Common Ground for the Right and Gays?

Last weekend offered two prime examples of how the political right’s treatment of gay and lesbian Americans is increasingly incoherent.

As we reported last month, Texas Senator John Cornyn agreed to speak at a September 21 national fundraising event for the Log Cabin Republicans (LCR), an organization of gay Republicans. LCR has been working to overturn the policy barring openly gay and lesbian military servicemembers, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT). Cornyn, who is chairman of the Republican Senate Campaign Committee, showed up to speak at the LCR event the day after he and fellow Senate Republicans successfully blocked repeal of DADT.

Repeal of that policy has the support of the Obama Administration, the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the current secretary of defense, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and substantial majorities of both Democratic and Republican voters in the most recent national polls. But congressional Republicans apparently are too scared of religious-right demagogues to support repeal.

Cornyn opposes not only the repeal of DADT, but also marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples. Even so, the senator says he told the Log Cabin group he believes “every person is entitled to be treated with respect, and I think part of respect is to acknowledge differences where they are, where they do exist.” In seeking common ground with LCR, the senator suggested that all Republicans can agree on the importance of limited government, lower taxation, free trade and laws that facilitate economic development, economic growth and job creation.

How convenient.

Well, if he won’t support repeal of DADT and equal rights for gay families, will Cornyn at least publicly criticize the Texas Republican Party for refusing even to allow Log Cabin a booth at its state convention? Will he criticize the 2010 Texas Republican Party Platform’s vile attacks on gay and lesbian citizens? The platform opposes health insurance or retirement benefits for the same-sex partners of employees, condemns gay people as “threats to family, public health and society” and calls for criminalizing consensual, intimate relationships of same-sex couples. Where is respect and common ground in any of that, Sen. Cornyn?

The same weekend Cornyn was meeting with LCR members, right-wing hate-monger Ann Coulter spoke before a similar group, GOProud. Social conservatives also attacked Coulter for speaking at that event. They needn’t have. Coulter treated her audience to a speech that mixed a rejection of marriage for gay couples with racially tinged rhetoric about welfare, strident opposition to sex education and a call to repeal laws on no-default divorce. “Marriage is not a civil right,” she condescendingly told her audience. “You’re not black.”

The well-heeled attendees at the GOProud fundraiser mostly brushed off Coulter’s remarks, explaining that they mostly care about fiscal and economic issues anyway. We’re sure that made Sen. Cornyn smile. After all, that’s the kind of “common ground” he seeks — especially if it helps keep religious-right critics off his back.

9 thoughts on “Common Ground for the Right and Gays?

  1. Cornyn—sheesh. Talk about an attack dog fruitcake.

    Two of my nephews are gay—one I know—and the other most likely. They were raised by two very conservative parents who have never divorced. Nice home life—wish mine could have been that good. Attended church in a conservative Southern Baptist church—attended every Sunday, Wednesday nights, and without missing for 18 straight years types. Always close to God best I could tell. Raised by nice parents in what the Bible refers to as the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Nicest two kids you would ever want to me. They grew up and are in their 20s now. These kids are poster children for “I did not choose to be gay—just woke up one morning gay like you woke up hetero. The youngest has had some emotional problems in recent years, some bouts with drinking, and a couple of run-ins with the law. Apparently, he was unable to navigate and easily come to terms with the great abyss between who he is sexually and the way he was raised. You know—extreme internal torture. Of course, this is made far worse by living in an area more conservative than Texas. With me so far?

    Now here are my concerns. It is becoming increasingly clear to me that sympathizers with the Religious Right may be beginning to mount a nationwide campaign of Internet bullying against selected gay people, possibly with the intent to drive the victim to commit suicide in order to bring about fulfillment of the prescribed Old Testament death sentence for
    homosexuals—as understood by religious conservatives. Check this:

    1) On Anderson Cooper 360 (CNN) a couple of nights ago, they did a news story on a young gay guy who is an elected student leader at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. A lawyer on the staff of the Attorney General in Michigan has set up an entire personal website devoted to no other purpose but to daily—I repeat—daily—attack and smear this young man in the eyes of the general public. The things that are done on this web site are reprehensible almost beyond belief—best I could tell. That is the sole purpose of this web site. As it turns out, this lawyer is a conservative Christian and is working out his faith against this guy because he is gay. He does not get fired from his government service position because he says it is entirely personal and has nothing to do with his job, according to the report. However, according to my understanding of the report, this boss and the whole Attorney General’s office is “in tight” politically with the Religious Right.

    2) We learned just this afternoon that a promising young violin student at Rutgers University committed suicide by jumping off a bridge? Why was that? Someone who hates gay people (another so-called conservative Christian I suspect) somehow obtained a video of this student in bed with another man and put it out on the Internet to go viral. When the kid found out about it, he was so despondent that he saw no other choice but to end it all by killing himself. This appears to be a classic example of what has come to be called “Internet bullying.”

    I intend to follow this and see if this is indeed a nationwide plan where members or sympathizers with the Religious Right have decided that certain gay people must die, and Internet bullying is the means they are going to use to drive the victims to “self-execute.” I will also be looking to see whether so-called conservative Christians are the ones establishing blogs and web sites to do this.

    I am concerned because these two young men appear to have been rather like my two nephews. This could just as easily happen to them. This hits close to home for me.

    This is not something that Jesus would do. Internet bullying is something fruitcakes do to prove to me that they have little or no relationship with God. As Jesus said about evil people, “Ye will know them by their fruits.” See? Jesus knew about fruitcakes too. Conservative Christians like to stand on their high horse of spiritual pride and beat on people who they perceive as being lesser human beings than themselves—completely ignoring Peter’s admonition that all of us Christians stand within the circle of sin—as does all of humanity.

