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Obama to gay protesters: Rick Warren's my inauguration pastor pick

Saddleback pastor Dr. Rick Warren with Republican president candidate Senator John McCain and Democrat presidential candidate Illinois Senator Barack Obama at the Saddleback Forum August 16 2008 Los Angeles Times photo Genaro Molina

No backing down whatsoever today from President-elect Barack Obama in the face of some strong criticism from gay and lesbian interests over his choice of Saddleback's Rick Warren for the invocation speaker at the Jan. 20 inauguration.

As pastor of his mega-church in Lake Forest, Warren was an outspoken proponent of Prop. 8, which passed on Nov. 4 and overturns a court decision allowing same-sex marriage in California.

As The Ticket reported earlier today, gay and lesbian groups, which had been key backers of Obama but largely silent on his ostentatious other moves toward the political center since winning the White House, erupted in a loud chorus of opposition to Obama's pick of Warren.

But at another news conference at his transition headquarters in Chicago today, Obama held firm, saying an important premise of his entire campaign was that different sides can disagree on some issues without being disagreeable and unable to work together on others. After all, last spring he claimed he attended the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's church for 20 years while disagreeing with his radical sermons, which he also said he hadn't heard.

He said he maintains his consistent support for equal rights for gays and lesbians. And he's not changing his choice of who gives the opening prayer at his historic Inauguration on the Capitol steps the morning of Jan. 20.

We'll let the president-elect speak for himself on this breaking news video just below here.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

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I'm tired after spending a couple hours online posting my opinion on this, so I'll just say that I back Obama's chioce of Warren.

I'm a moderate Democrat with a couple of gay friends, and I'll tell you what I have told them: marriage is a religious institution, and the popular religious stance on homosexuality is anti. Therefore, the best approach is a law that grants a civil union every benefit of marriage, all of it. And churches should grant religious gays the right to go to heaven with the rest of us by recognizing that civil union and giving it their blessing. That way gays have a legal partnership and the blessing of their church.

Is that so hard?

I was not happy when I heard the news concerning the man President-elect chose to give a payer on inauguration. However, after I throught it through I had to amitt that Obama promise to be president to all Americans. I am not please, but I can live with the chioce. I still love you Obama.

Well we all know that some people were already "thrown Under the Bus":

“Throooow ‘em Under the Bus”
By Marinelurp

When the going gets tough,
When mud ‘n slander flies thick.
And the sh*t is hitting the fan,
Someone’s really rockin’ the boat,
Trying to hijack Hope and Change.
Wha’ cha gonna do? Wha’ cha gonna say?

You Beeeetter(slowly):

Throw ‘em, under the Bus,
Toss ‘em, under the Bus,
Cover your Ass! Try to distance yourself!
Just grab ‘em by the neck,
and throw ‘em, throw ‘em
Under the Bus!

When things got too close on poor Barry,
He put the blame on ole Grannie.
“Just a Typical-White Person”,
Who walked in fear, spouting racial slurs .
Could not disown her, That wouldn’t be Wright.
But the One thing he could do, WAS:


When his spiritual mentor got too loud,
Acting like an ‘embarrassing uncle’.
For awhile the ONE made excuses.
But the videos on YouTube were too much.
First the pastor, then the church,
Were too inconvenient and controversial.
They Haaaaad to:

Throw ‘em all, under the Bus,
Toss ‘em, under the Bus,
Cover your Ass! Try to distance yourself!
Just grab ‘em all by the neck,
and throw ‘em, throw ‘em
Under the Bus!

Obama threw gay activists under the bus today,
Pandering to Christians, at his inauguration.
Paster Rick, (where’s Wright?), will give the invocation.
So, instead of advancing gay-equality,
Gays are furious, it’s a depressing omen,
Time to sober up, and face the awful truth.
You’ve beeen:

Thrown Under the Bus,
Tossed Under the Bus,
Cover your tracks, Try to distance yourself!
Just grab ‘em ALL by the necks,
and throw ‘em, throw ‘em
Under the Bus!

