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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Inspection Report from a Lieutenant of the Culture Wars

Robert Oscar Lopez 
Everywhere Christian conservatives speak of a culture war, and increasingly this refers to sexuality. Sometimes the term surfaces so that people can complain that it’s been lost, and that we should stop fighting it. At other times the left uses “culture wars” as a slur denoting everything the right has supposedly done wrong. We are such prudes that we discourage sexual habits leading to genetic engineering, broken marriages, babies for sale, lying to children, and lifelong hygiene problems.

The term “culture war” requires no embarrassment or apologies. While higher education issues warrant books and discussions, academic problems incur lighter consequences than does the collapse of a nation’s moral scaffolding.

The battles over LGBT are peculiarly complex and require particular care from those willing to assess how social conservatives are doing. Attacked constantly by the left, we so-cons have a tendency to spare ourselves and our comrades the added pain of more criticism. But the defenders of true sexuality—the sacred bond between a man and a woman, as set down by God—need to avoid making the mistakes America has made with feckless strategies in the Middle East. We need to learn from the past and pursue strategies that work.

Our ultimate mission is to save souls by bearing witness, specifically, to the truth that homosexuality is both evil in itself and a sinful gateway to other evils. If we lose sight of that truth or doubt whether it is the truth, we will never make headway.

We must show the world first that there are no homosexuals, for no person’s being is defined by one error. Our mission is not against any person, nor against the “flesh and blood” mentioned in Ephesians 6:12, but rather against the “authorities,” “powers of darkness,” and “spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.”

All the most helpful scriptures challenge us. They speak of demons, spiritual battles, angels, and invisible powers. Though these are real, the language we share with the secular world makes us sound deranged. Perhaps we are embarrassed to speak in ways that sound barbaric and primitive to seculars. If so, we must find a way to articulate our mission so we do not lose our audience. The line between audience awareness and crowd-pleasing is blurry and fraught. We cannot worry so much about sounding strange that we forget what we are doing. We are trying to drive a sin, homosexuality, out of people we love. We must proceed with the ultimate goal of allowing those we love to have joyful lives free from the bondage that homosexual sin imposes on souls.

Paul charts the progressive decadence of a society falling from God in Romans 1. In roughly seven steps, a society goes from [1] knowing God but not honoring Him, to [2] thinking “nonsense”, to [3] replacing God with “images” patterned after mortal creatures they see around them, to [4] exchanging the truth of God for lies about creation, to [5] exchanging natural sexuality with unnatural homosexuality, to [6] filling themselves with evil qualities like “unrighteousness,” “evil,” “greed,” “envy,” “murder,” “quarrels,” “deceit,” and “malice,” to ultimately [7] becoming evil creatures, described by Paul as “gossips,” “slanderers,” “God-haters,” “arrogant” people, “inventors of evil,” rebels “against parents,” “undiscerning” people, “untrustworthy” people, “unloving” people, and “unmerciful” people (Romans 1: 21-31).

Paul’s letter to the Romans clarifies why homosexuality (#5 above) is at once a product of evil, evil itself, and a source of other evils. The progressive depravity serves as a warning that what begins with confused thinking passes, via homosexuality, to a society’s false thinking and toleration of evils, then ultimately the transformation of society’s individuals into evils of their own. Paul’s letter cast a deliberately wide net that includes so many misbehaviors that virtually anyone, even people who have no same-sex desires, could see one of their own sins in the catalogue. Hence Paul states, “you condemn yourself” for you “do the same things” (2:1).

Regardless of how schooled they are, many Christians find it difficult to fight abstractions or disembodied ideas. Thankfully we have a Bible whose truths help us envision spiritual struggles as personal. Unlike in Aristotle's world, the ultimate "end" or aim of our strivings is not a blank concept such as justice or the good, but rather, a person: Jesus Christ. As Paul's letter to the Colossians reminds us, all we do, we do for God, not for men (3:23). This truth spares us Aristotle's complicated formulation of excesses and deficiencies in search of a mean for virtues. All virtues bring us closer to Jesus and all vices distance us from Him. 

The Bible shows us how to see vices as spirits rather than as diffuse trends. Not only the devil but demons appear throughout the Bible, reminding us that vice has a mind of its own, a way of contriving mischief against us. We must outsmart evil the way we would outsmart a person who wants to sabotage us. 

Hence we can think of LGBT not as gay or transgender people--indeed there is no such thing as a person wholly defined by such fictional labels--but rather as ills that attack us as if they had a mind of their own. Let us imagine we have a brother named Sam, who claims he is gay and who sleeps with men. We love Sam, by which we mean the soul that is in Sam and the flesh and blood that Sam's soul wears. To the extent that Sam is enthralled by an evil spirit, brotherly love forbids us from harming Sam’s soul or body, while also forbidding us from avoiding the battle with the demon that’s causing Sam to believe the falsehood that he “is” gay. We fight the abstraction the way we would nonviolently resist a person, by witnessing. At some point we have to convey our message so the demon will know to leave Sam and flee the holiness that we pray will save Sam.

