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08/14/2012

We can't have mob rule* (*except all those times it has deprived LGBT people)

by Jeremy Hooper

For the past couple of decades, social conservatives have been turning LGBT rights into popularity contests. That's the only place they say our rights can be decided, in fact. If we gain something legislatively, it's "the liberal legislator" that is at fault. If we gain something in court, it's of course "judicial activism." And if your President takes a stride towards fairness, he is "usurping his authority."

The only thing the social conservative thought leaders accept is when "the people" let their collectively laymen opinion be known on these matters of minority rights. And one of the key thought leaders for much of this time? Gary Bauer.

Screen Shot 2012-08-14 At 9.16.01 AmBut now check this. This is the same Gary Bauer chatting with Focus on the Family about the Democrats endorsement of marriage equality:

“We can’t let our country sink into the kind of thing that we’ve seen in history over and over again where the mob rules, where people are afraid to speak up about fundamental beliefs of their faith,” [Gary Bauer] said. “History is full of cases of societies that experience moral renewal, and I believe that’s possible and obviously desirable here.” [FotF Citizenlink]

Okay, so we have the "moral renewal" thing. Typical. It's just like "taking our country back" or any of the other platitudes that the far-right uses. The idea is that LGBT people, progressives, President Obama, or some other kind of devalued American entity has fouled the land in some way. It's astounding the ease with which people lil Bauer say such things without any concern for how these implications make their fellow citizens feel.

But feeling aside, are we seriously listening to this man warn us about mob rule?! Gary Bauer has never met a state marriage referenda that he wouldn't champion. And not just marriage, either. There have been nondiscrimination ordinances, judicial retentions, and myriad other "let the people vote" kinds of situations where a 50% +1 majority was recruited to put beliefs of their faith above fair public policy or reasoned consideration. And yet Bauer, in the true "victim" fashion that has become so in vogue among the socially conservative set, is drumming up fears that marriage inequality supporters are the ones who are being silenced by some sort of mob?! Galling rhetoric. Truly

The reality is that this fight, at its logical end, will have no bearing whatsoever on the life of someone like Gary Bauer. He will be just as free to condemn us—in church, in media, on the sidewalks of America, or just about anywhere else he sees fit. His church, like any church, will be just as free to deny us marriage rites, just as these houses of worship are free to deny any heterosexual couple for just about any reason. Gary Bauer's heterosexual marriage will not be changed on iota (or if it is, then he really needs to ask himself why). There is no "mob" seeking to beat back his welfare in any way, shape, or federal form. And better yet: He could actually go write children's books or something, because all of us "culture war" watchers would be freed to invest our time into other areas.

The only way we get there, to that easy end? People like Gary Bauer must stop stirring up a mob with fears of a "sinking" country in need of "moral renewal." Those of us who seek peace cannot get there until professional roadblocks like Gary Bauer (and various Focus on the Family staffers) find new ways to collect paychecks.

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