How do we define “traditional values” nowadays? The American Family Association seems to think “traditional values” are synonymous with pseudo-religious intolerance and bigotry. Recently in the news, there’s been a particularly mean-spirited campaign against various prominent gay voices in popular culture.
A sub-group of the AFA called “One Million Moms” has attempted to advance its hateful agenda against homosexuality. Its most recent target was comedienne and talk show host Ellen Degeneres.
One Million Moms launched a campaign via Facebook, calling for J.C. Penney to terminate its relationship with Degeneres, whom JC Penney has named their spokesperson. Not surprisingly, this is unacceptable to the folks at OMM and the AFA.
The statement on OMM’s website states J.C. Penney is “insulting” its customers by maintaining a professional relationship with Degeneres. The group claims Degeneres is not representative of the typical J.C. Penney shopper, because she is a homosexual, and therefore exists at odds with “traditional” families. OMM calls for J.C. Penney to fire Degeneres in order to “retain loyal customers” who would supposedly shop elsewhere because they don’t want to patronize a business that has a gay spokesperson.
OMM is also currently attacking Macy’s, because Macy’s ran an advertisement featuring a wedding cake topper with two grooms. Even the advertisers on ABC’s television show “Modern Family” are being attacked by OMM because apparently television shows featuring families with a diverse range of characters are morally offensive.
The real issue at hand here isn’t the stupid, dogmatic nature of the AFA’s campaigns against people who aren’t ashamed of cultural or sexual diversity. The real issue – the one very reader should be concerned with – is religious fringe groups are attempting to claim a monopoly on traditional family values. The definition of traditional family values is obviously quite open to interpretation.
In the wake of One Million Moms’ senseless, puritanical attack on her character, Degeneres made a statement on her talk show, saying she admired J.C. Penney’s decision to reject the AFA’s disgusting cultural agenda, and affirming her personal values of “honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you want to be treated and helping those in need.” She went on to say, “To me those are traditional values, that’s what I stand for.”
Her display of class in the face of religious bullying of the AFA perfectly illustrates the type of constructive response intelligent people must make in these situations. It is unacceptable for groups such as the AFA to pretend to be somehow a voice of moral superiority. Even outspoken bigot and professional polemicist Bill O’Reilly has spoken out in condemnation of OMM, and, by extension, the AFA, in the wake of its attempts to bully J.C. Penney into firing Degeneres.
What are traditional family values, anyway? The AFA gets its traditional moral and familial values from biblical tradition. Let’s talk for a second about biblical family values. A quick look through the incestuous, murderous, adulterous, polygamous families of biblical tradition should be enough to make any thinking person wonder if bronze-age customs and traditions are really what we should base our morality on in the 21st century.
Maybe it’s time to start reevaluating the definition of traditional family values, or even to question the merits of traditional values when measured against modern values. I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest self-respect, tolerance, integrity and courage are admirable, timeless values. If you’d like to see examples of these values in action, look no further than J.C. Penney.