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02/04/2010

Prayer Breakfast: Pass the eggs, not the draconian laws

by Jeremy Hooper

Screen Shot 2010-02-04 At 11.01.58 Am-1This morning at the National Prayer Breakfast, both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama directly addressed the insane Uganda legislation. Here are the president's thoughts:

"Challenging each other's ideas can renew our democracy. But when we challenge each other's motives, it becomes harder to see what we hold in common. We forget that we share at some deep level the same dreams -- even when we don't share the same plans on how to fulfill them.

We may disagree about the best way to reform our health care system, but surely we can agree that no one ought to go broke when they get sick in the richest nation on Earth. We can take different approaches to ending inequality, but surely we can agree on the need to lift our children out of ignorance; to lift our neighbors from poverty. We may disagree about gay marriage, but surely we can agree that it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who they are -- whether it's here in the United States or, as [Secretary of State Hillary Clinton] mentioned, more extremely in odious laws that are being proposed most recently in Uganda."

Excellent that the prez did this. Obviously. The Uganda situation is unfathomable to most American LGBTs, and considering the questionable ties that some of the prayer breakfast's affiliates have to the African nation's call for imprisonment/execution, this is a forum that needed to hear this message. Bravo, B.O.

But that being said, can we please get past the day where inequality is a simple disagreement? Whether one can ever where white after labor day is a disagreement. The debate between New York- and Chicago-style pizza is a disagreement (full disclosure: I prefer NY as a home, Chicago thick crust as a pie). Books, TV, and films are subjects of disagreement. We can agree to disagree about any of these topics, then go have a beer (unless you disagree and prefer wine).

But as for whether or not all human begins are entitled to life, liberty, and happiness? This is not a "disagreement"! To suggest that it is one severely weakens the possibility of progress, while giving equality's opponents (i.e. a large portion of the prayer breakfast audience) an undeserved pass! We must not give this pass. We must hold firm on this point.

***

**Video of Clinton and Obama's words, via ThinkProgress:

***UPDATE: Reaction: Uganda official: Shoot, a powerful messenger called our odious thing 'odious' [G-A-Y]

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Your thoughts

"We may disagree about gay marriage, but surely we can agree that it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who they are."

But disagreeing about gay marriage is, of course, "targeting gays and lesbians for who they are."

I'll take "intellectually inconsistent blather" for $200, Alex.

Obama is too smart not to understand this. His gay apologists, however, are another matter.

Posted by: KipEsquire | Feb 4, 2010 11:49:01 AM

One can APPLAUD his criticism of Uganda and I do. But it was rendered almost entirely inconsequential by his choosing prissy 50-cent euphemisms..."unconscionable," "odious." I know diplomatese often requires tiptoeing, but he would NEVER refer to the Taliban as being only unconscionable and odious. ATTENTION MR PRESIDENT: These are effectively Ugandan Taliban and they want the legal authority to MURDER us! To IMPRISON people who don't TURN US IN TO BE MURDERED! That's not odiousness—that's GENOCIDE!

And we must condemn his unnecessary reminder to the world that he unconscionably and odiously agrees with the bigots about marriage equality [thus needlessly giving them yet ANOTHER sound bite/quote for their next anti marriage equality campaign].

Typical and indefensible, just as his dance of WORDS on DADT while CONTINUING to DISCHARGE gays which Maureen Dowd described in the NY Times:

"The Obama White House is inching forward, like soldiers under attack crawling on their bellies through the dirt, trying to avoid friendly fire from gay groups that want the law changed now and hostile fire from conservatives that want the law left alone."

We will never get more than inches, more than crumbs, if we don't stop awarding 10-10-10-10-10 just because Mr. Obama has merely stepped on the ice.

I'm an old queen, who's been fired for being gay, physically attacked for being gay, and buried many loved ones who needlessly died of AIDS because of government sanctioned homophobia, and yet I celebrate how far we've come in SOME ways.

But this past two years has shown me that many of my brothers and sisters are still self-destructively disarmed by the slightest pat on the head. One could attribute it to youth, but so many of those still swooning at Obama's banquet of crumbs [and now Gates & Mullen's air kisses] are old enough to remember how meaningless so many of Pres. Clinton's pats on the head turned out to be.

Yes, he wasn't the AntiChrist some painted him as, and did do some lasting good for our community, and Obama isn't the homophobe some accuse him of being. But we have got to stop acting like children dazzled by the tiniest shiny thing he waves in our direction.

This religio breakfast was another opportunity to rise above polysyllabic plasticity and set an example of forceful, unequivocal moral condemnation of homohating bloodlust abroad and homohating wars against our civil rights at home that could have rung around the world.

The President refused, again, to be that leader.

Posted by: Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com | Feb 4, 2010 2:53:28 PM

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