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Response to Robert Stacy McCain re: Ryan Sorba and CPAC
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 8:22 AM

My comments criticizing CPAC for inviting a radical gay rights group, GOPROUD, to serve as a sponsor of this year's conference, and criticizing Salem Communications for turning the Hot Air blog into a forum for advancing the homosexual agenda, has stirred up a bit of dust storm in the blogosphere.

Hot Air responded, in an oxymoronically-entitled piece,
"In defense of gay conservatives", defending its decision to allow aggressive advocates of special rights for homosexuals to use its Christian-owned space to push their cause, and taking issue with me along the way.

Politico took note of the debate as well, in a  Ben Smith posting  Social conservatives take on CPAC over gay rights. (Full text of his entry at the end of this blog post.)

Would Everyone Please Stop Arguing About Gays and Ryan Sorba? is the title of Robert Stacy McCain's admonition to me to shut up.

Here is the response I posted on his blog. You can read his original post below.

"Your masthead quotes Arthur Koestler to the effect that one should 'write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up.' Sorba, in this case, spoke ruthlessly what he believes to be the truth. It might be better for you to praise him for following your advice.

"If you watch the video, you’ll notice that Sorba was booed as soon as he was introduced, before he said a word. Not sure of the background there, but if you want to get into the juvenile who-started-it-thing, it wasn’t Sorba. My guess is that he got up intending to talk about one thing, got booed for his known stance on homosexuality, and responded to his rude critics in the crowd. He spoke ruthlessly what he believes to be the truth. He spoke truth to power. Good for him.

"By the way, I don’t get paid to 'stir things up.' I get paid to write relentlessly what I believe to be the truth.

"CPAC had to know that allowing GOPROUD in as a sponsor would be controversial. Not really sporting of them to complain when their decision turns out to be, well, controversial.

"And why is it that defenders of natural marriage are always the ones who get told to shut up? If advocates for special rights for homosexuals would just shut up, this controversy would go away tomorrow.

"If they would take their behavior back to the bedroom instead of demanding approval for it in the streets and at conservative conferences, they’d be left alone and this conversation would be unnecessary."

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Here is McCain's original post:

Would Everyone Please Stop Arguing About Gays and Ryan Sorba?

Posted on | February 24, 2010 | 4 Comments

You’re depressing me. Really. Because I’m feeling the need to write a 2,500-word essay that no one will pay me to write.

It’s very easy for Bryan Fischer to stir this up by denouncing Hot Air. That’s what he gets paid to do, stir things up. But there are important arguments being overlooked because no one will pay me to clarify the matter – just like nobody ever invites me to speak at CPAC.

The fundamental problem with what Ryan Sorba did was that he started a fight by denouncing his hosts. That’s just bad manners. I was on the phone Tuesday describing Sobra’s stunt as equivalent to someone being invited to dinner and then insulting his host’s mother. The person on the other end of the phone said, no, Sorba’s stunt was more like someone being invited to dinner, climbing up on the table, dropping his pants and defecating all over the entree.

Good causes can be harmed by bad advocates. To celebrate Sorba’s puerile arrogance – his vaunting display of a mastery of the natural law argument — is to ignore his unspeakable rudeness in having insulted CPAC’s hospitality. Whether or not GOProud should have been accepted as a CPAC sponsor is a topic worth arguing. However, once CPAC accepted their sponsorship, and once Sorba accepted an invitation to speak at the conference, common courtesy required that Sorba refrain from insulting GOProud, which helped sponsor the event where Sorba spoke.

(An aside: Bryan Fischer complains that CPAC “should be relabeled ‘The Libertarian Political Action Conference.’” Yet who is to blame for the unusual preponderance of libertarians at this year’s CPAC? A source tells me that a Ron Paul-backed organization, Campaign For Liberty, paid for scores of students to attend CPAC. How many students did AFA send to CPAC? I suspect the number is zero. But AFA apparently can afford to pay Fischer to insult CPAC and Hot Air, eh?)

You can consult my own writings on this subject – “Gay Rights, Gay Rage” and “Whither Marriage?” – and see how stoutly I defend traditional marriage against radicalism. But this is not about gays, or natural law, or libertarianism vs. conservatism. It’s about this egomaniacal punk Sorba using his precious allotment of time on the CPAC stage to make a complete ass of himself and embarrass CPAC.

CPAC ended Saturday and I’ve still got tons of photos and videos I never got around to uploading. Here it is Wednesday already, and this ingrate Sorba is still distracting me from genuinely important (and perhaps remunerative) subjects of discussion.

Everybody shut up. I don’t want to write that essay. Really.

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Here is Politico's piece, by Ben Smith:

Social conservatives take on CPAC over gay rights

Mike Huckabee's assault on the Conservative Political Action Conference's alleged takeover by malign libertarians has found some resonance on the social right.

The American Family Association's director of issue analysis, Bryan Fischer, blasts away today at the conference in favor of his own group's Values Voter Summit, exercised by many CPAC attendees' support for gay rights.

For David Keene and the others who run CPAC, natural marriage is not, in their judgment, a fundamental conservative value. This conference, for the sake of truth in advertising, should be relabeled "The Libertarian Political Action Conference." It has forfeited any legitimate claim to the "Conservative" moniker. ...

The bottom line here is if conservatives are looking for an annual convocation of genuine conservatives — those who are fiscal, national security and social conservatives — the place to be is the Values Voter Summit.

This moment of conservative revival seems an odd one for the recurrence of this old rift, but the revival appears in some ways — not least generationally — to have left social conservatives behind, and appears to be provoking this backlash.





 

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