(Open Source Song- Please feel free to modify or add)

As a gay man who strongly supported Obama in word and in deed and in contributions, I am highly offended by his choice of Rick Warren as one of the pastors offering prayers at the inauguration. Why not the head of the
KKK, or some other Anti Black group sharing the celebrations. It is as offensive to gay people as it is to
blacks and I think Obama is being totally insentive. Did
Warren and his religious right support Obama? Sure they did. Very disappointed Obama.

OK, now I understand Obama's deafening silence after Prop 8 passed. I thought it was that he'd spoken out of both sides of his mouth on the issue and it embarrassed him. Now the truth comes out. I guess it wasn't all that "courageous" of Obama to debate McCain at Saddleback Church after all. Another staged campaign event played to the hilt. Well, Mr. President-Elect, you fooled me once. I won't be fooled again. You haven't even been sworn in yet and I'm done with you. Good luck fixing this broken nation, so far your talk about bringing people together is only driving people further apart.

I'm starting to think Obama doesn't really like gays. Along with this pick of Warren as invocation speaker, he also chose Representative Hilda Solis for Labor Secretary over the equally qualified and openly gay Mary Beth Maxwell. Where's the "new day" Obama?

Good for Obama. It's about time that people with strong views on these divisive issues realized they can't get their way by silencing, rather than engaging, those on the other side. Too many politicians act like whoever disagrees with them on anything is some slimy villain to be shunned and despised. In that regard, at least, Obama is a breath of fresh air.

Why not have David Duke play a high-profile role of honor in the solemn Inauguration ceremony. Just because Obama disagrees with him "on certain social issues" (such as the genetic equality of African-Americans) doesn't mean his voice shouldn't be heard in the festivities, right?

Or is it just bigots who would deprive gay people of their fundamental human rights that he thinks should be so honored?

Quite frankly, all this pick did was prove to me what I'd suspected all along: Obama used the LGBT community as a piggy bank and has no intention of doing anything to help us move closer to equality. Whenever he needs to appear "centrist" all he has to do is slap gays and lesbians around a bit and the evangelicals will coo in approval. Neat.

If Rick Warren had been anti-black people or anti-Semitic there is no way he would've been included. But being anti-gay is okay.

This was a very clear signal from the president-elect and it's not in favor of gay rights. Message received, loud and clear.

Of course he isn't backing down. Refusing to honor the feelings of gays and lesbians is precisely the point. There's nothing uncalculating about any of this.

Obama is not (as his own words maintain) a "fierce advocate" of equality for gay people. He is a half-hearted and occasional one.

He has advocated equality (or contends he has; he doesn't support marriage equality) in a perfunctory fashion, and from time to time does something equal and opposite to dramatize just how in the tank for gay equality he absolutely is not.

Anybody who thought the "mistake" of inviting anti-gay "ex-gay" preacher Donnie McClurkin to entertain at an Obama rally in North Carolina wouldn't be repeated -- or that it was a mistake at all -- now knows better.

Like his inaugural plans, it was rather a calculated public insult to reassure homophobes that Obama doesn't really care for gay people very much. Both of these are Obama's Sistah Souljah moments towards the gay community.

The inaugural invocation will be given by a man who considers the unions of gay people to be exactly the same as the marriage of brother and sister, or the marriage of an adult to a ten year old.

In likening gay relationships to incest and child abuse, Warren is undoubtedly aware that those things are not only unsupported by marriage statutes, but illegal in themselves in virtually every state.

If he thinks gay relationships are morally identical, he presumably believes gay and lesbian relationships should be punishable by statute.

Obama never breathed a word of displeasure when his own voice was used on pro Proposition 8 ads denouncing gay marriage. Not only doesn't it bother him much that he should be thought to oppose any equality for gay people, he sometimes seems to create that impression on purpose, using the excuse of "inclusiveness."

Here he carefully includes -- not a preacher who opposes gay unions in moderate terms like his own -- but somebody who rails against gays and lesbians in exactly the same way as James Dobson.

Obama says he owes Warren this high profile honor because Warren entertained him at Saddleback, but if Warren were as openly anti-Semitic or racist as he is openly contemptuous of gay people, I wonder if Obama would have accepted an invitation from Warren, let alone tendered him one.

Inclusivity ends someplace. We don't include Klansmen or other white supremacists. We wouldn't invite a Jew-hating Farrakhan to deliver an invocation. I think Obama really would be fierce opponent of something like that.

