WASHINGTON – What’s “in the closet” at the American Conservative Union?
ACU staffers repeatedly declined to respond to questions about a report that the organization changed the status of GOProud, a homosexual activist organization that claims to be “conservative,” for the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference.
CPAC is the largest annual political convention for conservative activists in the United States. The conference is a project of the American Conservative Union, which describes itself as America’s “oldest and largest grass-roots conservative organization.”
GOProud is listed on ACU’s website as an “affiliate” for the 2011 CPAC conference. But sources reported GOProud was a “sponsor” last year, a higher status that provides greater influence over conference planning and selection of speakers.
But requests to ACU regarding GOProud’s participation level last year, or pending status this year, were not answered.
A receptionist reported to WND that CPAC officials who could comment were “out to lunch” at noon and 2:30, and by 4 p.m. they had “gone home for the day.”
Pressed with the question, “What is the ACU’s position on the participation of homosexual organizations in the conservative movement?” the receptionist promised to forward the question to ACU’s press officer.
A few minutes later, a spokesman responded to WND with a referral to the organization’s website but declined to answer any questions.
It is the website that refers to GOProud as an affiliate at CPAC this year.
“They’re between a rock and a hard place,” said Ryan Sorba, chairman of Young Conservatives of California. “If it gets out that they downgraded GOProud, the homosexual activists will chastise them. If they continue to accept GOProud, the pro-family activists will be angry. They just want the issue to go away; they want to be as neutral as possible. But we’re not going to let them.”
Sorba said earlier this year he asked ACU chairman David Keene, “Why are you bringing GOProud back to CPAC?” According to Sorba, Keene replied, “They can come but they have to focus on issues we all agree on.”
Sorba said he replied, “Their primary issue is contrary to the conservative movement’s core values, so they should not be allowed at CPAC.”
According to WND founder and CEO Joseph Farah, who sponsored the 2010 Taking America Back conference in Miami in September, CPAC hasn’t played fair with all of those who would support the organization.
He’s written how he asked in a private e-mail that if CPAC was addressing the issue of constitutional eligibility, he’d contribute to the discussion. His e-mail, however, never got a response from event director Lisa De Pasquale.
Then weeks later, he discovered she was using his private e-mail publicly to ridicule the issue of eligibility.
“I decided right there and then that WND would no longer sponsor CPAC as long as an arrogant, know-it-all wannabe like De Pasquale was running it. When others confronted De Pasquale on her ill manners, unprofessionalism and condescension, she finally wrote me an e-mail. But it was hardly the letter of apology one might expect under the circumstances. She explained that she was ‘just answering questions from the media,'” Farah wrote.
So, he concluded, the decision by CPAC officials to “include in its sponsors for 2010 a group promoting same-sex marriage” was no surprise.
At the time the dispute over GOProud erupted, Alexander McCobin of Students for Liberty, a libertarian group, began his two-minute speech by praising CPAC’s acceptance of the backing.
Then, a few minutes later, Sorba used his two minutes to condemn CPAC for inviting a group that pushed the homosexual agenda.
CPAC’s crowd booed him.
At the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, an editorial said, “GOProud is committed to legalizing same-sex marriage. At the conference Ryan Sorba of Young Americans for Freedom bravely took to the podium. He rebuked CPAC for compromising their values and told the truth about the intrinsic evil of homosexuality.”
A subsequent column by Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media said it appears that conservatives have lost track of the history of some issues, including homosexuality.
“David Barton of Wallbuilders, whose knowledge about the moral foundations of America has been cited and recognized by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, points out that the founding fathers regarded homosexual sodomy as a crime against nature and believed it should be outlawed and punished severely. Indeed, Barton cites a case in which General George Washington himself authorized the expulsion of a soldier from the army for sodomy,” Kincaid wrote.
“Barton writes that ‘it can be safely said that the attitude of the Founders on the subject of homosexuality was precisely that given by William Blackstone in his Commentaries on the Laws – the basis of legal jurisprudence in America and heartily endorsed by numbers of significant Founders. In addressing sodomy (homosexuality), he found the subject so reprehensible that he was ashamed even to discuss it.’ Blackstone called it ‘the infamous crime against nature.’
“Barton goes on, ‘Because of the nature of the crime, the penalties for the act of sodomy were often severe. For example, Thomas Jefferson indicated that in his home state of Virginia, ‘dismemberment’ of the offensive organ was the penalty for sodomy. In fact, Jefferson himself authored a bill penalizing sodomy by castration. The laws of the other states showed similar or even more severe penalties,'” Kincaid wrote.
“Much of this history has been ignored or forgotten, even by some conservatives,” he said.