Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The follies of Foleygate

Jim Still, of The Secular Outpost, has done a piece on Foleygate. Among other things he says:

“Like many other infidels who have watched the religious right hypocrisy over the years, I waited to hear what James Dobson would say.”

When he talks about “religious right hypocrisy” over the years, what does he have reference to? What is his sample base?

There are tens of millions of members of the religious right. In his view, what percentage of the religious right is hypocritical? Tell us his criteria. Show us his statistical data.

In addition, it’s not as if the religious right held an election to make James Dobson the official spokesman for the religious right.


“After all, he is the point man for family values among evangelicals.”

Really, he is “the” point man for family values among evangelicals?

Still seems to labor under the misimpression that the religious right has an evangelical papacy in which men like Dobson make ex cathedra pronouncements for the religious right.

Now, there’s no doubt that Dobson has a following. That he’s an influential leader.

But the idea that whenever Dobson opens his mouth, he is speaking on behalf of the religious right is just plain silly.

It’s not as if he ran a draft version of his press release by the religious right for our preapproval.


“(As an aside let's be absolutely clear about one point: 'family values' is a code word for a creepy sort of male white superiority -- a hearkening back to a so-called golden age when white suburban nuclear families ruled the world, minorities knew to keep their place, and non-traditional gays, atheists, artists, musicians, poets, philosophers and liberals tred lightly at the margins of society.)”

Since Still chooses to frame the issue in terms of hypocrisy, this is a sterling example of liberal hypocrisy. In the name of liberal inclusivism, he ends up making a very racist, sexist, and prejudicial comparison of his own.

The implication is that no female or minority would subscribe to the values of the religious right.

Does he really think that the suburban nuclear family is a white thing?

When a man marries a woman and they have kids, that’s “a creepy sort of male white superiority”?

What about women like Ann Coulter, Laura Schlessinger, Laura Ingraham, Eleanor Stump—to name a few?

Oh, that’s right. They’re conservative women, so they must be brainwashed. They don’t count.

What about Alan Keyes, Larry Elder, Thomas Sowell, Shelby Steele, Stephen Carter, and Tony Evans—to name a few?

Oh, that’s right. They’re black conservatives, so they must be Oreos. They don’t count.

What about religious minorities like David Brooks, Larry Kudlow, Daniel Lapin, Michael Medved, Marvin Olasky, Bob Novak, Dennis Prager, Jay Sekulow, and Ben Stein—to name a few.

Oh, that’s right. They’re Jewish conservatives. Neocons! So they don’t count.

I personally know many Korean Americans whose values are interchangeable with the religious right.

What artists, musicians, poets, and philosophers is he talking about?

Bach? Mozart? Dante? El Greco? George Herbert? T. S. Elliot? Thomas Reid? Alvin Plantinga?

Have you ever noticed what a small world the unbeliever inhabits? A city-state about the size of Harvard Yard.

Still is simply a leftwing Bull Connor.

And as long as he brings up the issue of race and gender, what politically correct pigeon hole does he belong to? Is Still a black woman? A Japanese transvestite?

Or is he also—gasp!—a white male? How many minorities are represented on secular blogs? How many women are represented on secular blogs?

And I don’t merely mean a decorative name on the sidebar. I don’t mean a trophy on the wall of liberal tokenism.

Rather, how many are active contributors?

White liberals like Still presume to speak on behalf of women and minorities instead of letting women and minorities speak for themselves.

White liberals like Still put women on a pedestal and treat minorities like social mascots.

They speak for them and about them. Why didn’t Still let Julia Sweeney or Andrea Weisberger address question of women’s rights? Can’t women be trusted to make a case for themselves?

Where does Condi Rice fit into Still’s classification scheme?

Still is simply a liberal chauvinist pig.

Fact is that women of accomplishment have never needed affirmative action to make their mark.

Women like Christian Rossetti, Elisabeth Anscombe, Dorothy Sayers, and Joyce Baldwin—to name a few—distinguished themselves long before women’s lib.


“Dobson goes on to say that news of Foley's indiscretions were ‘released by liberals’ just before Congress went into recess. Never mind that there is absolutely no evidence for it.”

I agree with Still that bringing up the timing of the event is a diversionary tactic.

“The creepy amoral thing about it is Dobson's attempt to smooth over growing evidence that Foley's colleagues covered for a pedophile.”

Speaking of diversionary tactics, Still is guilty of the same thing he accuses Dobson of.

Foley is not a pedophile. A pedophile is a man who is sexually attracted to preadolescent boys and girls.


Foley is a homosexual. He is a man targeting teenage boys. This is a homosexual scandal.

Still uses the word “pedophile” to deflect attention away from the real source of the problem.


“Notice how Dobson ignores Krugman's main point and instead focuses on his condemnation of Foley's behavior.”

Krugman? And who is Krugman?

Wasn’t Paul Krugman an Enron employee before he took his current job at the NYT?

So why is Dobson a posterboy for rightwing hypocrisy, but Krugman is not a posterboy for leftwing hypocrisy?

Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that the House leadership was complicit in Foleygate.

I don’t know that for a fact. This is a developing story. But let’s assume it’s true.

What policy should the GOP have in place? The source of Foleygate lies with the Log Cabin wing of the Republican Party.

Should the GOP purge the party of Log Cabin Republicans? I’d be all for that.

No more hypocrisy. A heteronormative party.

That would be a consistent policy. That would protect our teens from another Foleygate.

But I rather doubt that Still would applaud such a return to moral consistency.


  1. Speaking from the pews... the church I attend is a Reformed Baptist one, and roughly half the members are Hispanic.

    I myself am Asian (Chinese + Burmese).

    Also, I don't have numbers, but I recall reading in a well circulated paper or magazine (LA Times or Time Magazine?) a little while ago that there are greater and greater numbers of Asian-Americans (particularly Southeast Asians, e.g. Vietnamese) and Hispanics in California who either already are conservative or are becoming increasingly sympathetic to conservatives (e.g. perhaps nominally Democrat, but favoring traditional family values, against abortion, homosexuality, etc.).

    I've attended and/or been involved with several Korean (and other Asian) ministries and churches, too, as well as the "secular" Korean (and other Asian) community in California, and would also describe them as mainly conservative.

  2. "Conservative" no longer holds any meaning. It used to have one -- a person who wished to limit the size and scope of government, and to adhere to fiscal responsibility and limited-interventionalism in foreign policy.

    Now it just means: "anti-gay, anti-choice, pro-theocracy"...

    The classical term "liberal" has also become just as maligned and abused. It now means "pacifist, socialist, atheist, etc."

    I suppose it is only fitting that I take the best from both and consider myself a libertarian