Right-Wing Conference Dumps Ann Coulter for Speaking at Homocon
A few months ago, right wing firebrand Ann Coulter reacted to words of advice from a Canadian University official with stringent claims that she was being silenced and was the victim of a "hate crime." But how will Coulter respond now that her own fellow conservatives have dumped her from a "Taking Back America" conference for agreeing to speak her piece at a gay conservative group’s event?
Anti-gay religious news site WorldNetDaily announced in an Aug. 17 article that Coulter had been disinvited from the WND event, which is slated to take place on Sept. 17, because Coulter has accepted an offer to speak at Homocon, an event scheduled for Sept. 25 that is sponsored by conservative gay group GoProud. Coulter had previously been scheduled to appear as a keynote speaker at WND’s "Taking Back America" event, but that invitation was rescinded by WND.
WorldNetDaily describes its "Taking Back America" conference as being "about freedom, the freedom the founding generation of leaders fought for in establishing the United States." By "freedom," WND seemed to mean a legal curtailing individual choices, based on a specific notion of morality: "It is time to choose the kind of country in which we want to live--whether we want to live under the rule of law or under the rule of man," text at the WND site read.
"The choice is simple: the world of standards and morality, self-government and accountability to God or the world of tyranny and ever-changing moral codes enforced by government," continued the text. "The only way we can reestablish our freedom--our God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness--is to break the hammerlock of statism and the notion that moral relativism holds the answers to ordering people’s passions and behavior." The text did not indicate what agency, if not government, would enforce this brand of freedom.
WND condemned GoProud’s sponsorship of a conservative conference earlier this year, and the site’s editor and CEO, Joseph Farah, said that dropping Coulter was the only thing to do given that she was, he suggested, lending credibility to the gay conservative group.
"Ultimately, as a matter of principle, it would not make sense for us to have Ann speak to a conference about ’taking America back’ when she clearly does not recognize that the ideals to be espoused there simply do not include the radical and very ’unconservative’ agenda represented by GOProud," Farah told his own news site.
"Earlier this year, GOProud was permitted to sponsor the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, the biggest event of its kind," Farah noted, going on to recall that various anti-gay groups dropped out of the conference rather than attend an event that had been partially underwritten by a gay organization. "GOProud is about infiltration of the conservative movement and dividing it from within with twisted and dangerous ideas way out of the mainstream of American public opinion," Farah continued. "Ann Coulter is, I’m afraid, validating this effort for money."
The article stated that Coulter would be welcome to continue as an op-ed writer for the site, and Farah drew a distinction between allowing people of differing political views to publish at WND and allowing people who speak to other groups to speak also at a WND event. "There is simply no room there for compromisers or for people who accept money from those determined to destroy the moral fabric required for self-governance and liberty," said Farah of the event’s roster of speakers.
Coulter Gagged by the Right?
To Coulter, Farah directed pointed questions about her appearance at GoProud’s Homocon event. "Do you not understand you are legitimizing a group that is fighting for same-sex marriage and open homosexuality in the military--not to mention the idea that sodomy is just an alternate lifestyle?" Farah asked.
"That’s silly," Coulter rejoined, going on to tell Farah, "I speak to a lot of groups and do not endorse them. I speak at Harvard and I certainly don’t endorse their views. I’ve spoken to Democratic groups and liberal Republican groups that loooove abortion.
"The main thing I do is speak on college campuses, which is about the equivalent of speaking at an al-Qaida conference," Coulter continued. "I’m sure I agree with GOProud more than I do with at least half of my college audiences. But in any event, giving a speech is not an endorsement of every position held by the people I’m speaking to. I was going to speak for you guys, [even though] I think you’re nuts on the birther thing (though I like you otherwise!)."
The "birther thing" Coulter referred to is a persistent belief among the right-wing fringe that President Obama was not, in fact, born in the United States. So-called "birthers" claim that in absence of a "long form" birth certificate from the state of Hawaii, they will not be convinced that Obama was born here and not in Kenya. The Obama campaign provided a so-called "short form" birth certificate during Obama’s 2008 campaign. Hawaii officials say that there is no so-called "long form" certificate, and that the "short form" is the only legal document Obama--or anyone else born at the time in Hawaii--would have to prove their place of birth.
Coulter’s response to Farah was markedly different from the thrashing she gave last March to University of Ottawa’s provost for what Coulter characterized as his attempt to "silence" her by cautioning Coulter about the legal differences in what is considered to be hate speech in Canada, as opposed to the U.S.
"Since arriving in Canada I’ve been accused of thought crimes, threatened with criminal prosecution for speeches I hadn’t yet given and denounced on the floor of the Parliament (which was nice because that one was on my ’bucket list’)," Coulter wrote in a March 24 column at Conservative News. "Apparently Canadian law forbids ’promoting hatred against any identifiable group,’ which the provost, Francois A. Houle advised me, ’would not only be considered inappropriate, but could in fact lead to criminal charges.’
"I was given no specific examples of what words and phrases I couldn’t use," Coulter continued, "but I take it I’m not supposed to say, ’F----you, Francois.’ " Coulter went on to declare herself the victim of a hate crime due to Houle’s note. In the event, Coulter’s appearance had to be canceled due to safety concerns when a mob of students--described by Coulter as "rioting liberals"--became increasingly unruly before Coulter’s speech.
For its part, GoProud has expressed delight at having Coulter speak at Homocon 2010, which is the inaugural edition of the event. "I’m so tickled that she agreed to do it," Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of GOProud told the media. "Think about it: She’s hilarious, she’s provocative and, honestly, our folks just love her."
To GoProud’s invitation, Coulter reportedly replied, "Of course I’ll do it. I’m the right-wing Judy Garland!" That exclamation has found its way to the event’s poster, which features a caricature drawing of Coulter and is emblazoned with the slogan, "The right wing Judy Garland!"
Homocon has drawn sponsors from the rightward end of the political spectrum, noted Christopher Taylor in an Aug. 17 op-ed piece at the Washington Examiner. Taylor questioned the purpose of Homocon and GoProud, promoting a version of conservatism that the rightward fringe might not have recognized. "One of the most basic principles of conservatism as opposed to the modern left is that we treat everyone as Americans in America, not as any form of hyphenated-American," wrote Taylor. "Conservatives shouldn’t care what color you are, how tall you are, if you’re male or female, they don’t care if you are left handed or ambidextrous, it simply doesn’t matter."
Taylor went on to write, "Having a Homocon for gay conservatives is a slouch toward this identity group-politics, where we focus on the ideas and interests of each specific specially split off group, as if you can really take human beings and jam them into little boxes of like-minded and like-cultured people."
For gay conservatives, the principle values of conservatism still apply--a catalogue, as defined by Taylor, that includes "limited government, individual responsibility, love of liberty, suspicion of government power, free market capitalism, and equal justice," all of which conservative gay rights proponents say dovetail with GLBT equality.