Last week, after the announcement that RWN is sponsoring Homocon, people started asking me why RWN chose to promote that event.
After all, I’m against gays in the military, I’m a strong supporter of Prop 8, and I’m very much in favor of a Federal Marriage Amendment. So, why back a gay group that doesn’t agree with me on any of those issues?
Well, let’s start from scratch. First of all, RWN has a history of supporting gay conservatives. At one point or another, RWN has interviewed Andrew Sullivan (in his pro-war days), Tammy Bruce, Matt Sanchez, and Christopher Barron from GOProud. Additionally, Matt Sanchez has written for the website and B. Daniel Blatt from Gay Patriot still writes for RWN while Jeff Gannon and the blogger from the now defunct Boi from Troy were invited to participate in RWN’s blogger polls. So, sponsoring an event like Homocon isn’t a big break from what RWN has done in the past.
Moreover, from what I’ve seen of GOProud, it’s an enormous improvement over the Log Cabin Republicans. Let me tell you why: the Log Cabin Republicans have some conservative members, but organizationally, they are a left-of-center gay group. They are funded by Democratic money and their agenda is almost identical to that of most of the liberal gay groups out there. In all honesty, I don’t consider the group to be conservative or even Republican in any meaningful sense. Keep in mind that this is the same group that even declined to endorse George W. Bush in 2004. Yet, take a look at all the establishment Republicans showing up for a Log Cabin Republican fundraiser just three days before Homocon:
After seeing that, isn’t it a little ironic that Ann Coulter’s appearance at Homocon is causing so much controversy?
Now unlike the Log Cabin Republicans, GOProud, is a genuinely conservative group. Yes, most of the members probably agree with the Log Cabin Republicans on gay issues. However, they genuinely believe that gay conservatives should have an agenda that goes way beyond their sexual orientation. GOProud notes on its web page that,
GOProud represents gay conservatives and their allies. GOProud is committed to a traditional conservative agenda that emphasizes limited government, individual liberty, free markets and a confident foreign policy. GOProud promotes our traditional conservative agenda by influencing politics and policy at the federal level.
That’s not just all talk either. Christopher Barron pointed out that GOProud has walked the talk in his interview with me,
What hasn’t been covered has been the tremendous outpouring of support that we’ve gotten from conservative organizations and from conservatives in the blogosphere.
I mean, it has been really spectacular because these people know. They’ve been to our website. They see our legislative agenda. They see the work that we are doing. We work with folks like Tom Coburn. We worked with John Thune on a concealed carry amendment. We work with conservative members. We’re a conservative organization. I was really moved and not really surprised, but happy, about the support that we’ve gotten from fellow conservatives.
How about this release from GOProud during Scott Brown’s special election?
“As the polls get closer and closer, Democrats and their allies on the left get more and more desperate. Democrats are unable to defend their record on taxes, spending, the economy, job creation, healthcare or the global war on terror, so instead they turn to smears, distortions and name-calling,” said Jimmy LaSalvia, Executive Director of GOProud.
“In the last few weeks the gay left has slandered Scott Brown, claiming that he is ‘anti-gay.’ The truth is that Scott Brown has said that same-sex marriage is settled law in Massachusetts. Scott Brown has also said that he believes each state should decide its marriage laws – the exact same position taken by President Barack Obama.”
“What has 60 Democratic senators delivered for gay families so far? Unemployment over 10%, spending spiraling out of control, a super majority bent on expanding discriminatory government-run healthcare, and an administration unwilling to confront the spread of radical anti-gay Islam. Nothing would send a clearer message to the current leadership in Washington about the unhappiness that all Americans, including gay and lesbian Americans, have with the direction in Washington than a win by Scott Brown.
So, after that, I think you can see why I’d like to see GOProud grow and thrive until it’s capable of supplanting the Log Cabin Republicans.
Now, of course, there are some people who might agree that GOProud is an improvement over the Log Cabin Republicans, but have genuine religious objections to supporting a gay organization. I understand that and I’d probably agree with those people on many of the particulars. For example, I think it’s a contradiction in terms to say that you’re a Christian who supports gay marriage. I also believe gay sex is a sin and I would agree with Rick Warren’s position on the issue. That being said, guess who else sins? You, me, and everybody else on the planet at the moment. Being aware that I’m a terribly flawed sinner myself keeps me from getting too high and mighty about other people’s sins.
Moreover, there’s a subtle but important distinction here that shouldn’t be missed: it’s one thing to condemn a person’s behavior or his position on an issue, but if you move on from that to condemning him as a human being because of his sexual orientation, you’ve gone too far. As Billy Graham has said, “God will not judge a Christian guilty for his or her involuntary feelings.” We mere mortals shouldn’t do it either. The moment a person becomes convinced that you hate him or at least judge him harshly for something he has no control over, you’ve lost your chance to influence him. That’s why when I think about this particular subject, I remember something that Tammy Bruce said during our interview that really stuck with me,
John Hawkins: A related question, I guess you would have been pretty surprised when you said in the book that while Christians “hold religious beliefs against homosexuality,” they are some of the most tolerant, understanding, and kind people I have ever met.” So was that a big surprise for you when you weren’t getting condemned?
Tammy Bruce: Yes, it was; it was shocking. For me it was quite life-changing in my sense of how I viewed the world and I was also, when it comes to my view of Christians, quite surprised by how happy they were. I mean, I remember being on the left; no one is happy, trust me. They (are the) biggest group of miserable people you would ever want to meet. Everything is wrong, everything is going bad, everyone is after you, everyone wants to get you, people are building camps.
To speak with finally, on talk radio, with Christians, I was struck first by the genuine happiness from these people and also the fact that even though they disagreed with me, finally I was having conversations with people who were curious, disagreed with me, but didn’t want to hurt me, were interested in persuading me, and it was quite a revelation, I have to say. I owe my beginning in talk radio to that kind of — it’s the only place really where you can have that kind of exchange between someone like myself and conservative Christians and have it be safe and have it be really life-transforming.
The Christians Tammy Bruce is describing there, to me, seem to have set an example worth emulating.
Last but not least, let’s talk about the political aspects of this. In his famous speech back in 1975, Ronald Reagan said it was important for the Republican Party to begin, “raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people.” That’s true not only for the Republican Party, but for the conservative movement.
Still, there’s a world of difference between saying, “This is the Republican Party’s position on this issue” and saying, “This is the Republican Party’s position on this issue and to be a Republican, you have to agree with it.” A political party that holds the former position can be both principled and have a big tent, while a political party that holds the latter position is doomed to purge heretics on one issue after the other until it dies an ignominious death. Additionally, no matter what your race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation may be, you should be welcomed into the Republican Party and the conservative movement. If there are people who don’t agree with that, if there are people who think a gay conservative or a gay Republican is a contradiction of terms, then we’re just never going to see eye-to-eye.
So, if you were wondering why RWN is sponsoring Homocon, you should have a much better understanding of it now.