05/18/2005 04:21 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Fear Factor

I’m slow to accuse anyone of true ill will; you have your opinion, I have mine, peace.

But watching President Bush steamroll more and more of his cultural values into the public square, I think: no peace. I wonder: what happened to old-fashioned conservative political values like non-interference in people’s home lives, and Christianity’s love thy neighbor as thyself? Then I wonder: why when one is born again does it seem that in renouncing earlier, possibly sinful experiences, there is little room left for nuance or empathy? All that new light must be blinding.

The appointment of a conservative ombudsman (and a liberal one) at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, as reported this week by the New York Times, is another big roll forward for the Bush values agenda. It means that something like last winter’s episode of “Postcards From Buster,” which featured a Vermont family with two moms, would never have had the chance to be condemned by Education Secretary Margaret Spellings in the first place. PBS wouldn’t have decided not to distribute it, as it did following the secretary’s panic attack, because it wouldn’t have been made in the first place.

Why? Because, as Spellings said in her letter to PBS at the time, parents wouldn’t want their children to be “exposed” to households headed by lesbians, exposing her consideration of such a household as toxic. We can be sure that the Republicans dominating the Corporation’s board took a note. And the danger? One was that a discussion about non-traditional households is best left to the timing and sensitivity of parents – like discussing Santa Claus, suggested one local manager. And why is showing lesbian moms on TV a sensitive issue, bringing children naturally into an awareness of life as it is lived, perhaps by the next-door-neighbors? Here’s where the lessons of Christ seem lost on those who claim his mantle on the right; allowing a cartoon bunny introduce a household headed by two women non-judgmentally leaves out, well, the judgment.

One critic at the time expressed concern about an “effort in the gay activist movement to indoctrinate kids under the banner of tolerance and diversity to give misleading and inaccurate information about homosexuality.” What do we think two women in a loving relationship with two kids in their loving family have to hide? They’re going on TV!

Dear new conservative ombudsman: as you might imagine, gay moms tend to be at least as maternal, supportive, and nurturing parents as their heterosexual counterparts. There are more of them than you can shake a stick at today, and that will only continue to grow; and stigmitizing their legitimacy, in part by leaving their lives in the dark, only slows the process of understanding and acceptance that has been underway in this country for years.

Do I have a hidden activist agenda? I’m getting one.