Ooh, and I heard that Kathy and David did the deed under the bleachers at Friday's football game. For real. Would I lie to you?Andrew Sullivan says what needs to be said:
If the gay left thinks it will advance gay dignity by using tactics that depend on homophobia to work, that violate privacy, that demonizes gay people, then all I can say is: they are wrong. They will regret it. It will come back to haunt them. And they should cut it out. The fact that their motives might be good is no excuse. Everybody on a witchhunt believes their motives are good. But the toxins such a witchhunt exposes, the cruelty it requires, and the fanaticism of its adherents are always dangerous to civilized discourse. What you're seeing right now is an alliance of the intolerant: the intolerant on the gay left and the intolerant on the religious right.Gay Patriot (great minds thinking alike, as this article I put up last night shows) said that in that short blurb he "discovered the old Andrew Sullivan whose blog I once very much enjoyed." And then he notes where the new Andrew Sullivan sneaks in and gets it wrong. "What you're seeing right now is an alliance of the intolerant: the intolerant on the gay left and the intolerant on the religious right." Actually, Gay Patriot notes, there is no such alliance, instead characterizing the dynamic as ...
the intolerant gay left ... trying to use the intolerance of those social conservatives to split the GOP.... which isn't really an alliance. But I would also reword Gay Patriot's statement with the added phrase in italics to make it perfect:
the intolerant gay left is trying to use what it sees as the intolerance of those social conservatives to split the GOP.And that's why this outing craze will not only not work but actually backfire. "The intolerance of the social conservatives" is a myth. Or at least grossly exaggerated in ways that eventually shrink to zero in this case because of how the outers and their liberal-left enablers and friends simply don't understand social conservatives.
Let's start with a few names: Phyllis Schlafly. Alan Keyes. Dick Cheney. Sonny Bono. Every one of them, conservative icons all, has a homosexual child. (There are undoubtedly others; these are just the ones I could think of where the family matter became public.) Besides family situations, practically every conservative knows or "knows" about some colleague -- at work, at church, across the street, etc. At some level of detail and intimacy, homosexuality and homosexual persons are now part of the ordinary fabric of daily experience for just about everyone. Homosexuality is no longer "the unspeakable vice of the Greeks" or "the love that dare not speak its name." Whether this be a good or bad thing about life today, it is nevertheless a fact about it. This normality (no other word for it) makes a certain primitive repugnance toward "butt-fucking faggots" a lot harder to maintain. This is indeed, the very logic of "Coming Out Days" -- to make people more "tolerant" of homosexuals by showing them persons rather than concepts. Religious conservatives simply are not what they used to be. I won't deny there are some outright haters. But they have become more and more marginal with time. And the Catholic Church teaching on the homosexual persons has developed considerably in the last 30 years (see next above post for the latest example).
To wax personal, never have my homosexual attractions been a problem with any of the approximately 40-50 other Christians (half of them other Courage members) who know about them. True, I have to a certain extent cherry-picked, but more often in the name of discretion than fear per se. The dance of disclosure is different for every person, every relationship, every occasion. I don't fear being outed myself because I seriously think I would show up at work (I work for a well-known conservative institution) or at Church the next day and be lynched by the righteous. Rather because, as Sullivan has written:
Properly understood, outing is not a resolution of something, a final act. It’s when the intricate steering of self-disclosure, with which every homosexual is intimately familiar, is suddenly seized by someone else, when one’s ability to describe oneself, one’s freedom to say who one is, is peremptorily taken away.But every person who knows about my homosexual attractions outside the specific (and rather unique) context of Courage knew me as a person first. Knew "John." And so a certain amount of love and trust already existed, making me free to say things about myself. The persons in question — all conservative or religious, and most both — have never treated me badly. I can truthfully say I have never been the object of hostility or contempt from a Christian over my homosexuality. Or even certain homosexual sins. Ever. (OTOH, I have been the object of contempt and hatred from gay activists.)