To the vast majority of people in contemporary America, this sounds completely crazy. To defend the word of God is to be shunned by a society steeped in the esteem of fellow men. But we cannot just let people we love be consumed and imperiled by a future separation from God. We have to get those horrible demons out of people and bring peace to our loved ones.

Our mission places us at odds with many approaches we might be enticed to adopt. For instance, some might pressure us into being “for” something and not “against” something, lest we sound mean and negative. Our mission is against something because we fight a real enemy: whatever demonic force, perhaps the devil himself, which continues to darken Christendom’s thoughts about sodomy with the purpose of spreading it and ruining the sexual covenant, then eventually all social covenants.

We are not merely seeking to reduce divorce, reform the adoption system, prevent venereal diseases, or uphold the right of bakers to refuse service to lesbian weddings. While these latter initiatives are praiseworthy, we could do them successfully while still failing in our mission, which is to stop the spread of homosexuality and save those who would, absent our mission, be deceived into believing that homosexual is their identity and destiny. We need to commit ourselves to a strategy that can win.

Ergo I provide a report on where we stand in this so-called culture war, examining LGBT battles in particular. How much headway are we really making for our ultimate purpose, which is the casting out of homosexuality from the brothers and sisters in this world, whom we love so much? How close are we to winning our fellows to the truth that homosexuality is not something anybody is, but rather, a vice that may feel, at times, like it is a soul inside us, when really it is a premeditating distortion, like a demon, convincing whole communities to a falsehood and drawing them away from Jesus?

This report uses nine principles laid out by Carl von Clausewitz in On War, tweaking them to match spiritual warfare rather than the physical firepower of the Napoleonic era. For each of 15 theaters of war, I will grade our efforts based on von Clausewitz’s 9 principles: mass, maneuvers, security, objective, simplicity, unified command, surprise, offensive, and economy.

Mass refers to the basic need for as much concentrated force as possible. Strategy, trickery, and diplomacy can get you to a certain point, but in the end, on spiritual battlefields just as in physical ones, you cannot win if you do not have a critical mass of people and resources on your side. If forced into open conflict, you have to have enough "troops" to be able to prevail against the enemy in straightforward combat. So in the battlefield we choose, we must ask, do we have enough people praying for us on this particular issue? Do we have enough people who share our Christianity and know enough about a particular struggle and care enough, that they will show up and defend us if we get attacked? I would argue that the battle against gay adoption failed because it had no critical mass. The only large contingency against the LGBT agenda consisted of people of faith, who also tended overwhelmingly to support adoption because adoption was always the alternative suggested to abortion. Since the Christians were not going to come out en masse against gay adoption based on the notion that children shouldn't be removed from their mother and father (indeed, most Christians supported doing exactly that for the good of the child), the only way to gain a critical mass would have been to argue that gay adoption was wrong because homosexuality was wrong and children should not be exposed to it. 

Unfortunately, people like me erred in trying to collect allies from the secular left who did not think homosexuality was wrong, but who were against adoption because of its ostensible racist and sexist past. While a handful of leftists would agree with us against gay adoption based on their sense that all adoption was wrong, this tiny handful was not enough to form a battle force, and besides, they all abandoned us eventually because they never wanted to be associated with anybody against homosexuality or abortion. As a result, while there was a critical mass against gay marriage, there was no critical mass against gay adoption, and the latter made it through the courts with almost zero resistance. 

Objective refers to a basic but important principle: Do you have one purpose, and will you stick to that purpose as the battle rages? It is easy, once we've rushed into a melee, to lose your head in the fog of war. As backlash starts and dissension in your own ranks grows, which is going to happen at times, you may succumb to panic and exhaustion. You may change what you are doing, or else start deciding actions based on avoiding further harm, when the actions are actually removing you from the main goal that you started out with. To win a battle, you have to set out knowing what winning is, and you have to remain focused on that even under incredible pressure. The "children's rights" angle of the anti-LGBT struggle suffered in this particular area. As the polemics grew heated, I started backing away from arguments about the gay community's poor suitability for parenting, wanting to avoid the constant barrages from gay activists. I began focusing on vaguer and broader causes, taking on divorce, foster care, and genetic engineering. There were too many goals and I, along with most of the children's rights movement, eventually shattered into fragments.

Maneuver might seem, at first glance, like a negation of objective. It does not negate objective. Maneuver means that you have to be flexible and versatile enough to move quickly during battle, away from fields where you are at a disadvantage, toward fields where you have an advantage. If you are pinned against a bend in a river, as it happened in the Battle of Antietam, your forces need to be trained to get out of the trap. You may have to split into different contingents and then squirm around the enemy (this is supposedly how Julius Caesar defeated Pompey, in the Battle of Pharsalus, according to Plutarch.) This does not mean you are abandoning your objective, but rather, that you are avoiding being trapped in a situation where your enemy has the upper hand. In the world of rhetoric, for example, I learned the hard way about the importance of maneuver when I agreed, foolishly, to appear on Al-Jazeera to debate gay adoption. I was uplinked via Skype, while the hosts in studio had a pro-gay guest, and there were multiple call-ins by video by pro-gay-adoption people, and another pro-gay guest speaking via Skype. The hosts were obviously pro-gay. I was the only one objecting to gay adoption against at least six people, and I was helpless because I was on Skype and could have my mic cut at any time. I should not have allowed myself to get "pinned" that way, like a lieutenant trapped against a river.

