Thursday, March 15, 2007

Weaselly Politicians Weaseling

You know this Army General, Pace, said the other day that homosexuality is "immoral," which upset some people. Mainly you hate to think that guys are out there risking their lives to follow his orders, and he can't even acknowledge that they are honorable, moral human beings. Anyway, things have been going on locally, and I didn't get that on the blog for discussion, and it passed.

News crews have been asking some prominent politicians if they thought homosexuality was immoral. Fair enough, you're gonna give this officer a hard time, what would you have said?

There are a couple of correct answers to this question. Like, you could say, "Yes, I think it's immoral," and then let people choose whether to support you in that. If you believe it, you shouldn't be afraid to say it, right? Or you might say, "No, I don't think it's immoral." Wow, two possible correct answers to the same question.

CNN has an article giving some politicians' responses to the question.

Here are two guys who got it right:
Sen. John Warner, a conservative Republican from Virginia, said, "I respectfully, but strongly, disagree with the chairman's view that homosexuality is immoral."

John Edwards, one of Clinton's rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, said, "I don't share that view," when asked about Pace's comments.

See how easy that is? Warner and Edwards, night and day politically, are clear about where they stand. Warner, especially.

On the other hand ...
[Hillary] Clinton was asked the question by ABC News, in the wake of Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Peter Pace's controversial comment that he believed homosexual acts were immoral.

"Well, I'm going to leave that to others to conclude," she said.

B-R-R-R-R-R-R-A-A-A-A-A-A-P-P-P-P-P ! ! !

Wrong answer.

It's an easy question, Hillary. What do you think? There are two right answers. This wasn't them.

If she wanted to discuss the philosophy of her own personal interpretation of morality, that would have been OK, too, I think. Like, some things really don't need to be evaluated "morally," in fact I find it highly irritating when people evaluate everything in terms of right and wrong. Like, say you hold a door open for a lady, and she gives you a look like you're a sexist pig. (Personally, I don't think sexual orientation has a moral aspect at all: if you asked me, I would say, No, I don't think it's immoral.) But she didn't talk about that. She left the moral question up to "others."

The Newsday blog reports that Barack Obama was asked three times if he thought homosexuality is immoral:
Answer 1: "I think traditionally the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman has restricted his public comments to military matters. That's probably a good tradition to follow."

Answer 2: "I think the question here is whether somebody is willing to sacrifice for their country, should they be able to if they're doing all the things that should be done."

Answer 3: Signed autograph, posed for snapshot, jumped athletically into town car.

Again, Barack, c'mon dude, it's not that hard.

The question is: what do you think? Everybody ought to be able to answer that kind of question. "I've never thought about it" is another answer, now that I ... think about it. Look how many right answers this question has!

Of course the question is a trap. Politicians want to appeal to the vast center of America, that's where the votes are. In reality, a presidential candidate who went out of their way to promote gay rights, or really any other issue that people haven't given much thought to, would end up alienating a lot of voters. There are plenty of people who haven't thought much about homosexuality, and they're not planning to. They don't know nothin' about this gay business, and they don't like it.

Just a reality. It's changing, but that's America today.

On the other hand, these guys forget there are people out here who want to see some honesty. You don't have to give the right right answer, just give a straight answer, say what you actually think. This weasel talk, I don't like that.

[Hat-tip to AmericaBlog for pointing to these quotes.]


Blogger digger said...

I can't believe Clinton and Obama said that. If they don't clarify, they lose my vote. Whose vote are they trying to salvage, FOFs?

March 15, 2007 12:02 PM  
Anonymous old anon said...

Give Hillary a break, Jim. When you ask her "Is homosexuality immoral?", you have to remember that her and Bill have consistently maintained that "is" is a difficult term to define. They've been consistent in that.

As many of you have no doubt surmised, I'm on my annual hiatus and I doubt I'll be joining back in this year. Saw this earlier today, however, and thought both sides might find it interesting. Discuss amongst yourselves:

"Furor Over Baptist's 'Gay Baby' Article



NEW YORK (March 15) - The president of the leading Southern Baptist seminary has incurred sharp attacks from both the left and right by suggesting that a biological basis for homosexuality may be proven, and that prenatal treatment to reverse gay orientation would be biblically justified.

The Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., one of the country's pre-eminent evangelical leaders, acknowledged that he irked many fellow conservatives with an article earlier this month saying scientific research "points to some level of biological causation" for homosexuality.

Proof of a biological basis would challenge the belief of many conservative Christians that homosexuality - which they view as sinful - is a matter of choice that can be overcome through prayer and counseling.

However, Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., was assailed even more harshly by gay-rights supporters. They were upset by his assertion that homosexuality would remain a sin even if it were biologically based, and by his support for possible medical treatment that could switch an unborn gay baby's sexual orientation to heterosexual.

"He's willing to play God," said Harry Knox, a spokesman on religious issues for the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay-rights group. "He's more than willing to let homophobia take over and be the determinant of how he responds to this issue, in spite of everything else he believes about not tinkering with the unborn."

Mohler said he was aware of the invective being directed at him on gay-rights blogs, where some participants have likened him to Josef Mengele, the Nazi doctor notorious for death-camp experimentation.

"I wonder if people actually read what I wrote," Mohler said in a telephone interview. "But I wrote the article intending to start a conversation, and I think I've been successful at that."

The article, published March 2 on Mohler's personal Web site, carried a long but intriguing title: "Is Your Baby Gay? What If You Could Know? What If You Could Do Something About It?"

Mohler began by summarizing some recent research into sexual orientation, and advising his Christian readership that they should brace for the possibility that a biological basis for homosexuality may be proven.

