Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Battlefield for Social Conservatism

Should conservatives interject their views on social issues into politics?

Earlier this week, respected radio talk show host Neal Boortz, sitting in for Sean Hannity, declared if conservatives in the Republican Party insist on banging the drum on social issues like homosexual marriage and abortion, they are sure to lose the 2014 election.  His commentary gave me pause because I cannot fathom limiting my politics to fiscal conservatism (e.g. shrinking the role of government, reforming the welfare state and the like) and leave the attack on the family structure (by homosexual marriage and abortion) to the nonpolitical arena alone.  Perhaps Mr. Boortz misses the point that government plays a big part in moving the pendulum of the progressive agenda. 

In 2013, liberal activist judges furthered the progressive agenda.  They, in large part, were responsible for legalizing homosexual marriage in 6 more states this year.  Now there are eighteen states where homosexual marriage is legal and the LGBT agenda to normalize these marriages marches on.  Yes, the judiciary has become political all across the country.  (Recall Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court John Roberts declaring the Obamacare penalty on individuals failing to sign up for mandated coverage a “tax” and therefore constitutional.)  If social conservatives were to keep silent, these activist judges would go unnoticed, the presidential appointments of these judges would be unchecked and these decisions will continue to tip the scales of justice for a generation or more.

It is also worth noting that both the conservative and progressive agendas are furthered by the elite political class.  Whether they should be or not is no longer the question.  It’s a fact.  To suggest that one political party put down their values in order to win an election is curious.  Mr. Boortz, who is no Democrat or Liberal, didn’t suggest that Liberals stop trumpeting homosexual marriage because the gay population only represents about 2% of the nation’s population and can’t win on that platform alone in 2014 or that their accusation that the Right has waged a “war on women” is a farce and therefore should be shelved as a strategy.  Neither did he suggest that the failed scheme of universal healthcare promoted by Democrats should be trashed.  No.  He’d rather guide the Republican Party to change their course on the social issues instead.

It seems Mr. Boortz is fine with promoting social issues as long as they are not promoted by conservatives.   Sound advice to the GOP on how to win more of the electorate is another matter entirely but giving up on fundamental values is to be lukewarm.  “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” (Rev 3:16)  

This was also the month of the new hero of social conservatism-Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty.  Phil, the patriarch of the Robertson clan, is a reality show star with A &E’s Duck Dynasty which follows the Louisianan evangelical family famous for inventing a particular duck call.  The show is the number one cable show in the nation.  Phil recently gave an interview in GQ magazine where he quoted scripture about homosexuality, and made controversial comments about blacks during Jim Crow, among other things.  His delivery was less than politically correct and offended many. He believes the Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin, as an example.  A fire storm from the gay community ensued and Phil was placed on hiatus from the show while show sponsors began to pull away until the evangelical community took to social media in droves.  Within two weeks, Phil was reinstated and the sponsors affirmed their support.  This was a blow to the activist organizations like GLAAD that are used to silencing those with whom they disagree but a victory for those not afraid to share their biblical worldview no matter how unpopular.

These examples, while not exhaustive of the war being waged on the social issues of our time, demonstrate where the battlefields may be found.  The battlefields are in the courthouses; the battlefields are in the federal government as the current administration openly promotes an LGBT agenda domestically and abroad; the battlefield is in the White House where the current president supports infanticide; the battlefields are also in the corporate arena.  All of these areas impact the quality of American life.  These are arenas where conservative ideas must be shared.

The question of whether or not there is a place for social conservatism in politics is rhetorical.  If not there, then where?  While the US Constitution and our system of Federalism must prevail, the survival of the traditional family must be preserved at all costs-which is what social conservatism is all about.  I’d rather promote my socially conservative ideals in the political arena and lose an election than win back our country from the radical Left bereft of traditional family values.

Monday, December 2, 2013

I'm Coming Out!

Is announcing your sexual orientation brave or just smart marketing if you’re a celebrity?

Following the most recent announcements of boxer Orlando Cruz, soccer baller Robbie Rogers and basket baller Jason Collins that they are gay men, Olympic diver Tom Daley came out of the closet this week.  He too is dating a man.

Daley’s announcement was greeted with applause on social media and was called brave on more than one tweet.  This recent move by athletes to fall on the sword and announce their homosexual relations is very curious to me. On one hand, these athletes behave as if the broader society just has to know they’re gay; on the other hand, it’s as if there is an expectation on the part of those who are cheering that these athletes are the new Pied Pipers forging the way for a parade of other gays or lesbians to “come out.”  It’s comforting to others not so comfortable with their sexual identity-I get that.   Maybe they are both right and I am a cynic.

Even if they are right, it doesn’t help my confusion. If you’re gay, be gay. Why does the world have to know?  The way to happiness and acceptance is not a global announcement but rather being a kind and decent contributor to your family and community, even if it’s a sports team.  Be the best at whatever it is you do, athlete or otherwise.  Anything more feels like a marketing ploy that exploits a private issue.

And whatever you do, don’t buy the notion that your decision to make a global announcement of your sexual orientation is an act of bravery.  It is not.

Bravery is standing in front of a tank in Tiananmen Square against Chinese tanks in 1989 as one man did; bravery is leading slaves to freedom under the cover of darkness with life and limb at stake as Harriet Tubman did; bravery is carrying the injured from the World Trade Center on 9/11 as many New York fire fighters did.  Let’s keep a proper perspective.

The global community has lost its sense of decorum when it applauds an announcement of sexual orientation. Risking public ridicule by a voluntary announcement of sexual orientation is not brave.  I call it unnecessary honesty.