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Kansas GOP Proves Republicans Are Now a Hate Group

Kansas Republican Party

Party leadership looks the other way as the Kansas Republican Party votes to "oppose all efforts to validate transgender identity." Take it as a sign.

I am stubborn about my beliefs, just like everyone else. Oh, sure, as people on the left side of the political spectrum, we talk big game about being open-minded and willing to change our minds based on new information, but we aren't. We're just as stubborn as anyone else. This isn't trying to talk trash or go into a whole "both sides" kind of thing, it's just the way it is. People will even invent new ways of viewing the new and contradicting information to maintain their worldviews. That'll change the argument but keep the same ideas behind it. I try really hard to fight that tendency, which often causes me no small amount of emotional turmoil.

One of those beliefs is that there are still good people in the Republican Party who can be reasoned with, educated, and changed on LGBTQ issues, but I have to say, it keeps growing harder each and every day. The most recent blow to that belief came from the Kansas Republican Party's vote to "oppose all efforts to validate transgender identity."

When the Kansas Republican Party passed its resolution -- OK, not the whole party, just the 180 members of its central committee, which is a very communist way to describe anything Republican -- members also said that they also recognize the dignity of those who are LGBT. I ... I can't explain how that's supposed to work, but apparently it means that it's because they want to affirm "God's design for gender ... and not by self-perception."

Eric Teetsel, the man who proposed the resolution, explained that he wanted the party to tell people what "is true and good." If he says anything about Olive Garden being good, I swear to God. But he further explained, "An ideology that says you can determine your own gender identity is broken." Wait. Isn't that literally what he's embracing?

Teetsel can't argue that he's speaking the exact truth of God without ignoring the last 1,900 years of Christian disputes over scripture and expression of faith. It's not my strongest subject in history, but I'm pretty sure there was a lot of arguing to the point that Christians fought some pretty heinous wars about it. I hate to bag on people's faith because it always feels like it's the easiest and weakest way to go after someone, but it's just the hubris here.

Then Teetsel went on to say that he's not being a hateful bigot hiding behind his faith because, he said, "ultimately, we are motivated by love." Ah, the old "love the sinner but hate the sin" line. He argued that he respects trangender people's dignity, but yet he wants to deny them basic rights and protections. The public humiliation of being forced into the wrong bathroom, being fired from a job, being denied medical care lacks anything resembling love or dignity.

Loving the sinner but hating the sin does not mean that you punish them for the things you see as a sin but are not sins against other people, such as murder or theft. It's about tolerance, which when you get down to it means "putting up with shit you don't like." There are a lot of things in this world that I don't like but really don't affect my life, so I tolerate them.

At another point Teetsel said he feels the party can't get caught up in fads and trends and worry about what people think about them on a particular issue. Wanna know what's ironic about this statement? There's a passage in the Bible, Deuteronomy 22:5, that says men shouldn't dress like a woman. According to most Bible scholars, Deuteronomy was first composed around the seventh century B.C. Twenty-eight hundred years of gender nonconformity is a hell of a long trend. I'm not that terribly religious and I knew about that passage. Perhaps instead of thumping a Bible, this guy should read it.

Teetsel and the Kansas Republican Central Committee (I still can't get over how communist that sounds) have received pushback from many younger Republicans who have said that this isn't a pressing issue for the party and is exclusionary. They're right too. I've said before numerous times that just because one is LGBTQ doesn't mean they default to the left side of the political spectrum, but it just speaks to the stubbornness of these people. They are losing a generation of voters who care more about lower taxes than bathroom access and think that legislating morality doesn't mesh with the idea of smaller government.

Yes, there are Republicans who aren't homophobic or transphobic, but they seem to keep losing ground to the bigots who have nothing better to do with their time than sit around in meetings trying to legislate against things that make them feel icky. There has been no real push by these apparently ever-dwindling socially liberal conservatives to try to take back their party or to separate themselves from it and form a new, more electable one. The religious dystopians, who can't even bigot straight because they're so unfamiliar with their own history and texts, continue to squeeze their hands around the throat of the party in order to push a form of Christianity that will destroy either their party or their victims.

So while people like Teetsel and the Kansas Republicans may not be smart enough to recognize when the culture is changing around them and that history will not be kind to them for it, I will. While they declare a culture war that will cause untold pain and suffering, even to the point of open conflict because they refuse to face new truths and realities of the world, I will. Perhaps it's time for me to lose the last bit of faith I have in the Republican Party to reform itself and purge its bigots and embrace the new truth of the facts: The Republicans are simply a hate group now, and even those who aren't outright bigots are willing collaborators.

AMANDA KERRI is an Oklahoma City-based comedian and regular contributor to The Advocate. Follow her on Twitter @amanda_kerri.

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