Values up for grabs

By Eric Seymour

In some circles across campus lately, the quasi-political topic of family values has been a particular subject of discussion. A handful of IDS articles and columns have touched on issues related to this broad umbrella of topics. Just last week, I participated in a CommUNITY Educators' (CUEs) program on family values. The CUEs are the group which seeks to promote and address "diversity" issues in the residence halls.

Present at this forum were representatives from OUT, the Women's Student Association, College Democrats, College Republicans, and I participated on behalf of Campus Crusade for Christ. There were a grand total of two audience members, who sat in the same circle as the invited participants. The forum proceeded as a free-form discussion/debate between the participants, with the CUE moderators occasionally injecting comments and new topics.

It quickly became clear that the standard partisan politics surrounding this issue are not nearly as substantial as the agendas which the special interest groups OUT and WSA brought forth. The representatives from the College Democrats and Republicans didn't have much to say other than a few words about how the politics around the issue has evolved in both parties. The statements of the OUT and WSA students were much more intriguing. For example, when I suggested that the reason people are concerned about "family values" is because of its ramifications on the upbringing of children (the next generation of humanity), I did not expect to encounter disagreement. After all, everyone is concerned about the well-being of children, right?

Apparently, that's not what OUT and WSA came to talk about. Immediately, the OUT student said that a definition of "family" in terms of children excludes homosexual couples. Later on, the student from WSA asserted that the traditional "June and Ward Cleaver" family model was dangerous not because it was overly idealistic, but because it fundamentally oppresses women.

It was therefore clear to me at this forum what many have noted before: the ideological left (not to be confused with the Democratic party in general) has very different things in mind than most Americans when engaging in debate about "family values." The traditional family model does not facilitate their "lifestyle" or political agenda, so they seek not only to eliminate it as a standard, but demonize it as "oppressive."

Mainline Christians believe that God created the family, including the distinct roles of husband and wife, as the ideal environment to raise children, and the fundamental unit of society. Christian values do not stop here, of course, but extend to single people, childless couples, etc. In today's society, it is important not only for the church to defend the family model from those who would sacrifice it to social engineering, but also for Christians to demonstrate the loving environment God intended for families.

Eric Seymour

Robert Schiener

Bryan Wilhelm

Bryant Lewis
Joel Corbin