The biggest troll of gay Atlanta is putting on a charm offensive ahead of hosting a collection of anti-gay GOP presidential candidates this weekend, suggesting he's moderated his anti-gay rants. Too bad it's as disingenuous as it is laughable.
Erick Erickson – WSB radio host, pundit and RedState editor – softened his image with talk of his new seminary studies, his “curation of conservatism” and his belief that no Christian business owner wants to close their doors to LGBT customers. No mention of his claims that “abuse” and “parental issues” make people gay. No blaming “fat lesbians” for Ebola. No chatter comparing gay Atlanta to terrorists. No questioning the mental health of transgender people.
No, it was all nicey-nice in an AJC profile on Sunday, just days ahead of Erickson hosting 10 GOP candidates for the RedState Gathering in Buckhead. (Here's the list of the anti-gay GOP presidential hopefuls Erickson's getting in bed with.)
“Part of being in seminary is making me realize that I have a harder and harder time in Republican politics, aligning my faith world view with my political world view,” Erickson said. “There are really angry people who have no business being angry. Particularly if you believe in a heaven and a hell and a Last Day – there’s absolutely no point in tearing your hair out over politics. Even gay marriage.”
Except that's exactly what Erickson has done with LGBT issues after issue. He was angry about the failure of an anti-gay “religious freedom” bill to pass the state legislature earlier this year. He castigated Republicans who called for the compromise and blamed the “gay mafia” in Atlanta in the wake of the firing of former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran. He mocks LGBT issues on Twitter and can't stop talking about them during his WSB show. He's a dick when it comes to gays in the Boy Scouts.
Erickson makes it his business to be angry about LGBT issues.
What about the AJC claim that Erickson has “toned down his public language in recent years?” Three days after the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage, Erickson reacted on his WSB show by doubting that people are born gay. Instead, “if you go back to it there's parental issues, there's abuse, and that has a lot to do with it,” Erickson said, according to Media Matters.
And even when Erickson tries not be an anti-gay hater, he flubs it. He says he's not opposed to making it clear that businesses can't discriminate – despite arguing against such protections during the debate in Georgia over the “religious freedom” legislation – except when they want to discriminate.
“I’m not opposed to a piece of legislation that says you can’t discriminate against anyone in your business, but you don’t have to provide goods and services to religious-related ceremonies,” he said. “The fight ultimately is about gay weddings. It’s not about anything else. It’s not about serving gays in your business. I don’t know of any Christian who says, ‘Yeah, we should close the door to them.’”
See what he did there? He wants to sound compassionate by seemingly saying he doesn't support anti-gay discrimination – he does – but also wants to stand with his Christian brothers who do want to discriminate. Except he's never met one that does. Not those pizza makers in Indiana or this business owner in metro Atlanta.
So let's not kid ourselves despite some positive press. Gay Atlanta's biggest troll isn't changing his anti-gay ways. But after 10 years at the helm of RedState, he's being ushered out the door, according to the AJC. Sadly, WSB Radio listeners still get his dose of angry rhetoric from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays.