Inaugural Prayer | Bishop Eugene Robinson January 21, 2009Posted by rogerhollander in Human Rights, Religion.
Tags: bishop robinson, eugene robinson, gay rights, human rights, inauguration, inauguration prayer, luther king, mlk, Obama, prayer, religion, roger hollander, tolerance
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O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will…
Bless us with tears – for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women from many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.
Bless us with anger – at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
Bless us with discomfort – at the easy, simplistic “answers” we’ve preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth, about ourselves and the world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.
Bless us with patience – and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be “fixed” anytime soon, and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.
Bless us with humility – open to understanding that our own needs must always be balanced with those of the world.
Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance – replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences, and an understanding that in our diversity, we are stronger.
Bless us with compassion and generosity – remembering that every religion’s God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable in the human community, whether across town or across the world.
And God, we give you thanks for your child Barack, as he assumes the office of President of the United States.
Give him wisdom beyond his years, and inspire him with Lincoln’s reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy’s ability to enlist our best efforts, and Dr. King’s dream of a nation for ALL the people.
Give him a quiet heart, for our Ship of State needs a steady, calm captain in these times.
Give him stirring words, for we will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.
Make him color-blind, reminding him of his own words that under his leadership, there will be neither red nor blue states, but the United States.
Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination, that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.
Give him the strength to find family time and privacy, and help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters’ childhoods.
And please, God, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our presidents, and we’re asking FAR too much of this one. We know the risk he and his wife are taking for all of us, and we implore you, O good and great God, to keep him safe. Hold him in the palm of your hand – that he might do the work we have called him to do, that he might find joy in this impossible calling, and that in the end, he might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity and peace.
Max Blumenthal on “Rick Warren’s Double Life” December 24, 2008Posted by rogerhollander in Barack Obama, Human Rights.
Tags: amy goodman, Barack Obama, beliefnet, dailybeast, Democracy Now, gay marriage, gay rights, inauguration, Iran, james dobson, lesbian rights, max blumenthal, pat robertson, proposition 8, rick warren, roger hollander, saddleback church, same-sex marriage, sean hannity
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23 december 2008
President-elect Barack Obama is drawing criticism from many supporters for his choice to deliver the invocation at next month’s inauguration. Obama has selected the Reverend Rick Warren, a leading evangelical opponent of abortion and same-sex marriage. Warren supported California’s recent gay marriage ban and has compared abortion to the Nazi Holocaust. In a recent interview with the website BeliefNet.com, Warren said he thinks gay marriage is comparable to incest, polygamy and child abuse. We speak to investigative journalist Max Blumenthal.
AMY GOODMAN: President-elect Barack Obama is drawing criticism from many supporters for his choice to deliver the invocation at next month’s inauguration. Obama selected the Reverend Rick Warren, a leading evangelical opponent of abortion and same-sex marriage. Warren supported California’s recent gay marriage ban and has compared abortion to the Nazi Holocaust. In a recent interview with the website beliefnet.com, Warren said he thinks gay marriage is comparable to incest, polygamy and child abuse.
- REV. RICK WARREN: I’m opposed to having a brother and sister be together and call that marriage. I’m opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that a marriage. I’m opposed to one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage.
STEVEN WALDMAN: Do you think those are equivalent to gays getting married?
REV. RICK WARREN: Oh, I do. I just say, for 5,000 years, marriage has been defined by every single culture and every single religion. This is not a Christian issue. Buddhists, Muslims, Jews—you know, historically, marriage is a man and a woman.
AMY GOODMAN: The Reverend Rick Warren, speaking to beliefnet.com. After Warren’s inauguration appearance was announced, Obama was forced to defend his choice.
- PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA: It is no secret that I am a fierce advocate for equality for gay and lesbian Americans. It is something that I have been consistent on and something that I intend to continue to be consistent on during my presidency.
