Hating the 'Sinner'

David Harsanyi

1/8/2011 12:01:00 AM - David Harsanyi

Do those of you who cluster around urban areas have some hereditary aversion to limited government or fiscal conservatism?

Doubtful.

And since you brought it up, it's social conservatism that will most often turn those with secular sensibilities away from the right. Even within the movement, a libertarian vs. social conservative debate has roiled on forever. This dynamic is only going to change when political expediency becomes a force more powerful than faith -- which is to say the day after we pay off the national debt.

Now, it's true that social conservatives can be unfairly ridiculed as bigots in these debates. But sometimes, as it happens, they act like bigots.

When, for instance, a bunch of influential organizations decide to boycott the Conservative Political Action Committee yearly confab simply because a gay Republican group named GOProud happens to be participating, we have stumbled upon such a moment.

As Peter Wehner of conservative Commentary magazine noted, "the boycotting organizations come across as defensive and insecure, as if they fear that their arguments cannot win the day on the merits." It's worse. The boycott demonstrates a lack of any argument. For some, apparently, it's not really the policy sin but the sinner him-and-himself that's the real problem. (I know, it's not technically in the Good Book.)

Though I support gay marriage -- more specifically, removing government from the marriage business altogether -- it strikes me as deceitful to dismiss legitimate arguments for preserving traditional marriage and ugly to smear everyone making them as homophobic Neanderthals.

Yet, really, what can one say about a person who won't attend a political event featuring 70 disparate groups -- including, yes, The John Birch Society -- because he or she might be sitting a table or two away from a lesbian infiltrator who agrees with him or her approximately 90 percent of the time?

As Hot Air's Ed Morrissey recently pointed out, the GOProud agenda is perhaps a point or two off the conventional conservative agenda. Actually, it seems to me, GOProud is more focused on the fundamental problems facing the country than the Concerned Women for America and the Family Research Council are.

Then again, these groups will probably tell you the kerfuffle is about far more than gays. The popular right-wing conspiratorial website leading the charge has even cooked up a transcendentally silly (and retroactive) theory that claims CPAC is now under the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood. Quite convenient, I say, because it allows someone to point out that one of the many quirks about religious fundamentalists is that they make no distinctions between politics and religion or personal behavior and individual freedom.

Speaking of which, let's remember that last year, leading GOP presidential contender Mike Huckabee skipped CPAC, explaining that the event had become "more libertarian and less Republican."

"Republican" must be a code word for those who have sworn their rock-ribbed allegiance to the entire consecrated GOP agenda. Others won't be engaged or debated or shown the errors of their decadent ways, I suppose.

Which is a fine way to bring down your own party or, if that party happens to smarten up, your own cause.