Gays and lesbians are the last minority in America to see those who advocate their utter subjection under the law elevated to the highest status in the land.

OK Obama, now I am waiting to hear which racist speaker you are going to include - because hey, that's just "another point of view". No? I didn't think so. HYPOCRITE!

I'm waiting to see who he puts up there to praise Nazi Germany and Adolph Hitler.

Personally, considering Obama's slap in the face by way of calling on this bigot Warren, I intend to turn to something important on television on Inauguration night in protest. Rather than the Inauguration I suggest that we all watch something like "Bewitched".

So the gay community equates Pastor Rick Warren
with the KKK or some anti-Black group! The gay community is so hateful and disorriented! Pastor Rick Warren is no different in his Biblical belief than any other evangelical pastor in the country of for that matter in the world!!!!!

Oh, gee whiz. Just because he's assigned a pastor who was for Prop 8 for his inaugeration, doesn't mean he was for it as well. And it doesn't MATTER, because this is AMERICA- where everyone has the right to their opinion...right?

Gays and Lesbians,

What else do you want? You want to be married, you want everyone to except your lifestyle, you want Obama to pick people who are openly gay to fill his cabinet, you want him to pick a pastor who agrees with everything you do...yada, yada! Look, Obama is trying to make not only his cabinet, but his inauguration as diverse as possible. I'm sure there's a gay and or lesbian involved in the inauguration and or cabinet as well. Just because he picks Rick Warren to say an opening prayer...this means his hates gays and lesbians? Come on! He believes everyone should have equal rights so I guess that means "you guys" also. Hey, can't we all just get along...we can agree to disagree...I think this is the atmosphere Obama wants to portray not only with his cabinet but the inaguration as well.

HOPE for change? I think not! I am sad to say that I have lost hope in Obama. On the heels of the passage of prop 8 -- still stinging for many, he gives Rick Warren the great privilege of leading the Country in prayer? Is this a reward for his hard work in hurting gay and lesbian families? (His church does not even allow gays and lesbians to become members unless they disavow their homosexuality.) So Obama calls it a "difference of opinion" when people ACT to take civil rights from groups? Apparently, only when it is the Gay and Lesbian group. It is discrimination -period. Shame on Obama for supporting this discrimination. And shame on him for supporting the use of religion to deny ANY group their civil rights.

Just another part of America- a man who equates me, my husband and our beautiful son, our family with pedophiles, just another part of America. President Obama is incredibly callous.

Marriage = union between one man and one woman.
Every human is born with the right to marry and this
constitutes a example of universal equality and fainess.
Any other union may be legitimate but does not qualify as
marriage. The people have spoken repeatedly on this
unshakable reality...let's moove on as only anarchy can
result from the continued debate of this non issue.

Goodness, what is all the hub bub? The man is only saying a prayer at the inauguration. He is not appointing him to a cabinet position. I don't think this means Obama is going to "change" anything he has said. I don't even like Obama or Warren for that matter. I have her so much about the hatred of Christians towards the "gay community" sounds like "they" are pretty hateful too.

There are enough religious leaders who embrace broad inclusivity that Mr. Obama could have engaged for his invocation. As a Presbyterian mnister, ordained as an openly gay man, I don't need someone who is just like me - or just like anyone else for that matter - to be chosen by the president-elect. However, after this election, this historic election that has done more to take down ancient and violent boundaries between us - why ask someone who raises God in one hand and puts down sisters and brothers with the other? It seems unlike Mr. Obama to intensify a division and invite more marginalization with such a choice. It seems inclusivity, even for our next president, includes some and not others. If the heads of the auto industry flying into Washington in their private jets were a symbol of being out-of-touch, so, too, is a new administration seeking a blessing from such a polarizing individual. Perhaps it just takes leaders a while longer to get the nuances of their actions, outside of their inner circles. I pray for a time when those circles and the injustices their insulation fuels become real and open places of welcoming and justice for all.

