Tuesday, July 08, 2008
by Wayne Besen
The last few weeks have shown that so-called pro-family organizations are some of the most useless, money-sucking scams in the world. With real families suffering from economic hardship in America, a declining birthrate in Europe and Google doubling the price of daycare for employees, the only thing right wing family groups want to discuss is their bizarre and all-encompassing fagela fetish.
Recently, The Brooklyn Paper, had a huge headline, "SPLITSVILLE: Brooklyn divorces up 30%." The article cited a number of reasons including, "when the economy tanks, so do many marriages."
One would think this would alarm so-called pro-family organizations and they would be out in force repairing marriages -- or at least looking for economic solutions to take the stress off couples. Unfortunately, as I walked around my Brooklyn neighborhood, I saw not one representative from the American Family Association.
Well, I take that back. I did encounter one of the group's representatives on CNN Headline News as we debated a Heinz mayonnaise ad in the United Kingdom that featured two men kissing. I'm sure the children of these broken marriages in Brooklyn will feel much better knowing Heinz pulled the ad and they can have gay-free mayonnaise at both mommy and daddy's separate houses.
A new study by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University showed that in 2006, for the first time in U.S. history, a majority of births to women under 30 -- 50.4 percent -- were out of wedlock. New York Times columnist Bob Herbert points out that, "By comparison, when John F. Kennedy was elected president in 1960, just 6 percent of all births were to unmarried women under 30.
One imagines that this report might have startled "pro-family" organizations and they would have put their millions of dollars towards stopping this trend. No such luck. Instead, they are investing huge piles of money and manpower to pass anti-gay marriage amendments in Florida, Arizona and California. The upshot for "pro-family" groups is that if heterosexuals keep screwing up marriage, by the time gay people finally win the right nationally, we won't want to use it.
"Evangelicals of the older generation have become obsessed in almost a technical psychological sense in opposing gay rights," David Weddle, a professor of religion at Colorado College told the Colorado Springs Gazette
. "The irony is that homosexuality is not a biblical theme."
Right wing organizations and their flocks want to be taken seriously, but their priorities and actions are reprehensible. For example, a middle school teacher was fired in Mount Vernon, Ohio last month after preaching in the classroom, refusing to remove his Bible and burning crosses
onto the arms of pupils. You read that correctly -- he seared crosses on the body parts of impressionable students, as if it were a gang ritual.
Surely, reasonable people can agree that such behavior is inappropriate in the classroom. But, oh no, some of the yahoos in Mount Vernon believe their religion places them above the Constitution - so they are holding demonstrations in the town square. I wonder if these zealots would have the same reaction if a teacher were burning a Stars of David or Muslim crescents on the forearms of students?
A recent New York Times magazine article, "Childless Europe," explored why certain countries in Europe are losing population. The hopelessly out of touch Pope Benedict chimed in with his typically sunny advice. "Europe is infected by a strange lack of desire for the future," the Pontiff said. "Children, our future, are perceived as a threat to the present."
Instead of selfishness, as the Pope implied, it was the traditional values of the Pope that contributed to the problem. In societies that either offered a safety net or where men shared the burdens of child rearing, women were having more babies. However, when educated women were stuck at home and forced to do all the work - such as in Italy - they chose to have less children. Will the Pope now call on men to help out more at home or for countries to ensure daycare for families?
Finally, the Wall Street Wonder, Google, plans to raise the amount
it charged for in-house day care by 75 percent. Under the revised plan, parents with two children in Google day care could see their yearly bill increase to more than $57,000 from around $33,000. This crushing blow to the family drove a few employees to tears.
Was the American Family Association in Silicon Valley raising hell and standing up for families? No, they ignored grimacing parents, so they could punish Ronald and Grimace by launching a boycott against McDonald's for supposedly having a gay agenda. Maybe the delusional scolds at the AFA thought they saw rainbow color fries, in much the same way they once accused the cartoon character Mighty Mouse of snorting cocaine.
Right wing organizations can be considered many things - but certainly not advocates for the family. They inhale money, exhale anti-gay pollution and have done absolutely nothing for the traditional families they claim to represent. It seems the more such groups proliferate, the more the family deteriorates.