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Rick Warren v Jerry Brown via Facebook

I've gotten a lot of questions about my thoughts about Warren--a FB thread from today.  

YA at 8:00pm December 18
Can a government function with so many rivals in interdependent positions to each other?

RC at 8:17pm December 18

I am asking myself the same question. I am also very disappointed with his choice regarding Warren. What is your take on that Rebecca?

Rebecca Walker at 8:51pm December 18
YA-The 1,000,000,000,000,000 dollar question. Literally. But as a microcosm of the world, let's hope so. I'm moved, at the very lest, by the audacity of it. RC: Still percolating. But you can't say it's not a bold choice.

ST at 3:11pm December 19

I think we need to say it, and say it loud: warren, no matter how you cook him, is anti-woman, anti-gay... and anti-obama. yes, he's allowed his views, and isn't it neato we can all acknowledge that. but irregardless: I'm beyond disappointed.

Rebecca Walker at 3:51pm December 19

We will see what we shall see. The real question is whether he can pull it all off. Safeguarding individual rights and forging greater freedoms and more equitable distribution of wealth while maintaining openness and civility is what needs to happen. We will know more about whether or not it's possible in the next two to two hundred years--if we have that long.

ST at 4:46pm December 19

I'm not sure i follow... to me, warren is not about what you write in yr 3rd sentence.

Rebecca Walker at 4:56pm December 19
The inauguration is not the thing. the thing is what happens after. Can obama pull off sentence three and include voices and views like warrens in the social fabric of our country and, more importantly, the world. That is the question.

MM at 5:55pm December 19
Do you per chance have concern over why Lowery isn't getting any press or even thanks for being supportive of the LGBT community? This is such multilayered spin with the media that I can't begin to unpack it or reframe...I'm trying. I hope you will share a bit your thoughts when you gather them..

Rebecca Walker at 9:17pm December 19

Yes, the Lowery choice is being oddly overlooked--a black, pro-lgbt christian civil rights leader. in the black christian often homophobic community, he is not a choice pick. I think folks need to stay calm and, ironically, have faith. to doubt ourselves so soon after all that work....undermines our own power. We believed. Give him some time.

He's going to have to make many, many more decisions that are uncomfortable. and in terms of what is about to happen to the country financially, this kind of peacemaking between camps may be essential to keeping the country from devolving into a civil war. There are global concerns much larger than gay marriage. Like china's cannibalization of africa and penetration of southern asia. Like fundamentalist islam bringing sharia law to the west.

Rebecca Walker at 9:20pm December 19

My feeling is he will not abandon any group--but he's got to be able to play ball not just on behalf of gay marriage, but America and beyond that, the separation of church and state and the global fundamental rights of sovereign nations. i mean really. I could go on, but i think you get my point. stay calm.

Rebecca Walker at 9:26pm December 19
I think this is one of the many ways obama is managing this situation and i think he's moving in the right direction.

December 20th, 2008


Comment #1 by Anonymous on December 20, 2008 - 8:09pm

Re: "include voices and views like warrens in the social fabric of our country and, more importantly, the world."

That is such a copout. The whole point of electing Obama with his meager resume and lack of experience was to send a message of inclusion. With the choice of Warren, an anti-gay, anti-woman bigot, Obama has abandoned what he once symbolized. Obama won a decisive victory without the support of fundie bigots, so why give Warren an even bigger platform and the aura of legitimacy? Obviously gay rights are not important to Obama. When he appeared with Donny McClurkin and when he refused to have his picture taken with Gavin Newsom, it should have been a red flag.

And your question as to whether Obama can pull it off? Translation: Will gays forget about this and continue to blindly support Obama?


Comment #2 by rebecca on December 20, 2008 - 9:40pm

I understand your frustration. The key point here is rights. Not symbolism. Rick Warren can speak all he wants. As long as Obama and his team manages to ensure the rights for GLBT community to marry, be safe, etc. he's been victorious. 

