- Family values
"Family values" is a political and social concept used in various cultures to describe values that are believed to be traditional in that culture and in support of the idea that nuclear families are the basic units of culture. The phrase has different meanings in different cultures. In the late 20th- and early 21st Centuries, the term has been frequently used in political debate, especially by social and religious
conservatives, who believe that the world has seen a decline in family values since the end of the Second World War. [ [http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/femail/article.html?in_article_id=392846&in_page_id=1879 "Traditional families hit by declining morals, say mothers"] , "Daily Mail"] Because the term is vague, and means different things to different people, "family values" has been described as a political buzzword, power word, or code word predominantly used by right-wing or conservative political parties and media providers.
The concept of "family values" is rooted in each individual culture thus making the values different for different societies. In addition, cultures change over time in response to economic, political, and cultural developments. Therefore, "family values" vary from household to household, from country to country, and from generation to generation.
Conservative and liberal perspectives in the United States
Social and religious conservatives often use the term "family values" to promote conservative ideology that supports traditional morality or values. [ [http://fami.ly/ Support Our Families] ] American Christians often see their religion as the source of morality and consider the nuclear family to be an essential element in society. Some conservative family values advocates believe the government should endorse Christian morality, [ [http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/religion/stories/DN-gopreligion_04tex.ART.State.Edition1.903cb29.html Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Religion | The Dallas Morning News ] ] for example by displaying the
Ten Commandmentsor allowing teachers to conduct prayers in public schools. Religious conservatives often view the United States as a "Christian nation". [http://www.scu.edu/ethics/publications/other/lawreview/familyvalues.html Family Values, Race, Feminism and Public Policy] For example, the American Family Association, says "The American Family Association exists to motivate and equip citizens to change the culture to reflect Biblical truth and traditional family values." [ [http://www.afa.net American Family Association] ] These groups variously oppose abortion, pornography, pre-marital sex, homosexuality, some aspects of feminism, [ [http://www.thenation.com/doc/20050530/mcgarvey Dr. Hager's Family Values ] ] cohabitation, and depictions of sexuality in the media.
A less common use of the phrase "family values" is by some liberals, who have used the phrase to support such values as
family planning, affordable child care, and maternity leave. For example, groups such as People For the American Way, Planned Parenthood, and Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gayshave attempted to define the concept in a way that promotes the acceptance of single-parent families, same-sex monogamous relationships and marriage. This understanding of family values does not promote conservative morality, instead focusing on encouraging and supporting alternative family structures, access to contraception, abortion, increasing the minimum wage, sex education, childcare, and parent-friendly employment laws, which provide for maternity leave and leave for medical emergencies involving children. [ [http://www.pfaw.org People for the American Way] ] [ http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2004/10/31/walking_the_walk_on_family_values/"For all the Bible Belt talk about family values, it is the people from Kerry's home state, along with their neighbors in the Northeast corridor, who live these values."]
The use of family values as a political term became widespread after a 1992 speech by Vice President
Dan Quaylethat attributed the Los Angeles riots to a breakdown of family values. Quayle specifically blamed the violence in L.A. as stemming from a decay of moral values and family structure in American society. In an aside, he cited the fictional title character in the television program" Murphy Brown" as an example of how popular culture contributes to this " povertyof values", saying: " [i] t doesn't help matters when primetimeTV has Murphy Brown—a character who supposedly epitomizes today's intelligent, highly paid, professional woman—mocking the importance of fathers, by bearing a child alone, and calling it just another 'lifestyle choice'". Quayle drew a firestorm of criticism from feminist and liberal organizations, and was widely ridiculed by late-night talk show hosts for saying this. (In an interview years after the incident, Quayle said it was an off-hand remark and that he had no idea it would ignite such controversy, nor had he intended for it to. Ironically, the show's star Candice Bergenherself said in an interview after the show was cancelled that she agreed with him.) The [http://www.workingforchange.com/article.cfm?ItemID=13461 "Murphy Brown speech"] and the resulting media coverage damaged the Republican ticket in the 1992 presidential election and became one of the most memorable incidents of the 1992 campaign. Long after the outcry had ended, the comment continued to have an effect on US politics. Stephanie Coontz, a professor of family history and the author of several [http://www.stephaniecoontz.com/ books] and [http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/05/opinion/05coontz.html?ex=1278216000&en=969be7d15ff895af&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss essays] about the history of marriage, says that this brief remark by Quayle about Murphy Brown "kicked off more than a decade of outcries against the 'collapse of the family'". [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/04/30/AR2005043000108.html "For Better, For Worse"] , "The Washington Post", 2005-05-01]
Others have used the phrase in such slogans as: Hate is not a family value.