Personally, I don't understand why anyone in Hollywood feels that the rest of the world should care what their position is on a given topic. I mean, just because they're in a flick or run a production unit or studio, does that make them more knowledgeable or their opinions more important on the issues? And if others disagree with them, so what? Isn't that what Aristotle called hubris? As for Rick Warren, how is a 1X event going to change Obama? For Pete's sake, it's not a cabinet post. Those who defended BHO against the GOP "guilt-by-association" charges with Ayers and Wright are now using that same tactic against him on this issue. How hypocritical is that? Obama never did say that he favored gay marriage, so why the surprise now?

I'm amazed that so many people here want to end the divisiveness in America... by excluding the 55% who oppose gay marriage from any meaningful participation in government. Tolerance isn't equating anyone who disagrees with you with the KKK, anti-Semites, or (inevitably) Hitler, as those here do; it's respecting those with whom you disagree. Get over the hate, people, please!

everyon just calm down. I believe what Mr Obama is attempting to do here is bring folks together regardless of their beliefs and perhaps by doing so this could reduce the complete seperations of camps which is more obvious then ever before. For me, the religous right is obsured and irrational but that being said if we do not overcome these rediculous arguments we are doomed as a nation. Our counrty is on the brink of financial disaster, a new president, a some wacky guy doing a prayer... does anyone on the left care about religion all that much anyway?

IN 2012.


People who think that the Gay and Lesbian reaction to Warren speaking is just because he disagrees about gay marriage are either terribly misinformed or bigots themselves. Warren did not just support and work to prevent gay marriage. He compared gay people to pedophiles . He also does not allow gay people to come to his church. To have someone who is so NON inclusive be delivering the invocation, is so repulsive I can almost not believe it. How would Obama feel if George W had invited someone who compares black people with monkeys. That is also repulsive but no more offensive than Warren's comparison. This is hardly someone who just has a different point of view. This is someone who discruminates in the worst way possible.

I think Obama might have done better to choose an evangelical who was not so vocal on the Prop 8 issue. It's an emotional, sensitive issue at this juncture.

However, I also think he's trying to communicate something important: He's assembling a range of people, with whom he doesn't entirely agree, to show that this is an inaugural that at least attempts to bridge the cultural divide, rather than a celebration only for the "winning side."

Just as I believe we need to confront the reality that gay people exist and love each other and form families, we also need to confront the reality that some religious people are out there who believe gay marriage is wrong. Warren is out there. Like him or not, I'm fine with hearing his prayer. I suspect he has something to say worth hearing, avoiding this particular topic.

David Dukes, however, is a one-trick pony. I don't think comparing Warren with him is fair.

WTG Barack,

It is about time we have a leader who can transcend idealogy. I am 100% in support of having Rick Warren pray for our country. I am appalled at those who compare him to a Nazi and the like as many have done with Bush(me included). It may feel good to do this, but does it effectively help change anything for the better? I say no. I say that inviting others to be in a sincere dialogue is what America needs. Not, only hanging out and slapping each other on the back for agreeing lock step with everything one believes in at a given moment. I too support equality for gays and lesbians(my son is gay) and, yet, I am not in the least offended by Rick Warren and like minded believers who love all people, but have a different view on the condition of the homosexual folks. Peace and Love take more than a mantra and sincere disagreement is on both sides of a view at times. This is one of those issues and it is not even close as to the majority of Americans who want equality for non straights, but do not want to give up their religious or cultural traditional ways as part of the solution. Tough for both sides, so be tolerant goes both ways! Amen JS

I was an ardent supporter of Barack Obama - I was chosen as precinct captain during the campaign, donated money, changed minds that were set against him, personally purchased and dispensed bumper stickers, and got out the vote. His pick of Rick Warren for the inauguration is disheartening.

When this is written about in the history books - it will record that the first person of color to be elected American president did not stand up, instead he exulted people, like Rick Warren, who sought to take another group's civil rights - we may not all see it now, but it'll be a blemish on his presidency.

To paraphrase Maya Angelou: When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.

I, for one, am glad we aren't entering another republican term, but I've lost trust in the change I was so hoping for in Barack Obama.

