I am extremely dismayed over Barack Obama's selection of notorious televangelist Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at the historic inaugural swearing-in ceremony. At this event, Warren will hold a Bible that he recently used to justify discrimination against gay and lesbian couples in California, where he was an outspoken supporter of Proposition 8.
Choosing Rick Warren to deliver the invocation may be an olive branch to evangelicals who largely opposed the election of Barack Obama, but it is poison ivy to the gay and lesbian voting block who overwhelmingly supported him. Far from an act that will unify, this is a stick in the eye to lesbian and gay Americans who played a key part in his Obama's victory. For all of Obama's political gifts, he has an odious track record in picking preachers.
Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, supports "ex-gay" programs and threw his support behind Proposition 8, saying, "If you believe what the bible says about marriage, you need to support Proposition 8." He has compared loving same-sex couples marrying to incest and child abuse.
"I'm opposed to having a brother and sister get together and call that marriage," said Warren. "I'm opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that a marriage. I'm opposed to having one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage."
Rick Warren has masqueraded as a moderate, when he is really just a folksy, focus-group tested clone of Jerry Falwell on gay issues. It is time people rip off the faux mask of moderation and understand that Warren is a phony and an extremist. It is unconscionable that Obama used the stature of his office to further elevate this anti-gay charlatan. What Obama did was truly insensitive and I hope this move is not a harbinger of what we can expect from his administration.
For a president-elect who does NOT support full equality for LGBT people, I am not surprised. Of all people, he should know better that segregation is wrong after Prop. Hate passed. I've said it many times of course, but its worth repeating. It is incumbent upon our movement to go after these cultists who meddle in the political process by pushing for the removal of their tax-exempt status for starters. I don't believe in reaching out to haters, they rarely if ever change their views and I certainly don't believe in appeasement either. They fund, advocate and support hate legislation, many of them led by religious cult leaders such as Warren among many others. The Dems need to be put on notice once and for all. If they want our votes in 2012, then deliver. If not, don't count on us any more, having our vote taken for granted is no longer an option. Can you imagine the huge impact the entire gay vote would have on supporting a third party as a protest against the unwillingness of most dems to stick their necks out? I'm tired of being appeased and I'm tired of the delay tactics, year after year, decade after decade. I don't trust Obama and am sorry I voted for him, not that I was enamored of Clinton either, slim pickings either way. I voted solely to get rid of the current regime, nothing more and I'm not deluding myself into thinking we will see any signficant change on LGTBT issues either, more of the same for the next four years. Time for the gloves to come off, for all of us.
posted by Robert, NYC., at
12/18/2008 1:12 PM
I'm not surprised, Obama is as centrist and populist as you can get. Of course he'll pick someone who (despite being batshit insane and an ignorant, bigoted waste of human flesh) is wildly popular among a significant section of the population.
I still don't regret my vote for Barack for a second. The alternative would have been to have Warren... AND a president AND vice president who agree with him whole-heartedly, on this and every other issue.
Just keep pushing on Obama to deliver on his promises, and keep pushing on Warren and his ilk to grow up and start living in the 21st century.
posted by Eshto, at
12/18/2008 1:19 PM
I am not surprised in the least that Obama has done this. The president-elect is NOT an idealist; he doesn't insist on ideological purity for anyone whatsoever. Barack Obama is a complete and total pragmatist who seeks to find "common ground" with virtually all groups. Symbolically, the selection of Rick Warren is distressing, but it is definitely not surprising. Rick Warren represents millions of evangelicals, and Obama has made the decision to throw them a bone. This is politics. We will never get it all, but I am hopeful that we will get something like the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and ENDA.
posted by Chris L., at
12/18/2008 1:23 PM
I will be pleasantly surprised if DADT is repealed before 2012, which I doubt. There will be more foot-dragging on this one, rest assured and will be a wedge issue for the neocons when the 2012 campaign begins. ENDA, however, I think will probably pass before the next election. If it doesn't then you know what you have to do come election time.
posted by Robert, NYC., at
12/18/2008 3:25 PM
Sadly, guys, I am not surprised, either. I have been expecting something like this--I just didn't expect it to happen so quickly. The onky bright spot is that LGBt illusions about the Obama "change" platform including us has been shattered quickly instead of dragging things out,
I hope I am wrong, like Wayne, I hope that this is not a harbinger of things to come, but I suspect it may well be that this will set the tone for the Obama presidency.
