The Values Of What Family?

The essence of Protestantism being minute attention to the writings of St. Paul at the expense of the rest of the New Testament and the Tradition, it is somewhat strange that American preachers are so fond of the expression “family values”. It does not appear to mean anything connected with the Pauline admonition to remain in the marital state in which you found yourself on conversion; or with the Pauline concession that it is better to marry than to burn; nor yet with marriage as a symbol of the relationship between Christ and the Church, meaning that the husband must sacrifice himself for his wife.

We may also wonder whether the people who use “Family Values” as a euphemism for religion have ever read Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress to the family at dinner. After all, the book opens with the protagonist running away from his own family, stopping his ears to their piteous cries.

The phenomenon is so extreme that many American and American-inspired religious organisations do not actually call themselves “churches” at all; instead, they are named “Family Ministries” etc. Let us now imagine taking a time machine and asking St. Paul, or St. Augustine, or St. Francis of Assisi, or Martin Luther, or John Wesley, or any number of such luminaries of the Christian religion, and asking them what they think of a name for the church that suggests that it seeks to minister to families and has nothing to say to anyone else. With such a machine we could even arrange a debate between these Americans and Jesus of Nazareth in which they could ask him to retract the rude things he said about biological families.

Some statistics from here in Norway: only 23% of families are “nuclear”, the rest being childless couples, single parents and people who live entirely alone. The last group is 42% of the population.

It is a puzzlement what “Family Values” is actually supposed to mean. Values conducive to the maintenance of the family? Values exhibited only by members of families? In the first case, I wonder what those values might be that help maintain the family but are useless to people not in families, such as singles, sole survivors and monastics; in the second case, I wonder what values are automatically gained by people when they make families, and automatically forfeited by people when they lose families. Or do the proponents of “Family Values” mean that singles, sole survivors and monastics can be relied upon to steal anything not nailed down?

Posted on February 22, 2010 at 10:44 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: THE LONGEST CON, 'Family Values'

4 Responses

Subscribe to comments via RSS

  1. Written by Infidel753
    on February 22, 2010 at 15:30

    “Family values” is a code phrase or euphemism that just means hating fags and being against abortion. It’s best viewed as an idiom whose literal meaning has little connection with its actual meaning, in the same way that (for example) the literal meaning of the words “kick the bucket” have little connection with the phrase’s actual meaning of “die”.

    Euphemisms are popular in politics and religion. “Support family values” just sounds more appealing than “we hate fags”.

  2. Written by Hugo Grinebiter
    on February 22, 2010 at 16:10

    Oh, I know, but my reflections might help in the work of harassing and annoying such people.

  3. Written by Infidel753
    on February 22, 2010 at 16:49

    Always a worthy cause.

  4. Written by Urban Djin
    on February 22, 2010 at 20:18

    I don’t have any problem with outing euphemisms. Let’s do confront these creeps with the anti-family values of both Paul and Jesus. Let’s strip them of the presumed scriptural justification for their seething hatred.

Subscribe to comments via RSS

Leave a Reply