Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Traditional Values

I don't usually post about controversial topics. The main reason for this is that I believe that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and that what one person believes should not matter to another person unless it brings about hate or hurt.  My beliefs are just that- mine. I don't usually share them publicly because I don't feel that I should have to defend my personal choices to others. They are mine and they are what work for me and I don't change them based on what others think. My beliefs contribute to who I am as a person.

However, I've decided to take a bit of a public stand on this issue because it truly does have me shaking my head in disgust.  Directly, it doesn't affect me. I'm not American and I don't shop at JC Penny. But it definitely affects my view on our society.

I was reading the other day about the controversy involving Ellen and One Million Moms regarding JC Penny's decision to have Ellen as a spokesperson.

I'm not going to try to debate the merits of the (as I see it) bullying campaign put out by One Million Moms and the stance JC Penny takes when there are so many other good articles out there doing just that, such as this one, this one and this one.  Yes, I know that all of those articles are opinion based and somewhat one sided. However, I have linked to them because I share the same opinion for the most part.

Basically, the root of it is that the "Christian" group One Million Moms was calling for JC Penny to drop Ellen as spokesperson because she was gay.  I use "Christian" loosely there because I consider myself a Christian but do not align myself with the same values that that group does.

One Million Moms claims that "traditional families" make up the majority of JC Penny shoppers and that the chain will lose customers because they have hired a gay person.

One Million Moms stated:

"Funny that JC Penney thinks hiring an open homosexual spokesperson will help their business when most of their customers are traditional families. DeGeneres is not a true representation of the type of families that shop at their store. The majority of JC Penney shoppers will be offended and choose to no longer shop there."

I'm not really sure what, in this day and age, a "traditional family" consists of. Once upon a time, a traditional family was a mother and father and their children. It seems to me that this type of family is no longer the vast majority making up North American households and may in fact, actually be the minority.

So, tell me. What does traditional mean, anyway?  What are "traditional values" and who is to say that one's sexual orientation dictates their values?

To me, Christian values include loving your neighbor, helping those that are in need, being kind and honest, not intentionally hurting others (physically and emotionally).....and more. I believe that a Christian should act as Jesus did. Did he openly condemn those that were different and cast off by society? No, in fact, he approached and showed compassion and love to lepers and prostitutes- some of the most hated and feared of society at that time.

Interestingly enough, in the following video clip in which Ellen addresses the controversy, she states the following:

"Here are the values I stand for. I stand for honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you want to be treated and helping those in need. To me those are traditional values. That's what I stand for." 


I find it interesting because those are the same values that I hold to be important and things that I want to pass along to my children. Does that make me a lesbian? No. No more than if Ellen was African American and my belief in what she says would make me black.  

This is what I find ridiculous. What makes Ellen less of a person because of who she chooses to spend her life with? What about that makes her an unworthy candidate to sell clothing to American citizens?
One major problem I have right now with mainstream Christianity is the undercurrent of judgement passed upon those that don't "fit the mold".  I find this to be against the model that Jesus laid out for us to follow and to be hugely hypocritical. How is "love thy neighbor" to be demonstrated and modelled for our children if we condemn those that are different from us?  We are perpetually stuck in a cycle of hate where history repeats itself, just with a different scapegoat.

This particular case, involving a popular and very famous person is getting lots of exposure because she is famous and popular but there are many average people that go through the same struggle- the struggle to be accepted for who they are regardless of what society sees as "normal".

Its interesting to me that the current target of the demise of society is homosexuals. I wasn't around, but does the civil rights movement of the 60s come to mind at all?  Then the targets were African Americans. In the 60s, it was taboo for "whites" and "blacks" to fraternize at all, let alone marry and create (gasp!) interracial children.  Here we are now in a society and culture that doesn't even bat an eye at mixed race couples and their children. What would our grandparents and great grandparents say? (I hope you can sense the sarcasm here)

I have friends that are mixed race, and I have family members that are mixed race and never once have I thought anything of it. I know people of almost every race and religion imaginable. Never once have I thought they were less of a person because they believed or looked different than I.

