Let's deal with the circumstance that dares not speak its name: How much of the Mark Foley scandal's impact is due to the fact that he's a gay man who preyed on young boys?The answer of course is yes. There is the obvious hypocrisy:
The Republican Party has gone to such lengths to demonize homosexuality that it must pain the leadership to reveal that such a thing as a gay Republican congressman could even exist. The party has stigmatized gay people as "them," not "us" -- as a class of people whose "lifestyle" is unsavory and whose committed relationships must never be recognized, lest the republic instantly crumble to dust.But it goes much deeper than that.
One of the central tenets of anti-homosexual doctrine is the notion of "recruitment" -- that adult gay people lure young people into homosexuality as a way of increasing their numbers. The most extreme anti-gay activists perceive a full-fledged conspiracy. The Traditional Values Coalition, a group whose homophobia can only be called rabid, goes so far as to claim that, after being enticed into sexual acts, the "young 'initiates' into the strange world of homosexuality are to be trained to reject the moral beliefs of their parents."That's right - it looks like Foley was recruiting, to the Bible thumpers that is.
This is complete bunk, of course -- most new research has tended to support the idea that homosexuality is more a matter of nature than nurture, and in any event the notion of an organized "recruitment" drive is far beyond ridiculous.
Of course as Digby points out, the religious hucksters, who are really Republican operatives, are telling the flock it ain't really so.