Thursday, December 18, 2008


Tip to gay activists: How about a nation wide car horn blowing session while Rick Warren is preaching? It would be especially effective in DC near the inaugural site.

Politico - Barack Obama's choice of a prominent evangelical minister to perform the invocation at his inauguration is a conciliatory gesture toward social conservatives who opposed him in November, but it is drawing fierce challenges from a gay rights movement that – in the wake of a gay marriage ban in California – is looking for a fight.

Rick Warren, the senior pastor of Saddleback Church in southern California, opposes abortion rights but has taken more liberal stances on the government role in fighting poverty, and backed away from other evangelicals' staunch support for economic conservatism. . .

"Your invitation to Reverend Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at your inauguration is a genuine blow to LGBT Americans," the president of Human Rights Campaign, Joe Solomonese, wrote Obama Wednesday. "We feel a deep level of disrespect when one of architects and promoters of an anti-gay agenda is given the prominence and the pulpit of your historic nomination.". . .

Obama opposes same-sex marriage, but also opposed the California constitutional amendment Warren backed. . .

"It's a huge mistake," said California gay rights activist Rick Jacobs, who chairs the state's Courage Campaign. "He's really the wrong person to lead the president into office. "Can you imagine if he had a man of God doing the invocation who had deliberately said that Jews are not going to be saved and therefore should be excluded from what's going on in America? People would be up in arms," he said.

The editor of the Washington Blade, Kevin Naff, called the choice "Obama's first big mistake.". . . "This tone-deafness to our concerns must not be tolerated. We have just endured eight years of endless assaults on our dignity and equality from a president beholden to bigoted conservative Christians. The election was supposed to have ended that era. It appears otherwise."

Other liberal groups chimed in.

"Rick Warren gets plenty of attention through his books and media appearances. He doesn't need or deserve this position of honor," said the president of People for the American Way, Kathryn Kolbert, who described Warren as "someone who has in recent weeks actively promoted legalized discrimination and denigrated the lives and relationships of millions of Americans."

Sam Stein, Huffington Post - Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge, author of the book: "Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians": "It is almost like he wants to poke the progressives with a sharp stick."

RH Reality Check - Rick Warren is also the man behind these (recent) statements on abortion:

"But to me it is kind of a charade in that people say 'We believe abortions should be safe and rare,'" he added.

"Don't tell me it should be rare. That's like saying on the Holocaust, 'Well, maybe we could save 20 percent of the Jewish people in Poland and Germany and get them out and we should be satisfied with that,'" Warren said. "I'm not satisfied with that. I want the Holocaust ended."

We unveil the story of a religious leader who is adamantly against prevention; in favor of reducing abortion by stripping women of their rights; a leader who compares embryos in utero and mothers who make the best, most loving choices they can when faced with an unintended pregnancy or medical condition, to a murderous movement of anti-Semites who brutally slaughtered Jewish women, men and children. . .

For all the mutual good will on display, Warren's agenda may well clash with Obama's plans to reshape American AIDS policy. . . On the eve of the 2004 presidential election, [Warren] sent a letter to his congregation telling them that there were five non-negotiable issues that should determine their vote-abortion, stem-cell research, cloning, homosexual marriage, and euthanasia. In fact, these five issues are barely mentioned in the Bible; Jesus never spoke about them, nor did the prophets. . .

Rick Warren is not a man that symbolizes common ground. Warren has positioned himself as a key player in what in words has been called a new evangelism but in practice is nothing more than shining up some old shoes.

Right Wing Watch - [In] 2004 Warren declared that marriage, reproductive choice, and stem cell research were "non-negotiable" issues for Christian voters and has admitted that the main difference between himself and James Dobson is a matter of tone. He criticized Obama's answers at the Faith Forum he hosted before the election and vowed to continue to pressure him to change his views on the issue of reproductive choice. He came out strongly in support of Prop 8, saying "there is no need to change the universal, historical definition of marriage to appease 2 percent of our population . . . This is not a political issue --- it is a moral issue that God has spoken clearly about." He's declared that those who do not believe in God should not be allowed to hold public office.

Political Ticker - Linda Douglass, a spokeswoman for Obama, defended the choice of Warren, saying, "This is going to be the most inclusive, open, accessible inauguration in American history. "The president-elect certainly disagrees with him on [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] issues. But it has always been his goal to find common ground with people with whom you may disagree on some issues."

Brad Blog - Right. So at which point in the ceremonies will we hear from a white supremacist?

In October 2007, Obama made a negative first impression on millions of gay people when he invited "ex-gay" gospel singer Donnie McClurkin to join him on a statewide tour of South Carolina, despite the fact that the "ex-gay" movement has been discredited by every legitimate psychological authority, and, in fact, it does more harm thang good. Obama's decision to include McClurkin was viewed as an attempt to pander to African-American evangelicals.

According to the Advocate, not long after the McClurkin debacle, "the press latched on to Obama's friendship with antigay minister James Meeks, from whom Obama had long claimed to seek regular 'spiritual counsel.' This association led a number of on-the-fence LGBT voters to rally behind Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries."

What this shows is that Obama is either tone deaf on gay issues, which is not unusual among leaders of the Democratic Party --- Bill Clinton signed the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act while he was having an extramarital affair with Monica Lewinsky --- or he really is fundamentally homophobic, and the truth is just now coming out.

Andrew Sullivan: Warren is a man who believes my marriage removes his freedom of speech and cannot say that authorizing torture is a moral failing. Shrewd politics, but if anyone is under any illusion that Obama is interested in advancing gay equality, they should probably sober up now.


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