They had a "good laugh" about it, Hostetter recalled, and Carter agreed with her. In December, Carter appointed the WASP to the committee, causing much controversy in the papers. In a recent edition of the GLSEN newsletter, Co-chairman Michael Record wrote that Hostetter and fellow appointee Kane had "derailed" his group's mission.
Hostetter laughs when she hears this. "He gives me a lot of credit, doesn't he?"
As 1 a.m. passed at Denny's, I began to challenge some of her ideas about homosexuality. Hostetter stopped laughing. Her face tightened with anger. Her eyes glared at me as she spoke about sin. I asked her why she was so preoccupied with what consensual adults do in their homes. Looking as if she might burst into tears, she spoke of sex crimes and murders committed by gay men. They are destroying America, she cried, especially when they enlist youth on their side. They need to come to God and renounce their decision, she said, repeating her mantra that homosexuality is not a genetic trait.
Though it's not very constructive to go too far down this road, the truth is there are lots of respectable scientific studies that suggest that homosexuality is, in fact, rooted in genes. She writes those off as "illegitimate" and contends there is no proof.
I asked her, as we walked to our cars, how she can be so sure she's right. After all, there is certainly no scientific proof that it's not genetic. "If God condemns something," she said, "then he wouldn't have made them that way."
And that was that. One can't argue with the Inerrant Word. I thought of all the contradictions and cruelties in the Bible and how it was no wonder she sometimes looked as if she wanted to explode. All that considerable drive and passion -- the sensor mentality of hers -- was trapped in the rigid framework of the Christian Right that had been hammered into her during childhood.
But I didn't say any of that. I just thanked her and told her that I'd had a good time.
As Hostetter opened her car door, I smiled and nodded. Then the Church Lady drove away, surely planning another day of service in the Army of the Lord.