Sunday, May 20, 2007


Today I was reading one of the many articles discussing Jerry Falwell's ministry. While I disagree with many things he stands for, the article's mention of his pro-family platform really irritated me. (Disclaimer - due to a very unsatisfying meeting today, I am a little cranky.) I have a lot of issues with the conservative right exclusively claiming that they are "pro-family". How did this happen?! Just because I am not Christian, does not mean that I am not pro-family. If fact, most of my liberal religious friends are very much pro-family. Of course, the conservative religious right (and I do know I am making great generalizations) will argue that they believe in the man/women/child family not the inclusiveness that the religious left would claim. To me, a family will always be a group of people who love and are there for eachother. Why does it matter so much how that is arranged? Do we really want to spend what little time we have on earth supressing the love we have for eachother as a family just because it doesn't fit traditional molds?

Why, as religious liberals, did we let them take this word? Why do they get to be "pro-family", while we are considered to be "tearing down the family structure"? How do we get it back? A minister I really admire has often talked about reclaiming words. I think as Unitarians we really shy away from using words that have such strong connotations. Many of us come from backgrounds heavily influenced by these "words" and it is not easy to see them in a new light. I would love to see more (and I have seen a few out there) bumper stickers declaring "Pro-Family Unitarian". The more we use this vocabulary, the more comfortable we will be with it. We can't let other people monopolize words that actually, also, apply to us.


Angelina said...

Is "pro-family" in the religious right usage meant to suggest that only men with women are family?

(pro-family confused me because I thought that was another way of saying anti-abortion)

I've wondered about taking words back too. I think you have to just do it and be willing to always clarify what it means to you.

I feel that way about feminism. I loath to call myself one if it means people are going to mistake me for someone who thinks all women should work outside the home, who looks down on men, and it incapable of letting men open doors for her.

plaidshoes said...

I think it is, also, another way to say anti-abortion. To me, they have conveniently tried to role those two issues into one phrase, therefore making it even more difficult for people to distinguish the unique meaning of each phrase.

I know what you mean about Feminism, it is loaded with negative meanings. I try really hard to educate people about the positive side of feminism and that all it really means is that I believe everyone should have equal right/opportunities - not that I am a man-hater! Since I am a married SAHM, it is more fun to see how my choice of lifestyle contradicts their views on feminism.