Community values – which ones?

On CNN, a spokesperson for an organization called Citizens for Community Values piqued my interest. Going to their website, I discovered it is a James Dobson organization devoted to shoring up Judeo-Christian values. Curious, I looked for an issue closely connected to schools and found one on homosexuality in the schools. Hmmmm. What do they say about that? I noticed something about clubs for gays and even something that suggested such clubs might not be a good thing for a public school campus.

So, I clicked.

I’ll be honest: I didn’t read a lot. Just some titles of studies and forums and so forth. But as I read through the list, one thing stuck out: of all the diseases caused by homosexual behavior – and that seems to be a major tactic, to stress disease – nothing was mentioned about the massive onslaught against our children by the sin of gluttony. I suppose the Bible and other holy writings have something to say about homosexuality but don’t they also say a lot about mistreating your body in other ways? When I go to church, my wife and I marvel at the girth, the poundage, the avoirdupoidage of the congregation. They can’t have sex, they can’t drink, they can’t dance, so they eat.

Knowing some of these good people -and most of them are very sweet, kind people and we love them to death – as I do, I will be the first to admit that some are thin, in relatively good health. In fact, the pastor and his wife are quite aggressive with the congregation in getting them to eat right. But in the past, some of the saints were relatively slender. Now I wonder, were they the ones exercising their appetites, perhaps getting “some on the side” – and I don’t mean salad dressing.

When I go into a store to shop for a greeting card for my wife, I feel a tug of impatience, even a little resentment, when there are no pictures of loving couples who look like us. I know it’s asking a lot to have anniversary, birthday, Christmas, Easter, Halloween, and Fourth of July cards displaying a Black woman and a White man, but it’d be nice to see it once in a while. So imagine what it would be like to never see any representation of a loving couple that is made up of two people of the same sex?

Now we get to my argument for enclaves. I’ll bet in San Francisco you can find greeting cards for same-sex couples. I have even seen them at Safeway. But not the full-blown “Hey! Look at the happy couple!” type cards.

How about couples Sunday at church? Now that would get the large people up off their pews. They might even lose a few pounds craning their necks.

So, enough rambling. Let me get back to schools and kids. There is a simple principle at work here: public schools are for the public. Remember my entry on affirmative action? Public schools, including universities, are there to serve all the taxpayers, not just the ones who score high on tests or who can afford an expensive education; else why do all of us pay taxes? In the same way, public schools should provide for all students, and that includes cultural or ethnic groups, language groups, religious groups, mentally ill children, academically challenged children, the physically handicapped, and, not the least, those of a sexual orientation different from the main stream.

And back to Dobson. OK, just as we need to measure how far we go in providing for, for example, different linguistic groups e.g. do we have textbooks translated into Farsi?, we also can question how far we go in adhering to Judeo-Christian tenets. That may surprise those who know me, since they may expect me to want to exclude Judeo-Christian values. Not so. Those values form the foundation of the American civilization and the broader base from which it stems. As long as we do not forget the African and Native American elements (and I intend to blog massively on the African elements in our general culture), I see no reason to play down the role of religion or the Enlightenment. The building blocks of our culture should be examined as long as we don’t give undue preference to some note I said ’undue’; preference would be what some call ’privileging’).

The question for me is which Judeo-Christian values? All you have to do to see the unmanageable diversity of Judeo-Christian values is compare the program of Citizens for Community Values with Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s statements. They both express Christian values but I certainly prefer one to the other. As a non-Christian, I don’t have a dog in this fight, but when we talk of teaching ABOUT Christian values in our schools, then I think we need to bring it ALL in.

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