Carol Platt Liebau: Startling Ignorance (and Bigotry)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Startling Ignorance (and Bigotry)

This column is an object example of why so many normal Americans distrust the press.

Richard Cohen takes a nasty little roll in the schadenfreude mud (which, in fairness, we all enjoy from time to time) -- but in doing so, he inadvertantly displays an appalling ignorance of social conservatives and/or people of faith that's exceeded only by his bigotry toward them.

In a relatively incoherent column about the Mark Foley matter, Cohen writes the following:

That this [the Foley scandal] happened to the GOP is too, too much. It is no longer the party of Lincoln but the party of gay-bashing. Its base, its vaunted base, is among those who embrace ignorance of homosexuality and, while they are at it, ignorance of sexual matters in general.

Later, he writes:

It was the GOP that cozied up to churches and preachers who likened homosexuals to the vilest people of all time and called on them to cease their wicked ways, go from homosexual to heterosexual, which everyone knows they can do but will not because, apparently, it is easier to be gay and reviled than it is to be straight and comfy about it.

It's apparent that Mr. Cohen knows very few conservatives and/or people of faith. No doubt he genuinely believes that the base of the party "embrace[s] . . . ignorance of sexual matters in general" and thinks that there are preachers all over the Red States who are calling gays "the vilest people of all time." And no doubt there are some cruel and intolerant voices in some pulpits, just as there are cruel and intolerant voices on some newspaper op/ed pages. That's human nature . . . but (as the comments on the Huffington Post site reveal), hatred and intolerance aren't the exclusive purview of conservatives.

Perhaps what's most amazing is the fever pitch of hostility Cohen's worked himself into at a cherished left-wing stereotype with no solid foundation in reality. It's likewise remarkable that he feels comfortable spewing this kind of bigoted vitriol onto the pages of one of the nation's foremost papers. One doubts he'd engage in this kind of stereotyping of women or any other racial or religious group, for example.

What Mr. Cohen and others like him need to understand is that opposing gay marriage -- a fundamental restructuring of the family, on little more than today's cultural whim -- doesn't mean that one "hates" gays. (No doubt Cohen would be offended if one suggested that being pro-choice means one "hates" babies, but the reasoning is the same).

And he needs to get out a bit more. Perhaps if he visited the occasional Red State with an open mind -- or even (gasp!) dropped in on some of the churches there -- he might realize that all the GOP and its base have tried to do is maintain sexual standards in an era when "anything goes." He might discover that the people worshipping in those churches are hardly the bunch of one-eyed, straw-chewing, unshod morons of his imagination -- many, in fact, are quite as smart and even as sophisticated as Mr. Cohen himself.

Columns like Cohen's -- representing the worldview of someone who never breaks free of the DC-New York-LA axis -- are an object example of why newspapers have become so peripheral to the lives of so many Americans.


Blogger Editor said...

He didn't say they were "the nuts" like Rove and the White House call them!

9:37 AM  
Blogger COPioneer said...

"they" would be "me". I'm one of "them" ultra-conservative right-wing Christian Fundamentalist nuts. And I'm proud of it. I used to be a limp wristed "moderate". Takes no guts.

I've seen first hand the love and patience and kindness of "my" kind. Yeah, we're flawed, but I pray I had even more guts, and I'd join the Amish.

The hatred spewed by the left is unbelievable in how it goes unreported by the MSM. The left-wing is all about lies and deceit, not unlike another character in the Bible.

10:25 AM  
Blogger Cliff said...

I too am a God fearing, praying, Bible reading Christian and proud of it. In a strange way, it might be good that the godless dems and libs don't get who Christians are
and the relationship that we have with our God. They see us as, "religous" but we know our God and He knows us. We can't be bought
and sold with cheap words and are not fooled or "tricked" by fake scandals or clever slogans. God fearing peoiple will come out this November and vote in droves! Be afraid Editor, be very afraid!

4:26 PM  
Blogger Editor said...

Perhaps you are missing the news. It is the White House calling you nuts. But of course it is up to you to believe it or not as you desire.

6:31 PM  
Blogger stackja1945 said...

Carol "cherished left-wing stereotype with no solid foundation in reality." is normal for the MSM Dems.

8:59 PM  
Blogger Cliff said...

Editor, the story is PHONY and furthermore, I don't care. Even if it were true, what am I going to do, vote with the dems? I'm sure!
I get my voting and marching orders
from ONLY one source, and you don't have to wonder what source that is.

9:13 PM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

That a few in the administration might be less than fanatical in their own faith and have fun at the expense of those who are, is hardly significant to those who are, but I can see where some lame liberal buffoons might want to trumpet such a non-story for the sake of gaining congressional control. They have so little substantive stuff to work with.

10:28 PM  
Blogger dodger said...

"What Mr. Cohen and others like him need to understand is that opposing gay marriage -- a fundamental restructuring of the family, on little more than today's cultural whim -- doesn't mean that one "hates" gays."

Original post was/is profound.

And liberals like Mr. Cohen wonder why we conservatives don't like him/them. They are offended when their own words are quoted to them and asked if that is their belief. Their usual response is, "don't put words in my mouth."

Which, of course, is their favorite tactic, only they make up the quotes. The reasons given for opposing gay marriage are almost always sectarian, yet the charge is always because we are bigots, homophobes.

Reason for the charge is the usual, namely can't rebut the real reason, so make up one that everyone opposes, and ascribe that one to us.

Very formulaic.

9:32 AM  
Blogger eLarson said...

It is the White House calling you nuts.

That darned building!

Actually it might as well be the building itself since the author in question has refused to say who it was.

It would neither surprise nor bother me to find out that someone in the Bush Administration finds some members of the "Religious Right" to be nuts--heck, I think some of them are nuts, too. But by no means all of them... and I doubt anyone there really thinks so.

12:07 PM  
Blogger Editor said...

The source is WH staff. Not liberals. Just to keep the record straight.

3:36 PM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

"WH staff" is NOT a source. A name is a source.

7:14 PM  
Blogger eLarson said...

And liberals like Mr. Cohen wonder why we conservatives don't like him/them.

Do they really wonder, though?

It looks to me more like liberals tend to adopt a haughty "we know better" or "They are not like us, therefore they must be stupid" attitude.

12:27 PM  
Blogger eLarson said...

The source is WH staff. Not liberals. Just to keep the record straight.

Am I to infer from this quote that today's so-called "liberals" would NEVER call a person who

- believes that the Bible is the inspired Word of God
- relies on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross as the only means toward reconciliation with God
- but nonetheless strives to follow the example of Christ

a "nut"?

12:32 PM  

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