    And I have a hypothesis about gay people, HIV people, poor people, infirmed people, lonely people. God cares for them deeply, but he also watches and measures. He watches to see how Christians treat them. So this is my warning to conservative Christians. You may think you are doing the will of God in despising these people—doing him a great service—a real favor by making their lives miserable. But mark my words. Jesus was a radical. You can pipe to him all day long, but he will not dance for you. You are being weighed on the scales.

  2. Charles, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if this internet war against gays is being orchestrated and encouraged. I mean, just consider how religious fanatics rant against homosexuals. This is just the latest techie way to attack LGB people to not only identify and marginalize them but, yes, to drive them to suicide. It’s happened too often to be coincidence.

    I like the way you ended your posting: with the analogy of scales. Brings to mind the story in the Book of Daniel:

    In this book, the Jews have been exiled to Babylonia. “Words written by a mysterious hand on the wall of the Babylonian king Belshazzar’s palace, and interpreted by Daniel as predicting the doom of the king and his dynasty. The incident is described as follows: Once when King Belshazzar was banqueting with his lords and drinking wine from the golden vessels of the Temple of Yhwh, a man’s hand was seen writing on the wall certain mysterious words. Frightened by the apparition, the king ordered his astrologers to explain the inscription; but they were unable to read it. Daniel was then summoned to the royal palace. Daniel read it “Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin.” These words were understood to refer to measures of weights. Daniel explained it to mean that God had “numbered” the kingdom of Belshazzar and brought it to an end; that the king had been weighed and found wanting; and that his kingdom was divided and given to the Medes and Persians (Dan. v. 1-28).”

    Which, in fact, did happen. The Babylonian Empire fell to the Medes (in the Bible it is said this took place that very night) and then quickly to the Persians under King Cyrus.

    One can imagine that the United States of America might be being weighed. Religious fanatics will gladly tell you it is because of our tolerance (tolerance? Oh really?) of gays and abortions. I wonder if there might be other unexpected criteria for which we are being weighed. Namely, how we treat our poor and needy, and our outcasts – such as gays.

  3. I definitely think this bullying phenomenon is a function of the christian right adults setting the tone and dehumanizing the Muslim, gay, etc.
    I wasn’t bullied in High School but I was harassed for being against the war, being a McGovern supporter, supporting the legalizing of drugs, (I didn’t even drink beer til I went to college), in other words, for being a “communist”. It was invariably the members of the “Fellowship of Christian Athletes” who took it upon themselves to harass me.

  4. And another thing.
    I can’t believe the country hasn’t progressed in all this time. Whatever else I do in this life, I’m committed to opposing these theocrats as long as necessary.

  5. David, not only has our country not progressed, it has REgressed. It is rapidly backsliding. I see it every day as I’m sure you do too. I am convinced the Repugniks are hell-bent on taking us back to some perceived “glorious” time…. of the 19th century, perhaps? Or more likely the Gilded Age. The really scary thing is that so many of the population are supportive of them all the way. Even those who would least benefit from such a move, such as the middle and lower classes.

    I think it has something to do with the ease of the Repugnik’s message. It’s VERY easy to understand: SMALL GOVERNMENT, STRONG DEFENSE, LOW TAXES.

    That’s a very difficult message to argue against even though it is chock full of holes. Holes such as: HOW small? And in what way small? And that addresses just the first part of the slogan. One could go on and on and ask how does one keep a strong defense without taxes?

    But I digress. The public is very angry and rightfully so. Problem is the angrier one is, the less one is likely to use logic and common sense, and the more likely one is to shoot one’s self in the foot. Which is exactly what R voters are going to do in November: they are virtually going to send Herbert Hoover back to the White House in the middle of the Great Depression.

    In addition, Progressive’s message isn’t bumper-sticker friendly like that of the R’s and Tea Partiers above. Since our message is far more cerebral, it’s really hard to boil it down to a neat 3-phrase 1-sentence slogan. If anyone here can do it, I beg them to get with the DNC now!

    It’s exactly as BryceVandergriftsMom says. And the news is full of the hundreds of millions of dollars pouring into R campaigns from Big Business. It just amazes me that people are so full of Obama-hate that they are willing to sacrifice their futures and that of their kids on the altar of Corporateworld come November – who, once they get their puppets in office, won’t give a flea’s fart about the middle class. This is what I mean about people being so angry and so full of hate that they can’t even think.

  6. They want to go back to the late ’50’s, when everything was hunkydory just like in that great reality show, “Ozzie and Harriet” as well as “Father Knows Best”, “Leave it to Beaver”, and of course, “Make Room for Daddy”
    The tea party is right to be angry but they’re angry at the wrong people.

    There’s flooding in North Carolina today, I hope someone reminds them all there when the recovery starts that it’s the federal government and their fellow taxpayers that are helping them out.

  7. I can sum it all up in one clear statement:

    I don’t read, so they should not tax me to pay for public libraries.

  8. David, that’s the problem. Back in the 50’s, the tax structure was more fair. Wealth was more fairly distributed then, thanks to the tax structure. I guess it’s the social “norms” of the 50’s they want to return to, not the tax structure. The teabaggers and the like WANT the wealthy to be wealthier. Beats the crap out of me, but that’s what they want.

    Remember THEIR slogan: Tea = Taxed Enough Already. Cute, huh?

    Charles, nice try but too cerebral. Few of the Righties would get what you’re saying. If they got it, they wouldn’t be a Rightie.