I should admit that I listen to fundamentalist Christian talk radio: Dr. James Dobson, Sean Hannady, Bill O'Reilly, etc. I don't do it often, and I don't do it because these are "my people." I got started on it due to several long drives I had to make back and forth across the country. The absolute disbelief that these people have followers and the anger that ensued after hearing them talk would keep me awake as I drove all by myself. I love a good debate, so I would sit in the car talking to these radio show "artists" and explaining to them the holes in their logic . . . as if they could hear me. But it did make me feel better. Outside of the debates, I listen to them in preparation for talking with my family. I was raised fundamentalist Christian, although I am not anymore. (I think I lost my membership card when I became a democrat in high school.) Listening to the points of view on the radio gives me an idea about what my family will be hearing and believing. This gives me time to develop cogent arguments that will appeal to my family members and actually make them question what they passively accepted as truth. The most current thing I heard and have been researching is the "documentary" Demographic Winter: the decline of the human family.
The website is very attractive, giving it an air of authority. (Reinforces the idea that presentation is everything.) The basic message is that many parts of Europe are at the beginning of a population decline that could reach epidemic proportions. I can't impagine that this issue is not implied to be an US problem as well, but the movie is not yet released (nor do I plan to purchase it when it is--I hope to find a free copy on the internet). The issues associated with this decline is an inability of the economic system to cope, resulting in declining economies. My first thought in response is: we should have babies to consume and perpetuate an economic situation? I had always hoped that something would happen to the US that would teach us that capitalism is not the answer to everything. Don't forget that growth for the sake of growth is the goal of a cancer cell.
There is one other reason the movie gives to turn women into baby-makers, and that is to preserve cultures. There were multiple comments made that spoke of the extinction of certain native peoples and cultures if their birthrate does not increase--i.e. Latvian culture may disappear and that there may no longer be native French persons. While the celebration of diversity is commendable, I am skeptical that they support this argument at face value. Part of the radio broadcast advertising this documentary was Dr. Dobson discussing that certain areas of the world may become devoid of Christians. His fear was that the populations would primarliy become Muslim while the "Christian" cultures experienced a decline in population. As a recipient of many emails from my family about how Muslims (in general, not just the fundamental groups) are terrible, Dr. Dobson's assertion is more than mildly troubling.
Overall, the documentary uses the terrifying problems mentioned above to say "I told you so"; it all goes back to good ole family values. If there were more nuclear families with people marrying earlier and having babies earlier, if we forced most homosexuals back into the closet or "reformed" them, and if we outlawed abortion, then these economic, racial, and religious problems would not exist. It is the degradation of the moral conscious of this country causing our problems. If only we had listened to and followed "Christian" ideals as a country!! (I put that word in quotations because I believe that everyone has their own relationship with God. It is not my place to pass judgment and whisper behind anyone's back. My job on this planet is to love and support my neighbors, friends, and enemies.) The movie asserts that we need to take a closer look at our culture's acceptance of reproductive rights (including the use of birth control), living together before marriage, feminism, women working outside of the home, and homosexuality, because it is things like this that are causing the demise of Christian populations. Never mind that the nuclear family, while perhaps less prevalent today, has never been norm that fundamentalist Christians like to believe. But this is their answer to the problem. Never mind that we could better support unwed mothers/parents to develop strong family units. Never mind that we could recognize all support systems as family structures that deserve protection and help. Every large company worth its salt knows that the best way to manage its employees is to put them in small groups usually called teams. They don't try to match these groups up with a father & mother or even pay attention to sex at all. They take people with strong leadership skills and place them in middle management positions to form and mold the team. Why then do we think that only nuclear families will provide the successful foundation for our society?
This is not the answer!!
Monday, February 25, 2008
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