Anti-Gay Pols with Gay Friends

One of the annoying parts of homophobia is the over-generalized view many people have of gays and lesbians. They see the most outlandish people at the Pride Parade and think we’re all leather fetishists. They don’t see us as individuals and that allows them to lash out and discriminate. Yet when someone they like is revealed to be gay the ability to extend their personality to the larger community disappears. Why do they see the Dykes on Bikes as more representative of the community than their own friends?

The latest example is Sen. Santorum’s communications director and “trusted friend and confidant”, Robert Traynham. Traynham is the latest recipient of Michael Rogers’ Ray Cohn Award.

So all those other homos are vile; but Robert, he’s a mensch? He’s “one of the good ones”? And what makes an openly gay man, like Traynham, work for and support an anti-gay politician?

You know, Senator, I find it entirely unacceptable that MY personal life and the lives of people like me are considered fair game by bigots looking for arugments to amend my nation’s Constitution and advance their political careers.

Just to nitpick, it’s Roy Cohn, not Ray. And, you know, people are complex, even homophobic bigots.

One can only wonder at what level of cognitive dissonance both of these men suffer from.

Has Santorum ever said all homos are vile? Isn’t he one of the “hate the sin, love the sinner” types? I know he’s said some outlandish things about gay behavior and probably even the “gay agenda”, but has he actually ever said that gay people are vile (or something like that)? I’m not defending Santorum-- I don’t even know all that much about him. But perhaps your confusion stems from a strawman assumption on your part.

I don’t think it’s a strawman to call someone anti-gay when they explicitly state that homosexuals should never have sex.

An excerpt

Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin is a smokescreen.

The “but (s)he’s one of the good ones” routine has been around as long as bigotry.

Humans are funny sometimes.

As a Christian, there are a lot of things that I view as sinful: divorce, drunkenness, fornication, homosexuality, etc. That does not mean, however, that I can’t be friends with people who do these things. It also does not mean that I don’t do some of these things, too. Christians recognize that everyone is a sinner. To think that one cannot be a Christian and still friends with “sinners” or even non-Christians is simply wrong. If Santorum is friends with a gay person, who cares? Obviously both Santorum and that person have come to some sort of understanding that works for them. It’s not your place to judge either of them.

But you said more than that he was “anti-gay” (whatever that even means). You said he considers all homosexuals to be vile. If you think those two statements are equivalent, then no wonder you’re confused.

The guy thinks homosexual acts are sins, in the same way that he thinks cheating on your wife is a sin. He probably also thinks that, thru prayer or whatever, that a gay person can become straight. You and I don’t believe that, but so what? Are you trying to understand his thinking or do you just want to ridicule him?

As crazy as I think his ideas are, it’s not like there aren’t tens of millions of people who think exactly the same thing…

Well, you—I hope!—are not actively trying to pass anti-gay regulations like anti-marriage bills. Santorum has a lot of pull in government and is doing a lot of harm. I remember he was interviewed in the NYTimes a month or two ago, and when asked if two gay people marrying actiually harmed his marriage, he says, “yes. Yes, it does.” No explanation on how, of course.

How can a gay person be friends with him? Though I imagine even Jefferson Davis had some slaves who adored him . .

Apparently you believe there really is such a thing. I’ve never met one. Every person I’ve ever heard utter such a sentiment has acted in a way indistinguishable from actually hating the sinner as well as the sin. Is it your experience that that belief can be sincerely held, not just stated as a rationalization?

That leaves out the perennial discussion of how being the person God created can *be * sinful.

Precisely, which is where Jesus’ “Log in thine own eye” line and the “Judge not” line come into it.

I can just think of a few points. First, in spite of the fact that Mr. Traynham is gay, we really don’t know (or I don’t know) at least, what his opinion is on gay marriage, sodomy laws, etc. He might even agree with Santorum on those issues.

Secondly, we don’t know that they are friends…they’re an employer/employee. The “trusted friend and confidant” quote might be rhetoric on Santorum’s part. A person doesn’t have to like his boss/employee to work well together, and maybe Mr. Traynham figures he agrees with the Senator on enough issues that are important enough to him that he continues to work for him.

