|With Enemies Like These, Who Needs Friends?
Almost every month brings news of another Congressional aide who, by day, gets paid to campaign for a Constitutional amendment against gay marriage and, by night, prowls Washington's gay bars orbetter yetreturns to his long-time same-sex companion for a quiet dinner in their Capitol Hill townhouse. Then there's the "reporter" for a Republican-affiliated "news" organization who sides with the President at a White House press conference and ridicules the gay-rights movement in his writings, but who also has a history of posting nude pictures of himself on male escort Websites.
When you read such stories, do they give you a good giggle? They do me. And they make me grateful for our innate human capacity to appreciate irony. Were it not for our ability to laugh at the incongruities in the behavior of many of those who so vociferously oppose our civil rights, we would be bitter souls indeed. Not that we shouldn't get ticked off whenever another ultra-conservative and/or religious zealot is found to have behaved in a manner that flies in the face of what he or she boldly professes to believe. But the damage these opponents of gay rights are doing to their avowed political stances makes me wonder: With enemies like these, who needs friends?
Perhaps the soon-to-debut gay cable network, which is looking for programming ideas, should host an annual gala to showcase the 10 most hypocritical voices of anti-gay outrage in America. The honors might be called The Two-Face Awards, and the statuettes could resemble the Tonys, featuring depictions of the classic comedy and tragedy masks because the humor the trophies recognize is so dark and bittersweet.
The competition for 2005 is already heating up.
One serious contender is likely to be the former program director of the Boy Scouts of America, Douglas Sovereign Smith Jr., who retired last month (after 39 years with the organization) before pleading guilty to a federal charge of receiving and distributing child pornography on the Internet. Not that there's anything even mildly amusing about the crime, but what makes this story such a natural for a Two-Faced trophy is that Smith has been an outspoken opponent of allowing gay people to serve as scoutmasters, as if none of us is morally fit to do so.
Last year, Smith made his position clear in a written response on behalf of the Boy Scouts to a complaint filed by lawyer and former Eagle Scout Bruce Collins regarding the firing of assistant Scoutmaster James Dale because he is gay. (Dale's case wound up in the U.S. Supreme Court, where the Scouts' position was upheld based on the First Amendment right of "expressive association.") As reported by The New York Times, Smith wrote that, "Some intolerant elements in our society want to force scouting to abandon its values and become fundamentally different." Smith went on to accuse the gay plaintiff of teaming up with the ACLU to make a "discriminatory assault" against his "beloved Boy Scouts." So, it's not that the Boy Scouts are discriminating against gay people; it's that gay people are discriminating against the Scouts. That logic just might be good enough to earn Smith multiple Two-Face awards.
By the way, Smith, who was a target of the Department of Homeland Security's Operation Predator, was also chairman of a scouting-affiliated "Youth Protection Task Force," which campaigns against sexual abuse. According to an Associated Press report, law-enforcement officials indicated that the 520 pictures confiscated "did not show boys who were Scouts." At least, they weren't wearing Scout uniforms....
Another frontrunner for a Two-Face trophy is Jeff Gannon, who first came to attention when he asked a ridiculous question at a White House news conference about how President Bush could deal with Senate Democrats "who seem to have divorced themselves from reality." No real reporter, not even a conservative, would toss out such a lame, softball query. Gannon, who had been filing conservative columns for GOPUSA and Talon News, wrote during last fall's presidential campaign that John Kerry "might someday be known as 'the first gay president'" because he "has enjoyed a 100 percent rating from the homosexual advocacy group, the Human Rights Campaign,...in recognition of his support for the pro-gay agenda."
Well, it wasn't long before other reporters, such as John Aravosis of AMERICAblog.com, reported that Gannon, whose real name is James Dale Guckert, had a gay agenda of his own. Gannon has been involved with male escort sites since at least 1999, and to prove it, Aravosis posted graphic, nude pictures of the White House scribe from various Websites, including sites still active after the controversy broke.
It may come as no surprise that Gannon is suddenly emoting conservative triteness, serving up a brilliant performance in a recent interview with Aravosis. That conversation alone should make him odds-on favorite to win the Two-Face for best male actor. Here's a brief excerpt, and you can find more at AMERICAblog.
Gannon: "If I had been a liberal reporter with the salacious past now attributed to me, I would be the Grand Marshall of the next Gay Pride Parade as well as a media darling, able to give softball interviews."
Aravosis: "If you were a liberal reporter, you'd have been run out of town by FOX News, the Washington Times, and every single Republican in Congress, and the President would be up for impeachment. If you were a liberal reporter you wouldn't work for, and aid and abet, people who hate you and who want to deny your very humanity."
Gannon: "But because I am a conservative, they continue to try to smear me with allegations of behavior that they otherwise would vigorously defend.... This is not to say that I have not made mistakes in the past. Like all of us have at one time or another, I made poor choices and exercised bad judgment. But I believe in a forgiving God who changed my life. It was through that renewal that I went on to have a career as a reporter and further blessed to become a White House correspondent."
Praise the Lordand keep passing that ammunition, fellas.
Bill Sievert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 15, No. 3 April 8, 2005