Taking Family Values Back

The following is a cross-post from Faith in Public Life's the Rev. Jen Butler reflecting on family values, the pro-family economy and yesterday's strike of federal contract workers in Washington D.C.  

Not long ago, “family values” was regarded as synonymous with the religious right’s polarizing social agenda. The Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, the American Family Association and others seized the “pro-family” mantle in the media and national political debates, casting a narrow definition of what it meant to defend families in public life.

But that day is over. A growing progressive faith movement is taking back what it means to be pro-family, and the public debate is changing fast — and much for the better. Strengthening families is a common thread through so many of the issues FPL and the faith community are taking on right now: immigration reform that keeps families together, protecting SNAP for struggling families, and standing up for budget policies that help parents provide for their children. There’s no mistaking what our community stands for.

Fair pay is another critical feature of a pro-family economy. Today I marched with Interfaith Worker Justice leaders alongside striking federal workers who are demanding a living wage, which is critical for working families. Religious leaders have also provided crucial support for fast food workers who are fighting for this cause.

Making workplaces more family-friendly by passing legislation that guarantees paid sick leave and family medical leave for workers is another front for this movement. No one should have to choose between caring for their loved ones in an hour of need or keeping a job that puts food on the table. The pro-family position on these issues is crystal clear.