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Forgive us if we don't stay on message

by Jeremy Hooper

Here are a list of talking points that the Obama inaugural committee have asked folks to disseminate in regards to the Rick Warren fiasco (in bold), followed by our own counterpoints regarding why these justifications are insufficient (in italics). Enjoy:

*This will be the most open, accessible, and inclusive Inauguration in American history.

So where, exactly, does this inclusion end? Do you include someone who thinks interracial marriage should be compared to bestiality? Because lest we forget, Pastor Warren has compared gay people's love to that which might exist between a brother and a sister!

*In keeping with the spirit of unity and common purpose this Inauguration will reflect, the President-elect and Vice President-elect have chosen some of the world's most gifted artists and people with broad appeal to participate in the inaugural ceremonies.

One of whom has chosen to say abhorrent things about gay people, as well as support the right of majority tyranny to rollback their equality. If Aretha sang a song called "Gays are not Deserving of Equality," would she still get an invite?

*Pastor Rick Warren has a long history of activism on behalf of the disadvantaged and the downtrodden. He's devoted his life to performing good works for the poor and leads the evangelical movement in addressing the global HIV/AIDS crisis. In fact, the President-elect recently addressed Rick Warren's Saddleback Civil Forum on Global Health to salute Warren's leadership in the struggle against HIV/AIDS and pledge his support to the effort in the years ahead.
You know a way you could help reduce HIV/AIDS here at home? STOP MARGINALIZING GAY PEOPLE! Stop sending gay kids the message that they are wrong, broken, and incapable of love! Stop telling humans, from birth, that monogamous couplings are only for the hetero set!

*The President-elect disagrees with Pastor Warren on issues that affect the LGBT community. They disagree on other issues as well. But what's important is that they agree on many issues vital to the pursuit of social justice, including poverty relief and moving toward a sustainable planet; and they share a commitment to renewing America's promise by expanding opportunity at home and restoring our moral leadership abroad.

President Bush disagrees with openly gay Bishop Eugene Robinson on issues that affect the LGBT community. However, they surely do agree on other humanistic matters. But you know what? HE DIDN'T INVITE ROBINSON TO BE AN HONOREE AT HIS INAUGURATION, BECAUSE THE INCLUSION WOULD HAVE TOTALLY RUFFLED REPUBLICAN FEATHERS! This is the Democrats' problem: Not having the wherewithal to stand on principle!

*As he's said again and again, the President-elect is committed to bringing together all sides of the faith discussion in search of common ground. That's the only way we'll be able to unite this country with the resolve and common purpose necessary to solve the challenges we face.

We agree that the Obama administration should bring everyone to the table. But the inauguration is a celebration, not a discussion forum. Why did the Obama team have to invite someone with whom there are MAJOR areas of disagreement?! Disagreement that cuts right to the core of LGBT people! This is not policy difference: THIS IS DISREGARD FOR CERTAIN HUMAN BEINGS' WORTH!

*The Inauguration will also involve Reverend Joseph Lowery, who will be delivering the official benediction at the Inauguration. Reverend Lowery is a giant of the civil rights movement who boasts a proudly progressive record on LGBT issues. He has been a leader in the struggle for civil rights for all Americans, gay or straight.

That's certainly a positive yin, but it doesn't counterbalance the negative yang! The fight over whether or not gay people are worthy of life, love, protection, happiness, and equality is not a two-sided discussion in which both teams deserve equal credence! One side is WRONG!!!!!!

*And for the very first time, there will be a group representing the interests of LGBT Americans participating in the Inaugural Parade.
If the marching band shows up, that is. This controversy has deeply hurt the gay community. We would not be surprised if this HUGE misstep led to a withdrawal.

Something tells us the president-elect's PR department won't be ringing us up anytime soon.

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Your thoughts

I keep thinking, Am I overreacting? Then I read your posts and I know I am not.

Thank you Jeremy!

Posted by: John Ozed | Dec 18, 2008 11:33:54 AM

I hope you sent these counterpoints to the Obama team, your points are the point.

Warren is a hate-mongering pastor not the genteel preacher with whom Obama may not always agree.
Warren's comments about gays are not biblical, they are inhumane. The bible does not make any of the grotesque comparisons between homosexuality and the perversions Warren perpetuates. Plenty of other socially conservative pastors of an inclusive nature are available to invoke Christ's name at the inauguration. Obama distanced himself from those who made grossly racist and bigoted incendiary comments during the campaign but some one who defiles the humanity of gay and transgendered men and woman is celebrated on a international stage.
Shameful. Obama's inclusiveness is seems clearly not heartfelt in this case, he appears as politically motivated as the mentors he had in Chicago.

Posted by: Daniel | Dec 18, 2008 11:47:48 AM

Enough is enough! When are we EVER going to stand up for ourselves and make it clear there will be consequences for stepping all over us? Our leaders should be clear with Obama: either dump Warren and get with the program or there will be a huge protest at your inauguration. Period. And, if you don't otherwise get with the program, expect protests wherever you go for the next four years. I am sick to my stomach over this. As things stand right now, I am not voting in 2012.

Posted by: Steve | Dec 18, 2008 1:38:17 PM

Is anyone putting pressure on people like Yo Yo Ma or Aretha or Joseph Lowery not to participate?

Posted by: Sara | Dec 18, 2008 4:35:41 PM

I hope the LGBT Band refuses to go to the inauguration. Show two-faced Barack that we will not tolerate anti-gay bigots!!!

Posted by: TheRadicalRealist | Dec 18, 2008 6:44:39 PM

Should that entire group miss out on being a part of history in order to say, "We disagree with you?" I feel certain Obama is already hearing that message loud and clear. I do not imagine that their participation or non-participation will change his mind about who he wants in his inauguration.

Posted by: deb | Dec 18, 2008 10:21:37 PM

If he is so for inclusion and bringing everyone to the table, just where is he going to allow the skin heads and white supremist to sit? Inclusion is Inclusion.
I removed all support stickers for Obama from my car and home. I live near DC and planned on attending the inauguration. No more. I guess we need to wait until 2008 for someone who might support all americans.

Posted by: Greg | Dec 18, 2008 10:30:58 PM

Should that entire group miss out on being a part of history in order to say, "We disagree with you?" I feel certain Obama is already hearing that message loud and clear.

Posted by: deb | Dec 18, 2008 10:48:29 PM

Jeremy, I think I sent a dupe comment (partial comment). oops! The one that's up is all I meant to send, so you don't need to post the dupe (or this one!). :)

Posted by: de | Dec 18, 2008 10:51:58 PM

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