I will be attending and reporting on some of the events at CPAC 2011 next week, so I feel I’m obligated to make a statement regarding the controversy over GOProud’s presence at the conference:
As a conservative Catholic, I take seriously the Church’s teachings on homosexuality. I think the Magisterium is right to decry the dualism of the post-modern world, which declares that a “person” is a ghost in a biological machine who can bend that machine to his pure will. Our physical bodies are morally important. Declaring that they aren’t provides justification for a whole host of evils, including premarital sex, drug use, and abortion.
On the other hand, because I myself have close ties to the gay community – because I myself am quite attracted to the gay subculture – I also approach the Church’s teachings on homosexuality with a great deal of ambivalence. I don’t want to tell my friends that their sexual feelings are disordered and that they should give up their hopes for a marriage-like monogamous union with someone they truly love. As such, I have personally embraced a sort of compromise position: Gays can’t get married; they shouldn’t receive the Sacrament of Matrimony. But I don’t object to their seeking civil unions through our secular government. I do believe the Catholic Church is right to advocate for celibacy as the ideal choice for gay men and women, but I also believe we should respect each gay individual’s freedom of conscience. And we should always – always – treat gays with respect and charity; we should welcome them into our businesses, our military, and our political process. Genuine bigotry and violence against gays is something we should never tolerate.
Given this position, I applaud CPAC’s choice to invite GOProud. Most of the gays I personally know are conservative lesbians who hate Obama and the Left with a passion that is comparable to that of most socially conservative activist groups. They aren’t members of the “Cocktail GOP Establishment”; they aren’t “RINO’s”. On most issues, they are as conservative as any Tea Partier. It would be a huge mistake for the Right to kick these folks out of the tent over an issue that simply isn’t a top priority right now. Our number one priority is to remove Obama from office by any peaceful means necessary, and we should welcome all comers to that fight.
To those groups who have pulled out of CPAC because of the inclusion of GOProud, I have this to say: I appreciate your concerns. Indeed, I agree with many of those concerns. But in boycotting the conference, I believe you have missed a great opportunity. Those who oppose you on the issue of gay marriage have legitimate reasons for doing so, and you should open your ears and listen to those reasons. Walling yourself off from opposing viewpoints virtually guarantees that you will persuade no one that your own position is valid. Remember how Christ approached sinners in ancient Israel. He didn’t avoid them; he spoke to them on their own turf, and he did so with love.
ETA: Liz Mair echoes my opinion here.