What I’ve also said is that it is important for America to come together, even though we may have disagreements on certain social issues. And I would note that a couple of years ago, I was invited to Rick Warren’s church to speak, despite his awareness that I held views that were entirely contrary to his when it came to gay and lesbian rights, when it came to issues like abortion. Nevertheless, I had an opportunity to speak. And that dialogue, I think, is part of what my campaign’s been all about.
AMY GOODMAN: President-elect Barack Obama, speaking in Chicago last week.
I’m joined now by Max Blumenthal, Puffin Foundation writing fellow at the Nation Institute. His work has appeared in The Nation, Salon and many other publications, currently writing a book on the US evangelical movement. His latest article, “Rick Warren’s Hypocritical Double Life,” is online at dailybeast.com. Max Blumenthal joins us by DN! video stream.
Welcome to Democracy Now!, Max.
MAX BLUMENTHAL: Great to be here.
AMY GOODMAN: Talk about the history of Rick Warren.
MAX BLUMENTHAL: Well, the history of Rick Warren is pretty interesting. And you heard some of his views right there. These are views that people have only recently started paying attention to. Prior to this controversy, Rick Warren was, you know, proffered by the media as the voice of the new evangelical movement, which embraces environmentalism and fights poverty and is going to move beyond the old hobgoblins of the Christian right and the old, you know, draconian figures of the Christian right, like James Dobson and Pat Robertson. Rick Warren was supposed to be the pioneer of this new movement. He is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church, a megachurch in Orange County. And he’s the author of The Purpose Driven Life, which is, you know, a sort of subtly Christian, self-help manual that sold 25 million copies. So he has a really broad appeal, and he’s planted churches across the world, especially in Africa.
And because, you know, the media has expected evangelicals, especially conservative evangelicals, to be draconian and retrograde, you know, they’ve made a hero out of Rick Warren without looking at who he really is and what he really believes. Nicholas Kristof from the New York Times, for example, has called Rick Warren an evangelical liberals can love. You know, Newsweek named Rick Warren one of the fifteen people who make America great. And even The Nation, which I’ve written for, you know, the venerable left-wing magazine, in 2005 published a piece calling Rick Warren America’s pastor.
You know, he wears a Hawaiian shirt. He looks like a big teddy bear. He doesn’t holler or hector. He speaks in a ponderous tone. And he does seem to genuinely care about the environment and care about poverty. It’s not clear what he’s actually done.
And he’s been pumped up by a small group of Democratic consultants, who urged Barack Obama first to go to his church and speak with him and then to participate in a debate this August that was broadcast by CNN, the Saddleback Forum, where Rick Warren essentially got to interview both candidates sequentially, John McCain and Barack Obama, on the issues and serve as the national minister. The debate went really badly for Obama, because Rick Warren asked him a trick question about abortion: When does a baby get human rights? Barack Obama couldn’t answer it. Soon after, he was attacked by right-wing radio hosts for his answer, because he said, you know, “This question is above my pay grade.” And Rick Warren even went on a conservative radio show and, you know, chuckled about Obama’s response and kind of lightly mocked him.
So, the real Rick Warren is someone who fights the culture war with a velvet glove. He’s a religious right figure who’s figured out a new strategy to move into a Democratic post-Bush era and still hold influence. He even—he freely admitted to a reporter from the Wall Street Journal that the principal difference, the only difference, between him and James Dobson is a matter of tone. And when I called Rick Warren’s PR handlers, you know, the people that are responsible for making him into this major national figure, from Larry A. Ross Communications, they kind of laughed at the idea that he was America’s pastor. They said he’s consistent with what the Bible teaches. He’s not trying to be America’s pastor or whatever.
So, Rick Warren openly backed Proposition 8 in California last November—this November, and he did so in the terms that you heard him speaking to Steven Waldman, essentially saying that two percent of our population, the homosexual population, was trying to dictate to the rest us, which is a really demagogic thing to say. He told that to his congregation. And he’s backed every anti-gay proposition that’s come down the pike in California in the last ten years, including Proposition 22, which laid the groundwork for Proposition 8. He joined up with James Dobson and Charles Colson and Tony Perkins and these people to do this.
