Sunday, February 20, 2011

Today: "Family Values"

Today's show will be about that cherished buzzword of ignorance: "Family Values". Consider this post to be an open thread on the episode.


  1. Awesome, Don Baker are you secretly Michael Shermer?!

  2. The world would be a much better place if "Family Values" didn't so often translate into "Your family has no value to my family."

  3. Has anyone ever mentioned the audio problems on the TV show?

  4. Looking forward to it, although in the Lexicon of Lies "family values" doesn't hold a candle to the all-time champs:





    Seriously... try get through one single day of news-reading without finding one (or all) of those four deployed as a smokescreen for someone's politics.

  5. hannanibal: This post isn't that old. It shouldn't have been too hard to find.

  6. hannanibal said...
    "Has anyone ever mentioned the audio problems on the TV show?"

    Yeahyeah no kidding... You guys should really be testing the phones out before starting the show. WTH? >:O

  7. There have been developpments in the Anonymous/WBC situation:
    1.-a lot of people are just flat out rejecting the whole thing
    2.-many think the proposal was put forward by the WBC to find new people to file lawsuits against (apparently that's how they make their money)
    3.-a few still want to go ahead with the 'op' but do it without taking down websites

    more info here:

  8. an official (as official as Anon gets) press release has been published by Anonymous:

  9. @iceman, of course that's how they make their money, they're a family of lawyers

    Enough with the questions on audio problems.

    Now, to the topic...

    I'm beginning to think that "family values" is not in part defined by love at all as long as it involves the 'one man, one woman' aspect. That those who push this anti-gay rhetoric would rather a people be unhappy than happy. But, I suppose being happy is selfish if it doesn't follow god's unselfish demands.

  10. It's not just "one man, one woman," it's "one boss man and one subservient woman."

  11. Blake,

    That's why it's a smokescreen term.

    The debate was over the moment it was pointed out that (1) there is nothing inherent in homosexuals making them bad parents (or kids, for that matter) and (2) marriage is not a zero-sum situation; if every gay person got married tomorrow it wouldn't prevent even one straight from getting married - or not, depending.

    Done. Over. Next topic.

    Deployment of 'family protection' balderdash spread as opponents of gay marriage and adoption realized there were no other arrows in their quiver save one they are loathe to let fly openly: open, unashamed bigotry.

    They've latched onto this rhetoric with such fervor that the sheer derangement of 'supporting' marriage by forbidding it escapes them.

    Funny thing: I'm old enough to remember back 30 years or so ago when the Religious Right and other traditionalist-type folks were castigating the so-called "gay lifestyle" for its promiscuity and a lack of enduring social relationships.

    Now lots of gay people actually AGREE with them, seeing marriage as worthwhile and desirable... and so, hoist on their own social-normative petard, they volte-face and declare that maybe marriage isn't for everyone after all...

  12. Well, I personally think a child is much better off with two moms than in an I have a very strong sense of family values.


  13. You gotta love the moron that calls in and talks about the argument from faith when Matt just did a annihilation of the term a week ago.

  14. @George From NY. i too remember the complaint that Gays get to have sex with eachother all the time while married people have life long commitments.
    Now with the desire for some gays to get married the anti-gay biggots are indeed hoisted on their own petard.

  15. On the subject of anti-gay propaganda, I thought I'd share a few videos that help to elucidate and debunk some of these weird claims.

    Debunking Paul Cameron and others' claims about homosexuality and pedophilia:

    Richard ("The Dick") Coughlan being his usual mildly unhinged self, taking apart the FRC's propaganda:

    (Two notes: he misreads the report a bit in the middle, but I didn't catch a substantive error in the facts presented. Also, one thing he didn't address was this idea that gay relationships were more likely to be promiscuous or violent. Setting aside the bad research and moralizing nonsense, we find that the biggest risk factor associated with being given an STD or targeted by domestic abuse is... having a relationship with a man. For both women and men. So it's not really just being gay that does it.)

    Description of hypocrisy at Exodus (an ex-gay program):

    The ex-gay movement is a shield to the generally hateful rhetoric on the right. "We don't hate homosexuals, they can just go into these programs and then they'll be straight (or celibate)!" These people claim (and I think legitimately believe, or want to believe) that they can cure homosexuality, but 95% of the time they flatly fail, and the remaining 5% tends to be a bit ambiguous as well.

