Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus has a funny definition of “love.” I came to this conclusion after hearing Reince and David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting network discuss how the GOP was going to have to grow up and stop finding gay sex “icky.” Brody as the host asked Priebus if he was worried about offending the Evangelicals in his base by speaking of needing to be a more “tolerant” party. “Evangelicals start to grab the Excedrin bottles when they hear ‘tolerance’ because they think ‘oh no the GOP is changing and the whole gay marriage situation,'” said Brody on his show.
Here was a golden opportunity for Priebus as the head of one of the two major parties in the country to show real leadership and speak frankly with his base. He could have told them, “I know you have your feelings on this issue, but you’re in the minority and that group is shrinking fast. You’re looking outdated, hateful and frankly downright mean. Most people have figured out now that two dudes having sex has no impact whatsoever on society, especially when those two dudes want to be in a loving, committed marriage with one another. In other words, Evangelicals, you’re going to have to get over it.”
He could have said all of that. He could have been up front and told them that the future of the party’s national relevance was at stake, and the more they clung to their antiquated ideologies the more they would look like the slavers and segregationists of bygone eras. He didn’t do that though. Instead Priebus found yet another way to excuse away and justify his party’s staunch and stubborn opposition to societal evolution. Instead of leveling with the Luddites in his party, Priebus hurled platitudes about “love” and “grace.”
“I don’t know if I’ve used the word ‘tolerance,’ I don’t really care for that word myself. I don’t have a problem with it, I just think it has another meaning politically that can go the other direction,” Reince told Brody. I don’t know what “other” direction he meant that “tolerance” can go, but the only direction I know is towards equality and liberty. I thought Republicans considered those aphrodisiacs though, so I can’t quite figure out why he’d be so resistant to anything that would bring more of that kind of stuff about. So first Priebus just flatly denies that the GOP has to change their views on tolerating homosexuals, and then he gives them the most nonsensical justification for their intolerance.
When the RNC chairman said, “…our principles have to be draped in the concepts of grace, love and respect and that’s not code language, that’s the New Testament, so I don’t think there should be any problem with that thinking within our party…it’s sometimes like our moms used to tell us, it’s how you say it,” you see how effortlessly Priebus talks out of both sides of his mouth. What kind of “grace, love, and respect” is exemplified in laws that tell homosexuals they aren’t allowed to get married because “God says so” anyway? Then there’s the second half of that statement that really tells you everything you need to know about how dedicate the Republicans are to changing their image. When he says “it’s how you say it” that’s absolutely code for “just find a new way to say ‘we hate the gays’ without having to say ‘we hate the gays.’
Just repackage the hate speech and no one will notice; that’s what Reince is trying to sell there.