Beyond that, he compares pro-choice advocates to Holocaust deniers. He recently was interviewed by Sean Hannity, and Sean Hannity asked him, “Should we attack Iran?” And Rick Warren said, “Well, it’s our God-given obligation to take out evildoers.” He has recently scrubbed material from his website claiming that man walked the earth with dinosaurs, basically that, you know, history is one big Flintstones episode. He will not allow homosexuals to be members of his church, and he recently scrubbed that from his website.
So it’s just interesting to me that people are finally paying attention to this, after Rick Warren has never tried to hide his views. He’s never really gamed the media. It’s just that progressives have finally drawn the line, where Barack Obama has not.
AMY GOODMAN: You write about, one, Rick Warren saying he doesn’t feel that politics and religion should be mixed. But you also talk about how in the last days of the presidential race of Bush’s 2004 re-election bid, Warren sent an urgent blast email to hundreds of thousands of evangelicals, insisting they base their votes on five non-negotiable issues: abortion, stem cell research, gay marriage, human cloning and euthanasia.
MAX BLUMENTHAL: Right. And this is before Rick Warren became a member of the ONE Campaign, before, you know, the media had began puffing him, and before people—Democratic consultants like Mara Vanderslice, who ran a sort of Christian front group for Obama called Matthew 25, and self-proclaimed progressive evangelicals in the media, like Amy Sullivan, began presenting him as one of the new evangelicals who was going to take us beyond the Christian right. But the evidence was there that Rick Warren had sort of insidiously backed George W. Bush by saying that pastors had to vote and urge their congregations to vote on issues like abortion and homosexuality. If you vote on those issues and you say that those issues are non-negotiable, then of course you’re going to vote for George W. Bush, and of course you’re going to back the Republicans for Congress.
Beyond that, you know, Rick Warren says he’s for the environment. Rick Warren says that he’s for fighting poverty, which is great. But what has he actually done? You know, I’ve spent hours scouring the internet, calling around, trying to find some results that Rick Warren has produced in Africa against AIDS, results he’s produced against poverty. And all I can find is that his peace programs, which he calls them, are sort of recruitment vehicles for the churches that he’s planning in Africa and that he is using these programs actually to evangelize, and there’s no real way of measuring his results. And there are Christian groups that are doing good work, you know, in the third world, that are fighting poverty, and they measure results, groups like Medical Teams International. Even World Vision measures results. But we have no way of knowing what Rick Warren is doing. It looks to me like he’s going around to the Aspen Institute and to these big elite festivals and telling people who expect evangelicals to be retrograde and who expect evangelicals to be draconian, that he’s doing something different. And he speaks the language that people want to hear in the media-manufactured age of post-partisanship. But it’s unclear what he’s actually doing, beyond fighting the culture war with a velvet glove.
AMY GOODMAN: Max Blumenthal, let’s turn to another clip highlighting some of Rick Warren’s views. Earlier this month, he was interviewed by Ann Curry of MSNBC.
- ANN CURRY: If science finds that this is biological—
REV. RICK WARREN: Yeah?
ANN CURRY: —that people are born to be gay, would you change your position?
REV. RICK WARREN: No. And the reason why is because we all have biological predispositions. I’m naturally inclined to have sex with every beautiful woman I see. But that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.
AMY GOODMAN: That’s Rick Warren. Max Blumenthal, final thoughts?