I don't know how else to say this. Gays, people of color, Christians, anyone turning against Obama based on a largely symbolic gesture runs the risk of undermining the entire enterprise. 

Anger is a cheap emotion. Look at the Bush rule that allows medical providers and even checkout workers to deny the sale of birth control, medical advice, etc. I am deeply concerned about this rule. 

And yet, the team is already working to reverse the rule. Just as, apparently, Jerry Brown is now trying to reverse Prop 8, in one of the most interesting turnabouts I've seen. 

So. Speaking as an out member of the GLBT community, the women's community, the black community, the Jewish community (who have no representation at all in the inauguration), the Buddhist communitity (again, no representation in the inauguration), and all the other communities, in the dozens, I feel identification with, I think people need to, as I said, calm down.

Things are too tenuous on many levels to start breaking rank. We might ask where was the gay community on various issues --like mass incarceration of African-American men-- if we wanted to. 

But adding divisive flames to the fire is not the way. It never is. And neither is accepting cultural relativism that blames no one, holds no one accountable. 

But again. It really is too early to tell. 

This might be a good leverage point for the GLBT community to direct its energy. A gay Secretary of the Navy would be interesting. 


Comment #3 by Anonymous on December 20, 2008 - 11:14pm

Suddenly symbolism is unimportant? During the primaries all I heard about was the importance of Obama as a symbol of equality. And frankly, I am offended that you think that anyone turns away from Obama over this egregious slap in the face runs the risk of undermining the whole enterprise. I would argue that Obama doesn't think gay voters are essential to the enterprise and is willing to throw them under the bus. Make some room down there Reverend Wright.

And yes, Jerry Brown is fighting to overturn Prop 8. It isn't that amazing. In CA, propositions overturn the courts and the courts overturn propositions. If Prop 8 is overturned don't try to give Obama credit for it.

And that comment about where the gay community stands on the mass incarceration of African-American men is just you trying to stifle criticism by implying that somebody is racist. That's pretty bold considering that Obama is the one courting bigots. Those tactics won't work anymore. Gays have not harmed the African-American community. But will the first African-American President harm gays? Symbolically he already has.

Comment #4 by rebecca on December 21, 2008 - 7:11am

Again. I understand your frustration. All I can say is calm down. The first African-American president was publicly against prop 8. The first African-American president was also the first to include GLBT community in his acceptance rhetoric. 

And the idea of the gay community as racist is a reference you are reading into my discussion of incarceration. My point was more that there are MANY issues the gay community (if there is a solid, cohesed group called the gay community and I don't think there is) don't represent. Now, whether white gay people are people are any more racist than any others is another question to be answered. 

But the point is--change is not going to be comfortable for anyone. Homophobic African-Americans are challenged by his choice of Lowery, who is, again, pro GLBT marriage and IS ALSO officiating the inauguration. 

As a Buddhist, it saddens me that there is no Buddhist representation in the inaugural program, but Christianity, which deems Buddhism "demonic", etc., is given an extremely dominant position. 

As a woman, it upsets me there is no female god/inerlocutor/spiritual guide represented, only one from a tradition that persecutes Eve and the feminine. 

As a bisexual, as a Jew, as a mother, etc. I feel I could go on. Are there any environmentalists on the program?

How would you suggest I repond?  Should I reject Obama? 

Identity politics are...useless unless they can be surrendered at moments that matter.




Comment #5 by rebecca on December 21, 2008 - 7:18am

I'm also interested in your feelings about Bush's medical rule and its impact on women and families; are you concerned Obama will not be able to reverse this with the alacrity required?

Also--what role do you think race played in Prop 8? 

And how do you think Jerry Brown came to his sudden change of heart? Do you think his decision was not politically motivated? 

Comment #6 by Super Amanda on December 21, 2008 - 8:13pm

Yes, stay calm, I agree . You are astute in reminding us that he openly did not support GLBT marriage from the onset.

