In talking with blog ally Lloydletta this past week concerning her ongoing feud with Michele Bachmann, I was struck by one thing.....how normal Lloydletta's bete noire looks -- definitely not on the order of Fred Phelps.
However, this is something with which we in the northern reaches of Dallas are VERY familiar. Collin County, being both the most wealthy and most Republican county in all of Texas, carries enormous clout -- and it is represented in the Texas Senate by one of the most formidable legislators in the state, Senator Florence Shapiro. Over to the west in Denton County sits the second-highest ranking Republican in the Texas Senate, Senator Jane Nelson. On their eastern side, sophomore Texas House of Representatives Member Jodie Laubenberg represents one of the fastest-growing areas in Texas with enormous economic clout and nascent political potential.
What do these three Texas women all have in common? They're smart, savvy, successful in business, and built great track records of success in local elected offices both before and during their time in statewide office. They're all very popular and well-liked in their communities and considered to be good representatives of their electorate.
And every single one of them opposes gay marriage -- every single one.
On the bright side, these are not your father's antigay activists. They are articulate and intelligent people who have a strong sense of faith and family and have a hard time harmonizing how gay marriage and gay rights really fit into that. I have the privilege of knowing all three, and enjoy talking with each of them. Even though we disagree, there is a relationship there, and we are working through their issues in terms they understand. They all have moderated considerably since we started talking, and that is awesome.
However, the problem is that too many people are still our father's GAY activists. The "gay community", in my opinion, still views anyone who opposes any gay issues as Fred Phelps -- and, in reaction, publicly brands people like Laubenberg, Shapiro, and Nelson hateful, irrational, and superstitious bigots. Ergo, anyone who associates with them or in any way defends or attempts to talk to them is a "traitor to the gay cause" and deserves to have their personal and professional lives dragged through the mud. Worse, we generalize the fact that Fred Phelps uses religion as an excuse to advance his bigotry into blaming religion for all of our problems -- the reaction that got LCR such a successful run at this year's Republican National Convention and made the flyers linking gays to godless liberals and abortions work -- or we publicly criticize religion and religious belief as "nonsense".
Get real, people. We need to, as a community, acknowledge two things -- one, that other people have the right to an opinion, and two, that our own diversity is going to mirror that of those around us. It is ABNORMAL for the gay community to be uniformly antireligious and mindlessly Democratic -- which is why, in order to maintain that, we must have legions of gay activists using outing, blackmail, and verbal abuse to cow into submission anyone who isn't. It is WRONG for people to use gay rights as an excuse for pushing anything other than gay rights -- and that includes those who use it to push abortion rights, antireligious bigotry, and personal vendettas.
People like the aforementioned Nelson, Shapiro, and Laubenberg need to be given examples that gay people are not all frothing idiots who will create a scene unless given exactly what they want. If you want to know why, take a look at those faces. Do you really want to be known as the people who namecalled Susie's mom, who used to bake cookies for everyone and drive the Girl Scout carpool?