“Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) trotted out her customized views on gays and American culture,” blogs Erik Wemple on the Washington Post site. And though it was not his aim, he shows why she’s the gift that keeps on giving to the LGBT left. That is, her bigotry works to discredit the legitimate concerns some of us have raised about over-reaching by LGBT progressives in a way that constrains rather than expands individual liberty.
To start with, here (as related via Wemple’s posting) is what Bachman recently said:
This is an effort [by gay activists] to have government coerce, force speech and behavior. And it’s being pushed and advocated by the gay community. This is their ultimate goal. It’s to not allow for diversity of opinion on this issue … I believe that we’re going to see coming an effort for multiples in marriage. … I think they want to legalize that. I think also they want to abolish age-of-consent laws, which means . . . we would do away with statutory-rape laws so that adults would be able to freely prey on little children sexually. That’s the deviance that we’re seeing embraced in our culture today.
I’m not going to waste time pointing out the hallucinatory bigotry in those last charges. But as I said, the ugliness of her prejudice makes it much more difficult to engage in constructive criticism of the sort that Damon Linker recently provided. Linker is the author of The Theocons, a critique of the religious right. Recently he wrote:
Liberals usually pride themselves on defending minority rights against the tyranny of the majority—and above all when the tyranny threatens to become more than metaphorical through the use of the coercive powers of the government. Yet when it comes to the rights of religious traditionalists, many liberals seem indifferent, and more than a few seem overtly hostile. …
When the theocons threatened to turn secular liberals into a persecuted minority, I objected. And now, with gay rights activists treating social conservatives like heretics and federal regulators threatening to force religious traditionalists to violate their consciences, I’m doing the same.
“But you’re saying we need to tolerate the intolerant!” — I see that objection every time I write something critical of liberal dogmatism and bigotry.
To which my stock response is: Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying — because that’s what liberalism is, or should be, all about. Toleration is perfectly compatible with — indeed, it presupposes — disagreement. That’s why it’s called tolerance and not endorsement or affirmation.
This is similar to points made by George Will.
Unfortunately, tirades such as Bachmann’s make having any kind of honest conversation about the LGBT movement treading beyond working for equality under the law into, well, something else entirely, much more difficult.