Thursday, December 18, 2008

-Groan- FFS, Obama...

Yeah, I get that it's a symbolic sop, but as gestures go it's pretty fucking shitty. Did you really have to pick this guy?

The congressional committee putting together the inauguration earlier this afternoon announced that the program for President-elect Barack Obama's inaugural would include an invocation by Rick Warren, the celebrity preacher at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif.

People for the American Way, one of the best known liberal advocacy groups in the nation's capital, is letting it be known it's not happy with this choice.

An excerpt of a PFAW statement attributed to Kathryn Kolbert, the group's president:

It is a grave disappointment to learn that pastor Rick Warren will give the invocation at the inauguration of Barack Obama.

Pastor Warren, while enjoying a reputation as a moderate based on his affable personality and his church's engagement on issues like AIDS in Africa, has said that the real difference between James Dobson and himself is one of tone rather than substance. He has recently compared marriage by loving and committed same-sex couples to incest and pedophilia. He has repeated the Religious Right's big lie that supporters of equality for gay Americans are out to silence pastors. He has called Christians who advance a social gospel Marxists. He is adamantly opposed to women having a legal right to choose an abortion...

I tend to agree with these commenters, off the top:

Yeah I get it. But at the same time there are other evangelicals that are less harsh than this guy.
For those of us who already feel kicked in the head by prop 8 and those, like Rick Warren and his ilk who believe in legal discrimination, it really hurts to see this guy share the stage with our new President.
Posted by: todd | December 17, 2008 6:16 PM


Why in the name of, well ... God, would Obama choose someone whose outspoken beliefs are substantively no different from the James Dobson's of the world? There's a thriving progressive religious community in every faith, and many believe the religious left is ascendant...

...Including the evangelical Christian left. I mean, yeah, why not Mel White? Or if that's too outre, what about Jim Wallis?

ETA: So apparently he didn't make the pick, it was the inaugural commission.

ETA again: or, not. well, unsurprisingly,

WASHINGTON – President-elect Barack Obama on Thursday defended his choice of a popular evangelical minister to deliver the invocation at his inauguration, rejecting criticism that it slights gays. The selection of Pastor Rick Warren brought objections from gay rights advocates, who strongly supported Obama during the election campaign. The advocates are angry over Warren's backing of a California ballot initiative banning gay marriage. That measure was approved by voters last month.

But Obama told reporters in Chicago that America needs to "come together," even when there's disagreement on social issues.

"That dialogue is part of what my campaign is all about," he said.

Obama also said he's known to be a "fierce advocate for equality" for gays and lesbians, and will remain so.

Yes, well. Time will tell, won't it. I'm not personally gonna write him off totally over a symbolic gesture that's essentially a quid pro quo* but, you know, money talks, bullshit etc. And yes, need it be said, I'm turned off. Again. Still. Somewhere in between. Whatever.

Clinton was and is no doubt in his heart as fierce an advocate (i.e. he's yer basic social liberal, really believes social discrimination including Teh Gay) as any number of other bleeding hearts; but when push came to shove he fucked us over as well. (Signed DOMA, "Don't Ask Don't Tell"). Could it have been worse? Has it been? Might it be again/still? Sure; and that plus yep there are other issues is why I voted for him i.e. the mainstream Democrat who seems at least halfway competent, and barring extraordinary circumstances (which I reserve the right to redefine at any point) probably would/will do again, despite it all. Shit's too important.

(And yes, that goes for reproductive rights as well; Warren's pro-life, Obama's put his money where his mouth is when it came to policy in the past, which I put before his noises about "safe legal and rare" and lack of insistence on when life begins and so forth. But again: he'll have his chance to prove NARAL's 100% rating on a national level soon enough, policy wise).

But ultimately, you know, he's only gonna stretch as far as he thinks he can reasonably do without fucking over his own career. And yes, before anyone squawks, that went for Hillary too; and it goes for just about every mainstream Democrat with the exception of Frank, who's got his own full baggage of bullshit. Guess why.

So now what? Do we all go, right that's it, I won't be satisfied until we get a queer person in the WH and/or 30% in government, no matter how giant a chode they might be otherwise? Find a suitable mascot/acronym for the disaffected, maybe? Emus are nice, there must be a good acronym that goes with "EMU". No, wait! I have it! GOOSE! Gays Outraged Over Straight Enablers. Catchy, innit? Oh yeah, feel the power, baby. ROAR, I mean HONK.