"There are global concerns much larger than gay marriage."

But in many ways that's the problem because Yankee needs to come home and stay focused on acting locally NOT globally. I'm straight but I know what happens when you do not have a legal marriage and one long time companion dies and your kicked out of the home you've lived in and worked on for three years. I also know what it's like to marry someone from another country. Without a legal marriage your 'ass out.' I have no problem understanding why the gay and lesbian community is very upset about this.

Race played a part in prop8 but not as much as the millions and millions of dollars from the religious right. Obama has told us we have wanted and most importantly needed to hear and it's ok to respond to the emotion of that and still have hope but this is very worrisome. Warren is a slime. Obama promised change and what appears to happening is a concession to not just the black conservative Christian community which is largely and traditionally homophobic but the entire religious right. And yes you make so many great points Rebecca, about how there are many other groups not included in the inauguration but the religious right has worked fervently and with massive sums of money and support from the last three Republican administrations (five terms worth) to destroy the rights of secular humanists, women, family planning and minorities. This is not a matter of ideological and personal preference nit picking, Rick Warren represents an interest group with masses of money who will stomp on our most basic rights and possibly a destructive trend on Obama's part. That's not throwing out hyperbole, that's being an empiricist.

The homophobia as well as the strong Christian "ethics" in the older black community and churches (as a well as the old school Left which, black or white, is fairly homophobic) can't be allowed to govern the rest of us in a country where the architects of it's most basic laws decreed a separation of church and state. It's not 'racist' to want civil rights for our friends who are gay, lesbian or transgender.

When you mention homophobic blacks being challenged by Lowery what you miss is that too many people for two long have waited for someone to shake of the specter of McCarthyism and squarely embrace being on the Left, without fear of the 'C word' and without having to please everyone.
And yes that means NOT including the forces of intolerance like Jerry Falwell in the quilt for once. Republicans would NEVER have invited a IWW member or secular humanist to officiate which why they could have one the last election had it not been for Palin-they never waver and they never let the Left in.

Utopia is pipe dream at the bottom of a bottomless well. If Obama really wants to heal the country he needs to give us what we thought we were getting; 'change' not this arrogance. Rick Warren represents regression not change. Know one knows why Jerry Brown is doing what he's doing but I'm glad he's doing it.

I still support Obama and look forward to what is to come for all of us.

Comment #7 by rebecca on December 21, 2008 - 11:19pm

Yes. But I still say the proof will be in the pudding, so to speak. I understand the upset of the GLBT community, and the unique challenges. I lived them, including issues with medical care, legal parentage, divorce benefits, etc.

But I still think that at times the GLBT community misses the fact that in many countries gays are still stoned to death as a matter of course, raped, banished, etc. That we have made tremedous progress. It is fine to express frustration, but vitriol and rejection of support (like Anon above) does not seem a prudent response. 

I like Melissa Etheridge's decision to meet with Rick Warren to discuss the matter personally. Perhaps this will be fruitful. We can also challenge Warren on the facts: he says historically marriage has meant a relationship betwen a man and woman, and yet, the construct of even the notions of heterosexuality and homosexuality is relatively modern. Then there is polygamy, polyandry, and so forth. 

There are many ways to respond to this. And there is plenty of time to react once events unfold. But I do have to remind that Obama won on a relatively slim margin. That means many, many Americans do not agree with his positions. Does he have a responsibility to them?

There was an interesting piece in the Washington Post about the meaning of Rick Warren agreeing to support the Obama presidency, the symbolism of that--given he's pro LGBT rights, etc.--he really is bringing his community on-line in support of Obama, which Obama needs, ultimately. It's called a Progressive's View on the Warren pick. 

