Last week, we briefly discussed General Peter Pace’s comment that he believed that homosexuality was immoral. Needless to say, conservative religious groups praised his statement; obviously homosexual rights groups decried it.
It all comes down to your sense of morality, and where that sense of morality stems from. Is it a case of religious training, family upbringing, a peer group, or just an inate sense of right or wrong? Is your sense of right and wrong derived from popular culture or from long standing traditions?
Is is based on an absolute basis? Or a relative scale (e.g., based on the what the current sense of society believes is right or wrong)?
While General Peter Pace is seen as the titular head of the Armed Services, many believe that he should have only spouted the military line of "don’t ask, don’t tell". While many believe that should be the end all, it seems to deny that he himself is allowed to have his own beliefs, especially if it runs counter to popular political demands.
Senator Brownback quick supported his statement. While he is running as a conservative, and it could be taken as identifying with his base, it still takes a bit to openly admit (nowadays) opposition to what seems to be a politically protected subgroup. I am NOT going to use the word "brave", as I don’t think that this situation rises to that level.
Yet, two of the leading Democratics for the Presidency didn’t want to say what they really believed. The question:
Do you agree or disagree with General Pace that homosexuality is immoral?
The Sun-Times story, I think, summed it up right:
How Obama, Clinton tripped on gay rights
Politics is just such a minefield! Pundits, enemies, rivals and even some normal people will hang on every word. Politicos tune each word for every nuance possible in an attempt to make sure that they do not insult or turn off any possible voting bloc. And in this case, Senator Brownback could care less. But Senators Obama and Clinton care mightily!
Obama’s news hit, if there was to be one, was supposed to be his speech at the union’s presidential forum. But it was his dodging a question tossed at him on his way out of the hotel last week about whether homosexuality was immoral that left his team scrambling to repair relations with an important Democratic constituency, the gay and lesbian community.
Well, there’s a tank killer mine (or politician’s dream) if there ever was one! And where there’s one, there’s got to be two!
Chief rival Hillary Rodham Clinton, as it happened, made the same stumble a few hours before Obama, sidestepping the same question. So both teams swung into damage control duty with gay rights groups, including the Human Rights Campaign and Stonewall Democrats, national gay political organizations.
Simple minded politicians! Such an easy question for most – for it goes to the core of a person. Such a simple word, yes or no, says volumes about the morality (or lack thereof, depending on your viewpoint) of that person. Truely a case where less is more.
Yes, neither would answer at first. Of course not! We can’t afford to alienate ANYone, right?
By the end of that day, both campaigns issued separate statements saying that they do not consider homosexuality immoral.
Well, we now see the political calculus and risk taking in full flight – and both Obama and Clinton have gone Left in a case of going for the part of the Democratic party that votes in the primaries. And goes against thousands of years of the traditional sense of morality (sorta like the liberal Episcopalians – sorry, couldn’t resist!)
While this may help them get to the Big Game, it certainly won’t help them score three pointers with traditional morality type folks (including yours’ truely). They do show that they they believe in more of a culture based morality than an absolute.
It remains to be seen whether or not a majority of Americans will accept this branch of secular humanism. While most believe in "live and let live", values count. Hesitating to make one’s values known will count too.