MAX BLUMENTHAL: Well, that’s a bizarre remark I haven’t heard. And, you know, I like to get to know women first, and I think, you know, most people do. Rick Warren has a doctrine of women’s submission, which he preaches to his church, and he tells the female members of his church that they have to support their husbands’ decisions, even if they make bad financial decisions, because women have to submit in a biblical manner to their husbands. So this goes way beyond being anti-gay. He’s, you know, patriarchal. He’s supported assassinating Iran’s president. And he’s just—
You know, I have no problem, and I don’t think anyone should have any problem with Barack Obama going to Rick Warren’s church and meeting with him or working with him on good initiatives. But the question is, where does Barack Obama draw the line when someone demonizes a segment of Americans? Is this person really fit to address the nation and confer God’s blessing on the entire United States of America, when Rick Warren freely admits that he only believes that a small segment of Americans are going to heaven and that the rest of us are going to burn in an everlasting lake of fire? That’s the question. And I think that Barack Obama has answered it. But at the very least, progressives have drawn the line here, and I think they should hold the line.
AMY GOODMAN: Max Blumenthal, I want to thank you for being with us, Puffin Foundation writing fellow at the Nation Institute, writing a book on the evangelical movement. His latest article is called “Rick Warren’s Hypocritical Double Life.” It’s online at dailybeast.com.
Barack Obama, Linda Douglass, and Little Ole LGBT Me December 22, 2008Posted by rogerhollander in Barack Obama, Human Rights.
Tags: Barack Obama, beliefnet, Bill Clinton, California, discrimination, don't ask, don't tell, evangelical, gay marriage, gay rights, hillary clinton, HIV/AIDS, human rights, inauguration, invisible man, karen ocamb, lesbian rights, lgbt, linda douglass, maya angelou, proposition 8, ralph ellison, reproductive rights, rick warren, roger hollander, same-sex marriage, tobias wolff, victory fund, women
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There’s a saying in the 12 Step programs about being sick and tired of being sick and tired.
It’s at this point — generally your own personal version of rock bottom — that you surrender and admit something has been screwing up your life.
Well — I guess that’s where I am now. I’m sick and tired of hope.
I wanted to explain this to Linda Douglass, Obama’s heavy-duty spokesperson, when she called unexpectedly and unsolicited at 7:30 Friday morning. But I was taken aback. When she started to identify herself, I stopped her and said, “I know who you are. I remember you from your time as a reporter here in L.A.” – before CBS News moved her to Washington to cover the Justice Department. I was once a small time producer at CBS News and admired Douglass’ journalistic talent.
But Linda did not call to chat about our different career paths. She called me as the news editor of LA’s two largest LGBT publications — IN Los Angeles and Frontiers magazines — to talk about evangelist Rick Warren, who President-Elect Barack Obama selected to deliver the Inauguration Invocation. In case you haven’t heard, there’s been something of a firestorm from LGBTs over the choice.
Obama chose Warren, Linda said, primarily because Obama “has a strong belief in seeking common ground with those people with whom he disagrees on important issues” so difficult discussions can be conducted with civility. Obama admires Warren’s efforts on behalf of the poor and people with HIV/AIDS and climate change, she said, but he disagrees with Warren on issues involving the LGBT community, women’s reproductive rights, and other issues.
The goal, Linda said, was to make this “the most open and inclusive Inauguration in history, including all points of view.” The choice of Warren “was about his seeking common ground with somebody who is trying to be a voice of moderation” to others in the Christian Evangelical movement and beyond through his book “The Purpose Driven Life.”
“This is a choice that reflects these steps toward inclusiveness,” Linda said, adding that the Inaugural program is being rolled out very slowly and by the end, the Big Picture will be revealed as including a “very diverse, inclusive set of people” and an environment that reinforces the belief that “we’re stronger when we’re united. That’s the goal.”
Linda urged me to urge my LGBT readers to look at Obama’s Warren choice in the context of “the Big Picture — a set of goals that have to do with making sure every voice is heard and making possible progress” by resolving those differences that “get in the way of doing what is right for all the people. There is no reason to fear that [Obama's] commitment to equality for gay and lesbian people is going to waver.”
