Pam Spaulding

Kirchick: gays, cool your jets on Warren

Filed By Pam Spaulding | December 29, 2008 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement
Tags: Barack Obama, Frank Rich, LGBT community, Obama's inauguration, Rick Warren, Saddleback church

OK folks, what is your take on this piece by Jamie Kirchick, "The Gay Community Needs to Calm Down About Rick Warren"? A snippet:

The problem for gay activists is that many Americans agree with Rick Warren when it comes to same-sex love. And these people, numbering in the over 100 million range, are not going to be budged in their views by hectoring activists who call them bigots (even though that's what many of them are). Now, I'm of the firm belief that these debates will be moot in 20 years, when the older generation kicks the bucket and the near-universally gay-accepting Gen-Xers and Gen-Yers take the reins of government. Whatever political victories they feel that they've won from Proposition 8 and the other marriage amendments across the country, the anti-gay forces of reaction in this country are gasping their last breath. The honest ones among them acknowledge this, if not publicly. We will hasten the day of gay equality by engaging respectfully with them and winning over the persuadable ones (many of whom, I bet, are followers of Warren), rather than calling them names.

In that vein, gays would do well to store their gunpowder for the truly significant legislative battles that will no doubt be fought in the years ahead. Getting rid of the odious and national security-weakening "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" regulation, repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and Matthew Shepard hate crimes law will all be possible over the next four years now that we have a Democratic president and Congress committed - at least on paper - to effecting these positive changes. If gays had given Obama some much-needed slack on Rick Warren, perhaps he'd feel a political debt to us when these truly significant issues come up for debate. But how sincere - or politically threatening - will gay complaints about administration foot-dragging on issues that actually affect millions of gay and lesbian people sound in light of the unwarranted outrage that's been generated over the guy who's going to deliver a two-minute reading that no one will remember? Attacking the President-Elect who campaigned as the most pro-gay candidate in American history over an issue as irrelevant as this one, I fear, makes us look like we're crying wolf. And we all know how that fable ended.

My two cents:

* Why is making note of Warren's past and current statements regarding LGBTs considered an overreaction to this selection? The warm fuzzy image Rick Warren and his PR flacks have carefully cultivated needed some balance, quite frankly. It's pretty clear the MSM wasn't going to say jack about it. The fact that Saddleback's web site was scrubbed tells you Warren and Co. were quite aware that this was blowing up in their faces.

* It's not a zero sum game for activists to both publicly condemn Warren's positions and to be ready to actively work and lobby for passage of pro-LGBT legislation. Multi-tasking is possible, no?

* The Warren selection is relevant because 1) LGBTs worked hard for Obama's election, many the people he is "reaching out" to worked mightily to pass anti-gay legislation; 2) Obama's camp has already been down this path before with the Donnie McClurkin debacle -- how can that not be discussed?

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These kind of arguments, whether they're coming from Jamie Kirchick or Melissa Etheridge, strike me as nothing more than saying "Now sonny, remember your manners and let big men talk. Maybe, if you're good, they'll give you a butterscotch candy. But only if you're really good and don't upset anybody."

When has that ever worked?

I've heard this meme before that we should be quiet because lots of people can disagree about gay marriage. But it's not simply that this guy is against gay marriage, it's that he has said horrible hateful things about gay people. Lots of people are against gay marriage, but I do not believe that 50% of the population thinks we are no different than child molesters.

I think Jamie Kirchick has nailed it just right. I don't see any "multi-tasking" going on here. It doesn't happen in this community. What I see is gay and lesbian arrogance now that we have a gay-supportive President for the first time in history that they want to kick his ass every time he doesn't kiss theirs.

I get the impression that most gay and lesbian people don't know how to pick their battles. In these hard economic times, why do gays and lesbians insist on spending political capital on a non-issue. And, the most crappy thing about this is that you are spending MY tiny bit of political capital without asking me. If this GL arrogance comes back to bite all of us on the ass later, you can bet there will be some real nastiness going down. But, hey. Who am I? I'm just your run-of-the-mill screaming trannie.

