In an overblown article in the Washington Times, the conservative leaders who favor skipping CPAC because of GOProud’s participation make an important acknowledgment, an acknowledgment which undermines the narrative we’ve been hearing repeated year in and year out (particularly among our gay peers) about American conservatism:
Deepening a rift ahead of the largest annual gathering of conservative activists in Washington this week, some of the movement’s top leaders have circulated a private memo urging that conservatism’s founding principles be recast to exclude gay rights groups from the Reagan coalition of economic, defense and social conservatives.
Emphasis added. Let me repeat to make sure you get the point: to exclude gays, they need to recast conservatism’s founding principles. Without this recasting, you couldn’t excluded gays from the Reagan coalition.
That’s right, the Reagan coalition is inherently inclusive, not exclusive as some might style it.
Do wonder why these folks are so obsessed with gay participation. Methinks also that the Washington Times is making them appear more of a force than they actually are. Not sure why they’re going around casting some fringe figures as “top leaders.”
That said, GOProud’s participation in particular and the idea of inclusion of gay people in general (in the conservative movement), has been getting some support from unexpected quarters:
Countering the call for exclusion, Larry L. Eastland, a bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and an ACU board member, warned in a letter to fellow board members to “not be guilty of ‘casting the first stone’ on others’ sins.”
“Let us not lose sight of our goals by closing the door on individuals who will stand with us on public issues on which we agree, and keep to themselves their differences on issues where it could give ‘aid and comfort’ to our opponents,” he wrote.
He said rather than pre-emptive exclusion, CPAC should wait to see whether groups violate the gathering’s fundamental principles and, if they do, they should not be invited back.
As a reminder, those belonging to the Church of the Latter Day Saints are Mormons, so we have one Mormon leader favoring inclusion of those who share conservatism’s fundamental principles. Seems Mr. Eastland has a better appreciation of Ronald Reagan’s vision than some who would style themselves his heirs.
His view seems to undermine another narrative popular on the left, particularly the gay left.