Sharing values

It should come as no surprise that women choose their close friends from among other women who share their values. In that light, Pro-Life women have more confidence in other Pro-Life women, stay-at-home mothers find more affinity with other stay-at-home mothers, and women of faith trust other women of faith — even if they don’t share the exact creed — as long as God and virtue are paramount.

The same is true in the reverse, of course: those who prioritize life-style choices apart from transcendent truths build their own circles of like-minded friends. Most of these women find great discomfort with the fact that some people insist that some choices are immoral and damaging to the wider cultural fabric in which we must all live. Those who reject natural law, the traditional family, and the inherent dignity of all human life feel oppressed and suffocated by those who cherish all three. 

The great debate in this country at present concerns whose default argument is more threatening: Is the existence of a group of people who promote the common good based on natural law more dangerous to the notion of individual liberties; or are those people who reject moral absolutes more of a threat to the religious liberties of believers? Or in shorthand, which will prevail: the atomized individual or the communal person? 

This is the underlying question being bandied about today in the wake of the light-hearted comedy, “Moms’ Night Out.” Whether or not the film is well-written, well-acted, or well-made are red herrings if one reads the scathing reviews more deeply. After panning all three elements, the reviewers get to the heart of the matter: women who stay at home, women who struggle with the details of motherhood, women who yearn for appreciation and diversions are shallow and anachronistic, and should simply find jobs. The premise of the movie, they believe, is flawed because it depends on gender stereotypes, regressive notions of the family, and insulting beliefs.

Now Christians have had to deal with the immorality of the entertainment industry for decades. From promiscuous plot lines to vulgar rap lyrics, from the objectification of women to sickening degrees of violence — the response has always been, “If you don’t like it, don’t watch.” When Tipper Gore (decades ago!) suggested that the wider community was harmed by the existence of such baseness, she was ridiculed and parodied, mocked and marginalized. No moralists were allowed to impose their constraining beliefs on others.

And yet the production of a single movie that is meant to encourage and uplift those who dedicate themselves to the difficult task of child-rearing is likewise decried — even flagged as a throwback to treacherous times when families consisted of a mother, a father, and their shared offspring. One would think that a silly film with little to commend it would be allowed to die an ignominious death at the box office, but the hysterical response is instructive. Women (and the bulk of these reviewers are women) are not happy to simply choose as they will and surround themselves with those who choose likewise; rather they must challenge those who choose differently and lampoon the offenders as dangerously stupid. 

This ironic incongruence only leads to the more troubling fact: the entertainment industry, the educational establishment, and (most importantly) all governmental agencies are coalescing around the individualists. This answers the important question raised above: secular individualism and communal personhood are mutually threatening and cannot coexist much longer. Thus we see that cultures are not like cliques, because eventually one group will prevail, forcing all to conform to that which is inscribed in law.

Anchor columnist Mrs. Kineke is the author of “The Authentic Catholic Woman.” She blogs at

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