The GOP and Gays: Confusion or Compromise?

By Michael Brown Published on July 23, 2016

What message is the Republican party sending out to America?

Republican leaders proudly announced that they had drafted “the most conservative platform in modern history,” yet Peter Thiel, an out and proud gay billionaire, who was a featured speaker on the last night of the RNC, denigrated the “fake culture wars” and made clear he did not affirm all of his party’s platform. And he was warmly received by the crowd.

What are we to make of this? (Note also that Thiel spoke the same night as evangelical leader Tony Perkins, who helped craft the party’s conservative platform.)

The gay activist Human Rights Campaign (better known as the HRC, which, appropriately mirrors the initials of Hillary Rodham Clinton), has launched a Dump Trump website because of his “dangerous positions on issues of LGBTQ equality,” stating that Trump “doubled down on his anti-LGBTQ agenda by putting Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on the ticket.”

In contrast, controversial gay conservative Milo Yiannapoulis has called Trump “the most pro-gay candidate possibly in American electoral history,” noting that his “gays for Trump” event at the RNC sold out within 24 hours.

How can both be right?

On June 14, Trump tweeted, “Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs,” with obvious reference to radical Muslims, something that he reiterated in his acceptance speech.

Yet Trump has repeatedly affirmed to evangelical leaders that he is in their corner, that he will champion their right to freedom of speech, and that he will appoint justices in the mold of Scalia who would differ with the Court’s Obergefell decision last year. (The Dump Trump website scathingly documents all this.)

How can Trump stand in full solidarity with both LGBT activists and conservative Christian leaders? And aren’t most LGBT leaders in America more concerned with conservative Christians than radical Muslims, at least for the moment?

I conducted a Twitter poll asking, “Whose perceived rights does @realDonaldTrump most support?” Not surprisingly, the responses were: 18% LGBT; 15% Conservative Christian; 13% Both; 54% Unclear.

After Peter Thiel spoke on Thursday night, Tony Perkins was flooded with reporters asking him if he was “outraged” that Thiel spoke after him.

He answered “no,” explaining that, “While I may disagree with someone’s choices, this is a political party (unlike the Democrats’) that allows people with differing views to take part.”

But, he added, “That said, the stated principles of the Republican Party clearly reflect the view of the majority of Republican voters, which is that natural marriage and sexuality are sacred.”

I certainly hope that is true, but do “the majority of Republican voters” really understand these issues, let alone understand why the party platform is so conservative? And given the fact that voters have rallied around Trump’s nationalism rather than his conservativism, how much do they care where he stands on the (anything but “fake”) culture wars?

My own take is that Trump truly wants to stand for religious liberty, truly wants to be a champion of conservative Christians, and truly wants to appoint conservative justices. At the same time, I assume he has had many LGBT friends over the years and that he truly wants to protect them (and others) from radical Islam and that he wants to be perceived as their champion too.

How can he do both? Obviously, he cannot accomplish all of those goals at the same time (although unequivocally, we all stand together against the oppressive goals of radical Islam as well as for the physical protection of those who identify as LGBT). It’s my opinion that Trump has not thought through the ramifications of standing as a champion of both conservative Christians and LGBTs, which raises the obvious question of, “So where do we go from here?”

It is as simple as Matt Barber’s proposal: “If Mr. Trump will make a very public guarantee that, if elected, he will work tirelessly to implement the 2016 GOP platform, such pledge, followed by subsequent overt acts, would go a long way toward winning over his many remaining conservative naysayers.”

Here we can learn from the Democratic Party, which, as Perkins noted, is unlikely to have a speaker rostrum at their DNC as diverse as the speakers at the RNC this past week. But that is also why they have done such a good job of advancing their agenda: The party unites around its radical, liberal platform without apology, and when Democrats have the White House, they unashamedly advance that platform, especially when picking new justices to the Court.

If the Republicans are equally serious about their platform, they should warmly embrace the Peter Thiels and Milos of this world while saying to them, “Just be sure you know what you’re signing up for!” Hopefully, Donald Trump will make that easier by unreservedly affirming the platform as it stands, telling America, “If you elect me, this is what you get.”

