There was an article by the AP in the Rutland Herald yesterday:
State Program Helps Students Explore Gender
The article raises so many thoughts but here is one that I can comment on without sticking my foot too far into my mouth:
Steve Cable of Rutland, the founder of Vermont Renewal, an organization that promotes what he calls traditional family values, said he wasn’t familiar with “Gendertopia,” but he knew Outright Vermont. He said he was supportive of the group’s anti-bullying efforts, but not what he said was its focus on adolescent sexuality.
“It just makes me really nervous that sexuality and these very complicated social behaviors are being normalized and talked about with kids who haven’t figured out even their life yet,” Cable said. “I know that Outright Vermont promotes all gender identities and expression of gender identities, no matter how weird that might be.”
Of the roughly 1,000 words used to describe (even laud) the program and its mission, the AP writer gives a scant 104 describing concerns with the “Gendertopia” program. Is that the extent to which there is concern over programs like these being run with taxpayer money?
More significantly is the way the “opposition” opinion is presented in the article:
Steve Cable of Rutland, the founder of Vermont Renewal, an organization that promotes what he calls traditional family values (emphasis mine)
This phrase in the report highlights how the Left are waging the battle for significance in American culture (it also likely exposes the perspective from which the AP reporter is writing). Whether it was intentional or not, the reporter has pushed Cable, Vermont Renewal, and traditional values itself to the fringe of the argument by essentially writing that traditional values are in the eye of the beholder. In other words, there is disagreement about what traditional values are. This means that people who support and believe in certain moral codes that have been around for centuries, even millenia, now have to be very specific in defense of their position. They are having their rhetoric taken away from them by this kind of reporting.
On the one hand the devaluing of the traditional values rehtoric should be fine, even a call to action, for those on the Right of social issues. It forces them to identify the details of their arguments and hopefully present a more thorough case for their position. Perhaps this is what was intended when Peter writes:
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to the give the reason for the hope you have. But do this with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15)
On the other hand, most people either don’t have the time, or the energy, to define and articulate their positions with such detail and precision. We tend to leave that to the politicians or “intellectuals” of our time. We do that at the peril of losing the battle for the soul of our culture.
Words are important and the use of them by reporters in this manner either demonstrates an ignorance of their use or it demonstrates a deliberate sabotage of their significance. I can’t judge the motives of this reporter, but I am discouraged by the devaluing of the phrase “traditional values” either way.