How about Fred Phelps from Topeka, KS? I think Fred and k d lang should sing a duet!

they know the differents this will make in our country to make Godly things into unGodly things. all threw history the fall of man and his kindom came apart from in side. because they divided them that where as one. a woman marred to a another woman is a living lie and has nothing to do with sex discrimination and is against the truth. I will not support those who stray from the natural and make a law that saids i have got to except it as truth when i know it is not, i love my best friends but would never sleep with them. so if love is there stradegy to get marred then they are lieing. its there oun lust and those in authority know the truth and looking to there hearts for the truth and it would be a lie to support such things.

Providing a prayer on Inauguration Day for our nation's people, in all its diversity of thought, feeling and lifestyle, is a huge honor. To share the platform with President-elect Barack Obama is to be seen as a symbol of Obama's vision on the coming years under his leadership. Although I have been a fervent supporter of Obama, without idealizing him, the invitation to Pastor Rick Warren is a betrayal of great magnitude, I believe. Meeting with people of differing views is essential and part of Obama's strength of character, but I do not believe the time and place is on Inauguration Day, when the significance of the commencement of a Presidency is at hand and all the world will be watching. How utterly sad for by the appearance of a man who has said such negative things about a particular natural lifestyle. Obama has the opportunity to share the platform with voices of enlightenment, not dehumanization. This is a sorry, disillusioning development in this pre-inaugural time.

Why,oh why is ths such a big deal? Doesn't anyone understand that if gays and lesbians are allowed to marry, then where do we draw the line? Shall we allow multiple wives? Some Mormans may think so. What about Muslams who might want to marry 6 year olds? After all, Mohammad did. Can't you see that this is a door that should not be opened???

Why should America CARE what Hollywood thinks about Obama's choice for an invocational pastor?? Seems like the Hollywood folks already think the world revolves around them, but that's not the case. I get so tired of hearing about star's options of politics - why don't they put some of their un-deserved millions into doing something about the plight of people today? To quote a well known verse - "of him that has much, much will be expected." So what if Cameron is wearing Versace?? Do they realize that the price of that one dress would feed a whole African village for a year?! Fools!

It seems that the gays/lesbians never seem to think about others' rights, but only their rights. Obama wasn't chosen to be presindent by gays/lesbians only, he was selected by the MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE, just as the majority of the Calif voters decided to ban the immoral practice of the same sex """"marriage..."""".

Whether anyone believes or not, the thing called marriage has been arround since the dawn of men and it has been always between opposite sexes.

If same sex marriage is natural, then oviously it was NOT practiced to produce the future generations of mankind! If it did, then I suppose the human race have been extincted by now by the natural process...and we'd NOT have these gas/lesbians arround to bother everyone!

I campaigned for Barack Obama, for Joe Biden. I made phone calls. I sent money. I asked my friends and family to support the ticket. My partner, Rick, did the same thing. And we did our part to help elect Senators Obama and Biden and we were not alone. We were part of the larger gay and lesbian community who worked hard to change the course of history. Now, we learn Rick Warren, the homophobe from Saddleback Churck, will be given a platform at the inauguration to preach his conservative bigotry. How is this possible? Have you so quickly forgotten about who helped turn "Yes We Can" into "Yes We Did?" Did you forget that the gay and lesbian community voted overwhelmingly for Obama? Did you forget that the member of Saddleback did not and if they had their way, we would be welcoming John McCain into office and not Barack Obama. We could have devoted all of our energy to defeating Proposition 8 but we didn't, we gave to Obama/Biden, and this is how our work is honored. I feel betrayed,

On Proposition 8, he was silent.
On the US Veto of the UN Resolution for the decriminalization of homosexuality, he was silent.
On Don't Ask, Don't Tell, he says, "Wait."
And now associating with someone who compares me to a pedophile?

I never expected much from PE Obama on LGBT issues.
But I have to ask, "Where is the leadership?"

- Black Gay Americans Under the Obama Bus

Homophobia is not an alternative "opinion" it's simply prejudice. Now that Obama has chosen a homophobe to speak at his inauguration I'm waitng to see who he picks to represent racism, ant-semitism and sexism, to name but a few irrationalities. These constant attacks on our innate sexuality by institutions as uncompimisingly powerful as the US goverment and the Catholic Church reinfoce hatred and go so far as to legitimie physical attacks.
When will this crap end ?

