Grenell bait-and-switch reveals the danger of ‘LGBT conservative’ outreach
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March 5, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — For years, the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) has served to highlight the conservative movement’s divisions at least as much as its points of unity, with some of the most intense infighting revolving around LGBT issues.
As my intrepid colleague Doug Mainwaring detailed Thursday, the Republican Party’s LGBT inroads spearheaded by Donald Trump come at a cost: the dilution of the GOP and the Right’s longstanding positions on marriage, sexuality, and biological truth. Here I’d like to focus on one specific skirmish of this divide, and how it illustrates the way unconservative values get smuggled into conservatism.
On Monday, former Trump intelligence chief and Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, who is himself gay, tweeted a “truth from CPAC” in the form of Log Cabin Republicans San Diego Chapter president Gina Roberts talking about how CPAC was a “wonderfully accepting and wonderful experience for this transgender Republican woman”:
This, naturally, inspired some pushback, to which Grenell responded by framing the issue purely as a matter of accepting people despite their differences:
No. We are celebrating that God made everyone and people being respectful. Try it.— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) March 1, 2021
So just to be clear, you don’t welcome gay conservatives into the Republican Party? https://t.co/gw0q4LXXWm— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) March 1, 2021
Nope. We got it.— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) March 1, 2021
No gays allowed in the GOP for you. https://t.co/xMNtARZKeQ
On Thursday, Townhall columnist Kurt Schlichter chimed in on Grenell’s side:
Our goal must be, at a minimum, to hold 50 percent + one of the American voting population. In a two-party system, it’s unlikely to get a lot more for any length of time. If you get 55 percent it’s a landslide, but that’s the nature of the beast. Arbitrarily excluding groups is therefore ridiculous, and the silliness starts with identifying people by groups. Are all gay people the same? No, some are conservative, some liberal, and some don’t care at all about politics. The same with trans people. If you’re trans and a conservative, you’re welcome in the GOP. If you are trans and support the whole erasure of womanhood agenda, we are probably not the party for you. This is also true if you are cisgender and support the whole erasure of the womanhood agenda. And it is also true if you use terms like “cisgender” unironically …
If our priority is defeating the full-frontal assault on every aspect of American life, we are going to need to go to battle stations with all hands on deck, and not on some Bulwark cruise ship either.
Fair enough: Of course, Republicans should appeal to homosexuals as, say, the party that values their right to bear arms in self-defense, or the party that (unless the Swamp wins the current civil war) favors restricting immigration from parts of the world that want to stone them to death.
But what Schlichter and the rest of Grenell’s defenders on the Right overlook is that Grenell goes much further than that. In the above tweet, he didn’t merely relay a story about conservatives treating a gender-confused American with respect. He promoted the testimony of an official representative of an organization that expressly advocates steering the GOP leftward on several issues.
Log Cabin Republicans advocates forcing government-assisted adoption agencies to place children in same-sex — i.e., motherless or fatherless — households, and in fact calls it “abhorrent” for states to insist that children be given the benefit of both parents. It calls for a “nationwide ban on conversion therapy for anyone under the age of 18,” opposing parents’ rights to treat unwanted sexual attraction or gender confusion as best they see fit. And it promotes the so-called “Fairness For All Act” — essentially a Diet Equality Act that on paper is more respectful of religious liberty, but in practice would still radically upend the rights of the American people in the name of LGBT accommodation.
And those are just the positions LCR highlights on its website.
But Grenell and his allies didn’t debate any of that. In fact, they obscured it with feel-good rhetoric about personal acceptance, in effect signaling that debating these issues is verboten unless we want to get branded as bigots. Further, by defending promotion of Roberts as merely a question of accepting “LGBT conservatives,” they are the ones making “LGBT conservative” synonymous with “left-wing social agitator.”
How do we expect to ever restore marriage when we’re expected to constantly fend off even more radical LGBT demands from within our own tent? Is adopting left-wing conformity on some issues in the name of supposedly advancing other issues really what we signed up for? (I say supposedly because, obviously, Trump’s LGBT inroads weren’t enough to secure him a second term, whereas polling data indicates that a greater focus on, say, the campaign to erase women’s sports could have helped Republicans quite a bit.)
This is the flip side of the “big tent” mentality: Newcomers don’t just add to your movement’s vote totals; they also change the overall composition. And it’s simply not realistic to expect most political minorities to be content with their positions relegated to the minority, never to be acted upon. (Put another way, LGBT activists tend not to share the contentment with table scraps seen in, say, Democrats for Life.)
Personally, I would love to be reassured that more people beyond typical conservative subcultures recognize the stakes before us and want to help save America. But we can’t let ourselves become so desperate for more allies that we rubber-stamp new recruits who are anything but. The fact that so many of these examples of “nontraditional conservatives” keep turning out to be libertarians at best and progressives at worst should tip us off to the futility of Grenell-style outreach, and how its outcome will be anything but a reversal of the “assault on every aspect of American life.”