And finally, I continue to be amazed at the willingness of GLBT leadership to respond with rage, disgust, outrage, rejection, anger, namecalling, accusations of racism (remember Dan Savage's blaming of Prop 8 on the black community) in response to perceived setbacks. These undermine the potential of coalition work, a deep understand of intersectional politics, etc.

There is a lot more to day--including a discussion of the decision, and it was a decision, I was there--to pursue gay marraige as the focal point of this evolution of the GLBT movement. There was quite a bit of discussion of the implications of this choice--including what it meant to embrace the notion of state approved unions, itself an intrusion upon rights of privacy, etc. as a measurement of progress. I am reminded of Dr. King's notion of integrating into a sinking ship. 

In the last years, I've come to see the strategic (and emotional and financial) benefit of the choice, but it cannot be discussed without discussing all the views of marginalized voices who questioned placing this at the center of the struggle. 

For various reasons, I also cannot marry my partner. This is painful, and yet I do not place it at the heart of my politic--I have learned my politic must be broader, and my consideration of the many swirling issues more sober. 


Comment #8 by Super Amanda on December 22, 2008 - 12:46am

Thanks Rebecca, great article in the Post.

"but we are much worse off as a country because President Bush never tried for even a moment when he had the chance eight years ago"

Very true.

"But I do have to remind that Obama won on a relatively slim margin. That means many, many Americans do not agree with his positions. Does he have a responsibility to them?"

Also REALLY important for anon as well as myself to remember and remind ourselves of. He said at the acceptance speech that he heard the other side of America that had not voted for him. So now he's attempting to live up to that. How quickly we can forget after the cheering and emotion of election day is over, what someone ACTUALLY said and yes, he is following through thus far.

The Bay Area and California tends to turn out the most impassioned, emotional activists and yes they/we go way too far at times. Scholarly equanimity and speaking before engaging brain diminishes in situations that evoke passion. Something to that effect was written on term paper of mine once! I think the Bay Area of our mother's generation which was lauded for being 'the most radical' never entertained this much tolerance and diversity if you looked beyond the city of Berkeley and below the surface at the actual communities and families people went home too. Partially because it was a younger movement but also because, as I mentioned before, to many activists on the old school Left (black or white) GLBT rights were odd' and 'threatening.' The question is how, with all the awareness and hindsight we now have, not to fall into the 'knee jerk' trap and instead keep on keeping on. Thank Goddess for the net!

Furthermore, what you wrote about making marriage the center of the GLBT movement is not something I'd considered as a straight ally. What you wrote was very illuminating for someone like me who just is not completely in the 'know.' I think without making apologies for any 'heart in the right place' over zealousness the best we can all do is be happy the best man won and realize there is a huge chance that through supreme court appointments (can you feel a brand new day?!!) and other acts we could be seeing a huge transformation in the country in the next four years. I mean we waited as long as we have through eight years of GWB and we owe it to ourselves and Obama who's very life to certain extent is on the line, to wait some more.

Great stuff, I'm look forward to the inauguration now.

Comment #9 by mignon on December 22, 2008 - 7:31pm

Well, as a gay woman of color involved with a transman, I was actually going to go to the inauguration, but feel embarrassed to go now, to be honest. That's my issue, but I guess I'd feel the same way if David Duke was being honored there. Or if Don Imus was the poet. I think that's where the rub is, where the problem is: this is an honor. It's not a conversation, not a's an honor. We have the inauguration for that purpose...or else it'd be held behind closed doors, which is much safer anyway. We're supposed to see and understand the symbolism of this day.
Just as Obama thoughtfully chose his poet, he chose this pastor...for the most historical inauguration ever. An honor. And as many times as I turn it around in my head, I can't quite come to terms with our nation (whom our president represents) honoring someone who believes that I, and most of my friends, are equal to those who commit pedophilia and incest. AND is willing to put his money where his mouth is, as is his church. (No proud fags allowed, thank you very much -- and we can cure your homosexuality, if you give us a chance.)

