While I generally like to give commenters the last word (seems only fair, since I had the first word), it seems downright churlish not to say something in answer to the outpouring that followed my recent post, “How the Right Talks About Gays.” So… a few thoughts.
First of all, thank you for the contribution. A blog is in some sense a collaboration between writer and readers. While the ease of responding in the computer age sometimes skews the tone of comments toward the over-excitable, there are plenty of thoughtful people who really add to the conversation and I’m always glad to read what they have to say.
Many readers of the blog reacted to — and objected to — the sentence: “Either sex is an expression of love that involves the whole person (not just his body parts) or it is a purely mechanical operation.” “This has got to be the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen you write,” wrote one reader — and he was a fan! I feel those who objected to this sentence mistook its meaning; I also feel this was my fault; I was unclear. I did not mean the sentence as the expression of a factual duality: either sex is this or that in actuality. I meant it as a response to Phil Robertson’s comments on homosexuality — a sort of mental argument with Phil, if you will. Robertson talks about homosexuality as a sin, while describing it in purely physical terms. What I should have said is something more like: “If Robertson thinks homosexuality is a sin, then he should address its spiritual aspects. If he just doesn’t like the physical nature of it, he’s welcome to express his displeasure but he shouldn’t pretend he’s making a larger spiritual point.” I used blogger shorthand and the meaning got blurred. My bad.
As to all the comments regarding gay marriage, religion, sin and so forth, I have nothing to say. I wasn’t making an argument about any of that. I merely mentioned my libertarian sympathies by way of being honest about where I was coming from. All the same, you’re always welcome to drop by and say what you have to say — although, unless you’re the Father, Son or Holy Ghost, your opinions about whether or not I’m a good Christian will be regarded as less than authoritative.
Finally, regarding the argument I DID make. It was this: when conservatives debate their various views on this issue, they might consider speaking with some sort of fellow feeling for their brothers and sisters who are gay. Like straight people, gay people don’t just screw one another, they also fall in love with one another and pledge their lifetime troth and so on. If you think the state should treat those arrangements differently, that’s fine, but make your case as if that’s what you’re talking about, not as if it’s all a matter of which peg goes into which hole. I was surprised, and a bit discouraged, at how many disagreed with and were angered by what seemed to me a pretty simple expression of, dare I say it, Judeo-Christian principle. To me, that sort of anger seems to be rooted in fear: fear that if gay marriage opponents forgo rage, hatred and insult, the raging, hateful and insulting hordes of the left will overrun them.
Well, look, I get it: There’s certainly no shortage of shrieking, oppressive uglies on the left. But hey, do you want to be like them? A man, believe me, can go a long way with just a good argument and the courage to stand his ground. That’s why it’s so much more fun to be conservative than a leftist! Almost all the good arguments are on our side. Almost.