Hold the hypocrisy for a minute. Just a minute. please.

I don’t know where to begin, but I need to say something. It’s starting to become a problem for me. For me. And I’m the one who is supposed to be on the side of the people going, “ha! caught you! we knew it! see! I told you!” Except I’m not really on that side. It doesn’t help my argument.

Maybe it’s because I take this whole “cultural discourse about sex” thing seriously.

Meet George Rekers, the politically influential Baptist minister who promotes those damaging homosexuality cures — busted earlier this month vacationing (and lying about) a stud he found on rentboy.com.

Not two weeks later — today, officially — anti-abortion, anti-sex research anti-sex ed Indiana Congressman Republican Mark Souder resigns after getting caught having sex in public parks with a staffer. Not just any staffer, but the co-worker he made a number of ideological and, yes, politically influential videos with: videos promoting abstinence. Yes, this guy actively foiled sex ed in public schools and research on sexual health while our pregnancy and STD rates among teens spiked, and devastated young lives. He wouldn’t let us tell kids how to use condoms while one in three of them got sick from not using them — while he sat on camera saying “just say no to sex” with some lady he then fucked in a public park (behind his wife’s back, and despite the oath he swore to honor his office and workplace).

I know, this happens all the time. I usually just don’t care. I mean, no one is surprised anymore. Plus, that someone could be such a total asshole is kind of a non-story, and we know that until we get real sex journalism in MSM we’ll be sifting through a lot of non-stories. When I wrote for the Chron, sometimes the old dudes in the newsroom would get all red in the face and creepily tell me I should write about [whatever latest political sex scandal was in the headlines]. I rarely did unless it had a tie to something beyond the hypocrisy. Sex scandals are only scandalous if you’re scandalized by sex. I know my readers are more sophisticated than that.

I think I hit a wall with this month’s extremes. The problem is, I can’t do my job unless one of these people — my alleged ideological opposition — is honest. Are any of these anti-gay, anti-sex pundits or policymakers for real? There’s no question that I, or people like me, are what we say we are. I am pro-gay, pro-choice, and sex-positive. No one is going to bust me with photos of me campaigning for homosexual cures. Or making pro-abstinence videos. The idea of seeing me do anything in my personal life that undermines or counters my public positions on sexuality, is laughable.

So it’s troubling that I can’t say the same about my foes. And everyone knows this. It is a given.

I worry. I want to make this count. I look forward to being on camera and engaging online/in print with people whose views are opposite to mine. I enjoy these things. I am made for it. But next time, I feel like I want to take my next opponent aside, and say, hey. Reverend Antisex, Ms. Antiporn: you gotta level with me. Before I go in front of people whose opinions matter to me, just tell me one thing: Do you mean it? Do you really mean it? Because if we go out there and do this thing where we have a civil argument in a battle for public opinion, and by Friday you’re in the Washington Post with your 18-year-old boyfriend and a fistful of Max Hardcore videos, just stop now. Don’t waste my time. My argument won’t mean shit if yours is a lie.

And if they’re all liars, then fine. We can all move on to issues that need us.

Image of Anna S with a hammer from this gallery.

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  1. Dan Savage makes a point of mentioning whenever an outspoken anti gay activist gets caught doing things like this at the beginning of his podcast.
    It happens remarkably often.

  2. Conservative and religious leaders who fall from grace in this way do not limit their hypocrisy to just sex… but that’s the scandalous attention grabber that it apparently fit to print. The hypocrisy is not limited to their leadership either.

    This is why abstinence only sex [non]education will never work… people who have sex telling other people to not have sex. It’s as if the conservative double standard is so ingrained that they no longer see it. I’m sure Mark Souder thought (and still thinks) he’s an upstanding guy.

  3. It’s not that they’re intellectually dishonest–though that’s a (BIG) problem–it’s that they’ve accepted intellectual dishonesty as an essential part of their discourse. How do you debate someone unbound by reason, whose only mental criterion is convenience?

    Impossible, and for a polity that requires serious deliberation, dangerous.

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