It's been mentioned that Obama and Rick Warren are friends. Is it at all possible that Obama (just as with the Reverend Wright debacle, one he should have nipped in the bud before declaring a run for the presidency) simply has, once again, gotten caught up in thinking "it's not that bad?" Because he DOES know this man (as he knew Rev. Wright) on a personal basis?
This might just be a mistake...and one he really can't get out of now. I mean, the evangelicals really don't like Rick Warren very much, so Obama didn't curry any favor there...and now he's upset not only the gay community, but those who care about that community. And then, ultimately, he pissed off Barney Frank -- a bad move if you want to get things done in the Senate. (laugh) Seems just dumb to me, and I wonder why we as a nation are trying to ascribe a bunch of other motives (he's been called everything from a "bigot" to "forward-thinking" and "audacious" on this one) when it might just be a case of something that wasn't really thought through. A bungle. I'd like that to be the case, to be honest.

Don't get me wrong...I had the same issue with Bill Clinton, and his lovely DOMA act. Politics is a sonofabitch, and while I understood what he did on a political level, he made my life more difficult by doing this. That was our last Democratic president. Now we have a man who largely got elected because of symbolism (let's face it, he's not Joe Biden in the field of experience), and one of the first symbolic honors he bestows is on a community leader who believes and preaches that my life is, once again, akin to pedophilia. AND uses his money and his name to get a proposition passed that actually takes away rights from people like me. While we're on the subject of actions, I guess -- it made me think of it. (smile) You can say Warren's a man of action.
As a gay person, I'm beginning to feel like Charlie Brown and the football, to be honest. (laugh) Quite honestly, I don't think we've gotten mad enough or galvanized enough since the advent of AIDS to really be a political force, so maybe this will work well for us. We'll see what happens, but I can't say I have the same respect I had for Obama a few weeks ago -- perhaps it is untrue, but it feels as though, through this choice, he has little respect for the LGBT community. Even more so because of how he's defended his choice? They disagree on "social" issues? I really didn't know pedophilia and incest were social issues, but thereya go.

It might be nothing, again, flags. A banner. Really.

Comment #10 by Super Amanda on December 22, 2008 - 8:09pm

Yes Mignon, if I may communicate with you regarding your succinct post, yes it's very upsetting. I lived in a very conservative town for a few years as a teen that was rampant with homophobia and racism and a lot of it fell from the mouths of public school teachers and civic leaders. But at the inauguration there will be many people present that those on the Christan right will find to be 'godless Communists.' There will be Gay and Lesbian marching band musicians from numerous states linking up as one band. It's the first time in history that a LGBT group will march in a Presidential Inaugural Parade and it's fantastic. There will others at the inauguration in front of the world not hidden away that speak to us and to the diversity we cherish.

It may not be much of a comfort but what Rebecca wrote above rings true, Obama said he WOULD be inclusive of the side of America that did NOT elect him, which is the bible belt. And he was elected after being clear that he does not support Gay marriage while supporting civil unions. Hopefully we can keep waiting just a bit longer and see what happens, it's all uncharted ground. Internationally many countries are now wondering if GLBT rights will be rolled back and as we all know, the US desperately needs to clean up it's image overseas, specifically in Western Europe where yes, they do have stronger rights for Gays and Lesbians but have yet to come close to electing a leader of color to a president or top post in any of their countries. Obama will have to lead.

After how much enthusiasm I had for Bill Clinton I owe it to myself and this country and it's peoples that I love to be patient. it's not easy but we knew it wouldn't be, right?


Comment #11 by rebecca on December 22, 2008 - 10:17pm

Here's an article from that includes the link to the in depth Rick Warren interview.

I comlpetely agree re: supreme court nominations. And I'm also interested in the Beliefnet's offer to write the graph in Obama's inaugural speech. Definitely going to make for some kind of teaching moment, I'm sure. 


