One "sweet" little fun photo and tidbit:
During our research on homophobic Sweetwater, TN, we came up with this old photo. If Sweetwater knew what today's connotation of "tea room" is, it sure wouldn't post it!
Sorry guys, this place closed down in 1930's (after the Crash). Bet it had some really great times!!
Sunday, March 27, 2011
One "sweet" little fun photo and tidbit:
Our last post might have left readers wondering where the precise definition of the American Family by AFA and Family Research Council can be found. Well, in answer to the AFA's prayers, we've been able to actually locate it: Sweetwater, Tennessee has all the mythical nuclear family needs, right down to its traditional bigotry.
ours after we posted an OpEdNews article, The American Family: Sacred or Profane?, this bit of insane bigotry was posted by Joe.My.God:
In January, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) invited public comment on proposed new rules banning discrimination against LGBT people in all its programs. That prompted Vicki Barnes, the executive director of Tennessee's Sweetwater Housing Authority to fire off a letter to HUD in which she compares gay people to murderers, cult members, prostitutes and drug dealers.Here is probably the most ironic and damaging section of the letter:
2. This is not a matter of discrimination. In choosing to name a group of people such as the Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT), you are choosing to group together a group of people who are not of the same race, but have made a personal and moral life style choice. Other groups who make a personal life style choice are drug user and sellers, gang members, prostitutes, cults and murderers. You are saying any group of persons can call themselves a family. This will cause chaos in the communities and take away the security and stability of the families and would promote the following:
You can find that sense of belonging at First Baptist Church. If you visit us, you'll recognize that we have a strong love for each other. We believe that there is compassion, hope, and community for everyone through faith in Jesus Christ.Thoughts of isolation aside, here's a look at Sweetwater's website. The historic, pristine, folksy, postcard-perfect little town is extremely WASP and mentions nothing about past slavery and Jim Crow atrocities. It's congressional representative, John J. Duncan, Jr. comes from a long line of Southern Baptist legislative adherents and is a darling of the Family Research Council and the NRA.* It's self-promotion as a squeaky-clean town runs counterintuitive to its need for any Section 8 housing or HUD support: pity the poor people who have to find subsidized housing, since they must be looked upon as the lowest of indigent slackers. In addition, Sweetwater's continuous and constant appeal is for people to move there!
The outlook of towns like Sweetwater is imperative to today's Right Wing in forging behind with it's mythical vision of the American Family: steeped in hallowed "tradition", it helps uber-conservatives with its veneer of decency and righteousness. What Ms. Barnes letter underscores is that it is only a veneer. And a pretty tacky one at that. Sweetwater is a town built of ubiquitous buzzwords. And while it is not completely isolated (surrounded as it is by neighboring Knoxville's Wal-Marts), it would not survive in the real world of diversity and global awareness. It is fit to live alongside Lexington, KY's Creation Museum or Heritage U.S.A., but not fit to deal with the 21st century.
If this sounds like un-American, small town mom-and-apple-pie bashing ... well, it isn't. Instead, it may be one way of relating the insidiousness of the Right in using stock images and pawning them off as the REAL America. Even Sweetwater realizes that it's image is one of the past. But it promotes its past as one you can live in today, and that just isn't right. History is full of beautiful, romantic images, but it is also rife with covert portraits of racism, discrimination and religious intolerance.
As I've noted before, today's real American Family is under attack, and Sweetwater, TN is leading the battle.
* wikipedia: On John J. Duncan, Jr.:
The Family Research Council rated him as a 92% or above since 2002 and the NRA has rated him in equally positive terms. He is a frequent contributor to Chronicles, a magazine associated with the paleoconservative movement.
Posted by DFV at 3:39 PM
I've often asked myself what kind of organizations with the words "American" and "Family"* support someone like the Christian Right's Bryan Fischer: Fischer fulminates against gays Muslims, feminists, Native Americans and, of course, immigrants. So that begs the question: what is the American Family?
The portrait of today's American Family is not exactly Norman Rockwellian (at least not one of his earlier works). The American Family** still sits down to dinner together (over 85% do), reveres "family time" and even communicates with each other more than ever before. The problem the AFA has encountered: the American Family is more diverse than anything the AFA could have imagined. And even though groups like the AFA have taken up hate-broadcaster Michael Savage's mantra, "Diversity Equals Perversity," it looks like diversity is here to stay.
Today's American Family may consist of various combinations: mother-father-biological children; single-mother-children; single-father-children; divorced-parents-children; single-gay-father-biological-children; gay-couple-biological-children; gay-couple-adopted-children; lesbian-couple-in-utero-children; mother-father-dependent-grandparent-children; single-man/woman/caregiver-parent.
Add to any of the above, families with close extensions of aunts, uncles, cousins and life-long friends. Now mix it all up with different races, ethnicities, philosophies, sects and religions: now THAT is the American Family. It's turned from the mythical nuclear rock to a snowflake: each having the same bonding of love, yet each being distinctive in its form and diversity.
Unfortunately for America, however, the AFA and its compatriots are unable to see the beauty of these snowflakes (the new family units) and are hammering away at pockets of Right Wing America with such vitriolic determination that some people may come to believe in the superiority of being part of a rock, albeit the kind that never really existed in the first place.
If you go to the AFA's website, your first question usually is: so why isn't it called the Christian Family Association? Simply because a dynamic exists between the Right Wing concept of Christianity and the Right Wing concept of Family: they are too interdependent - one cannot live without the other. Yes, there are Right Wing Jewish families, but if we're playing a numbers game here, their number is very small; with the exception of CUFI (Citizens United For Israel - a Zionist organization founded by Pastor John Hagee), the Christian Right rarely concern themselves with Jewish (family) matters.
On the AFA website:
To achieve their lofty goals, the AFA:1. "Restrains evil" in the media, particularly film.
2. Convinces "men of sin" to be driven to Christ.
3. Encourages Christians to live-out their new "holy identity."
4. Strengthens families and protects them from "government intrusion" and "preserves the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of a husband and wife."
Posted by DFV at 12:49 AM