the excluded male

Yesterday my wife was leafing through the J.C. Penney flier that came in the Sunday paper, and she noticed something interesting. The flier featured four full page spreads of real women from diverse backgrounds:  an Indian mother and her daughters; a special needs girl with her mom, aunts, and grandmother; a single mom and her daughters; and a lesbian couple with a grandmother and two daughters.

The description read:  “You’ll often find Wendi, her partner, Maggie, and daughters elbow-deep in paint, clay or mosaics. ‘Even as babies, the girls toddled around in diapers, covered in paint,’ said Wendi. They come from a long line of artists, which includes grandma Carolyn. Visiting her art studio in Granbury, Texas is a favorite outing. And like any grandma, this one loves to bake—pottery, that is.”

The caption read:  “creativity, oil paintings, freedom of expression.” The latter seemed to refer to both their art and their sexual choices.

The ad is more evidence that cultural approval of homosexuality is a fait accompli. As President Obama’s views on marriage continue to evolve, who doubts that his position will finally mature shortly after the election? Perhaps even before, if necessary. After Vice President Biden said on Meet the Press yesterday that he is “comfortable with” gay marriage, it seems that the administration has put its position on gay marriage behind glass that reads, “Break in case of emergency, or if you play for the New York Knicks.”

The other thing I noticed about the ad is that there is no man in the picture. Not that long ago Mother’s Day would naturally imply the presence of a father, but with the rise of homosexual practice and out of wedlock births, this simply isn’t the case anymore. I wonder what will happen to men who are no longer valued as necessary for a healthy family, and I wonder about the two little girls in the picture who must grow up without a father. Aren’t they missing out on something essential too?

Sometimes our freedom of expression can put other people in bondage. And if they were born into this limited arrangement, they may never understand what they’re missing.

9 Comments

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  1. There is no freedom apart from virtue.

    An idea from Plato. Also corresponds nicely to 2 Peter.

  2. Mike,

    I do not intend to start a long discussion here, but having worked in the public arena and being the legislative sponsor of Michigan’s 1996 welfare reform act, the disregard for the role of men and fathers has a long history in our country. AFDC, TANF, (or whatever they call it today) is rooted in compassionate intentions without regard for God’s design for the family. Our assistance programs have historically served as a surrogate father. Before we look too far for someone to blame we ought to accept our own accountablilty for the failure of our churches in abandoning the political process for over two generations. But I suppose we can rest quietly in our comfort zones with the full assurance that somehow that is not the mission of the church.

  3. Jack: I’m going with my daughter’s third grade class to the state capitol on Friday, assuming my exams are graded by then. Where was your desk? Did you carve your initials anywhere?

    On a related note, some of my male friends whose wives have left them tell me that the courts are weighted strongly against husbands and fathers, so much so that marriage today seems a very risky financial bet for guys. I still don’t believe in prenups, but I understand why a fellow might want one. I’m sure that there are women who have similar horror stories from divorce, but I think there is an institutional bias in favor of the mother. Many wonderful fathers are losing their wives and their children, and paying for the privilege too.

  4. Mike,

    I served for four terms, with a different seat each term. I understand the bias in favor of mothers, and I do not know of a good alternative. On a larger scale I believe current no-fault divorce laws, which came to us in the 70s, are a major contributor to this problem. In spite of efforts in some states to provide either reform of no-fault divorce, or alternatives, most states have been hesitant to adopt such changes. Good ideas are out there, but our society is slow to embrace them. It seems we tend to covet our autonomy without regard to the consequences. The problem of course is compounded when the community of believers fails to take seriously our freedom to bear witness as a genuine cultural alternative livestyle though healthy marriages.

  5. oops,
    Make that “through” healthy marriages.

  6. Rev. Z. Bartels May 8, 2012 — 4:23 am

    Mike, too bad you’ll probably have to get on some lame bus and go back to a grade school after the tour, since I live just down the road. Odds are good you’ll be shown around by Valerie, a member of my congregation who seems to do the lion’s share of the class tours at the Capitol. If so quiz her on your books, as she read the first two.

  7. I’ll look for her. Why don’t you come and have her introduce you as a senator or something?
    After the tour they’re taking us to Impressions 5, which they claim is a children’s science museum but sounds suspiciously like a high class bar.

  8. Ron Johnson who is the ceo if JCPenney came from Apple as a ceo. Apple not long ago had banned “ex gay” christian app from the Exodus International. Steve Cook who took over Apple is purportedly gay. To see this in a JCP flier does not surprise me.

  9. The ultimate womyn’s fantasy, no men. I can’t stand the respelling of the word but believe it will be more prominent. Terribly discouraging but the vote in North Carolina made me smile!

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