(Actually, that's more or less what MILK is about, but y'know, for reals. Then again, nowadays, well, in many ways things are different; in others...not s'much, but hrrm. Much as I was going "hell yeah!" for historical Milk, I am thinking that a party of Barney Franks, Andrew Sullivans and Bruce Bawers, with inclusiveness even unto the Log Cabiners and rabidly transphobic "lesbian feminists" and the everyone else who enable them, is not what I had in mind either. Not that it matters since, oh wait! Teh Gay doesn't even have enough clout to make that a possibility in the first place!...

And of course loving the drearily predictable squawking from PUMA-land about neener neener, serves us right, should've gone with Hillary or ffs PALIN, because of course they're both -sooo- much better, not exactly the fucking same or much worse when it comes to Teh Gay, respectively. I mean! They're -women-! So what if they're straight! They MUST be more sympathetic to Teh Gay than a (straight) black male! And it's not like you can ever expect a representational Presidential candidate of your very own, or at least any time in the next zillion years even though that's exactly what we're bitching about ourselves being shafted over in the first place. Where's your loyalty? Where's...)


But, yeah, ritual snipe at Those Who Continue To Fail On An Epic Scale aside, there was a reason I sent money to the anti-Prop 8 campaign and none to the Democrats or the Obama campaign this year.

*Going through the google hits, btw, this does shed a bit of light, although I really think courting World Nads Daily types is a fool's errand, you know...

Rick Warren, the best selling author of "The Purpose Driven Life" and senior teaching pastor at Saddleback Church in California, has invited Sen. Barack Obama to speak to the congregation of the faithful on Dec. 1, 2006. In doing so, he has joined himself with one of the smoothest politicians of our times, and also one whose wickedness in worldview contradicts nearly every tenet of the Christian faith that Warren professes.

So the question is "why?"

Why would Warren marry the moral equivalency of his pulpit – a sacred place of honor in evangelical tradition – to the inhumane, sick and sinister evil that Obama has worked for as a legislator?

According to press reports, it is because of a mutual respect that each feels towards the other over the HIV/AIDS pandemic on the African continent. That rationale, however, is not only dishonest, but is not even logical given the two distinct positions that the men come to on the matter. Because of this supposed shared concern, Warren is ready to turn over the spiritual mantle to a man who represents the views of Satan at worst or progressive anti-God liberals at best in most of his public positions on the greatest moral tests of our time.

Warren's stand on the matter in this instance is what is in doubt – not Obama's!

Barack Obama has a long history of defying the intended morality of Scripture. As a state legislator, he actively worked to preserve availability of abortion in all nine months of pregnancy. He opposed parental notification. He opposed any and all bans on partial-birth abortion (an act that includes delivery of the baby up to the head, the crushing of the baby's brain, the suctioning of the brain matter, and then completed delivery of the child's deflated cranium). In his run for the U.S. Senate, Obama even asked his wife to pen a letter to Illinois voters that reassured them of his commitment to fighting for the right to butcher children in the womb.

Barack Obama has long supported the advance of the radical homosexual activist lobby in its pursuit to destroy traditional marriage. He supported the creation of "special rights" for people who engage in homosexuality for the sole purpose of putting them at the front of the line on issues of employment, housing and litigation. He has also solidly backed the advancement of all "hate crimes" legislation, which ultimately may be used to silence clergy who believe according to their own convictions that homosexual behavior is wrong and preach so from biblical texts. Obama has a perfect voting record against the defense of marriage.

-ironic cough-

What's that one ancient wheeze my grandmother used to tell? Marriage broker in Chelm goes to a poor family and says, Listen, I have the perfect girl for your son. She's beautiful, she's intelligent, she's rich, she's cultured and talented, speaks several languages, wonderful personality, everyone who knows her loves her.

So the family is all excited. Who? Who??

The shadchen says, Marie of Romania.

Outrage. Horror. Marie of Romania?! A shiksa! Unthinkable.

No, no, says the broker, just hear me out, hear me out. So it's one tiny flaw. Look at all her other amazing qualities! Besides, I have it on good authority that she's willing to convert.

Doubt. But, isn't she already married? Handwave. Listen, you know how these things are. He's not so healthy. She's not happy. I can't tell you everything I know, but...It shouldn't be a problem.

Hours later, the broker's convinced the family that, alright, Marie of Romania is O.K. by them, they suppose, if that's really the best he can do.

Broker goes outside, takes a deep breath, wipes his forehead. Okay, he says out loud to himself, that's -half- the battle...

This creaky old yarn has been brought to you by Traditional Family Values (tm). I mean, -thank G-d- that the institution of marriage hasn't changed at all over the years and cultures, eh?

ETA again, again: This. The OP, that is, all of it; and also too this, from the comments:

Sigh. If only we’d gone with the spouse of the man who signed DOMA into law. She’s chummy with Billy Graham, who could probably have been wheeled to her inauguration.

Innit though. Yeah, six of one.


Gaina said...

Hi, I'm Gaina and I'm a new reader. **wave**

How about keeping religion out of politics altogether? Sounds crazy I know, but it might just work.

Anthony Kennerson said...

Actually, Belle, Obama has now confirmed that it WAS his pick, and he is justifying it on the "We must unite ALL Americans together and agree to disagree" meme.

Sorry, Mr. President-Elect, but I just don't think that allowing a racist homophobic bigot like Rick Warren such a plumb platform and thusly legitimizing his bigotry quite meets the level of "bringing America together"....unless, of course, you mean to say that GLBT folk (and women, and those opposed to nuking Iran, and other progressive people) aren't really Americans to begin with.

But, we could have seen this coming from a mile away when Donnie McClurkin was recruited by BHO during the primaries to seal the Black evangelical vote, or when Obama did his rope-a-dope on Proposition (h)8.

It seems that Obama is no more than a typical conservative Democrat; campaign to the liberals, then stab them in their backs and use them as pincushions on his way to governing on the Center-Right. Better than Bush...but not by much.

Makes me so glad I voted for McKinney.


belledame222 said...

-weary shrug- If he absolutely has to throw them sops, better it should be in symbolic gestures than in his policy making and/or key appointments. But, really, -neither- would be better, I don't know why he specifically needs to throw a sop to -homophobic, sexist- evangelicals when the other kind does actually exist; and this sort of thing makes me trust him a lot less to do the right thing when it comes to the important shit, but in either case he's on probation anyway so whatthefuckever.

Hey, Gaina, I recognize you from over to Ren's and elsewhere, welcome. Yeah, it'd be nice, but the reality is in the U-nited States there's enough of it about that someone who doesn't at least rub elbows with religious leaders and demonstrate some sort of spiritual (yea, it has to pretty much be Christian for President, although -maybe- deeply conservative Jewish would do at this point. -maybe-) affinity.

I'm sort of "meh" on the symbolism of having anyone religious being a part of the swearing-in ceremony or suchlike, and that sort of thing; we've had it for like forever, it's not of itself an indication of creeping theocracy. But, yeah, again: someone like Jim Wallis would've made a -lot- more sense. Honestly I think--they picked Warren because he's better known, he's a big ol' celebrity in those circles, and, you know, pat pat.

Ultimately I think Obama, like just about every other mainstream Democrat except Frank (who's got his own failings of course), is a) sympathetic to gay rights and will do what he thinks he can get away with without costing himself too much flak in the process b) ultimately will not go to the mat for us, as he (and both Clintons, and Kerry and Biden and just about everyone else) have signaled time and again.

What I -am- holding him to is his declaration that he is for the overturning of DOMA. Ultimately I think that's gonna have to go to SCOTUS, but--I originally soured on Bill largely (not solely, of course) because he signed the fucking thing to begin with. So far, Obama hasn't done anything that egregious; but then, he hasn't really had a chance yet either, has he.

So, we wait.

am i a bodyfascist? said...

hi belle and everybody. first, sorry for being completely off topic.

been away a while under my other nick in mostly german pastures (an english summary of relevant activities re: 'to end forced genital surgery on hermaphrodites' can be found here).

now, a for me important issue brings me back. don't know about your priorities nor inclinations, but still would like to ask for general consideration and possible back-up, cause i'm afraid this problem won't go away too quickly, see e.g. here:

thanks & keep your blade sharpened anyways ...

Comrade PhysioProf said...

This shit is pretty heinous, in my opinion. There must be some evangelical theocratic fuckwit who is not so brazenly hateful whose dick Obama can suck instead of this scumbag's.

belledame222 said...

I'm saying. Jim Wallis:, say; he's smarmy, but overall more on a level with Obama (opposes gay marriage, like who doesn't, is waffly about civil unions and thus loathed by the hard right for such hardline stances as "abomination is kind of a strong word.")

Meanwhile, Bush is dumping another giant pile of shit on us right as he leaves; yes, we -get- it already, I -still- can't fucking waiting for January 20 even if I'll be watching Doctor Who reruns, fuck knows. I hate everyone right now.

Kristin said...

All right, Berube's post has convinced me. That was a brilliant take. Glad you linked it... The only thing is... I think he may be a little overly optimistic about Warren's supporters. I don't think they're quite as...well, small and marginal a group as he suggests.

Kristin said...

P.S. About "convinced me." I already thought this was a bad move. Didn't agree with it... But didn't quite understand the level of outrage given Obama's (1.) center-right platform and (2.) the fact that many of us voted for him knowing that he opposes gay marriage... Or, in other words, why does this seem to be garnering so much more outrage than that did?

And I guess it's just that... Well, then, we just needed to get the Republicans out of the executive branch... Now, we need for the President-Elect to be even just *marginally* better than his platform.

belledame222 said...

Well, put it this way: I certainly agree that policy should garner more outrage than symbolism; just, again, as symbolism goes, I mean -inaugural- symbolism...also, I think had this not been right on the heels of Prop 8 it wouldn't have felt so raw to so many people.

anyway I think the tone of Berube's piece is right. Time will tell if this was a canny move for Obama or not. Actually I'm inclined to think that on the whole he's a brilliant political animal and it very well might be a smart move as far as his own career goes; and yes, as noted, it's really not all that different from former presidents having Graham, say. It still kind of doesn't do much for teh Gay, though; and the thing is, he's running on "change" and we were kind of hoping he'd have a different record from presidents who've made similar overtures to evangelists wrt -not- fucking us over when push came to shove there.

Again, if it turns out that symbolism is as far as it goes with him, I'm willing to then mainly forget about it; just, y'know, "show me the money," and I doubt I'll be sitting and cheering the inaug in front of the TV or anything, despite my immense relief that fucking BushWorld is out. And, too, I think I'm going to just redouble on putting my enthusiasm/energy into fighting the stupid amendment and other shit at the state/local/level; just, yeah, not counting on him for anything when it comes to that. I think if other people do the heavy lifting he may do the right thing when it comes to a thumbs up or thumbs down vote/veto of something, but that's as far as it goes. Just so we're clear, you know...and if it doesn't even go that far at the end of the day, that really -will- be an unforgivable stab in the back.

belledame222 said...

That is, as far as this is concerned: even being as good as his platform/words would be the edge of acceptable: he says he's "against gay marriage" in principle but he's also said he's for repealing DOMA: you do the math. The second part is the important part. That, and picking judges for SCOTUS who won't fuck us over when either 8 or something like it finally wends its way there.

belledame222 said...

and someone like Jim Wallis matches him more neatly, again, in the mixed messages wrt marriage: he's also "against gay marriage" but he's been pro-gay in other respects (including I think at least being in favor of legal civil unions (yes, it's not good enough, but it's way more than this fucker would give lip service to) enough to make a lot of hardcore homophobes fork the evil eye at him. which of course would make him "radical" by our current standards...sigh.

Then again again...yeah, I dunno. TIme will tell what's really "pragmatic" for all of us, (Rick Warren and his base, Obama himself, and us, respectively), that's all.

belledame222 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
belledame222 said...

Although it's interesting that (as yet) I haven't heard similar outrage from feminist groups when the guy's also adamantly pro-life. Then again, we're kind of going to be busy with the bullshit "present" Bush just left us, and Obama will certainly have a very clear chance to prove his commitment to his former voting record vs the bone to Warren very quickly there.

andi said...

Why is it I think that in the not to distant future we will being hearing from Rick Warren's gay lover or some other skeleton in his closet. He's just too "anti gay" for it to be legit. He's hiding something, something very big.

belledame222 said...

I dunno about that, but he's an oleaginous fuck.

Hayley said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.