February 10, 2011
What Will GOProud Bring to the Conservative Table?By Kyle-Anne Shiver
There's been a whole lot of talking going on regarding GOProud's participation and sponsorship of this year's CPAC convention. There've been numerous pundits spouting off about it. There've been interviews galore on the subject. There've been memos. There've been boycotts. There's been a lot of liberal drooling over the prospect of a conservative split of gigantic proportion.
Yet, there is something fundamental missing in this big, fat heap of internecine squabbling.
What will GOProud bring to the conservative table?
So far, fiscal conservatives of the libertarian bent have sought to shame social conservatives into silence and forced acceptance of GOProud. Now, I'm as socially conservative as they come and a Catholic to boot. On the other hand, I believe strongly in political pragmatism, as long as politically pragmatic policies are held to high standards of accountability. If one can demonstrate that his proposal will definitely work to the betterment of society, especially for the protection of future citizens (the children), then I say, great.
As I'm watching this whole conservative kerfuffle, I'm keeping my own faith and values intact, while at the same time, thinking there is room for compromise in the public square.
But compromise involves both parties coming to the bargaining table with a willingness to not only take, but also to give.
GOProud, it ought to be noted, by numbers, represents a tiny sliver of the conservative base. Social conservatives -- especially Christians and religiously conservative Jews -- account for a large majority of the conservative base. So, attempting to shame the majority of the base is probably not a pragmatic approach to the problem.
First, there's the marriage issue. I couldn't care less if GOProud members support -- and devoutly believe in -- same-sex marriage. All Republicans, if they are truly believers in the republican form of government as set down in our U.S. Constitution, understand that marriage statutes are a state and local issue, not to be messed with at the federal level, unless legal steps towards a constitutional amendment are undertaken by our representatives. The whole culture war was nationalized by liberal activists on the court, who despise the constitutional demands for democratically enacted social change in the realm of law and public policy.
The state's only interest in defining marriage as a legal institution is for the healthy raising of children. Unbelievably, the whole discussion about same-sex marriage has centered around the adult partners. The state's interest in marriage pertains to the children -- not the adults. And all discussions about what types of partnerships should get state recognition and/or benefits ought to be centered on what is truly best for children. I would welcome GOProud's public insistence that gay activism shift its focus away from the utterly disgraceful self-centered needs/wants of the adults.
I would welcome GOProud standing proud for the constraints of the U.S. Constitution and resolutely defending each state's right to democratically define marriage in accordance with that state's own child-protection standards.
Secondly, I would welcome a gay conservative group who gets in front and demands that the so-called "Safe Schools" czar, Kevin Jennings, resign or be fired. Literature that stamps approval on promiscuous, dangerous sexual habits -- especially between young teens and older men -- ought to be roundly denounced by any group wishing to serve the greater needs of our society, especially when it comes to the protection of children. Heterosexual pornography is not acceptable in public schools; neither should homosexual pornography be acceptable. GOProud could play a valuable role in joining the child-protection efforts of social conservatives.
Will GOProud also raise its voice against hate-crimes legislation, which offers a special class of protection for not only gays, but also for pedophiles? When Republicans attempted to amend the hate-crimes bill, specifically disallowing protection for pedophiles, the amendment was voted down on a strict party line. The Democratic majorities in both chambers declined to define "sexual orientation" to exclude those NAMBLA gays whose orientation is towards children. So, yes, I can see huge benefit in having gay conservatives at the table who unabashedly stand up for the protection of children from all sexual predators -- heterosexual and homosexual alike.
Will GOProud denounce educational efforts which actively promote homosexuality to young children? Will GOProud stand tall to protect the rights of children to sound development without having gender confusion forced upon them? Will GOProud get out in front and demand -- along with social conservatives -- that sexual mores remain the province of the family, and not the state? As a social conservative, I would welcome these public stands on behalf of the nation's future citizens -- our children.
GOProud could bring a terrifically powerful voice to the national conversation about the epidemic of sexually transmitted disease, as well. Will GOProud get in front of a social movement to demand full disclosure in sex education classes about the heightened health risks involved in male-male sex? As a social conservative, I would certainly welcome homosexual conservatives standing shoulder to shoulder with heterosexuals, demanding fully accurate sex education in our public schools. Emphasizing to our children the scientifically irrefutable failure of condoms to offer complete protection against STDs would be a most welcome benefit to societal health.
Lastly, will GOProud stand tall to support absolute protection for religious groups to publicly express the tenets of their faith, unencumbered by anti-Biblical speech codes like those adopted in other western countries? The U.S. Constitution protects all our rights to publicly speak our minds and faiths and so long as GOProud stands tall for First Amendment rights, I have no problem with them espousing and defending what they deem to be the societal benefits of same-sex marriage or any other aspect of their platform.
If we are to come to the big conservative table with mutual respect for one another, then will GOProud renounce and retract the disrespectful statement its leaders gave to the Washington Times regarding social conservative CPAC boycotters:
While I can certainly understand a temptation to defensiveness on the part of GOProud's leadership, it hardly seems pragmatic to go off half-cocked, calling long-respected, hugely influential socially conservative groups, such as the Heritage Foundation, the Family Research Council, the Concerned Women of America, among others, "clowns," who are "not relevant."
GOProud is the sliver group which seeks a place at the big conservative table. The very least they could do is practice the tolerance they seem to be seeking from the huge majority among conservatives.
If the CPAC leaders had thought this issue through and made GOProud's participation -- not just as attendees, but as sponsors -- dependent upon actual compromise, then perhaps all of this brouhaha could have been avoided.
It's a pity, really. Because it would take the dimmest bulb in the basement not to realize that -- like it or not -- social conservatives are the most committed, most activist and largest part of the conservative movement. Love them or hate them, if you want to win elections, you'd better figure out how to work with them, compromise with them and show them you bring valuable assets to the big table.
Kyle-Anne Shiver is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. She welcomes your comments at www.kyleanneshiver.com.