“A vestige of tradition” in Orange County

One common view of California from the Heartland/Midwest/flyover county is that it is a liberal state that leads the way in many social problems. But historically, Orange County has been a bastion of conservatism (see Suburban Warriors about the rise of political conservatism in Orange County after World War II) and can still be considered conservative today even with an influx of immigrants:

Analysts, however, say the county’s loyalty to convention is not due to a push to maintain its image as a pillar of social conservatism. Instead, they point to the bustling Latino commercial districts in Santa Ana, the Vietnamese American coffee shops in Garden Grove and the halal butchers in Anaheim — to an influx of immigrants who have imported the old-fashioned family structures of their homelands.

Orange County’s ethnic enclaves are founded on religious and cultural values that include strong family ties, said Jack Bedell, a sociology professor at Cal State Fullerton…

Orange County, home to 3 million people, has the lowest percentage of single-parent households of any county in Southern California, according to a Times analysis of U.S. Census Bureau figures, as well as the lowest percentage of households occupied by opposite-sex unmarried couples.

It also has one of the lowest percentages of same-sex households and has retained one of the highest percentages in the region of nuclear-family households — those with a married man and woman who are raising children under age 18.

The article suggests that traditional family arrangements are declining in Orange County, just at a slower rate than other places. What I find most interesting is that the article makes no reference to political parties but rather stresses moral values or “family values.” How do “family values,” particularly among immigrants, match up or conflict with “social values”? Do these immigrants vote more for Democrat or Republican candidates?

Vatican newspaper says Homer J. Simpson is a Catholic

The Vatican’s newspaper recently said that they consider Homer Simpson to be a Catholic:

But in an article headlined “Homer and Bart are Catholics”, the newspaper said: “The Simpsons are among the few TV programmes for children in which Christian faith, religion, and questions about God are recurrent themes.”

The family “recites prayers before meals and, in their own peculiar way, believes in the life thereafter”…

“Few people know it, and he does everything he can to hide it, but it is true: Homer J Simpson is a Catholic,” insists L’Osservatore Romano.

This must be a very loose definition of what a Catholic is or how one should act. In fact, it strikes me as a very American sort of idea: Homer’s Catholicism is a grab-bag of practices and beliefs of his own choosing. Is Homer’s approach to religion really much different than many Americans?

But one point the newspaper makes seems accurate: the Simpson’s portray “old-fashioned family values” in a way that few other shows do today.