The Foley Scandal

I am so disappointed with what the combination of a Republican president and Republican control of both houses of Congress has done to the U.S. that it’s hard not to take some pleasure as the Republican party self-destructs. The Mark Foley scandal is amazing; once again, it’s not so much the crime but the evident cover up (or lack of follow through) on the part of the House leadership.

On CNN last night, someone from the Family Research Council tried to blame the whole thing on proponents of diversity, suggesting that those promoting LGBT rights have somehow created a Washington culture in which the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives was too intimidated to properly address this issue of sexual harassment, soliciting sex from 16-year old pages, etc. I understand from Andrew Sullivan that the Wall Street Journal has been trying out these talking points, too.

LGBT rights organizations do not promote or defend sex between adults and minors, let alone congressmen trying to seduce congressional pages. And what leads to this sort of behavior is not acceptance of homosexuality as a normal variation of human sexual orientation. It’s the sublimation of sexuality, not its healthy and holistic integration into one’s life, that causes this sort of inappropriate acting out.

Andrew Sullivan, with whom I see eye to eye on so many things that some of my nonconformist queer friends and associates regard me as somewhat disturbed, put it very well in one of his first posts on the scandal:

Equally, the news about Mark Foley has a kind of grim inevitability to it. I don’t know Foley, although, like any other gay man in D.C., I was told he was gay, closeted, afraid and therefore also screwed up. What the closet does to people – the hypocrisies it fosters, the pathologies it breeds – is brutal. There are many still-closeted gay men in D.C., many of them working for a Republican party that has sadly deeply hostile to gay dignity. How they live with themselves I do not fully understand. But I have learned you cannot judge someone’s soul from outside. That I leave to them and their God, and some I count as good friends and good people.

What I do know is that the closet corrupts. The lies it requires and the compartmentalization it demands can lead people to places they never truly wanted to go, and for which they have to take ultimate responsibility. From what I’ve read, Foley is another example of this destructive and self-destructive pattern for which the only cure is courage and honesty.

Well put, Andrew, well put.

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