Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gay Abandonment of the Traditional American Family

Jeanne Carstensen claims she's got the universal answer for the conservative pushback on gay marriage:

While conservative churches are busy trying to whip up another round of culture wars over same-sex marriage, Rodriguez says the real reason for their panic lies elsewhere: the breakdown of the traditional heterosexual family and the shifting role of women in society and the church itself. As the American family fractures and the majority of women choose to live without men, churches are losing their grip on power and scapegoating gays and lesbians for their failures.
Read the whole thing.

Carstensen is drawing on her interview with
Richard Rodriquez, a thoughtful commentator on diversity issues who is gay and Catholic.

I think Rodriquez raises crucial issues about the role of the family.

But the theme seems to be that strengthening traditional families is a social vice. For Rodriguez, to strengthen families is to marginalize lifestyles that work to destroy conservative traditions, those that promote the emerging dominance of postmodern social organization and spiritual decay. And this must be opposed.

To me, that's the bigger project on the left: Tradition is the abomination, because it places moral strictures and limitations on what societies can do. Tradition emphasizes inherent goodness, like monogamous heterosexuality to the preservation of the lives of the unborn.

This part about fear of women in the workforce is a canard, and is simply one more way that the left can demonize those who refuse to go along with a moral relativism that privileges new-age anything-goes licentiousness and demeans the rigors of a moral life based in tradition and historical meaning.

Rodriguez, of course, can't explain why someone like Sarah Palin lives a life of conservative values, faith and family, with no apologies.

Food for thought, dear readers.

More at Memeorandum, including Andrew Sullivan, of course.


Echoes from the Addict said...

Does the traditional family still exist? I would argue no. In that, in the traditional family the primary function was pro-creation. The function of marriage is no longer that, it is a multidimensional social contract. I'll be the first to admit this is a sad observation about our culture, but since marriage has evolved into more than what Locke originally proclaimed the function to be: raising children. I think this is enough to yield gay marriage, I would further argue that I would rather see a child in the hands of a stable homosexual couple than in the hands of a unstable heterosexual couple. This notion follows the role of the traditional family, and puts the interest of the child first. After all the conservative argument is for keeping children out of the hands of the state. A stable couple does just that: they love the child and raise the child properly.

Finally, I'll add that the argument presented by most social conservatives is a straw man argument. In order for gay marriage to affect the religious community, it must first affect the individuals within the community. This isn't the case. People of faith are unaffected by such independent actions as homosexual love. If such an event does "shake" your faith, I'd argue you have much bigger issues than gay marriage to deal with. Essentially social conservatives are hiding behind a blanket statement that has no factual merit, gay marriage isn't and won't affect your faith in any way. If your church is against it, no one is out to change that. Certain churches do practice it, and to prohibit that action is to limit their rights.

Alexander Wolfe said...

But the theme seems to be that strengthening traditional families is a social vice. For Rodriguez, to strengthen families is to marginalize lifestyles that work to destroy conservative traditions, those that promote the emerging dominance of postmodern social organization and spiritual decay. And this must be opposed.

Well, no. First of all, he's merely observing that the traditional family structure has weakened. This is not really in argument as both conservatives and liberals can agree on this. What we disagree with is the solution. Conservatives are incapable of turning back the clock to the mythical time when the nuclear family was stable and dominant and reinforced their preferred social norms. And to be frank they are also uninterested, since many men and women who consider themselves conservative would hardly surrender their freedom to marry who they see fit, divorce as they think necessary, or engage in sexual relationships prior to marriage. But they desire only so much freedom, and only for themselves.

You say that Rodriguez wants to "destroy conservative traditions" but only because, like many conservatives, you think that permitting gays to marry and have families threatens traditional marriage in some manner. There is no proof of such, and it's a ridiculous claim to make when clearly the increased marital and sexual freedom of heterosexuals is what has done more than anything else to undermine the traditional family and promote spiritual decay(it's not even possible to argue with that last point.) That despite this historic trend conservatives insist on dictating what rights gays may exercise, is the reason people like Rodriguez think that measures like Proposition 8 are about some desperate effort on the part of conservative churches to retain a position as "moral gatekeepers." And frankly, given the hyperbolic claims that are made about the danger of gays, there's more than a mere whiff of desperation present.

Laura Lee - Grace Explosion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

What about this idea of heterosexual men taking more responsibility for their family? It seems to me that that's the core of the breakdown of the family: Not that women are taking more responsibility, by being b parent, bread-earner, homemaker and decision maker. Not that gays, who have nothing to do with the situation. But men, who have abdicated the idea of sacrifice and responsibility for a second childhood, where they demand respect, simply because they are men, while doing nothing to justify it.

What woman would want to stay married to a man who is nothing more than a whiny, unreasonable, and sometimes violent child?

Outlawing gay marriage will do nothing to fix the problem with heterosexual marriage, except perhaps to make it worse, by encouraging sham heterosexual marriages doomed to failure.

Julius Martov said...

Re-criminalize homosexuality, Grace? Good Lord, as a Christian myself (and who reads as I see you do the blog at the Weekly Standard) I recommend you read a text by john Boswell, "Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality :
Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century, " published by University of Chicago Press.
You know that the Iranian regime hangs homosexuals? In Saudi Arabia, they are beheaded. Yee Haw, eh?!

Echoes from the Addict said...

Wow. Grace stop getting your information from bigoted sources. Go spend some time with homosexual people, they are no different than you and I. Monogamy is monogamy. I have gay friends that only want one partner. Its not a perversion of any form. That is misinformation and a distortion of reality.

I'm still waiting on that explanation of how gay marriage is affecting your marriage and faith.