Pastor Rick said in his message to his congregation that he would answer the MEDIA CRITICS, but that he will do so after Christmas!
This man is Genuine, loving, and a true man of God. The MEDIA has drastically twisted his words to generate press and stir up protest!!
I've been a member of hios church for twenty years and have seen nothing but humilty and courage in taking on many issues that most people in this country would walk away from.
If any of you had attended Saddleback for a length of time, you'd see the reason why it has grown steadily since he founded it.

Good heavens. To compare Rick Warren with David Duke would be like comparing Joe Biden to Stalin just because he's on the left! It is too long that we feel that anyone who disagrees with us must by definition be scum. I ddi not vote for Obama, but if he can get reasonable dialogue going among those who disagree rather than just smearing and shouting, then he'll have my vote in four years, even if I still don't agree with his positions.

THE ONE has always been against gay marraige, and stated it many times.
THE ONE has always agreed with Rick Warren on this issue.
Why are you shocked now? Did you pay no attention to THE ONES sermons from up high?
If you supported THE ONE, why?
You poor genetically damaged people deserve equality in hospital visits, inheritance and other normal everyday things, but you already have equal rights inder the marraige laws.
We can all marry, none of us can marry multiple people, our brother or sister, our mother, father, first cousins or someone of the same sex.
You don't want equality, you want special rights for your disability. Your partnership does not meet the communitys description of marraige, and it never will. Keep getting more violent, and I guarantee there will be less of you to deal with real fast. Violence begets violence.

Let me say that I am offended as a black man that the gay community continues to equate their cause with the struggles of black people in the way they have. I accept that you deserve an equal spot at the table in as much as you have identified yourselves as a political constituency, who has been discriminated against in some pretty awful ways. However, it is deeply offensive that such an affluent group with members, in and out the closet, represented at the very top of society, could so recklessly equate themselves and their struggles with the horrible and brutal legacy that was slavery and its genocidal trade, and the institutional racism and flagrant discrimination that further dehumanized later generations of black people and their offspring.

The gay sruggle is personal for the most part, because it begins with that individual, rarley would a child have come from gay parents who were systematically deprived of opportunities and a basic humanity and had gay grandparents go through the same and so on. Additionally, to know or experience what it is like to have that very basic sense of hope, which is so essential to life, challenged from birth, by the inherited and sometimes invisible poision of racism and inferiority. A condition that can plague even some the most economically succesful and "upwardly mobile" black people. And, yes, I am aware there are black gays and I am sure they know what I am talking about.

Futhermore, your equation is especially insensitive coming from a group that insists on such political correctness from everyone else.Therefore, equating Rick Warren to a David Duke or the KKK is spitting on the struggle of my forbears, and you have no right to do this. You must cease and desist from this outrages politics, immediately. Whatever, sympathy individuals or the black community, as a whole, may have for you will only be eroded with such careless exploitation of our past.

Further, members of your community speak as if you are the only people that voted for Obama. Strong support is great, but he now has to govern for everybody not just you. It is simply the nature of politics in a "diverse and inclusive soceity". Do you belive the black community which offered far greater support is expecting special treatment or veto power over decisions he makes? No, not at all, though some in our community were a bit slow to get it, we had to understand he was standing for all Americans.

So don't act like a spoiled constituency who will call everyone and everything that does not go your way "hateful and homophobic" after all you must think about the long term fallout of such behaviour and the use of such language.

Judi Mills: how hard is it to realise that marriage is obviously NOT a religious institution? If it were, then atheists would be denied marriage rights along with gay people. Marriage is a civil matter regulated by civil government. Some people may chose to be married in a religious ceremony but it is governments who decide which religions can and which cannot legally marry people (those who cannot must also go through a civil ceremony). Oh, and I'm sure your gay friends will be delighted to know that, when it comes to civil rights, you view them as second-class citizens.

Fierce advocate for gay and lesbian rights, but President-elect Obama iis happy to give someone one of his most important platforms to someone who INSISTS on eliminating a constitutional right! I bet he wouldn't be giving him the same platform if he were trying to eliminate the rights of blacks!

I am SO glad i wrote in hillary, as i KNEW obama wasnt for ALL peoples

I cant wait till THE ONE gets in office, so we can all see what a paper tiger he really is,,

MY vote was a throwaway, but at least i didnt vote for a fake democrat obama!

