefs of pro-lifers but doesn’t act on that belief (read: legislate them upon others), it indicates he doesn’t really have that value. Some people have the desire to enact laws in the places they live to force others to have the same values that they value. The willingness to do this, they think, is the true indication of the moral character, one of Bush’s main strengths. Oh well, atleast the ignorance provided by the mass media spares them the overwhelming guilt the rest of us have for being members of a country so self-centered it is blind of its own actions. Already over 100,000 civilian casualties, and imagine the total it would be if they counted all the so-called “insurgents” for what they actually were: peaceful citizens until a tank comes rolling down their street knocking down buildings and killing innocent people. With my neighborhood destroyed and no future in sight, you’re damn right I’d try to kill the drivers of said tanks, I don’t care what country they’re from. Why doesn’t the average citizen have the ability to put this together?

  2. I find it interesting that the three Abrahamic religions are the ones that get most bent out of shape about people being some other religion– even one of the other two Abrahamics. Mahayana and Hinayana Buddhists may differ on some doctrinal interpretation, but they generally don’t pull the machetes out about it. Of course, I haven’t studied ALL the world’s religions, so I can’t be considered authoritative– mebbe there were some extremely zealous polytheists somewhere in Africa at some point.

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