More generally, Christians tend to be rather forgiving people -- something about which gay activists, because they are not such, always miscalculate. For someone else say that Sen. Craig is a sinner will and should surprise no Christian, whatever shape the universal fact of sin might take in his particular case. And this is also why many religious conservatives have no problem with people who preach against homosexuality in public or oppose the gay activists in public life, while having stumbles with it himself in private. We recognize that people are sinners, and that the dynamic of sin. Sin often means, as St. Paul said, doing what we know to be wrong. To "not do what I want, but do what I hate." For the "spirit to be willing but the flesh weak." This isn't to say there isn't such a thing as an unnatural obsession with certain sins. But still, because Christians acknowledge we are sinners, we tend not to be perturbed by the mere fact of hypocrisy or a gap between one's morality and one's conduct. Upon reflection, hypocrisy even becomes socially necessary since without it, all public morality goes into the shitcan because it can only ever be upheld by the sinless. Which is to say, by nobody.
This isn't to say there never might have to be temporal consequences. With Mark Foley, the e-mails were just too explicit and the conduct also involved minors. And if there's explicit e-mails or video or, as with Schrock, audio of Sen. Craig and some man, he (or any congressman) would be well advised to get out of Congress. But this won't cause religious conservatives to rethink either their morals or their political allegiance. In fact, quite the contrary. What "outing" does is transform the narrative. It pushes the spotlight from some (hypothetical) lawmaker's bathroom-hookups or whatever to someone else's gossip and reveals the true depth of the outers's politically-motivated hatred. Making a similar point is libertarian Ann Althouse:
I would like to see Republicans abandon social conservatism, and I'm not cheering on these slimy outings. But, honestly, I think these creepy, gleeful efforts at outing will only make social conservatives more conservative, and they will continue to look to the Republican party to serve their needs.Exactly. Add to this how the outers cut such unattractive and transparent figures — clumsily trying to game us, to use our morals (which they proudly hate) against us. And for nothing but naked political gain, even at the cost of their own self-defined goals (privacy, dignity for homosexual persons, sexual freedom — two of which actually are real goods). Or as Gay Patriot put it:
That there are those on the left who would attempt to play into the prejudices of the most anti-gay forces in our society in order to help defeat the GOP shows that they are more interested in advancing their own partisan agenda than in respecting the private lives — and personal choices — of individual gay men and women. For them, it’s all politics. (I’ve said this before. As have countless others.) While they may express noble sentiments about helping gay people, they could care less about gay individuals who happen to be Republican.The outers are exactly what they profess to hate. In fact, this parody from Iowahawk isn't really that much of an exaggeration. Titled "it's the homos, stupid," it ends thus:
I can no longer count how many times those on the left have wondered how I could support a political party which has contempt for gay people. And yet while I don’t always agree with my party — or the attitudes of some of its members — I have never encountered the level of hate or vitriol that those involved in the outing campaign have directed against closeted gay Republicans.
In less than three weeks you will be asked to make a stark choice. You can choose the GOP's same old Washington "backroom insider games" -- ewwwwww -- or choose a fresh start with a new team dedicated to rooting out and exposing the Republicans' culture of man-love. ... With your support, our team will make sure that you will no longer be at risk from tax cuts tainted with gay Republican AIDS cooties, and that your children trapped in the military will no longer be taking orders from the Butt-Commando-in-Chief.
But if, for whatever reason, you can't vote for us, why not stay at home and sit this one out? Let's face it, polls prove the GOP is doomed, and your traditional mindless loyalty to them has brought you nothing but heartache, disappointment, and a legislature full of sodomist and negros. The GOP came into power promising you a return to traditional values; instead, they were a Trojan Horse full of purse-swinging black Greek sailors who have turned Washington into Sodom on the Potomac, and Capitol Hill into the Love Shack on Brokeback Mountain.
While you're thinking it over, remember to register for the DNC's nationwide all-day Bible Study church lock-in on Tuesday November 7. Free chewing tabacky for the first 10 million enrollees!