Higher Suicide Rates in Conservative “Values Voters” States
Posted by BroadBlogs
Values voters. That’s what those who vote their principles on gay rights and abortion are called. So long as they vote anti-gay and anti-choice.
Really? Are those the only values? And are they good ones?
Why is voting to deny gays and lesbians equal rights a value, while voting to defend their rights is not? Why is voting against the right of women to control their bodies not a value? Abortion rates are about the same whether legal or not, so many girls and women die when safe and legal options are not available.
Are they called values voters because they vote their morals against their pocketbooks? Plenty of well-to-do liberals do the same thing, voting for greater equality and opportunity for women, people of color, gays and the poor against their own financial interests.
Why are progressive ethics seemingly invisible?
I got to thinking about this while looking over research that finds teen suicide rates are higher where values voters live.
According to a Columbia University study, suicide attempts by both gay and straight teens are more common in politically conservative areas, even among kids who weren’t bullied or depressed.
The difference in suicide rates might have something to do with differences in conservative and progressive principles.
Conservatives focus on tradition and authority.
Progressives recognize the worth and dignity of each human being, whether female or male; black, white, or brown; gay, straight, bi or trans. And progressives seek to avoid inflicting harm on others.
No wonder teens are less likely to commit suicide in communities that hold these ideals.
Interestingly, the Bible, which is a major source of conservative morals, contains a progressive message.
True, Leviticus 18:22 does say, “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman,” which many interpret as banning homosexuality. But Leviticus 20:13 deems killing the proper punishment. Yet I don’t know anyone who insists on adhering to both points, leaving them inconsistent in relying on Biblical authority.
At the same time, Jesus declared the greatest commandments loving God and loving your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:36-40).
When it’s all about love and the golden rule, good progressive values, there will surely be much less suicide.
About BroadBlogsI have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych, women's psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State University. I blog for Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos.
Posted on April 22, 2011, in feminism, gender, LGBT/gay rights, psychology, race/ethnicity, reproductive rights, sexism, women and tagged abortion, culture, ethics, feminism, gender, human rights, LGBT/gay rights, psychology, race/ethnicity, reproductive rights, sexism, social psychology, values, Values voters, women. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.