Comment #12 by rebecca on December 22, 2008 - 10:29pm

I also don't hear Warren equivocating GLBT to pedophilia. He says he believes marriage should remain between man and woman, not that gays are pedophiles. These are real distinctions. And while I certainly don't agree with his reasoning, I do believe he should be allowed to have it. 

And the point anon made about symbolism is reasonable. You're right. Symbolism is important--and I think the symbolism of this choice is quite powerful. Not in terms of right or wrong, but moving forward with more openness in the hopes of creating some kind of country that lives up to its ideals of freedom of religion, of thought, and pluralism of all kinds. 

It's certainly what the gay community is asking for. And what Lowery also represents.  I agree that it is interesting the white Christian community isn't up in arms about the Lowery choice...what kind of assumptions are we making about them--that they aren't xxxxx to have a response? 

Could it be they feel they are being represented, as many in the GLBT community should feel they are being represented by Warren? And why is the GLBT community unable to feel enthused and represented by the Lowery choice? Is it because they feel blackness has less social currency than whiteness--that the Warren choice has more weight because of his whiteness? In many ways Obama is challenging the gay leadership which, if we are honest, is largely white, to look at its racism. Which again, is a discussion that's been going on within the GLBT community for AGES.


Comment #13 by Anonymous on December 23, 2008 - 12:34am

Re: "And why is the GLBT community unable to feel enthused and represented by the Lowery choice?"

I guess one should just cancel out the other? If Jesse Jackson follows David Duke then everything turns out OK? If Hillary had won and invited Warren or some other bigoted pastor to deliver the invocation and invited Jesse Jackson to give the benediction, I doubt would you be so easily mollified. Furthermore, it would be patronizing to suggest that you should be. Hillary made the factually correct statement that LBJ signed the Civil Rights Bill and was immediately branded an evil racist, but Obama invites a fundamentalist bigot to lead the nation in prayer at the inauguration of the first black President, and we're supposed to believe that it's a symbol of moving forward with more openness? It's just the opposite: We're moving backwards. Isn't this what Hillary said she was afraid of when she cried in New Hampshire? Warren believes that gay people do not deserve equality under the law, and he successfully worked to strip gays of their rights. Do I even have to say that this is fundamentally un-American? A better way to eliminate the divide between Left and Right and would be to choose somebody who blurs those distinctions, not exacerbates them. Obama is emboldening conservatives with this choice.

And is anybody offended by the crass political way in which Obama is manipulating prayer and using it as a way to pander for the next election? Reverend Wright was tossed away when he was no longer needed and now Obama has moved on to the next preacher who will bring him a coveted demographic (or so he thinks). And everybody who stands there while Warren leads them in prayer will play a small part in giving Warren’s views the stamp of legitimacy.

Comment #14 by rebecca on December 23, 2008 - 1:00am
Comment #15 by Anonymous on December 23, 2008 - 7:31pm

Great column today by Richard Cohen of the Washington Post:

"...I can understand Obama's desire to embrace constituencies that have rejected him. Evangelicals are in that category and Warren is an important evangelical leader with whom, Obama said, "we're not going to agree on every single issue." He went on to say, "We can disagree without being disagreeable and then focus on those things that we hold in common as Americans." Sounds nice.

But what we do not "hold in common" is the dehumanization of homosexuals. What we do not hold in common is the belief that gays are perverts who have chosen their sexual orientation on some sort of whim. What we do not hold in common is the exaltation of ignorance that has led and will lead to discrimination and violence.

Finally, what we do not hold in common is the categorization of a civil rights issue -- the rights of gays to be treated equally -- as some sort of cranky cultural difference. For that we need moral leadership, which, on this occasion, Obama has failed to provide..."

Comment #16 by Super Amanda on December 23, 2008 - 7:35pm


Here's a quote from SF gate:

"Obama chose saddleback over brokeback and everyone is upset. Ever thought that when Obama said that he practices diversity he meant not just skin color but diversity of thought? Why are gay liberals so intolerant and hateful? You cant spell angry without g-a-y."