Security is an extremely important principle and probably one that conservatives struggle most with. It is the idea that during the battle you have to make sure that your resources and advantages cannot fall into the hands of the enemy. Aside from spies, theft, or raids by the other side, you also have to worry about the loyalty of your partners or in some cases your own troops. In both Afghanistan and Iraq, American troops died when it turned out that local forces were loyal to the guerrilla groups we were fighting, rather than to the Americans. In the fight against the LGBT lobby, I had my fair share of encounters with lapsed security. There was a colleague in California, for example, who had had conflicts with me during my early years on the job. He came to me, however, and told me he had a sudden conversion to Christianity. He intimated that he wanted to go from being a foe to an ally. I entrusted him with a copy of my book and spoke frankly to him about the work I was doing to promote the cause of Christian chastity. However, during my tenure review he brought up things that I'd told him in confidence to make me look bad in front of the rest of the committee. Later someone told me he was bad-mouthing me all over the department behind my back. It is important in our struggles against LGBT not to trust people irresponsibly and to have strong intuitions about who may be an untrustworthy ally.

Surprise is the basic concept that your enemy will be most likely to lose if you hit them in a place, at a time, or in a manner for which they are not prepared. The more that people plan to fight you, the more they will have studied you and accounted for all contingencies. Surprise is always an advantage. A classic example of this is Pearl Harbor, an attack that came when the Americans stationed in Hawaii (then a colony, not a state) had no preparations for it.  When I went to one campus to deliver a speech, I used surprise as well. The queer students' group had protested vociferously against me, but I delivered a speech mostly about the depiction of divorce and family breakdown in television shows, with only sideways and subtle mention of gay adoption. The students tried to "catch" me but had only prepared to take me on by confronting me about gay adoption, and they had no argument for the larger point I was making. 

Unity of command is the principle that you will likely lose a battle if there are too many commanders who do not agree with each other or who do not work together well. A classic example of this was in the Battle of Rhode Island during the Revolutionary War. The Americans wanted to attack the British stronghold, but they were working in tandem with French naval forces. The French diverted their mission northward, while the Americans were left without naval backup and had to retreat. To win, it is important that one group of decision-makers, with a history of working well together and with common outlooks, can make decisions quickly and be heeded. In the fight against LGBT, I foresaw huge disaster as pro-family groups sought to resist homosexual marriage. While state efforts against gay marriage had succeeded in over thirty states, when it came to the national fight, particularly through the federal courts, there were too many groups all seeking to be leaders of the fight against gay marriage. Some wanted only to argue that gay marriage was wrong because children needed a mother and father, while others wanted to argue that homosexuality was wrong and harmful in itself. The camp that predominated in the mainstream press was the camp that wanted a mild, "winsome" opposition to gay marriage based only on religious liberty (but without talk of sodomy being a sin) and on children needing a mother and father (but without discussion of gay parents being bad at raising children). This camp worked hard to distance themselves from works like Robert Reilly's Making Gay Okay, with the result that they were often fighting more with the so-called "extreme" conservatives than with the pro-gay people. The LGBT lobby constantly cited the so-called "extreme" conservatives to tar the whole movement as bigotry, while the "winsome" conservatives wouldn't fight back against those attacks, thinking that by not defending supposed bigotry they would look less like bigots. The end result was that the argument against gay marriage was a soup of clashing ingredients and the LGBTs sailed to victory by 2015.

Simplicity is the principle that battle plans have to be understandable and possible to execute with as few confusing instructions as possible. The more you have to rely on troops understanding counterintuitive gestures or plans, the more you multiply the risk of unforced errors and defeat. In my opinion, a good example of this was the Maginot Line in France. In a decade, the French built a complicated and expensive network of tunnels, forts, and artillery installations, with the goal of preventing the Germans from invading them. The Germans opted for a simple plan: they drove a massive force of tanks around the Maginot Line and conquered France within weeks. I would draw the parallel here to the pro-family movement's decision to focus its legal arguments against gay marriage on Constitutional grounds of "states' rights." Many pro-family lawyers were convinced this was a strong argument based on a complicated jurisprudence that nobody outside of the legal profession understood. Many people who could bear witness to the importance of gay marriage were everyday people who just wanted to say that homosexuality was wrong and marriage between a man and a woman was something special and God-ordained. Few such people could articulate the strange view, which they did not even hold, that the problem with gay marriage was that that courts had historically given matters not enumerated in the Constitution to state governments. As a result, there were very few people who could make this argument and they became overworked; they began, anyway, with an academic vocabulary that confused and alienated most of the public.

Offensive is the notion that in order to win, you must be the one to initiate the use of force wherever possible. Defense is always a weak position. The fight against LGBT was severely weak in this principle, since almost all leaders on all battlefronts restricted themselves to reacting after LGBTs had pressed forward with some new outrage. In the defensive mode, usually, the pro-family side had to spend so much time proving they were not bigots that they had no energy left to attack the LGBTs, even when there were copious points on which the LGBT position was exceedingly weak. 