  16. ...and Matt has another Jack Webb moment.

  17. "The thing that I would actually encourage people to do, is to actually go around and think about how you find out wheather or not something is true"

    This started it all for me. I asked the question, "how do I know what I know", as I felt a little dissatisfied and inconsistent with my apologetics and my preaching. My passion use to be saving souls, and in order to better prepare myself, I found some resources on epistemology. To prepare myself for debates. I then decided to better prepare myself for rebuttals to my arguments (that I had researched tirelessly off of, AIG). Going one step farther when they say things like "polystrate fossils disproves evolution", is where it all started to unravel.

    How you know what you know, is the single most important thing to... well... know.

  18. @martin. Sorry dude, was my lame attempt at sarcasm.

  19. Just a thought.

    With the concept of "marriage" I've always had the issue that its a concept that it is historically a religious institution that has shifted into a secular contract.

    I thought that the essential mistake that the gay community made when demanding the legal protections and rights of married couples was that they demanded to be able to marry.
    This allowed the religious groups to mobilise under the idea that "Gays" were interfering with their religion.

    Another approach could have been a demand that the government not recognize the religious institution of marriage under "Separation of Church and State", but instead regard it as a de-facto Civil Union with all the rights and protections associated therein.

    You can then lobby to change the legal meaning of the secular / government definition of a civil union to include what ever social contracts you wish.

    This also allows those religious gay couples to ask themselves if they remain with a church that discriminates against them, or try to change it. But that being a separate purely religious issue now separate from the secular institution of Civil Unions.

    It also allows the term marrage to be coopted quietly with secular celebrations of marriage, or just to die as a meme until there are only Civil Unions as the culture shifts.

  20. I agree completely, Kharma. I've been ranting about this for years. How is it that our government "respects" a religious ceremony? Seems like the tax cuts and the visitation priviledges and such are explicitly against the first amendment.

    Also, to the AE guys. I mentioned you on my humble writing blog. The site is about my work as an author, but folks have been emailing me about my atheism instead. I broke down and did a post about it, directing them here, among other places, to find out why I'm an atheist.
    Keep up the good work, folks.

  21. @Kharma:

    It would be lovely to go back to when this supposed shift of "marriage" from purely religious to secular happened and say " a hundred years homosexuals are going to want to do this too..." and take that into account and make a better decision, just isn't the issue anymore.

    The issue is whether or not it is constitutional for the US government to relegate homosexuals to a separate class that receives a separate legal designation "civil union". I don't think the US government has any business deciding which relationships between two consenting adults are "more valid" without a damn good reason to do so. And so far the only people who seem to be advocating this relegation of homosexuals to another class are trying to do so (some trying to hide it more than others) on religious grounds, with no valid legal justification for doing so.


    "Seems like the tax cuts and the visitation priviledges and such are explicitly against the first amendment."

    Churches should have to go through the same hoops that other non-profit organizations do to get their 501(c)3 tax designation. I'm not disagreeing with you, just saying that I think the unconstitutional part is really the fact that the IRS puts itself in the position of deciding what's a church/religion and what isn't. I have no problem at all with a church getting a tax-exemption, but they shouldn't get it just by "virtue" of being a church...they should get it by proving they are worthy of it, just like any other non-profit has to do.

    Another problem is churches are getting away with a lot of things they are "officially" prohibited from doing...endorsing candidates, etc.

    I mean look how careful the ACA is about taking official positions on political issues. Churches, in all actuality as far as I know, are actually subject to these same's just, they aren't being taken to task enough for it.

  22. @Kharma: The notion that marriage was "originally" a religious institution which got co-opted by secular society is a total myth propagated by the religious people who are trying to hold on to it.

    In actually, people have been making contracts around relationships for thousands of years. In 1563 the Catholic Church made a deliberate power grab by passing the
    Tametsi Decree, asserting that no marriage should be regarded as legitimate unless sanctioned by the church. Obviously this represents an acknowledgment that people were commonly getting married without any input from the church.

    Marriage is a contract. Whereas some people claim that it is primarily a religious institution that has been secularized, it is actually a secular and legal tradition that religion has tried to lay claim to. Don't give them that credibility. Here in the US, you can get married by a justice of the peace, without any input from the church whatsoever. If priests don't like it, let THEM stop calling THEIR supernatural mumbo-jumbo a "marriage," they can have "spiritual unions" or whatever they want to say.

