Last night, Larry King asked the question about whether or not a "pink purge" of gay Republicans is happening or will happen in Washington. His panel included two gay Republicans, the noted blogger Andrew Sullivan, and Patrick Sammon, executive veep of the Log Cabin Republicans.
Joining them were two evangelicals, John MacArthur, an academian and pastor. And then there was the more malevolent Louis P. Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition and author of, "The Agenda: the Homosexual Plan to Change America." Right away, Sheldon reminded me of some "Christians" I was raised around. The guy's a real winner. (eyes rolling)
Sullivan and Sammon both denied that there is a gay purge going on. Both made the sensible argument that gays can be Republicans because of their conservative fiscal and national security values. I believe this to be true, because I have known quite a few gay Republicans, some closeted and some not. Most stats that I see estimate that about 25% of gay people vote Republican.
For me, I never had a conflict about who I most identified with politically. It was with the Democrats. For gay Republicans I suppose its not so easy. They have to overlook accepted GOP positions on gay issues to work for the other conservative ideals that they possess. As hard as it can be sometimes to be a southern Democrat, I don't envy the LCR's.
Last night's show reinforced the notion that gay Republicans are still very much a minority within their own party. Here are a few comments:
JOHN MACARTHUR, PASTOR, GRACE COMMUNITY CHURCH: Well, I think Jesus put it simply when he said, "My kingdom is not of this world." And I think what happens in the Republican party or the Democratic party or the United States Congress, the United States government is really irrelevant to the advancement of the Kingdom of God. The message of Jesus is to go unto under all the world to make disciples, not make Republicans. and I think our message is a message that Jesus died and rose again to save us from our sins and death Hell. And that is the message. And evangelicals have convoluted message, sublimated that message to a political agenda, they have missed the point. And in many ways we have turned the mission field into the enemy. Homosexuals are not our enemy. They are our mission field, like any other or all other sinners are.
KING: Reverend Sheldon, I gather you differ?
SHELDON: Now, that -- so when Washington gave his Farewell Address in 1796, he clearly stated, of all the dispositions and habits that lead to political prosperity, there's two indispensable supports for political prosperity. He said religion and morality. And it's clearly what even John Adams said.
KING: That's their opinion as individuals, right?
SHELDON: No. It was more than their opinion. That was the consensus in the founding of America.
KING: Are you saying that gay is immoral?
MACARTHUR: Well, there's no question that you can't enter the Kingdom of God, as my dear friend here just said, you can't enter the Kingdom of God if you have -- if you're practicing homosexuality. Now, remember, homosexuality is not genetic. God didn't give it to you. It was caused by something else.
KING: But you don't know what caused it, do you?
SHELDON: Well we do know this?
KING: You do?
SHELDON: That molestation is a major contribution.
If you're interested, you can use the link that I provided to read for yourself (scroll down towards the end of the show). I think that Sullivan did a good job of answering, particularly Rev. Sheldon's, comments.
I do know there are those that believe the LCR's and people like Andrew Sullivan bring a moderating presence and a growing feeling of inclusiveness in a segment of society that sometimes publicly and hatefully rejects us or uses our issues as wedge issues with fundamentalist Christian voters.I hope those people are right. But right now seems like a very good time for more moderate Republicans (and not just the gay ones) to step forward and show that there are more tolerant and educated opinions in the GOP than the ones that Rev. Sheldon, and even Rev. MacArthur, espouse.