PrimeTime family news

Dallas Morning News columnist Rod Dreher just wrote in to comment on the Peggy Noonan column, linking that to a PrimeTime report last night.

Note the presence of that “fundamentalist” label again, as in the Vanity Fair Ashcroft article.

What does this word mean to people in newsrooms these days? Any active religious believer who practices a traditional, orthodox version of an ancient faith? Does the word have any FACTUAL content?

The AP Stylebooks says to avoid this word — unless people use it to describe themselves.

Here is the opening of the online version of the ABC story:

In Lexington, Ky., there’s a family that consists of eight children, three adults, and every conventional notion of family turned upside down.

There’s one dad, Thomas Dysarz, and there’s another dad, Michael Meehan. And there’s one mom, Brooke Verity, who was only 25 years old when she gave birth to four babies, with Meehan as the birth father, before having another with Dysarz. She also has three children by an ex-husband.

Religious fundamentalists have traveled halfway across the country to protest this relationship. The law reels in the face of uncharted territory. This family’s story is messy, lyrical, emotional, stressful, and real — with no guarantee of a happy ending.

Dreher just sent us this online comment:

Last night, I was watching Diane Sawyer’s PrimeTime story about a gay male couple in Kentucky who contracted with a woman to have surrogate children for them. She had quadruplets, which were quintuplets until the doctor said one had to be aborted in utero, over the objections of one of the gay men. Anyway, the men got their four kids, but the member of the couple whose sperm hadn’t been used to inseminate the breeder woman decided that he needed a biological child of his own . . . so the woman agreed to rent her womb out again. Alas, with five little children now afoot, the gay couple decided that their relationship was strained. When we left the two lovelies, they were living in separate bedrooms, and didn’t know if they’d stay together. Meanwhile, five little children under the age of two are running around the house.

Diane Sawyer treated this like this freakshow family (in whose number I put the rent-a-womb chick, who traded her last baby to the couple in exchange for a promise of plastic surgery) was living in the New Jerusalem, until gosh, the strains of life just kinda got to ‘em. And I’m thinking: We get so bent out of shape over the Super Bowl halftime show — which, don’t get me wrong, was outrageous — but this perfectly ordinary episode of PrimeTime Live presented as something normal and worthy of moral esteem a phenomenon far more destabilizing of the moral order, to say nothing of the fact that FIVE LITTLE CHILDREN are involved here…and that’s perfectly normal.

What a world.

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • Steve

    You know,I hate to sound homphobic, but Ive just got say that I really dont thin Gays have any business raising children or getting married.It’s almost like they want to do everything that heterosexuals do, in a vain attempt to feel as if they are normal,or justified in living their lives of sin.Now, because of their selfish need to have a family (that they cant consumate on their own) 5 children are needlessly suffering.

    The moral terpitude (or lack thereof) in this country is going to hell in a handbasket.

  • tonymixan

    What happened to their “loving committed relationship”? I thought practicing homosexuals lived happily ever after?

  • Davey’s and ?’s mommy

    Seems like every heterosexual married couple who has four or five children the normal way gets negative input on their procreative excess, though.

  • Victor Morton

    “Fundamentalist” is like the political f-word (fascism) … and other f-words. It has a particular meaning in the hands of someone who knows what he’s talking about — test cases: one who can distinguish the religious f-word from “charismatic” (or who correctly answers the question “is Pat Robertson a fundamentalist”) is someone who has a right to use the word.

    I had a boss at a paper other than the one I work at now who was very into “Course in Miracles.” Which is not objectionable in itself, except that it caused him to ask me whether I was a “Catholic fundamentalist.”

    I said, “there’s no such thing.” I explained to him, in as much detail and as vigorously as prudence would allow as he was my boss, that fundamentalism was a late-19th/early-20th century movement within Protestantism, an effort to return to “the fundamentals” of the Bible and cut away the accretions of past tradition. Barely a month later, he writes his Sunday column about “fundamentalists” and includes the charming sentence “Saddam Hussein is a fundamentalist; Hitler was a fundamentalist.” He was plainly just using the word as a term of abuse for “someone who believes that truth is truth, and his truth ’tain’t my truth.” I believe that is what people who use the word ignorantly are trying to say.

  • Don

    Perhaps that particular gay couple has tried to apply the bad examples set by the countless number of heterosexual couples who have been “unsuccessful” in having a family. It seems that “fundamentalists” seem to forget that heterosexual couples are having major problems, while gay couples are learning to live this life as God intended; in love. I think a proper definition of today’s fundamentalists could be the self-rightious or modern-day pharisees that Jesus condemned 2000 yrs ago.

  • Don

    Hmmm, I wonder how many of these blogs it would take to list all of the heterosexual couples who have had struggles in their relationships. Anyone? I thought so. . .