Jim Wallis, at the SojournersCall for Renewal in 2006, titled his speech "Poverty is not a family value." [http://independentchristianvoice.com/2006/06/30/poverty-is-not-a-family-value-2/] Many Americans believe that access to health care and to education, and freedom from violence, are important family values.
Typically, the term is used by the media to refer to
Christian values, but in a " New York Times" survey, "Five percent of the women and one percent of the men defined family values as being connected to religion or the Bible. Nine out of ten women defined family values as loving, taking care of and supporting each other, knowing right from wrong and having good values."
Since 1980, the Republican Party has used the issue of family values to attract socially conservative voters. [ [http://quinnell.us/politics/wiki/index.php?n=Main.RepublicanFamilyValues Republican Family Values] ] While family values remains a rather vague concept, social conservatives usually understand the term to include some combination of the following principles (also referenced in the 2004 Republican Party platform):http://www.gop.com/media/2004platform.pdf]
* Promotion of traditional marriage and opposition to adultery [ [http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/06/21/politics/main512992.shtml Giuliani's 'Notorious Adultery] ] [ [http://news.aol.com/newsbloggers/2007/05/30/whose-adulterous-affair-is-worse-newt-gingrichs-or-tom-delay/ Whose Adulterous Affair is Worse -- Newt Gingrich's or Tom DeLay's?] ]
* Opposition to
* Support for
traditional educationand parental involvement in that education [ [http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/product-description/0694516430/ Amazon.com: The American Family: Discovering the Values That Make Us Strong: Books: Dan Quayle,Diane Medved ] ]
* Support for policies that encourage "adoption over abortion" [ [http://www.amazon.com/dp/0694516430/ Amazon.com: The American Family: Discovering the Values That Make Us Strong: Books: Dan Quayle,Diane Medved ] ]
* Support for behavior identified as traditional or moral such as respect, discipline, attentiveness, religious commitment [ [http://salon.glenrose.net/rfv.asp Republican Family Values] ]
* Support for healthy choices such as a nutritious diet, medical screenings, and physical activity
* Support for "
abstinence education" exclusively regarding risks associated with early sexual activity such as teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases while not teaching such topics of sex educationas human sexual behavior, safe sexand birth control.
* Support for policies that are said to protect children from obscenity and exploitation via
censorship, among other methods. [ [http://www.armchairsubversive.org/ Republican Views on Child Protection] ] [ [http://www.ocweekly.com/news/news/nielsens-plea-deal/28158/ Orange County Weekly - Oh, Boy! ] ] [ Mark Foley scandal] [ [http://www.newsweek.com/id/57298 evangelical university shaken by sex scandal] ] [ [http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2006/06/gop_campaign_ma.html GOP Campaign Manager Guilty of Corruption of Minors] ] [ [http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/14132485/detail.html Republican Prosecutor Solicits Sex from 5 year old] ] [ [http://www.armchairsubversive.org/Patrick_Lee_McGuire.htm Republican Faces Molestation Charges] ]
Although the term "family values" remains a core issue for the Republican Party, in recent years the Democratic Party has also used the term, though differing in its definition. For example, in his acceptance speech at the
2004 Democratic National Convention, John Kerrysaid "it is time for those who talk about family values to start valuing families." [http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/shownomination.php?convid=20] The Democratic definitions of family values often include items that specifically target working families such as a support of a " living wage" as well as universal health care.
Family First Partyoriginally contested the 2002 South Australian state election, where former Assemblies of Godpastor Dr Andrew Evans won one of the eleven seats in the 22-seat South Australian Legislative Councilon 4 percent of the state-wide vote. The party made their federal debut at the 2004 general election, electing Steve Fieldingon 2 percent of the Victorian vote in the Australian Senate, out of six Victorian senate seats up for election. Both MPs were able to be elected with Australia's Single Transferable Voteand Group voting ticketsystem in the upper house. The party:
harm reduction, favouring prevention, zero tolerance, rehabilitation, and avoidance
gay adoptions, In vitro fertilisation(IVF) for gay couples, and does not acknowledge gay civil unions
In the 2007 Australian Election, Family First came under fire for giving preferences in some areas to the
Liberty and Democracy Party, a libertarianparty that favors legalization of incest, gay marriage, and drug use. [ [http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,22709097-662,00.html Christian party's unholy alliance | Herald Sun ] ]
Family values was a recurrent theme in the Conservative government of
John Major. Predictably, it caused considerable embarrassment whenever a member of the Government was found to be having an affair. John Major himself, the architect of the policy, was subsequently found to have had an affair with Edwina Currie. Family Values have been revived by the current Conservative Party under David Cameron, forming the backbone of his mantra on social responsibility and related policies.
