OPINIONSrnGod and Man in Jailrnby Chilton Williamson, Jr.rn”Disobedience in the eyes of any one who has read history isrnman’s original virtue. “rn—Oscar WildernComing Out Conservative:rnAn Autobiographyrnby Marvin LiebmanrnSan Francisco: Chronicle Books;rn272 pp., $19.95rnThe First Dissident: The Book of Jobrnin Today’s Politicsrnby William SafirernNew York: Random House;rn336 pp., $23.00rnThe Republican Party Convention inrnHouston last summer verged on arngigantic symposium convened to discussrn”The Religious Roots of the AmericanrnPolitical System.” Conservatives—sornthe Republicans claim and their enemiesrncharge—are inspired by religious convictions,rnwhich determine their politicalrnbeliefs and help to fix their publicrnagenda. While fierce bigotry is supposedrnto make them heartless defendersrnof the status quo, gentle progressives,rntheir opponents, can take comfort fromrnrccentl)’ published books by two veteranrn”libertarian conservatives.”rnMarvin Liebman is a political activistrnof long standing who helped to foundrnYoung Americans for Freedom, thernAmerican Coirservative Union, and thernCommittee of One Million, which spentrn20 years keeping the People’s Republicrnof China out of the United Nations.rnTwelve years ago, this second-generationrnAmerican Jew who in his youth hadrnbeen a proud member of the YoungrnCommunist League was received intornthe Roman Catholic Church, an eventrnthat might have provided the thematicrncenter and climax of his autobiography.rnChilton Williamson, ]r. is the seniorrneditor for books at Chronicles.rnInstead another event, following arndecade after, takes precedence: the author’srnconversion to the religion of ideologicalrnsodomy, whose rituals arc candidlyrnand graphically described inrnComing Out Conservative. (ChroniclernBooks of San Francisco claims no affiliationrnwitli Chronicles magazine of Rockford.)rnNow in his late 60’s, Liebman appearsrnto have lost interest in conservativernpolitics, gay rights and homosexual narcissismrnalone being “meaningful” tornhim, “a home where I could be me.”rnHis decision to inform William F.rnBuckley, Jr.—his closest friend for 35rnyears—of his homosexuality was, Liebmanrnwrites, only slightly more difficultrnthan making his confession of the TruernFaith to Buckley had been. But by thernspring of 1990, “when bigotry publiclyrncame out of its closet again, I felt like arnJew in Cermany in 1934 who had chosenrnto remain silent, hoping to be able tornstay invisible as he watched the beginningrnof the Holocaust.” Marvin Liebmanrn(is the name one of Cod’s littlernjokes, ordained from all eternity?), outragedrnby the manipulation of the Mapplethorpernexhibit by the “New Bigots”rnto “promote fear and hatred of lesbianrnand gay Americans” in the name of “traditionalrnAmerican (white Christian)rnfamily values,” feared that “there wouldrnbe no stop to the bigotry and hatred thatrnwould sweep America” and decided torntake action. He wrote a long letter tornBuckley and faxed it with the requestrnthat it be printed in National Review.rnThe letter confessed its author’s proudrnhomosexuality and said in part,rnAnti-Semitism is something that,rnhappily for the history of the lastrnthree decades. National Reviewrnhelped to banish at least from thernpublic behavior of conservatives.rnNational Review lifted conservatismrnto a more enlightenedrnplane, away from a tendency tornengage in the manipulation ofrnbase moties, prejudices, and desires;rnactivity in nry view whichrntended to be a major base of conservatism’srnnatural constituencyrnback then. Political gay bashing,rnracism, and anti-Semitism . . . arernwaiting to be let out once again. Irnworry that the right wing . . . willrnreturn to the fever swamps.rnIf Liebman experienced anguish fromrnthe spectacle of his recently discoveredrnSavior immersed in a bottle of Serrano’srnurine, he never mentions it.rnMarvin Liebman believes that hisrnopen letter to Bill Buckley aceomplislicdrnthe cud of his lifelong “double life,”rnwhen he globe-trotted from one head ofrn28/CHROiNICLESrnrnrn