Monday, September 10, 2007

Evangelicals and (Conservative) Gay American Bloggers

Note: This is one of two columns for Monday, September 10, 2007. Your Comments are Very Welcome, except for those from "Anonymous." TOMORROW, 9/11, A DAY FOR HEROES AND SADNESS, I WILL WRITE ABOUT 9/11 AND "THE TWO AMERICAS."

In my return to total candor in my discussions of national politics, I will discuss two related issues: (1) the way that small group of my fellow evangelical Christians have damaged our representative democracy with their commitment to a theocracy; (2) the anti-Christian and thoughtless way they have used gay Americans – including millions of gay moderates and conservatives – as scapegoats for America’s social problems. Let’s look at my second point.

As Christians, we are under divine admonition to love God and our neighbors (basically, all other human beings). We don’t have to agree with everyone on issues. We don’t have to vote for people we feel would not be good leaders. We don't have to change our individual definitions of what constitutes sin.


Yet, we absolutely must show respect to people who disagree with us and perhaps conduct their lives in ways different from us.

I despise two terms: (1) “gay lifestyle”; (2) “the gay agenda.” My observation is that gay lifestyles (plural) are as diverse as those of “straights.” Also, the implication (“gay agenda”) that gay people form some monolithic political and social movement is nonsense. When people rely on such terms, they indicate they’re homophobes – or worse.


To all gay Americans, I -- as a Christian committed to our universal Lord and Savior Jesus Christ -- apologize sincerely for the contemptible treatment of people portraying themselves as Christians who have done harm to the lives and reputations of gay and lesbian people. I realize small segments of evangelicals have, in violation of the teaching of Jesus Christ, used Christianity as a weapon. Their behavior, in the past and now, has been reprehensible. "What ye do unto the least of them ye do unto Me."

It is well past the time when homophobes and gay-bashers should have grown up. They need to stop portraying the Republican Party as some sort of hate group. It is time to restore the GOP as an institution committed to decency, a legacy that traces back to Lincoln.

Frankly, the way other ADULTS conduct their own lives is none of my business. It’s also none of YOUR business. Granted, traditional marriages and traditional families face some great challenges, but it’s thoroughly improper to blame them on any group, including the (relatively) small cohort of gay and lesbian Americans.

It is a sin to scapegoat others. Such behavior is destructive of the tolerance and unity our society so desperately needs.

Recently, I re-visited a prominent gay conservative blog, http:gaypatriot.org/. I checked out the blog roll, which consists primarily of other gay conservative sites. If you go there yourself, and I hope you will, here’s what you’ll see (plus a final comment).

(Let me add that I disagree with some regularity with GayPatriot on certain issues. To me, they're much too willing to accept the views of Republican elders about the need for Beltway experience. To me, much of that "experience" is the kind true leaders could do without.)



GayPatriot Blogroll

A Stitch in Haste
Advance Indiana
Adversus Monstrum
Americans ForCondiRice
AnotherGayRepublican
As I Please
AustinBay
Average Gay Joe
Baldilocks
Bilious Young Fogey
Blogger News Network
Blogs For Bush
Cake Or Death?
Captain's Quarters
CaptionThis!
Cathy's World
Christian Grantham
Citizen Crain
Classical Values
Conjecturer, The
Conservathink
Conservative Eyes
Conservative Grapevine
daily dose of queer
Dan Drezner
Dean's World
Debbie Schlussel
Dreadnought
Dreams Into Lightning
Eva Young
Free IraqiGateway Pundit
GayAndRight
GayOrbit
Gays for Life
GOP Bloggers
GOP Vixen
Grand Conservative Blogress Diva SondraK
Homocon
Independent Gay Forum
Instapundit
Iron Teakettle
Jackson's Junction
Jane Galt
Liberty Files
Liberty Film Festival
Lifelike Pundits
Little Green Footballs
LorieByrd.com
Maggie's Farm
North Dallas Thirty
OUTzoneTV
PajamasMedia
Political Vice Squad
PrismWarden
Pryhills
Pundit Review
Queer Conservative
Queers Against Terror
RedStateRant
Republic Of M
Rick Sincere News & Thoughts
Right Wing Nation
RightRainbow
Roger L. Simon
Romeo Mike
Scrappleface
Sean Froyd
Sister Toldjah
Somewhere in the Middle
StopTheACLU
Take Back the Memorial (9/11)
Tammy Bruce
ThatGayConservative
The Big Tent
The Dook
The Hotline's Blogometer
The Liberal Wrong - Wing
The Malcontent
The Moderate Voice
The Party Crasher
The Western Seminarian
Tim Blair
VietPundit
VikingPundit
VodkaPundit
Volokh Conspiracy
Western Seminarian
what if?
YoungPun


Gee, I wonder what “agenda” these (almost exclusively conservative) gay blogs are pursuing? I also wonder how many evangelicals have visited even one of them?

