In today’s Washington Update, the Family Research Council says that letter GOProud participate in CPAC is like Coke letting Pepsi share its commercials and boldly declares that “conservatives and homosexual activists cannot coexist in a movement predicated on social values”:
[W]e continue to believe in the founding principles behind CPAC–even if some of its organizers seem to have forgotten … FRC has chosen not to partner with a “conservative” event that places the protection of marriage on the same plane as redefining it. Would CPAC team up with the Brady Campaign which fights to restrict–if not abolish–the Second Amendment? Would it collaborate with groups who promote doubling capital gains taxes? Regardless of what CPAC organizers may believe, conservatives and homosexual activists cannot coexist in a movement predicated on social values. This has nothing to do with whether individual homosexuals should be allowed to attend CPAC, or whether they are capable of holding conservative positions on some issues. We recognize that some organizations represented at CPAC are silent on the issue of homosexuality. But organizations whose whole reason for existence is to promote the forced public affirmation of homosexual conduct should not be welcomed at CPAC, because that is not-by any stretch of the imagination-a “conservative” agenda. By allying itself with liberal social organizations, ACU is abandoning at least a third of the conservative movement.
Our participation in CPAC–or lack of it–has absolutely no bearing on our ability to love and dialogue with people who disagree with us. As I’ve said before, we’ll debate the other side on issues like marriage anytime–anywhere. But the suggestion that conservatives should debate marriage on our own turf is demeaning and downright deceptive. This is a fundamental principle that shouldn’t be up for debate in any conservative gathering. If the policy is not up for discussion, why foster the impression? If it is, then make that clear upfront. This is a matter of basic integrity. Other coalition members, who question the wisdom of our stand, should realize that this is a fight for more than social values. If marriage is fair game at CPAC, which issues are not? Limited government? National security? Social, economic, and defense conservatism form an integrated and indivisible whole.
Reaching out to new allies is a worthy goal, but not at the cost of driving a deep wedge in the movement that was unified to bring change to Washington this fall. Some of our friends have criticized FRC’s decision by drawing the scriptural parallel of Jesus eating with sinners. But this isn’t Jesus eating with sinners–it’s Jesus partnering with them to open a restaurant!