I was amazed the other night in the way that the President-Elect of the United States called himself a staunch supporter of rights for gays and lesbians. At the time I was still absorbing a body-blow from his selection of Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church to give the Invocation at the Inauguration in January.
Now, all I know about Warren is that he has made inflammatory comments about gay marriage comparing it to pedophilia and incest. That alone would make him unwelcome in my home or in most any conversation I might engage with him. And then when I see his active support for CA Prop 8 – which repealed the rights of gay couples – I am even more inclined to scratch my head and wonder why the Obama crowd thought this prominent a role was a good idea.
See, if you know me well, you’ll know I have been a very active Obama fan since the beginning of the primary process. I worked for him (as well as other progressive candidates) on many levels. I believe he has the opportunity to create real change – in policy as well as attitudes. And this country has never seen such a groundswell of support from so many corners.
I believe in his stands on GLBT issues as well – and argued with purist friends who said, but what about his stance on gay marriage. But look at ANY national (or Hoosier) politician and show me the truly brave ones who suport us 100%. Then show me where they can get elected…
As I looked more into the Warren background, I am finding that a lot of what he has tried to do in his church is to move past the same abortion/ gay marriage social issues type of evangelical Christianity and to show that Christians must be involved in AIDS, environmental and other issues long considered liberal bastions. Now, I will give him credit for bucking the normal trends in rightwing religiosity. And he is certainly popular across the country, so those angry voices on our side are right in being concerned with the influential position and profile this choice will give Warren.
E.J. Dionne suggested today, however that maybe both side can see room for compromise to come to new consensus – which will be ultimately more progessive by increment. In other words, no one would expect Warren to come out and be in favor of other civil rights for gays, but when he does, then even rightwing Christians have to rethink their own views. And with the staunch support of the President-Elect, we already have one ally who knows our needs.
I just wish he hadn’t put Warren quite this prominently out front. But if that means that the Ringtwing is calm for a while so that he can turn things around, I guess we can suck it up and move on. Besides, my own opinion is that marriage is not the first priority, so long as folks in Delphi and Monon can be fired for the mere fact that then are gay.
And those are just my opinions.