Family Values

What do you think of when you hear the phrase "pro-family"? Or what about other political buzzwords like "pro-life" or "pro-values"? If you're like me, the first thing that comes to mind is "Christian." Christians are the pro-family and pro-values people, right?

Do a quick Google search with the terms "pro-family" or "pro-values" and here's some of the top 10 hits:
"American Family Association" - "stands for traditional family values."
"Institute for American Values" - "stands for traditional American values."
"Our American Values" - “deeply committed to defending life, traditional marriage, and equipping our children with the values necessary to stand against liberal education and cultural forces."
"Pro-Family Network" - "Promoting and defending the biblical framework of the Christian family because it takes a father and a mother to raise a child."
"Defend the Family" - "defending the 'natural' family, marriage, and family values."

Christians are good at twisting words to fit their agenda. After all, with so many denominations who all think they have the right interpretation of the Bible, they've got to be good at twisting something. And I think they've done it successfully here in the mind of the general public.

It makes my head spin to know Christians are trying to make "Christianity" synonymous with being "pro-family" and "pro-values." And because they have been able to get a corner on claiming these words for themselves, they have been allowed to define them -- "one man, one woman, no exceptions."

So, if Christians, who can't agree on much, are so staunchly united as "pro-family" (i.e. one woman, one man, etc.), and even on this there are many detractors, then the Bible must clearly teach that this is the only acceptable family structure right?

Well, the Bible does say some things about family.

What does the Bible say about polygamy, for example? Coming from an international Bible college, I ran into several Africans who came from polygamous Christian families (not Mormons but Protestant Evangelical Christians). I had never heard of such a thing and after I dealt a few puzzled looks, one asked me to show him where the Bible says a man can only have one wife. Besides Paul talking about deacons, I couldn't think of much else.

In fact, the Bible is full of examples of men marrying multiple wives. Heck, without polygamy there wouldn't have been the 12 tribes of Israel (Jacob w/ Rachel, Leah and their maidservants). There's a number of Christian polygamy sites on the net defending polygamy as well.

While I think the Bible does seem to condemn homosexuality, I do not think it specifically condemns polygamy. So, Christians are in a bind here - they seem so confident to defend the "biblical framework of the Christian family," as the Pro-Family Network states, but what is that according to the Bible? I don't think it's as clear cut as Christians and Christian politicians would have us believe.

So, if Christians are the pro-family, pro-values group, then what does that make an atheist or a secular humanist? It seems Christians would have us believe those groups are anti-family and anti-values. I'm not sure too many of these Christians would deny they think non-believers such as myself are, in fact, "anti-family" and "anti-values."

I find it outrageous that Christians are claiming to be pro-family and therefore by default or by admission, claiming that people who do not condemn alternative family structures are somehow "anti-family" and "anti-values."

It seems to me atheists, agnostics, secular humanists, and other non-believers need to stop allowing Christians to define what it means to be pro-family and pro-values. Because non-believers are just as pro-family and pro-values as Christians, if not a lot more.