So, why does Steve Maloney emphasize the need for Republicans to reach out for support and votes from gays – as well as from other minorities?

Frankly, people who live in an evangelical cocoon – a small minority of the evangelicals – certainly need to get out more. If you start reading the above blogs, you’ll find you have a great deal of agreement with what you see.

Mike Huckabee recently said he wanted support from “anybody” who agrees with him. I’d put it this way: I want the support of everybody – even those who don’t currently agree with me on certain issues.

I want all those blogs – and their millions of visitors -- above to back the Republican nominee for President. I want them to sign up to back Sarah Palin for vice-president and ultimately for President.

Most of all, I want my fellow evangelicals to put their Christianity where their mouths are.
If they cannot, then I suggest they seek some alternative form of religious expression.

Stephen R. Maloney

Ambridge, PA

Note: Not every blog listed above has a gay orientation, but the vast majority of them do. I want all these people to know they have my love and support.

11 comments:

Christopher said...

Bravo, Steve. Excellent post, I'll be writing later this week about the misplaced anger over gays on my blog. God commands us to love everyone, and while it's certainly ok to believe being gay is a sin, we must love them the same without conditons. We certainly cannot form a theocracy as some want, for the explicit reason of exclusion.

Stephen R. Maloney said...

Thanks Christopher: I've worked with several gays over the year, mostly on Republican politics, as well as a few college professors who seemed pretty conservative to me. Sin seems to be a problem with human beings in general. :-)

Man to Calvin Coolidge as he came out of church: "Mr. President, what was the sermon about?"

Coolidge: "Sin."

Man: "What did he say about it?"

Coolidge: "He was agin it."

steve

Larry Perrault said...

"Also, the implication (“gay agenda”) that gay people form some monolithic political and social movement is nonsense. "

"The Gay Agenda" is not device of homosexuality. It's a device of liberalism. Advocacy of "the gay agenda" correlates less with homosexuality than it does with liberalism. Liberalism defines an agena for gays, just as it defines an agenda for blacks, Hispanics, laborers, education, etc. The Gay agenda is an unfortunate appelation that social conservatives pick up and regurgitate. It's really just an expression of the same plantation libertal mindset that identifies all groups with a liberal agenda, the common thread of which is empowerment and of government. Wise members of these groups are offended at this pigeonholing presumption.

Given that social conservatives carelessly pick up and carry this unfortunate terminology, one can understand their resistance to having the resistance to having the supposed tenets impressed upon their culture and their children.

Stephen R. Maloney said...

Ten to twenty years ago, one of the way certain people (a good number of whom seemed to be evanglicals) used to denigrate the idea of gay love because they couldn't get married. The idea was that all gay sexual relations, unlike those of happily married Christians, were "outside of wedlock." This is a classic case of "beware of what you wish for." Of course, the critics of years gone by didn't ACTUALLY want gays to have the opportunity to get married (or otherwise united) legally. They just wanted another way to condemn people with a different way of conducting their lives. The other night John McCain -- much to his credit -- came out against discrimination against gays and seemed to tiptoe around the idea of gay marriage. I lived in Vermont from 1991-1993, and later it was the first state to allow for civil unions. Good for Vermont.

Larry Perrault said...

I don't favor state-sanctioned gay marriage. Of course, I don't favor state-sanctionws marriage at all. People should be able to delegate rights and benefits to whomever they want.

But, the church messed up when they confused marriage with the state to begin with. The worst words of a marriage ceremony are, "By the authority vested in me by the state..." BY WHOM?! tHE STATE HAS TAKEN THE PLACE OF gOD.

Stephen R. Maloney said...

I really think a part of the drive for gay marriage came from the prissy objections of years past that criticized gay relationships for being, by definition "extra-marital.." A lot of gay people at least claim to be appalled by what they see in regular marriages and don't want anything to do with it.

However, if you say that there's something profoundly wrong with gays because they aren't married, guess what will happen next?

We now have people like Thompson (now that he's out of Hollywood) demagoging the issue by trying to remove a chunk of the "full faith and credit" requirement that states respect other states' laws. Should Tennessee respect his Hollywood or New York divorce of this first wife, and if so, why? Maybe states like Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Jersey will stop respecting certain laws and relationships based on the laws of, say, Texas? I wouldn't blame them.

People lives shouldn't be dependent on the degree of hatred in a particular state into which they move.

I don't see a whole lot of love and respect for others in the "debate" over gay marriage.

Stephen R. Maloney said...