"Gay and Lesbian arrogance" Monica?

Rick Warren is a bad person and a dangerous one. He supports Akinola and the horror that he has visited upon ALL LGBT's in Nigeria.

He advocates and has called on Americans to murder the Prime Minister of Iran, a hugely destabilising move.

He has compared gays and Lesbians to incest practitioners and paedophiles.

Would you care to ask Mr Kirchck what he thinks about the trans rights movement? I would imagine that it would not be flattering. Ask Rick warren, for that matter.

Try and be nice to your allies Monica.

You make my point so easily. Let's kick Obama's ass because he's not kissing ours 24/7. Warren is a shithead. Does that mean we have to now be so enraged that we act like children? Excuses to act like children doesn't cut it.

"Daddy! Daddy! I don't like the mean man! Make him go away!"

"Okay, my dear. You act that way and you won't get that ENDA ice cream you've been asking for."

The parents on this list have been down this road before.

This has nothing to to with "kicking Obama's ass"

This has to do with a hugely inapproproate and disappointing choice, for multiple reasons, two of which have to do with violations of international law.

I'be hardly made your point, I've expressed some very legitimate concerns, shared by many europeans, anout the symbolism this projects to the world.

I don't really care for the tone of the article, but I tend to agree with the strategy. For me, the main thing is to "keep your eyes on the prize." In other words, have a specific goal in mind when you're conducting your campaign. What is the goal here beyond seeking to discredit Warren and embarrass Obama?

My goal is to hold Obama accountable for the promises he has actually made. He never promised to support gay marriage. He never promised not to include people who oppose us, and in fact, his rhetoric specifically seeks to build bridges and enhance dialogue. We may feel that the Inauguration is not the place for "dialogue," but what are we gaining by continuing this, beyond giving Obama his own "Sister Souljah" moment and an opportunity to portray himself as a centrist? He benefits, politically, and we do not gain.

Rick Warren helped ban gay marriage in California, not to mention said some disrespectful and demeaning things about gay people, and when he was chosen to provide the invocation at Obama's inauguration, the HRC, NGLTF and others were very right to voice their anger over the selection.

We are angry for being treated like a second-class citizen, and our anger is very appropriate as we have a high self-esteem for who we are. People need to hear our anger loud and clear, and we should never be silent no matter what the battle is.

We've been loud since the passage of Prop 8, holding vigils, marches and rallies, and just a few weeks later a poll showed that as many as 8% of Californians would've voted different on Prop 8 had they known what they know now about gay marriage.

You see, voicing our anger gets noticed and starts conversations everywhere, and conversations more often than not help strike down ignorance and resolve possible conflicts and disagreements. This is what got the 8% above to change their mind about Prop 8. Our anger over Rick Warren has only helped spawn tons more conversations about LGBT rights and augment LGBT awareness, which is a very good thing.

Let's go back to 1978, when Prop 6 in California (the Briggs Initiative) was placed on the ballot to ban gay people from teaching in public schools. Those from the Advocate magazine didn't want to say the word gay or show a gay person in their No on 6 campaign. Harvey Milk disagreed and said that all gay people need to come out and talk to everyone they know about Prop 6 - their families, friends, neighbors, coworkers, etc. - in a true grassroots manner. Prop 6 was soundly defeated 59% to 41%, as Milk said that people vote 2 to 1 for us if they know at least 1 of us.

We can never let others define us - we define who we are, we've being doing an excellent job doing this since the November election, and we should continue to do this well into 2009 and 2010...very important years in our emerging LGBT civil rights movement.

Well, at the next "gay activists" meeting, where we all thoughtfully and strategically decided where to store the gunpowder, I'll be sure to bring up these various concerns. What a shame we had a meeting and decided to get outraged without putting it to a proper community vote.

