Saturday, May 5, 2012

Marriagephobia and the GOP

 Dear Friend of Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty:

Just a few days before the polls close on Tuesday, Mitt Romney still has said nothing about the marriage amendment in North Carolina.

Pres. Obama, meanwhile, weighed-in both in North Carolina and Minnesota, urging people to vote “no":
“While the President does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the record is clear that the President has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same-sex couples."

But Team Romney has apparently decided that it’s best to stay mum on the marriage question.

Team Romney’s opinion is the conventional wisdom among GOP political elites.  Social issues are a problem for the party, not the solution.

John Weaver a man who ran John McCain’s losing campaign and followed it up with Jon Huntsman’s ridiculously losing campaign, told the New York Times in a story headlined  “Some in GOP Fear Focus on Social Issues” that the social issues fought in the state legislatures are killing the GOP.

"I think it's problematic not just for this national election we're facing, but for the long-term health of the party," Weaver said.

“Social issues” are a problem because . . . well, that pesky base thinks they matter so they can’t be totally abandoned.

But talking about social issues hurts the party in the eyes of men like John Weaver. The goal of these conservative wise men (er wise guys?) is to move the party as far away from “social issues” as they can, as fast as the pesky retrograde base will let them.

Rush Limbaugh let that cat out of the bag last week.

Here’s the transcript:

RUSH: I want to take you back to this program February, this year, mere weeks ago. I was talking about the Republican Party. They were angry. They weren't being public with their anger, but I was hearing about it through surrogates. They were angry at me for talking about social issues. "Don't talk about 'em, Rush, the social issues, independents don't want to hear about abortion, that stuff, please."

RUSH ARCHIVE: The Republican establishment in panic over the fact I'm killing the party. And you know how I'm killing the party? By not relegating discussion of social issues to the ash heap. They don't want it talked about. Oh, no, they just can't handle it being discussed. They think it's gonna send the independents driving away and the electoral history of this is anything but.”


Rush then went on to tout a fascinating new book by my colleague Jeffrey Bell called The Case for Polarized Politics which--as Rush says--shows how social issues being predominant in the Republican Party has led to presidential victory. And this was the point that I was making. This is an illustration about how the inside-the-Beltway Republicans are out of touch and don't get it and how northeastern liberal Republicans are scared to death of the abortion issue, when they win with it.

Don't buy it. Don't believe the conventional wisdom.

Don’t believe those wise guys who, for totally inexplicable reasons, want to take the GOP back from the Party of Reagan to the Party of Ford.

Remember?  That’s the last time the GOP tried to run on relative fiscal conservatism and national defense alone and it led to a 40-year exclusion from majority rule in American politics.

This week the Conservative party in great Britain just got trounced in local elections, in what the WSJ is calling a “humiliating blow”  on a series of “policy mishaps.”

One of these is David Cameron’s decision to push gay marriage: Conservative lawmaker Gerald Howarth, who is a defence minister, said the party needed to listen to voters' concerns that it was not respecting traditional conservative values.

"There are issues, for example, like the proposals for gay marriage. A lot of Conservatives have written to me saying 'I am a lifelong Conservative, there is no mandate for this, why is this being proceeded with?'," he told the BBC.

Why stick with a party that wants to re-educate you on yoru core moral values?

Memo to GOP elites: don’t try this at home.

Meanwhile the Democrats are doubling down on social issues. Pres. Obama has no problem playing to his base by opposing marriage amendment, or inviting Dan Savage to the White House.

My column this week was called “Dan Savage and Carrie Prejean.”

I believe that Dan Savage’s attacks on the Bible and on students who adhere to it are not just a media firestorm, but a genuine indicator of where the Left in this country is taking our country. 

The contrast between Dan Savage and Carrie Prejean means something.

A few years ago, beauty queen Carrie Prejean innocently answered a question about gay marriage with a polite 'no.' She was viciously personally attacked by Miss USA pageant judge Perez Hilton, who posted a video of himself cursing at her.

Prejean was eventually stripped of her crown, and as for Perez Hilton? "I'd love to have him back," pageant owner Donald Trump once said. "I mean, I'd love to have him back" – (although he didn't actually do it.)

That was a seminal moment for American culture wars. Nobody could protect Prejean, while Hilton suffered no visible consequences for his grotesque violation of civilized norms of behavior.

That, of course, was in the entertainment business.

Still, we should not be that surprised that just three years later, sex columnist Dan Savage used an invitation to address a high school journalists conference to curse and swear at students who hold to traditional views of Christianity.

