How can we defend traditional family values in the postmodern present, and what do they have to offer to us moderns? A podcast of a talk delivered before an interfaith panel of conservative faith leaders.
Back in December 2011, I participated in a Catholic, Russian Orthodox and Orthodox Jewish conference on traditional values. In the background were the increasing number of jurisdictions, including several US states, where homosexual marriage was being authorized by legislations or courts. Coming on the heels of decades of decline of traditional family values, the participants, who all belonged to orthodox traditions, asked themselves how to best promote traditional family values in the postmodern era.
My message very resonates with the upcoming holiday of Shavuot – marriage and family is not merely an expression of love, while it lasts or an arrangement to consolidate expenses for several closely related people, nor is it merely about permitting sexuality between spouses, though all these are important benefits of marriage. Marriage is much more than that, best captured by the concept of covenant. Conversely, the attacks against traditional values didn’t just happen recently, and are a symptom of a profound loss of our understanding of the great significance of marriage and family.
Though I am reporting this more than two years later, if I may say so, I find the arguments presented in my presentation to remain relevant today. Homosexual marriage, falling birthrates and single parenthood are not the root of the problem, but rather the result of drastic changes in how we in the West came to view marriage and sexuality. Traditional family values have much to offer to society, but can only successfully compete for attention in the square of public opinion if we connect with its deeper underlying notions.
Listen to the talk online:
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[…] walls won’t work either. We need to strengthen our immunities to media’s influence: Advancing Traditional Family Values ▪ Western Wall barriers locked to prevent women from getting Torah scroll ▪ The desecration of […]
One possible way to spread traditional values, given the fact that mainstream media is not a suitable vehicle: the old-fashioned way, through pamphlets. Over the last few years Vegan Outreach volunteers have literally handed out millions of flyers, mainly to college-aged Americans, promoting veganism. Follow-up surveys appear to indicate that this has converted thousands to a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. Handing out convincing, well-written pamphlets, promoting short youtube videos, and even paying people at large events to watch a film (vegans have also used this technique — paying $1 to anyone will who watch a few minute film about factory farms), etc — these are all potential options.
Social conservatives should also create their own version of Hollywood and the entertainment industry, producing films, comedy, newss, music, sit-coms, etc. that promotes (or at least is consistent with) traditional religious values.
Traditionally, we also have marked differences with the other named groups.