  23. Another approach could have been a demand that the government not recognize the religious institution of marriage under "Separation of Church and State", but instead regard it as a de-facto Civil Union with all the rights and protections associated therein.

    Ideally, this is what would happen. In practical terms, this would take way, waaaaaaaay longer than just getting gay relationships recognized as marriages, because one would have to change the basic terminology regarding family law in every state (as opposed to simply issuing marriage certificates to same-sex couples). Not only that, but it wouldn't get the religious right on board. Instead they would mount an attack on gay rights groups, claiming that we are trying to get rid of marriage entirely (it doesn't matter whether this objection makes any sense, they would object anyway, and lots of people who are comfortable with the status quo would agree).

    While it's a tempting solution, politically, almost no one is interested in it, and there's no reason why doing this would be any faster than arguing directly for marriage equality now.

  24. Plus, what Kazim said. I'd be fine with getting government out of marriage, but that's because I see marriage as something declared by the couple and hopefully recognized by society, not as something conferred by an authority (the law somewhat agrees; that's what common law marriages are). Marriage is emphatically not a religious invention; we have been a pair-bonding species for hundreds of thousands of years.

  25. Speaking of family values, families everywhere are being destroyed because of gays getting married and eating da poo poo on their wedding night. I have a friend who's 8 year old boy accidentally watched Brokeback Mountain and he now has to take a course of homeopathic heterosexual pills to prevent him catching the gay.

    True Story

    Won't this madness ever end? Won't someone please think of the children?

  26. "homeopathic heterosexual pills"

    What would those be made out of? They say "like cures like", so would they make a solution of Lady Gaga CDs and dildos, and then dilute it until it was pure water again?

  27. @Kharma

    You can't just assert that religion invented marriage. It seems likely to me that people were engaging in relationship commitments before organized religion sprung up. I find it likely that the idea to stand in front of everyone and declare it probably predates organized religion too. If you want to say that religion invented all this stuff you kind of have to back it up.

    Regardless of that, the fact is that the common use term for people throwing it all in together and living as a family unit is "marriage." To suggest that we should rename everything so that gay people can have a recognized relationship is insulting. It suggests that the term marriage needs to be protected from gay people. Which in turn, suggests that they are in some way not as good as straight people.

    Nobody is talking about protecting religious marriage from straight atheists because their marriage is obviously a secular one. Sure, for a long time religion was the authority that approved of peoples relationships, but that just isn't the case any more. Now, in this country the authority that recognizes relationships in any meaningful way is our secular government. That right, should be extended to everyone equally, regardless of race, sex, orientation, etc.

  28. Was that theist caller *really* that stupid, or was he trolling??

  29. Big fan of Don, comes across as such as safe guy

  30. @ Hairy Chris

    -Yes, there is people that are really that stupid. lol

  31. I wouldn't go as far as to call them stupid, simply unused to having their supernatural beliefs and doctrine questioned and unused to having to reason out and think through their arguments.

    They've spent their lives discussing the topics with either people who agree, or people who are unprepared for the discussion. So they don't realise that there are problems with the evidence and logic of the things they think are true.

    Matt D., for example, would likely have made similar argument a decade or so ago.

  32. Yeah I guess "stupid" is a little insulting, but when I say it in this particular circumstance, I mean unintentional stupidity. People are going to be stupid at certain areas in life. Just like I am stupid in certain areas. So when I say he is stupid/idiot, I'm not personally calling him that, I'm just saying that he is stupid when it comes to this particular argument.

  33. With the concept of "marriage" I've always had the issue that its a concept that it is historically a religious institution that has shifted into a secular contract.

    Like Kazim said above, this is totally wrong. This is the exact opposite of what really happened. It was a secular institution, used for establishing bonds between families (not individuals, although they were the ones who took the marriage vows) and was later hijacked by religion.

    Don't know if you're all aware of it, but in the Netherlands, if you get married in church, you're not married. The church ceremony is nothing more than just a ceremony, it's not valid and not recognized under Dutch law. You have to have the civil ceremony, that's the only thing that counts. A lot of couples go to City Hall first and then have the ceremony in church after (because they're religious or because it's traditional) but the two things are totally unconnected. I like that. Ought to be like that everywhere. :-)


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