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Sheldon: Pornography Leads to Everything Bad

Today, columnist Jimmy Breslin takes a shot at the Rev. Louis Sheldon who claims that Breslin fabricated quotes about homosexuals attributed to him.

Breslin: It is a pleasure to be attacked today by a non-Catholic. The Rev. Louis Sheldon, whom I called a fruitcake at the 1992 Republican convention and I call a fruitcake today because that is what he is, has sent out a press release to all of the media on his Traditional Values Coalition letterhead denying he ever met me.

“I have never met Jimmy Breslin, never had the conversation described in his column today and never said those sentences to anyone in my life.”

The column he referred to was printed in the New York City edition of Newsday yesterday, and if you don’t remember it, I suggest hospitalization for a few days.

Here was Lou Sheldon on the night we met, standing in the aisle by the Ohio delegation to the Republican National Convention in Houston in the year 1992. Standing there out of the past, a little man on the back of a wagon selling a cure to the people, crying out the name of his product and what it could do.

Look out for homosexuals! Lou Sheldon said. For that was his product. Homosexuals.

Every religious controversy has something to do with old men battling about a fetus or a woman’s body, but this one is unique.

I forget who introduced us, I believe he was a writer with a right-wing magazine, but the Rev. Lou Sheldon was pleasantly unbelievable, and we spoke while standing in the convention aisle, as was witnessed by a lot of people and was printed in my column in the next day’s Newsday. I said to him, and it was printed, “Is pornography worse than a big picture of a horribly mangled dead body?”

He became excited. “Yes! Those pictures of dead bodies are not progressive or addictive. Pornography leads to everything bad. Pornography leads to marital instability.”

I asked him what he stood for.

“We stand for the heterosexual ethic, and not promoting homosexuality. A homosexual is not a way of life. That’s just an underdeveloped stage of heterosexuality.”

“What are your other positions?”

“Stopping Mapplethorpe. The idea of a man urinating being art. Then we are for the rights of the unborn. And we’re for religious liberty. We want the state to get off the backs of the churches.”

I remember asking him, and if he starts thinking, he’ll sure remember it, “Just what is so wrong with homosexuals?”

“They proselytize. They come to the door and take your son. They turn him into a homosexual.”

“You’re a fruitcake,” I said.

He insisted he was not, and that I didn’t understand about homosexuals who can steal your boys, and I marked him off as a loon and went about my business.

But over the years, I always watched for his name. He was memorable. However, I thought he was another one of these Southern California locals. I could not envision Lou Sheldon leaving California and winding up in the White House, standing shoulder to shoulder with our Cardinal Edward Egan, watching George Bush sign a partial-birth bill. There was a great picture taken of the ceremony, a room full of old men, bald or white, smiling broadly as another bill about a woman’s body was signed.

One thing about this great controversy of American journalism today is the attention that right-wing people are able to get for anything they do. I gave up a long time ago trying to listen to these daytime talk radio shows. I did feel that Rush Limbaugh was on something. That maddening sameness. If I took something, maybe I could keep up, I said.

Always, I wonder how the poor readers get through these books by bone conservatives. Conservatives cannot write. Yet they sell many books. I am always glad when a writer can make $40 on a book. But I’m shocked at their sentences. I intend to give the National Book Award to a reader.

Still, here today we have a small man so few have heard of, but he has a Conservative title and it gets him into the White House, and yesterday he complains about something and he has phone messages from wire services and Washington papers at my office.

If I got hit by a truck I couldn’t get as many people interested as little Lou Sheldon did yesterday. He said you shouldn’t talk about his homosexual worries, although that is about the only thing anybody has heard him talk about, from Anaheim to Washington, since he came around.


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