Lastly, economy is the principle that in any battle, each side has limited resources. It is important to allocate resources intelligently. In this arena, as well, the pro-family side made many mistakes. While there were many spokespeople and activists who had devoted their blood, sweat, and tears to the movement against the LGBTs, donors and think-tanks felt comfortable with a small set of speakers who were sent to represent the pro-family side over and over again. Even the best advocate in the world could not possibly appeal to all the groups and articulate all the points, which one could accomplish if a diverse range of representatives received funding and backing. While I was bad on many of the other principles, I can honestly say I was fairly good on the question of economy, because I sought to send out as many new people as I could. When it came to children of gays or COGs, I prayed often for humility and asked Jesus to rid me of envy, so I could send others like Katy Faust, Brittany Klein, Moira Greyland, and Brandi Walton to speak instead of me.
Since each principle has a scale of 1-4, the lowest conservatives can receive in a “theater” is zero while the highest is 36. Let’s take a look:

1.     Free Speech: Conservatives have sought to counter the LGBT push to criminalize or demonize the statements of people who do not agree with them. Total=11/36
Mass
Objective
Maneuver
Security
Surprise
Unity Of
Command
Simplicity
Offensive
Economy
2
1
1
0
0
2
4
1
0

While for simplicity conservatives receive a 4 because they do have one simple message repeated over and over again—the First Amendment, free exchange of ideas, etc.—the singularity of the message makes conservatives “stuck” and unable to maneuver enough. It is great to fight for the freedom to speak, but this fight becomes futile if no moment comes when you actually speak the particular truth that freedom allows you to proclaim: homosexuality is wrong and we need to save people from it with the love and grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
God gives us an advantage here, which we have neglected. Research disproves most claims about homosexuality. Yet the strongholds go unclaimed, for conservatives feign value neutrality and shrink from condemning sodomy, always opting for a vague argument that simply everyone should have a chance to speak.
On economy, conservatives fail. They have an oversupply of free-speech watchdogs but these do not land serious blows against the left’s censorship. On security, the right gets a zero because they often jump to support free-speech heroes who completely disagree with them. Many conservatives joined forces to press the university who investigated one liberal woman for a Title IX violation, for instance, and opted to do little about my case in California, even though I was under much greater duress and actually lost my job. Now she uses her more victorious platform to extol sexual laxity while I lost the platform I could have used to promote chastity.
The left has three playbooks ready for every right-wing argument on free speech, so surprise is a big flop too. On free speech conservatives are almost entirely on the defensive, reacting to people who try to censor handpicked poster cases.

2.    Religious Liberty: Conservatives have sought to counter the LGBT movement so Christians may participate in civic and economic life without having to sacrifice Biblical doctrines on chastity. Total=13/36
Mass
Objective
Maneuver
Security
Surprise
Unity
Of
Command
Simplicity
Offensive
Economy
4
1
0
3
0
3
2
0
1

On religious liberty, there’s room to grow. For mass and security, I give strong marks. There are many Christians committed to this cause. Those who commit to religious liberty are among the least likely people in America to be “flipped” to the other side. For simplicity and unified command, I give middling scores. Christians confuse themselves by advocating, as they often do, for all religions to speak their views, including views that cast Christianity as false. The objective remains unclear. If the Bible is the Word of God and the only truth, then how can believers support “freedom” over truth? There are plentiful secular and left-wing organizations willing to defend Muslims or liberation theology or atheists, so the time and resources of a Christian mission are a misallocation of resources if the argument is simply "religious liberty" rather than "the truth of Jesus Christ." Are they fighting to bring others to the Word of God or simply begging others not to bother them as they live out the Word in their private lives? The focus on non-specific “liberty” leads inevitably to the impression that they do not take seriously the truth that sodomy is an abomination to be resisted.

3.    Millennials: Conservatives have sought to win back the allegiance of people born after 1980, with the goal of getting them to show the same support for traditional sexuality, which they currently show toward anti-abortion. (This generation has high rates of pro-life, but also pro-LGBT affiliation.) Total=9/36
Mass
Objective
Maneuver
Security
Surprise
Unity
Of
Command
Simplicity
Offensive
Economy
1
0
0
0
3
0
0
4
1

On one principle—offensive­—conservatives score high with millennials. The few right-wing youth who exist are among the bravest and boldest. The score for surprise runs high as millennials’ desire for constant cleverness allows for new twists; the flamboyant Milo and sassy Tomi Lahren exemplify this. Despite their bold, refreshing approaches, these conservative voices are contradictory, muddled, prone to lapsing into liberalism, and directionless. The downfall of both Milo and Lahren within weeks of each other serves as a cautionary tale.