Linda noted Obama’s “own strong belief in the importance of equality and the importance of doing away with discrimination.” Look at the fact that on Election Night Obama “gave a firm shout-out to gays and lesbians that was heard all around the world,” Linda said, as well as his strong record on LGBT issues, including his opposition to Prop 8 (the California amendment that stripped marriage rights from lesbian and gay couples).
Linda noted that civil rights icon Rev. Dr. Joseph E. Lowery has received “short shrift” as the person doing the Benediction. He’s an “outspoken champion of LGBT issues – one of the really, really strong voices” and he’s “at the other end of the program.”
Yes, thank God.
But Linda, I said, the Inauguration isn’t a town hall meeting where different policy discussions can be hashed out. This is a hugely important moment when you say, “this is what we stand for” — and with no openly gay person on the podium — or in his Cabinet – Warren’s pick is a devastating kick in the solar plexis.
Was Obama aware that in an interview with Beliefnet Rick Warren compared same sex marriage to incest and pedophilia? “I don’t know if he was aware of any specific thing,” Linda said. But he is aware of his disagreements and Obama is a “strong, strong champion” of LGBT rights who favors repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and will sign federal hate crime legislation.
Look at the Big Picture.
But it’s hard to look at the Big Picture when you’re doubled over with pain.
I brought up Melissa Etheridge’s question to Hillary Clinton during the
Logo/Human Rights Campaign debate last year – when Melissa basically asked Hillary how can we trust you when we had such high hopes with Bill Clinton and he threw us under the bus?
Linda said she’s been listening to a lot of pain.
I can imagine. I don’t think the Obama folks were quite prepared for the reaction. And I KNOW LGBT folks were not prepared for the sucker-punch — especially after having our legitimate, fundamental right to marry stripped from us by a simple majority of California voters.
But maybe the outrage has done some good. Maybe Obama will finally “see” us — not as a motley crew with a common issue — but as real flesh and blood human beings who get hurt and angry with good reason — we are the last minority against whom it is acceptable to discriminate.
I was in the room in 1991 — before there were medications to “manage” HIV/AIDS – when candidate Bill Clinton went off script and said to a theater full of angry and pained gays and people with AIDS, “I have a vision and you’re a part of it.” Even without close advisors David Mixner or Bob Hattoy whispering in his ear – Clinton wanted and sought and got the LGBT/PWA vote — because things were soooo bad under Reagan/Bush. We were traumatized — experiencing life and death daily like water gushing through clenched fists.
Clinton included us in the Inauguration — gay families on the family float — panels from the AIDS Quilt — a LGBT viewing corner along the parade route — meetings between LGBT and AIDS activists with transition team members — including Hattoy — who spoke at the Democratic National Convention, and Tim Westmoreland.
And then, as everyone knows — in the face of Sam Nunn and threats to defeat every piece of legislation if he executed his promise to lift the ban on gays serving openly in the military — Clinton threw us under the bus and created the “compromise” policy “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” with the Defense of Marriage Act following not far behind. But everyone knew beforehand that Clinton was more conservative than LGBTs and people with AIDS wanted.
But at least Clinton saw us. He seemed to understand our lot as American exiles living in America and he “felt our pain.”
So I was as moved by Maya Angelou’s Inauguration poem for Clinton, “On the Pulse of Morning,” as I was when I heard JFK’s Inauguration speech as a child. The possibility of hope filled the air — a marrow-bone belief that one day we will see each other and celebrate our differences with civility.
I think of Maya Angelou everyday as I walk my dogs and nod to my neighbors, “good morning.” For a moment, it all rushes back — that positive possibility of a better world, starting one to one.
That’s what Obama promised. Yes, together we can change America. That’s why the brilliant gay author and legal scholar Tobias Wolff flew across the country on his own dime defending Obama and asking for a second chance after antigay Gospel singer Donnie McClurkin headlined Obama’s “Gospel Tour.” Wolff promised that henceforth no antigay people would speak for Obama.