The world of queer activism is irrevocably changed by the web and instant communication tools of the 21st century. The outrage over Warren is the result of numerous outraged citizens who also happen to be activists with platforms from which to speak. It's not a thoughtfully-crafted and market-tested response rolled out over time. To treat this as a poor decision made by a few vocal leaders is to misunderstand the nature of what is happening. The flaw in Kirchick's argument is assuming that all "gay activists" are of one mind, with one gay agenda, with equal accountability and with equal political experience.

To Pam's second point: multi-tasking. Where are the editorials telling Christianists to save the outrage over Campbell Soup and concentrate on overturning Roe v. Wade? There aren't any, because the professional Christianist set understand that you wage a war on many fronts, with many goals, and sometimes competing interests for time and attention.

If all we did with Rick Warren was to balance the scales a bit and get the media talking about where the queer community will fit into an Obama administration, I still think this a success.

A minority of Americans loudly insist that LGBT's should not be allowed to have children, should not be teachers, should not be in the military, and they want marriage to remain the exclusive domain of the opposite-sex couple. They are doing their best to prevent LGBT's from fully participating in American society. Shouldn’t they also insist that gay men and lesbians not pay that share of taxes which go to support child welfare, schools, military, and the benefits of legal marriage? Fight on and protest inequality.

this is bogus pandering!

this has nothing to do with how rick hates gay marriage

this is about how he hates and slanders all gays

and most gaybashers are far less rabid in general

no war will ever be won by agreeing to endure select bullets...

as all bullets are fatal, i have enough gunpowder to slay all that warrant it...

thanks but no thanks!

alicia banks

(applause for Ms Banks)

Precisely. We fight where we can.
We take on every battle.

Right now, I think that we ought to take on trans rights in Massachusetts. The Christian Right has targeted the issue and I really believe that we need to stop the media juggernaut that they've developed as well as their aura of invincibility when it comes to issues any more.

So, Massachussetts, Trans Rights, Now---who is with me on this?

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | December 29, 2008 6:44 PM

The most efficient oppression method is to offer a never-quite-within-reach carrot to the oppressed, some of whom will then, foolishly believing the promise of the carrot to be real, turn around and do the oppressor's job for him.

Silencing legitimate outcry (and outcry against Warren because of what he stands for and does is more than legit) is oppression as it robs us of an essential component of the mechanism of needed change.

Pay no heed to those who self-oppressively ask you to self-oppress.

Wait, a gay conservative took the side of another conservative?

And that "store their gunpowder" comment is just non-sensical. I'm perfectly capable of getting mad about this and passionate about other issues, TYVM. In fact, I find this to be motivating for future fights.

I've had enough of the Kirckick-lkie neo Mattachinist strategy of a leadership assuming that it is the "right kind of gay" to deal with the governments to get our rights at a timetable that the priviledged and largely socially and economically protected parts of our community can endure.

They opposed Stonewall, they opposed Stonewall 2.0, they oppose the outcry against Warren; we are asked to let them handle it on our behalf because they know better.

We win by making it too inconvienient to continue to oppose us.
If we do not do this, we will not win at all or win at a snails pace that many LGBTs cannot survive. How many dead do we need to wake us all up?

Alex, you lived in Paris. You know that when Desmoulin fired up the Revolution and the citizens armed themselves, they had no powder, so they decided to take it from where it was stored, in the Bastille.

Media attention and coverage is our gunpowder.
We get it by public protests.

Do we have the will to take it or will we surrender our fate to these moneyed conservatives who routinely compromise our agenda because it really does not afect them, these Vichy-like collaborationists who thought that Bush was great til 2 years ago?

My view?
Well just call me Madame deFarge.

I think all of you need to read what a gay pastor has to say about the people in our community and how they are acting. Go to:

If Alex is a person who believes in hearing all sides, and I know he is, he would ask Pastor Paul Turner if his posting can be reprinted here.

Just another LGBT afraid of radicalism...
and another Americo-centric who has no idea the message that the selection of Warren sends to the world...
More American Right Wing Values
More American Interventionist Lawbreaking

You, though, Monica, surprise me. Is this all from your anger about the amount of effort put into prop 8 as compared to inclusive ENDA in the end? Then I don't deserve the spleen, my push right now is to get the LGBT community formly committed to trans rights in Massachusetts to keep our promises there and to play a huge game of political whoop-ass upon the right.