Now I’ve written before that I actually like the “It Gets Better” video project because it seemed genuinely aimed at keeping kids with same-sex attraction from hurting themselves.

But the public face of that project, Dan Savage, is not apparently content with that idea.

The speech in Seattle he gave to high school teens was not an anomaly.

Savage himself told the Seattle Times there was nothing unusual about his speech. It's at the heart of how he defines "anti-bullying":

"Savage said the speech is one he has repeatedly given in promoting 'It Gets Better,' his hugely successful project to help gay, lesbian and transgender youths cope with bullying. The project has at least 40,000 videos—testimonials meant to offer encouragement—including one by President Obama, and an accompanying book that debuted on The New York Times best-seller list," reports the Seattle Times.


And Dan Savage is no marginal figure.

He visits the White House. His anti-bullying project has its own corner on President Obama's website. He has a syndicated newspaper column, and a television show on MTV.

Prediction: None of that will change because he is taking a little media hit for inexcusably bad behavior in front of other people's captive schoolchildren.

Savage, who apologized only for calling the students who walked out 'pansy-assed' (pardon me), has only this to say in his own defense: 'It wasn't like I sneaked up on a Bible study class and commandeered the podium. I'm like the devil. You have to invite me in.'

Yes, of course. Normal standards of civilized behavior are apparently not required of Savage. Nothing he has done before, including denouncing norms of monogamy or boasting about spitting on the doorknob of a presidential candidate to make him sick, led the conference organizers to pause before inviting him to speak -- none of that has led to anything for Savage but greater acclaim, money, power, prestige and applause.

Why in the world would he stop now, for goodness' sake?

Savage has a clear vision for America: It will be a place where, in order to remain respectable citizens, Christians (and others with traditional moral views) will simply have to drop not only Leviticus, but Genesis, and oh by the way, Jesus' own words in Matthew 19.

Christian moral understanding of sex, gender and marriage will simply have to change, Savage asserts. Why? Because he and others say so. To do otherwise is to be mean to him and other gay people. Our very existence, our identity as both good Christians and good citizens is an offense to him.

Once, it was enough to accept norms of civility -- to speak and treat each other with respect in spite of our important moral differences and disagreements. That was so 2003. Now gay leaders expect that those who disagree with them will be silent or face a wall of wrath.

The American people are not yet on board with this historic re-valuation of values. That's clear from two new polls this week showing that the Marriage Amendment in North Carolina, despite being outspent and virtually orphaned by national conservative figures, is set to win by anywhere from 14 points to 20 points.

This is the same week when Rod Dreher wrote a blog post, "The Rout of the Right on Gay Marriage," claiming, 'I know my fellow social and religious conservatives don't like to hear this, but Daniel McCarthy explains why we can't win the gay marriage fight.'

Actually, Rod, I understand your pessimism, but please drop the "nobody likes to hear this, I'm being brave" pose. You are among a large number of conservative elites who want to declare the war over and get out of the way. Everyone looking at the wall of hatred coming our way wants to duck, including me.

But the American people have not yet gotten the memo.

The will to lose on gay marriage among conservative elites is palpable. But thankfully, the consequences of permitting marriage to be remade in the image of the Dan Savages of America are now equally clear. When Dan Savage's side wins, support for gay sex and marriage will not be optional.

Even a schoolchild can see that.

Here’s the thing, the latest SurveyUSA poll shows the marriage amendment winning 57 percent to 37 percent, “with majority support among men and women, black and white, rich and poor, and in all parts of the state. Opposition is most strong among Democrats and independents, but rises to a majority only among the relatively small number of voters who identify themselves as liberals."

Meanwhile the latest North Carolina poll from SurveyUSA shows Romney pulling the support of 43 percent of voters in North Carolina, a key battleground state.

In other words, marriage is currently outpolling Romney in North Carolina, by 14 points.

The stubborn silence—and not just on Romney’s part—among GOP leaders is defeaning.

The stupidity is discouraging.

So let me leave you this week with a piece of underreported, astonishing and very good news.

After an emotional debate, Methodists at a national legislative meeting Thursday upheld the denomination’s policy that same-sex relationships are “incompatible with Christian teaching.’”

Delegates at the General Conference voted by about 60 percent to 40 percent against softening the language on homosexuality in their Book of Discipline, which contains church laws and doctrine.  

The United Methodist Church was faced with a choice: earn the applause of the world or stick with the teachings of Jesus Christ.

It’s a miracle, but they did the right thing.

Expect more miracles.  We know Who wins this fight in the end.

Maggie Gallagher

Culture War Victory Fund 

 

 

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