Saturday, March 13, 2010

Evangelicals Threaten Traditional Families More Than Gay Marriage

I want to recommend everyone read an article from Friday's Christian Science Monitor called "High Divorce Rates and Teen Pregnancy Are Worse in Conservaive States Than Liberal States".

The headline of this article shouldn't surprise anyone. Everyone knows abstenience-only education doesn't work so it's no surprise that teen pregnancy rates are higher in areas that have a large number of evangelical Christians who think try to scare kids away from sex by downplaying contraception. The high failure rate of marriages in these communities also shouldn't shock anybody -- evangelicals believe a lot of myths about marriage, enter into them with unrealistic expectations and end up more disappointed. No surprise there.

No, the reason you should read this article is that it follows up this news with some very well-reasoned analysis. In fact, it if the first time that I've seen a mainstream media source explicitly state something that I have always believed -- conservatives, not liberals, are responsible for the decline of the American family.

The reasoning goes like this: Evangelical Christians in Nevada, Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama and Oklahoma look around them and lots of divorce and teen pregnancy. They think, "Why is marriage in so much trouble in my state?" They look at all of the alternatives to marriage gaining popularity in places like New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and Maryland. They think, "These cultural changes are creating misery all around me, but they aren't fully established yet where I live. I should oppose them with religion, abstenience-only education, and by oppressing gay people."

They don't realize that Nevada, Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama and Oklahoma have the highest five divorce rates in the country, while New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and Maryland have the lowest five divorce rates in the country. When it comes to teenage pregnancy, those liberal states are 44th, 50th, 46th, 48th and 40th nationally. Meanwhile Nevada, Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama and Oklahoma are 19th, 10th, 2nd, 5th and 6th nationally. Since the evangelicals haven't bothered to look up the stats, they don't know that traditional families in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and Maryland aren't experiencing any of the negative effects supposedly caused by the decadence surrounding them -- gays and swingers and kinksters and polyamorists and abortionists and so on. And the ignorance of the statistics cuts both ways: To the people in the blue states, the red state crowd seem to have lost their minds since they're freaking out about things that don't seem like big problems.

The evangelicals never consider that the high divorce and teen pregnancy rates they observe all around them are caused by something going on in their own state rather than by the decadence they perceived in other parts of the country. So they step up their attempts to fight the decline of the family, in the process forcing people who don't want traditional marriage at all and people who aren't ready for traditional marriage yet into traditional marriages, while feeding disinformation about sex to their children. And their problems get worse. So they try harder. And their problems get even worse. So they try harder still.

I was so happy when I read the Christian Science Monitor piece. For a long time, it has been completely maddening to me that no one in the mainstream media has ever explicitly talked about this theory. It's too bad that the Monitor buried the true subject of their article under a headline that just cites the statistics. I would have prefered something more explicit like, say, "Evangelicals Threaten Traditional Families More Than Gay Marriage" -- but I'll take what I can get. I just hope it won't be too long before news agencies all over the country pick up this story and run with it, because I'm a kinky, polyamorous, sex-positive, gay-friendly guy and I want to protect the traditional family from all of its enemies!

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