THE RIGHTEOUS STUFF

IN THE MID-'80S, ASU WAS THE LAUNCHING PAD FOR THEIR CONSERVATIVE VITRIOL. NOW THEY'VE GRADUATED TO THE REAL WORLD.

And staff members admitted to the press that they were asked to make telephone calls on behalf of Charles Keating's legal defense efforts.

Today the senior staff of the National Family Legal Foundation consists primarily of people associated with the other organizations (including Munsil). The board of directors includes Edwin Meese III (a Keating champion) and Alan Sears, whom Keating described in a 1988 fund-raising letters as one of his "potent legal weapons." Len Munsil married Tracy Fletcher (now Tracy Munsil), another former State Press editor who holds a master's degree in political science and now writes for various "pro-family type publications." But most of her time is devoted to the Munsils' five children. "We're sort of counterculture in a lot of different ways," Len Munsil says. By staying home to raise their children (she gave up a career with the Washington Times), his wife is practicing the philosophy she preached on the pages of the State Press, he adds.

She devoted much of her energy during those years to smashing conventional feminist notions. She wrote: "Finding a large number of women in certain jobs (such as teaching) today reflects women's preferences and skills, not society's structural exclusion of them from better-paid jobs." For his part, Len Munsil says, "I agree with every word that I wrote back then. My viewpoint hasn't changed at all." In a 1985 State Press column titled "The Homosexual Hoax," he explained his reasoning behind the decision to reject meeting notices for the ASU gay and lesbian student union. "Collectively, these people are a modern-day Typhoid Mary. They are spreading a startling number of serious health hazards," Munsil wrote, adding that because sodomy was illegal, groups that promote it should not be recognized.

These days Munsil makes his voice heard on television and through guest columns and letters in the local press. And he let his enduring opinions on homosexuality be known at a June 1992 discussion of gay rights before the Phoenix City Council. Munsil compared homosexuals to pedophiles for whom "molesting children is normal."

The reply from Rob Davis, an activist in the audience: "I wish the guy who just talked would drop dead. . . . They're all ignorant, stuck-up, religious bigots. I'm sick of it." @rule:

@body:In the fall of 1984--at about the same time Munsil was freezing gays out of the State Press--student leaders voted to eliminate funding for a number of student groups, including the gay and lesbian student union, the Committee in Solidarity With the People of El Salvador and the General Union of Palestinian Students.

Jay Heiler, then a student at ASU's law school, was a student senator that year. He proposed the amendment that cut funding from the gay and lesbian union. In honor of the occasion--and the ensuing criticism--he penned a guest column for the State Press.

"The position of homosexual activists, that to feel an instinctive revulsion for this act is to be a bigot or a Nazi, is the ultimate expression of self-righteousness," Heiler wrote. A small poster--the kind you'd buy at a dime store--used to hang on the wall of Jay Heiler's office at the State Press. Beside a picture of a donkey was the saying, "Lord, give me this day my daily opinion and forgive me the one I had yesterday."
A review of the onetime editor's work since he left ASU reveals little change in the basic Heiler ideology, though he has most recently swapped the topics of sex and Soviets for guns and gangs.

At the State Press, Heiler indulged in extensive discussions of Playboy magazine, lingering over the evils of "Mazola parties" and nude pictorials of "E.F. Hutton's sexiest stockbrokers." Later, as an assistant state attorney general, Heiler fought for restrictions on what he called "masturbatoriums" (peep shows) and tried to get "obscene" bumper stickers outlawed.

After his tour of duty at the Attorney General's Office, Heiler left Arizona for Virginia. As an editorial writer for the Richmond Times Dispatch, he returned to an old favorite, the topic of the evil Soviet regime. In a 1990 editorial, he attacked students at Wellesley College for their decision to withdraw a speaking invitation to then-first lady Barbara Bush, and invite Raisa Gorbachev instead: "We assume Mrs. Gorbachev makes the feminist grade because she holds a doctorate in philosophy from Moscow State University, but then that is rather like earning one's divinity degree at the University of Hell." And U.S. Representative Patricia Schroeder, a Democrat from Colorado, caught hell for daring to propose unpaid family leave legislation: "America has been made over, through tax-and-spend fiscal policy and long-way-baby feministas, into a place economically and socially violent toward single-wage-earner households." Upon his return to Arizona, Heiler was reportedly such a hot commodity that he had tempting job offers from both Fife Symington and the Arizona Republic (Ideologue-rolling at the Republic," April 28, 1993). Then-editorial-page editor Bill Cheshire, a fellow conservative, was eager to secure Heiler's services. Alas, publisher Louis "Chip" Weil was not enthusiastic, and would only cough up a $50,000 salary--a meager offering compared to the $75,000 Symington was promising. Some observers believe Cheshire's attempt to tug the Republic editorial page farther to the right--after Heiler turned down the job, Cheshire proposed hiring Scully--played a key role in his demotion to columnist. Cheshire continues to lead cheers for his friends Fife Symington and Jay Heiler. In an October 28 column, he called Attorney General Grant Woods' anticrime proposals "gossamer to the touch." On the same page, an unsigned Republic editorial was far less critical.

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1 comments
ExpertShot
ExpertShot topcommenter

You know that Keating had the largest collection of porn in the world - he used to show it off at his private parties.  I'm guessing he passed that on to Scully.

 
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