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I hate to say, “I told you so.”

It’s rather cliché.

But I did try very hard to warn the conservative movement what it was doing by embracing a group of homosexual activists promoting a radical social agenda while masquerading as “conservatives.”

I don’t know if I was the first to warn about the infiltration of GOProud and how its tentacles would sow seeds of division and strife among conservatives. But I’m quite sure I was among the loudest.

Suffice it to say, few listened to the warnings. It has cost me friendships, long-time alliances and a good name among many who don’t know me except through the caricatures drawn by others making their livings under the bright lights of TV cameras accusing me of being a “publicity whore” and a “fake Christian.”

Today, more people see the truth about a group they once saw as merely a group of “conservative gays.”

Sometimes it takes a little political experience and sophistication, maybe only the kind that can come from being around long enough.

When I tried to point out to Ann Coulter that she was making a mistake by performing at a fundraiser for GOProud at the very moment it was attempting to establish its conservative bona fides, she did not take it well. Neither did many other conservatives.

One who stepped into that fray was Red State.com’s Erick Erickson.

“I think it is terrific that Ann Coulter is speaking at HomoCon,” he said.

He might be one of those having second thoughts five months later – though I haven’t yet received the letter of apology and regret.

You might want to take a look at what appears to be a rather thoughtful and reflective turnaround on his part – a piece called “This is too much for me.”

He is beginning to see the reality of who GOProud really is, what its divisive nature is, maybe even what its true intentions are.

So are many others.

GOProud became the story of the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference last week. GOProud became an absolute media darling – even for networks and shows not generally known for their interest in what “conservatives” have to say. GOProud was the topic people were buzzing about at CPAC, not the debt limit, not Barack Obama’s threats to our liberties, not the crises in the Middle East, not the global jihad, not even who would be running for president next year. And GOProud is the reason CPAC’s staff will be completely turned over for future conferences.

Apparently some people only learn the hard way – when they or their friends are demeaned by the backbiting and name-calling of the GOProud types.

The takeaway from all this is very simple: If the conservative movement is to continue to be a positive force in America’s political debate, it must stand for something. It is inarguable that the people who founded the movement believed they were trying to “conserve” something. It wasn’t a movement founded simply to fight for lower tax rates or smaller government. It was much more than that.

Conservatives believed in “conserving” the principles that helped shape America’s success as the greatest experiment in freedom the world has yet known. And those principles quite simply are:

  • That we are created in the image of God and are accountable to Him. Without that recognition, we are virtually incapable of self-government, which requires us to be able to distinguish right from wrong, as defined by God. God has created certain institutions for His purposes and for our benefit. Among these is marriage, the family and government. But any government that exceeds its limited authority or attempts to usurp the authority of God is unworthy of its power. Real conservatives believe in the tenets of the Declaration of Independence which explains that our rights descend from God – and that they come with responsibility as well.
  • Those early conservatives also believed national defense was the main purpose of the federal government.
  • They also believed in private property, free enterprise and constitutional government.

Those beliefs represented the “three-legged stool” that Ronald Reagan described.

Remove one, and the stool collapses.

See how quickly the stool collapsed with the infiltration of GOProud into the conservative movement?

If this is a lesson conservatives needed to relearn so their movement could regain its strength, character and purpose, so be it. Lessons like this often have to be relearned from generation to generation.

Let us hope we don’t need to learn it again this generation.

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