Are American values rooted in family, church or government? I would say all of the above -- just not all at the same time! We seem to have lost our way with all of this and we seem to be confusing how important each is and how important it is to keep them separate. And we seem to be confusing how important the concept of freedom is to how all of these segments of society function.
According to Gallup, 40% of Americans say they go to church regularly. Why do they go? To be inspired, to worship, for community. Not one person said they go to be a better citizen. And hence my point, citizenship and God are separate categories. So, too, family. But what a mash up they've become.
Stephen Jay Gould has a wonderful website called The American History of Religious Freedom with great quotes from Presidents past on this issue of church and state. I particularly like the quote from John F. Kennedy, who said, "No Catholic prelate would tell the President how he should act." (He might be surprised at some of the sermons around stem cell research as of late!)
For someone who would rather listen to an episode of the cable television show Modern Family than listen to a politician preach about traditional family values, I just want our government to get back to governing. I just believe each family should have the freedom to decide whether it is a Mom and a Dad running the show, A Mom and a Mom or a single Mom or Dad.
As far as family, I have to admit I like when I see, whether it's the Obamas or the Romneys a tight family unit. Who doesn't consider a happy, well-functioning family a sign of success? As a single Mom who wonders whether she can govern her own teenagers sometimes (that's a joke), I am proud to say at least we exhibit the very American belief that hard work is the solution to our problems!