Obama angers many with choice of Warren
As everyone knows by now, Barack Obama has chosen the hugely successful but quite controversial Reverend Rick Warren to perform the opening invocation at his inauguration. The gay and lesbian community has been outraged over this choice. It has been noted that on his website he has stated that unrepentant homosexuals will not be accepted as members of his Saddleback Church. These harsh statements have disappeared from his website, but does this mean that the Reverend Warren has changed his mind about homosexuality? I doubt it.
This has become a very big deal in the Progressive community. The dustup over Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich really did not affect the Progressive community. Republicans were up in arms, but Progressives really did not believe that Barack Obama or anyone within his inner circle would be involved in selling Obama’s Senate seat. On the other hand, true Progressives believe in equality. We believe in equality amongst the races and in equality concerning sexual orientation. Barack Obama and Joe Biden have clearly stated that they also support gay rights but do not support gay marriage. (I’m not sure that I have yet resolved this conflict in logic but many “progressive” politicians have these illogical thoughts. “I support gay rights, but I can’t support gay marriage.” It doesn’t make a bit of sense to me, but then again, I’m not a politician.)
Here’s the problem. The gay and lesbian community embraced Bill Clinton and his presidency. In 1996, the Republican Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act. Republicans were hoping to trap Democrats and a weakened President Clinton into arguing against this bill, but Democrats supported this bill overwhelmingly and President Clinton signed it into law. The gay and lesbian community thought that they were thrown under the bus, and they were. So now, 12 years later, the gay and lesbian community thought they had an ally in Barack Obama. (see Rachel Maddow’s video clip. She is really pissed at Obama for choosing Rick Warren.)
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Personally, I believe Barack Obama was caught between a rock and a hard place. Because of his choice in Jeremiah Wright, I think Obama and his team must have thought that choosing a well-known black minister would have brought Obama’s old Reverend again to the forefront. Choosing an unknown minister would have caused everyone to scratch their heads and ask why Obama couldn’t get someone with “star power.” I think that Barack Obama sought, therefore, the least offensive popular (white) minister. (I understand that “least offensive” is subjective and really depends upon who is being affected by it.) I’m not saying that this was the best choice or even someone I’d have considered. I’m just saying that I think I understand the reasoning behind it.
I also believe that Barack Obama continues to support legitimately the cause of equality for the gay and lesbian communities. I think that he supports 95% of the gay and lesbian agenda but that this is the way it’s going to go over the next four years. Not just for gays and lesbians, but for all Progressives. Obama is really going to try to walk the tightrope between progressive and conservative Americans. The black and Latino communities, as well as supporters of women’s rights, will get their (our) feelings hurt in the coming months and even years. In spite of some hurt feelings,though, I think Barack Obama will do more for our collective causes than any other president has over the past 30 years.