activism, culture

“Family Values”: All Families Matter Equally

And now for the less pleasant side of Christian culture in this country.

As I was again turning the dial to turn past the channels on the radio, I came across a Christian channel where the hosts sounded like they were on Quaaludes.

The website associated with this station?

The fact that these people don’t seem to realize the gall it takes to say that is, itself, galling.

Newsflash: “Family” is not the exclusive province of Christian hegemonic values.

There are plenty of families on this planet. Most (the vast majority, I’d say) are just as decent as Christian families, no matter their values or their religion.

The Christian right in this country has masterfully succeeded at using the politics of controlling words and rectifying phrases: “Pro-life”, demonizing the word “welfare”, etc. One of their successes has been associating “family values” exclusively with Christian hegemony. It takes a truly doctrinaire person to think that the world is full of heathen and savage animals aside from one’s own group. It’s parochialism, and it’s not only inherently irrational but it’s also deeply anti-Christian.

It’s like what happens with language. When people say that “Text speak is obliterating English”, a linguist would respond, “No, text speak is obliterating YOUR English”.

“Family values” aren’t under attack in this country. Christian values might be, though in fact there is just a move towards more diversity and more modes of expression. But “family values aren’t”.

If Christianity was obliterated from the world today, families would continue to exist. They would continue to have values.

Now, let me be clear: I personally believe that the obliteration of Christianity from the world would hurt our corpus of thought. It’d deprive us of a valuable perspective.

But things would continue to go on.

Now, one can make the argument (an argument I disagree with) that the values of families without Christianity would be worse. One can even say that people would be deprived of salvation. And that’s fine to think. That’s a matter of theology.

But we have to fight the idea that there’s only one kind of family and only one kind of values that exist, let alone matter.


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