Tuesday, May 11, 2010


The previous posting, on the outing of George Alan Rekers, calls to mind other prominent instances of hypocrisy.

Ted Haggard was the pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado and served as the president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) from 2003 until November 2006. Haggard's prominent position allowed him access to President George W. Bush. In 2006 the gay masseur and escort Mike Jones alleged that Haggard had been regularly visiting him for sexual services. Haggard acknowledged his wrongdoing and resigned as pastor of New Life church and as president of the NAE. In January 2009, Haggard admitted to a second homosexual relationship with a male church member on CNN-TV and other national media, and when asked, would not directly answer a question about his other possible homosexual relationships.

John Paulk is (or was) a prominent “Ex-gay” leader. He was in charge of Focus on the Family's Love Won Out conference, and formerly served as chairman of the board for Exodus International North America. His autobiography "Not Afraid to Change" maintains that he was “cured” of his homosexuality. In September 2000, Paulk was discovered and photographed in a Washington, D.C. gay bar, where he had been apparently flirting with male patrons at the bar. Later questioned by gay rights activist Wayne Besen, Paulk denied being in the bar despite photographic proof to the contrary. Initially, FoF's Dr. James Dobson sided with Paulk and supported his claims. Subsequently, Paulk, who himself had written about his habit of lying while he openly lived as a homosexual, confessed to being in the bar, but claimed he entered the establishment for reasons other than sexual pursuits. Today he has returned to private life.

Larry Edwin Craig is a Republican politician from Idaho. He served eighteen years in the U.S. Senate (1991-2009), preceded by ten years in the House of Representatives (1981-91). His 28 years in the Congress rank as the second-longest in Idaho history, trailing only William Borah, who served over 32 years in the Senate. During his political career, Craig had consistently opposed gay rights.

On August 27, 2007, the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call revealed that Craig had been arrested for lewd conduct in the men's restroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on June 11, 2007, and entered a guilty plea to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct on August 8, 2007. Asked to explain his conduct in tapping on the floor of his stall (an apparent sexual signal) Craig asserted that he had a “wide stance.” On September 1, 2007, Craig announced his intention to resign from the Senate at a news, but later decided to finish the remainder of his term.

The outing of such individuals raises a question that has been debated for some time in the gay community. Some (probably the minority) hold that the decision to come out as gay should only be made by the individual; “closet rights” must be maintained. Thus it is now fine to discuss the lesbianism of Ellen De Generes. However, this discussion only became appropriate after she herself came out. Others say that gay men and women who oppose gay rights must be relentlessly outed whether they wish it or not. By contrast, those who are friendly will have their closet rights respected.

Let me now turn to two other well-known television personalities, Anderson Cooper (of CNN) and Shepherd Smith (of Fox News). Anderson Cooper is widely admired and even figures as a sex symbol. In some ways, though, Shep Smith is more admirable, as he manages to survive as an honest reporter in a hostile environment. Where so much news is “faux” on his network, Smith tries to tell things as they are.

The orientation of these two tv personalities is, I think, common knowledge, but it is not to be publicly discussed.

I conclude with a conundrum. This tangle of policies yields a perverse result, and that concerns role models. Because of the double standard that generally rules about “closet rights”--some are protected, some not--we are denied, in many instances, the knowledge that would increase our stock of good role models. By contrast, the pool of negative role models is constantly growing because outing the hypocrites is regarded as fair game.



Blogger Stephen said...

In my view, gay is an affirmative identity and these anti-gay religio-political figures are homosexual in sexual orientation and practice, but not gay... so no conundrum.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Dyneslines said...

There are two problems with the definition of "gay" proferred by Stephen: 1) it is not generally agreed upon; and 2) it allows hypocrites like Rekers to get away with their claim that they are "not gay." I suppose that Rekers could also say that he never cracks a smile (definition of gay as merry) or is not dull (definition of gay as lame or geeky, favored by young people). There is no reason to let such people get away with semantic games of this kind.

Actually, the conundrum I had in mind is a different one, that is, that through such outings the pool of dubious same-sexers is increasing, role models in the bad sense, while exemplary people, whom we need as role models, are left to linger in the closet.

The upshot? Perhaps a universal outing free for all.

Someone once suggested that the world would be better off if all the Kinsey fives and sixes (the core same-sex group) would wake up one morning and find a lambda inscribed on their forehead. Unfortunately, such events only occur in fairy tales.

2:27 PM  

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