What's this Blog About?

Politics in Wisconsin as they roll up to every level... and some other thoughts that may cross my mind are explored here from my lefty point of view. My values shape my opinions. You'll always find them in here. Let's have some fun exploring why Liberal values are American values!

Your comments are both welcome and encouraged!
(The watercolor is called Magnolia Tree for Momma, by Audrey Crawford)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What to Do about Rick Warren... Sigh...

Well, so I promised to give praise and criticism where due on the Obama administration. Here goes and my take is probably going to surprise everyone...

I am a fierce supporter of the rights of the LGBT community as I am of the rights of all disadvantaged and marginalized communities. It's what I do. It's what I care about. It's been my life to fight for those who are shut out of society, my entire life.

I along with many of my friends was horrified that of all people, Obama chose to invite Pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration. What was he thinking? Starting off with intolerance and pain when the sorrow of election day for the LGBT community with their losses in California, Arizona, etc were still so raw and painful seems to me the most insensitive thing Obama has done to date. I was furious for days. I didn't want to even hear what Pastor Warren has to say, because what I have heard come out of his mouth was hateful and angry and un-Christian.

He to me is the epitome of what's wrong with this country. Hatred packaged in faith and a young, energetic person who does just enough good to make his hateful message seem palatable to a vast and unsuspecting audience of followers who just need a bad guy to blame for their troubles. He exploits that. He exploits the pain of others by pointing to a nameless and faceless bad guy (in this case those who are attracted to people of their same sex) and telling his followers that if that bad guy just behaved better, god would look more favorably on them... It's disgusting.

As if god plays favorites among his children. As if god ever said we had the right to judge each other. As if god would have made a person he couldn't find love and compassion for in his world. As if we had some sort of superiority over ANY of god's other children and had a right to tell them they were less of a person than we were because of the way god made them... We do not have that right. All of god's children are in his image. Only he has a right to judge them and only he will in the end.

Any pastor who claims to know god's will absolutely is a fraud in my eyes. Unfortunately, many do. Beware of false profits...

So then why am I no longer fiercely angry with Obama for this decision? How could my rage turn to some level of understanding when he so clearly offended and hurt my friends, neighbors, colleagues, my fellow human beings, and in doing so myself? So why am I no longer surprised by his decision at all?

Obama promised a new kind of leadership.

To throw away the divisiveness and find our common ground and work together with all Americans to make our lives better is how he put it or something very much like that...

It seems to me he really meant it.

I'm not sure I or any progressives really understood that he REALLY meant that...

You have to understand.

As progressives we have a lot of anger, disappointment and vengence in our hearts. We have been the recipients of all of those feelings from the conservative movement for so long that our first reaction is to say to each other things like:
  • "It's payback time."
  • "Let's pass the craziest stuff we have on our lists first and do the practical stuff next."
  • "Let's fix everything now"
  • "Let's behave just like they did when they got in office, let's just do whatever the hell we want and damn what they think about it."
  • "They never listened to us, why should we even open the door and let them speak."
Guess what friends. We didn't elect a president who said he was gonna do that, so we're going to have to get used to him doing what he said he was going to do... Pulling our country together in ways that may make all of us uncomfortable at times.

Don't get me wrong. I still don't agree with the decision to give hate such a prominent platform. He could have asked him to speak at some breakfast or luncheon during the week and accomplished the same goal of reaching out.

In addition, I fully expect "don't ask, don't tell" to be repealed and replaced with a phrase that states that "the US military does not discriminate based on sexual orientation" on his first day.

Especially now...

But I am already impressed that he was able, in one act of graciously reaching out to a section of America with a vastly differing opinion on social issues, to tick off all the progressives and all the conservatives at the same time. That takes skill.

I have seen something really interesting happen though. The news is discussing the rights of LGBT Americans a LOT as a result. That can't be all bad. Prominent LGBT Americans are all over the news discussing and demanding equal rights in articulate and meaningful ways that I think pre-Prop 8 and the Warren disaster were completely ignored by the mainstream media.

At the very least, he has raised the issues to the forefront, made us ALL discuss them in the daylight and as they say, "sunlight is the best disinfectant".

Could there be some advantage to giving hatred the light of day?

He has somehow managed to make us face head on our shame. Not just those of us who are enlightened, but also those who disagree with us, ALL of us are forced to discuss a subject that until now has been hidden in the prejudices and lies that have only been expressed in the privacy of a voting booth...

For those who claim to be conservative people of faith, the shame of judge not, lest ye be judged...

For those of us who claim to be progressive people of faith, the shame of not opening our hearts to all of our friends and neighbors, even when we disagree with them...

For those of us who claim to be neither, well, the shame of supporting the suppression of speech in a society where we have proven over and over again that allowing all speech in a free society is the only way to shine a light on the bad stuff and disinfect society from it...

I'm still mad, but...

Maybe we should be paying more attention... he could be onto something...


One other thing crossed my mind... could this be symbolic in a way none of us have considered??? Yes, Pastor Rick Warren and his intolerance and hatred are the opening of the ceremony, but one of my personal heroes and the complete opposite of intolerance and hatred, Pastor Joseph Lowery will be closing the ceremony.

