Vipers, Wolves, and the GOP


“Peccant: guilty of a moral offense; violating a principle”

Written by Laurie Higgins

To applause from the Trump family, billionaire PayPal founder Peter Thiel spoke at the Republican National Convention last week saying, “[W]e are told that the great debate is about who gets to use which bathroom. This is a distraction from our real problems. Who cares?…I am proud to be gay. I am proud to be a Republican….I don’t pretend to agree with every plank in our party’s platform; but fake culture wars only distract us from our economic decline.”

Who cares? Many men and women care about the relationship between sex differences and physical privacy. And a great many of those men and women are in the Republican Party. Further, these “distractions” have been created and relentlessly advanced by not only leftists but increasingly leftists within the Republican Party. The “social issues” are not part of “fake culture wars.” They’re part of a real culture war that the left is waging viciously and tenaciously. Thiel isn’t really urging Republicans not to be distracted. He’s really urging Republicans to cave to the homosexuals, sex-rejectors, and RINOs in the GOP.

This is why it’s important before the last embers die out from the conflagration that burned red hot at the Republican State Party Convention in Peoria over the proposal to subvert the platform on the dismissively called “social issues,” to do a bit of analysis. Such a discussion is important because unless conservatives do a better job of rebutting the feckless arguments of “moderate” and libertarian-leaning Republicans, this fire will reignite and burn even hotter in four years. Moreover, the same issues threaten to light up discussions over the national platform in years to come.

The most hotly debated issue at this year’s Republican State Party Convention was the weakening of platform language on both life and marriage, which are not only social issues but also economic and justice issues as well.

A close look at the Facebook postings of one of the Illinois State Republican Platform Committee members in defense of the platform proposal changes (henceforth referred to as the Peccant Proposal) illuminates the ignorance polluting the GOP. She wrote as follows:

The request for traditional marriage between a man and a woman WAS in the language that was adopted by 65% of the platform committee, not a razor thin majority as some have claimed. Everyone who made that request got what they asked for and the committee was happy to have it in there. Here is what WAS NOT in the language: a re-definition of marriage, which despite claims to the contrary, was NEVER on the table. In fact, not a single reference to same sex marriage was in our platform. NOT ONE. An attack on family, again, NEVER under consideration. It is very disappointing and decidedly UN-Republican for a portion of our party who claims to respect Republican Principles and the views of others to throw GOD, Religious Freedom, limited government and individual freedom/responsibility out the window because of their rapid disregard for those principles if they are inconvenient or deemed “irrelevant” to their position.

Her description is a misrepresentation of the controversy over the platform committee’s attempt to jettison the definition of marriage from the Republican platform.

First, a wee technical correction: Just over 55% of the platform committee voted in favor of the marriage plank in the Peccant Proposal—not 65%. That said, a good argument can be made that with such a small voting base, one or two votes can affect the percentage significantly. What is particularly noteworthy about the committee vote percentages is the difference between the platform committee’s vote in favor of the marriage plank in the Peccant Proposal and the 79% of the 984 delegates who rejected it, which suggests that the platform committee did not represent the will of the people. This is the committee whose State Central Committeeman Brian Colgan appointed the disgraced Pat Brady to serve on the 2016 platform committee. Yes, that Pat Brady—the one who skulked around Springfield trying to whip up support for the legal recognition of homoerotic unions as “marriages,” the same non-statesman who responded to my text expressing my opposition to changing the marriage plank with “f*** u.”  The same guy who went to work for the ACLU.

What is marriage?

Before any society addresses questions of marital rights and responsibilities, it must start with the question: What is marriage? Does it have a nature that society merely recognizes and regulates, or did society invent the word “marriage” and then create its meaning out of whole cloth? If it has a nature, what is that nature? Might that intrinsic nature be the justification for government involvement with it?

If it has no intrinsic nature—in other words, if marriage is not in reality an ontological thing—then what is the government’s interest in it? If marriage has no intrinsic connection to sexual differentiation and procreative potential, then why does the government have any more interest in recognizing and regulating it than it does in recognizing and regulating friendship?

Marriage: a union with a nature or a manmade union with no intrinsic nature?

