Friday, May 27, 2005

On Seeing Red in a Blue State

I would like to say a few things for the benefit of new readers of this blog.

Before I begin, I would like to state what I hope is obvious for everyone who's been reading this blog up to now: that The Dawn Patrol does not represent, nor is intended to represent, the opinion of my employer or of anyone other than myself. That is the way it has always been.

For a long time, I have had the luxury of writing every night knowing that I will be read by people who have, for the most part, been following my blog for some time and have a good idea of my personality.

I like to think of The Dawn Patrol's comments section as the bar where everybody knows your name. There's Nightfly, Saint Kansas, Janjan, Joe and Joseph, Kris, "G'day" Peter, Steve G. and Another Steve, Joel and Joel, Camila, Dave, Maclin, Kate B., Sonetka, and so many others who feel like friends even though I've met only a tiny handful of them. Even when they don't agree with me, they seem to feel at home here. They actively engage themselves in posting comments—both to me and to one another—about the issues I bring up, and I'm very grateful that they take an interest in what I have to say.

With the advent of my Daily News column, I have officially become a public figure. As a result, some new people discovering my blog are looking at it in a different way than longtime readers because they see me as part of the mainstream media.

I still have a hard time considering myself part of the establishment—it's not like, as one blog paranoiacally assumed, I'm writing for the editorial page. But it's true that I have a column which—while itself fairly innocuous—draws attention to my name, which in turn can lead people to seek out my views about faith and politics on this, my personal Weblog.

When those readers get here, what they may find (particularly if they're following links that have been helpfully supplied by left-wing blogs) is that I have what liberal New Yorkers consider strong views on issues such as abortion, stem-cell research, sex education, homosexual sex—indeed, all sex outside of traditional marriage—and gay marriage.

I believe that my views on culture-of-life issues such as abortion and stem-cell research are fairly self-explanatory. However, readers seeing the strong language that I use against the abortion lobby—especially ones who don't know many Christian social conservatives—might assume that, just as I hate organizations like Planned Parenthood, I hate individuals who disagree with me. Specifically, they might assume that I hate homosexuals.

Until now, because of having a devoted regular readership, I have assumed that people know something of who I am, what I believe, and why. Looking at the overwhelming majority of my regular commenters, it's clear to me that my audience is not made up of haters, and I believe that's because most readers know I'm not a hater myself.

But as other bloggers spotlight posts where I candidly admit dismay over things like organizations' attempts to promote homosexuality to children, I can only imagine what The Dawn Patrol must look like to someone who's just skimming through it. If a liberal's just searching my blog for charged words like "homosexuality" and "abortion," I could easily look like a wingnut straight outta Jesusland. To such a speed reader, every other word probably translates as, "homosexuality bad," "Planned Parenthood bad," etc.

To such a reader, I would like to say, don't just read my posts that scream "red state." Read the ones in between. If you do, you'll see that I don't hate homosexuals, because then I'd have to hate myself.

Not because I'm gay—I'm not. (Didn't mean to give you a start.)

No, if I hated homosexuals, I would have to hate myself, because I am a sinner and have no right to consider myself morally better than another person. That's not to say I don't believe in a distinction between good and bad behavior. However, to hate someone means judging not only their behavior, but their heart. My faith tells me that only God judges the hearts. If, when writing about a particular behavior that riled me, I have judged not only people's behavior but also their humanity, then I am sorry.

This brings us to a belief put forth by Planned Parenthood and other gay-rights groups—Alfred Kinsey's claim that people's sexual behavior is an inherent part of who they are. Such organizations assert that to pass judgment upon homosexuals' behavior is to pass judgment upon their entire being.

If someone reading this really believes that—that his humanity is defined by his sexual attraction—then I don't know what to say. Such a reader will not be assured by my telling him that I don't hate him. All I can say is, if I found him lying bleeding in the street, I'd rush to his aid. I wouldn't first demand to know his sexual preference. Such things are important, to be sure, but they're not who we are. Marriage is meaningful on Earth, partly as a reflection of Christ's heavenly union with His Church. But there are no marriages in Heaven.

*You may have noticed that I prefer the term "homosexual" to "gay." That is because "gay" implies a value judgment. Its heterosexual counterpart, "straight," isn't as positive—it implies "uptight," as in "straight-laced." I don't think homosexual advocates would take it kindly if heterosexuals took for themselves a term truly equivalent to "gay"—like "happy."