To : Lynn
You are missing the essential point that marriage can
occur only between a man and a woman .Any other union,while it may be legitimate does not constitute a
marriage. This has just been confirmed one more time
by the democratic expression of the people of California,
and also in Florida and many other states in the recent
years.Any further discussion of this question constitutes
a sabotage of our democratic institutions and serves only
to propagate intolerance.If you realy love your gay friends,start talking about other things.

I voted no on Prop 8 but I think gays and lesbians are shooting themselves in the foot with the protests after election day....and now Obama's pick with Rick Warren.

Gays are a minority like many other minorities. As soon as we let one minority dictate their agenda, we all lose.

I am extremely disappointed with Obama's pick to allow Rick "Homophobe" Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration. Who else? David Duke?

I worked on Obama's campaign and now I'm extremely hurt over this. In 2012, I'll throw my support to Hillary Clinton or Ralph Nader. When the Obama campaign calls me again in 2012, I'm hanging up the phone.

HOPE died for me this month.

I'm not just disappointed or frustrated by President-elect Obama's decision to choose Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at the inauguration. I believe it poses a danger to homosexuals and should frighten those who support their quest for equal rights under the law. In order to explain why, I will attempt to argue here in ways that seek to identify the fundamental issues at stake in the matter. If in doing so I appear to be lecturing or talking down to the reader, I ask here for sympathy. I take this matter seriously enough to have become especially concerned by journalists and fellow citizens who brush off the controversy as if those who object to Obama's decision are too easily offended, or even melodramatically distorting the matter at hand. I'm trying to ground what I have to say in facts whenever possible.

I regard Warren's views on homosexuality to be a destructive force in American cultural politics and am convinced that his perversion of the discourse regarding same-sex relationships and their legal rights should be a topic of great concern to all Americans, indeed of all citizens of the world. What's more, I think any elected official who claims to be an ally of the LGBT community (and who relies upon the support of this community for their election to office, as Obama has) should condemn Warren for his statements, or at the very least ignore him. Instead, Obama has chosen to invite this divisive figure to act as a spiritual leader of the country on January 20th (or, at least, to perform a role that is symbolic for the respect given to the authority of the church relative to our government) at this most important moment marking the beginning of his administration.

Warren is misinformed about the history of marriage as having always been defined exclusively as that between a man and a woman. The key argument he uses to justify his position -- that the Christian religion has not allowed gay marriage for 5,000 years -- was proven as false over 15 years ago. Historian John Boswell showed as early as 1980 that this was not the case; in particular his 1994 book, Same-Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe (his thesis can be found in Wikipedia), provides evidence that the attitude of the Christian church towards homosexuality has dramatically changed over time, and that early Christians accepted same-sex relationships on occasion. Warren's other claim -- that all religions have and presently define marriage over these 5,000 years exclusively as that between a man and a woman -- cannot stand up to any informed anthropological study. Such statements attempt to assume authority on a topic on which he shouldn't profess to be an expert, but that's neither unusual in this debate, nor is it what matters most.

What is crucial here is that Warren regards homosexual relationships as equal to forms of relationships such as incest and pedophilia. These are indeed very much illegal, because incest endangers the health of any children conceived, and pedophilia does not constitute a consentual relationship (there may also be other important reasons, but these moral problems are certainly central). Warren's comparison equates homosexuality to relationships that every reasonable person considers absolutely morally reprehensible. By doing so, in effect, he defends the right to discriminate against individuals in ways that leading constitutional scholars consider to be unconstitutional.

Warren's condemnation poses a danger to all of America, but of course particularly to homosexuals. Why I have gone to such lengths to formulate this statement here is that people have and will continue to suffer and even die from this very kind of discrimination, in the form of hate-crime. Warren's comparison harkens back to formulations like abomination, and in doing so incites violence, essentially declaring open season on the bodies of those who have chosen to enter into a relationship different from others and wish to have it legally recognized as defined so that the same legal protection under the law applies to them. (Regardless of their reason for doing so, genetics or whatever the basis for their decision, why the freedom of homosexuals to live as they wish with equal rights should not be regarded as an inalienable right in a land whose constitution is based on the separation of church and state has always escaped me.) Their very act of working to become more visible in order to demonstrate to society as a whole that they are indeed normal people worthy of equal rights (for obviously they must do something in order to gain allies, to convince others in society that homosexuals are worthy of equal rights, as they constitute such a small minority, regardless of whether it's 2 or 10% of the population) exposes them to real physical danger. Individuals continue to die from such hate crimes. Such fear can stop romance like you wouldn't believe, unless you've been there -- this is what I tend to think about when "the pursuit of happiness" is invoked, by the way. I imagine Obama's parents were there, married at a time when many did not approve of bi-racial families.

