- The not-so-fabulous Fifties.
- “I’ll jump in front of a bus for you.”
- All in a day’s work II.
- Media rooting for Romney?!
- Theology and Etymology.
- Manufactured problems.
I don’t know if Allan C. Carlson is “a conservative” or if he’s just a clear-eyed and clear-headed observer whose insights endear him to conservatives. In the current issue of The Family in America, he surveys “the Fifties” and concludes:
In short, the postwar era was not the family-centered utopia often celebrated later by pro-family advocates. Nor were the Fifties a pleasant, one-generation wonder tucked nicely between two eras of long-term family decay. Rather, the very nature of the notable decade rested on ideas, values, and behaviors, all of which conspired to damage family life and which would find their more complete expression in the Sixties.
I think I’ve been too credulous about the idea that the sexual revolution started with The Pill:
Indeed, by 1961, “sexual ethics” among the member denominations of the National Council of Churches (NCC) had already been turned over to figures such as Lester Kirkendall (America, he said, had “entered a sexual economy of abundance”); Wardell Pomeroy of the Kinsey Institute for Sex Research (“the concept of normality and abnormality . . . gets in the way of our thinking”); Evelyn Hooker (who wrote on the supposed healthy, well-adjusted lives of most homosexuals); and Planned Parenthood’s Mary Calderone. They were the featured speakers at the NCC conference that year on the “Foundations for Christian Family Policy.”
Perhaps the pill just promised that we all could have what we already wanted, and were being assured was okay to want, only without consequences.
It’s interesting to note how government and mainstream religion coalesced to reinforce the “message” the economy was sending:
- Happy days are here again.
- You can (and should) have lots of kids in that new suburban house and yard.
- You can afford, Mrs. America, to stay home as homemaker.
It behooves sentient creatures to ask what temporary phenomena are being enshrined today as new and permanent verities. I’ve got my candidates, especially since I think nature will eventually overcome unnatural artifice.
Speaking of family life, Rod Dreher reflected yesterday on how “some of the worst problems we have today can’t be fixed by politics,” requiring families instead. He quotes Sharon Astyk, a foster mom in upstate New York:
We live in a society that has professionalized, externalized, commercialized and industrialized pretty much everything that was once domestic, local, part of a commons or private space. Dinner? Available at thousands of locations near you. Caring for grandma? A host of assisted living options at your finger tips. Breastfeeding? Formula is just as good – and far more profitable. Self-provisioning? Outdated, just shop – there’s plenty of food at the store. None of the things that the domestic sphere have historically provided remains outside the realm of the industrial – except this one.
The single and only thing that has resisted full industrialization is the family as a space for the raising of children. It has been partly externalized – daycare centers, preschools, schools and creches create public and for-profit spaces that share the basic role of childcare. But while there’s a lot of debate about how much good or bad daycare is, what isn’t debatable is that children MUST have a family to go home to in order to be successful.
[T]his one kind of work I do can’t be replaced – not by paid caregivers, not by robots, not by certified pros – because the reality is that no matter how awesomely trained and certified you are, the fundamental coin of family life is not money and it is not training – it is family-ness. It is a thing you can’t buy or sell, coin or organize, collectivize or privatize – it is the reality of you are mine and I am yours and I’ll jump in front of a bus to protect you if I have to ….
(Emphasis added) Unfortunately, some children aren’t getting it:
Longtime readers will remember my story about the … pastor who moved to the city to take over a church in a poor part of town. He and his wife opened their home after school so children from the church would have a safe, quiet place to do their homework after school. They found the kids would come over not to do homework, but to sleep. Puzzled by this, the pastor and his wife investigated, and learned that those children lived lives of such domestic chaos — no stable family, no regular hours at home, no structure, no expectations — that they were barely sleeping at home. And these were the children of churchgoers!
I’m entirely unfamiliar with the Honey Boo Boo show, but I gather than Honey Boo Boo is a disaster. Dreher asks “Show me the domestic policy that can repair the damage, real and potential, done to the children of that woman by family breakdown?”
