In issue 1
Looking Back, Looking Forward
Menace to Society
First impressions count and President-Elect Obama has not made a good impression with his choice of Pastor Rick Warren as his opening act for his inauguration. Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, has proven himself to be a self-righteous homophobe from the “love the sinner, hate the sin” school of ministry. How else would you interpret the actions of a man whose ministry professes to love gays by citing their global work to address the HIV/AIDS crisis, yet plainly states on the church’s web site that they will not tend to the spiritual needs of gays? News flash: the global HIV/AIDS crisis is important to the gay community, but it spans all cultures and subcultures. He might as well have referred to it as “the gay disease,” since that’s seems to be what he is saying.
In voicing his support of California’s Proposition H8, Warren deftly compared same-sex marriage to pedophilia and incest. It’s not homophobic discrimination, though, since his offensive remarks extend beyond the LGBT community. He’s also been on the record as confirming that Jewish people are going to hell and reminding women that they should yield to the judgment of their husbands, even when they’re wrong.
Warren’s selection to deliver the invocation has turned into a huge pity party, with Obama defending his selection of Warren. Obama has been joined in his defense of his choice by Melissa Etheridge, Reverend Al Sharpton and, of course, Warren himself. Meanwhile Warren, reminiscent of the Governor of Texas in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, sidesteps and dances his way through his own statements with, “That’s not what I meant” excuses and by deleting damning content from his churches web site.
Is this the kind of man that should be delivering the opening prayer at an inauguration, an event that usually sets the tone for the incoming administration? Obama has defended his choice by pragmatically saying that he intends to be a big tent leader and that we all won’t always agree but should get along anyway. Of all the clergy in this country, Obama has made a choice that is a slap in the face to every equality-minded. His defense of his choice would have held water if he had chosen a good old Southern Baptist minister that used to (please note the use of past tense) quote scripture to defend slavery.
Shortly after the Warren selection hit the fan, openly gay Representative Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) was selected as one of 15 honorary co-chairs of the inaugural committee. Not only is the timing poor, the post is practically meaningless. President-Elect Obama should understand why some might believe her selection smacks of tokenism.
In the Navy
A contributing writer to Edge Boston reports that retired members of the Joint Chiefs and other heavy hitters are lobbying the Obama transition team and the Senate to consider William White, Chief Operating Officer of the Intrepid Museum Foundation, long-time supporter of the Navy and gay, for the Secretary of the Navy slot in the Obama administration. The likelihood of White’s nomination for the position is considered a long shot due to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, but White is a civilian.
2008 In Review
The last year was full of promise and disappointment, joy and sadness. We achieved the freedom to marry in California, only to be snapped back to reality when both Florida and California voters chose to discriminate against us and deny us the right to marry. Arkansas voters denied same-sex couples and single people the right to adopt, while courts in Florida twice declared denying adoption to same-sex couples unconstitutional. Our community has embraced Lindsay Lohan, Wanda Sykes, and even Clay Aiken and bid adieu to Mr. Blackwell, artist Maurice Sendak and many people nearer and dearer to our hearts.
I don’t have a crystal ball, but I do have one prediction for 2009: January 20th will mark the end of an error. It’s a new year, with new faces, new ideas and renewed hope. Happy New Year!