Professor George's Gaydar

The American Principles Project (APP), founded by conservative Catholic professor Robbie George, seems to have an inordinate fixation on gay people. In dealing with presidential appointments and, now, with the President’s promise to end "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell," Professor George’s organization betrays a bigotry that is at the very least unseemly in a tenured professor.

Of the three Obama administration appointees APP has attacked – issuing "Action Item" alerts calling for people to contact their senators to oppose the nominations – two of the three were gay. The website of APP listed various opinions expressed by the nominees but also made sure to throw out traditional canards against gay people. Of Department of Education official Kevin Jennings, APP wrote that he is "a target of social conservatives for his past drug abuse and what they say is his promotion of homosexuality in schools, is under fresh attack after it was revealed that the pro-gay group he formerly headed recommends books his critics say are pornographic." I especially like the phrase "promotion of homosexuality" for its outdated caricature of gay people as predators. And the concern about "books his critics say are pornographic" puts one in mind of Sweet Alice Moore’s crusade in the early 1970s in Charleston, West Virginia to get such "pornographic" works as "Catcher in the Rye" removed from the school curriculum.


George’s attack on "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" is especially interesting. The APP website has again issued an "Action Alert" to try and prevent the policy from being overturned. They provide a link to an article by a group called Center for Military Readiness (CMR), an outfit which is similarly obsessed with the issue of gays in the military. In CMR’s analysis of the 2008 election, the first four items on their issues list were all related to gays in the military or, as they nicely put it, creating a "San Francisco military." Surely, Professor George, if not the people at CMR, knows that before San Francisco was a city, he was a saint, and a pacifist, so the allusion to a "San Francisco military" is as offensive to Catholics as it is to gays. Of course, APP earlier cited Sen. Inhofe as an expert on climate change which is a bit like citing Bishop Williamson as an expert on the Holocaust.

What "American Principle" is offended by letting gays serve in the military? Of course, APP notes that the military culture is different from civilian culture and that the military should not be a place to score political points. That argument sort of worked until yesterday, when Admiral Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, told Congress that ending "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" was "the right thing to do" and that ending it involved issues of institutional as well as personal integrity. And, of course, it would be curious to know how APP’s argument comports with Harry Truman’s decision in 1948 to integrate the U.S. military. Actually, one of the few clear, obvious "American Principles" that seems to apply to this discussion is the principle of civilian control of the military. But, Professor George’s organization is turning itself into the intellectual heir of General Douglas MacArthur and his fellow rightwing crazies, so perhaps we should not be surprised that this particular principle, still less recognition of Truman’s courageous and correct stand, do not meet Professor George’s partisan standards. The APP is trading in simple bigotry.

All these supporters of banning gays from serving openly in the U.S. military should be asked what they think of the career of Baron von Steuben. The Baron’s statue is one of four foreigners that grace Lafayette Square, across the street from the White House. (Lafayette, Rochambeau and Kosciuszko are the others.) The Baron was in many ways the founder of the U.S. Army, training the Continental Army troops in discipline and drills at Valley Forge. He was also the first known gay man in the U.S. military.

None of this would matter if Professor George was not, in addition to running APP, promoting himself as a leading Catholic intellectual. A recent New York Times profile seemed to indicate that George was the intellectual driving force of the American Catholic bishops. The USCCB, of course, has not taken a stand on "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" because the issue does not involve any Catholic principles either. But, the bishops who support and applaud Professor George should be aware of what they are signing up for. He is not only a thoughtful defender of natural law, he is also the proprietor of a D.C.-based advocacy organization that is embarrassing in its bigotry, especially embarrassing to an intellectual. Especially to a Catholic.

Michael Sean Winters


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8 years 11 months ago
Partial Ecerpt from Center for Military Readiness
Consequences of the Proposed
New “LGBT Law” for the Military
— Policy Analysis — January 2010

Discussion of this issue begins with a simple principle: It is about military readiness and effectiveness not “civil rights ”. [They provide flow chart that] summarizes many reasons why repeal 1993 Eligibility Law would impose heavy burdens on the men and women who volunteer to serve, while undermining military effectiveness in numerous ways.

Gay activists and their liberal allies cannot justify the heavy costs of repealing the 1993 law, which are outlined in the preceding charts.( Chart and full post can be viewed at blog post via "What are the consequences of repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell?"
Posted by: Thomas Peters).

Implementation would result in the voluntary or involuntary loss of thousands of personnel—many in communities, grades, and skills that are not easily replaceable. This would cripple the All-Volunteer Force at a time when we are at war.Personnel remaining would have to face more deployments and potential combat situations with fewer, less-skilled people.

Homosexual activists have made five basic arguments that fall apart upon closer examination. In summary: 1) Everyone can serve in some way, but there is no “civil right” to
serve in the military. 2) Polls of civilians who have little understanding of the military are not as credible as surveys of military personnel showing consistently strong support for the 1993 law. 3) The small, dissimilar militaries of 25 of 200 foreign nations that do not have the same
military obligations?none of which have adopted the extreme agenda being proposed for our military?are not role models for America’s forces.

Furthermore, 4) Consistently small numbers and percentages of people discharged due to homosexuality contradict any claim that a national security emergency exists. 5) Human interest
stories highlighting problems that former military people encountered due to the expendable “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” administrative policy do not justify repeal of the 1993 Eligibility Law that Congress actually passed.

As of January 2010, a formal statement of support for the 1993 Eligibility Law,addressed to the President and Members of Congress, has been personally signed by 1,164
retired Flag & General Officers for the Military, 51 of them of four-star rank. The statement concludes:

“Our past experience as military leaders leads us to be greatly concerned about the impact of
repeal on morale, discipline, unit cohesion, and overall military readiness. We believe that imposing this burden on our men and women in uniform would undermine recruiting and
retention, impact leadership at all echelons, have adverse effects of the willingness of parents who lend their sons and daughters to military service, and eventually break the All-Voluntary Force.”

“As a matter of national security, we urge you to support the 1993 law regarding homosexuals in the military (Section 654, Title 10), and to oppose any legislative, judicial, or
administrative effort to repeal or invalidate the law.”

January 2010

"Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell"... does not involve any Catholic principles". Really, Mr. Winters? Really?
John McGuinness
8 years 11 months ago
I am puzzled by the efforts to marginalize Prof. George, who has been an important pro-life voice as a homohobe.
First, one would get the idea from this article that APP was singularly focussed on homosexual issues.  But if you visit the website, the most prominent advocacy is that on behalf of Bart Stupak, which I would think MSW would agree with.
Second, while the press releases are from an organization Prof. George founded, he did not write the press releases in question, and has not promoted the cause in other fora, such as Mirror of Justice.   Surely many Catholics are prominently involved in organizations that have some unsavory advocacy - both political parties come to mind.
Third - you make three hops of guilt by association to pin homophobia on Prof. George:
* Prof. George founded APP.
* APP linked to a report from CMR.  
* CMR's analysis of the 2008 election used the term ''San Francisco military''
Therefore, Prof. George is a homophobe?  Could any of us stand up to such scrutiny?
BTW, I am Catholic, and do not find the term ''San Francisco military'' offensive.  It is obvious in this context that the release is referring to the city, and not the saint it was named after.  If a USC fan says ''Notre Dame sucks!'' are Catholics obliged to take offense on behalf of Our Lady?
Fourth, there is the aburd comparison of APP's opposition to Kevin Jennings to crusades to remove ''Catcher in the Rye'' from school curricula.  According to the website, the book in question is ''Queering Elementary Education,'' for which Jennings wrote the foreward.  I think it is highly unlikely this work will take a place in the literary canon next to ''Catcher in the Rye.''
What bothers me is not so much the errors themselves, but with the apparent eagerness to attach the charge of Prof. George to homophobia.
I understand that he is a member of the rival political tribe, but his work in establishing intellectual underpinning for respect for life has been invaluable.  Branding him as a bigot undermines this.
This is not to say that he should be immune from criticism when he does something wrong.  But I don't think an organization he founded linking to an artcile by an organization that once used the term ''San Francisco military'' rises to this level.
John McGuinness
8 years 11 months ago
Incidentally, I am inclined to agree that DADT should be repealed.  I just don't think that anyone who disagrees is a bigot.
John McGuinness
8 years 11 months ago
May I also assume that MSW finds the name "San Francisco 49ers" equally offensive, since St. Francis gave away his possessions and lived a life of poverty, which is quite contrary to the gold rushers?
8 years 11 months ago
Fourth, there is the aburd comparison of APP's opposition to Kevin Jennings to crusades to remove ''Catcher in the Rye'' from school curricula. According to the website, the book in question is ''Queering Elementary Education,'' for which Jennings wrote the foreward. I think it is highly unlikely this work will take a place in the literary canon next to ''Catcher in the Rye.''

ROFLMAO, Mr. McGuiness.
Jim McCrea
8 years 11 months ago
The repeal of DADT, like the ultimate sanctioning of same-sex marriage is going to happen sooner or later. 
Don't like it?  Tough stuff, folks.  A whole lot of folks didn't like integration of the military and the broadening of the roles of women therein as well.
They had to get used to it and - the military stands, democracy stands and God remains in His heaven.
8 years 11 months ago
Mr. Winters goes off the deep end here. Has he ever actually READ anything by or about Kevin Jennings? Of course Jennings and his group promote homosexuality! He was a member of ''ACT UP'' and has personally conducted programs and presentations for grammer school students that include recommended reading materials describing homosexual conduct between underage boys. Jennings himself has stated that some of these actions were inappropriate. 'Catcher in the Rye'' my foot!! Mr. Winters can superciliously "Tut tut" all he wants to those backward hill folk in West Virginniai, but I doubt Winters would be pleased to see his children coming home from grade school with Jennings'-recommended sex books.

With respect to DADT and Baron von Steuben, the rumor of Steuben's alleged homosexuality was popularized in the early 1990s by a gay writer, Randy Shilts, who wrote a book in support of gays in the military. Naturally one can now find the claim repeated on gay-related websites all over the web, but reputable historians, including the author of von Steuben's leading biography, say the supporting evidence is scant and unpersuasive. The fact that Mr. Winters accepts it as gospel truth says a lot about his naive credulity when it comes to homosexual propoganda; but his reliance on this alleged fact as an argument to support a policy of allowing gays to serve openly in the military is, frankly, childish.
When it comes to accusing Professor George of bigotry, methinks Mr. Winters doth protest too much.


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