4.    Thought Leaders: Conservatives have sought to position sympathizers in high-profile places where they command respect, so that they can validate traditional sexuality through respected intellectual exercises. Total=8/36
Mass
Objective
Maneuver
Security
Surprise
Unity
Of
Command
Simplicity
Offensive
Economy
2
1
0
1
0
3
0
1
0

The right-wing intelligentsia encompasses esteemed professors like Robert George and his protégés Ryan Anderson and Sherif Gergis, prominent essayists like Ross Douthat, and think-tank leaders at places such as the American Enterprise Institute, Heritage Foundation, or Hoover Institute. On one principle, unified command, they get high marks because flagship brain trusts and publications like First Things and Claremont Review gather intellectual currents into coherent positions for readers.
On other principles, however, obstacles abound. Mass vexes them since conservative intellectuals tend to be detached or even estranged from the larger conservative populace. Thought leaders tend not to provide functional objectives to the movement as a whole, leaving people with the suspicion that their purpose is “thought” in general but no particular thought, never mind a concrete action. They receive low scores on surprise and offensive because they tend to react to what they see as the left’s encroachments, and they react in the same ways in which they have reacted for decades, rendering their ripostes easy to prepare for. Thought leaders are the recipients of generous funding but seem to spend it on conferences for select attendees, or legal campaigns, which the right often loses even before Republican judges. On economy, they do not get very good scores at all.
Perhaps most troubling is the score for security. The writers of this wonky class jump into partnerships with the left or concede to them at inopportune moments. After years of hyping his “Benedict Option,” Rod Dreher finally published the case for unilateral Christian surrender to LGBTs. Ross Douthat apologized to gay groups for giving a speech before the Alliance Defending Freedom, hardly a group so bereft of human value that a New York Times writer should grovel for forgiveness simply because he addressed them. That ADF planned to give Douthat an honorarium speaks volumes to the economy of misallocation plaguing conservatives on this front.

5.    Libertarians: Conservatives have sought to regain the ground lost in libertarian circles, regarding LGBT ideology. Total =6/36
Mass
Objective
Maneuver
Security
Surprise
Unity Of
Command
Simplicity
Offensive
Economy
0
0
2
0
3
0
0
0
1

Ronald Reagan’s famous three-legged stool wobbled and collapsed because of the LGBT movement. Two of the legs were moral conservatism and free-market ideology, which devolved into pious religion versus libertarians. Christians view “freedom” as liberation from sin in total submission to Jesus Christ, while LGBTs view “morality” as other people not being mean to them by saying unflattering things about sodomy. It was hardly a surprise that Christians gravitated to Reagan’s “moral” leg and LGBTs to Reagan’s “free-enterprise” leg. Soon the corporations benefiting from free enterprise, like Target and Starbucks, would actively attack Christians in order to protect their moral standing with LGBT investors.
The crack in Reagan’s stool estranged Christian moralists, who see sodomy as a sin, from libertarians, who enthusiastically embrace homosexual marriage. Seeing this as a disastrous possibility, some have sought to find a case for chastity even in libertarian circles. Reason and National Review appeared so hostile to anti-LGBT Christians that all might have been lost, but things changed with the launch of Federalist. The latter publication has been forward-thinking in highlighting libertarian principles while still allowing anti-LGBT writers a platform, generally as long as they hone their critiques on the LGBT lobby’s threats to free speech, freedom of association, or free commerce.
On simplicity, mass, objective, security, offensive, and economy, this battlefront has revealed stark conservative failure. To appeal to libertarians anti-LGBT Christians have to resort to convoluted arguments that leave many scratching their heads. It is never clear what the final resolution would actually look like, even though copious energy and time flows into this effort to win back libertarians like the rowdies who gather around Ron Paul. There seems to exist no large constituency responsive to both laissez-faire and chastity at the same time. On the bright side, on this front I give middle marks for maneuver and a high mark for surprise, since in this theater there are conservative writers gifted in striking out new exciting paths for discussion. I do enjoy reading Federalist each day.

6.   Dogfighting”: Through venues such as Gavin MacInnes’s monologues, Chicks on the Right, Takimag, and Louder with Crowder, conservatives have sought to demonstrate a strong capacity to fight back in the vulgar, rough-and-tumble world of invective and snark, with the same effectiveness one saw in Bill Maher and Jon Stewart. Total=23/36
Mass
Objective
Maneuver
Security
Surprise
Unity Of
Command
Simplicity
Offensive
Economy
3
1
4
0
4
2
3
4
2

Jon Stewart and Bill Maher demonstrated that culture wars meant getting down and dirty. In the mob, after all, one finds massive numbers. If you doubt the importance of dogfighting, review the history of Donald J. Trump’s win. Without Trump supporters willing to lay blows on Twitter, on reddit, and at rallies in Chicago and Los Angeles, Hillary Clinton would have become president.
I had to give zeros on objective, security, and economy, for some basic reasons: dogfighters are prone to being contrarian without having clear (social) conservative purposes; they can easily be neutralized or won to the left; and they tend to swarm over gossip and petty feuds like the one that erupted over a kinky photograph of Melania Trump. Gavin MacInnes flew to Orlando and showed solidarity against Islamic terrorism by French-kissing Milo Yiannopoulos in front of cameras (MacInnes is a married father.)
Yet I gave high marks for simplicity because these right-wingers articulate powerful points with pith and pizzazz. They excel at surprise, going on the offensive, and maneuvering flexibly. They also enjoy unity of command because certain flagship sites and spokespeople have interacted well with each other and offered clear stewardship to fighters in the street.

7.    Reclaiming Civil Rights: Conservatives have sought to reclaim the Republican and Christian roots of the racial civil rights movement, pointing out that leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. were very traditional in their social mores. Total=19/36.
Mass
Objective
Maneuver
Security
Surprise
Unity Of
Command
Simplicity
Offensive
Economy
1
3
2
3
4
0
3
2
1

From time to time, conservatives succeed at drawing attention to the truth of American racial history. The Trail of Tears, the annexation of Mexico, the Fugitive Slave Act, Dred Scott, Jim Crow, and Japanese internment all occurred under the guidance of Democratic leaders, not Republicans. 
The Democrats were on the wrong side of history in the Civil War because they were the party defending slavery. Yet in a maddening twist of historical revisionism, liberals routinely present “Republicans” and “conservatives” as the ones responsible for hundreds of years of racism and genocide.
The LGBT movement amplifies the irony because gay leaders gravitate to the Democrats and constantly compare their quest for a fabulous sex life to the black civil rights movement. On social issues, according to various polls, people of color lean more conservative than do whites. The LGBT movement also has a shameful history of sex tourism in developing countries like Morocco, Mexico, and the Philippines. Sex tourism in developing countries led to the arrest of Walter L. Williams, a seemingly racist pederast who was also the pioneer in gay and lesbian archives (at USC). Moreover, the surrogacy trade spurred by gay males’ fatherly aspirations is closer to actual slavery (the buying and selling of infants) than anything that the anti-LGBT Christians have done to defend chastity. Even the issue of “segregation” is something closer to what LGBTs promote—they want to be legally vindicated for refusing to share their homes with the opposite sex—rather than to the ideals stated by conservatives, who want every child to have the full diversity of a mother and father. LGBT hostility to mixed-orientation marriages between straights and gays mirrors the anti-miscegenation racists who opposed blacks marrying whites.
The rich possibilities in this theater of war have turned up a mixed bag. I give high marks on objective, security, surprise, and simplicity, because conservatives have one clear goal here—to dismiss the false equivalency of race and sexuality—and they tend to articulate that in easy-to-understand ways with ethnic allies who rarely recant on their pro-chastity positions. But middle or low marks persist on mass, maneuver, unity of command, offensive, and economy. Conservatives have not allocated enough resources to this battleground to gather a large audience. They often miss obvious chances to strike back against the LGBTs on race. People who are most articulate about the race/gayness divide are rarely given effective chances at leadership.

8.    Homocons: Conservatives dispel the accusation that they are homophobic by showing a willingness to work with homosexuals on common political goals, the best examples of this being Gay Patriot, Log Cabin Republicans, Milo Yiannopoulos, Peter Thiel, Chadwick Moore, Guy Benson, and Ken Mehlman. Total=16/36
Mass
Objective
Maneuver
Security
Surprise
Unity Of
Command
Simplicity
Offensive
Econoy
0
0
2
1
4
3
0
4
2

The term “homocon” became popular in 2010 when Ann Coulter served as keynote speaker for a cozy gathering of right-wing homosexuals. It was a novel idea that seemed to promise a new way forward for the conservative movement. The homocons score highest on unified command, surprise, and offensive. This is because key organizations and websites like Log Cabin Republicans and Gay Patriot provide headquarters and allow for deliberate leadership. Surprise favors them. The “coming out” of a gay conservative is shocking either because conservatives never knew the person was gay (like Guy Benson) or because gays never knew the person was conservative (like Chadwick Moore). Also, gay male subculture is famous for aggressive banter; homocons are proactive polemicists. Rather than react, they are capable of striking first.
Homocons reveal myriad weaknesses. Their objective is always shrouded in taboo—are they expecting conservatives to stop calling what they do a sin? All signs indicate that they do want believers to leave behind their belief in biblical chastity, so that homosexuals can engage in sodomy and not be told that what they are doing is wrong. Here they confront a lost cause. When conservatives cease to object to homosexuality, they commit to the notion that many things called "sin" in the Bible aren't sins. With this goes the inerrancy of the Bible and with it, the notion of an unwavering standard of conduct. The transition from this state of suspended moral truth into libertarianism is easy to envision, but from there to conservatism is a lot harder. Relativism and amorality are anathema to "conservatism." Living in a relativistic world, people become the liberals homocons did not want any part of.

