Because that’s how they handle the issue of sexuality themselves. Keep it in the closet. (The other closet, not that ‘prayer closet’ – which doesn’t get used much by today’s crop of budding theocrats.)
It’s ironic. Although conservative evangelicals (who are now the power base of the Republican party) claim to be the champions of morality, they have such a hard time living up to their own standards. Sure, liberals have their share of fallen angels, but rarely does the left claim to be the standard bearer of morality. Yet it is common for the most strident of the ‘moral majority’ to find themselves in the public spotlight with their pants down, sometimes quite literally.
Why do so many conservative, evangelical, Republicans expose themselves doing precisely the opposite of what they say others should be doing? Henry Hyde, Helen Chenowith, Mark Foley, Ted Haggard, Larry Craig, Bob Allen, David Vitters, Glenn Murphy Jr. – the list goes on. How many of these scandals have resulted in the outing of aggressive homophobes? After years of rumors that he might be gay, it looks as if Lindsey Grahamw will soon find himself in the same predicament. What ‘s the deal?
A 1996 psychology experiment conducted at the University of Georgia found strong evidence that (at least among males) “homophobia is apparently associated with homosexual arousal that the homophobic individual is either unaware of or denies.” If this is true, and since most politically conservative evangelicals are vigorously opposed to the ‘gay agenda’, then it makes sense that a significant portion of these people might very well be closet homosexuals. Of course, this is just speculation, yet it does hold up fairly well under the historical evidence. But why would people who are confused (or in denial) about their sexuality gravitate towards the evangelical right-wing of the Republican party?
Is it because, having been forgiven for all their sins, both past and future, these closet homosexuals no longer feel the need to confront and conquer their inner “demons”? That Jesus has already taken care of that for them? Yet eventually many of them will find out that their religion is not sufficient to facilitate lasting personal change (if this type of change is possible or even desirable).
A huge part of Christianity is the idea that we are all broken people who can be healed through the redemptive power of God, as revealed to us by Jesus. But that does not mean that we are somehow magically, perfectly, made ‘whole’ (i.e conforming to someone else’s orthodox world view) – that we are completely changed by God’s grace or the Holy Spirit or the love of Christ. It doesn’t mean that we can let our guard down and expect prayer alone to obliterate years of habitual behavior. Or obviate our personal natures. Nor, apparently, will the threat of punishment, divine or otherwise, accomplish this.
I think a better guess might be found in the attraction they may have to the hard-line theology of neo-evangelism. It’s as if, though perhaps in denial, they suspect that they are ‘bad’ boys in the eyes of God and feel a need to be part of an ideology that embraces the clear-cut rules of stern father figures, from Yahweh to James Dobson.
‘We’ve decided the Bible is the word of God. We don’t have to have a General Assembly about what we believe. It’s written in the Bible. Alright, so we don’t have to debate what we think about homosexual activity. It’s written in the Bible.” -Ted Haggard
‘Some strong-willed children absolutely demand to be spanked, and their wishes should be granted. . . Two or three stinging strokes on the legs or buttocks with a switch are usually sufficient to emphasize the point, ‘You must obey me.’ ” – James Dobson
“Part of my life is so repugnant and dark, I’ve been warring against it all my life…the dirt I thought was gone would resurface … the darkness increased and dominated” -Ted Haggard
Christian fundamentalist parents, James Dobson included, should know by now that children cannot be spanked into submission, not unless the goal is to create sadly warped versions of themselves. Who has ever really benefited from this? What type of person is attracted to an intolerant, domineering and violent task master? For many of these people violence comes to be associated with love.
“In Revelation, Jesus is a prize-fighter with a tattoo down His leg, a sword in His hand and the commitment to make someone bleed. That is the guy I can worship. I cannot worship the hippie, diaper, halo Christ because I cannot worship a guy I can beat up” – Mark Driscoll
The threat of punishment, even the ultimate punishment of Hell, apparently cannot compel people to change their natures beyond a superficial level. It can, however, compel them to mimic the doctrinaire natures of their overlords, even to the point of absurd and shameful hypocrisy. Or develop an appetite for hate filled language, perhaps even violence. History has provided us with an undeniable pattern.
“People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela