I recieved a very thoughtful reply on the issue of Rick Warren providing the invocation for Barack Obama. (You may remember, I addressed this issue awhile ago).
I wanted to share the reply from ”Obama IS America!” and then provide some follow up comments.
ok well I am gay and I (politely) disagree with you. My comment below kind of touches on a lot of issues, but it does explain why I think that it is totally messed up that Obama chose Rick Warren for the inaugural invocation:
If you are a progressive person living in California, Prop 8 winning stings. Its a slap in the freaking face. I say progressive instead of gay, because progressive people in general, gay or straight understand that Prop 8 affects everybody. People are born gay. And those who are not born gay but end up in same gender relationships were born open to being with another human being because of the person that they are at their core, which has nothing at all to do with gender. Also, I used the term ‘progressive’, because there are a lot of forward thinking and open minded straight people out there who realize that if they have a child and their child is gay (which would not be an issue for them, because they are open minded people), then their child would not be able to marry the person that he or she truly loved and wanted to be with. So Prop 8 affects straight people too. Oh, and I also want to add that gay people are not colorless. Its not like there are black, white, indian, chinese, mexican, vietnamese, and gay people. Gay people are of ALL colors, creeds, cultures, etc. In a state like CA where 50% of the population is non-White, you have a state where at least half of the gay people are also from ‘minority’ communities.
Even though this is just an invocation, religion and spirituality are important to a lot of people. The person who is chosen to bless Obama as he steps into office is important. If you are a spiritual person, then you put some faith into ritual, because rituals and symbols help you focus your energies on something, and focusing your energies on something can lead to something really powerful. For a person who is openly bigoted toward gay people to be giving the invocation for Obama is hurtful to all the gay people who worked hard on the Obama campaign by going to canvass in Nevada, joining the campaign, donating money to Obama, and basically giving him their time, money and energy instead of the fight against Prop H8. People did this, because literally nobody progressive thought that Prop 8 would pass. It probably wouldn’t have if the No on 8 campaign had done a better job, but the pretty much ran a horribly planned campaign.
Prop 8 passing made it blatantly obvious to a lot of people that there are a lot of people out there who are really backwards thinking. Yes, I think it is backward to be ‘against’ gay marriage. I dont even understand how you can be against gay people. That makes no sense to me. How can you be against gay people? that’s like being against babies, or against tall people. Gay people exist. They always have, and they always will, no matter how much hate is directed toward them. Gay people have been around in every society and culture. Regardless of what some gay hating person out there in the world thinks, I will continue to be who I am, love my partner, live with her, cherish her, build a home and family with her, etc. If someone out there thinks that is weird, well frankly, I could care less. Gay haters become problematic, however, when they get to vote on my life. They don’t know me. They will never know me. And because they hate this idea of ‘gay’ they think they can hate me too. But this to me is a bunch of bullsh***. So, when Prop 8 passed, people all around the state felt like Wow–the people of California dont’ know me or care about my life whatsoever, except for the fact that they have this idea in their heads about gay being bad, and so they vote against it. Well we pay taxes, we work hard, we vote, why should our abilities to take part in social norms that are important to us too be less than another person? I mean, marriage shouldn’t even be regulated by the state, but it is, so why should my being able to be married depend on the vote of some person out there?
Maybe if Prop 8 had never been on the ballot and Obama had chosen Rick Warren, it would have been a different issue. But the fact is that Prop 8 passed and there are many people that are hurting. It is just totally insulting.
America is super religious. Many Americans are Christian, but not all Americans, and this is not an officially Christian country. Rick Warren is a bigot. Obviously Obama would never in a million years have picked a Hindu, Jew, Buddhist, or god forbid a Muslim. But, even within the pool of Christians, there are PLENTY of non-bigoted pastors out there. Where did you get your estimate of 90% that you cited? Did you make that statistic up? That is not good journalism. But my point is here that why couldn’t Obama have picked someone less to the Right? In this big giant diverse country full of all sorts of faiths, I find it difficult to believe that he couldn’t have found someone closer to the center to do the invocation.
So yeah, I think its messed up that Obama chose Rick Warren, and I think it is disrespectful to a lot of people. Its not a huge deal, and I still look forward to his Presidency with hope and all of that, but I think it is messed up and I think he should be criticized for it. I don’t understand why we have to keep pandering to the Right. The future is progression and open-mindedness. This is inevitable, and it is what our Constitution was founded on. To think otherwise would be unpatriotic, I think.
And my last comment is that I find it totally ridiculous that mainstream society can accept War, death and destruction as a part of life. We say that it has always been around and always been a part of society. It is necessary, etc. (see John McCain’s speeches). But gay people have always been present in society, and in EVERY society, even if they have soemtiems or often existed at the fringes. But what is being gay? All that it is is love. It is one person loving another person, and being attracted to someone of the same gender. Why? Well, because they prefer the way their own gender looks, thinks, feels. I think that the reasons a person enjoys same gender relationships is comparable to why someone would enjoy being in a relationship with someone of the same culture, race, religion, etc. You have certain ways of thinking and experiencing things in common. In a same gender relationship, you get to be around your same energy – I like being around women, I like the feminine energy/vibe/whatever you call it. I prefer it to masculine energy. Not saying masculine is bad, I just personally prefer feminine.
So that’s it. Thanks for reading this comment.
This is the kind of eloquent statement that should have been used to argue the Prop 8 point in the first place. The core point, as I see it, is the fundamental issue of treating people fairly and humanely regardless of disposition. I too am a believer that people are born gay and have already laid that challenge out in a previous post. http://stopannoyingme.wordpress.com/2008/10/18/could-you-be-gay-for-a-day/
As to the 90% number I used…yes, completely fabricated. If you read other work of mine, you will see I can be occasionally lazy in my research. I justify that by the fact that this is just a blog and no one in their right mind should come here looking for the “truth”. However, it has turned in to a decent place to find disparate opinions. For me, that is the most enjoyable part.
One last thing on Prop 8, or any other piece of legislation out there. When the masses are counted on to make a choice, their decision needs to be respected. It doesn’t mean it was correct but, for that moment in time, it should stand. That is democracy at its finest. The burden is now on the “progressive” community to educate people. Is it fair that they have this burden in the first place? Of course not. But, as we have seen throughout history, this is how we move forward.
As to Barry’s choice of Rick Warren, he was clearly in a no win situation. I am confident that whomever he selected would have agitated someone. Only Billy Graham might have risen above that kind of reproach but he represents the past, not the future. Warren, and this might be the scary part for you, actually does tend to resemble the “middle” of America today. I would say he is second only to Joel Osteen in that respect.
Let me stray a little from your comments. Obama has already shown he is willing to compromise on major issues. I am most disturbed by his backing off of the end of the war in Iraq. As I watched the debut of the USS George H W Bush this morning, I was so proud to see the young men and women in the Navy representing this country. They are at a very exciting moment in their lives and I remember feeling the same way when I was newly enlisted. I truly hope that Obama does not take their allegiance for granted and protects them as fiercely as humanly possible. They deserve that. War is not a game, it is not a sport, it is not “clean”, and rarely can it be described a “victory”. Barry has shown a tendency to pander a bit and this makes me very nervous. Each week I read the names of those that died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Whether it is 2 names or 50 on the list, I am equally saddened. I take no solace that less people are getting killed. If even one person is killed, it is a massive tragedy. I only wish that the outpouring of grief shown for the passing of Jett Travolta was equally shown to each and every one of our service men and women.
Sorry for the rant but I guess the point is we all have skin in the game on a variety of subjects. Like you, I hope that Obama can answer the bell. As always, time will tell.