9.    Feminists: Conservatives sought to build bridges of convenience with radical feminists like Julia Bindel and Cathy Brennan, on the issues of transgenderism eliminating female rights and gay male parenting turning women into “breeders.” Total=9/36.
Mass
Objective
Maneuver
Security
Surprise
Unity Of
Command
Simplicity
Offensive
Economy
0
0
0
0
4
0
0
3
2

One notes occasional gestures toward alliance between anti-LGBT activists and radical feminists. Usually such gestures arise due to specific issues that point to abuse of women’s bodies by gay, bisexual, or trans men. Two issues loom large in this history: the question of paid surrogacy allowing gay men to buy women’s babies from them, and the question of trans people claiming they are “women” trapped in men’s bodies because of how they feel. The former practice smacks of the misogyny depicted in A Handmaid’s Tale while the latter reduces womanhood to a “feeling” readily available to men who have to do nothing more than declare themselves trans. Certain women’s rights campaigns explicitly united feminists with religious conservatives opposed to surrogacy; this trend originated most powerfully in France where both feminists and Catholic conservatives declared that surrogacy was esclavage, or slavery. Most recently, Heritage hosted a panel uniting lesbians, atheist women, and conservative Christian women against trans bathroom access. Their common cause was safety for women and girls.
I give high scores for surprise and offensive, because conservatives who partner with radical feminists do tend to strike at the LGBT movement from angles for which the LGBTs are unable to prepare, and this boosts our side from time to time. Overall, however, this alliance has been a nightmare, which I say from personal experience. While I had good experiences partnering with feminists Brittany Klein and Michelle Shocked, a host of other feminists made my life miserable when I tried to work with them. They were flaky and quick to turn on conservatives, even after making many demands such as insisting that abortion, lesbianism, and/or chastity were “deal-breaker” topics.  

10. “Little Old Church Ladies”: Conservatives have sought to shore up their base of support with local church groups, usually dominated by older women, who can affect people’s opinions through interpersonal relationship. Total=32/36
Mass
Objective
Maneuver
Security
Surprise
Unity
Of
Command
Simplicity
Offensive
Economy
4
4
4
4
3
2
4
4
3

My New York and California biases showed through because I did not expect to see high marks here. People who have spent a lot of time in the South may find the result less surprising. The highest-scoring venue is the revolution of little old church ladies. They get high scores for security, because these ladies almost never back down or defect to liberalism. They are typically not afraid of gay activists getting them fired. They tend to have strong unity of command because they work patiently with church leaders and develop powerful strategy through their prayer meetings. Since they have had many years of Bible study they can usually decide upon one clear objective quickly and follow through on it. They have mass because there are so many churches and in almost all of them old “ladies” (I use the term “ladies” to make it clear that these women are conspicuously not feminists) play a major role. While I gave less than perfect scores for offensive because they do not generally like to initiate aggression, they get perfect scores on nearly everything else. Every successful initiative I have seen worked mostly because a core of old church ladies saw to all the details and stood their ground with tenacity under pressure. Especially in the Bible Belt, church ladies also benefit from certain chivalrous precepts that predispose people to show respect to willful Christian women, like Sharon Armke, who can press forward more fearlessly than a man might be permitted.

11.  The GOP: Conservatives have sought to keep the Republican Party and its court of think-tanks loyal to God’s Truth of sexuality (one man and one woman for life). Total=17/36.
Mass
Objective
Maneuver
Security
Surprise
Unity
Of
Command
Simplicity
Offensive
Economy
3
2
1
2
1
3
1
0
4

While a popular refrain has called for the corrupt GOP establishment to be thrown aside in favor of a populist revolt, the Republican Party remains a factor that we cannot ignore. With the party’s predominance at all levels of government, we would certainly be foolish to refuse to leverage our historic ties to Republicans in order to advance chastity. On this front, I give high scores for mass, unity of command, and economy. Because of the established structure of the party, it is possible for clear leadership to emerge from principals who want to be truth-tellers on LGBT issues. From their platform they are able to draw in large amounts of people willing to work on issues. While Republicans are notoriously buffered by lobbyists and corporate interests, it is still possible, with grit and persistence, to get help from powerful Republicans. When this happens, it is a valuable return on the movement’s investment. But I must give mediocre scores on objective, maneuver, security, surprise, and simplicity. The better-connected a Republican is, the more likely the person’s staff will obfuscate an issue to avoid hardcore commitment, and such bigwigs are rarely open to new approaches.

12.  Science & Counseling: Conservatives have sought to persuade people that the claims of the LGBT lobby are built on bad science and actually prevent effective counseling for people struggling with gender identity or same-sex desires. Total=18/36
Mass
Objective
Maneuver
Security
Surprise
Unity
Of
Command
Simplicity
Offensive
Economy
2
0
3
1
4
1
2
3
3

Notwithstanding the biblical case against LGBT, the scientific case is equally strong. To date no evidence has proved that people are born gay. There are plentiful examples of people who have changed. Epidemiology shows that those who pursue an LGBT lifestyle suffer lifelong increases in mental health problems, physical problems, and general unhappiness.
I give high marks for maneuver, surprise, offensive and economy here. Conservatives have proved skillful in pivoting to discussion of important research like studies by Paul McHugh, Mark Regnerus, and Paul Sullins, when necessary. Generally when such data enter the public domain, LGBTs are caught off-guard and react by making unforced errors. The investment in such scientific experts has been well directed. Middle and low marks have to be given, however, for mass, objective, security, unity of command, and simplicity. Scientific arguments often do not trickle down in understandable form to the general population. People making such arguments are cautious about the appearance of an “agenda,” which leads to lack of a clear objective. Scientists who come up with important data, such as Alice Dreger, have a history of trying to prove they aren’t bigots by then denouncing conservatives in the way Dr. Dreger called North Carolina’s bathroom bill “coercive and hateful.”

