On NPR's All Things Considered yesterday, we have this story:
Paul Weyrich, an author of the letter from the Arlington Group, a coalition of 70 socially conservative organizations, called for House Speaker Dennis Hastert's resignation.The Arlington Group, hm. What's that? Here's how they describe themselves:
But after speaking with Hastert Wednesday, Weyrich says he changed his mind, and the speaker should not step down. Michele Norris talks with Weyrich, chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation.
The Arlington Group, a coalition of over seventy pro-family organizations, joins millions of Americans who pray for a moral renewal in our nation.Riiiiiiight.
Anyway, what does Mr Weyrich have to say? He starts by talking about a phone call he got from Speaker Hastert about whether the Congressional leadership knew about Foley's behaviour before the story broke:
He absolutely assured me that, uh, Congressman [John] Boehner, the majority leader, never called him on this. And as far as [Congressman Tom] Reynolds is concerned, he said, you know maybe he did talk with him, but, uh, if he did he has no recollection of it.OK. I don't think I would take Speaker Hastert's word for it even if he did ring me up personally, but let's roll with it, because that's not my real point here. Mr Weyrich now takes wing, with a statement that made me drive for the next mile or so with my mouth open:
Here is the...here's the real problem: It has been known, uh, for many years that Congressman Foley was a homosexual. Um, homosexuals tend to be preoccupied with sex. The idea that he should be continued, or should have been continued as chairman of the committee on missing and exploited children is, uh, you know, given their knowledge of that, is, uh, just outrageous.
Now, Ms Norris doesn't just let him get away with that statement:
- Ms Norris:
- Now, before we go on, I can say, Mr Weyrich, that there are quite a few people who would take exception to the statement that homosexuals are preoccupied with sex.
- Mr Weyrich:
- Well, I don't care whether they take, uh, exception to it, it happens to be true. I mean, uh...
- Ms Norris:
- That is your opinion.
- Mr Weyrich:
- Well, it's not [chuckle] my opinion, it's, uh, the opinion of, uh, many psychologists and psychiatrists who have to deal with them.
I suppose I shouldn't really have been surprised that a wingnut from a conservative organization said something that stupid. And yet, somehow, those sorts of things still take one aback; it's still possible for people one knows to expect garbage from to still dump new garbage that can leave one slackjawed.
So let's be clear: Homosexuals do not sexually abuse children. Heterosexuals do not sexually abuse children. Fathers and uncles and neighbours do not sexually abuse children. Sick people sexually abuse children. And sick people can be of any sexual orientation. The key point is that they're sick. They need help, and they need to be kept away from children.
Knowledge that Congressman Foley was making advances toward children certainly would be reason to remove him from his committee, to remove him from contact with congressional pages, and probably to remove him from Congress.
Knowledge that he's homosexual is not reason to remove him from anything. Conservatives often want to tar gay people with that brush. They're wrong.