On several occasions, recently, I’ve posted on this standard regarding recorded evidence being admissible in a court of law. Clearly, I’ve argued, the ubiquity of wireless devices that can take photographs and video that can then be uploaded to the web in a few short minutes has changed, and so should the expectation. Police, in particular, have attempted to utilize the technology in a unidirectional way, saying in effect that any recorded information that makes their jobs easier is good, but any that is used against them is bad. It’s small minded, obviously, but that doesn’t mean that it’s unexpected, since people in positions of authority generally find it fair to skew power relations further towards their side in every walk of life. Recently, speaking of court decisions that permit police agencies to attach tracking devices to motorists’ cars, Glenn Reynolds has wondered aloud why it shouldn’t be permitted reciprocally. That politicians haven’t quite adjusted to the new realities was proved by Andrew Breitbart’s collocation of video counter-evidence to the alleged racial hostility shown by Tea Party types during Nancy Pelosi’s famous triumphant oversized gavel walk. The CBC and related members who filed along with her were quite right that the MSM would report the story just as they wished to have it, as evidence of racism among conservatives, but hadn’t counted on the strange absence from the otherwise copious recording of any of the alleged transgressions. We’ve seen the same thing, too, with the sting video against the NYU journalism profs. MSM outlets that themselves use undercover methods were once again appalled by the behavior of others. I’ve mentioned, as well, that the Guardian, partner in the Wikileaks revelations, has expressed fury that nobody who leaked the ClimateGate emails has been brought to justice.
Today, Cynthia Yockey has up a piece about the brouhaha over GOProud’s ‘outing’ of Rick Perry campaign staffer Tony Fabrizio, an incident over which Andrew Breitbart resigned from the GOProud board and which has led to a leadership shakeup, there. I’m going to try to summarize Cynthia’s points fairly.
First of all, she asserts, correctly, that nobody has any right to privacy when it comes to sexual orientation, any more than they do regarding gender. It’s certainly nowhere expressed in the Bill of Rights. It doesn’t seem to have been something that the Founders were interested in weighing in on. For a short time in historical terms in our military, soldiers had the right not to have to answer any questions regarding sexual orientation, but might nevertheless be removed on the basis of sexual orientation if they volunteered the information. Similarly, it was impermissible for other employers or potential employers to require employees or potential employees to reveal anything about their sexual orientation, and it still is.
Cynthia holds that there was a time when it was necessary that people be allowed to withhold their sexual orientation from their public profile, because it was the only means by which they could in many situations avoid maltreatment, but that we are past that point, particularly if their behavior is prejudicial to the interests of the gay community. In that category she would place anyone who is herself gay, but who publicly backs such legislation as that which ‘protects’ a definition of marriage as being strictly between a man and a woman.
In other words, I think that Cynthia’s contention boils down to the belief either that there is no such thing as a principled gay defense of a law so prejudicial to gays, or that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. In the case at hand, it seems obvious to Cynthia as well as those who were involved in the ‘outing’ incident that Mr. Fabrizio made no great effort to conceal his sexual orientation, so that he can’t have been outed in any real sense; he can only have had his sexual orientation publicized more widely than he might find convenient or desirable.
I am by no means an expert in the polemics of gay marriage. My concern about it is that it imposes a definition on people, by force of law, that they may not believe. My own position is that churches or other individuals or institutions who wish to perform gay marriages ought to be able to perform them, and that government really shouldn’t impose its idea of what is fair on people in this particular realm. That seems to me to fall within what the good liberals like to call the separation of church and state. It can certainly be your position that you don’t believe that marriage is a sacrament, or that you do believe that it is a sacrament, or that you believe it is both or neither a civil dispensation and a supernatural dispensation depending on the intentions of those wedded and the institution they call upon to perform the rites and ceremonies, et cetera.
My concern with government intrusion into religion, though, has been borne out pretty stunningly in Illinois and other places, where Catholic charities have been forced out of the adoption game as a result of their refusal to adopt children to gay couples. There are certainly a lot of other adoption organizations that are fine with same-sex parent households, but that’s not really the point. The point is that these institutions, which have operated to society’s benefit for many generations, make a distinction that other people don’t like, and regard as bigotry. Therefore, they cannot be permitted to carry on in the manner that they always have before, because it is offensive to some, although I can recall a thousand times that some of those some told me I was being hyperbolic when I stated this was the direction in which things were headed. Abortion is readily available most anywhere in the United States, but there has been a gigantic push within the Obama administration to force Catholic (and other religious-affiliated) hospitals out of the ranks of providers, because they believe that a young woman afflicted with an unwanted fetus should be able to go anywhere and have her troubles dealt with. That many of these hospitals operate in inner cities where for-profit hospitals are scarce (thank you, Mrs. Obama) seems not to matter to them, and why should it, when they would like those hospitals to be sold to other providers at bargain-basement prices so that they can dish out all that humane ObamaCare? If the actual inconvenience of obtaining other medical services goes up, they can congratulate themselves on having stuck to their principles.
I’m pretty sure that a lot of homosexuals dislike me just based on my being Catholic. They certainly have their reasons, if they wish to exercise them: refusal to ordain women, viewing homosexual practice as sinful, and all the rest, but I’ll be darned if I have ever heard one of my parish priests going off on gays, whereas I sure do hear a lot of invective directed at my Church. And here’s where I’m going to disagree a little with Cynthia, too. Apart from gender, she says, sexual orientation is the identity niche that defines most who one is. She’s not necessarily saying that it ought to be, but that as a matter of social reality that’s how things stand. And I agree that it receives way too much attention. Maybe it’s because I’ve gotten old, but whether a person’s sexual orientation is or isn’t congruent to mine isn’t really of very much interest to me. My oldest friend is gay, and that means that there are life experiences that we don’t much share, whether they’re his youthful cruising back in the day or the experience of being a father. He’s a wonderful uncle to my kids. Once in a while, we make show tunes jokes or talk about the impenetrability of the female psyche and how it’s of less concern to him, but mostly we are friends because we find a lot of the same things interesting and amusing, because we share much of a past, because we can play together.
What’s my Catholic identity to him? Nothing more than his sexual orientation to me.
Cynthia is also a friend, and I don’t believe that I have to agree with her view. I recognize that I haven’t lived her experience, and that it’s hard for me to grok it, and I’ll stipulate that were I in her shoes, I might feel differently about this, but I don’t think that the weaponization of sexual orientation from any quarter is justified. Cynthia says that Mr. Fabrizio has said that he was personally against making the political advert that became the bone of contention, and Cynthia believes that the principled thing to do would have been for him to resign in protest, but that sets aside everything else that may have gone into Mr. Fabrizio’s calculation that his loyalty to his candidate was still warranted. I think that it’s pretty likely that all of us who want to vote in a way that matters will have to make a similar calculation before all is said and done. Or let’s imagine that there’s a gay blogger who writes at a conservative website where the proprietor is a Rick Perry advocate. Should that person resign?
I’ll admit that I’d like to be able to vote for an unabashedly pro-life candidate in the general election, but I have the feeling that’s not likely to be an option. I will hold my nose and vote for not-Obama, whoever he may be. Is anti-Papism in the MSM and elsewhere a problem? Yes, in my view, it is. Is Obama an anti-Papist? Yes, in my view he is. Is that why you’re going to vote against him? No, because that is merely a symptom of his Progressive fascist agenda. That’s what I’m going to vote against.
To me, the issue regarding GOProud and Fabrizio isn’t about whether or not Fabrizio has a right to privacy as concerns his gender orientation. It’s a matter of whether or not he’s been treated dickishly, and I think he has.