Anti-gay e-mail shows challenges facing both Log Cabin, local GOP

Posted on 12 Mar 2009 at 7:33pm
By John Wright News Editor

Grand Prairie Republican Club president rejects invitation from LGBT group, calls them ‘unfruitful works of darkness’

Gays are "unfruitful works of darkness" whose immorality could hasten the death of American government, according to a February e-mail written by the president of the Grand Prairie Republican Club and sent to representatives from GOP groups throughout Dallas County. 

The e-mail, obtained by Dallas Voice last week, was written in response to an invitation from Log Cabin Republicans of Dallas to attend the group’s monthly meeting. The invitation reportedly was distributed as part of new communication initiative within the party.

Rob Schlein, president of Log Cabin, said despite the offensive remarks, he feels the episode illustrates the progress the LGBT group is making locally.

The e-mail from Cylynda Caviness, president of the Grand Prairie Republican Club, was the only negative response Log Cabin received to its invitation, Schlein said. Meanwhile, representatives from other groups have criticized Caviness’ e-mail and commended Log Cabin for its response, sent out a few days later to the same recipients.

"It emboldens us," Schlein said of Caviness’ e-mail this week. "It reminds us of the work we have to do to change people’s attitudes. We’re going to have these incidents come up from time to time, because we’re reaching out, we’re taking risks."

Caviness didn’t return a phone call seeking comment. 

In the e-mail, Caviness indicated that the Grand Prairie Republican Club voted a few months ago to adhere to the core principles of the Republican Party and the founding fathers, including following the laws of nature and God.



Convention center hotel debate

Log Cabin Republicans of Dallas will host a debate March 23 on the city of Dallas’ proposed convention center hotel. The debate between City Councilman Ron Natinsky and Anne Raymond of Crow Holdings is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. at Mattitos Restaurant, 3011 Routh St. For more,
e-mail robschlein@aol.com.


"Among some of the issues that were brought up was the inclusion of the Log Cabins into our Republican Party," Caviness wrote. "We believe to have ‘fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness’ for the sake of political expediency, or any other reason for that matter, is to offend a holy God, from whom the blessings bestowed upon this country flow."

Caviness wrote that while "everyone should be treated with the same human decency that one would expect to be treated themselves," the Texas Republican Party Platform strongly condemns homosexuality. She called the U.S. an "inherently Christian" nation whose government depends on "piety, religion and morality."

"For that reason, sir, the Grand Prairie Republican Club holds strong to our Christian heritage and will take no part in knowingly excepting [sic] or promoting any immorality (by attending or promoting your organization) that may hasten the death of the American Government …," Caviness wrote.

In his response to Caviness’ e-mail, Schlien wrote that her statements were "disappointing but valuable in so much as we need to understand the scope of the challenge we face in changing hearts and minds."

"Frankly, the astounding assumptions you would have to make about us in order to say the things you said boggle the mind," Schlein wrote. "Log Cabin is a collection of respected business owners, accomplished doctors, diligent farmers, young professionals, devout Christians, dedicated parents, loving heterosexual married couples, strident gun rights advocates, pro-life sympathizers, immigration reform activists, etc., etc. … Cylynda, thankfully, the facts reveal that fewer agree with your absolutist views of exclusion each day. Many smart people are working to broaden our party without sacrificing our core principles."

Jonathan Neerman, chairman of the Dallas County Republican Party, said the e-mail exchange between Caviness and Schlein illustrates the challenge he’s facing in trying to make the GOP more inclusive.

"How do you grow without shrinking?" Neerman said.

Neerman, whose support for groups like Log Cabin has drawn the ire of social conservatives, said he considered potential ways to sanction Caviness for the e-mail but ultimately opted against it.

"I have full confidence that Rob and his board can defend themselves, and that’s exactly what they did," Neerman said.

Neerman said feedback from others who received the e-mails has all been in favor of Schlein.

"I think what Cylynda’s e-mail has shown is that there is a lot more support to include Republicans who are gay than what most people think," Neerman said.
Erin Moore, president of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, declined to comment directly on the e-mails, calling it an internal matter for the GOP. But Moore said despite Neerman’s widely publicized recent statements about Log Cabin, she’s not convinced the local Republican Party has changed.

"I think they’re panicking because they’ve gotten beaten two election cycles in a row," Moore said. "I’m not saying it’s not possible, but I don’t think that has happened miraculously over the last two months."

To read the full text of Caviness’ e-mail and Schlein’s response click here.


This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 13, 2009.

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