Thursday, December 18, 2008

Obama - Lip Service We Can Believe In

Dear Mr. President-Elect:

The honeymoon is over. It was bad enough that, instead of speaking out with a strong voice, you sat on the sidelines while gays and lesbians were stripped of their civil rights in California on your election day. It's bad enough that you've pretty much contented yourself to warm the bench since then while the controversy and the protests have continued. Now Proposition 8 is being challenged in the courts -- and you have yet to speak. You've described yourself as "a fierce advocate for the rights of gays and lesbians," but we have yet to see anything resembling ferocity.

Oh, you've moved your lips a few times about supporting "civil unions," while opposing gay marriage. Thanks -- for not much. Even those mouthings have been luke-warm. You're not even in office yet. I acknowledge that. But you are not a stupid man. You're not unaware of the influence and power you already wield as the first black president-elect. You're not unaware of the importance of symbolism and symbolic gestures.

Now you've chosen Rick Warren, minister of the Saddleback Cult in Sacramento, California, to deliver an invocation at your inaugeration. This cult leader donated the maximum amount of money allowable to the Proposition 8 campaign. He personally worked and instructed his cult members to work to pass this ignorant and bigoted legislation. He has equated gay people to pederasts and polygamists and compared gay marriage to incest.

Despite these blatherings, Mr. Obama, you have extended to this fool the singular public honor of speaking at a presidential inaugeration. At -your- inaugeration. You have handed him a platform from which to further his bigotry and self-aggrandizement. One wonders if the Barack Obama I campaigned for has suddenly fallen tone-deaf to the significance of his own achievement.

There are many pastors and religious figures in this country to whom you might have extended this honor. Instead, you have selected a man who has made himself a symbol of division, a man who has worked and labored to once again pit one American against another. The laughable bit is that you claim to have made this selection in a spirit of inclusion, welcoming "a diversity of opinions."

Now some might call that a little bit ironic -- but I call it some first-class shuck-and-jive.

This is not "Change we can believe in." This is pandering, pure and simple and blatant. Gays and Lesbians across America worked and campaigned for you, and as our reward you've insulted us with this selection of Rick Warren. As you offer one hand to the right-wing evangelical forces with this choice, you give the back of your other hand to me and to my community.

I no longer believe you, Mr. Obama. I no longer believe -in- you. After all your grand words fade, you are quite apparently just "Business As Usual." I won't even ask you to reconsider this selection as so many others more eloquent than I already have, because you won't. You can't. Doing so would cost you political capital and 'face.' I understand that, just as I understand now that the Gay and Lesbian community would be unwise to pin any hopes at all on you.

You are, after all, despite our hopes, just another politician.


Storm Christopher

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