WWW Opinion Times

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

INDIANA--"Get Over It" Attitude Mocks Delimma Facing Many Voters

Last week, it was reported in this journal that the Indianapolis Star had told religious conservatives in an editorial to "Get Over It" when they expressed grave concern when they discovered Republican Gubernatoral Candidate Mitch Daniels' proposed a homosexual centered employment policy and then met homosexual activist groups. Chief among those who were targeted by the Star in an article for speaking concern was Micah Clark, Executive Director of the Indiana Chapter of American Family Association. His response to the controversy is submitted here.

The Mitch Daniels campaign is in the midst of a controversy over a closed-door meeting with homosexual activists at a gay church in Indianapolis. I was critical of this decision and was quoted in the Star pointing out that the meeting runs the risk of offending a large number of social conservatives whose support Mitch will need to become governor.

I thought this was an obvious point. After all, if a candidate who traditionally receives support from labor unions met with Right to Work advocates, would anyone be surprised if an AFL-CIO leader expressed concern? A politician who meets with groups holding polar opposite views on core principles rarely gains anything other than the distrust of both sides.

The Star chose to scold conservatives in an editorial titled Daniels and Gays: Get Over It. The editorial pointed out that the "next governor will be governor of all of Indiana." And that the governor "will need to listen to and serve all Hoosiers, no matter their stands on the controversial issues of the day." So, "Get over it" the editorial demanded.

This cliché sounds good in a political science lecture, but in practice it is not always true. For example, it is doubtful that a candidate for governor would meet with a group seeking to lower the age of sexual consent for minors. Yet, there are probably many Hoosiers who might hold this extreme view and if elected, the candidate would represent them as he would all Hoosiers.
I believe the meeting Daniels held was unwise. Still, by itself, it was certainly not a fatal political error. Yet, this controversy has brought attention to a position Daniels holds which elevates homosexual behavior and cross-dressing to a protected civil rights status equal to race and skin color. This position was reportedly discussed at the controversial meeting and it appears on the My Man Mitch web site contact page.

Many social conservatives have long feared that government endorsement of homosexuality is not only bad for individuals and society, it also poses potential threats to the religious freedoms of churches, private schools and religious-based businesses. The policy Daniels pledges to enforce could open up these institutions to lawsuits if they refuse to hire or choose to fire someone engaging in a behavior that contradicts centuries of religious teachings.
In order to win, the Daniels campaign must hold the support of over 150,000 Republican conservative voters who did not support him in the primary. Many of these voters are people of deep faith who hold principles that supercede political calculations. They view voting as something for which they will be held accountable by the same God who calls homosexual behavior "an abomination."

It is not likely that these people with such deeply held counter-cultural views will quickly "get over" this issue simply to help a candidate they may have opposed only a few months ago. To expect them to blindly discard their principles is not only condescending, it is unrealistic.

Micah Clark is the Executive Director of the American Family Association of Indiana