"Waiting just a bit longer after 8 years of W should not be that hard for anyone. The inauguration is a horse and pony show not a supreme court appointment!"

It's quite a mosh pit over there with terms like 'uncle Tom' and 'dumb liberal.'

"And why is the GLBT community unable to feel enthused and represented by the Lowery choice? Is it because they feel blackness has less social currency than whiteness--that the Warren choice has more weight because of his whiteness?"

That's a great point. One only has to read the comments on You Tube for the video "bell hooks Pt 5 cultural criticism (madonna)" and listen to the very racist and sexist comments white and Latino GLBTs are happy to throw at hooks for challenging madonna for very racist comments she made about black men in Spin magazine during the 90's. Racism that madonna displayed which never saw her go the way of Michael Richards (but which are nearly as bad) because she is a huge scared cow of not only the mainstream media and gay white men but white straight and GLBT feminists like Camille Paglia.
I dislike madonna so I am biased but I bring this up as an example of how white supremacist the GLBT community as well as straight can be at times. White supremacy takes many forms, so much of it dangerously subtle. Like Lindsay Lohan (a role model for million of teens and twenty somethings and now openly bisexual) referring Obama as the first 'colored' president. Not to mention goofy straights like the President of Italy which I found very embarrassing as an Italian because he represents a lot of the older generation of us to a tee or worse the comments made by the Polish foreign minster...

So many have worked so hard for so long to shake of that type of mentality here that I just don't think this inauguration is the harbinger of the death of our dream of diversity and balance or Obama's dream and in a way I'm glad he's not caving to anyone although it would make things appear easier.

A white British gay guy I know put it this way "Give him a chance, he got this far, it's just a ceremony, not his entire presidential term." In Britain many learn to not take pomp and circumstance so seriously, it's what it is- a horse and pony show, breads and circuses etc.

I've been reading Michele Wallace's seminal "Black Macho and the Myth of the Super Woman" and I found this passage relevant to this thread.

"...not a single black woman was allowed to make one of the major speeches or to be part of the delegations of leaders that went to the White House during the March on Washington."

I think if Paul Robeson were alive today he would not want us to boycott the inauguration quite the opposite. Robeson by the way is one of the few major black civil rights forerunners who was not homophobic nor anti-semitic nor anti-white. His ground breaking and legendary career in the arts made him an ally and friend to many GLBTs including The Pool group and avant garde trio of GLBT filmmakers. And what of his era? When lynchings went unpunished and were celebrated with postcards. When immigrants like my grandparents who assimilated to not be seen as the 'darker whites' they were changed their last names. I just think we are fortunate and that we are moving.

Stay strong everyone!

Comment #17 by Anonymous on December 23, 2008 - 8:42pm

Re: "not a single black woman was allowed to make one of the major speeches or to be part of the delegations of leaders that went to the White House during the March on Washington."

That's not surprsing. Sexism and homophobia often go hand in hand, and we know from the experience of Bayard Rustin that movement leaders were homophobic. The presidential primaries were full of sexism and now that sentiment has morphed into homophobia. I wonder what Brother Outsider would say about an anti-gay bigot like Rick Warren being honored not only at the inauguration, but on the day before, at Ebenezer Baptist Church.

Comment #18 by mignon on December 23, 2008 - 9:09pm

Well, I never said that Warren said homosexuals were pedophiles; what I did say was that he equated gay marriage with pedophilia, as well as incest. Which are crimes. This is part of the transcript:

RW: I'm opposed to having a brother and sister being together and calling that marriage. I'm opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that marriage. I'm opposed to one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage.

BELIEFNET: Do you think those are equivalent to gays getting married?

