Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Party's Off

Dear President-elect Obama,

I have tried really, really hard to accept that you have your reasons for choosing Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at your inauguration. And I suppose I'm finally having some success since there have been a few days in which I almost make it through the entire day without feeling like I've been kicked in the gut when I think about Mr. Warren playing such a prominent role in your inauguration. But try as I will, I don't think I can ever view your choice of this man as anything but a callous and horrible mistake.

Don't get me wrong, I think your desire to reach out to those who did not vote for you is very noble, but giving a seat at the table to the very people who've had prominent seats at the Bush administration's table for 8 long, miserable years was just too much for me to bear. It confirmed for me that you truly do not understand how deep the wounds that Rick Warren and his fellow evangelicals have inflicted on so many people are.

Yes, yes, I know. You say we have to agree to disagree. But Mr. Obama do you understand what you are asking me to do? You are asking me, a mother of a gay son, to stand by while you bestow this great honor on a man who hates my child because of who he is, not who he chooses to be, but who he is. You are asking me to look the other way when this man compares a gay marriage to pedophilia and incest. You are asking me to find common ground with a man who believes my son does not deserve the same rights his own children have and take for granted. You are asking me to look the other way when you dignify a man whose life's mission has been to deny basic dignity to gays and lesbians, one of them my son.

You are asking me to disagree with Rick Warren without being disagreeable. So let me ask you this, what if someone asked you to disagree without being disagreeable with a man who has dedicated a good part of his life to singling out one of your precious daughters as evil and unworthy of the same basic rights as everyone else? Would you be able to do it?

I believe Richard Cohen put it best when he wrote in his column today:

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. For some people, that's nothing to celebrate.

The party's off.


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