by Allan Erickson
*Update below: Rev. Rick Warren’s official statement released just a moment ago—
There’s reality, and then there’s gay activism.
President Elect Obama is taking big heat from the LGTB community. Politicio reports:
“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 to Obama Wednesday. “[W]e feel a deep level of disrespect when one of the architects and promoters of an anti-gay agenda is given the prominence and the pulpit of your historic nomination.”
Washington Blade editor Kevin Naff said of Warren: “His presence on the inauguration stand is a slap in the faces of the millions of GLBT voters who so enthusiastically supported him. This tone-deafness to our concerns must not be tolerated.”
Although Warren encourages outreach to the gay community and actively supports AIDS ministries as do many Christian ministries, he does not support gay marriage. Warren, and many others in the evangelical community, endorsed passage of Proposition 8 in California last month. Passage of that initiative banning gay marriage in that state was a lightning rod for a resurgence of gay activism.
Expressions of outrage from gay activists were directed at evangelicals as a result, the claim being gay people are being prevented from full citizenship, discriminated against in much the same way Blacks have been barred from full citizenship, an assertion many Black pastors reject out of hand. They point out lifestyle is a choice but skin color is not, and there are issues of morality and conscience involved that cannot be ignored.
Huffington Post says Obama’s invitation to Warren has caused the “first real rift” between the new administration and progressives. HP’s Stein quotes Kathryn Kolbert, president of People for American Way: “He (Warren) has repeated the Religious Right’s big lie that supporters of equality for gay Americans are out to silence pastors. He has called Christians who advance a social gospel Marxists. He is adamantly opposed to women having a legal right to choose an abortion.”
In a curious twist of language, one gay leader called Obama’s decision an abomination, as if to invoke scriptural language in a reverse application.
On the other side of the coin, Obama also attracted criticism from some in the Christian community who say Warren is a bad choice because he is soft on abortion and prone to promote a ‘feel-good’ Christianity flavored with economic liberalism.
All this amid reports Obama is being pressured to appoint an openly gay man to be Secretary of the Navy. William White, chief operating officer of the Intrepid Museum Foundation, is apparently being promoted for consideration by some in the military, and Democrats on The Hill.
Plus, just days ago, Obama announced Nancy Sutley will serve as chairwoman of the Council on Environmental Quality. Sutley is the first openly gay individual to be appointed to a Cabinet post.
Kolbert of American Way insists silencing Christians is not the aim of the LGBT community. That is hard to stomach when one sees pastors prosecuted and persecuted for preaching traditional morality as defined by thousands of years of clear transcendent authority derived from the very Scripture defining their ministries. Hate crimes legislation is nothing more than the use of the power of the state to muzzle the majority in deference to an activist minority. The trend is chilling. Once the state gets into the business of violating the Constitution’s free exercise clause, then we will see real bigotry and discrimination played out by a hateful few who practice theophobia with a vengeance.
Washington Blade editor Naff said it best when he said the LGBT community will not tolerate Obama’s choice to deliver the invocation. Naff elaborates: “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.”
As far as this Christian conservative is concerned, many in the LGBT community have truly lost a grip on reality. Those of us holding to traditional morality suspect most people in the gay community are not so intolerant as Mr. Naff and others who on the surface appear out of control in their seething insistence than everyone bend to their will.
Doubtless it surprises Mr. Naff and his friends that the vast majority of AIDs relief and ministry comes from Christian people, and that most Christians do not, repeat, do not hate gay individuals, or bisexuals or transgenders either. This is not personal, although Naff and others insist on making everything personal, hyper-emotional, and political. For Christians, generally, and Warren specifically, these are moral issues, issues of conscience. The essential point so many miss is this: insisting on gay marriage demands the majority violate conscience, an untenable situation flaming conflict defying resolution.
The truth is the intolerance displayed by so many in the LGBT community is an expression of religious bigotry. Condemning Obama and Warren for having points of view divergent from their own is sufficient evidence of the kind of intransigence fueling the endless warfare some people seem to enjoy. Furthermore, the ones shouting loudest about discrimination, hate, bigotry and intolerance are the very people who embody these characteristics most glaringly.
Since the passage of Proposition 8 in California, and other similar measures in other states, we have seen the true face of gay activism in America. Like spoiled children many of these activists give themselves permission to act out, assaulting others both verbally and physically: the Cross-carrying grandmother assaulted in Palm Desert, the young woman with a Bible assaulted in San Francisco, the effigy in West Hollywood, white powder mailed to Mormon Churches, church services disrupted elsewhere, threats, demonstrations, and more threats. For years gay activism has only resulted in ill-feeling, church splits, and general chaos. It is difficult to see the value in any of it. The promotion of understanding and tolerance has been buried by fiery political rhetoric.
The LGBT community does itself no favors resorting to these altogether distasteful and counterproductive means and measures.
Rick Warren is a good and decent man of God serving the interests of his Master and his country. Obama’s invitation may be somewhat politically motivated, but as one who did not vote for Mr. Obama, I have to admire his grit. No doubt he knew he would be hammered by ‘progressives.’
If gays and ‘progressives’ truly embrace diversity, they should calm down and make room for diversity rather than continue in the ways of feral adolescents. The most progressive thing the LGBT community can do today is tone down the vitriol, upgrade the tolerance, and grow up a little bit.
None of us can expect to get everything we want. That’s just reality. Another reality: discrimination against gays is often claimed but rarely documented. If it was such a widespread problem, we’d hear about it, daily. The terrible discrimination supposedly committed against gays is in reality a paper tiger used mainly for political leverage. The Reality is people know this, but fear expressing themselves, for fear of being called a bigot, or worse.
And the reality is the activist LGBT community is fully committed to the politics of fear and intimidation. Mr. Obama is now getting a full serving, even before his inauguration. When you do not have a leg to stand on, when logic and reason and factual supports fail you, the only tactics left are fear-mongering, ridicule, guilt-tripping and intimidation.
PS: As to abortion, ‘progressives’ decry the sacrifices of American military volunteers, protesting our efforts to stem the spread of Islamic radicalism, raising hell about 4,000 American deaths in Iraq, but ignoring 50 million murdered babies in our own country these last 35 years. Can it be rational thought has also been aborted? Note as well that if Islamic radicals manage to take over Europe and Britain, and they are making substantial progress, how long do you think gays will enjoy freedom and tolerance. In Iran, they shoot or hang gays, don’t they?
Seems we would all be better served to turn and face the real enemy, and stop all this idiotic in-fighting.
And that’s another reality lost in all the hate speech spewed daily by the Left in this country.
*Rev. Rick Warren’s statement Thursday night:
LAKE FOREST, Calif., Dec. 18 /Christian Newswire/ — “I commend President-elect Obama for his courage to willingly take enormous heat from his base by inviting someone like me, with whom he doesn’t agree on every issue, to offer the Invocation at his historic Inaugural ceremony.
“Hopefully individuals passionately expressing opinions from the left and the right will recognize that both of us have shown a commitment to model civility in America.
“The Bible admonishes us to pray for our leaders. I am honored by this opportunity to pray God’s blessing on the office of the President and its current and future inhabitant, asking the Lord to provide wisdom to America’s leaders during this critical time in our nation’s history.”