As Mona Eltahawy proved the tolerance of Islam earlier this week, so Rachel Zoll proves the scruplous fairness of mainstream media toward Christian Conservatives Friday. In case you think I’m being unfair (the link is to the ever-colorful Huffington Post), this story ran in mainstream media as an AP story.
Snide remarks about media aside, I’ve scanned the article in vain for the name of a single living person I admire. But even Pat Roberston deserves better that this in an item that purports to be news, not commentary.
I’ll give Zoll credit for one understatement, though: “Preachers representing Messianic Judaism, which teaches that Christ is the Messiah, a belief at odds with traditional Judaism, will blow the shofar, a ram’s horn used in Jewish ritual.”
“The media will be rooting for Romney.” Two reasons. First, they don’t want the story to end. They’re in show biz: A boring end means lower ratings. Careers are involved! Second, the mainstream media is suddenly realizing that more than half the country (and some of their colleagues) think they are at least operationally in the tank for the president, or the Democrats in general. It is hurting the media’s standing. A midcourse correction is in order, and Wednesday will offer an opportunity: I think it’s fair to say Gov. Romney more than held his own this evening, and a consensus seems to be forming that the president underperformed.
President Obama hasn’t been challenged in public in a long time. He hasn’t been challenged in private in a long time. So if Mr. Romney treats him with respect but not deference, if he really engages, challenges, questions and pushes, he just might knock the president off his stride.
There was something Mr. Romney did in the primary debates. When his competitors were answering questions, he didn’t stand at the podium looking distracted. He’d turn and smile at them sweetly and encouragingly, as if he were thinking, “You’re the cutest little shrimp.” No one has looked at Mr. Obama like that since 2003. It’s possible he wouldn’t like it.
Am I supposed to extend great latitude to Peter Leithart for nonsense because it’s gussied up like a manifesto with a prominent word some might think naughty?
No, Mr. Leithart, theology is not fundamentally “the science of Scripture.” Do a little etymology (the science of etymos).
Okay, I’ll admit it: I’ve been, in “theological” terms, subjecting Leithart to a hermeneutic of suspicion since he wrote that he was “too Catholic to Be Catholic,” a veritable nadir of coherence.
Joyous news from neighboring Illinois:
An Illinois appellate court has found that former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was wrong when he forced pharmacists in the Land of Lincoln to dispense the Morning-After Pill or else “find another profession.”
Pharmacists have the right to both their livelihood and their faith simultaneously, according to the court. You can’t be forced to check your faith at the door when you go to work.
This is the Becket Fund’s second major victory for pharmacists of faith this year. You’ll recall that a few months ago, we won a similar case for the right of conscience in Washington State.
Like the Washington case, where Governor Christine Gregoire seemed single-mindedly bent on exercising her power to force pharmacists in her state to carry out Planned Parenthood’s agenda – including engaging the Governor’s mansion in a boycott of one of our clients, giving Planned Parenthood unprecedented access and control over the screening of State Pharmacy Board members, and more – former Governor Blagojevich made no effort to mask his intentions in the Illinois case.
In fact, the Illinois legislature had even passed a law, the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act, to protect health care workers from being coerced by the state into violating their religious beliefs.
But, in a blatant slap at the people’s elected representatives, then-Governor Blagojevich ignored the law and issued his own ruling in 2005 that pharmacists would have “to fill prescriptions without making moral judgments.”
Importantly, in both Illinois and Washington, there had been no case where someone had been denied access to emergency contraceptives because of a pharmacist’s religious beliefs. In both cases, the drugs were already widely available from willing sellers and there was no reason at all for the government to threaten to close down these small businesses.
The persecution of these pharmacists had been based entirely on a manufactured and non-existent “problem.”
The Becket Fund has a more sober account of this good news at its website. Not only is it the right thing, but it slaps down a guy, Gov. Thugovich, who never, ever, in recorded memory, personally made any “moral decision,” and so is not a good judge of their importance.
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