Indeed, this comparison to multi-racial relations is apt, for Warren's comparison is ultimately ideologically dehumanizing. It leads back to historical theories regarding miscegenation and Nazi theories of racial superiority. Though Warren goes out of his way to seem enlightened, his attitudes reek of "compassionate conservativism" (in an oh-so-OC way), and I regard Warren's comfortable, positive portrayals of his promixity to gays -- of course his contact with them stems from the AIDS crisis, how else? -- as self-serving. I find it reeks of the type argument "love the sinner, hate the sin" that oozes disdain and is morally superior (a convenient rhetorical position for a pastor). Be that as it may, anyone is free to profess empathy as they wish. It's up to others to decide whether pity is really at the core, and one should follow what or whom one believes in, that's the point here, the freedom of religion and thought and expression. But what's clear is that when one person's freedom endangers that of another, time out. Politics should avoid getting involved in such moral dynamics, and I think the majority of Obama voters really wanted this too.

The election of an Afro-American is truly a historic moment for the USA. Yet as a gay man, I find I've been refused a place among others who finally, for the first time, feel included as citizens able to enjoy all the rights others have. So, if you could, try to understand me for feeling profound disappointment here, and know that I truly wish I weren't raining on this parade. I feel enough guilt for spoiling the party planned for the 20th! I keep getting the invites from all the Democratic party mailing lists and their allies, and I've decided to tell them I can't attend. I supported Obama's campaign through donation of my time and money, and it's something I regret now in part, because he does not practice what he preaches when he inspires hope for all. His choice here demonstrates that no, we actually can't all get in, not all of us. I'm happy for those that can, but then at the same time, I think of the fact that Warren will also be a keynote speaker at a Martin Luther King commemorative service the day before the inauguration!Obama's decision is making big waves here, and the divisiveness is more than symbolic.

And just in case there are those who still want to ask why I can't face reality and realize we can't all get what we want all at once? Telling someone else to be patient with their quest for equal rights is exactly the point here: no one should be required to wait, or even be inconvenienced. We get to hear about Rosa Parks and her act that defied the system of oppression all the time, and then just have to understand that Obama's invitation to Warren to deliver the invocation is part of the political game? What are we getting out of this, is there so tit for tat? I'd understand if real laws were being passed, but there were no votes cast here on this decision, and there's thousands of other religious authorities to choose from in the country.

No, the decision ultimately declares that all citizens are not created equal. Bowing to the Red States on this matter isn't a compromise, it's an abandonment of principles we were led to believe were once again being regarded as self-evident. Freedom from religious tyranny, for the taxpayer, how about seeing it that way.

What a blow to the ideals of inclusion Obama's campaign professed. Yes, it's clear that not all political decisions can please all the people all the time, but this is not fair play. Choosing Warren to perform such an important role in the inauguration is inexcusable and deserves all the moral outrage it can get.

Poet John Lydgate wrote "You can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time."

I think this is going to have to be President Obama's pledge throughout his presidency.

As a gay man I am not pleased with his choice of Rick Warren but that is because I'm gay. I know that there are numerious people who wouldn't approve of his choice of Reverand Robinson. However, he did choose them both and all of us have to deal with it.

I have not lost hope in Mr. Obama because without his leadership we are doomed as a nation. I don't need him to approve of me or my relationship. I do need him to do his job. If he does that we will be FAR better off than we were for the past 8 years.

So, Mr. President, please save my economy, please remember I'm a human and deserve the rights of other humans and finally remember that we are ALL counting on you even if your choices do piss us off! :)


God loves the sinner hates the sin


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
President Obama
Republican Politics
Democratic Politics



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