Internet Tea Party activist Holly Fisher is now in the middle of a controversy. It seems that Fisher, who is married, had an affair with fellow Tea Partier Joel Frewa. While it was fellow conservative Charles Johnson who revealed Fisher’s indirection, which she first denied but then confessed to, a lot of conservatives are angry that it was revealed. They have been making comments to the effect that everyone sins and that Johnson should knock it off and leave the matter of the adulterous affair to Fisher, her husband, and God. Something we have learned from this is something that many of us were already beginning to suspect: regardless of what they say, many, perhaps most, conservative Christians don’t care about adultery and divorce nearly as much as they do homosexuality and gay marriage. They may say the Bible is infallible. It may be true that the Bible specifically quotes Jesus as condemning adultery but never quotes him as directly condemning homosexuality. And it may be true that while no more than a dozen Biblical verses can be interpreted as direct prohibitions on homosexuality, there are a vast amount that directly prohibit adultery. But the truth of the matter is that lots of conservative Christians treat adultery as a minor sin and divorce as still more minor, if even a sin at all, while screaming that homosexuality and gay marriage invites the wrath of God. How else can we explain the popularity of Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich among many conservative Christians?
Was Fisher’s affair her private business? Should we “judge not” and move on? I say we should. After all, Fisher never held up her own marital behavior as superior to other people’s or tried to dictate how other people live their–oh wait. Now that I think about, I seem to recall a Twitter post Fisher made, perhaps after a romp with her extramarital lover, about gay marriage. Let’s see, what did it say? Ah, here it is: “I 100% think gay ppl should be happy, have rights, etc., but as a Christian I also believe 100% it’s my job to protect marriage. #CivilUnion.” Either Fisher or one of her supporters seems to have removed this statement from Twitter, but it is on record for all eternity nonetheless. So what is on display here is yet another individual in a long pantheon of hypocrites and phonies who have accused gays of threatening the institution of marriage and demanded that the government keep gay marriage illegal despite the fact that they themselves have committed adultery, divorced, or both. Gingrich, Limbaugh, Carl Paladino, David Vitter, Mark Sanford, and Bob Dole all come to mind. But Democrats have been guilty of this as well. Bill Clinton crowed in the 1990s that marriage was between one man and one woman, only for the public to find out and that he must have meant to say “one man and one woman, plus a twenty something White House intern.” No offense to liberal supporters of Clinton, but it was rather strange for so many liberals to try and save an anti-gay marriage philanderer from being thrown out of office. As far as I am concerned, Clinton promoted the idea that the government is the arbiter of marital morality and held himself up as holier than gay people, so he deserved to be thrown out of office when his infidelity was revealed. Then there was John Edwards, the Democratic presidential candidate who said his Southern Baptist upbringing led him to oppose gay marriage, only to later reveal that this upbringing must never have covered cheating on your cancer-stricken wife and the mother of your children. When Fisher made the decision to denigrate gay couples as a threat to marriage and called for the government–which social conservatives claim to hate right up until they want it to ban everything they don’t like–to enforce her definition of marriage, she held herself up as a a moral exemplar. At that point, she lost her claim to privacy regarding her cheating. Clint Eastwood’s adulterous affairs are his private business. Why? Because Eastwood doesn’t tell other people how to live their lives. He does his own thing and lets everyone else do their own thing.
Many Fisher-Gingrich apologists will likely claim that gay people continue to have same-sex relations, while heterosexual Christian adulterers like Fisher, Gingrich, or whoever else reads the King James while running around on their spouse, “repent” and stop their behavior. Leaving aside the fact that claims about homosexuality being sinful don’t pass basic logic tests, the fact remains that social conservatives who commit adultery or get divorced would never consent to the same treatment they want to impose on gays. Fisher would balk at the suggestion that her adultery should be illegal the way she wants gay marriage illegal. Likewise, even though the Bible condemns divorce, people like Rush Limbaugh would never consent to having only their first marriages be legally valid. This is not to say that divorce is immoral. However, the same Bible that conservative Christians claim is infallible when they want to ban gay marriage says that unless one has been cheated on, it is a sin to divorce. Furthermore, a marriage is a major commitment, and traditional wedding ceremonies include the phrase “until death.” Therefore, a person who has been married in a church wedding then gets divorced later is breaking a vow they made to their wife and to God. This is their personal decision, and they should not be judged for it if they do not judge others. Sometimes, divorce is necessary. But nobody who has broken a deep commitment they made to their spouse should be sticking their nose into anyone else’s marriage. As a wise LGBT protester once said of anti-gay marriage divorcees, “I just want one wife. You want three.”
If Fisher has any real integrity or self awareness, she will go on Twitter and say something along the lines of this: “In the past, I have cast unwarranted judgment on other people’s personal business. I condemned same-sex couples in stable, monogamous, loving relationships. Meanwhile, I broke my wedding vows by cheating on my husband. I want to apologize to LGBT people for the hypocrisy I have exhibited. I realize now that I am in no position to criticize same-sex relationships and am certainly in no position to demand that the government ban them. From now on, I am going to focus on improving myself.” I won’t hold my breath.