Mohler wrote that such proof would not alter the Bible's condemnation of homosexuality, but said the discovery would be "of great pastoral significance, allowing for a greater understanding of why certain persons struggle with these particular sexual temptations."

He also referred to a recent article in the pop-culture magazine Radar, which explored the possibility that sexual orientation could be detected in unborn babies and raised the question of whether parents - even liberals who support gay rights - might be open to trying future prenatal techniques that would reverse homosexuality.

Mohler said he would strongly oppose any move to encourage abortion or genetic manipulation of fetuses on grounds of sexual orientation, but he would endorse prenatal hormonal treatment - if such a technology were developed - to reverse homosexuality. He said this would no different, in moral terms, to using technology that would restore vision to a blind fetus.

"I realize this sounds very offensive to homosexuals, but it's the only way a Christian can look at it," Mohler said. "We should have no more problem with that than treating any medical problem."

Mohler's argument was endorsed by a prominent Roman Catholic thinker, the Rev. Joseph Fessio, provost of Ave Maria University in Naples, Fla., and editor of Ignatius Press, Pope Benedict XVI 's U.S. publisher.

"Same-sex activity is considered disordered," Fessio said. "If there are ways of detecting diseases or disorders of children in the womb, and a way of treating them that respected the dignity of the child and mother, it would be a wonderful advancement of science."

Such logic dismayed Jennifer Chrisler of Family Pride, a group that supports gay and lesbian families.

"What bothers me is the hypocrisy," she said. "In one breath, they say the sanctity of an unborn life is unconditional, and in the next breath, it's OK to perform medical treatments on them because of their own moral convictions, not because there's anything wrong with the child."

Paul Myers, a biology professor at the University of Minnesota-Morris, wrote a detailed critique of Mohler's column, contending that there could be many genes contributing to sexual orientation and that medical attempts to alter it could be risky.

"If there are such genes, they will also contribute to other aspects of social and sexual interactions," Myers wrote. "Disentangling the nuances of preference from the whole damn problem of loving people might well be impossible."

Not all reaction to Mohler's article has been negative.

Dr. Jack Drescher, a New York City psychiatrist critical of those who consider homosexuality a disorder, commended Mohler's openness to the prospect that it is biologically based.

"This represents a major shift," Drescher said. "This is a man who actually has an open mind, who is struggling to reconcile his religious beliefs with facts that contradict it."

March 15, 2007 1:28 PM  
Blogger andrear said...

Well, Obama was my candidate but I guess I will have to keep looking. Hillary - no, not her either.

I am pretty sure Mohler is wrong in saying that his view" is the only way a Christian can see it".

Gosh, anon- we didn't miss you. I mean ,you were gone- but it was like when you have a toothache and the tooth gets fixed- you don't miss the toothache.

March 15, 2007 1:48 PM  
Anonymous candidate finder said...

andrear: Bill Richardson (besides, he's more qualified than anybody in the field)

March 15, 2007 2:20 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Hillary has come clean, if a day late. No word yet fron Obama.

March 16, 2007 12:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hillary has come clean

March 15, 2007

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on the Comments Made By General Peter Pace

"I have heard from many of my friends in the gay community that my response yesterday to a question about homosexuality being immoral sounded evasive. My intention was to focus the conversation on the failed don't ask don't tell policy. I should have echoed my colleague Senator John Warner's statement forcefully stating that homosexuality is not immoral because that is what I believe."

- Statement of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to the Human Rights Campaign on the Comments Made By General Peter Pace

March 16, 2007 10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

March 15, 2007

Excerpt of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on Bloomberg News Regarding the Comments Made By General Peter Pace

"Well I've heard from a number of my friends and I've certainly clarified with them any misunderstanding that anyone had, because I disagree with General Pace completely. I do not think homosexuality is immoral. But the point I was trying to make is that this policy of Don't Ask, Don't Tell is not working. I have been against it for many years because I think it does a grave injustice to patriotic Americans who want to serve their country. And so I have called for its repeal and I'd like to follow the lead of our allies like, Great Britain and Israel and let people who wish to serve their country be able to join and do so. And then let the uniform code of military justice determine if conduct is inappropriate or unbecoming. That's fine. That's what we do with everybody. But let's not be eliminating people because of who they are or who they love."

Text and video at

March 16, 2007 10:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the other hand ...
[Hillary] Clinton was asked the question by ABC News, in the wake of Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Peter Pace's controversial comment that he believed homosexual acts were immoral.

"Well, I'm going to leave that to others to conclude," she said.

And here's the full quote of what she said in response to questions by ABC's Jake Trapper, that few bothered to report.

I also asked her about the comments by General Peter Pace that homosexulity is "immoral." Clinton has opposed the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military, so I asked her if that law -- signed by her husband in 1993 -- was a mistake, and if homosexuality is "immoral."

"General Pace has clarified his remarks, but let's not lose sight of the fact that 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' is not working," she said. "We are being deprived of thousands of patriotic men and women who want to serve their country who are bringing skills into the armed services that we desparately need, like translation skills. And one can argue whether it was a good idea when it was first implemented, but we know have evidence as to the fact that we are in a time of war -- when we really need as many people as we can to recruit and retain in an all-volunteer army -- we are turning people away or discharging them not because of what they've done but because of who they are."

But is it immoral?

"Well I'm going to leave that to others to conclude," she said. "I'm very proud of the gays and lesbians I know who perform work that is essential to our country, who want to serve their country and I want make sure they can."

March 16, 2007 10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake Trapper's blog:

March 16, 2007 10:20 AM  

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