They call themselves “Values Voters” and they’re meeting in Washington this week at a gig sponsored by the Family Research Council – which in actuality does little “research” and spends most of its money and time lobbying for what they perceive to be “family issues.”
No – you won’t find too many scholarly papers or books published by the FRC. What you will find is a lot of shocking ignorance, bigotry, and a stupidity so profound that one wonders how these people can live in the 21st century without their heads exploding.
These guys would have been right at home in Salem about 400 years ago. This is their take on homosexuality:
Family Research Council believes that homosexual conduct is harmful to the persons who engage in it and to society at large, and can never be affirmed. It is by definition unnatural, and as such is associated with negative physical and psychological health effects. While the origins of same-sex attractions may be complex, there is no convincing evidence that a homosexual identity is ever something genetic or inborn. We oppose the vigorous efforts of homosexual activists to demand that homosexuality be accepted as equivalent to heterosexuality in law, in the media, and in schools. Attempts to join two men or two women in “marriage” constitute a radical redefinition and falsification of the institution, and FRC supports state and federal constitutional amendments to prevent such redefinition by courts or legislatures. Sympathy must be extended to those who struggle with unwanted same-sex attractions, and every effort should be made to assist such persons to overcome those attractions, as many already have.
There’s never a stake and a pile of wood around when you need one, huh guys.
I am no great defender of homosexual activists – or any other activists who seek special rights or privileges based on some idiosyncratic attribute. They can’t help being gay nor can many obese people help being fat or others help the fact that they’ve got red hair (I discriminate ruthlessly against people with red hair). A line must be drawn somewhere or soon, the only people not able to claim special rights are gorgeous, hunky, heterosexual white men under the age of 40. And don’t worry, they’ll find something they’ve been discriminated for too.
But at the same time, does anyone else feel that they’ve jumped into a time machine and travelled back about 100 years when reading how the FRC feels about gays? Well, maybe not a hundred but at least 30. The American Psychiatric Association decided back in the 1970’s that homosexuality was not a mental disorder or disease so where they get this “negative physical and psychological” stuff is not, I assure you, from any recognized authority on the subject.
But the FRC talks like gays are sick while needing our sympathy and help to get rid of “unwanted” (!!) sexual desires. I pity anybody with unwanted sexual desires. It’s sort of like the feeling I get when I see Catherine Zeta-Jones in Zorro. But the FRC isn’t talking about those kind of unwanted desires; they’re talking about sexual feelings for someone from the same sex generally.
So where do they get these cockamamie, stupid, bigoted notions? It ain’t from any “research” done by the Family Research Council. Or at least any published research. What they have are brochures, “booklets,” a lecture, and a couple of friend of the court briefs filed in cases involving sodomy laws.
I have taken some pains to describe these “values” because they are apparently shared by the vast majority of “Values Voters” who showed up at this shindig in DC this week. In addition to a lot of hokum like this, they are also fed a steady diet of political red meat by the likes of Sean Hannity:
Hannity made an offer to Barack Obama. Given Obama’s predilection for scolding America for not being charitable, Hannity offered to send Obama’s destitute half-brother in Kenya $1,000, if Team Obama can send Hannity his address. If Obama will appear on his show, he’ll make it $10,000.
Afterwards, he returned to the media issue. Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton’s strategist, told him that the media has lost a tremendous amount of credibility in this electoral cycle. Rasmussen reports that 69% of the public believe that the media outlets have rigged their reporting to favor their candidate. In no manner is that more obvious in the way they have treated Sarah Palin. In six days, Hannity says, there were more questions about Bristol Palin than in 19 months about Obama’s association with William Ayers.
What any of that has to do with being a values voter I don’t know. But it sure revved up the troops, didn’t it?
Bill Bennett was also there. Now I happen to like Bill Bennett quite a bit and believe him to be a rational, intelligent man who speaks and writes with great clarity about the challenges of maintaining western civilization’s core values and protecting them from assault by some nihilists on the left.
But this is nonsense:
Bennett said that we have to tread carefully in our support of the Palins for the pregnancy of their teen daughter. We need to applaud the way that they handled this family crisis, Bennett says, but we have to remain focused on preventing teen sex and fight an epidemic that creates these pregnancies. We can do both, and we should.
Obama represents a different set of values, and Bennett warns that these could prove dangerous to the American way of life. We shouldn’t question his patriotism, but we can certainly question his judgment. Fred Thompson summed it up best, Bennett says. “There are two questions we will never have to ask about John McCain: Who is this man, and can we trust him with the Presidency?”
Values are “dangerous?” Are Obama’s values (he is a nominal Christian, a family man, seems fairly honest for a politician, and cares about his community) going to attack us? Maybe they’ll jump us when we’re sitting in church minding our own business. Perhaps they’ll ambush us on our way home from the store.
Values are not dangerous. They may be different. But different isn’t dangerous unless one seeks to impose those values on people who are unwilling to accept them. Obama and the Democrats may still achieve power in November. But really now, are our core values going to change that much unless we let them?
The problem is that many of the things these attendees believe to be “value oriented” either have nothing to do with “values” and everything to do with politics or, even more prosaically, are absolutely none of their fricking business as far as what others might believe, or think, or seek to live. In other words, I would tell most of the “values voters” there to get stuffed and keep their nose out of my life. My values are my own and seeking to make political issues out of personal morality is the antithesis of liberty.
For instance, saying that life begins at conception is a belief based on faith. I respect that. But science doesn’t see it that way and the government cannot, should not base laws that govern people on the way humans interpret the will and thoughts of a supernatural deity. That simply isn’t rational. Who knows the mind of God? Not Sean Hannity I assure you. And my experience has been that even great intellects and good souls like Pope Benedict harbor doubts about how well they understand what goes on in the mind of the guy upstairs.
These are not evil people at the FRC conference. I believe them to be in thrall to a belief system that they find enormous comfort in as opposed to dealing rationally with the world at large. They are led, for the most part, by good hearted people who really want to do the right thing but end up not recognizing that their own myopia about the modern world is handcuffing their parishioners and preventing them from opening their minds to all the possibilities – other ways of thinking. Other means of discovery besides finding the correct verse in the bible.
There isn’t a god but if there was, it would seem to me that he would want us earthlings to use all of our faculties, all of our experience and learning, all the cumulative knowledge built up over thousands of years of human civilization in order to get the most out of life. The discovery of carbon dating has given the lie to the notion that the earth is only 6 thousand years old. In the parlance of Christians, god opened our minds and allowed us to gain the ability to go beyond Genesis and discover for ourselves some of the mysteries of the universe. We have exceeded the knowledge of the ancients because we have built upon their work and opened our minds to the fundamental truth that we are perfectly capable creatures whose curiosity and ability to ask questions supersedes any “truth” we can get from any religion on earth.
I’m sure I share some of the “values” that these Christians accept as their own. But I don’t think I have a corner on truth nor do I think it a good idea to use the government to impose my own concept of morals or values on someone else. This I will oppose from both the religious right and secular left. My values are my own. I would be pleased if everyone – right and left – just stayed the hell out of my life and let me live it the way I see fit.