I am not Christian, but I am willing to live with a Christian clergyman doing the invocation at Obama's inauguration. I'd be surprsed if it had gone down in favour of any other religion. But why Warren? Why a fundie who hates gays and would rather see us dead. Surely there are decent Christian Clergy. A really progressive move would have been having either the Reverend Troy Perry or the Reverend Mel White, both of the MCC. If that wouldn't be acceptable, surely there are other, decent mainstream clergymen out there. Picking Rick Warren was definitely scraping the bottom of the barrel!
Despite all of Obama's rhetoric about "change" and "inclusiveness", it seems those words apply to everyone EXCEPT LGBT people.
Robert, I, too, think that we should go after the cultist homophobes hook, line, and sinker, starting with getting their tax-exempt status removed. If they want to meddle in politics, let them pay for the priviledge. It's about time that the churches start paying their fair share.
I don't believe in reaching out to fundie haters either because they rarely, if ever, change their minds.
posted by Merlyn, at
12/18/2008 3:29 PM
after some thought. . .I find it quite amusing that BHO selected 'the man behind the curtain' for now lots of folk will be paying a tad bit more attention to Brother Warren, as he continues to build his faith fortresses(4th largest church in america-wikipedia). And, with Warren as the BHO pick, Prop 8 hit the radar again on a national level.
Bringing together folk is what BHO is all about, and sometimes that is like inviting the relatives from the distant side of the family to the wedding, christining (sp), bar mitzvah, etc. that no one really wants to invite or even see. But after they all get together, well, sometimes more fireworks.
I have only seen Brother Warren in two video clips, like his charisma and admire him not only as a very effective spokesperson, but for his ability to keep his 'cool'.
But all this aside, before true conversations and dialogues to develop, folk must be around the table. This is OHB's hope and tactic for change.
But then again The Godfather once said, 'Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.'
posted by rusty, at
12/18/2008 4:37 PM
Warren is a devious S.O.B. who's also smart as hell. And for better or worse, he represents the tens of millions of American evangelicals. This selection is not at all surprising. Obama just isn't an ideologue. It doesn't mean that he's tricked us or ,gone back on his support for equality. This is merely a particular political method for dealing with the opposition. Look what he did with The Witch.
Robert, if DADT isn't repealed in short order, gays and our allies will go nuts, and rightfully so. I'll bet that it'll be repealed by 2010. It is going down.
posted by Chris L., at
12/18/2008 4:55 PM
why is there a priest involved at all? Is there going to be a jewish, muslim, etc innvocation or benediction?
The government is supposed to be secular. I'm more disappointed that there is any religious nut involved at all.
posted by Tim, at
12/18/2008 5:58 PM
As someone on Queerty mentioned....we should all ask the Obama campaign for our donations back. We won't get them of course, but we can put him on notice that we won't forget this and that more importantly, he can't count on us for our future support, financial or otherwise, ditto every democratic politician. I'm sick and tired of their lies and duplicitous behavior to get our votes. Make no mistake, we'll get NOTHING from Obama, just four more years of delay tactics, any excuse to avoid doing the right thing by us. I for one will not be tuning in to watch the inauguration of bigotry.
posted by Robert, NYC., at
12/19/2008 1:32 PM
I actually am not alarmed by Rick Warren as an invocator at the Inaugural next month. Unlike Daddy D. and Falwell, he has not built nor maintained his religious empire on homophobia. He is conservative yes, but he has shown a willingness and ability to grow away from many of the religous hyperconservatives' talking points. I want to encourage any wedge I can between the Dobson crowd and the Rick Warrens & Richard Cziks of the world, and the inauguration is the perfect place to start. President Obama needs to try and be President of as many people as possible while still staying true to his inner convictions (and I take him to be a man of ethical character and a friend of LGBT folk). Pragmatists by the way have been among our best Presidents (eg. Lincoln and FDR): Let's give the President elect a chance.
