Sunday, October 14, 2007

The culture wars: Dear Abby vs. James Dobson

Dear Abby vs. James Dobson

I haven’t quite found that working balance between my life right now and my life as it was before my mom’s accident and slow recovery. I am painfully aware that it has been my blog that has taken the biggest hit and it just kills me, but my priorities have had to be temporarily re-ordered. I humbly ask you to forgive my neglect, bear with me a little longer, and don’t mistake my absence for apathy. My focus may be on other things right now, but the seething anger that prompted me to start this blog in the first place is still bubbling just below the surface. And that will not change until this country undergoes some major changes.

And what might some of those changes be? Well, for starters we must rid our government of every damned “family values” hypocrite in office right now and replace them with people whose values don’t include demonizing and dividing America for the benefit of a vote. And actually we got a good start on this in the 2006 elections, but there’s still a hell of a lot more house cleaning to do, which means we still have a lot more seething to do as well.

This momma isn’t going to calm down til George Bush, James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and others of similar ilk are just nasty black stains in America’s history and the homophobia they whipped up and kept alive a shameful chapter we’d just like to forget ever happened.

Now that’s not to say there isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel, because there is, and it is getting bigger. These are some of the articles just recently that have given me hope and James Dobson heartburn (and anything that gives James Dobson and his band of “hate-mongering in the name of Jesus Christ” hypocrites heartburn, gives this momma great hope and optimism):

James Dobson's Rudy problem

Endorsing GOP front-runner Giuliani would be anathema to Dobson's evangelical base, but his "third-party" alternative could be a boon for Democrats.


When James Dobson warns that he will lead evangelical conservatives and other "values voters" in a third-party revolt if the Republican Party nominates Rudolph Giuliani for president -- as the Focus on the Family president warned in Thursday's New York Times -- it is hard to suppress a cynical smirk.


But this time could be different for the increasingly disgruntled Dobson and his theocratic cohort. This time they may feel they have no choice but to follow through on their threat to support a "minor party" candidate.

Or how about this article which indirectly indicts the Head Holy Homophobe in the Vatican (another one who will always be a huge target of this momma’s ire and disgust)? The Catholic Church’s homophobia has consequences and this article highlights those consequences.

While some parents choose to remain in the Church, many others like me decide to leave. Their reasons may vary slightly from mine: I cannot keep going back to an institution that tells me my son is “intrinsically evil” and “objectively disordered” while conveniently forgetting the fact that they hid true intrinsic evil within their ranks for decades by shuffling pedophile priests from unsuspecting parish to unsuspecting parish in order to protect their coffers rather than the innocents entrusted to them, but in the end, we all seem to arrive at the same place:

Fortunate Families

Catholic parents of lesbian daughters and gay sons share their stories with U.S. bishops.


Parents grieve that the institutionalized Church’s inadequate response has distanced many parents from the Church and driven many of their daughters and sons away from it. Parents also grieve what they view as a failure of the institutional Church to follow the compassionate example of Jesus. If forced to choose, they choose their children over the institutional Church, but they do not lose their faith in Christ.

And then there is the recent news about Dear Abby and gay marriage. No one can deny that when someone as respected and main-stream as Dear Abby comes out in favor of gay marriage, the religious kooks have a big problem. And I’d say this article may be signaling that it is time for them to go back to the drawing board on fundraising. Looks like their traditional cash cow, fear-mongering about gay marriage and gay sex, may soon not be as financially lucrative as it has been in the past if more people like Dear Abby start speaking up. All that money made on the backs of our gay and lesbian children will start to dry up and these religious nutcases will have to find another poor unsuspecting group to demonize and terrorize in the name of God and profit:

"Dear Abby" says she's for marriage equality

For years, rumblings have surfaced on the Internet, conjecture about her casual references to "sexual orientation" and "respect." Now, Dear Abby is ready to say it flatly: She supports same-sex marriage.

"I believe if two people want to commit to each other, God bless 'em," the syndicated advice columnist told The Associated Press. "That is the highest form of commitment, for heaven's sake."

What Jeanne Phillips, aka Abigail Van Buren, finds offensive and misguided are homophobic jokes, phrases like "That's so gay," and parents who reject or try to reform their children when they come out of the closet.

And lastly, it is not just main-stream columnists who are shifting in support of gay and lesbian equality, but also main-stream America, which tells me that Dear Abby has more clout than James Dobson:

Polls Show that on the 20th Anniversary of the Lesbian & Gay March on Washington, Acceptance of Gays and Lesbians Has Increased Dramatically

… Comparing public opinion polls on key issues from 1987 to today shows a dramatic shift in support for equal job opportunities, open military service, and inclusion in hate crimes law for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans.

"For twenty years, the GLBT community has been coming out and putting an ever-more personal face to issues in our lives, and that is clearly changing hearts and minds," said Mark Shields, director of the HRC Coming Out Project. "Americans have come to know their GLBT friends and family in a new way in the last 20 years, and those relationships have changed the cultural landscape."

Visibility: The findings also indicate a sharp increase over the past two decades in the number of Americans who say they personally know or work with someone who identifies as gay or lesbian: 72 percent today, according to Peter D. Hart Research Associates, Inc. In 1987, just 11 percent reported to ABC News and the Washington Post that they associated with a "male homosexual" on a regular basis.

Relationship Recognition: Today, 60 percent of Americans support same-sex marriages or civil unions, according to a CBS News/New York Times poll. Twenty years ago only 12 percent of Americans agreed that "homosexual couples" should have the right to marry, according to the National Opinion Research Center.

See? There is reason to be optimistic, but not complacent. So keep on seething, but go ahead and temper it with some hope.


Infidel753 said...

Progress may be slow, but it is sure.

We're winning, they're losing.

Jan said...

Thank you for pulling all those sources together. And I appreciate the link Infidel cited.

I'm glad you posted again; I've been missing you.

Anonymous said...

I'm not saying we don't miss you, but sometimes taking care of and spending time with your family is more important that seething (ever righteously) for them. Family is family, right?

As for Dear Abbey: I'm glad but not in any way surprised. When it was still Jeanne's mother writing the column, well before it was anywhere near as acceptable to say those types of things as it is now, Dear Abbey was still supportive of gay and lesbian folks. (And an early proponent of PFLAG as well)

I think a favorite quote went something along the lines of
"Dear Abbey, a gay couple has recently moved in next year. What might I do to improve the neighborhood?"

The answer: "Move out of it".


Seething Mom said...

Thank you Anonymous for pointing out the fact that Momma Abbey was the picture of tolerance waaay back in the day when it was a much riskier venture to do so. It is not lost on me that she put her career on the line each time she took a stand for gays and lesbians. Bless her.

I have been reading Dear Abbey since I was a child. Her style was so much like my own mother's and her advice was so similar to what my own mother would advise that I was naturally drawn to her column each day. It sounds kind of strange to say this, but Dear Abby played a significant role in shaping my approach to life and my world-view.

I have got to believe that I am not the only one who feels this way about both Dear Abbeys. Their grounded advice resonates with people because most people are, by and large, tolerant and fair.

And on another note, thank you for hanging in there with me. It means so much.

tina said...

I think we all slow down once in awhile, but you have a loyal following here on blogger, keep up the good work, and yes, sometimes it does seem like work! I loved reading the Dear Abby columns.