I, for one, welcome our character-based education overlords
October 5, 2004 11:28 AM   Subscribe

Meet a federal marriage expert. According to cult leader Reverend Moon, democracy must crumble in the face of "Godism," with him in charge. Having endorsed Godism as central to any sensible curriculum, and Moon as central to any married person's sex life, one Josephine Hauer is now receiving federal funds to train marriage experts. It's part of a $1.5 billion marriage program that excludes gay-friendly organizations, but has funded this admirer of Soviet character education. The government argues that most Americans already share the values of the Healthy Marriage Initiative.
posted by inksyndicate (14 comments total)
Marriage indeed. Read the former daughter=in-law's book, Under the Moon about her marriage to the abusive Moon' son and how the organization (Unification Church) tried to silence her.
posted by Postroad at 12:24 PM on October 5, 2004

Oh God. Another "ism".
posted by troutfishing at 12:31 PM on October 5, 2004

According to the Census Bureau, over 90% of the American public are projected to marry. In addition, public opinion surveys indicate that more than 93% of Americans say that marital success is important to them. The majority of the American public already value marriage and ACF will not force marriage on anyone.

I have a real problem with this. First, I have a really, really hard time believing that 90% of Americans will get married before they die. If we assume that 8%-12% of the population is gay, that means that only -2% to 2% of people will remain single throughout their lives. I.e., this statistic is prima facie horseshit. Unless, of course, they start endorsing gay marriage. Then it's not quite prima facie -- but it's still horseshit.

Just looking around anecdotally, most of my closer friends have never been married and aren't likely to ever be.

Of course, that may not be what "are projected to marry" means. Maybe it just amounts to a different way of stating the assertion of the second sentence: That people judge the worth of a person by whether that person is "successfully" married. That's an unsurprising statistic, but it wouldn't mean what it's asserted to mean. As any good ethnographer knows, asking people what they think is a terrible way to find out what they think; better to get them to tell you stories, accounts of things that have actually happened, or of how they would do things. Better yet to actually watch what they really do.
posted by lodurr at 12:36 PM on October 5, 2004

ok, everyone who is enjoying a healthy marital relationship in which Rev. Moon is not central, raise your hands.
posted by quonsar at 12:40 PM on October 5, 2004

I'm afraid to comment, because the fact that I think that this person is ludicrously unqualified, and that the US government's "faith-based initiatives" are, because of the arbitrary and ill-informed nature of their design, an open invitation for crackpots of all stripes to engage in work that should be done by trained professionals, will somehow be taken by the poor, beleaguered conservatives as evidence of "groupthink".

Okay, it's "groupthink." The "group" I am thinking of in this instance is "rational humans".

Lodurr, the "projected to marry" statistic is an extrapolation from past demographic data. I agree with you that it may not be accurate.

However, the percentage of the US population who is gay is generally estimated at something between 3% and 8%--the "10% figure" of the Kinsey report didn't refer to people who were gay, but to people who had had a same-sex sexual experience at any point in their lifetime.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:41 PM on October 5, 2004

(3) Sprinkle Holy Salt three times in a northerly direction. Then sprinkle Holy Salt three times in a southerly direction. Then sprinkle Holy Salt three times in an easterly direction. Then sprinkle Holy Salt three times in a westerly direction.

Then check your Holy Blood Pressure lest you have a Holy Stroke.
posted by quonsar at 12:42 PM on October 5, 2004

I will also say that more than 90% of the people I know are, or have been, married. When I think of the hundred and sixty adults who attended my wedding, for example, there are three heterosexual women, one heterosexual man, one bisexual woman, and four homosexual men who have never been married.

More than half of the gay couples who were at my wedding have since been legally married to each other!
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:44 PM on October 5, 2004

Hmm let's take a guess at some of the course materials (other than the Bible, of course):

A popular husband-catching how to?

Inspiration by example?

And this handy little gem too? (yes, I know this one has been debunked...)

Or perhaps they'll go for the really hardcore behavioral modifications.

One step forward, two steps back...
posted by zoogleplex at 1:01 PM on October 5, 2004

Hey, you know the only Healthy Marriage Initiative that I want to see--

that Constitutional Amendment outlawing divorce!

Because if we're going to make this country more Christian, we've got to start with the greatest impediment to Christian marriages--legalized divorce!

Think about it; we don't know whether legalized same-sex marriage would lead to more divorces. However, it's incontrovertibly clear that legalized divorce leads to more divorces.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:05 PM on October 5, 2004

Constitutional Amendment outlawing divorce!

I'll vote for that. I can't think of anything that would more rapidly eradicate state-controlled marriage as an institution.

Which I think would be a good thing, for marriage. AFAIAC, marriage should be a civil (as in contractual) and religious/cultural issue; real conservatives would want the government keeping its damn nose out of it. I can envision a state endorsing a standard contract, but not barring other more or less restrictive forms, up to a limit -- there should obviously be restrictions that forbid what amount to chattel relationships, or onerous conditions for dissolution.

And if people are so serious about their religious or cultural institutions, then they should have the personal will and fortitude to stand by them without legal help from The State.

Sorry, sometimes my ex-Libertarian side wakes up and wants to strut; it joins hands with my inner-atheist and goes on a rampage. And yes, I realize that my ideas have just about a snowball's chance in hell of widespread acceptance; that's why I'm willing to state them out loud ;-).

Sidhedevil: OK, I'll stand corrected on the sexual orientation percentage. But I think "guests at a wedding" is probably a bad sample, especially if you're talking about the wedding of a slightly older (say, over 30) couple.

True, though, also, that the fact that people who were married once for ten minutes effectively add to that 90% does mitigate against me. But I'd argue that makes the stat even more bogus.

Meaningless anecdote: Many moons ago, I dated a grad student who, while drunk one night on cheap Spanish wine, revealed to me that she'd once been a green-card bride for a year. (He was a spaniard; spanish wine; etc.) Then proceeded to rant on for a couple of hours about how I had to accept that she'd had a previous life before we were dating. (Didn't seem interested in the idea that I didn't really care about it from that angle at all.)
posted by lodurr at 1:27 PM on October 5, 2004

Lodurr, I was 35 when I got married, it's true. But remember that the projection is for people who will ever get married. I know several heterosexual men and women who got married for the first time in their lives in their fifties, and one woman who got married for the first time in her sixties.

Also, I don't think my wedding, which was celebrated by a gay African American political activist and justice of the peace in the local Community Arts Center drew a particularly "conformist" crowd.

I think that, for various reasons, the majority of people in the US do get married at some point in their lives. Among the people I know who are, or have been, married include the publisher of a Maoist newspaper, the local head of the Social Democrats, the owner of a sex club, a Pagan activist, and a porn performer. Clearly, these are not people who have accepted mainstream Christianity's values as central to their life choices.

There are lots of other reasons to get married other than to make the SkyDaddy happy, after all. I'm a churchgoing Christian myself, but I had a completely secular civil wedding because my atheist/raised Jewish husband wanted one. A wedding, that is.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:02 PM on October 5, 2004

Mhh nice profit scheme indeed:
1. outsource government healthcare (psycological counseling) to external entities in bed or composed by people that have a belief-system not corroborated by evidence and facts and not under any kind of open-source control
2. do that with many religious system, cover up by saying you're just letting people exercise freedom of religion
3. forget to exercise public control over the hell they do, as govt can't mess with religion because it would be "persecution" or with private enterprise because "it would be anti-market anti-freedom"
4. move money to private pundits who rountely are derouted by "evil", but find again the light for $ 5.99 donation
5. Profit !

You see the trend ? Outsource, private and religion (close-source,untouchable by mandate) can only do better ! Forget that Osama is a religious zealot & terrorist, funded by family funds which mainly come from private interests ; guess free-market-panacea ideology need some help from religious zealot and vice versa ?
posted by elpapacito at 2:48 PM on October 5, 2004

The Moonie angle of this would be more surprising if we hadn't already seen plenty of evidence that Moon's organization is astonishingly well-connected in Republican circles.

Oh, and I hope you all get a good look at the linked description of the 3-day ceremony of "Unificationist" matrimony:

After the act of love, both spouses should wipe their sexual areas with the Holy Handkerchief. Hang the handkerchief to dry naturally and keep them eternally. They must be kept individually labeled and should never be laundered or mixed up.

I'll leave the punchline to one of you cleverer types. Nice post, inksyndicate.
posted by BT at 3:26 PM on October 5, 2004

And Saint Attila raised the handkerchief up on high, saying, 'O Lord, bless this Thy handkerchief that, with it, Thou mayest blow Thine enemies to tiny bits... in Thy mercy.'
posted by greensweater at 9:50 PM on October 5, 2004

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