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.


Michael said...

I fail to see how brainwashing children with lies, instilling them with irrational fears, suppressing their sexuality when they come of age, and beating them could ever be seen as family values.

nsfl said...

I hate to break it to you, Xians, but I have values too -- science, reason, individuality, civil liberties -- I value those things highly.

You don't have a lock on values, sorry.

They value faith over skepticism. They value fear over courage. I'll keep my values and let them have theirs. Mine are based on an Enlightenment of the modern world. Theirs are based on the archaic musings of mystics.

Layman said...

There is polygamy in the Bible, but it is not generally glorified, is usually restricted to royalty, and often lead to trouble. The archetype couple was Adam & Eve, rather than Adam & Eve, Wendy, Linda, Beth, and Suzy. This seems confirmed in Gen. 2:24.

In Matthew and Mark, this is repeated, "the two shall become one flesh." Mat. 19:5, Mark 10:8. This repeated by Paul in 1 Cor. 6:16 and in Eph. 5:31. To the extent Christians were noted as married in NT writings, it is to one wife or husband. In 1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6, emphasis is placed on leaders being married to one wife.

I do know some Christian missionaries to Africa who have had more success in places spreading the Gospel than they have in spreading the emphsis on monogamy. There is a lot of cultural background to the contrary and no doubt polygamous practitioners see Kings David and Solomon as examples comfirming their practice.

As for family values, practicing Christians tend to marry more and have more children. It is an emphasis for them.

Rich said...

I agree that christians don't have the coner on the market for values. There are vast differences of opinion regaurding values though. You make accept homosexuality as a natural occurence where I don't, or think abortion is ok where I don't. So just because you have good values doesn't mean you have all of the same values that I have. While there are plenty of "buzzwords" it seems that most people go issue by issue to picktheir sides. I may agree with the aclu on some things but other things I don't. Its the same for me with prolife, or profamily groups. They latch on to an issue and fight for their viewpoint to be taken. I can't put anyone at fault that is willing to defend their views, They may win out and I don't like it but that is democracy.

Hellbound Alleee said...

Well, Rich, I'd have to say that the point is not that you have family values and others have science values. The point is that the term "family values" is either loaded, or, more in keeping with my opinion, meaningless. When I hear the phrase "family values," I tend to think that it means hating queers. Which makes the term meaningless. Hating homosexuals is not a value at all. So if you claim "family values," I have no idea whatsoever if you are referring to values at all, or you just want to use a term that sounds good to most people.

If "family values" really meant what it means, it means a person wants the best for himself and the people related to him, generally those who live with him. It's rather a given, don't you think? So there's actually only one point to be made by saying "I have family values:" that is, you hope that it makes you look like a standup guy to whomever is listening. It's nothing but politics, and, well sorry, just a bunch of BS to fill empty air.

Rich said...

I agree with you on several points actually HA. People use political buzzwords to fall in line with voters so I usually see the buzzwords as meaningless. I don't agree that opposing homosexuality, for example, makes you a queer hater, and this is the only thing that makes the term meaningless? It seems to me that to you its meaningless because its a term defined and used by christians. For myself I would want to know what exactly they include as valuse before I decide what they refer to. I could also say that when I hear the term "pro-choice" I think it means baby killers. Killing a baby isn't a value either. Both sides of the political arena is about using toerms and promises to apeal to voters to get in office or pass new laws. It is alot of BS. Just for the record my cousin is gay and I accept him for who is. He's a great guy and we did alot of things together in our earlier years, I don't see him much anymore because of distance but we catch up at family reunions. So while I don't agree with the homosexual lifestyle I certainly have no hatred toward any of them.

"If "family values" really meant what it means, it means a person wants the best for himself and the people related to him, generally those who live with him. It's rather a given, don't you think?"

Agreed, and I would guess that the majority of the things that are considered "family values" by these groups are things you have in common with them. There will of coarse be exceptions and things you don't agree on, which is what I was saying before. There are things we feel differently about.

Hellbound Alleee said...

Opposing homosexuality may not make you a "queer hater," but it sure takes a lot to weasel out of. Opposing homosexuality is like opposing the weather, or sand. I kind of feel sorry for these Don Quixotes.

And no, Rich, it is meaningless not because christians use the term, and I roll my eyes at you. I don't think that the term "trinity" is meaningless. I think it means something silly, but it's not meaningless. "Family Values" is meaningless because the real meaning of it is made into an empty slogan used to market a feeling, and if I go ahead and take it to mean what it actually is, you might as well be speaking Swahili, because I'd just then have to assume you mean "I breathe." Big deal.

Hellbound Alleee said...

Oh, jeez, I'm really sorry. I allowed the homosexual thing sidetrack me.

I'm not very good at making myself understood, so I'll try to do that now. Whether you simply oppose the air--I mean, "the homosexual lifestyle" (another empty slogan), or "hate queers" (very clear), it is simply not a value.

Opposing things is not values, because values are things you strive to attain or keep.

Another point to be made is that Political Action Committees cannot have values. Political Action commitees are made-up groups. Individuals have values. Countries do not have values, clubs do not have values. Not even families have values. Individuals have values. So if this group is pro-family, it is even made more meaningless, because only the ruling people decided to claim that the group has an imaginary "value," which they probably hope people take to mean they share values, most values, with people who they hope will reach into their wallets and give them money. "Family values" belong to most people who breathe, so more dinero for the ruling people of the group.

It really has nothing to do with your values, or my values, Rich. I mean, if you oppose things, that's fine. Just don't say it's a value. Thinking the ladies should shut up and get cold ones for the men, that's a value--just only marketable to certain people, and probably it will keep the queers and damned atheists away.

Rich said...

I should mention that I don't get involved n politics becasue its all a bunch of bs. I agree that opposing such things don't make them a value. All anyone wants with this is to sway a bunch of people not willing to study an issue into voting their way by using these meaningless terms.

"Opposing homosexuality may not make you a "queer hater," but it sure takes a lot to weasel out of."
Really, how so?

"Opposing homosexuality is like opposing the weather, or sand. I kind of feel sorry for these Don Quixotes"

Meaning that homosexuality isn't a choice? I don't know that I can agree with that. It has never been conclusively proven that someone is born a homosexual. Homosexuality is an act not a person so I can oppose the act without hating the person as they are two different things.

Jack said...

Do values mean valuing some things/ideas etc more than others?

Does this mean de valuing others?

Seems like that's the way it's commonly used.

So, taken to the end of the line, Loving X and Hating Y are "F" values?

Aggain, it seems that way.

Then , doesn't it seem plausible that HATE is the BASIS of "Family Values" as much as LOVE is?

"No Desires, No Disappointments."