13.  Christian Bloggers: On venues like Patheos and Aleteia, conservatives have sought to defend traditional sexuality in the witty, clever realm of middlebrow blogging. Total=9/36
Mass
Objective
Maneuver
Security
Surprise
Unity
Of
Command
Simplicity
Offensive
Economy
1
1
1
0
3
0
0
3
0

At one point Christian hubs like Aleteia and Patheos looked promising. Christianity’s Great Commission was bound to encompass Internet evangelism. Witty and clever Christians did form a small universe of blogs. They developed scintillating inside jokes and even cultivated a nerd chic that played well at places like Gospel Coalition. Some Christian bloggers like Karen Swallow Prior and her loyal fans raised people’s hopes for a spiritual revival via cyberspace.
In two areas, surprise and taking the offensive, Christian bloggers get high scores, for they have already distinguished themselves by their rapier-like wit.
The ultimate objective is usually lost in a nimbus of caveats and nuances for nuances’ sake, while no outstanding leaders could break from the pack and set the direction for this discourse community. The left finds these folks incredibly easy to turn liberal, leaving Christian blogging with a zero for security. Obsessive editorial demands drain them of energy they could have otherwise devoted to a more sensible economy of direct action. On simplicity I have to note zero because they tend to get lost in inside jokes and quirky jargon.

14. Arts & Media: Conservatives have sought to offer narratives in the culture to compete with LGBT-affirming material. Total =6/36.
Mass
Objective
Maneuver
Security
Surprise
Unity
Of
Command
Simplicity
Offensive
Economy
1
0
0
1
0
3
0
0
1

By now I tune out calls from conservatives for a foray into the arts. It is obvious, after every Academy Awards broadcast, that Hollywood answers to the gay mafia. Even brave souls like Dolce and Gabbana, speaking as gay men against surrogacy, must eventually bow down. The most salient example of the conservatives’ mirage of cultural resistance was the Friends of Abe, a secret cabal of Hollywood conservatives we kept hearing about, almost ad nauseam, for years, with subtle hints that at some point these right-wingers were going to emerge with a plan of how to make less trashy films. Those few conservative Hollywood-dwellers who have emerged tend to be anti-liberal, except when it comes to gay matters—for example, Stacey Dash, who martyred herself to reveal her African American conservatism but still extolled homosexual claims. I will give high scores on unity of command, since there are a handful of conservatives, including people like Gary Sinise, whom people revere as allies in hostile Hollywood territory. But the commanders involved do not take strong stands for Biblical sexuality, so the overall score remains necessarily low. There is no critical mass on our side in the entertainment world. Those who do sympathize are overwhelmingly likely to avoid publicly acknowledging as much. There is no discernible goal when we discuss producing better arts and media.

15.  Constitutionalism: Conservatives have sought to convince people that LGBT causes win success by overriding important constitutional principles like state rights and judicial restraint. Total=9/36.
Mass
Objective
Maneuver
Security
Surprise
Unity Of
Command
Simplicity
Offensive
Economy
2
0
0
0
3
3
0
0
1

No conservative movement can be complete without a solid camp of people who want to focus on the Constitution. There is good reason for this, since those who wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were Christians who agreed with us on most points of morality. Benjamin Franklin had famous dalliances, but he still nodded to the importance of his marriage in his Autobiography. John Adams stated that our Republic was formed for and could only prosper in the hands of a moral people.
I give high marks for surprise and unity of command, since an observable cadre of constitutional lawyers leads the discussion in this realm, and one does find liberals like Jonathan Turley or Douglas Laycock who break with expectations and signal support for anti-LGBT activists to broadcast their views. On every other principle, the map is bleak. Rather than citing the “general welfare” clause or the Fourteenth-Amendment right of children to be provided a mother and father, conservatives have chased after states-rights arguments, typically advocating for local legislatures and courts to have the prerogative to pass laws defining marriage. If this is the best objective we can find, it is a very weak objective, and one that is bound to backfire as it sets the precedent that constitutionalists see no natural reason to resist homosexuality. The LGBT activists can simply swarm statehouses and county courthouses with their outrageous demands. They overrun local Christians who are getting no backup from nationally respected Constitution scholars.
------
Thus concludes the inspection report by this lieutenant in the Great Culture War of the 2010s. I have heard back from lots of people who completely disagree with my scores. Many do not think the fifteen theaters I chose were important enough to warrant so much attention.
But for what it's worth, this is what I could come up with. I hope this gets you thinking and considering what to do next. Whatever you do, remember that regardless of which battles we lose, the larger war is against homosexuality, not homosexuals. It is against an "unclean spirit," a warped esprit, which has taken over society, but it is not against flesh and blood, ergo not against individuals and not a matter of violence. It is good to be passionate, but focused and clear-headed. And the war will rage on.
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