Sunday, January 03, 2010

CPAC fight

I don't have any particular stake in the Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual February event in Washington, this year running Feb. 18-20. I'm not much of a joiner and so have never gone, even as [my real name]. And for the same reason and others, I have never had any interest in the various gay-Republican groups, the latest of which is GOProud. They and other groups like Log Cabin Republicans and the Republican Unity Coalition have all generally supported the gay political agenda, which I emphatically do not, on public issues like marriage and military service (see 4 and 7 here for GOProud). 

All this by way of saying "I ain't got no dog in this fight." 

But although I'm a political conservative by any rational definition, nothing brings out my inner gay activist more than some of the pro-family groups on the right, as is now happening over this year's CPAC. One of the about 70 sponsoring groups this year is the newly-founded GOProud, and that has a lot of people unhappy. Americans for Truth, Liberty Counsel and Jerry Falwell Jr., Focus on the Family, the Alliance Defense Fund and the American Family Association all have denounced GOProud's involvement and/or threatened a boycott. 

Rumblings got so bad that David Keene and Lisa DiPasquale both have issued public defenses of GOProud's involvement -- Keene to Texas radio host Adam McManus and DiPasquale to popular conservative blog Hot Air. Keene said GOProud's "interest is in demonstrating that not all gays are liberals rather than promoting their life style ... we find it difficult to exclude groups because of disagreements on one or two issues no matter how important many of us believe those issues to be," citing disagreements on the Bush administration's wars and immigration. DiPasquale told Hot Air's Ed Morrissey she was "satisfied that they do not represent a 'radical leftist agenda,' as some have stated, and should not be rejected as a CPAC cosponsor."

There's also more at conservative blog Gay Patriot on the issue of whether (as Keene can be read as having said in his e-mail) GOProud will be muzzled at CPAC, which the gay group denies, saying, among other things, that the speakers haven't been picked yet.

We'll see if this goes farther than this (it hasn't broken into the mainstream media, best I can tell). Of the 10 items on GOProud's Legislative Agenda, eight are solidly conservative, while the other two are not. And while I generally favor broad coalitions that include 80-percenters over narrow purist ones -- they're more likely to win, in a democracy -- the political question isn't exactly what makes me ashamed of many social conservatives. No ... it's because reading some of this stuff really makes it harder to believe that social conservative really believe in "love the sinner and reject the sin."

To start with, there's an unseemly interest in reductive and disgusting descriptions of gay sex from the likes of Matt Barber, the kind one expects from cranks like the Catholic Caveman, but not someone who leads a group that aims from respectability. Here is Americans for Truth's rant statement which approvingly quotes the "inimitable" Barber:
It boils down to this: there is nothing "conservative" about — as Barber inimitably puts it — "one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it 'love'." 
... which hardly merits a response (though here is one; starting with "His second point ...")

But more directly -- OK, so GOProud is wrong about marriage and military service. Why does that make *their* participation in CPAC so wrong? More wrong than any of the hundreds of pro-gay-marriage libertarians at CPAC? Or more wrong than the corporate involvement of such libertarian-leaning or -inclusive CPAC-sponsoring groups as the Competitive Enterprise Institute or the Manhattan Institute? And it is a moral certainty that CPAC-sponsoring groups with specific-issue focuses other than pro-family ones (like Americans for Tax Reform or the National Rifle Association, say) include gay-marriage supporters? 

This kind of nonsense does nothing but make a prophet of the Andrew Sullivans of the world and gives credibility to their lies about the Church denying gay people's personhood per se. The issue isn't ... "are (misguided) supporters of gay-marriage et al gonna be at CPAC?" They will -- whether GOProud is there or not. Particularly given those previous comments, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that what these pro-family groups object to is the corporate personhood of GOProud. In other words, the objectionable point is a group of gay people. After all, social conservatives have no problem breaking bread with straight libertarians or bohemian neocons or others who back gay marriage. Social-conservative groups **who involve themselves in politics** have to ... well ... grow up. Get used to the presence of open gays in politics. We don't have gay coodies. Social conservatives might even find that some of "us" are also some of "them."

1 comment:

Mareczku said...

This article was excellent. You made a lot of good points.