I am not a liberal or a Democrat, and I am not against “traditional,” “family,” or “biblical” values nor the “nuclear family,” nor am I against “traditional marriage,” but I do think the American Christian church of today places far, far too much emphasis on these issues, to the point they make people who are not married at age 25 with three kids feel unwelcome.
I am in my early forties, and I am a Christian female, as well as a conservative Republican, and despite the fact I wanted to be married, it never happened.
Do churches care about me, or people in my stage of life? Nope.
They offer no services or sermons for the older single who has no kids, childless or childfree. We are ignored, or else treated like trash by the Southern Baptist denomination* and by evangelical churches.
*(I refer to it as a denomination, though I’ve seen some folks on social media toss a fit and scream about how technically, Southern Baptist is not a denomination. Too bad, I was raised as one, and I don’t care if you like me referring to it as a denom or not, you’re going to have to just deal!)
So I agree with some of the content in this web page I have quoted below, and I can see its implications for contemporary American Christianity, not just Republicans.
What I am afraid of is that Christian leadership from various churches and denominations will see political stories such as this one about Obama winning the 2012 election and think the only corrective is to go even more into hyper-drive regarding the pushing of “family values,” or cries of “save the nuclear family.”
Why do I find this a concern? Because the conservative American church has already been obsessive about protecting the nuclear family (and marriage) for decades now, which has led to the dating drought in the church, prolonged singleness among Christians, and ostracizing older singles or married couples with no children, because they do nothing to help older singles actually get married, or make marrieds with no kids feel welcome.
Most American church groups fixate desperately on getting singles of teen-aged years and people in their twenties in the church door, so as not to “lose the younger generation,” but as personal experience and Julia Duin’s “Qutting Church” book demonstrate, this unfortunate, nauseating, and age- based discriminatory fixation has led to singles over the age of 30 leaving the church in droves because THEIR needs are not being met – older Christians are being ignored in favor of luring in the kids.
As a result with their disappointment over the Republican 2012 Presidential defeat (I’m not happy with Obama winning a second term, either), I can just see some pastors and conservative Christian groups buckling down even harder on defending heterosexual marriage, sexual purity (which is a bit of a joke; many conservative Christians groups claim they support virginity, celibacy, and sexual purity but do not), and so on, which will only hurt older Christian singles more, or at least not do anything to improve their plight.
The American church, Southern Baptists included, refuse to be dragged into the 21st century.
I do not agree with liberalism, homosexuality, abortion, or any of that, and I don’t know what the solution is to the erosion of “biblical” values, but I know what it is not, and what has not worked: continued obsession with 1950s American culture – of pretending like we are all still living in 1955 America, or that we should return to that era.
I’m tired of being ignored or being under-utilized when I attend a new church because I’m not a wife or a mommy or because I do not have a penis. I am not June Cleaver, the perfect 1950s fictional housewife with husband and two kids who wears pearls while she vacuums.
I want a church that deals with my existence and acknowledges it – I’m over 40, a woman, I’ve never married or had a kid, and I do NOT like children. I have NO interest in working in the church nursery or the kitchen.
How TV Killed the Republican Party’s Family Values
by Jonathan D. Fitzgerald, Nov 15, 2012 4:45 AM EST
Republicans are searching for an explanation as to why voters rejected their vision of America. The answer may be on their television screens, where an ever-expanding, bluer definition of family values makes their nostalgic idea of family values feel like a foreign world.
The biggest loser of last week’s elections may have been the Republican Party’s image of the American family.
Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, blamed the Republican loss on a dramatic change in our country’s “moral landscape.”
He’s right, but this isn’t new: the GOP vision of America, which includes patriarchal churchgoing families with sexually abstinent teenagers who have no use for birth control hasn’t been a reality since the 1950s
So what happened? As it turns out, one of the most influential forces in changing Americans’ definition of family can be found in the homes of liberals and conservatives alike: their televisions.
Slowly over time, the family sitcoms that Americans have been watching for decades effectively transformed what was once the culturally reinforced American ideal family into a relic of the not-so-distant past.
Continue reading “Conservative Christianity Stuck in 1950s Leave it To Beaver-ville”