Print Friendly
Comments ()
The Stream encourages comments, whether in agreement with the article or not. However, comments that violate our commenting rules or terms of use will be removed. Any commenter who repeatedly violates these rules and terms of use will be blocked from commenting. Comments on The Stream are hosted by Disqus, with logins available through Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or G+ accounts. You must log in to comment. Please flag any comments you see breaking the rules. More detail is available here.
  • Chip Crawford

    Perceptions vary. I understood Mr. Thiel to reference the Democrats’ fake culture wars, as they are the ones most taken up with the subject. And, I understood Mr. Trump to reference the Orlando nightclub killer and particular participants and state that he would protect the community against radical Islamist terrorists (who target gays) instead of a general cover on their chosen lifestyle. Thus, I did not see a conflict between the two references.

  • GOP policy is very simple. Only Christians are permitted to slaughter gays, and it must be done in Jesus’ name.

    • Jim

      Christians do not slaughter anyone. Try actually reading the Bible. No where in the New Testament does it advocate killing of anyone for any sin, unless you count the Pharisees who Jesus didn’t get along with and constantly stood against. And the GOP and Christian are not equivalent.

    • Gary

      We don’t kill bltgqfsp. At least not right now. When Jesus returns, he will get rid of them.

    • Jeff J

      The usual stupid lies.

  • Don Hogue

    The GOP and Trump, confusion or compromise?

  • Gary

    I don’t trust anyone who has “gay friends”. If you are friendly with bltgqfsp, it means you don’t oppose them, and they know it. If they thought you opposed them, they would not be friends with you. Trump cannot be trusted. But, a Trump that is right part of the time is better than a Hellary who is wrong all the time.

  • jjgrndisland

    The left does have a knack for choosing names that hide their real agenda. If they were honest (and they are not, ever) HRC would be Homosexual Rights Campaign, but by deceitfully calling it Human Rights Campaign they present themselves as benefitting ALL human beings, which is a big lie on steroids.

  • Royce E. Van Blaricome

    It used to be that it was the Party Platform that you elected folks on. That’s gone. The “most conservative platform in the history of the party” means absolutely NOTHING when the leader of the Party has openly admitted that he won’t follow it. Touting the platform is nothing more than another deceptive attempt to get votes. The GOP no longer stands for anything other than beating the Democrats, winning, and keeping power. To do so they will capitulate and compromise on anything and everything.

    The clearest, most stark example of the GOP actually demonstrating they are the Democrats of 40yrs go was the response from those in the crowd during the Cruz speech. First, Cruz never pledged to “endorse” but only “support” Trump. And that he did with his “Congratulations” and other comments. Secondly, I’d like to know one thing Cruz said in that speech that any Constitutional Conservative or Christian could disagree with??

    For Cruz to have “endorsed” Trump it would have revealed him to be the typical unprincipled, untrustworthy politician that all those Trump supporters loathe. One of the things that the Trumpites laud Trump for is his refusal to ever admit he made a mistake or to apology for anything. And yet they excoriate Cruz for standing on his principles and integrity. This strikes me as the height of hypocrisy.

    And this hypocrisy was fully displayed during the speech by Peter Thiel. The same crowd that booed Cruz off the stage and became so unruly as to have the need for Heidi to be physically escorted out of the hall previously the same day gave a rounding applause to Peter Thiel. Thiel, a man who is co-founder of PayPal reneged on his promise to build an office in NC after the “Bathroom Bill” was passed. Cruz booed for falsely accused of not living up to his promise and Thiel applauded for wrongly breaking his. Cruz booed for exhorting the crowd to vote their conscience and Thiel applauded for bragging about his Homosexuality and obviously searing his. Cruz booed for exhorting the crowd to vote for Constitutional Conservatives that create jobs and Thiel applauded for breaking his promise and taking hundreds or thousands of jobs away from NC. Cruz was roundly booed for standing on principle and integrity and for not giving some gushy, malarkey-laden speech that would have been lying about Trumps wonderful attributes while Thiel received thunderous applaud on announcing he’s “proud to be gay” AFTER just a couple days before the GOP putting a plank in their platform defining Marriage as between one man and one woman. Are we to believe that Thiel and Trump actually support that plank? So who’s the real hypocrite?

    Confusion or Comprise? Does it really matter? I don’t think so. What matters is that the GOP has made great strides to once again relegate God to the sidelines. And that will NOT help heal this country.

  • Laurelmarycecilia

    Hate the sin; love the sinner. All lives deserve the protection of the government. As for having ‘gay’ friends…. I have friends some who drink too much, some who gossip too much, some who are mean spirited and judgmental. But, since I’m a ‘work in progress’, it’s not a big deal. ‘Sides having such friends provides the opportunity to occasionally, with Charity, drop a bit of Catholic Truth into the conversation.

Greater Purpose
Paula White-Cain
More from The Stream
Connect with Us