What do y'all make of Mary Cheney's baby? It's a hell of a thing, no? Take for example the recent pronouncment from president Bush. He said, "I think Mary is going to be a loving soul to her child. And I'm happy for her." And you know what? I believe him. His presidency has been a disaster, or "miserable failure" if you prefer, but his private behavior toward homosexuals has always been one of respect. In public, though, he's an idealogue, who (as noted here by Andrew Sullivan) like other Republican idealouges, wishes to ban all civil recognition of gay couples by amending the U.S. Constitution to prevent any state from even granting civil unions to such couples. The Republican Party has sponsored and campaigned on legal and constitutional bans on civil marriage and civil unions for gay couples in dozens of states for the better part of a decade. This has had a real impact on the lives of millions of gay Americans and their children, and George W. Bush has been complicit in this.
Mary Cheney's pregnancy, then, is like a 50,000-year old rock sitting in the middle of the Ponevitch bes medrash. You have to acknoweldge it, and when you acknowledge it with respect, as Bush has, you're forced to recognize that your received wisdom on the subject of homosexuals might be flawed. Assuming Bush isn't a liar (this time) or a victim of cognitive dissonance, the idea that Mary Cheney, a lesbian, is a "loving soul" has taken root in his mind, and perhaps its forcing him to to reconsider his earlier statments on the subject.
Writing about Mary Cheny, Sullivan said "Usually, the architects of ideology can distance themselves from reality deftly enough to avoid embarrassment" and the same is true of all idealouges. Deep in the bowels of their bes medrash, for example, the men who banned Natan Slifkin can hide from the facts. To date, George Bush has also managed to hide from the facts. Though by all accounts he's a gentleman in private, in public he's never come close to acknowledging that homosexuals are anything but sick, evil heterosexuals who have willingly chosen perversion and sin.
Mary Cheney and her fetus, like the 50,000-year old rock, are forcing the president and idealouges like him to recognize reality, to recognize that homosexuality -though it is certainly forbiden by the Torah- is not a choice, and that homosexuals are not sick and they are not evil. They are simply men and women like you and me who find it impossible to follow one particular Jewish law. Clerics, perhaps, are required to punish them, along with those of you who eat shellfish and cheat at business, and so on, but the United States, thank God, is not in the hands of clerics. It's in the hands of a constitution that promises equal protection under the law while demanding official silence on matters of theology. That promise and that demand are the reason why the United States has proven to be so hospitable to minorities like us. Though our religious law proscribes homosexuality, the religious law of the Romans and the Greeks did not, and it isn't for the president of the United States to decide between them, and we ask him to make those decisions at our own jeapardy.