Charles Colson says he’s always been civil toward ‘the lavender shirt mob’

Faith in Public Life’s Nick Sementelli says “Chuck Colson Doesn’t Like the Truth About His Homophobic Record.”

GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) listed Colson in their recently launched “Commentator Accountability Project” which “aims to put critical information about frequent anti-gay interviewees into the hands of newsrooms, editors, hosts and reporters.”

As Sementelli reports, Colson says he doesn’t belong on that list, protesting that GLAAD’s definition of anti-gay speech “is skewed,” mischaracterizing any disagreement as “gay-bashing.”

GLAAD’s doesn’t use that term — “gay-bashing,” but here’s how they describe the kinds of speech that earn anti-gay commentators a spot on their list:

These voices are comparing LGBT people to Nazi Germany, predicting that equal treatment of LGBT people will lead to the total collapse of society, and even making accusations of satanic influence.

Colson protests that he’s never been guilty of doing that:

Over the years I have been very careful not to involve in gay-bashing. I can’t think of a single time I have. I seek to honestly discuss the issues. So if any reporter has evidence of gay-bashing on my part, I’d like to hear it.

Well, OK. Happy to oblige.

Here’s a transcription of a recording made on the eve of Nixon’s second inauguration in 1973. The tape was made public in 2009:

COLSON: Republican intellectuals [inaud]. And as Dick [Scammon] says, the lavender shirt mob, the, what he calls the New Left, the homos and queers. And he says that’s the bunch that now make up the Democratic Party, and he said the more they, Democrats, have to cater to the blacks and to the poor, and the New Left, the more [they] are driving large numbers of the middle class [away].

Colson, I would guess, would say that doesn’t count because it was before his “born-again” experience, the religious conversion in which he became a new man. Perhaps, although I’ve never heard Colson repent or apologize for those slurs or the sentiments behind them. Nor have I heard from him anything like the sort of humility, caution and magnanimity that ought to characterize the statements of someone who truly regrets that he used to talk like that while acting as a public servant in the Oval Office.

But for the sake of argument, let’s pretend Colson really did have a change of heart. What is the new, redeemed and sanctified, born-again Colson saying about “the lavender shirt mob” these days?

Well, the born-again Colson has a history of comparing “LGBT people to Nazi Germany, predicting that equal treatment of LGBT people will lead to the total collapse of society, and even making accusations of satanic influence.” GLAAD has citations for all of these quotes, and more:

“If any of this reminds you of the tactics of Nazi Germany, it ought to” Colson said of the APA’s condemnation of so-called “ex-gay” therapies.

Colson compared demonstrators opposed to Proposition 8 to: “Bull Conner, who, with the help of brutal cops, used violence and intimidation to chase African Americans out of the public square. Or roving gangs of Nazi brownshirts who ruled the streets of Germany during Hitler’s rise to power.”

Colson predicted that if Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was repealed, “men will die.”

And on the subject of marriage equality, Colson said: “Gays and lesbians don’t want marriage. … Gays are actively trying to destroy marriage and will take away our freedom of speech and religion in order to do it.”

I think I preferred the unvarnished bigotry of the pre-conversion Colson. At least back then he had the honesty to admit what he was saying.

  • Lori

    That’s a very plausible explanation. So why don’t I deem it to be true? Because as a matter of principle, I’m reluctant to make assumptions about orientation without independent verification.  We’ve had plenty of examples of the “professional homophobes” whose orientations have been exposed, and it’s reasonable to have suspicions about such people in general, but those examples alone aren’t proof.

    No one is saying that being a professional homophobe is proof that the person is gay. As I said earlier, I consider it reason to suspect that the person is gay, but I don’t consider it proof of anything.

    Plus, an individual’s orientation is simply none of my business unless he or she chooses to disclose it.  

    I think this is true of a private citizen simply living his/her life. I don’t think this is true of someone who is pushing to take rights away from QUILTBAG citizens. Once a person makes him or herself a public advocate for discrimination I think the fact that the person is closeted is relevant.

  • Tonio

    As I said earlier, I consider it reason to suspect that the person is gay, but I don’t consider it proof of anything.

    Thanks for the clarification – your earlier post sounded as if you were certain they were gay.

    Once a person makes him or herself a public advocate for discrimination I
    think the fact that the person is closeted is relevant.

    But my point is not about professional homophobes already exposed as gay, but about ones who purport to be straight. I doubt that we could treat them as gays in denial or in the closet without inadvertently endorsing the view that homosexuality is shameful. Or without letting the truly straight professional homophobes off the hook. The real issue is that they’re promoting hatred, whatever their motivation for doing so.

  • Lori

     

    I doubt that we could treat them as gays in denial or in the closet
    without inadvertently endorsing the view that homosexuality is shameful.

    Sure we can. Being gay isn’t shameful, but lying and hypocrisy are.

  • http://www.metagalacticllamas.com/ Triplanetary

    I’m perfectly willing to take them at their word that they’re straight – despite what I might suspect in the back of my mind in specific cases – because it doesn’t matter. If they are gay and determined to make themselves miserable by denying their romantic and sexual inclinations, that’s their business. When they try to make every other gay person in the country do that too, it’s everyone’s business.

    But yeah, like Lori said, “outing” gay gay-haters isn’t gay-shaming, it’s hypocrisy-shaming. If some white politician wanted to go back to the one drop rule and I looked in his family records and found that he has a black great-great-grandmother, I’m sure as hell going to make that public. Not because there’s anything wrong with having a black great-great-grandmother, but because it demonstrates that this politician wants to make rules for others that he has no intention of following himself.

  • Tonio

    Yes, lying and hypocrisy are indeed shameful, and George Rekers and Ted Haggard deserved the shame they received after their lies were exposed. My point is that we shouldn’t automatically treat professional gay-bashers as if they’re liars and hypocrites. Among other reasons, that wrongly makes the issue about their character and not about the effects of their hatred on society.

  • Tonio

    Good points in your first paragraph. And I would agree that outing a professional gay-basher with solid evidence is defensible. I’m just trying to make a distinction between that and publicly labeling all of them as gay based on suspicions alone. I was reading Lori’s posts as not necessarily advocating the latter, but perhaps condoning it.

  • Rikalous

     

    I can’t find this hilarious article, but I saw a thing in The Onion that
    basically mocked the extremely prurient levels of interest some
    homophobes have in gay sex.

    This one, I presume? I thought of it, too.

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/repeal-of-dont-ask-dont-tell-paves-way-for-gay-sex,17698/

  • Ima Pseudonym

     Why…they’re both at once!  Like Obama the Liberal Black Radical Nazi Socialist Fascist Christian Muslim Atheist, they exist in a state of superposition, neither fish nor fowl, and collapse into a discrete state only when observed. 

    I think we may actually have discovered quantum demonization here–we’re through the looking glass, people…

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    That one is close, but I recall a much older one where this dude kept describing all the things he was doing while denying he was gay himself. Heh.


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