After 9/11 the main target was Muslims. I'd like to think that nearly 11 years after the devastation of that day caused by a SMALL GROUP of Muslims, not the religion as a whole, people have come to realize that it is not fair to lump every person that aligns themselves with the Muslim faith as a terrorist.

The Eugenics movement of the early 20th century in which individuals with any sort of mental disability (most commonly Down Syndrome) were forcibly sterilized is now looked up on as barbaric and should a group now suggest re instituting this practice, they would never come out of the argument alive.

I'd like to think that this targeting and bullying of homosexuals is one day going to be something that our children or grandchildren look back on and shake their heads at in disbelief that we as a culture could be so closed minded.  Just like we do when we think about sterilization of those with disabilities and the distinct separation between Caucasians and African Americans.

What would our world be without diversity? 

I identify myself as a heterosexual Christian woman, but that being said, I don't promote or agree with any of the hate and negativity that some heterosexual Christian women's groups display.

I welcome your comments and opinions, however please refrain from inserting your beliefs on whether homosexuality is "right or wrong". This post is not a debate on homosexuality and is not a debate I care to get into. This post is about equality in people and not judging a person for one of the characteristics that make them up as a whole.



The Tompkins Family said...

This is so well written. I very much agree with you. Even though I'm not a Christian, we share many of the same values. The hatred that comes from groups like One Million Moms just sickens me and makes me sad. I have never (and will never) understand how sexual orientation is someone else's business. It is shocking to me that with all the other advancements we've made in our society, that we are still so backwater about it. Sigh. I could go on...

Jay said...

I agree completely. Any "Christian" person that throws away their values to start a smear campaign against somebody they do not know is really not a Christian at all.
I have found in the past few years that the church and "Christian" families I've known are the first to cast judgment, gossip, and preach as though they themselves ate God or God-like.
How many people in the World have raped, murdered, and brutalized others? Were they gay? Most cases I would doubt that they were. Does that mean they'd receive acceptance and forgiveness more readily than somebody who chooses to express themselves through their sexuality?
Love is so hard to come by, and nobody should ever be chastised by their choices when it comes to love - I k ow this from personal experience, and the ignorance that Christian family members have shown regarding my relationship(s).
If my son were to come to me and say he were gay, would I be disappointed? Sure, maybe a little. Would I be terrified? HELL yes. And not because "Gay people are ruining our culture" but because These obsessive religious groups would put my child's life in danger with their rhetoric & their propoganda. I'm pretty sure the values of the bible and human decency were lost on WAY too many people.
One million Moms against homosexuality? Ha. I'll take your One Million and raise it Ten million, you ignorant, spineless, hypocritical bastards.
end rant.

Amy said...

Well said Janice. I watched that clip of her the other day and that was the first I had heard about any of it.
The group as a whole need to change their mission statement to "getting what we want by being bullies" period.
I hate to think how Ellen or any other homosexual out there felt after seeing/hearing that. It's just plain wrong.
I would just like to know where they got the facts?? "The majority of shoppers are people like us. The majority of people will stop shopping here." Seriously, how could they possibly know that???
So sad, so very sad. I love your comparisons... I have never thought about it that way and I hope you are right, that one day our kids will look back on this and see how gross and wrong it is.

Cortney said...

It is sad. I do not think they represent mainstream Christians- even mainstream American Christians. Groups like this just get a lot of coverage.

I also think there is a big change happening in which the majority of Christians are actually becoming more open and it makes those on the extreme right all that more vocal.

Jesus said that you will know his followers by their love... and he said that there is no greater love than to lay down your life for your neighbor and to love your enemies. He also only spoke harshly to the religious folk.

We recently got a book called the Family Virtue Book. You might enjoy it. It is a book of common virtues across all cultures and religions and it gives practical ways to teach them... such as honesty, integrity, kindness etc.

Anyway, I think what you write is what most people feel. Even if someone does not agree with homosexuality, most people are not that hate filled. May God have mercy on them and soften their hearts.