In Defense of Gay Conservatives

Bryan Fischer, host of the American Family Association’s “Focal Point” radio talk show, is very upset about Hot Air’s nose dive into the thundercloud of gay politics, and angry that it could happen with our new “Christian ownership” at Salem Communications slumped lifelessly in the pilot’s seat:

Wow. Just as soon as the “Hot Air” blog was purchased by the Christian conglomerate Salem Communications from conservative commentator Michelle Malkin, it has suddenly become an advocate for all things gay. What in the world is up with that?

For background, GOPROUD is an organization dedicated to advancing special rights for homosexual behavior, and advocates the overthrow of the Defense of Marriage Act and the overthrow of the law banning homosexual service in the military.

Not only was GOPROUD welcomed at CPAC, an event which is supposed to be the annual showcase for conservative values, the organization was allowed to sponsor the event, giving visibility and recognition to its effort to legitimize sexual deviancy.

Fischer presses his face to the passenger windows of Hot Air, and sees Green Room contributor Repurblican crouched on the wing, tearing pieces of conservative purity from the starboard engine:

A Saturday post, from Repurblican, takes one of my new heroes, Ryan Sorba of California Young Americans for Freedom, to task for making the common sense statement at CPAC that homosexual sex cannot lead to reproduction. For this obviously correct observation, he was booed off the stage. And “Hot Air,” now under Christian management, has made Sorba out to be the bad guy.

Sorba showed the courage of his convictions by simply declaring the truth. Said Sorba, “Civil rights are grounded in natural rights, and natural rights are grounded in human nature…and the intelligible end of the reproductive act is reproduction…civil rights, when they conflict with natural rights, are contrary…” At this point, his remarks were drowned out by a chorus of vitriolic, angry boos. (View video of his remarks here.)

Consequently, Sorba said, “I’d like to condemn CPAC for bringing GOPRIDE (he meant “GOPROUD”) to this event.”

For speaking truth to power, “Hot Air” accused Sorba of “bombthrowing,” and said his remarks represented a “gratuitous and public…slam on homosexuals.”

The idea that Salem Communications has somehow enforced new pro-gay editorial standards on Hot Air is ridiculous. So is acting like a jerk in the name of ideological purity at CPAC. This kind of factional infighting is obviously unhelpful to overcoming the enormous challenges facing us in the next few elections. It would be tragic for the nation if we left it rolling towards the edge of the socialist cliff, while we spend our days tearing the mantle of “true conservatism” into a thousand pieces, and accusing each other of heresy. A certain degree of this conflict was inevitable, as different groups struggle for control of the resurgent Right, from David Frum squeaking that it’s not too late to reach an understanding with our progressive masters, to Bryan Fischer advising his readers to “kiss off” Hot Air because some of our contributors dared to speak up in defense of GOPROUD.

I think my own credentials as a defender of traditional marriage are in order. They can be reviewed in detail here and here. I do not hold these beliefs out of animosity toward gay people, or disrespect for committed homosexual relationships. I believe in the positive value of the marriage tradition, and I reserve the right to celebrate that value without denigrating those who don’t participate in it.

The gay-marriage movement is necessarily aggressive, because they seek a substantial change in society. I appreciate the strength of their conviction, and as long as they respect mine, we can have a civil discussion. The temptation to detonate conviction into anger is strong, and counter-productive. I’m no more impressed by Ryan Sorba’s act than I was by Perez Hilton’s.

It’s remarkable how much the focus has shifted away from social issues, in the year since I began writing for Hot Air. Carrie Prejean’s encounter with Perez Hilton was one of the hot topics back then. Now we stand in the shadow of a looming catastrophe which threatens the liberty and prosperity of our entire society. It’s not surprising to see our focus shift toward the common menace. I don’t feel traditional marriage is any less important than I did a year ago, but if GOPROUD wants to have that discussion later, after we wrestle down unsustainable government spending, and clear the danger of being thrown in jail for failure to purchase government-approved health insurance, that’s fine by me.

I hope to reach something more than a temporary truce between the factions of the Right. The assertion that we are all captives of some agenda, which we must accept in full or reject utterly, is the language of identity politics, and of totalitarianism. The Fischer criticism of Hot Air demonstrates the foolishness of assuming that every member of an identity group is party to some kind of agenda. If there’s a “Christian agenda,” then either Salem Communications or Bryan Fischer was not invited to the meetings.

We can be united in our appreciation for liberty… and this requires respect for the individual, just as the embrace of collectivism ultimately brings contempt. You can’t believe what I do about the transcendent rights of the individual, and the limitless potential of free men and women, while simultaneously assuming you can judge their innermost thoughts by their sexual preference, or the color of their skin. Rejecting gay conservatives because they disagree with me about marriage would be crawling back into the walled compound of my little tribe, and expecting them to do likewise. Each tribe would then resume shoving the wrecking ball of the State at the others, until someone gets flattened. That’s not the game conservatives, or Americans, should be playing.

It’s not going to be easy to hold the components of the Right together, especially as our ranks swell, and the dependents of State rally to its tattered banner of rage and despair. The constituencies of the Left have been fairly easy to buy off. Sometimes it was only necessary to buy their leadership off, and leave the common folk to suffer beneath failed programs they were told they have a moral duty to accept without question. No such arrangement will suffice for a conservative movement united by its rejection of the bloated and dying central government we inherited from the twentieth century… but still working to reconcile discordant visions of what should come next.

We can show each other a little grace and courtesy without abandoning our strongly-held beliefs… or at least refrain from trying to excommunicate each other. Leave the identity politics to the nitwits who look at Marco Rubio and see a coconut.

Cross-posted at