Wendy Norris is an investigative reporter working on special assignment for Rewire.
The Family Research Council wants you to be manly. So the Values
Voter Summit, the annual confab of ultra-conservative political and
religious leaders that took place this weekend in Washington tried to be hip with a fundamentalist-inspired
reenactment of "Mad Men," the popular American television drama that
harkens back to the good ol’ days when men were in charge and women knew their
According to the seminar description on "The New
Masculinity," Pat Fagan, senior fellow and director of FRC’s Center for
Family and Religion, will discuss how "feminism has wreaked havoc on
marriage, women, children and men. It is time to redress the disorder it has
wrought and that must start with getting the principles and ideals for a new
And you’ll never believe what is responsible for the
destruction of the male psyche.
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A preview of Fagan’s remarks can likely be augured from his
"monogamy is good, postmodernist polyamorous social welfare state is
bad" speech on "Family Diversity and Political Freedom"
presented at the 2009 World Congress of Families in Amsterdam.
The three most critical problems facing men are:
"Childhood education, sex education and the control of adolescent health
Fagan continues unmasking this scourge of science-based
knowledge and self-determination as a direct result of eliminating monogamy
money, or abstinence-only education funding:
"By controlling these
three areas (education of children, sex education and adolescent health) the
culture of polyamory diminishes the influence and dismantles the authority and
influence of parents of the culture of monogamy particularly in their ability
to form their children as members of their own culture. In a polemical vein, one could say they
“snatch” children away from their parents and from the culture of monogamy in ways
analogous to the Ottoman Turks of the 14th century who raided boys from
Christian nations to train them as their own elite warriors, the
The last bastion of resistance, argues Fagan, is home
schooling and a political movement to divert taxpayer dollars from special
interests, like doctors and social workers, which serve the Mammon of safety
So, now you know where the "death panel" and
"abortion on-demand" health care reform hysteria from the political
right wing is coming from — doctors are the new boogeyman.
But then Fagan takes a darker and more sinister tone in his
Amsterdam speech advising men "to engage in the increasingly hostile state
and the polygamy culture whenever it ‘raids’ the territory of his family’s
domain." He offers no concrete examples of civilized or effective
"engagement" merely vague exhortations to "fight for control
over what is his and his family’s just due."
After the paranoia-stoked fury
that derailed any substantive public discussion at the congressional town halls
this summer, it is arrogant and irresponsible to issue a call-to-arms to men
using toxic allusions of violence and fear.
And if the discussion couldn’t
get any more prurient, it gets worse.
Joining Fagan on the dais was Michael Schwartz, chief of
staff for Sen. Tom Coburn, the ultra conservative Oklahoma Republican and
former obstetrician who was recently in the news as a resident of the "C
Street House," a Washington, D.C., compound run by the controversial
religious and political organization known as "The Family."
The secretive organization promotes marital fidelity along with "biblical
capitalism," a laissez-faire global economic scheme where Christian men
pretty much control everything.
Coburn’s C Street House roomie was none other than the very
married Nevada Sen. Jon Ensign who reluctantly admitted in July to a
long-standing affair with a campaign staffer. Coburn reportedly urged Ensign
to break off the liaison and to pay millions of dollars in hush money to
the mistress. Coburn denies the latter allegation by the mistress’ husband.
The Center for American
Progress notes on its Think Progress.org blog Schwartz’ remarks blame the
"blight" of pornography and homosexuality for the destruction of
In an astonishingly illogical
speech, the top-ranking staffer of a prominent senator who serves on key
health, judiciary and national intelligence committees, inexplicably correlates
the depiction of nude women and sex acts to a nefarious gay plot to recruit
of the temptations that your sons are going to run into is pornography.
Pornography is a blight. It is a disaster. It is…it is one of those silent
diseases in our society that we haven’t been able to overcome very well. Now, I
may be getting politically incorrect here. But one — It’s been a few years, not
that many, since I was closely associated with pre-adolescent boys, boys who
are like 10 to 12 years of age. … After all, homosexuality, we know, studies
have been done by the National Institute of Health to try to prove that it’s
genetic and all those studies have proved its not genetic. Homosexuality is
inflicted on people. … all pornography is homosexual pornography because all
pornography turns your sexual drive inwards. And that in fact is what it does.
I know couples now who are struggling with the husband’s addiction to pornography.
It’s a terrible thing. And that’s what happens. And, you know, if it doesn’t
turn you homosexual, it at least renders you less capable of loving your wife.
And it’s something you need to be healed of."
As Think Progress notes "Schwartz
is no stranger to extreme rhetoric about the gay community":
"In 2005, he denounced the
Supreme Court for giving Americans ‘the right to commit buggery.’ Later, he
told Max Blumenthal, ‘I’m a radical! I’m a real extremist. I don’t want to
impeach judges. I want to impale them!’ In 1987, Schwartz co-wrote ‘Gays, AIDS,
and You,’ which according to Blumenthal, alleged that the gay community was
‘using the AIDS crisis to pursue[their] political agenda.’"
Not that I held out hope that
the Values Voter Summit would seriously discuss advancing a "new
masculinity" of healthy personal development and spiritual worth. But Fagan
and Schwartz’ remarks are emblematic of a caustic strain of violent
theo-fascist anti-modernism politics that has no place in American society.
And one need look no further
than this confab to trace where these ignorant, vitriolic beliefs are promoted
in order to incite abortion clinic violence, hate crimes against LGBT citizens
and daily assaults on reproductive freedom that religious conservatives ever so
conveniently denounce when tragedy strikes.