Sad news on the GLBT front: write to the Obama transition team|
Reported this week: Obama is planning to include an invocation by Rick Warren in the inauguration process in January. Warren is someone who has used the pulpit to compare the loving relationships between GLBT couples to degrading activities such as incest and pedophilia.
It is becoming clear to me that decent treatment of gay families in this country is not just a civil rights issue. It's not just a separation of church and state issue, either. What we must as a society recognize is that churches who teach hatred of the gay minority, who teach that their love is an abomination, are fundamentally wrong to do so.
As Len pointed out to me last night, it was not so long ago that preachers across the country used the pulpit to speak out against mixed race couples, and mixed race marriage, using the bible to defend their bigotry and their prejudices. The same people who argued that people should not lay down with people of a different color, and who still preach that they should not lay down with someone of the same sex even if they are themselves homosexual in nature are, similarly, completely wrong
You can find an argument against nearly everything in the bible. But as society has progressed, our interpretations and the translation of meaning according to an enlightened morality has thankfully moved forward. So we no longer stone our neighbors, and we no longer hang black men for sleeping with white women, and we need to stop punishing and demonizing gay people as well, recognizing that they are currently an oppressed minority, and our democracy is supposed to be better than that.
Let's make it so.
I encourage you to contact the transition team
and let them know how you feel about Rick Warren's inclusion in the inauguration ceremony.
|Date:||December 19th, 2008 08:15 pm (UTC)|| |
|Date:||December 19th, 2008 08:51 pm (UTC)|| |
What we must as a society recognize is that churches who teach hatred of the gay minority, who teach that their love is an abomination, are fundamentally wrong to do so.
I'm going to partially disagree here. While I agree that teaching hate is never desirable, these churches are entitled to their beliefs about the immorality of homosexuality. Arguing with them that such beliefs are "fundamentally wrong" is likely to lead to a lot of shouting, and no useful outcome. The real problem, in my view, is that such religious views are given government sanction under the pretense that procreation is a compelling state interest. That prevents the stakeholders in this debate from being able to agree to disagree and go their separate ways.
Rick Warren has a record that suggests that he could work with Obama on issues like poverty relief and environmental stewardship, and I think that it speaks well for Obama that he's trying to show some inclusiveness, even to those with whom he disagrees. If he can work with Warren where they agree, and disagree civilly on the rest, I think they're setting a good example. Also, a lot of Obama's constituents (meaning U.S. citizens) agree with Warren's views, and showing them an olive branch reduces the odds of them becoming angry and obstructionist. It's only an invocation; it's not like Warren is going to be setting Obama's social policy. It's also worth noting that Joseph Lowery, a pastor with a solid pro-gay record, is going to be giving the Benediction.
|Date:||December 19th, 2008 09:06 pm (UTC)|| |
All good points. Thanks for expanding on the topic.
But I still feel that the anti-gay argument, like the anti-miscegenation argument, is one that needs to be directly challenged. It's not out of character for Obama to be inclusive in this way, but I'm still saddened by it.
|Date:||December 19th, 2008 09:39 pm (UTC)|| |
I suspect that directly challenging it might be the only way to lose, in the long run. All of the demographics point to a significant progressive shift on gender issues over the next couple of decades, and the only way I can see it not happening is if it's pushed too quickly, thereby handing conservatives a banner to rally around.
I am with nicegeek on this one. I thought it a stroke of true inclusion and a master-stroke politically.
Inclusion is not inclusive if you only bring in the people you agree with. The Democrats lost by preaching to the choir; the Republican speaking style is more of a ranting/foaming-at-the-mouth kind of cadence, but they fell victim to the same problem.
We want and need Rick Warren's constituency to hear our ideas. Just to tap into that crowd and get them to read more than the two or three passages of the Bible that make possible, tenuous allusions to homosexuality and to look at the main themes of the Good Book, which abound with compassion for all, care for the poor, endless resistance to cruelty, malice and hypocrisy is without limit as to its value.
I think it's a great idea.
And they are having a pro-gay preacher as well.
As to the miscegenation/homosexuality argument:
1) That is the slippery slope of morality that the right is whining about.
2) It was accepted, at least in law if not universally in fact, when African-Americans were finally considered people. America is not even that far with gays, though that day is drawing closer. Let's make them people first and get them basic rights through anti-discrimination legislation first.
Frankly, I think in 10 years this debate will be long gone. It's becoming increasingly LESS of a big deal and we are seeing the death throes of the bigots on this one.
|Date:||December 19th, 2008 09:10 pm (UTC)|| |
If you haven't read it yet, allow me to point you to an alternate perspective on the situation from Andrew Sullivan
Over the last week I've come around to his point of view on this. If we can't work with the folks who we disagree strongly with, how are we any better than the administration and party politics of the last 8 years?
|Date:||December 19th, 2008 09:38 pm (UTC)|| |
I can understand that Obama is trying to develop a working relationship with Warren, and that Warren himself faces criticism for participating in the ceremony, so perhaps it is a good thing for him to be included, since he is willing to be so. Still, there is a difference between working with someone and seeming to reward them, and it seems to me many people view the invocation as a great honor being bestowed upon Warren. It is hard not to view that as an at least partial approbation of his current and recent work, which includes a lot of work on Prop 8.
|Date:||December 19th, 2008 10:18 pm (UTC)|| |
|Date:||December 20th, 2008 05:05 am (UTC)|| |
Welcome to the Presidency.
And so it begins. A virtue of Obama, like Clinton before him, will shock those on the left who promoted him perhaps a little too uncritically-- he is a true bipartisan centrist and peacemaker. I don't like Rick Warren any more than the GLBT community does, but he is representative of those we need to make peace with to win hearts and minds.
My first exposure to the ideas and ideals of Obama was in his religion speech. From that moment, I knew this was coming, and decided to accept it. I decided to accept it because he will serve the needs of sexual, racial and religious minorities, and give them a public voice. At the same time, since he is not President of Sweden, he has to give empty symbolism to the religious majority who are satisfied with it. That combination in itself is pretty darn amazing.
|Date:||December 24th, 2008 07:51 pm (UTC)|| |
Yeah, I'm fairly cool with all that. It mostly just provided a springboard for me to say some things I had already been composing a post about.
You know how difficult it is for me to say things like this about Rick Warren. My views haven't changed. I just think the heat should be on him.