Gay zealots seek to control our thoughts It should be OK for us to criticize homosexuality

June 28, 1998|By Steven Greenhut

Counterpoint

Recently, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott sparked a controversy when he compared homosexuality to alcoholism, sex addiction and kleptomania. Richard L. Tafel, the head of a Republican gay rights group, criticized Lott in a Perspective article last week. Here's another view.

Given the state of current discourse, in which honest observations that conflict with the Zeitgeist are zealously punished, I begin my column with this caveat: I harbor no hatred against homosexuals, am offended by anti-gay discrimination, in no way condone violence against them and really couldn't care less what sexual behavior adults engage in.

I thought of this admittedly wimpy approach after following what Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott had to go through recently for making some seemingly innocuous comments about homosexuality on a TV talk show. You never know how left-wingers will misconstrue what you say, so it's important to pre-empt the predictable hysteria.

Of course, my caveat probably won't help me with the thought police because I subscribe to some unacceptable views: I believe homosexuality is wrong. I suspect that even if homosexual tendencies are biologically predetermined, choice is involved in "becoming" gay. And I am convinced most of the gay-rights agenda is an attack on freedom and property rights because it would use government power to squelch dissent and promote "civil rights."

It used to be OK to say such things and to stand up for tolerance in its original sense: Putting up with -- though not endorsing -- behavior you find offensive or immoral.

But not any more.

It's not as if Lott made derogatory comments about gays or proposed laws that would relegate gays and lesbians to the margins of society. He said homosexuality is a sin -- a theological position held by most religions and probably by most Americans -- and that we should be willing to help gays overcome what Lott terms a "problem."

You needn't agree with that assessment to realize that Lott perpetrated no hate crime, that his view is not out of the American mainstream, and that it is no more moralistic than the quasi-theological pronouncements Vice President Al Gore and Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt regularly make about the sanctity of Mother Earth and the godliness of the multicultural agenda.

Here's what happened:

After TV host Armstrong Williams asked Lott whether he viewed homosexuality as a sin, Lott said it is, then remarked: "You should still love that person. You should not try to mistreat them or treat them as outcasts. You should try to show them a way to deal with that problem, just like alcohol ... or sex addiction ... or kleptomaniacs. There are all kinds of problems, addictions, difficulties, experiences of things that are wrong, but you should try to work with that person to learn to control that problem."

Is that so awful?

Yet these gentle words sparked a media frenzy, with the TV networks devoting far more air time to the controversy than to the president's possible trading of advanced missile technology to China for campaign cash, or to any other legitimate news story.

Most hilarious was this response from Mike McCurry, the White House flack whose shameless defense of his boss' many misdeeds should preclude him from making unctuous pronouncements about any moral issue:

"For over 25 years, it's been quite clear that sexual orientation is not an affliction, it is not a disease, it is something that is a part of defining one's sexuality. And the fact that the majority leader has such views, apparently consistent with some who are fairly extreme in his party, is an indicator of how difficult it is to do rational work in Washington."

I'm no fan of the religious right. And I would be outraged if Lott had proposed to use government to reform or oppress homosexuals. But don't believe the gay rights propagandists: No respectable politician (an oxymoron?) of any party would propose anything of the sort these days.

What's happening here is a no-holds-barred attempt at thought control. It apparently no longer is acceptable to hold differing views on the rightness of homosexuality, let alone express them even in the most obsequious and well-intentioned manner.

To the administration and other gay-rights zealots, it simply is undemocratic to suggest that homosexuality is wrong, and the worst sort of extremism to oppose government attempts to TTC mandate spousal benefits for gay partners and promulgate anti-discrimination laws that whittle away at the declining number of property rights Americans still enjoy.

The overheated media response was indicative of the totalitarian way liberal elites intimidate into silence those who disagree with them. I'm sure most Americans got the message: Criticize homosexuality at your own peril. You may be turned into an outcast, called a religious fanatic or face a harassment lawsuit if you express your views to the wrong person.

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