Finally, it’s possible they just like each other. You know, they’ve got things in common, they both find each other pleasant to be around, and all those other things that make two people friends, and Sen. Santorum tolerates Mr. Traynham’s homosexuality and Mr. Traynham tolerates Sen. Santorum’s feelings about homosexuality. Like I said before, people are complex, and you can certainly have friends you disagree with or who do things or believe things you don’t approve of.

Perhaps in the way J. Edgar Hoover and Clyde Tolson liked each other, or Roy Cohn and whoever, while enthusiastic gay-persecutors in their public lives?

And that’s a point I mention in the OP. I find it odd that people like Santorum denigrate and belittle us but then his token gay friend is an alright guy, despite not being celibate.

[QUOTE=HomebrewI find it odd that people like Santorum denigrate and belittle us but then his token gay friend is an alright guy, despite not being celibate.[/QUOTE]

I think you are assuming a lot. Perhaps Santorum dislikes the fact that he’s gay but he likes so many other things about him that he is still friends with him. People can be friends with people even though they may not approve every aspect of their lives.

For instance, one of my good friends is an adulterer and visits prostitutes regularly. Do I approve of this? No, but the man is still my friend. I may not like what he does in certain instances, but I enjoy his company and I see many worthwhile things about him.

I imagine that’s how Santorum views Traynham and probably how Traynham views Santorum. Both have things in their lives that are probably objectionable to the other but they get over that for the sake of friendship or work.

Yeah, but I don’t know. I guess that people tend to bend their principles when it comes to their friends. Lets say, for example, you’ve got a friend who’s, I dunno, cheating on his wife. You might not approve of that, and might think he’s doing a pretty rotten thing, but at the same time, he doesn’t neccesarily stop being your friend.

This is stretching the definition of “friend” to the breaking point.

Sure, but you’re not in a position to pass legislation making adultery a crime or to inflame the general public to denounce your friend as a hopeless sinner who “threatens traditional families” or somesuch.

A rationalization of what? I don’t think we can doubt that Santorium “hates homosexual acts”, yet apparently he likes Traynham. How do YOU explain it?

Far be if from me, an atheist, to explain this type of behavior, but isn’t it understood that God created us with flaws? That we are all tempted by vairous sins, but the key is to not give in to temptation? What married guy has not lusted after another woman? Didn’t God create the whole guy, lust and all? It doesn’t seem to be that big a stretch, especially if you believe that faith could make a gay person turn straight.

I used to read that and think, “Who the hell are they fooling?” Lately, though, I’m starting to wonder if they really are just fooling themselves. They can’t reconcile their religious beliefs with observable reality, so they glom onto a cute little catchphrase that lets them pretend that their beliefs aren’t really in conflict with observable morality: “I don’t hate you, I just hate who you are!” Cognitive dissonance in action. The only sad part is when they get upset when people who don’t buy into their ethical band-aid point out that the new formulation is not appreciably less offensive than the more traditional, “Hate the sinner.”

I can’t really explain it. I can only assume that Traynham hates being gay so much that he accepts his friends working against his rights. Likewise I’m sure Arthur Finkelstein really likes his GOP friends, but that didn’t stop him from getting a shiney new gay marriage in Mass. I also can’t explain Rep. Edward L. Schrock of Virginia, a staunch anti-gay pol who was busted cruising for guys online.

I may have friends who think I’m going to Hell. I can live with that. But when they start working against my civil rights, they are no longer my friends.

It seems to me, though, that if Santorum thinks gay sex should be illegal and he knows his friend is gay and sexually active, then he demonstates a bit of hypocrisy. I’m sure he’d state that he wouldn’t let a criminal work on his staff. But by that token I think a consistent ethical stance would also disallow you hiring anyone who does something you think should be illegal whether it is or not.

The teachings of Christ notwithstanding, I beg to differ. Where is it written that Santorum can judge us, but we can’t judge him? I judge him as a self righteous hypocrite and a cynical manipulator and a bigot.