Thursday, December 18, 2008

No, I'm not gonna get conciliatory here - updated (2x)

The furor (whether in a teapot or not) has reached the stage where Obama's defense of picking Rick Warren makes it into the Google news headlines.

It certainly rages in the comments on my friends' blogs and in some of the major progressive blogs.

Obama said this today:
I am fierce advocate for equality for gay and -- well, let me start by talking about my own views. I think it is no secret that I am a fierce advocate for equality for gay and lesbian Americans. It is something I have been consistent on and something 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 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 dialog, I think, is a part of what my campaign's been all about, that we're never going to agree on every single issue. What we have to do is create an atmosphere where we can disagree without being disagreeable, and then focus on those things that we hold in common as Americans. So Rick Warren has been invited to speak, Dr. Joseph Lowery -- who has deeply contrasting views to Rick Warren about a whole host of issues -- is also speaking.

I do believe we need a larger perspective and a long-term one. I also believe that winning equal rights is a long, hard struggle that is not accomplished overnight.

I also believe we don't have to take it anymore.

John Aravosis, one of the most outspoken on this issue (he has post after post on it) writes:
It's odd, and therefore telling, that Obama considers all of us equals, yet he only seems to reach out to those who bash gays, and not those who bash blacks, or Jews, or people with disabilities, or any other member of America's civil rights community.

Why is that?
Good question.

I know there is more to Rick Warren than his homophobia and misogyny and overall smarminess. He has actually done some important ministry in areas that need attention. But he still remains a powerful, wealthy bigot who equates gay marriage with incest and pedophilia in moral terms. He also plays loose with the truth (McCain's "cone of silence" in the political sphere or the utterly false assertion that all cultures and all religions have defined marriage as between one man and one woman for the past five thousand years--hasn't he effing read Genesis or 1 Kings?). He put his influence, his face, his imprimatur, and his energy into revoking human rights in my native state.

So why don't we just get some preacher from the KKK (I won't go so far as the Aryan Nation) to give the invocation? Don't we want them to feel welcome at the table too? Will it be nicely balanced if we have prayers from a Holocaust denier AND a female rabbi? Wouldn't that be a nice statement about inclusivity even when people disagree? If you have a rabbi up there too, how could American Jewry find it problematic? Lots of lovely differing voices!

We know that queers are one minority you can still make fun of and kick around (or beat to death in a remote area or urban center).

How do we make that unacceptable?

The number of reported attacks against LGBT people increased 24 percent in 2007 over 2006, and they were expected to jump in 2008, said Sharon Stapel, executive director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project.
-- Associated Press
h/t pico at Daily Kos

Suicide statistics are significantly higher among gay youth than they are among straight youth. I was lucky; I survived; many gay youth do not. I eventually began to confront what I had been taught to believe about God. The initial spark came when my best friend, and then girlfriend, told me that she didn't believe God hated me. That she believed that if I was gay that God made me that way. Before her, I had never heard anyone who was Christian say they believed that. I didn't know that any Christians existed that didn't believe homosexuality was evil. And though it was a painful process, from that moment on, I began to come to accept my being gay.

But it was hateful teachings from people who preached just like Warren does that planted in me the seeds of fear and hatred that led to me nearly killing myself. That's why Obama's using Warren to pray to God on his behalf for the inauguration ceremony hurts so much. You might not think so because you yourself have never experienced that level of religiously born self-hatred. But I tell you, as one who has directly experienced it, Obama is giving legitimacy to homophobia.
--vacanthook in "The effects of legitimized homophobia."
[Emphasis mine]

--the BB

1 comment:

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

"...wealthy bigot who equates gay marriage with incest and pedophilia in moral terms"

In political terms, surely?

And that's the trouble.