CPAC and GOPride
Last month, conservative college Liberty University announced that it would withdraw its sponsorship of CPAC 2010 because GOProud, a pro-gay Republican offshoot from the Log Cabin Republicans, was also allowed to co-sponsor the event:
Liberty University chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr., and Liberty Law School dean Mat Staver had penned a letter to CPAC organizer David Keene last month, requesting that he disallow the homosexual group GOProud from co-sponsoring the conference. The letter was also signed by other evangelical Christian leaders, including Gary Bauer of American Values. GOProud supports, among other things, same-sex “marriage” and repealing the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
Staver reports that he never received a formal response to his complaint, so Liberty University is dropping its co-sponsorship. Liberty Counsel, however, will still have a booth at CPAC.
I know I share the opinion of the majority of conservatives when I say that we do not wish to reject homosexuals as people. While we can reject their politics, it has never been our intention to push gay rights advocates out of the Republican Party. On the contrary, I, who is as much a social conservative and traditional marriage proponent as anyone, have no problem engaging these unconventional Republicans in discussion and debate. If we can’t do this, we are using the same tactics of name-calling and pigeon-holing as liberals.
I’ve always been a supporter of guys like Jerry Falwell and Gary Bauer, who I applaud for having the courage to fight for their values, no matter how unpopular. But in this instance, I find it a shame that conservatives would go so far as to boycott a group that wishes to indentify with conservatives when they could so easily be welcomed among liberals.
Because GOProud is a sponsor, they are represented at a booth with other sponsors; it would be different if they were invited to speak at the event and publicly advance their positions. For that reasons, I’m glad to see that other conservative groups, like Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family, have defended their decision to maintain their sponsorship:
Tom Minnery, senior vice president of Focus on the Family Action, says he has no problem with the fact that several of the other CPAC co-sponsors disagree with Focus on the Family, including GOProud.
“We think we’ve got to engage the broader conservative movement and to be salt and light in that environment,” he explains. “We believe that social conservatism, biblical Christianity has a lot to say to the political culture — and we want to be where the action is, so that’s why we’re engaging it.”
Minnery believes boycotting the event is the wrong strategy for social conservatives.
“I dearly hope that Liberty University continues to have its booth and will rethink its co-sponsorship for next year because that group is very important — and we need all the help we can get to inculcate that conference with conservative Christian values,” says the Focus spokesman.
The approach of CPAC/the American Conservative Union and Focus on the Family are a testament to the views of social conservatives – even the most “right-wing” – toward the issue of homosexuality. Unlike the hate-mongerers as whom the left try to paint us, the majority of the “extreme” right is accepting and “tolerant” of individuals despite their politics – far more so than our accusers.
Cross-posted at Conservatives with Attitude!