The recent barrage of Republican scandal can add another chapter to its book of misadventures: the airport sex-capades of Idaho Senator Larry Craig.
Craig has scored top marks from socially conservative groups like the Family Research Council, and has been lauded as a defender of “family values.” In recent years, Craig has worked to add a definition of marriage amendment to the Constitution and voted against a bill to extend hate crime protection to acts motivated by sexual orientation.
And now this.
It is past ironic that so many conservative Republicans have been caught engaging in such reprehensible sexual behaviors when their political personalities are defined by social conservatism—the least part of which is public sex between strangers. Maybe that’s it—there’s the political personality, and then there’s the person. The two are two, not one. With all the graft, deceit and hypocrisy in this era’s American politics, these facets of our politicians have become more exaggerated and divergent than ever before.
There is something quite Puritanical about it all—that while trying to expel the demons and impurities of society at large, these men themselves fall victim. In these conservative circles there seems to be a denial of any and all human urges, an unwillingness to recognize the innate, biological justification for homosexuality, and an insistence on hiding behind the veneer of a super-human, saintly and sinless shtick.
Many Evangelicals have created a false sin hierarchy, placing homosexuality near the top, and greed and hatefulness near the bottom. Within this system, even discussing the possibility of homosexuality within Larry Craig-ian circles is dangerous at best.
In so tirelessly fighting homosexuality in American culture, Craig’s feelings of self-loathing and the repression and denial of aspects of his sexual being have resulted in the senator’s anonymous, reckless pursuit of public sex.
Pastor Ted Haggard, former President of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), resigned his post in November after news of his involvements with male prostitutes were made public.
In Jesus Camp, Haggard put his face close up to one of the documentary-makers’ cameras and chided “I think I know what you did last night[…]If you send me a thousand dollars, I won’t tell your wife.”
Haggard’s words turned out to be stunningly on-the-mark. But instead of describing the behaviors of others, they described his own: secretive sexual involvement with a male prostitute. Haggard stepped down as pastor of his mega-church and as President of the NAE last November.
In fairness, Democrats are not any less guilty of similar activity (there is no evidence that such inappropriate sexual behavior is motivated by political party). Gary Condit, Jim McGreevey and Bill Clinton all immediately come to mind.
It is possible these people are not even gay. Maybe they were so repulsed, so revolted, so horrified at the concept of their own potential gayness that instead of rationalizing and thinking and praying about the matter, they engaged in this destructive, unexpected behavior. The sad thing is, stories like this will be less and less unexpected from this point forth.