Friday, December 19, 2008

it matters: the rick warren decision

Obama’s Selection of Evangelical Pastor Rick Warren for Inauguration Sparks Gay Outrage - US News and World Report

i have to admit, i'm puzzled over this one.
(who would i have picked? Peter Gomes. he's black AND gay!)

rick warren's disgust with the 'gay lifestyle' (like it's picking a tea cozy or deciding where to vacation) is just code for 'i am a raging homophobe.' and that's why it matters.

choosing someone like rick warren is exactly like inviting a friendly, raging racist to stand up there and give the prayer.

when are we going to see that civil rights are civil rights, no matter who's asking for them?

if the larger society is to accept the basic humanity of gays and lesbians then certain lines need to be drawn in the sand. one of those lines is recognizing that homosexuality is not a lifestyle choice but a life, like yours and mine and, therefore, it should be recognized as such and reap the same benefits of lives like yours and mine.

in the same way you cannot choose your skin color or your gender, you cannot choose your sexual orientation.

(a lesson that Ted Haggard is still learning, clearly.)

this is not a point to debate or cavil over but the basic, fundamental dividing line between those supporting gay civil rights and those who are against it. there is no point in conversing, negotiating or symbolically linking these two camps when the two camps are so fundamentally opposed.

i can understand only some of the thinking behind this pick. rick warren symbolizes a so-called 'post-denominational' church (an idea which would make my dad spit.) but i think we can probably think of pastors on the religious left who better symbolize this spirit of moving away from tired fundamentalism and its culture wars: brian mclaren? peter gomes? my pastor? jim wallis? father michael pfleger? an ordained woman from any of the mainline churches, perhaps?

a friend made me realize that Power is Power, no matter who wears it, even the affable, tall, skinny, black guy we're going to call President. and Power, no matter who wears it, never willingly cedes ground.

and so, those of us who are demanding something from Power, neither can we.


Songbird said...

Seriously. I'm so disappointed. I could make a long list of better choices.
Warren represents the horrifying sleek fatness that has BEEN evangelical Christianity in America for a long time. He's Jerry Falwell in a Hawaiian shirt. When McCain and Obama went to Saddleback, I blogged that he looked ready to unhinge his jaw and swallow them whole. I find him terrifying.

ding said...

share your long list of better choices here!

Songbird said...

Bishop Yvette Flunder
Otis Moss III
Jim Wallis
Brian McLaren
Renita Weems (she supported Hillary!)
Katherine Jefforts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church USA (and I may be spelling her name wrong)
But of course, the real answer is not to have prayer at these events in the first place.

ding said...

But of course, the real answer is not to have prayer at these events in the first place.


Anonymous said...

I love Obama, see, change, for all!!

Anonymous said...

My partner wanted to disconnect our cable tv last September. We had previously achieved several years of tv sobriety, and it was nice. Then we moved to a new city, and we chose to get cable for some reason. So when my partner made that suggestion, I told him I'd love nothing more than to permanently ban Lou Dobbs from barging into my living room and spewing his racist drivel. "But we can't disconnect it until AFTER the election because if Obama wins, there is no way I am gonna miss watching his inauguration".

On Nov 4, My partner and I cried when we learned that a fellow person of color had become the next President of the United States. We didn't fall asleep until sometime the following afternoon, though, b/c we were anxiously waiting for the finally tally of the CA vote on whether or not our marriage was valid, on whether or not we were real human beings whose loving 8 year relationship was recognized as equal under the law to hetero marriages, or whether the state viewed us merely as two deviants playing house. The Prop 8 results put a major damper on our ability to share the energy generated by Obama's victory.

While we were still devastated and in a state of shock over Prop 8, Obama announced his choice of Rick Warren...

We didn't end up disconnecting the cable tv, but we didn't watch the inauguration either. Despite the media's strenuous efforts to frame the controversy surrounding Warren as little more than a disagreement between fringe groups re: gay marriage, I knew all too well that this characterization of the controversy was at best a dramatic oversimplification, and at worst an outright lie. How did I know? I grew up in an evangelical xtian household.

I will never forgive Obama for Rick Warren, and it has exactly nothing to do w/ Warren's views on gay marriage. It runs much, much deeper than that. I'd never blogged before in my life, but I started blogging the day before the inauguration. As a doctoral student, I have little time to devote to blogging, but I have wracked up a number of posts nonetheless. For many LGBTQ people, the change we could believe in turned out to be just another common fag joke we'd already heard a million times in the past.

For my angry (and many would say "radical") views on Brand Obama and the disturbing Obamania virus sweeping the nation, check out my blog, Queers Against Obama at ). But don't read it if you are an easily-offended Obamaniac, because I really tear into the man.

Anyhow....I am glad that you recognized the insult that Obama's choice of Warren represented to the LGBTQ community.

And I really enjoy reading the rest of your blog too!