100% Natural, Straight From The Cow's Ass

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Memo to Allan Carlson & Paul Mero: FUCK RIGHT OFF.

It's always important to keep a watchful eye on the leading edge of the New Theocracy. This vanguard is traditionally represented by organizations who work the word "family" into their names, having moved to that semantically friendly term from less successful buzzwords like "decency" or "busybody". Their collective goal is to enshrine into law what they have already enshrined in their churches. To make everyone live by their religion's rules whether they follow that religion or not. Their goal is to dominate, to control, and Carlson and Mero are the latest pair to make a move toward defining the terrain in the "culture wars".

We need to find a way to kill that term, "culture wars". It's not particularly helpful. It implies an equality, a sameness of purpose and power that simply does not exist. It carries the connotation that each side is trying to eliminate the other. This is not the case. The "culture war" is really more of a Germany-Poland kind of thing. The theocrats are trying to drive their opponents underground, to take whatever stuff they've accumulated and subjugate them. The rest of us are left to ask politely that they stay on their side of the border, and occasionally turning to the courts for a little help with the invading hordes.

The latest incursion into the borders of civilization by the obsessively godly is the Natural Family Manifesto. Expect to start hearing that buzzword soon. "Natural family". It seems innocuous enough. Who could be against natural? Who could be against family? It is, of course, a huge fucking lie. The Natural Family Manifesto is not about letting families form, naturally, into the shape that best suits the people in it. Instead, it's an Artificial Family Manifesto, designed to create a rigid framework for what constitutes an "acceptable" family, and then, by calling it "natural", get that artificial framework imposed on as many people as possible via government.

The Manifesto is the product of Allan Carlson and Paul Mero; of the Howard Center for (the inseparable welding-together-of) Family, Religion and Society and the Sutherland Institute, respectively. I'm not sure what Donald Sutherland has to do with the actions of these radical clerics, but he is kind of creepy.

If you've seen news coverage of the Manifesto, of which thus far there has been little, it is described as being 42 pages long. Before we get to the odious contents therein, I would just like to say that, having sacrificed my e-mail address to acquire the PDF of the Manifesto from the fuckers at Howard, they padded the HELL out of it to get it to 42.

From the 42 pages, you need to subtract: A title page. An "about the publisher" page. a SECOND title page, a table of contents, an end-notes page, an About the Authors page, and a "back-page blurb" page featuring what I can only assume is the Cliff Notes version of the Manifesto. That brings us down to 35 pages. The 35 pages all have inch and a half margins on every side. It's double-spaced. And the typeface appears to be Times New Roman Holy Shit You're Old. They get TWENTY FOUR LINES on a single page.

Now, most of my readership has grown up in the era of modern word processing. And you all know that if... no, WHEN you tried to pull that shit in high school or college to sneak your way up to a required page count, you fooled nobody. Even on a strictly typographical basis, the Natural Family Manifesto is a fucking joke.

So what's inside? For the most part, what you'd expect. Family Good. Gays Bad. Society Doomed. All delivered in that icky, cloying style so common amongst people who think, in their heart of hearts, they know what's best for you.

They spend four and a half pages on "The Story Of The Family", which, if it were sent through a sewage treatment facility, would emerge completely blank. From its definition of "love" as codependency ("Alone, they feel partial, incomplete. When together, they feel whole.") to the obvious ("A young man and a young woman..."), to the slightly creepy ("Facing death, they will feel the warm spiritual balm that heals the pain of physical separation."), the Story of the Family begins the elaborate process of building the strawman from which the rest of the Manifesto will spring.

They refer to the home as "A special place on Earth" in one of many attempts to redefine public policy based on sub-Hallmark-level hooey. And, in a preview of what is to come, they call the home "the usual expression of this union between the sexual and the economic." As opposed to the UNUSUAL expression of the union between the sexual and the economic, which involves Alan Greenspan, a gimp mask, and a $20 monthly charge on your credit card.

Oh, and atheists, if you think there's a chance you might be included in the Natural Family, you can fuck right off. "...family and faith are, in fact, two sides of the same coin. The vital home rests on reverence, worship, and prayer." Not big on worship? Perhaps subscribe to a religion that doesn't involve prayer? Your families aren't vital, and will be bulldozed in the new age of the Natural Family Manifesto.

And they do intend to bulldoze. How, precisely, these fucks would like to rework things so that everyone who disagrees with them gets screwed will be revealed in the near future, as I have run out of space talking about typefaces and leading. But trust me, as one who's seen the obscene perfidy of the NFM, it's best digested in small doses.