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at the water's edge
“”If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
| —Jesus on |
To most people, family values is a phrase meaning "Treat your family well and take care of them." To a certain subspecies of American conservative (and their Polish clones), the phrase means "stop the evil Satanists, gays, abortionists, atheists, pagans, spics, witches, liberals, niggers, race-mixers, da Juice [sic], and anyone else we hate." Since the rise of Trumpian xenophobia and the de facto sainthood of Trump among evangelical Christians, it has also meant the forced splitting up of immigrant families.
To the American Right
In contemporary American politics, "family values" is known as a code word or dog whistle — something that disguises more hateful aspects of an agenda as something nice and innocent. It refers to a part of the Christian right-wing agenda of "God, gays and abortion." By using a code word that is carefully chosen, a politician (or person) can say they are "for family values" and sound as all-American as apple pie, but what they mean is that they intend to promote this particular narrow and anti-intellectual agenda. Their opponent is stuck in a foolish tangle of phraseology - how can they say they are against "family values"? And yet calling them on it doesn't work either, since it sounds boorish to accuse someone of not really being for "family values".
Thus the group bringing the issues of abortion, homosexuality and school prayer into the political arena does not have to use any of those words, but their opponent has to in order to confront them, making them seem more "narrow issue" oriented.
The "traditional" family
To the American Right, a traditional family consists of a breadwinning father, earning lots of money "at the office," a stay-at-home mother who bakes cookies, a son and a daughter who do well at school and say "sure, Pop!" all the time. And probably a dog, perhaps a cat, and most definitely a flag flying near the front door (which is preferably the Christian Flag, but an American one will do in a pinch, since they at least pretend to be patriotic). They view this nuclear (or nu-cu-lar) family as the most stable and traditional unit in all of history. However, the reality is somewhat different. There is also very little, if not zero, evidence that a "non-traditional" family is harmful to the upbringing of children - i.e., there is no more chance that a child will grow up gay or a serial killer if they're placed with gay parents compared to heterosexual parents.
However, the phrase "family values" could be considered remarkably accurate if one is referring to this family.
Hypocrisy and scandal
“”Most politicians are permanently chained to that slogan: family values. But when you cozy up to hookers and I find out, I will make that hypocrisy hurt.
|—Frank Underwood, House of Cards (US)|
With the recent gay sex-related scandals involving conservative proponents of "family values" such as Rep. Mark Foley, Rev. Ted Haggard, and Sen. Larry Craig, et al. (ad infinitum) a scientific investigation has revealed that a person's closeted gayness is in direct proportion to their
homophobia outspokenness and support of the causes of the "Family Values Movement."[note 1]
Also worth pointing out is the fact that a certain notable conservative radio host who has made a lot of noise about this subject has also been remarried four times, while Kim Davis, county clerk and martyr for the noble cause of stopping same-sex couples from marrying, has been remarried three times and had twins out of wedlock.
- American Dream
- American Taliban
- Conservative correctness
- Focus on the Family
- Religious freedom
- Traditional values
- This is probably pure unadulterated snark, but who knows...
- Trump Administration To Divide Immigrant Families To Prosecute Parents For Illegal Entry by Roque Planas & Elise Foley (05/07/2018 07:16 pm ET) Huffington Post.
- See Penn & Teller: Bullshit!, 3.02, Family Values
- Sheri Stritof. "The Marriages of Rush Limbaugh". http://marriage.about.com/od/entertainmen1/p/rushlimbaugh.htm.
- Deborah Hastings (09/02/2015). "Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, who refuses on biblical grounds to give marriage licenses to gay couples, has been married four times; committed adultery: court records". New York Daily News. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/kentucky-clerk-gay-marriage-fracas-married-4-times-article-1.2345036.