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Jewish World Review Sept. 20, 2000 / 19 Elul, 5760

Betsy Hart

Betsy Hart
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Gay righters no longer seek just tolerance but endorsement -- CONTROVERSIAL radio talk-show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger has launched her new television show to much furor and fanfare --- but gay activists and their allies in the fashionable elite are hoping it's a short-lived debut.

They are aggressively working to force her off the air by pressuring advertisers to drop her show because of comments she's made about homosexuals, including calling homosexuality a "biological error" and saying that gay behavior is "deviant" because it deviates from the heterosexual norm.

Now, it's true that "Dr. Laura" sometimes makes even her admirers wince at her tone or choice of words. But admirers she has. Every day millions of Americans tune in to her top-rated talk show on which she champions traditional values. I'm often one of them, and I hardly remember Dr. Laura discussing homosexuality.

But to hear the gay movement and their allies tell it, these comments, which they themselves keep repeating, are a daily call to arms, not a rapid response once offered in the crush of a three-hour radio broadcast.

This is not to minimize Dr. Laura's beliefs on the matter. Like tens of millions of Americans, including myself, she simply believes that homosexual behavior is morally wrong. But the activist community is desperate to move the issue away from her mainstream-though-politically-incorrect views on the issue and focus only on a few biting comments they can evidence as her "hate-filled homophobia."

But there is really no way in which Dr. Laura could have discussed her beliefs on homosexuality that would have caused the activists to behave any differently. They simply won't tolerate a person of her stature offering a notion of anything less than a full moral endorsement of gay behavior.

For no longer is the homosexual movement about tolerance, about being treated fairly, with respect and equality under the law, something all decent Americans should and do embrace. It is about forcing all of us to morally affirm the gay lifestyle - even when our own deeply held religious or moral beliefs teach otherwise.

Consider the most "in-your-face" strategy possible: public, practicing gays forcing themselves into the ranks of the Boy Scouts of America, a private service organization that has admirably trained and encouraged young men for a century, and which doesn't admit open homosexuals.

The Scouts had never made a public display of their moral stance, but the activists did - they sued. Yet when the Supreme Court recently affirmed the right of the Scouts as a private organization to decide their own moral course, that was, well, intolerable. So now when it comes to the Boy Scouts, according to a recent report in the Christian Science Monitor, "... Gay-rights groups across the nation are working to paint the 6 million-strong organization as a bastion of bigots undeserving of community support."

That's tolerance?

The gay movement consistently maintains that not embracing homosexual behavior is akin to racism. But this is condescending to both racial minorities and gays. It may well be that sexual orientation is deeply ingrained - those of us who believe in original sin know that's true of the sin with which we all struggle - but behavior is not ingrained.

And as a consortium of scholars once wrote in an issue of "First Things" on the matter as excerpted in the Wall Street Journal: "Any discipline of denial or restraint has been popularly depicted as unhealthy and dehumanizing. We insist, however, that it is dehumanizing to define ourselves by our desires alone."

Nevertheless, the gay-rights movement is even intent on crushing any notion that homosexual behavior can be changed, no matter how much a gay man or woman wants that change. That's one premise in a book overtly sympathetic to the homosexual movement, "Just the Facts," backed by a coalition of educators and gay organizations and recently distributed to every public school district in the United States.

JWR columnist Mona Charen quotes Kevin Jennings, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, as saying of the book that "gays need to receive support from their schools. They need to receive affirmation."

     Bingo. It's not tolerance the movement seeks any longer. It's full moral endorsement even at the cost of riding roughshod over deeply held religious beliefs and freedom of association and expression.

The losers here include not only those who hold traditional moral beliefs and truly seek a fair and tolerant society, but also those many gays who believe in tolerance and so want no part of the activist homosexual agenda.

I can't find any winners.

JWR contributor Betsy Hart, a frequent commentator on CNN and the Fox News Channel, can be reached by clicking here.


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© 2000, Scripps Howard News Service