Family values in Chinese culture and Confucianism
In Confucian thought, family values, familial relationships,
ancestor worship, and filial piety(Chinese: 孝; Mandarin: Xiào; Cantonese: Haau) are the primary basis of the philosophical system, and these concepts are seen as virtues to be cultivated.
Filial piety is considered the first virtue in Chinese culture. While
Chinahas always had a diversity of religious beliefs, filial piety has been common to almost all of them; for example, Historian Hugh D. R. Baker calls respect for the family the only element common to almost all Chinese believers. These traditions were sometimes enforced by law; during parts of the Han Dynasty, for example, those who neglected ancestor worship could even be subject to corporal punishment.
The term "filial", meaning "of a child", denotes the respect and obedience that a child, originally a son, should show to his parents, especially to his father. This relationship was extended by analogy to a series of five relationships or five cardinal relationships (五倫 Wǔlún):
#ruler and subject (君臣),
#father and son (父子),
#husband and wife (夫婦),
#elder and younger brother (兄弟),
#friend and friend (朋友)
Specific duties were prescribed to each of the participants in these sets of relationships. Such duties were also extended to the dead, where the living stood as sons to their deceased family. This led to the veneration of ancestors. In time, filial piety was also built into the Chinese legal system: a criminal would be punished more harshly if the culprit had committed the crime against a parent, while fathers exercised enormous power over their children. Much the same was true of other unequal relationships.
This theme consistently manifests itself in many aspects of
East Asian culture even to this day, with extensive filial duties on the part of children toward parents and elders, and greater concern of parents toward their children than found in modern American or European cultures.
Children's Online Privacy Protection Act
Communications Decency Actof the Telecommunications Act of 1996
Culture of Life
Social aspects of clothing
Traditionalist world view (American)
Conservative Organizations that promote "family values"
American Decency Association
American Family Association
* Christian Coalition
Concerned Women for America
Family Research Council
Focus on the Family
National Legion of Decency
Parents Television Council
Traditional Values Coalition
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office for Film and Broadcasting
* [http://www.u4life.org/ United for Life Foundation (Art/Media/Education)]
* Bennett, William J., ed. "The Book of Virtues: A Treasury of Great Moral Stories". New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993. ISBN 0-671-68306-3.
* Carrier, Marc & Cynthia. "The Values-Driven Family: A Proactive Plan for Successful Biblical Parenting" (ISBN 1598865277), [Tate Publishing, 2006] .
* Coontz, Stephanie. "The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap". New York: Basic Books, 1992. ISBN 0-465-09097-4.
* Coontz, Stephanie. "The Way We Really Are: Coming to Terms with America's Changing Families". Basic Books, 1998. ISBN 0-465-09092-3.
* Coontz, Stephanie., ed. "American Families; A Multicultural Reader". London: Routledge, 1999. ISBN 0-415-91574-0.
* Coontz, Stephanie. "Marriage, A History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage". New York: Viking Press, 2005. ISBN 0-670-03407-X.
* Good, Deirdre. "Jesus' Family Values" (ISBN 1-59627-027-6; ISBN 978-1-59627-027-5), New York: Church Publishing, 2006.
* Shapiro, Ben. "Porn Generation: How Social Liberalism Is Corrupting Our Future" (ISBN 0-89526-016-6), Regnery,
* [http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/showplatforms.php?platindex=R2004 Republican Family Values]
* [http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/showplatforms.php?platindex=R2004 2004 U.S. Republican Party Platform] ("Protecting our Families")
* [http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/showplatforms.php?platindex=D2004 2004 U.S. Democratic National Platform] ("Strong, Healthy Families")
* [http://www.mfc.org/pfn/95-12/quayle.html Dan Quayle, Speech to the Commonwealth Club of California]
* [http://www.kleincfv.com The Klein Coalition of Faith and Values]
* [http://fami.ly/ Support Our Families]
* [http://www.abc.net.au/rn/encounter/stories/2007/1904090.htm ABC Radio National on Jesus and "family values"]
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