A Christmas creche with two male figures—Gary and Joseph—standing in for Mary and Joseph appeared on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin this week. The funny work of a progressive group of Christian elves promoting same-sex marriage? Of course not. This is the Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) spreading hatred of homos (and just about everyone else) in what has become a right-wing Christian tradition.
"The ACLU Nativity Scene" is an attempted slap at the American Civil Liberties Union for its frequent legal challenges to public displays of Bible themes during the holidays. Conservative Christians have seized on the ACLU's defense of the U.S. Constitution's separation of church and state as the "War on Christmas."
Either despite or because of the fact that it has been all quiet on the ACLU front so far this season, the Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) are getting rowdy. And news that the Chicago city council refused to allow the showing of clips from the just-released (and widely panned) film The Nativity Scene at an annual city fair because it was too "commercial" served as the trigger to turn on their Christian hate cravings.
"The ACLU and other left-wing extremist groups are working diligently to destroy American's rights to the free expression of religion," said YCT executive director Joseph Wyly in a press release on the group's website, yct-ut.org.
Tony McDonald, the YCT chairman, gave a gloating description of the group's, er, erection. "We've got Gary and Joseph instead of Mary and Joseph in order to symbolize ACLU support for homosexual marriage, and of course there isn't a Jesus in the manger," he said. "The three Wise Men are Lenin, Marx, and Stalin because the founders of the ACLU were strident supporters of Soviet-style Communism. The whole scene is a tongue-in-cheek way of showing the many ways that the ACLU and the far left are out of touch with the values of mainstream America."
Thanks, Tony, for spelling it out! But didn't you neglect to mention the most controversial elements—a pairing of a shepherd that looks like an Islamic terrorist and an angel that looks like Nancy Pelosi, the incoming Democratic Speaker of the House?
But no one can expect facts, accuracy or fair balance from Fox News fanatics. And the ACLU gave the YCTs a little ribbing on that score when asked to comment.
"I think [the display] is fairly festive," said Texas ACLU head Will Harrell. "We want to make sure they have a right to freely exercise their First Amendment right. But keep in mind, nothing in the First Amendment requires that you be accurate about the information. The First Amendment protects parody as well."
Of course, the Young Conservatives of Texas are laughing all the way to the media, which has picked up on their prank in a big way. What's even funnier is the fact that the ACLU fights to protect the free-speech rights of everyone, even hate groups. It went to court recently, for example, to make sure that the truly twisted Rev. Fred Phelps and his merry band of homophobes could continue protesting at the funerals of gay men, people with AIDS, and soldiers killed in Iraq.
That's called putting principles before politics, and it takes guts because it alienates your friends and gives succor to your enemies. It was also once understood to be the bedrock of all mainstream American values.