Monday, December 22, 2008


As you undoubtedly know by now, President-Elect Obama is having Rick Warren give the inaugural prayer at his inauguration.

Rick Warren has said that "...homosexuality is a sin and Jews will go to hell...."

In John Cloud's December 18th article, he states the following:

[Rick] 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've never considered Obama as anything but a political chameleon; a political opportunist, much like Bill Clinton, an avowed "liberal," who signed DOMA and DADT. With friends like these, who needs enemies?

I do confess to voting for Obama as the lesser of the two evils, as I couldn't see another term of a Bush Presidency in the personage of John McCain; the specter of Sarah Palin being a heartbeat away from the Presidency and, perhaps, the next President, was an intolerable nightmare to me.

Regarding Obama, I wrote the following in an email to my friend Don Charles:

With a straight face [Obama] touts equality for Gay people, but is against them marrying. How that double think was believed by so many people is remarkable in itself; the "Obamamania" that was expressed by so many liberals was disheartening when it was expressed prior to the election, and his betrayal of Gay people by his selection of Warren to give the inaugural prayer cuts to the quick for all those who thought he was any different than any other political opportunist.

So, Obama's a "friend" of Gays but also a friend of Warren's who lies about Gays and seeks to prevent their equal rights! All things to all people! That's the mantra of people who have no integrity, commitment, loyalties, or decency!

In this connection, I'm reminded of Jesus' saying: "Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets." (Luke 6:26)

To seek common ground with those who, despite sanctimonious, and "spiritually" and politically correct, rhetoric, do no want full and equal rights for all people is questionable enough. However, to honor that person by choosing him to give the inaugural prayer upon your assuming the Presidency of the United States is quite another thing altogether.

By placing Rick Warren in this position, Obama is giving him legitimacy and credibility that promises to likely color the tenor of his Presidency! In the name of "building bridges" and "seeking common ground," Obama, and even some progressive activists, by placing on an equal moral footing those who seek to deprive Gay people of full and equal civil rights with those who believe that Gay people are deserving of full and equal civil rights, do a terrible injustice to all Gay people. They miss the mark regarding what is at stake in the fight for full and equal rights for LGBT people.

As stated in the Washington Blade:

You can't speak about "common ground" when a group of people's rights are being stripped away. And let's hear what in-limbo same-sex couples married in California think about calling [Rick]Warren "vital to the pursuit of social justice."

It must be noted that Rick Warren was solidly behind Prop. 8, stating the need to to preserve the biblical definition of marriage."

In conclusion, in an exchange of emails, Don Charles sent me the following email that he was kind enough to allow me to post today. It's right on the money, and deserves to be widely read and disseminated.

Here is what he wrote to me, and it certainly provides food for thought:

Jasmyne Cannick is known for putting her “Black concerns” ahead of her “Gay concerns”, but this time, she’s lost all sense of perspective. How could she defend Barack Obama’s showcasing of Rick Warren? It’s the exact equivalent of Franklin Roosevelt showcasing Father Coughlin, if Roosevelt had ever been so stupid as do it. She’s one of these Gay Democrats [who] are so enamored of Obama, he’d almost have to pull out a gun and shoot a Gay person before they’d criticize him.

Obama’s “coming together” justification for his Rick Warren invite is the most bogus thing I’ve yet heard him say. It’s so bogus, in fact, it insults your intelligence to even talk about it! If you legitimately want to bring people with conflicting views together, you have to lay a groundwork for that. You have to establish that the two sides even want to meet. You can’t just toss enemies together as if you were tossing ingredients for a salad!

But this isn’t a case of enemies being brought together. Gay people aren’t even in the salad mix here. There will be no Gay clergy on the inauguration stage. There’ll only be Joseph Lowery, a man whose support of marriage equality is suspect; I once heard him say on the radio that he didn’t think Gay couples should be allowed to marry. You already know, of course, that Jesse Jackson is also against Gay weddings in church?

Obama would never have a Lesbian or Gay clergyman blessing him, because that would piss off the Right Wing evangelicals he’s been courting since the primaries. He wants fundies as part of his re-election base, and he’s going after them aggressively; he doesn’t care if he disrespects us, because he believes we don’t have any choice but to support him. In other words, LGBT folk are being used as a carpet for him to walk on as he heads to the Oval Office. If you think Straight Black/Gay White relations are strained now, just you wait . . . things could get incredibly ugly.

