Saturday, December 12, 2009

God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It by Jim Wallis (Final Thoughts)

In a chapter entitled “The Ties That Bond: Family and Community Values,” Wallis shares his thoughts on the “Controversy over Gay Marriage.” But those thoughts are not shared until well into the chapter. Instead, Wallis devotes much time describing how he thinks family values are under attack in our culture.

Wallis decries reality T.V. shows that encourage the paid participants to have sex with one another, and relays the observation of a friend that such arrangements fit the definition of “prostitution.” Wallis also queries how Fox can get away with “preaching conservative politics and family values in their news and commentary shows while produce such a sleazy lineup of ‘entertainment’ programs.” He also notes that the 2005 Super Bowl half-time show was made infamous by the baring of Janet Jackson’s breast, but in actuality that was simply the “crude climax” to a crassly sexualized half-time show and a barrage of violent and sexualized images in the commercials. Wallis says:

“You want to know why people join the religious Right? It may have less to do with wanting to take over the country than being desperate to protect their kids from the crass trash and degrading banality that media conglomerates like Viacom (which owns both CBS and MTV) seem to think is just fine family entertainment for Super Bowl night. Fortunately, my kids were in bed before the half-time show, but next year we may just go with Mary Poppins in the other room.

Again, some people think that only right-wing conservatives care about such moral pollution. Wrong. Most parents I know, liberal or conservative, care a great deal about it, as do most self-respecting women and men. It defies ingrained stereotypes to suggest that a healthy, moral consistency applies to personal and sexual ethics as well as to social and political values. It’s time to break out of those old ideological shibboleths and forge a unified front against the amoral corporate agree that violates all our ethics—personal and social—by creating a system that sells beer and breasts in the same advertising plans just to make a buck.”

Later in the chapter, Wallis adds:

“Being new parents ourselves, with two young boys, Joy and I talk to lots of other parents. Our experience suggests that mothers and fathers across the political spectrum now regard parenting in America as a countercultural activity. When I make such a statement on the road, all the parents in the audience begin nodding their heads—whether they are political liberals or conservatives. The values of a materialistic and hedonistic culture are clearly arrayed against our raising children with moral and spiritual values.”

Proverbs 22:6 (New International Version - UK)

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it

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