posted by Paul Douglas, at
12/19/2008 7:16 PM
I believe we should have a class action suit on behalf of millions of lgbtq people who are being openly discriminated against by their represented leader who begins his term by failing miserably and allowing a platform for a religious bigot to infect ignorant and hate into government tasks such as swearing in the one who is to uphold the constitution. It is worth a try.
posted by mail, at
12/20/2008 12:16 AM
Obama belongs to the UCC which is very progressive and gay-inclusive, I dont know why he didnt pick a minister from is own denomination. Having said that, although I'm not anti-religion, I dont think it should have any place whatsoever in our supposedly secular government. They shouldn't even have an invocation at these inaugurations. If the incoming president wants one, he should have it in private on his own family time. And I agree, 'reaching out' to the fundies is a total waste of time. They will never support nor vote for 'our side'. They LOST in this election and incoming administration owes them nothing except equal protection under the law (something dont believe in for us). When *they* win, they gloat, and if you try to reach out to them when they have the power, they just hack your arm off.
posted by gary, at
12/20/2008 10:14 AM
If Obama begins his presidency with this man at the helm, he will never be able to take it back. He will never have my support. Millions of people will be forever lost to him; people of all stripes who resent fundamentalism now being infused into the Democratic party as well. Really now, it is not much of a surprise. We all know democans and repluglycrats are one and the same.
posted by mail, at
12/20/2008 3:35 PM
A very important, but disregarded element of the inauguration is the person that Obama picked to do the benediction (which I think comes after the invocation), Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, a stalwart of the civil rights movement and co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference..and Gay Marriage SUPPORTER. Given the blame that so many placed upon the “black community” for Prop 8, isn’t having a pro-gay black preacher give the benediction incredibly powerful?
Obama said he was going to do his best to be everybody’s president. We have to accept that will mean that sometimes he will give an ear to people that we don’t like.
posted by risler, at
12/21/2008 4:53 PM
I too am disappointed in the selection of Rick Warren, gay hater no matter what he 'says' I supported Obama during his campaign and election because he presented himself a very inciteful and wise man. I will still support him, but I will also stand against any decision which continues to denegrade the GLBT community.
posted by TexasCowboy, at
12/22/2008 11:37 AM
I don't think this is an Obama ploy to trick evangelicals. My gut feeling is that Obama will continue down this path, please or offend. He's playing a dangerous game if the thinks he can count on our support. Sorely mistaken.
Chris, I dont think DADT will pass before 2012....not while this war is continuing. Waiting for the military leaders to have their input is not going to happen soon either, which is what Obama wants. He wants it to come from them. I just don't see it happening but I hope I'm wrong. If anything ENDA will get through in this first four years, assuming he'll get a second term which I doubt if any more Rick Warren situations arise again. I won't be voting for him if that happens. Picking this bigot and not having one openly gay person in his cabinet is proof enough, Obama is NOT really supportive of equality for LGBT voters. How much more must we endure? With the bad economic situation we are in, expect more oppression rather than less and we've already seen evidence of that with the success of Prop. H8. More to come. Religious cult attendance is up significantly since the mortgage crisis and economoic bailout. We can expect the usual tirades from the cultists, blaming us for the bad times, just as they did for 9/11 and Katrina. The cultists better batten down their collective hatches....the war is on.
posted by Robert, NYC., at
12/22/2008 1:17 PM
Robert, its not like Warren has been given an ongoing position in the government with authority and decision making power. He'll spend a micro second on stage and then be gone. How about letting Obama actually become president and do something before you judge his performance. If two years go by and nothing has been done then maybe you can start complaining.
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