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01/11/2013

We've opposed everything you've ever done—now find a preacher we like

by Jeremy Hooper

An inauguration is, in a sense, a party. It's not just a celebration of a President but also a celebration of the American public who elected him or (hopefully soon enough) her. We did have an election, remember. Now is the time to move FORWARD with the result.

This being the case, it is 100% understandable for an inaugural committee to seek out participants who fit the presidential view. Again, not just because the President holds the view but also because the voters who put him (/her) into office chose that view over the other possibilities. Sure, it's unlikely that every voter supports every position of the incoming or re-elected President. However, it's perfectly fair for the committee that is assembling the celebratory day to strive to find representation that will respect rather than offend the consensus position.

Duly re-elected President Barack Obama supports LGBT people. Not just that—President Obama supports LGBT people on the basis of his own personal Christianity. He has actively cited his faith as a reason for decisions that put embracing arms above misplaced stones.

Any honest person of any political stripe would expect the President and his inaugural committee to assemble a slate that shares this inclusive view. If a mistake were made and a certain invited attendee were found to have embraced a view that deeply offended LGBT people, any honest person would expect this same inaugural committee to seek a quick and honest response from that invitee and then gauge whether or not his or her view really was as out-of-line with the spirit of inclusivity as unearthed audio suggested. If the clarification was sincere, then all might be okay. However, if this is not the case, then reconsiderations might be made, so as to not offend the President's most ardent supporters. Again, honest watchers of the inaugural process should understand that.

But the far-right social conservatives who oppose LGBT rights are not, if we're being honest, known for their intellectual
Mohlerhonesty. This is why we have public voices like Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, now acting all outraged about the perfectly understandable desire to marry administration viewpoint with the voice who delivers the inaugural benediction. And worse than just that, Mohler is choosing to ratchet the offense up another level entirely, likening the "treatment" of Pastor Giglio (who says he removed his own name, btw) to the dark period known as McCarthyism:

The imbroglio over Louie Giglio is the clearest evidence of the new Moral McCarthyism of our sexually "tolerant" age. During the infamous McCarthy hearings, witnesses would be asked, "Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?"

In the version now to be employed by the Presidential Inaugural Committee, the question will be: "Are you now or have you ever been one who believes that homosexuality (or bisexuality, or transsexualism, etc.) is anything less than morally acceptable and worthy of celebration?"

FULL PIECE: THE GIGLIO IMBROGLIO -- The public inauguration of a new Moral McCarthyism [BP News]

It's jaw dropping, really. Albert Mohler has resisted just about everything this President has done, telling Christians that they are "rightly and deeply concerned" about his re-election and must push back against things like this view on marriage. Mohler is a thought leader among the crowd that has routinely denied President Obama of his faith altogether. Yet now President Obama is supposed to be all like, "So tell me, Al—what kind of preacher would you like me to invite?" I mean, what?! Why does Mohler think he has the capital here?!

And then to compare this to McCarthyism? That is so offensive to the President, to LGBT people, to those who were maligned and had their lives destroyed by actual McCarthyism, and, frankly, to history itself. It's a shameful comparison. Mohler should feel shame for making it.

But he won't. Because this debate, like most "culture war" debates, will not be an honest one. Anti-equality social conservatives will see to that.

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