I wish some gay/lesbian people would respond to this piece. I've received two e-mails but on the exchange here between straight Steve & straight Larry. I'm extremely interested in doing what I can do -- which may not be much -- to help encourage all loving relationships. The world never has an excess of love and kindness.

steve

Dave said...

Hey Steve. I think the Republican party can thank the now defunct Karl Rove for creating such an uproar over the whole "Gay Marriage" debate in order to win the 2004 election. What's important to most gay couples is that they can have the same benefits and rights as straight married couples without having to jump through multiple legal hoops. Meaning if our partners are sick in a hospital we want to be able to see them, we don't want to have to go to a lawyer to get special documents drawing up saying that it is okay for us to visit our sick spouse. (Something that straights take totally for granted). We want to have couple insurance benefits like straight married people and we want to have survivor benefits like straight married people. We all pay into social security as working americans. Should my social security benefit not be bequiethed (SP?) to my partner when I die? If that is the case, then will straights withhold taking the money I and other gay american's put into the social security system because we are gay?

There's a lot of double talk from policitians and business leaders that providing gays these equal options will cost them more or burden the system. But if we are such a "small segment" of the working population, this should be a burden tax paying americans, business owners, and the goverment can bear. In the name of equality.

I was also disheartened by the republican party because none of their candidates would agree to a debate/forum about gay issues to be televised on the HERE! or LOGO networks. And that to me says our issues are not important enough to the republican candidates to participate in such a forum.

I commend you for your efforts to educate the evangelicals about the rights gays are seeking.

Stephen R. Maloney said...

Dave, I'm fascinated with your comment, which is excellent. The problem with the Rove strategy is that it's a political version of the law of diminishing returns -- every year it seems to provide fewer and fewer benefits. I think too many politicians and too many evangelical preachers have gotten Christianity confused with some form of snarling judgementalism. It's not a pretty sight. As John McCain (a strong third in the recent polls of Republicans) put it, "The time for discrimation is over." If any gay couple wants to get married and needs someone to give away the partner, I'm available. The whole "debate" over the marriages/union isue is increasingly demeaning to everyone involved. I regard Karl Rove as a political genius, but I don't regard him as an especially good man. If anyone has a choice between the two, please choose the good man role. If Republicans got a majority of the GL vote, as we should, we would be in control of the Senate and we'd be so close in the House that Nancy Pelosi would have to pretend to be civil. I talk about the "politics of love" sometimes and people think I've gone slightly daffy. Well, the apostle Paul (not on the top 10 of gay favorites) talks about the politics and sociology of love in Corinthians when he describes "charity" (love) as greater even than faith and hope. I hear that passage a lot at straight weddings, and I bet it's popular at gay nuptials also. I believe the gay vote is about 6 million in presidential elections (about what CNN exit polls show). But there are another 12 million family members and friends who aren't going to vote for gay bashers, so all in all it's a huge vote, roughly about the same as the Hispanic vote and bigger than the Black vote. Without the gay vote in FL, GWB would now be in his seventh year of watching Al Gore tell us it's our patriotic duty to freeze to death in the dark.

steve maloney

Han said...

Utter frustration and defeat was what my partner and I felt after we left the first Evangelical church in 2005. Lamenting over the injustices and questioning the purpose of it all eventually lead us on a deep search for the Truth.

Would we have been treated differently and accepted as part of the church family had we been heterosexual? Would we have had opportunities to minister had we been males in that organization? Would those people have taken time to know us had there been no walls of religious doctrine separating us from them? Sadly, the answer to those questions were YES for both of us.

At this point, however, that was only our assumption and opinion, and not our truth. Neither one of us had ever experienced life as male nor heterosexual. With a burning passion and conviction to find Truth, we embarked on a social experiment to get some answers. Ceil and I would alter our physical appearances and become what we perceived as "acceptable" by church leadership standards. We wanted to see if the Evangelical church would get to know us and connect with us, perhaps even love us, if we looked and acted just like them.

It was unbelievable, some of the things we witnessed and experienced as a man and woman inside the inner circle of a powerful Evangelical church. It's all recorded in the documentary. The most heart-breaking truth we discovered is the fact that many religious leaders in both communities, gay and straight, have lost sight of the most noble purpose of humanity - to build up one another through love.

To view the movie trailer, please visit FaithoftheAbomination.com.

Stephen R. Maloney said...

Dear Han: Please stay in touch. It seems to me that I spend a lot of time these days trying to keep good moderate-conservatives in the Republican Party and good GL Christians to stay in the church. There are churches that reach in love to all people -- the United Church of Christ is one that is a model on GL issues. I know one ELCA church minister (female) whose dad is gay. In the musical "Hello Dolly," there's a line that goes this way: 'You know, Barnaby, there's a whole big world out there outside Yonkers." Yeah, there is. I'll print your comments on my main blog and visit your site.