Religious right bigot-in-chief Bryan Fischer was the first out of the box with an attack on Richard Grenell, the new spokesperson for the Romney campaign on national security and foreign policy issues. You see, Grenell (who has some bad habits like tweeting nasty things about prominent political women, and then scrubbing his Twitter feed) is gay, which is Number One Mortal Sin for Fischer.
Among other things, this week Fischer demanded that Romney answer his list of questions, including “Gov. Romney, is homosexual behavior healthy or harmful? Yes or no?” and “If your appointment wasn’t about homosexuality, why are so many gay groups celebrating your choice?” And he trotted out this gem: “Given the propensity for members of the homosexual community to engage in frequent and anonymous sexual encounters, the risk to national security of having a homosexual in a high-ranking position with access to secret information is obvious.”
Fischer’s prominence in making nasty attacks on a gay Republican led Ed Kilgore to wonder whether it is Fischer’s days as a spokesperson for the movement that are numbered. The Log Cabin Republicans’ Clarke Cooper compared Fischer unfavorably to George Wallace, and charged that he was going to be “left in the dustbin of history.” Kilgore:
That’s probably true, given the rapidly increasing acceptance of same-sex relationships by Americans, and the generational fault lines (even among conservative evangelicals) that make it just a matter of time. But it does raise the question of exactly when and how conservative evangelical leaders are going to reverse themselves on treating homosexuality as a sinful choice that is “offensive to God,” as Fischer likes to put it.
The Washington Post reports today that the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins—who, incidentally, did not exactly defend Fischer when he charged that Romney had “insulted” the VVS audience when he “took a crack at me” in his speech—has weighed in on Grenell’s links to the radical homosexual agenda. Perkins, according to the Post:
took issue with Grenell over his criticism of the Bush administration’s failure to sign a December 2008 U.N. resolution that called for decriminalizing homosexuality across the globe.
While at the United Nations, Grenell fought unsuccessfully to have his partner, Matt Lashey, listed among the spouses in the United Nations’s Blue Book, a personnel directory.
“It’s concerning that you would have somebody tapped to be potentially in an administration that would continue the policies that we’re seeing in the Obama administration,” Perkins said.
See, it’s all a matter of presentation. Perkins knows enough not to go rhetorically off the rails like Fischer, but look at what he’s complaining about—that Grenell doesn’t favor criminalizing homosexuality, and wanted to have his partner listed as his spouse in a personnel directory.
Kilgore’s right—majorities of Americans, except for white evangelicals, favor same sex marriage. Southern Illinois University sociologist Darren Sherkat, in finding these trends, made these observations:
[S]hifts in support for same-sex marriage were much greater for respondents born after 1945. Indeed, in every cohort born after 1945, there was significant liberalization between 1988 and 2006–08 – at least for respondents who are not sectarian Protestants or Republicans. Cohort replacement is likely to play a strong role in overall value change in the future. The most conservative cohorts were born before 1940, and these cohorts constituted only 14% of the sample by 2008 – down from 38% of the sample in 1988. Further, the most liberal cohorts, those born after 1965, now comprise 43% of GSS respondents. Still, even in later cohorts, there is substantial, entrenched, opposition to same-sex marriage, and opposition to same-sex marriage in the younger cohorts is rooted strongly in religious and political identifications.
In other words, while the rest of the country is seeing younger generations more and more accepting of LGBT acceptance and inclusion, the same is not true of Fischer’s and Perkins’ intended audiences. They’re both pandering to and reinforcing this demographic’s beliefs. Everyone else might leave them in the dustbin of history, but the GOP still hasn’t. Not at all.