Republican Texas Governor Rick Perry addressed the Commonwealth Club of California Wednesday night. The former Presidential candidate, who is thinking about running again in 2016, spoke to the crowd in San Francisco about a variety of topics, ranging from climate change to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s recent primary loss. However, he shocked the crowd, and perhaps put the final nail in the coffin of his Presidential ambitions, when he compared homosexuals to alcoholics and suggested that gays should just refrain from homosexual activity, much like an alcoholic should not drink.
Perry was on stage being interviewed by the Commonwealth Club’s Greg Dalton. During the interview, the Texas GOP’s official platform was brought up, which includes the widely-discredited practice of reparative therapy for gays. This is where a gay or lesbian person is taught, typically by a ‘person of faith,’ to reject and repress homosexual impulses and embrace heterosexuality. Perry said he was unsure if the therapy worked when an audience member asked Perry if the therapy works . Dalton then followed up by asking Perry if he thought homosexuality was a disorder. Perry answered with the following:
“Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that. I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way.”
Yep. Perry feels that gays and lesbians just need to not be themselves because it is bad behavior. I guess Perry thinks that by comparing homosexuality to alcoholism or other substance abuse, it isn’t nearly as offensive as the normal conservative route of bringing up bestiality and pedophilia when talking about gay people. He likely thinks he is showing some type of empathy.
This isn’t the first time that Perry has claimed that homosexuality and alcoholism are similar and that homosexuals just need to learn to not engage in their “lifestyle.” In 2008, Perry wrote the following in his book, “On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts are Worth Fighting For”:
“Even if [homosexuality] were [a genetic predisposition], this does not mean we are ultimately not responsible for the active choices we make. Even if an alcoholic is powerless over alcohol once it enters his body, he still makes a choice to drink. And, even if someone is attracted to a person of the same sex, he or she still makes a choice to engage in sexual activity with someone of the same gender.”
Perry’s view is extremely offensive, but he is hardly alone. Many religious conservatives feel that homosexuality is merely a ‘lifestyle choice’ and gays and lesbians need to just to learn to have a stronger desire to break away from that behavior. They feel that sexual activity should only be between a man and a woman and anything else is an abomination in the eyes of God. Therefore, the laws of our states and nation need to reflect God’s will, and we need to do whatever possible to get the sinners to adhere to the only true laws, which are those written in the Bible. And the Bible’s laws need to be directly reflected by our nation’s laws.
The viewpoint of the religious right is that we need to torture young men and women to think ‘the right way.’ They also feel that this is a Christian nation and that, whether you are Christian or not, you need to follow the guidelines of the Bible, and specifically, the evangelical interpretation of Christian ideology. Therefore, you will have the moral crusaders and Christian warriors like Perry and Mike Huckabee pushing themselves into the national conversation. The thing is, the vast majority of this country isn’t buying what their selling anymore.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).