How “fierce” a Gay Rights advocate is Barack Obama? So fierce that he’d give last-minute lip service to opposing Proposition 8 even while making it known that he agrees with Prop 8 supporters. So fierce that he would deny our constitutional right to marry the adult person of our choice. So fierce that he dares to characterize appalling anti-Gay hate speech as a mere difference of opinion that should be overlooked. I knew he had issues with Gay people as soon as I saw his macho “don’t-doubt-my-heterosexuality” reaction to a debate question about AIDS testing.

My opinion is this: Obama’s name should’ve been overlooked when progressive citizens voted last November 4. He lacks sufficient experience to lead this nation, his rhetoric is empty, and he’s ethically challenged. I’m afraid more and more people will share my opinion as his administration advances its agenda. We haven’t elected a leader, we’ve seated another craven politician in the mold of George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. If that Lesbian or Gay Martin Luther King we’ve all been hoping for should appear on the scene right now, it wouldn’t be a second too soon!
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Anonymous said...

Rick Warren was a very poor choice in my opinion also. His church and he have given so many statements about homosexuality, including banning gay people from membership at his church, he is just too controversial. I found this post discussing it more

Jerry Maneker said...

Thanks Donna.

Anonymous said...

A different take on the selection of Rick Warren.

"Might this be the basis for President-Elect Obama’s choices of Inaugural speakers? Maybe he is not so much giving Rick Warren a platform for his archaic and offensive beliefs, but rather delivering a statement that any continuation of the animosity of the culture wars is not going to emanate from this Administration. Let’s not forget the inclusion of Rev Lowery and Elizabeth Alexander. These are two of the most valiant voices against bigotry in all forms, and both can be quite provocative. As we look at this Inauguration Day, this “New Birth of Freedom”, perhaps it is important to look at the program in its totality. The religious right has been invited to join this “New Birth”, now it’s up to them whether they display a Christ-like love towards our gay brothers and sisters when President Obama extends equal protection to all."

Jerry Maneker said...

Thanks for your comment, Sandy. Regarding the site you sent, with Lincoln, he accepted people who disagreed with him politically, and even had some of them on his Cabinet.

However, giving the inaugural prayer, we are not seeing, nor would we ever be likely to currently see, a Gay pastor giving that prayer. And, Lowery, as heroic an heroic African American civil rights figure that he is, is, as far as I'm given to understand, on the same page as is Obama as being against same-sex marriage.

When a religious figure who equates Gay people to pedophiles, and says Jews are not going to heaven, is elevated to that position, it gives him a credibility that he doesn't deserve, and that doesn't bode well for the acquisition of full and equal civil rights in Obama's administration.

Obama could well have chosen a religious figure who has a history of espousing full equality for everyone, but he chose not to do so, presumably in the name of "inclusiveness of different opinions."

To walk together with those who have a different political view is quite a different matter than seeking common ground with those who have a history of demeaning Gay, or any other, people.

"Equality" is an all or nothing fact! There no such thing as partial equality.

And for Obama to have a polarizing figure, albeit one with more charm than the likes of a James Dobson, like Warren, be giving the inaugural prayer, intentionally or not, spits in the face of Gay people and all who do not want Gay people, or anyone else, to be treated as second-class citizens, which is what Warren represents. Best wishes, Jerry.

Anonymous said...

Jerry, I am not talking about Lincoln's Cabinet. I'm talking about his actual words in his actual Inaugural Speech. He gave a very conciliatory speech to the south. He also had been working behind the scenes with Seward and Corwin to introduce the very offensive amendment that promised not to do anything to prohibit slavery. Lincoln did this in order to put the burden on the south for preventing the war. It was not "reaching out", as some have characterized Obama's inclusion of Warren. It was much more, and so maybe there is more to Obama's thinking on the inclusion of Warren too.

Jerry Maneker said...

Hi Sandy: I still think you are giving Obama too much credit. He still has gone on record as opposing same-sex marriage. When asked if he'd repeal DADT when President, he said:

"I would not do it that way. The reason is because I want to make sure that when we revert 'don’t ask, don’t tell,' it’s gone through a process and we’ve built a consensus or at least a clarity of that, of what my expectations are, so that it works. [See here.]

