Billy Ray, Cheney and Osteen Have Something in Common — Unfortunately for America

Written by Steve Pauwels on October 16, 2013

A couple years ago, I wrote a column commending country music’s Billy Ray Cyrus. He’d just tearfully come clean about regrets over allowing the entertainment industry to chew up his marriage, family and the well-being of his musician/actress daughter Miley. Humble, rare-for-a-celebrity candor? I was impressed.

Well – nevermind.

Nowadays, the “Achy-Breaky” crooner has adopted a less imitation-worthy perspective on his increasingly wayward “little girl”. Twenty-year-old Miley’s most recent, pseudo-pornographic shenanigans — a grotesquely “twerking”, masturbation-pantomiming performance at August’s VMAs, a clothing-free turn in her “Wrecking Ball” music video — plus crass appearances on Saturday Night Live (participating in a salacious skit mocking Michelle Bachmann) and the Today Show (quipping about Matt Lauer’s sex-life) have drawn only blatheringly syrupy thumbs-up from ol’ dad.

Billy Ray gobbledygooks about his salacious daughter’s evolving as an “artist“,  current happiness, “reinvention” of herself from “teenage superstar to a young lady“. What he never enunciates? Any regrets over his “little girl’s” flagrantly acting the trollop for all the ogling world.

“I love her unconditionally and that will never change,” he beams. Which is wonderful — but has little to do with his white-washing of “Hannah Montana’s” goatish antics.

It’s developed, regrettably, former U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney might be entranced by some of the same sentimental befuddlement as Miley’s pop. Cheney is also a “loving” father. His younger daughter, Mary, is an avowed lesbian. Although the erstwhile VP’s boss, George W. Bush, was on record opposing homosexual nuptials, Cheney admitted back in 2004 he didn’t exactly see eye-to-eye with GWB on the matter.

“Lynne and I have a gay daughter, so it’s an issue that our family is very familiar with, ” he disclosed. “[M]y general view is that … [p]eople … ought to be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to.”  I commend Cheney, at least, for having the class back then to emphasize, “But the president makes basic policy for the administration. And he’s made it.”

Retiring to civilian mode, though, the seventy-two-year old Republican expansively celebrated Mary’s June 2012 lesbian-wedding: “Lynn and I were very proud and happy and congratulated them.”

Maybe Cheney would take some solace in Joel Osteen’s approach to all-things-sodomy. The exuberantly popular TV preacher, leader of America’s largest church, has doggedly opted for the low-key route concerning same-sex subjects. Osteen’s preferred response when cornered into commenting on it seems to be that homosexuality is “not God’s best”. In 2012, he finally — timorously — admitted on CNN that it’s a “sin”. A 2013 update, however, features the Houston pastor retreating to soggier form, underscoring to HuffPost Live that God “likes” gays, and society must “accept them as they are.”

Something disturbingly warped has happened to America on the road to Affirmationville: 21st century adults have succumbed to the impression that being kind to people, extending tolerance toward differences, loving others — especially our children — obligates us to endorse everything they do, reassuring them their every predilection and practice is terrific — without hesitation, without qualification.

Average citizens? Their elected/appointed officials? Like one, like the other, it’s high fives all around!

You wanna abandon your wife and kids, hack off your penis, wriggle into a dress and go by “LaVonda”? Cool – it’s all about authenticity, right? High-five!

Forgo a job search and pay your bills courtesy of John Q. Taxpayer? So you can pursue your lifelong, professional-music-career dream? Fabulous – it fulfills you, doesn’t it? Double high-fives!

Quench the life of your unborn child because the budget’s tight? Because you’re presently ill-prepared to stall your career’s upward trajectory? Boo-Yah! – no chains on you! More high-fives!

Granted, speaking up for traditional — ie, real — matrimony could make for an awkward Thanksgiving dinner when that gay nephew makes an appearance with his “life-partner”. Of course, there’s also that thing about upholding the husband-wife-headed family — the centuries-tested cornerstone of every vibrant civilization. But whatever.

A vocal stand against profligate Welfare Statism could, potentially, cost a person the friendship of his social circle’s moocher layabouts. So: sacrifice a brittle relationship or two versus playing a role in rescuing a bankrupt nation? Guess we’ll have to flip a coin on that one.

Contrast the above, ironically, with the recent, rather amazing step by Dick Cheney’s other daughter — the elder Liz, currently eyeballing a Wyoming Senate seat. Parting company with her globally-recognized father – in one striking regard at least – she’s announced opposition to “same-sex marriage”. Her stand, however you dice it, flies in the grill of little sister Mary’s inventive, freshly solemnized arrangement; one openly validated by their mom and dad. No way that could have been easy.

While I can sympathize with the peculiarly ticklish bind prominent GOP-er Dick Cheney faced when his beloved younger child flew the rainbow flag, politicians aren’t tasked with living up to their duties except when it’s personally challenging to do so. Nations need statesmen, not professional pols who’ll wilt whenever emotionally sensitive factors pay a visit.

Liz Cheney – if not her dad — demonstrates that.

Full-bodied benevolence speaks what people — and nations — should hear; not exclusively what they prefer to hear.

Mary Cheney – and a libido-addled generation – could benefit enormously from a sensible gray-hair firmly reminding them women’s sexuality is created for men and vice-versa. And, all things being equal, families operate best with a mother and father.

Right now Miley Cyrus doesn’t need a middle-aged sycophant cooing over her every self-debasement – but a dad willing to confront her, even upset her; perhaps, in so doing, saving her from future brokenheartedness.

The church requires “shepherds” who communicate forthrightly on the day’s pressing issues – more Prophet Joel than Joel Osteen — cultivating confident moral clarity.

America-at-large? Her destiny teeters on leaders, role models – including workaday citizens – who refuse to shrink visibly from what’s right. Even when it squeezes them personally. 

Elseways, “we the people” end-up getting the squeeze – as we have been for sometime now. 

Steve Pauwels is pastor of Church of the King, Londonderry, NH and host of Striker Radio with Steve Pauwels on the Red State Talk Radio Network. He's also husband to the lovely Maureen and proud father of three fine sons: Mike, Sam and Jake.