Few apparitions are uglier and less useful than a red-faced,
veins-popping, seemingly unbalanced defender of conservative principles of
self-restraint. Yet such individuals abound in our ranks.
It's easy for conservatives such as myself to wax irate
about --here's one example -- last month's "Leather Pride Week" in Portland,
Ore., which was not an occasion for selling more suitcases and shoes, but an
extension of "Gay Pride" events toward frontiers of perverse sexual activity
that I won't describe here. But we should all read what the poet-king David
tells us in Psalm 131, reporting on his lifetime of struggle: "I have calmed
and quieted my soul. Like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned
child is my soul within me."
The news each day includes items that can make us wrathful. When
the culturally left Village Voice ran an article praising a New York City
sado-masochistic event, the author noted that "every other guy was decorated
with a sash bearing his title -- International Drummerboy, American
Leatherman, International Mr. Deaf Leather, to name just a few -- which
provided many opportunities for genuflecting, of course." Rather than
screaming at those who genuflect to false gods, we should pity them and pray
We should also see the humor in some of the ideologies our
neighbors profess. For example, look at a press release headlined, "Who Knew
Chickens Could Be So Endearing? Three Chickens Rights Groups Urge Media to
do Positive Stories During 'September: National Chicken Month'"? Here's the
lead: "Three U.S. animal rights organizations are urging the news media to
balance chicken industry advertising with positive stories about chickens
during "National Chicken Month."
Think this is a hoax? I did at first, but this press release is
only the latest in a series that includes one proclaiming, "Frank Perdue Now
Available as a Voodoo Doll." It's true, as the press release noted, that
celebrated New York Times writer William Grimes published a book this year,
"My Fine Feathered Friend," that details Grimes' "strong emotional
attachment to a chicken." And it's true that eatchicken.com is on the
offensive, advertising Roasted Garlic Teriyaki Chicken.
In a strange land where unborn children are killed while a
battle rages over whether to eat chicken, conservatives must act -- but not
explode. And how about when abandoning a wife is seen as no big thing? The
Austin American-Statesman, reporting on Sept. 22 about a local event in
which the American Red Cross and other agencies handed out clothes, sleeping
bags and food to some 300 homeless individuals, noted in passing that one
young man "has been homeless since leaving his wife three months ago." That
was it -- no explanation of whether he left his wife because she came at him
with a butcher knife or because he just wanted to move on, leaving her
The young man, standing in line for a free haircut, said the
giveaway was "a great experience. 'It's really nice of the people who put
this together for people like us.'" Nice? For sure. Helpful? If he abandoned
his wife for the hell of it -- I use that strong word deliberately -- we
should hope that he is so thoroughly miserable on his own that he'll do the
right thing and go back. If an agency enables him to do wrong, conservatives
might feel like exploding -- but that won't help.
What will help is continued, patient teaching and showing that
compassion means helping people to live responsibly, not treating them like
pets. When faced with liberal craziness, we must calm and quiet our souls,
for two reasons: Calm, consistent work is more effective than screaming.
And, God is still in charge.