Also, Sandy, I'm not all that convinced that his heart is behind repealing DOMA in a satisfactory, universal, way:

Question: "Many lawyers contend that the Defense of Marriage Act passed by Congress is unconstitutional. It takes away over 1,100 rights, including IRS joint filings. If a suit is filed in federal court, would you expect or instruct your attorney general to join in that suit with an amicus brief questioning its legality?

Obama's Answer: "I would want to review carefully any lawsuit that was filed. This is probably my carryover from being a constitutional lawyer.

"Here’s where I can tell you [what] my principle is: DOMA was an unnecessary encroachment by the federal government in an area traditionally reserved for the state. I think that it was primarily sent as a message to score political points instead of work through these difficult issues.

"I recognize why it was done. I’m sympathetic to the political pressures involved, but I think that we need to bring it to a close and my preference would be to work through a legislative solution.

"I would also point out that if it’s going before this [Supreme] court, I’m not sure what chances it would have to be overturned. I think we’re going to have to take a different approach, but I am absolutely committed to the concept it is not necessary." [See here.].

Given my perception of Obama, he's no Lincoln! He hasn't even assumed office yet, so we have to waid and see how all this shakes out, but for what it's worth, this is my perception. Take care, Jerry.

Anonymous said...

Please, please, please, in the interest of preserving your credibility: take the link to Warren comparing gay marriage to pizza DOWN!!!!! It is from a satire site, and is SATIRE! He never said it, ever.

You quote that, then people who don't fact check quote you...and it's a terrible path that makes us look too stupid to know satire from fact.

Don't feel too bad--people took Swift's "Modest Proposal" seriously as well.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, forgot link.


Sandy, I find your willingness to overlook Rick Warren's genocidal comments offensive. He's likened Gay people to pedophiles; what could possibly be worse than someone who victimizes children? Many people, when they think of crimes being committed against children, want to either physically harm the perpetrator or kill him, and that's the intensity of emotion Warren is directing at Gay identity with his cruel and mendacious comments. That's what puts the hate in hate speech! And people who engage in hate speech are hatemongers! Warren (as well as the Pope, with his appalling comments about Gay people endangering the ecology) is whipping up the kind of fear and intolerance that leads to hate crimes and whole segments of society being put in concentration camps. Any administration that reaches out to "include" hatemongers is an administration I want no part of! By showcasing Rick Warren at his inauguration, Barack Obama has shown himself to either be an imbecile, a brazen panderer for the Bible bigot vote, or a Bible bigot himself. I will not give the President-Elect the benefit of doubt on this matter. You seem to only be interested in defending and speculating about his motives, and his motives are trivial compared to the damage rhetoric like Rick Warren's can do. Try putting yourself in an LGBT person's shoes for a change, and stop pretending this issue amounts to nothing but a political disagreement. If you asked him, I'm sure Mr. Warren would tell you that moral considerations come before political ones. I would agree, but if you aren't clear about what morals are, you certainly don't understand moral considerations . . . and he quite obviously doesn't! The same may be true for Barack Obama, I'm afraid.

Jerry Maneker said...

If this was satire, Otterly1, it was certainly lost on me, especially given the context of the truth that Warren associated same-sex love with pedophilia and that he was a staunch supporter of Prop. 8, as well as engaging in other discriminatory rhetoric unbefitting a Christian. However, I did take off the part about the pizza, although that is a mere distraction from the central thesis of both the post and Obama's choosing Warren to give the inaugural prayer.

Jerry Maneker said...

Don Charles correctly points out that an Administration that largely got elected on the platform of "Change" and "Hope" has begun with a very inauspicious, and contemptuous, start when Rick Warren is chosen for the honor of giving the Inauguration prayer. I very much doubt that Obama would have even thought of choosing Rev. Troy Perry, or Rev. Nancy Wilson, or Rev. Mel White for this honor!

Don Charles correctly says: "Any administration that reaches out to 'include' hatemongers is an administration I want no part of! By showcasing Rick Warren at his inauguration, Barack Obama has shown himself to either be an imbecile, a brazen panderer for the Bible bigot vote, or a Bible bigot himself. I will not give the President-Elect the benefit of doubt on this matter." Despite all the attempted rationalizations to the contrary, they certainly miss the mark of this truth!