The Peccant Proposal could not rationally accommodate both the view that marriage has an intrinsic nature central to which is sexual complementarity and the view that marriage has no intrinsic nature, so society can invent it out of whole cloth. Trying to reconcile or accommodate inherently contradictory views would require taking no position; ergo, the original position would have been removed. While the left lives and moves and has its being in contradictory propositions, the Republican Party should strive for coherence and rationality.

The rejected Peccant Proposal said, “We acknowledge and welcome the diversity of opinions within our party regarding families, including the views that marriage is defined as the union of one man and one woman, that non-traditional families are worthy of the same respect and legal protections as traditional families, and that marriage out to be the purview of religious institutions and not of the government.” The committee member’s weasel words above that “a re-definition of marriage…was NEVER on the table. In fact, not a single reference to same sex marriage was in our platform” reflects the same kind of weaseliness that infected the Peccant Proposal.

A proposal that no longer states unequivocally that the Republican Party believes that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, but instead says that the party now “recognizes and acknowledges” that differing views exist on the nature of marriage and on whether the government should be involved has, in fact, changed the position of the platform. The committee member was playing fast and loose with rhetoric to conceal the dramatic change the Peccant Proposal signified. Imagine changing every other plank to say the same thing on gun control, taxes, environmental and energy policy, school vouchers, and immigration. “We recognize and acknowledge” that diverse views exist on gun control, environmental and energy policy, school vouchers, and immigration.” In the service of inclusivity and an infinitely expanding tent, would our “moderate,” leftward-tilting party members be okay with that?

The reference to “non-traditional families” quite obviously and indisputably includes same-sex faux-“marriages.” Even more troubling, since this obfuscating term is not defined, it could mean anything including polyamorous families and even non-traditional families headed by two (or more) persons closely related by blood. What is so deeply troubling about this is that there are people who call themselves Republicans who have no opposition to legalizing plural unions and incestuous unions. I know that to be true because I’ve debated them.

Limited government and marriage

“Moderate” Republicans—or as I like to call them, “immoderate” Republicans—chastise supporters of true marriage as being hypocrites. These wolves in sheep’s clothing claim that support for the view that marriage is an intrinsically sexually diverse union is irreconcilable with commitments to limited government. Such a claim presumes that having a definition of marriage in law constitutes support for big government. If that’s the case then the Republican platform should include a plank expressing opposition to any and all government involvement with marriage.

But of course a plank that defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman no more represents a big-government position than does a plank, position, policy, or law that defines marriage as the union of two people or persons not closely related by blood. This is an issue of definitions—not scope of government.

Does defining marriage as a sexually differentiated union violate the separation of church and state?

Increasing numbers of non-religious, non-conservative Republicans attempt to make the case that the government should have no involvement with marriage because beliefs about marriage are solely religious in nature.

First, government is inextricably involved in marriage because marriage does, in reality, have an intrinsic nature related to sexual differentiation, procreation, and the needs and rights of children.

Second, though the definition of marriage as a one-man/one-woman institution may overlap or be consistent with the religious beliefs of some, it is not solely a religious belief. Similarly, while laws that prohibit incest overlap or are consistent with the religious beliefs of some, such laws are not exclusively religious. If a law has a secular purpose, such as to protect the needs and rights of children, people of faith are justified in supporting it even if their particular reasons or motives for doing so are religious in nature.

Did conservatives remove God and religious liberty from the platform?

The committee member again misrepresented the shenanigans committed by liberals on the committee when she wrote that conservatives removed God and religious freedom from the plank. Though that might technically be true, the committee member ought to have explained why that happened. Those who wanted to change the plank so as to no longer assert that the Republican Party believes marriage is the union of one man and one woman added a reference to religious freedom to the marriage plank. Conservatives believed that the marriage plank and the religious freedom plank should be separate because they’re only tangentially related. They did not remove God and religious freedom because they oppose God or religious freedom or references to them. Rather, they sought a stand-alone marriage plank.

The Republican Party is rapidly becoming less shaped by serious Christians and thus less conservative on essential issues related to sexuality, including marriage and physical privacy. The party is being corroded by vipers like U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) and U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) who has a sex-rejecting daughter, foolish men with deep pockets like Peter Thiel, and by homosexual activists like Milo Yiannopoulis. True conservatives need to become better equipped intellectually to refute the poison spewed by those who seek to transform the party of Reagan into the kind of party at which foulmouthed “Republican” and Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulis recently spoke:

**Caution: Vulgar Language**

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