So when it was revealed that Obama picked Rick Warren to deliver the Inaugural Invocation — I felt sucker-punched. My mind drifted to the opening paragraph of the famous book by Ralph Ellison — “Invisible Man.”
“I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids =- and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.”
At the end of the book, Ellison writes: “Perhaps, on the lower frequencies, I speak for you.”
I finally got it.
It’s not that Obama thinks of this as a “Sister Souljah” moment as I first thought. The fact is — Obama doesn’t think of us at all. The gays who might be near him are staffers who happen to be gay and for whom being gay is apparently not an issue. He doesn’t see them as gay — and therefore he doesn’t see us at all.
We are not a substantive part of his vision.
What to do? Well, for one — expect nothing from this new president for whom we are a nuisance, given how huge are his priorities. Let the national organizations push to their hearts content. But the real work on securing our equality with other American citizens will be done on the ground — locally, statewide and through grassroots networking and coalition building. Through the Victory Fund and electing our own. Through the political clubs and electing delegates to rise up through the ranks to start running the parties. There are as many options as there are creative imaginations among us. Let us be the visionaries. At least we see each other.
Now that’s a cause for hope.
Time Mag Columnist: Obama Is “Very Rational-Sounding Sort Of Bigot” December 22, 2008Posted by rogerhollander in Barack Obama, Human Rights.
Tags: AIDS, Barack Obama, bigotry, California, Civil Rights, falwell, gay marriage, gay rights, hierarchy of evil, homophobia, homosexuality, human rights, inauguration, incest, john cloud, pedophilia, proposition 8, richard russell jr., rick warren, Robert Gates, roger hollander, same-sex marriage
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The Problem for Gays with Rick Warren — and
About three years ago, a reporter at Fortune asked Rick Warren, the successful pastor whom the President-elect has asked to pray at his Inauguration, about homosexuality. “I’m no homophobic guy,” Warren said. His proof? He has dined with gays; he has a church “full of people who are caring for gays who are dying of AIDS”; he believes that “in the hierarchy of evil … homosexuality is not the worst sin.” So gays get to eat — sometimes even with Rick Warren! Then they get to die of AIDS — possibly under the care of Rick Warren’s congregants. And when they go to hell, they won’t be quite as far down in Satan’s pit as other evildoers.
But Warren did have a message of hope for gays: they can magically become heterosexuals. (He didn’t explain how, but I suspect he thinks praying really hard would do it, as if most of us who grew up gay and evangelical hadn’t tried that every night as teenagers.) Homosexuality, Pastor Warren explained in the virtually content-free language of the dogmatist, is “not the natural way.” And then he went right for the ick factor, the way middle-school boys do: “Certain body parts are meant to fit together.”
More recently, Warren told Beliefnet that he thinks allowing a gay couple to marry is similar to allowing “a brother and sister to be together and call that marriage.” He then helpfully added that he’s also “opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that a marriage.” The reporter, who may have been a little surprised, asked, “Do you think those are equivalent to gays getting married?” “Oh, I do,” Warren immediately answered. I wish the reporter had asked the next logical follow-up: If gays are like child-sex offenders, shouldn’t we incarcerate them?
Rick Warren may occasionally sound more open-minded than Jerry Falwell, another plump Evangelical who once played a prominent role in U.S. politics. But he’s not. Gays and lesbians are angry that Barack Obama has honored Warren, but they shouldn’t be surprised. Obama has proved himself repeatedly to be a very tolerant, very rational-sounding sort of bigot. He is far too careful and measured a man to say anything about body parts fitting together or marriage being reserved for the nonpedophilic, but all the same, he opposes equality for gay people when it comes to the basic recognition of their relationships. He did throughout his campaign, one that featured appearances by Donnie McClurkin, a Christian entertainer who preaches that homosexuals can become heterosexuals.