RW:Oh , I do. For 5,000 years, marriage has been defined by every single culture and every single religion - this is not a Christian issue. Buddhist, Muslims, Jews - historically, marriage is a man and a woman. And the reason I supported Proposition 8, is really a free speech issue. Because first the court overrode the will of the people, but second there were all kinds of threats that if that did not pass then any pastor could be considered doing hate speech if he shared his views that he didn't think homosexuality was the most natural way for relationships, and that would be hate speech. We should have freedom of speech, ok? And you should be able to have freedom of speech to make your position and I should be able to have freedom of speech to make my position, and can't we do this in a civil way.

The above comments actually prove how ignorant he is about the history of marriage. But that's not my point. He can believe whatever way he wants. I just would prefer that the president I just elected not honor a man (in this way) who believes that my marriage is equivalent to my going out and molesting a little girl, or having sex with my brother. Invite him, by all means! But to have this be your first symbolic gesture to America indicates a political move, not a unifying one.

We can parse the issue all we want. Doesn't change the transcript.

Joseph Lowery being chosen was lovely, yes; the invocation tends to be a more prestigious delivery, historically, in the inauguration,which is one of the reasons why people aren't upset by that. There's also a certain historical protection that black preachers of MLK's generation tend to get; even if folks are upset, they won't show it.
Then again, Lowery also hasn't come out and said that the rhetoric Evangelicals spout is similar to the rhetoric that the Nazis used during WWII. Not saying that he'd EVER say that, but perhaps people would pay more attention if he did. And Obama would have to address it, probably, in the same way he addressed Reverend Wright. Very thoughtful, that...I'd have appreciated a little more on this issue than "we can disagree without being disagreeable."
People are upset and offended because the man said some truly awful things. And Obama, who people put their own hopes, dreams, and impossible standards to, made a choice that hurt those same people. Why is it more complicated than that? I am a black woman, and I'm sorry, but I'm not going to process and break down the underlying reasons why I must be so upset about this. What he said was awful -- if he wants to come out and explain it in a way that apologizes for his comments, that's great. Till then, heck, yeah, I'll still support Obama; he is the best thing since Haagen Daaz coffee ice cream. But I'm not going to dissect this or put more weight on it than, say, what Clinton did with "don't ask/don't tell" and DOMA. Love Clinton, but he was a bit of a bastard to do that. That was about elections, and public support; technically, though, I guess he could have said he was trying to bring the conservative base to him, to prove he was a president of all the people. Yes?

Speaking of Clinton, for more than a year now, sources in the Obama campaign have said that he needs to have a "Sista Souljah" moment, similar to that that helped Clinton with conservative whites. Is it possible that this is no more serious than that? That this is a purely political move?

Incidentally, hate crimes are on the rise, especially among the transgender community. Part of the reason that some of us are so upset is because this doesn't help the cause of stupid people who are looking for any reason to go out and hit our husbands or wives upside the head. Let the economics alone, in my house we still have a problem just deciding which bathroom to use in public, because of the reactions, and the possible summoning of the police. Physical danger, a large part of the queer community still has to deal with; to have this issue come up, in this way, from our new leadership, seems insensitive, at best. Obama has avoided the questions about homophobia in the Black community from black gay journalists, just as he's avoided most of the LGBT media. I'm not willing to give him any credit for "challenging the gay leadership which, if we are honest, is largely gay, to look at its racism." That's more than a bit of a stretch; it gives him too much consideration where this subject is concerned; he hurt just as many black lgbt folk as white with this choice. I was typing this, on MSNBC they just broadcast a hate crime; gang rape of a lesbian in San Francisco. My home. Jeez.

Comment #19 by Super Amanda on December 24, 2008 - 1:40am

" I was typing this, on MSNBC they just broadcast a hate crime; gang rape of a lesbian in San Francisco. My home. Jeez."

I know, it's so, so awful, she's still hospitalized recovering, I've been praying for her and thinking about her. There is a 10,000 reward to hopefully encourage someone to turn in the four men who will hopefully end up in prison to meet their karma.

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