Rod Dreher is one of those writers I don’t mess with much,  not because he doesn’t consistently churn out nonsense — he does — but simply because there are a lot of bloggers who really revel in messing with him, and they do it well. We have our favorites over here too.

But, to make an exception, here is Rod Dreher writing at the American Conservative about how he completely believes Rick Santorum when he claims that he would love a gay son just as much as a straight son. Frothy’s quote first:

“I’d love him just as much as I did the second before he told me.”

Well, that’s nice. Personally I’m quite sure Santorum is using one of the lesser definitions of “love,” but that’s neither here nor there for Rod:

I completely believe him.

That settles that. Wait, there’s more:

I found out that in my small, very conservative and churchgoing Southern town, there’s a lot of affection for Ginger Snap, a local black drag queen. Ginger Snap has her own float in the community Christmas parade. I guarantee that if you polled the people along the parade route, both white and black, nine out of 10 would say that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage shouldn’t be allowed. But they will also watch Ginger Snap roll by on her float and wave.

You see? These wingnuts think that Ginger Snap is a “morally wrong” person, and should not have the same rights as the parade-watchers, but they are willing to wave, and that is all you should be asking of fundamentalist Christians! I mean, it’s not like we live in a secular republic or anything or…oh, wait.

The idea that holding a critical moral position on homosexuality obliges one to hate this young gay man would strike most people around here as strange.

Sort of like how half of Mississippi still can’t get behind interracial marriage, but it doesn’t mean they hate the nice black lady who works at their kids’ school. It seems more to me, Rod, that what we are dealing with is Southerners who are ingrained with the notion that you can say or believe anything as derogatory or bigoted as you want about any human being or group, but as long as you begin all statements on the subject with “Now you know I’m not racist but…” and end them with “bless their hearts,” you remain officially in line with polite Southern decorum.

What’s strange is that Rod seems to notice that there is a Southern thing at play here, but draws asinine conclusions:

If you want logic to dictate social life, stay out of the South, and especially stay out of southern Louisiana.

That’s true, but when he next describes his town as a Love Your Neighbor kind of place, he doesn’t see that the people in his town don’t really love Ginger Snap, just like they don’t love the nice black lady who works at their kids’ schools, just like many wealthy white conservative Southern women are more than happy to have a gay interior decorator or hairdresser, but will vote against gay rights at the drop of a red hat, given the opportunity.

In short, this is the residue of the age-old Southern tradition of “diversity is great, as long as everybody knows their place.” Those of us who are Southern liberals tend to recognize this for what it is, because as the late, great Molly Ivins once said [I am paraphrasing], “Once you realize they’ve been lying to you about race, you question everything.”

But I reckon when you belong to a party for whom such meaningless platitudes know not the boundaries of dialect [refer to above Santorum quote], it’s a little bit easier to rationalize institutional bigotry and discrimination. After all, I’m sure Frothy Mix would wave at a drag queen if you asked him nicely, and Michele Bachmann’s husband might even add, “Oh that wig…bless her heart.”