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Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Bill Muehlenberg and Family Values

One of the many cheap tricks of the religious right, employed often by Muehlenberg, is to maintain that they stand for good old-fashioned "family values", and that the "secular left" is hell-bent on destroying their cherished "family values" and the whole of society along with it.

Digging a little deeper, it's interesting to uncover what Muehlenberg and his cronies mean by "family values". Clearly, it is the oppressive and forceful implementation of their far-right Christian agenda on absolutely everyone, where anybody who would wish to disagree or live their life differently is to be condemned.

You can see the origin of this sort of pompous self-aggrandizement and nastiness. It is steeped in the theology of the desert religion Muehlenberg subscribes to - Christianity. Jesus tells his followers that they must believe that he is the son of god (as well as god 'him'self). If they do, they will live happily ever after (ah, what a fairytale) after death. If they don't believe him, and don't love god, then they will be abandoned to spend eternity in a fiery hell. In other words, the love is conditional, and the condition is an absolute capitulation of individual thought. Christianity entices the faithful to love god under threat of fear and intimidation. This set the model for the patriarch so common in Victorian fiction; the ridding of which from society has done inestimable good in the minimizing of child abuse and torture.

It's interesting to note the logical conclusion of this inducement to love and respect through using fear, intimidation and abuse of power. Just look at the Catholic Church and its history of systematic and endemic child torture and rape. Clearly, most modern parents don't subscribe to this kind of whackjob Bronze Age morality. Whatever else it is, it isn't love.

Bill, however, grabs this immoral ideology with both hands. Consider this letter he sent to the Herald Sun in which he advocates the use of violence and intimidation in disciplining children:

Suggested legislation which would ban the smacking of children, except with an open hand, is counterproductive … [T]here is wisdom in using an object, e.g., a wooden dowel. First, it disassociates the punishment from the parent. Otherwise the hand of the parent might become an object of fear, instead of love and affection. In the same way animal trainers recommend using an object instead of the hand …

- Bill Muehlenberg, letter in Herald Sun, 19 Oct. 1998, re-printed in Salt Shakers Newsletter, Nov. 1998, 11
Yes, you read correctly. The angry god of the old testament would be proud of you Bill, but I doubt your children are, especially since you compare rearing them to training animals.

I wonder if one or more of Bill's children is gay or atheist? I can only imagine what Bill's reaction would be if he found out. Faced with having to reject the disgusting ideology that he's dedicated his life to and embrace his child who has their own mind and has dared to use it: or use his crazy beliefs to justify cutting off his own child from the family, what would Muehlenberg do? It's a no-brainer - his own child would have to go.

After all, Bill is a man who gave up his day job and now supports his entire family based solely on the income he gains from peddling his version of the Christian superstition to the gullible; sacrificing the wellbeing of his wife and children and their security in order to satisfy his bloated ego and ridiculous obsession.

It is desperately sad that if any of his kids is gay or atheist they would have to conceal, deceive and lie until the day Bill dies rather than have an honest relationship with their father, for fear of the consequences of denuding him of his fantasy. My heart aches for Bill's family.

Bill Muehlenberg the family values man? They'd be better off without him, he's so far beyond help, and so steeped in the values of First Century peasants that most societies have long since consigned to the scrapheap.