Let’s hear it for heretics.
Bob Inglis, a former Republican congressman from South Carolina, is one of them. He lost in a GOP primary in 2010 largely because he acknowledged that manmade climate change is real.
“For many conservatives, it became the marker that you had crossed to Satan’s side — that you had left God and gone to Satan’s side on climate change,” Inglis said after his defeat.
Today, Inglis announced creation of an “Energy and Enterprise Initiative” to promote conservative answers to climate change.
“Conservatives have the answer to our energy and climate challenge,” Inglis said. “It’s about correcting market distortions and setting the economics right. We need to stop retreating in denial and start stepping forward in the competition of ideas.”
(If only he could cite some evidence to back up his claims that climate change is real. You know, like the warmest June on record in the continental United States, or the warmest 12 months on record in the continental United States, or a notable increase in the number of strong storms, droughts and other phenomenon predicted by climate scientists.)
Today also saw the creation of a group calling itself “Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry,” formed to advance conservative arguments on behalf of gay marriage.
“As Republicans we believe in equality of opportunity rather than outcome,” said U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the first and so far only Republican to sign on as a co-sponsor of legislation repealing the Defense of Marriage Act. “Most importantly, we believe that the individual and the family are the central engines in our society. The right for individuals to lead their lives without government intrusion is a bedrock conservative principle and it is much more than just about sexual orientation. It is about the fundamental rights we all share as Americans. It is about equality for all with no exceptions.”
When Ros-Lehtinen first announced her support for that legislation, it was greeted with bitter attacks. The leader of the local chapter of the Christian Family Coalition, for example, called her “an arrogant, anti-family, homosexualist extremist,” warning that “we’re putting her and all other Republicans on notice that if they’re going to represent themselves as Republicans, they’ve got to respect the party platform.”
But to her credit, she hasn’t backed down.
Nor has Craig Stowell, one of the board members of Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry. A former Marine who served in Iraq, Stowell gave a stirring defense of gay marriage from a conservative perspective before the New Hampshire Legislature:
As Inglis, Ros-Lehtinen, Stowell and others demonstrate, being conservative does not require that you be on the wrong side of history. It also should not require you to ignore the factual realities that you see around you, or to pledge tribal loyalty to a set of beliefs that you do not entirely share.
But sometimes, bucking those demands for total loyalty require courage.
– Jay Bookman