So I'm just gonna say what folks seem to not be able to say outright:
Obama's choice of Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration is wrong.
And for a man as smart as Obama is, his response is simply inadequate and (frankly) bullshit:
"let me start by talking about my own views. I think that it is no secret that I am a fierce advocate for equality for gay and lesbian Americans. It is something that I have been consistent on, and something that I contend — intend to continue to be consistent on during my presidency.
What I've also said is that it is important for America to come together, even though we may have disagreements on certain social issues. And I would note that a couple of years ago, I was invited to Rick Warren's church to speak, despite his awareness that I held views that were entirely contrary to his when it came to gay and lesbian rights, when it came to issues like abortion. Nevertheless, I had an opportunity to speak. And that dialogue, I think, is part of what my campaign's been all about; that we're not going to agree on every single issue, but what we have to do is to be able to create an atmosphere when we — where we can disagree without being disagreeable and then focus on those things that we hold in common as Americans.
"So Rick Warren has been invited to speak. Dr. Joseph Lowery, who has deeply contrasting views to Rick Warren on a whole host of issues, is also speaking. During the course of the entire inaugural festivities, there are going to be a wide range of viewpoints that are presented. And that's how it should be, because that's what America's about. That's part of the magic of this country, is that we are diverse and noisy and opinionated. And so, you know, that's the spirit in which, you know, we have put together what I think will be a terrific inauguration. And that's, hopefully, going to be a spirit that carries over into my administration."
Obama is smarter than this, folks.
There is a difference between a diversity of opinions and bigotry.
To wit, this:
I don't think it brings us together or advances the ball on equality in America. And I don't think it gets us to this promise land Obama has been promising. It is not a better America if any rights, privileges, and societal transactions are proffered unequally.
Obama's statement that "we can disagree without being disagreeable and then focus on those things that we hold in common as Americans" only works when minority viewpoints take the backseat and say "hey we'll worry about our equal rights later."
When politicians tell me to focus on what we have in common what I hear is "what white folks will allow." It doesn't surprise me that my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters hear "what straight folks will allow" when they hear it. Gay and lesbian people happen to have in common with straight people the desire to get married.
So…how does that work again? The focusing on what we have in common thing?
I'm willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt on a lot of things. But in the same way his Philadelphia speech was dangerous and ahistorical, the decision to have Rick Warren give the invocation is dangerous and strikes me as a little cavalier and heartless. It sends the message to yet another minority group that collective advancement really only happens when some of hte collective sublimate what they really want. That collective advancement can only happen by making the majority group feel safe and happy.
Yea, not so much.
I never thought Obama was pro-gay rights (sorry "civil unions" and vague references to "everyone should be able to work where they choose" ain't gay rights, its status-quo and ducking the question) to begin with.
Guess I was right.