Former Vice President Dan Quayle told more than 2,000 churchgoers in the northern Los Angeles County city of Lancaster on Sunday that they must "come out of the closet" to proclaim publicly the importance of religion and family values, despite what he termed widespread "bigotry" against conservative Christians.
Speaking at a $100-a-plate breakfast and later at a church dedication ceremony, Quayle also thanked President Clinton for noting recently that Quayle had raised a valid point in the family values campaign debate after Quayle criticized the TV character Murphy Brown. On Sunday, Quayle said he has "the greatest admiration for single mothers" and meant "all of our values."
Quayle told the Lancaster Baptist Church gathering: "We need to come out of the closet and speak up for family values like responsibility, integrity, hard work, fidelity and compassion."
He also complained that fundamentalist Christians are "taught to be tolerant of others," but are often the objects of intolerance. "Today, the only acceptable form of bigotry in our society is bigotry against conservative Christians," Quayle said.
"The gatekeepers of our culture almost to an individual are antagonistic. And they have successfully characterized conservative Christians as right-wing fanatics, even terrorists and bombers," an apparent allusion to recent attacks on abortion clinics and doctors.