I happened to notice a post on Andrew Sullivan's blog about South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint yesterday. According to Sullivan, DeMint has said that
“People are beginning to see that there's no way we can pay the interest on our debt and every week, we're borrowing money to pay the debt we have and are creating new programs that are costing more money,” he said. “Hopefully in 2012, we'll make headway to repeal some of the things we've done, because politics only works when we're realigned with our Savior.”Sullivan also reports that
DeMint said if someone is openly homosexual, they shouldn't be teaching in the classroom and he holds the same position on an unmarried woman who's sleeping with her boyfriend — she shouldn't be in the classroom. “(When I said those things,) no one came to my defense,” he said. “But everyone would come to me and whisper that I shouldn't back down. They don't want government purging their rights and their freedom to religion.”(Sullivan's source appears to be GoUpstate.com.)
Sullivan objects to DeMint's attack on homosexuals. "'Freedom to religion' [sic] means firing gay high school teachers. Fiscal conservatism is to 'realign with our Savior.' On gay high school teachers, it's worth remembering that Ronald Reagan as long ago as 1978 aligned with Harvey Milk in opposing discrimination in the Brigg's Initiative," Sullivan writes.
Sullivan cited a piece by Dale Carpenter posted at the Independent Gay Forum about Reagan's views. As it turns out, there is one issue on which Reagan and I agree.
Reagan was "anti-gay;" I am most certainly not. But Reagan was also admirably tolerant toward homosexuality in his politics, and it is on this point that Reagan and I agree. According to Carpenter, biographer Lou Cannon claims that
Reagan was "respectful of the privacy of others" and was "not the sort of person who bothers about what people do in their own bedrooms." This attitude was consistent with Reagan's larger philosophical commitment to individual liberty and limited government.Cannon also states that Reagan was "repelled by the aggressive public crusades against homosexual life styles which became a staple of right wing politics in the late 1970s." Reagan was courageous in his battle against religious conservatives:
In 1978, for example, Reagan vigorously opposed a California ballot initiative sponsored by religious conservatives that would have barred homosexuals from teaching in the public schools. The timing is significant because he was then preparing to run for president, a race in which he would need the support of conservatives and moderates very uncomfortable with homosexual teachers. As Cannon puts it, Reagan was "well aware that there were those who wanted him to duck the issue" but nevertheless "chose to state his convictions."In defense of his position, Reagan wrote at the time, "Whatever else it is, homosexuality is not a contagious disease like the measles. Prevailing scientific opinion is that an individual's sexuality is determined at a very early age and that a child's teachers do not really influence this."
While Reagan could not condone homosexuality, then, he could not accept unjustified discrimination against homosexuals. DeMint looks like some time traveler from the 1950's by comparison.
And this brings me to that blogger I mentioned earlier. Killtruck defended Ann Coulter's decision to speak to GOPROUD, a gay conservative group, at HomoCon in New York City last month. It appears that WorldNutDaily chose to punish Coulter for her decision. Killtruck writes,
Color me radical and unconservative. It’s one thing to be against gay marriage. Many conservatives are against gay marriage for a variety of reasons, some of them are even related homosexuality. But WorldNetDaily seems to just be against gay people. Much like the Ground Zero Mosque (Park 51 hates it when you call it Ground Zero Mosque, so be sure to call it that every time), WorldNetDaily has every right to drop Ann Coulter for any stupid reason they want, and I still have the right to express my opinion that they are homophobic dinosaurs and big jerkfaces.Killtruck goes on to say, "I’d like to go into how great the gay conservatives I’ve gotten to know are, but there’s no way to do it without sounding patronizing."
I doubt that I would agree with Killtruck on much else; it sounds as if we most certainly would not agree on the issue of the proposed mosque in New York City. (And why must you do something that other people hate? Is it just to be an asshole?) But I do agree with her on one thing, enthusiastically: homophobia is wrong. Of course, I would go further than Killtruck: Killtruck seems to suggest that some forms of legal discrimination against homosexuals are acceptable, and I find any form of legal discrimination against homosexuals completely unacceptable. Killtruck does, however, support civil unions for homosexuals, as do I. And for that, she deserves praise. Her views on this issue are actually pretty sophisticated and nuanced and progressive, and I respect that.
Yes, it's true: I agree with a Snark and Boobs blogger, on these two small things, at least.
Now, all conservatives have to do is give me one good reason to think that homosexuality is wrong or that homosexuals should be discriminated against. I haven't seen one yet, and I've seen a lot of bad arguments on this topic in my time. A lot. So, good luck with that.
By the way, Conservative, the polling appears to indicate that you would do well to follow politicians who are more like Reagan and less like DeMint. Your choice.