Pastor Joseph Lowery is an African American pastor who has fought for civil rights as Dr. King's closest partner in the struggle all the way to the rights of LGBT Americans. He once said to me in an email:
"(the) Issue of same sex marriage is among the toughest (like abortion).... concept and culture of marriage is so firmly fixed in our minds and hearts as between boy-girl, man-woman, husband-wife that it sends folks into cultural shock to think otherwise...

Somehow we must deal with the civil-human rights aspect of partnerships-unions in order to refute the so called need for using the Constitution to deny rights... and that such sacred issues are used as weapons of mass distraction politically.

It is particularly distressing to see our people distracted by "wedge" techniques....our major focus should be on school dropouts, AIDS-HIV pandemic; self hatred that expresses itself in violence, guns, and greed expressed in drug trafficing, etc.

I do not claim to have the whole answer but should I err I want to err on the side of equal rights... inclusiveness, compassion... love... not exclusion, denial, hate, selective granting of rights, etc..."
Could Obama starting with Warren and ending with Lowery be signaling to us all that the days of the rhetoric of hate end with Warren and a new era will begin with Lowery? Hmmm.... something to ponder...


patrick said...

Ms. Crawford:

Obama has clearly stated that he supports a traditional definition of marriage. Of course he would then support California amendments which define marriage as between a man and a woman. Perhaps the left needs to stop projecting onto the Obama the need to be the cheerleader for every seperate cause some lefty has.

While I would have voted against Prop 8 because it seems hard to stand against the waves of history, the supporters of prop 8 have demonstrated themselves to be the equal bigots as those they mistakenly believe denied what they imagined were their rights. You'll note the outlash at the Mormons who had the audacity to exercise they right to free speech--how anthrax scares and black lists were the quick response of the "loving" LBGT community. Did they send white powder to the NAACP or Hispanic churches to express their outrage with minority voters who passed this measure. Surely, this is the will of these minority groups, not some evil conservative plot. Until you understand this, it will be impossible to change the situation.

Crawford's Take said...

Obama's actual stance on LGBT rights. http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/lgbt.pdf

The battle in the LGBT/progressive community is over semantics... The terms "Civil Unions" vs "Marriage" are the battle lines with some saying they want full marriage rights and some willing to settle for full legal rights regardless of what the state calls the union of two individuals.

I say, let the churches "marry" people they wish to marry based on their private beliefs, and we should ALL get a "Certificate of Civil Union" from the state giving us legal rights as a couple and get the state out of deciding what is and isn't a "marriage".

Regardless of the terms used, the POINT is that a couple regardless of sex deserves the right to have their relationship recognized by the state as legitimate for legal reasons. Any two consenting adults ought to be able to go to the court house and get a legal document... especially if we actually have religious liberty in this country!

Obama's promises:

Expand Hate Crimes Statutes
In 2004, crimes against LGBT Americans constituted the third-highest category of hate crime reported.
Obama co-sponsored legislation to expand federal hate crimes law to include crimes perpetrated
because of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Fight Workplace Discrimination and Promote Rights
Obama believes the Employment Non-Discrimination Act should be expanded to include sexual orientation
and gender identity. Obama sponsored legislation in the Illinois State Senate that would ban employment
discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Support Full Civil Unions and Federal Rights for LGBT Couples
Barack Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples equal legal rights and privileges as
married couples, including the right to assist their loved ones in times of emergency as well as equal
health insurance, employment benefits, and property and adoption rights. Obama also believes we need
to fully repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enact legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal
legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex
couples in civil unions and other legally-recognized unions.
Oppose a Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriage
Obama voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would have defined marriage as between
a man and a woman and prevented judicial extension of marriage-like rights to same-sex or other unmarried
Repeal Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell
Obama believes we need to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. The key test for military service
should be patriotism, a sense of duty, and a willingness to serve. Obama will work with military leaders
to repeal the current policy and ensure we accomplish our national defense goals.
Fight AIDS Worldwide
Obama has been a global leader in the fight against AIDS. He traveled to Kenya and took a public HIV
test to encourage testing and reduce the stigma of the disease. Obama worked to reauthorize the Ryan
White CARE Act, one of the largest sources of federal funds for primary health care and support services
for HIV/AIDS patients.

Crawford's Take said...

BTW: Just because you believe in the "traditional definition of marriage" doesn't mean you don't believe in other definitions as defined by the state. The entire argument is inane...

As to blaming Prop 8 on African Americans??? LMAO! They make up about 6.7% http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/06000.html of the TOTAL population of California! The measure was placed on the ballot primarily by white people, almost entirely financed by white people (to the tune of millions) and even if every black person in CA voted for it, they don't even come close to a majority of the numbers of people who voted for this measure there... to blame it on them is ludicrious, race baiting, and divide and conquer at its best!

patrick said...

What percentage of the people in California are Mormons? I imagine its less than 6.7.

By the way, I didn't state my opinion or definition of marriage. So please don't put words in my mouth.

I will say this: the people have voted, and the vote in California regarding marriage is as sacred as the one which elected Obama.

icsunlight said...

I was in the military for 8 years, so I agree completely that the policy of Dont Ask, Dont Tell needs to go away. Someone is able to die for their country but not be out of the closet is mind blowing to me. I was a it shocked that Obama picked that priest for the prayer part, but in other ways I am not. I feel he wants to have everyone from every view be involved in his office. I am just hoping that the LGBT community is not forgotten again.

Crawford's Take said...

Thank you for your service!