It’s been a tough year for Democrats. They lost the presidential election, their favorite news outlets have been abjectly humiliated, they had to sit through a smashingly successful election in Iraq, and most painfully, they had to endure unwarranted attacks on a cartoon sponge. Let go, let Spongebob.

Democrats tried working out their frustrations on blacks for a while, but someone — I can’t remember who, but it probably wasn’t Sen. Robert Byrd — must have finally told them it really wasn’t helping to keep disparaging every single black person in a Republican administration.

So now liberals are lashing out at the gays. Two weeks ago, The New York Times turned over half of its op-ed page to outing gays with some connection to Republicans. There is no principled or intellectual basis for these outings. Conservatives don’t want gays to die; we just don’t want to transform the Pentagon into the Office of Gay Studies.

By contrast, liberals say: “We love gay people! Gay people are awesome! Being gay is awesome! Gay marriage is awesome! Gay cartoon characters are awesome! And if you don’t agree with us, we’ll punish you by telling everyone you’re gay!”

In addition to an attack on a Web site reporter for supposedly operating a gay escort service and thereby cutting into the business of the Village Voice, another Times op-ed article the same day gratuitously outed the children of prominent conservatives.

These are not public figures. No one knows who they are apart from their famous parents. I didn’t even know most of these conservatives had children until the Times outed them.

Liberals can’t even cite their usual “hypocrisy” fig leaf to justify the public outings of conservatives’ family members. No outsider can know what goes on inside a family, but according to media, one prominent conservative threw his daughter out of the house when he found out she was gay.

Stipulating for purposes of argument that that’s the whole story — which is highly unlikely – that may be rotten behavior, but isn’t it the opposite of hypocrisy? Wouldn’t that be an example of someone sacrificing other values on the mantle of consistency?

Outing relatives of conservatives is nothing but ruthless intimidation: Stop opposing our agenda or your kids will get it. This is a behavioral trope of all totalitarians: Force children to testify against their parents to gain control by fear.

It’s bad enough when liberals respond to a conservative argument by digging through the conservative’s garbage cans; it’s another thing entirely when they start digging through the garbage cans of the conservative’s family members. (On behalf of conservatives everywhere, I say: Stay out of our gay relatives’ cans.)

Liberals use these people and then discard them. Has John Kerry had lunch with his pal Mary Cheney lately? What ever happened to Newt Gingrich’s gay half-sister? Did she have any further insights to impart other than that she was gay?

Already this year, the glorious story of one conservative’s gay child has gotten 58 mentions on Lexis-Nexis, including seven shows on CNN (eight if you include “On the Record With Greta Van Susteren”) — and none on Fox News (unless you include “On the Record With Greta Van Susteren”).

The 2004 Gay Conservative Offspring story was about the Christian anti-abortion activist Randall Terry. It got 29 mentions on Lexis-Nexis, including in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New York Daily News, The International Herald Tribune and five shows on CNN. (This story wasn’t as much fun for liberals inasmuch as they were forced to mention that Terry had adopted the troubled, mixed-race child at age 15, contradicting their earlier claims that the conservative was a racist.)

There is not a single mention of this gay poster boy in the Lexis-Nexis archives since the last, sadistic use of him in an article from October 2004. Liberals ruin a family and then

Meanwhile, William J. Murray, the son of prominent atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair, who was the named plaintiff in the Supreme Court case that banned school prayer, came out as a Christian in 1980. There are only two mentions of it in the Nexis archives: Facts on File and The Washington Post.

The Nexis library for 1980 may be smaller than it is today, but it has articles from major newspapers, which the New York Times was still considered back in 1980. (There are, for example, two Times stories mentioning the rumor that Ronald Reagan dyed his hair in the Nexis archives for 1980.) No mention of the son of America’s most notorious atheist becoming a Christian.

Two years later, Murray wrote a riveting book about his spiritual transformation from the sordid misery of atheism to Christianity, My Life Without God. There were only five articles mentioning the book on Lexis-Nexis: four wire services and one article in The Washington Post. None in the Times.

Unlike the gay children of conservatives, who are used as liberal props and then dropped, Murray has remained in the news for decades as a powerful Christian spokesman. Perhaps this is because a spiritual journey from atheism to Christianity is of more intellectual interest than an announcement of one’s sexual preference. It’s just not as likely to be gloated over at CNN or The New York Times.

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