Between comments by Newt Gingrich and the Wall Street Journal, we’re getting a good idea of what’s wrong with the moral compass of the anti-gay right. They don’t have one.
Gingrich provided an unintentionally humorous defense of Congressman Mark Foley’s sexual harrassment of house pages, for which the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson put him in his place:
Former speaker Newt Gingrich suggested over the weekend that House leaders may have worried last year that if they pursued the Foley matter, they’d be “accused of gay-bashing.” Clearly, in terms of his spinning skills, Gingrich has lost a step. The issue was whether a congressman was having improper communications with a child, not whether the congressman was gay; it would have been just as troubling if the e-mail had been sent to a female page. And anyway, it’s a little late for the Republicans to denounce gay-bashing after raising it to an art form.
Gingrich’s framing of Foley’s predatory behavior and its subsequent cover-up as a partisan whine is high art, indeed – but it gets better. The WSJ thinks that the House leadership was somehow confused over what is and is not appropriate behavior for an adult Congressman toward a 16 year old former page; they may have thought that being “friendly” and sending “a few naughty emails” to a teenager was a legitimate “lifestyle choice.” Why? Well, because of “political correctness,” of course; it’s not their fault they didn’t realize that was wrong.
But in today’s politically correct culture, it’s easy to understand how senior Republicans might well have decided they had no grounds to doubt Mr. Foley merely because he was gay and a little too friendly in emails. Some of those liberals now shouting the loudest for Mr. Hastert’s head are the same voices who tell us that the larger society must be tolerant of private lifestyle choices, and certainly must never leap to conclusions about gay men and young boys.
Is it easy to understand? Only if you are unable to grasp the most fundamental differences between right and wrong. Only if you are so lacking an inner moral compass that you can’t make the distinction between normal adult sexual expression, regardless of orientation, and the use of powerful office to coerce and exploit powerless teenagers.
Maybe Newt and the WSJ received their talking points from the Family Research Council. Tony Perkins titled his brief article “Pro-Homosexual Political Correctness Sowed Seeds for Foley Scandal”. It’s more than a little ironic to think of professional gay-bashers practicing “Pro-Homosexual” anything, so this must be more of that high art. (Foley’s sexual orientation is, of course, irrelevent – unless the FRC wants to suggest that the highly disproportianate sexual harrassment of female employees is the result of “Pro-Heterosexual Political Correctness.” That probably isn’t what they had in mind.) Corruption is the problem. Powerbrokers and gatekeepers in government can do or say anything they want so long as they raise the money, vote the “right” way (Foley voted for the so-called “Marriage Protection Amendment”), and win elections.
That problem might be solvable with appropriate oversight, but when those who are supposed to be accountable are supplied with morally bankrupt excuses by the FRC, it won’t happen. To paraphrase Mr. Perkins, the Foley scandal shows what happens when self-serving hypocrisy and anti-gay rhetoric is put ahead of protecting children.
If people don’t learn to question the twisted logic of these spinmeisters, democracy is in deep trouble. Please read the FRC article closely and tell us what you think of the “social science” therein – and then what you think of those who are trying to dismiss as unimportant a powerful man’s predatory sexual pursuit of vulnerable young teenagers. Can anyone actually be this amoral?