**Caution: Not for younger readers**
A funny thing happened on the way to find some good analysis of the vice presidential debates. I found an article by Adam Epstein that criticized Mike Pence’s positions on matters related to homosexuality and in so doing revealed either Epstein’s ignorance or deception.
Epstein included several tweets about Pence at the end of his opinion piece, the first of which was this nasty and deceitful tweet from journalist Mark Harris: “Note: You can be a viciously anti-LGBT candidate who’s one chunk of Trump steak away from the Presidency, and nobody will ask you about it.”
Harris is the “husband” of the vulgar and foolish political playwright Tony Kushner who wrote the vulgar and foolish play Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes.
For those who are blessedly unaware of this play, here’s what I wrote in 2008 after it had been taught in Illinois School District 113 by several teachers (After a bitter public controversy, it was pulled from the curriculum):
The Pulitzer prize-winning play revolves around two couples: married Mormon couple Harper and Joe whose marriage is disintegrating in large measure due to Joe’s repressed homosexuality, which he eventually acts upon; and a homosexual couple, Louis and Prior. Louis leaves Prior when he finds out Prior has AIDS and then has a month-long affair with Harper’s husband Joe.
There’s also Roy Cohn, the unscrupulous, foul-mouthed, closeted, Jewish, Republican lawyer, who dies of AIDS; the black, homosexual, ex-drag queen nurse with the heart of gold, Belize; and the Angel with “eight vaginae” whose visits prompt sexual arousal and orgasm. The play is replete with references to orgasms, fellatio, semen, ejaculation, and f***ing, and includes the line “Suck my d***, Mother Theresa.”
Because Harris’ comment was a tweet, it provided no evidence for the contemptible allegation that Pence is vicious. Perhaps Harris finds Pence “vicious” for the same reasons Epstein makes the patently absurd claim that Pence “has devoted his life in public service to impeding the rights of LGBT Americans.”
A quick look at Wikipedia would have informed Epstein that during Pence’s 16 years of public service, he has been concerned about and involved with all sorts of issues, including education, energy policy, immigration, health care, tax policy, Second Amendment issues, foreign affairs, and economic issues. It’s ludicrous to claim that Pence has devoted his entire life in public service to impeding the rights of homosexuals and those who wish they were the opposite sex.
What Epstein really means is that Pence has positions on issues related to homosexuality and biological sex with which Epstein disagrees and that Pence holds those positions as perseveringly as “progressives” hold theirs.
Here are some of the specific claims Epstein makes that he believes prove Pence has engaged in a “decades-long assault on LGBT rights”:
- In 2015, Pence signed a law that would allow business owners to legally turn away LGBT people on the basis of their “religious freedom”
- He opposed federal funding for low-income people suffering from HIV/AIDS…
- …unless funding was also “directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.” In other words, Pence advocated for conversion therapy.
- He campaigned against adding LGBT special protections to hate crime laws.
- Naturally, he’s against so-called same-sex “marriage”—he tried to block it once it was legalized in his state of Indiana
- “Societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family,”Pence said in 2006.
Foraging around for evidence to prove how wrong Pence is, Epstein added this silly statement: “Society has yet to collapse, as Pence prognosticated.” Apparently, Epstein thinks that because society has not experienced complete collapse in the 16 months since five Supreme Court Justices imposed homosexual anti-marriage on all 50 states is proof that homoerotic anti-marriage will not result in societal collapse.
Just a few other demurrals to Epstein’s claims:
Religious Freedom Restoration Act
The law Pence signed as governor of Indiana in 2015 did not allow business owners to legally turn away LGBT people. It “prohibits state or local governments from substantially burdening a person’s ability to exercise their religion.”
Further no Christian has turned away LGBT people or refused to serve people because of their erotic attractions or self-identity. Those Christian owners of businesses who have been sued by homosexuals have refused to provide a product or service for a particular type of event: an anti-wedding. A homoerotic union can never be, in reality, a marriage. It is the anti-thesis of a marriage, and therefore a cake to celebrate an anti-wedding is an anti-wedding cake.
An inconvenient fact for Leftists is that the bakers who have been sued by homosexuals had on multiple occasions served homosexuals. What they refused to do was make cakes for a celebration that violates their religious convictions. Obtuse or deceitful “progressives” either can’t or won’t admit this critical distinction.
Pence didn’t oppose HIV/AIDS funding for low-income people unless they submitted to conversion therapy. He supported the “reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus.” In contrast Leftists wanted funding to go to organizations that promote, encourage, and celebrate homoeroticism which in turn results in the high rates of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections that the CDC reports in the group it designates “Men who have sex with men” (MSM).
Pence also wanted some funding to be “directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.” Leftists don’t want any organizations to be able to help people change their sexual behavior, including even people who desire such help and even if such change will help prevent STD’s.
Hate crimes bill
Pence, like many Republicans, opposed the “Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.” They opposed it not because they support violence against homosexuals or gender-dysphoric persons but because it could be exploited to threaten First Amendment rights. Pence, an attorney, explained his justifiable concerns:[U]nder Section 2 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code today, an individual may be held criminally liable who “aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures’ in the commission of a federal crime. Therefore, to put a fine point on it, any pastor, preacher, priest, rabbi, or imam, who may give a sermon out of their moral traditions about sexual practices, could presumably under this legislation be found to have aided, abetted or induced in the commission of a federal crime. This will have a chilling effect on religious expression, from the pulpits, in our temples, in our mosques and in our churches. And it must be undone.
Same-sex unions vs. marriage
Finally, opposition to the legal recognition of homoerotic unions as marriages—a position shared by Barack Obama until recently—does not constitute an effort to deny rights to homosexuals. Homosexuals have always had the right to marry. What homosexuals sought—and Pence and many others opposed—was the unilateral “right” to redefine marriage in their own image. They no more had a “right” to unilaterally redefine marriage than do polyamorists or sibling-lovers.
Moreover, the belief that marriage has a nature central to which is sexually-differentiated partners is no more hateful (or vicious) than is the claim that marriage is intrinsically a two-partner union or a union of partners not closely related by blood.
It is not animus toward persons who are erotically attracted to persons of their same sex that drives opposition to homoerotic pseudogamy. Rather, it’s a recognition of the intrinsic nature of marriage that drives such opposition. It’s an understanding that the government has no more vested interest in recognizing and regulating intrinsically sterile erotic unions than it has in recognizing and regulating loving platonic friendships.
Homosexual organizations that affirm and promote the normalization of homoeroticism have no “right” to public money.
Homosexuals have no moral “right” to force Christians, Muslims, or Orthodox Jews to produce products or provide a service for anti-weddings, “pride” events, or any other celebration of homoerotic activities.
Homosexuals had no moral “right” to unilaterally redefine marriage in such a way as to allow non-marital unions to be deemed “marriages” in law.
Mark Harris and Adam Epstein do have a legal right to exercise their First Amendment rights—as do Christians.
As the Left continues to spew the false accusation that absence of affirmation of homoeroticism constitutes the presence of hatred for those who identify as “gay,” it’s important to remember that in order to know what a loving act is, one must first know what is true.
Heartfelt thanks to the kind and wise Mike Pence for standing bravely in the frigid public square.
First published at Illinois Family Institute
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.