There is the possibility within the human psyche to be able to see things from a multitude of angles. It happens to be more pronounced in trans people. “Two-Spirited?” It is why the First Americans/Native Americans used trans people for councilors, shaman and chiefs. (Ask Angela Brightfeather about that.)

You have been focusing on just part of what I believe and what I have fought for, but have not seen, or maybe ignored, some of the other things I have done. January, 2004, the Georgia decided to push through an amendment to the state constitution to ban marriage between same-sex couples. I was at the State Capital on multiple occasions talking with State Senators and State Reps on voting against the bill. The House stopped it on the first vote, and I was in gallery when it happened. We cheered. But, the Republicans pulled out a rule that allowed for a second vote, and it passed that one.

Before this happened, I was one of several speakers at the Capital Building on Valentine’s Day, at a protest against what was going on. I supported my friends keeping marriage alive in MA, and I supported the defeat of Prop 8. I was one of the feature speakers at the Atlanta protest rally on November 15. So, to assume I do not support same-sex marriage is a gross misunderstanding on your part. Hell, I’m a lesbian! I may actually want to get married (again.) My age has been more of a deterrent then being trans.

To be very clear, for the umpteenth time, I do NOT SUPPORT putting an issue that has less of an impact on the entire LGBT ahead of issues that are far more important to MORE LGBT people. On top of that, more Americans support the repeal of DADT, full employment rights, health care rights and a fully-inclusive hate crimes bill far above marriage equality. It would stand to reason that the 535 people up on the Hill reflect that kind of thinking. Our President-Elect supports that kind of thinking.

It would make far more sense to push the issues we can pass FIRST then to keep beating Americans and Obama over the head on the one issue that scares them the most, wasting time and political capital on it. (Are the brick walls on this list listening?) Trans people have constantly heard, “We’ll come back for you,” insisting that we have to show patience, when gays and lesbians have none themselves. Prop 8 showed the extreme hypocrisy of the gay and lesbian leaders in all its radiant glory. They can’t practice what they preach. The “We’ll come back for you” crap isn’t going to fly anymore.

Now, their arrogance has become more apparent when they make a big deal about a preacher for a two minute prayer. Everyone assumes that by Obama accepting this ass-wipe for this honor that he has turned his back on LGBT people forever and that he thinks like Warren. I can guarantee all of you that Obama will do many things that will piss off LGBT people in the next 4 year, most will make this Warren thing pale in comparison. (Hello? Brick walls?)

Look at Warren as a kidney stone. He, too, shall pass. I suggest you work for the real issues when they come up. I get the impression some of you are setting yourselves up for heart attacks when the REALLY BIG issues smack us in the face. The activist who can’t handle the piss-ant Warren thing might as well retire, because you won’t be any good when the rubber really meets the road.

Agreeing with Monica is becoming a habit with me. :-)

LAKE FOREST, Calif. (ABP) -- Pastor Rick Warren termed criticism of his selection to pray the invocation at President-elect Barack Obama's Jan. 20 inauguration "hate speech" and "Christophobia" in a video message on the Saddleback Church website.

I am not noted for being particularly subtle. Clever, yes, logical, yes, usually armed with enough facts to crush opponents in court, yes.

Not subtle.

And the situation no longer calls for subtle. The HRC has been doing subtle for years.

Every time that they step upon us, deliberately or carelessly, we need to cry out and object.

Every time that they deny us equality or support those who deny us, we need to exact a price.

Otherwise, they will simply keep tossing the lot of us under the bus....and I do not appreciate tire treads on my clothes.

Welcome. If you've seen the bottom of the bus as long as many of us have, you'd know where all the leaks and loose bolts are at. Hey, while you're down here, check the brake line on the right, rear wheel. You'll need a 1/2" wrench.