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'Activists who care more about conformity than character'

by Jeremy Hooper

The outrageous comments are much easier to pinpoint. But to me, the subtle denigrations that the far-right social conservative groups and speakers use to win support and/or votes are often more offensive than the directly stated condemnations.

Take this little commentary from Family Research Council president Tony Perkins (highlighting is my own):

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Okay. So clearly, the "activists" are those of us who are pushing for inclusive scouting. All of us: men and women, moms and dads, young and old, Republican and Democrat. We, the coalition pushing for basic fairness are the "activists" in Tony Perkins' scheme. It doesn't take much with this guy.

And where does Tony place our supposedly monolithic priorities? On conformity, in this case. And that conformity, Tony asserts, comes at the expense of character. That is his final, definitive line. To keep support alive over the next few months before the Boy Scouts take up this matter of inclusive scouting, Tony hopes to position this whole thing as just a fad. As a trend. As an "activist" plan that, ultimately, destroys character. Because why not?

It's a subtle slight, but it's a truly sick one. Tony is saying that a mom like Jen Tyrrell, someone who simply wants to serve her son's life the way a million other den mothers so, is in this conversation because she's just some activist-driven lemming. Tony is saying that President Obama's voice of support on this matter comes at the expense of national character. Tony is implying that any one of us among the millions who support inclusive scouting is engaged in some sort of hostile act against morality. And he says it because he wants people to believe it. He, like so many other social conservatives, truly wants to cultivate this kind of worldview—one that accepts, as a given, that pro-equality equals anti-righteousness.

These are those little cuts that slice and dice the LGBT person's psyche on a daily basis. Yes, it's enraging when one of the professionally discriminatory spokesfigures like Tony Perkins comes right out and says one of the exceedingly nasty things he has said about us, our lives, and our loves. But in a weird way, these less overt attacks—and don't be fooled, they are deliberate attacks—are more disturbing, more damaging, and more dangerous. More telling, too.

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