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Austin Cline

Randall Terry's Family Values: Putting Image Over Reality

By August 31, 2006

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Christian Nationalists use the phrase 'family values' at every turn. They claim to be defending and promoting family values, but quite often their efforts are more a matter of image and ideals rather than reality - that is to say, their efforts ignore the reality of families and values in America in favor of an ideal image that makes for good sound bites. Sometimes, this is more literal than figurative.

The Bradenton Herald reports on a recent campaign mailing sent out by Randall Terry which depicted a smiling, happy “family” which conveniently left out those members of Terry’s family which are inconvenient for this political agenda:

Terry’s adopted son Jamiel says the picture is missing two people: he and his sister Tila, also adopted. Both have been estranged from Terry since Jamiel came out as a gay man and Tila had a child out of wedlock.

Jamiel Terry said the self-image that his father is crafting and the campaign message about strong families ignores part of his own family history. He said voters have a right to know about that.

“He is very big on image,” Jamiel Terry said. “In a large way Tila and I mess up that image.”

Randall Terry is trying to defeat Jim King for the Republican nomination in an upcoming primary. What would Republican voters in northeast Florida say if they knew the truth? I’d like to think that they would be more upset over the fact that he seems to be hiding members of his family who are inconvenient than they would be over the fact that a son is gay and a daughter is an unwed mother.

Randall Terry said he’s upfront about his whole family and has never tried to hide anything about his children, even those with whom he has deep disagreements. He said voters don’t care anyway.

“I don’t think it would affect one vote, one way or another. Everybody has problems in their family,” said Terry, who founded Operation Rescue, an anti-abortion protest group.

That might be true. If those members of his family are estranged from him, then it’s unlikely that they would appear in a campaign photo — but that doesn’t explain why he allows voters to develop the impression that this is all of his family. He should be up front and honest about the rest of his family and the troubles he has. For example, maybe he could be honest about the fact that he divorced his wife of 19 years and, just 7 months later, married his 22-year-old assistant. Guess which of the two appears in his campaign pictures?

Jamiel Terry said his father’s policy ideas don’t always fit his own behavior.

“He has tried to say abortion should not exist because families and churches should step in,” Jamiel Terry said. “When his own daughter is pregnant, he refuses to help her.” ...

“Both Tila and I have tried to revive or rekindle our relationship with my father and we’ve been shut out,” Jamiel Terry said. “So maybe if we had been invited for Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthdays, etc., we would be in a family photo.”

Randall Terry insists that his children haven’t really been trying to reconnect and instead say mean things to him. Maybe they have done so occasionally, but given his statements about gays that’s hardly surprising. Moreover, it seems plausible that simply being honest about his homosexuality might make Jamiel appear to be “mean” — after all, he’s rejecting and denying most or all of what Randall Terry preaches.

Still, it is interesting that Randall Terry’s campaign mailings are creating an image which isn’t consistent with reality even as he promotes a political and religious agenda which relies heavily on image while having little to no relation with reality. I don’t think that this is a coincidence.


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August 31, 2006 at 6:58 pm
(1) Karley says:

That’s awful. Yet so typical. What a scumbag, along with the rest of the FV crowd.

September 1, 2006 at 12:21 am
(2) ChuckA says:

So…let me get this straight…“He has tried to say abortion should not exist because families and churches should step in”
I guess he’s never thought about…nor, of course…confronted…his invisible ‘Sky Daddy’ about all the ‘natural abortions’…er…MISCARRIAGES…like, statistically 1 in every 5 pregnancies!

How many families are NOT affected by that statistic? Of course, the ‘Big Sky Daddy’ can do whatever ‘He’ wants…we humans have absolutely no choice in anything about existence…at least in the typical ‘Western’ scheme of things! …’We’ have no choice about our own birth, parents, and physical characteristics…yada, yada. Of course, also, the ‘Western’ version of Eternal Life is quite a bit shorter than in say…umm…Buddhism!

[By the way, Austin...Was it Sartre who concluded: "Existence is absurd."?]
I digress…
I’m a 66 year old ‘raised Catholic’ atheist who understands the usual fundamentalist brainwashing. I lived through it! Yeah…call it brainwashing!…It matters not whether it’s the Jewish, Xtian, Muslim, Moron…er…Mormon version; It starts from birth for most; and most never get deprogrammed and escape it.
How many people, if NEVER raised as ‘believer’ types; but instead…were taught to be logical, critical ‘thinkers’, would swallow the baloney of the religions and their convoluted ‘Sacred’ texts when they reached adulthood? Hey, ‘you know’…almost every family has its “Oh, that’s the Word of God” person in it…be it Mom, Dad, or Aunt ‘Zama-Zama’, etc.
Terry and his ilk, more than likely, have never ‘thought outside the box’; so their hypocrisy is not surprising.
My advice to all the Fundie ‘Shmucks’: Get honest…learn to think rationally…but more importantly…stay out of other peoples private affairs! [That’s my kind version!]
[Sorry for my 'bit of ranting', Austin, but the Religious Fascists have been sticking it to all of us for too long!]

March 6, 2008 at 10:27 am
(3) Shay Manuel says:

Hey…I feel that my grandfather, Randall, should relax on some situations. I understand that he believes in other things but every thing happens for a reason.

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