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HomoCon Aftermath: Joseph Farah Owes Ann Coulter a Major Apology
Posted By Calvin Freiburger On September 29, 2010 @ 3:02 pm In Conservatism,Email,Feature,Generation Y Conservatism,Generation Y Conservatism,In the Trenches | 12 Comments
When Ann Coulter got condemned as an ideological traitor by World Net Daily editor Joseph Farah for agreeing to speak to gay conservative group GOProud, some of NewsRealBlog’s commenters took Farah’s side, somehow convinced that daring to headline a homosexual event meant Coulter no longer took her faith or her principles seriously. As I said at the time:
It’s more than a little ridiculous to say that someone who has spent her entire career fighting for God, life, marriage, and family is suddenly a traitor to Christianity and social conservatism because of a single speech nobody’s even heard yet. Don’t those of you condemning Coulter think it’s just a little premature to do so when you don’t even know what she’s going to say? For all we know, her speech might be about the relationship between conservatism and gay issues. And if there’s anything we know about Ann Coulter, it’s that she’s not afraid to tell audiences things they don’t want to hear.
Well, the speech that will live in infamy has come and gone, and I hate to say I told you so…but it turns out that our Conservative Chessboard Queen did exactly what any reasonable person familiar with her record should have been able to predict: she laid out the natural common ground conservatives and gays ought to share, while unapologetically making the case for preserving traditional marriage:
[S]he parroted the losing arguments of the lawyers supporting California’s Prop 8 and told the crowd that the reason she opposes (and they should oppose) same sex marriage is that it is strictly for procreation.
In one of a series of racially insensitive remarks that pervaded her speech, Coulter added, “Marriage is not a civil right. You’re not black.” It was part of a larger argument on which she later elaborated, telling the crowd that the 14th Amendment only applies to African-Americans and that it does not, in fact, apply to women, LGBT people or other minorities.
Despite the laugh lines, Coulter’s arguments against same sex marriage were not well-received by much of the crowd: for instance, the question and answer session after the speech was dominated by Homocon attendees grilling her on her position on a range of issues, including whether opposition to same sex marriage was really in line with the conservative principles of limited government and whether she personally believes that homosexuality is a choice — a question she declined to answer. In response to a question from GOProud chairman Chris Barron, she did imply that conservative opposition to same sex marriage from politicians who benefited from no-fault divorce was hypocritical and suggested that marriage-minded politicians ought to back a wholesale effort to repeal no-fault divorce laws in the states.
There’s probably some media mischaracterization in Talking Points Memo’s above account (Ann’s already calling out Politico’s Ben Smith for what she deems Jayson Blair-caliber coverage of the event), though it’s good to hear that her support for marriage also extends to confronting no-fault divorce.
TPM’s Megan Carpentier is dumbfounded that “Coulter’s speech to GOProud mystifyingly focused on social issues and not the fiscal and foreign policy issues” on which she agreed with her hosts:
[S]he told GOProud that the conservative gay rights movement ought to make common cause with the anti-abortion movement because, she said, “as soon as they find the gay gene, you know who’s getting aborted.”
Actually, Megan, Ann made a really good point—one that plenty of homosexuals have already figured out.
Coulter also made a forceful case against sex education in schools, accusing liberals of attempting to teach kindergartners about “fisting” (which garnered her a heckler, who shouted out “What’s wrong with fisting?”) and told the crowd that most parents didn’t want their children learning about the “homosexual lifestyle” instead of reading and writing.
You don’t bring Ann Coulter on board for dry regurgitation of what everyone already agrees on, especially if you’re an organization with well-known disagreements with her on a major issue or two. You bring her in for her willingness to say whatever’s on her mind (and the fallout’s proven headline-grabbing ability). Apparently Coulter considers the Right strong enough to handle a frank conversation on significant disagreements within the movement.
To his credit, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association admits he was wrong about Coulter’s participation in HomoCon. Joseph Farah? Not so much: he simply complained that her very presence at the event symbolized a further mainstreaming of the gay agenda. (Oh, and speaking to a gay activist group is just as bad as—arguably worse than, even—the Ku Klux Klan. Really?)
Farah recognizes the legitimacy of speaking even to people we consider sinners, but fails to acknowledge that Coulter argued against gay marriage and gay educational indoctrination in a room full of gay people, thereby doing exactly that. I suspect Coulter’s engage-the-issue-head-on approach is more likely to spur frank, substantive discussions about marriage than Farah’s police-everyone’s-speaking-gigs approach. Indeed, even from a Christian standpoint, Farah’s on shaky ground—as Ben-Peter Terpstra points out, “Jesus associated with all kinds of controversial individuals/groups, to the chagrin of angry Pharisees.”
Even though Farah sadly obscured it within a torrent of fanaticism and self-promotion, the fear that some on the Right have a flawed understanding of the relationship between “social” issues and conservative first principles is a real concern. Like Farah, I believe that only a conservatism which understands the full extent of the Founding Fathers’ teachings can defeat the Left and keep a republic. But Ann Coulter didn’t fall into that trap, and nobody familiar with her career should have doubted her for a second.
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