Obama reminds me a little bit of Richard Russell Jr., the longtime Senator from Georgia who — as historian Robert Caro has noted — cultivated a reputation as a thoughtful, tolerant politician even as he defended inequality and segregation for decades. Obama gave a wonderfully Russellian defense of Warren on Thursday at a press conference. Americans, he said, need to “come together” even when they disagree on social issues. “That dialogue is part of what my campaign is all about,” he said. Russell would often use the same tactic to deflect criticism of his civil rights record. It was a distraction, Russell said, from the important business of the day uniting all Americans. Obama also said today that he is a “fierce advocate for equality” for gays, which is — given his opposition to equal marriage rights — simply a lie. It recalls the time Russell said, “I’m as interested in the Negro people of my state as anyone in the Senate. I love them.”
Many gays I know gave money to Obama, which mystified me. The favored explanation was that he doesn’t “really” believe gays shouldn’t be allowed to marry; he just has to say that in order to win. People seemed to feel that once he had won, he would find a way — in his contemplative style — to help convince Americans that gay people really do deserve basic equality. Instead, he has found a way to insult gay people deeply.
In California, some gay activists are planning to put marriage on the 2010 ballot so that Proposition 8 — which (thanks partly to Warren’s support) passed last month, banning marriage equality in the state — can be undone. Gays will need to reach older, religious, and African-American voters in order to overturn Prop. 8 (those three groups all voted disproportionately for it). If gays hoped that President Obama would help, they may want to reconsider.
The only piece of good news is that Obama loves to raise money, and he won’t want significant gay donors to stop organizing fundraisers for him. Having picked Warren to pray at the Inauguration and Republican Robert Gates to stay on at the Department of Defense (where Gates will likely continue the policy of investigating gay service members — a policy he has the legal power to end with the stroke of a pen), Obama will now have to do something nice for the gays. Today, the Washington Times brings news that some retired military leaders are supporting William White, an openly gay man who is chief operating officer of the Intrepid Museum Foundation, to be Secretary of the Navy. That would be cool. But I’m not getting my hopes up.
Lawmaker says `no’ to Rev. Warren at inauguration December 21, 2008Posted by rogerhollander in Human Rights.
Tags: barney frank, bigotry, gay marriage, gay rights, human rights, inauguration, prayer, Prop 8, propostion 8, rick warren, same-sex marriage
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AP, December 21, 2008
WASHINGTON (AP) — The first openly gay member of Congress said Sunday it was a mistake for President-elect Barack Obama to invite the Rev. Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration.
“Mr. Warren compared same-sex couples to incest. I found that deeply offensive and unfair,” Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., said in a broadcast interview.
“If he was inviting the Rev. Warren to participate in a forum and to make a speech, that would be a good thing,” Frank said. “But being singled out to give the prayer at the inauguration is a high honor. It has traditionally given as a mark of great respect. And, yes, I think it was wrong to single him out for this mark of respect.”
Warren, a best-selling author and leader of a Southern California megachurch, is a popular evangelical who stresses the need for action on social issues such as reducing poverty and protecting the environment, alongside traditional theological themes.
But gay rights advocates, who strongly supported Obama during the election, are angry over Warren’s backing of a California ballot initiative banning gay marriage. That measure was approved by voters last month.
Although Warren has said that he has nothing personally against gays, he has condemned same-sex marriage.
“I have many gay friends. I’ve eaten dinner in gay homes. No church has probably done more for people with AIDS than Saddleback Church,” he said in a recent interview with BeliefNet. But later in the interview, he compared the “redefinition of marriage” to include gay marriage to legitimizing incest, child abuse, and polygamy.
Warren, in a speech on Saturday, said he took “enormous heat” three years ago for inviting Obama to speak at his church, even though the two men disagree on some issues. “Now he’s invited me,” Warren said.
Obama defended the selection of Warren last week, telling reporters that America needs to “come together,” even when there’s disagreement on social issues. “That dialogue is part of what my campaign is all about,” he said.
Frank appeared on “Late Edition” on CNN.