Kate Kendell

Not a Disagreement among Friends...

Filed By Kate Kendell | December 20, 2008 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, inauguration, Obama Inauguration, Obama transition team, Rick Warren, Warren controversy

Even as we endured the passage of Prop 8 and three other anti-gay measures on November 4, we took comfort in the near end of the most treacherous administration in recent history and the historic election of a man who seemed to live and breathe a genuine commitment to equality, fair play, and political integrity. Many of us believed that the election of the first African-American President, in a nation with such a shameful and entrenched history of white supremacy and racism, signaled a greater commitment to, and appreciation of, the unmatched diversity and pluralism of this country. This hope cushioned the blow--we hurt, but we had reason to believe things would get better.

Now, six short weeks later, we have reason for worry. The invitation of Reverend Rick Warren, pastor of the Saddleback Church in California, and a major proponent of Prop 8, to give the invocation at the inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama is a dispiriting early signal that our new President may not fully understand LGBT people's tenuous place in American life. Objections to the selection of Warren are being dismissed as a desire to shut out diverse voices and alternate points of view. But this is not an issue of simple disagreement. In the past weeks, Warren has said that legal recognition of same-sex couples is as serious a threat to family life as incest and pedophilia.

Warren's views represent the most extreme outer margin of religious views on LGBT issues. He denies the existence of lesbian, gay, and bisexual orientation and his public statements demean our relationships and our humanity. While there may indeed be a reasoned discourse on civil unions v. marriage, for Warren there is no debate. He rejects any recognition for our relationships and is a prime figure in the wholly discredited "ex-gay" ministry. One of the most powerful letters I have read on this subject comes from a former NCLR law clerk (pdf). To have Warren elevated to a national stage to offer a welcoming prayer for and with Obama, a man with perhaps more current moral authority than virtually any other living human being, is an event of enormous cultural and political significance.

It is impossible to imagine the President-elect giving a likewise endorsement to a leader of faith who espoused such dangerous, extremist views about any other minority group. But here we are. Before our new President, who embodies the hopes and aspirations for a new day, has even taken the oath of office, it seems the marginalization of the LGBT community begins.

We are now on notice: as brilliant and visionary as Obama is, it certainly seems he does not get gay people or our issues. So, now we must hold him accountable to the promises he has made. Eight years of brutal intolerance may be over, but the real work of a fully inclusive America begins anew.

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Sorry, but I have a hard time being sympathetic. Anyone falling into the trap of thinking the first African-American president was going to mean a bright and shining new day for everybody, especially gays, was living in a fantasy world. The world isn't that simple. (At least McCain had the openly gay Buse working for him, as much as so many gay activists wished to paint him as a cardboard-cutout white-haired Caucasian homophobe enemy). The gah-gah fantasies over Obama, and some kind of blacks-and-gays-united symbolism, got a little ridiculous. And it doesn't base itself on any real facts. I can excuse such starry-eyed behavior from college kids who still believe their sociology professors and other babbling academics....but for adults? I did vote for Obama, but I didn't get a tear in my eye when I did so.

Thank you for bringing us Angela Clements letter. She really hits a nerve of truth. I know I was almost a teen victim. I was raised by Southern Baptists after the divorce of my parents, and had all that religious dogma guilt put on me. I finally met supportive loved ones and didn't kill myself, even though I was obsessed by the idea most of my life. It's been a roller coaster of depression and financially, but pulled my self up every time and I am now 74 and must say, living a long life is worthwhile due to all the love one finds along the way.
Congratulations to your colleague Jeff Kors for not accepting the invitation to Obama's big day because of homobigot Warren. This took courage and conviction.

His transportation secretary nominee is apparently a homophobe as well.

Will he include a department head from Bob Jones University as well, just for the sake of diversity?

It turns out that Warren is a supporter of Bishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria, who lobbied to pass the most draconian anti-gay laws outside of states under Sharia law.

Penalties of 5 to 15 years hard labour are imposed for offences ranging from two gays being in the same place to possessing material about HIV to actual sex.

All bets are off...whatever Warren may say for American consumption, where the power exists to do it he supports crushing and imprisoning us.

Disrupt the inaguration if he is on the podium. Bring DC to a halt.

We owe it to our brothers and sisters doing hard labour thanks to Akinola and his supporter, Rick Warren...

Hey, it tells them to kill me outright in that book of theirs, something about "thou shalt not suffer a witch to live", or something.

So, since Obama is being so all inclusive with that religion, will he have a witch hunter there as well? Perhaps a few stakes burning merrily along sending some witch on their way? Perhaps they could also stone a few adulterers as well?

That should really get them in good with the "literalist" crowd.

How far does it go, allowing them to dictate "morality"?

Warren's views represent the most extreme outer margin of religious views on LGBT issues.

I disagree, Kate. That's Fred Phelps and his ilk - not Warren.

Really Bil;
I love you like a brother but you are wrong on this one.

Warren supports Akinola.
Akinola lobbied to have reading this blog made punishable with a mandatory five years imprisonment with hard labour in Nigeria.

Akinola incited the murder of 700 muslims in Nigeria

The EU has condemned him and all of his activities.

And Warren supports Akinola.

Warren only looks less scary then Phelps.

Oh...and Fred Phelps has not advocated murdering a head of state in violation of treaties that the US is a signatory to.. Warren has....

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | December 21, 2008 11:59 AM

Its more than a little much to try to paint Obama has being some kind of homophobe.

If anyone ever thought that we would not have to work damn hard to achieve civil rights for LGBT people, they were living in a fantasy world.

I yield to no one in my support of Obama and I know that we will have to work our butts off to pass an inclusive ENDA, hate crimes, DADT repeal, DOMA repeal and a national AIDS strategy.

I guess it depends on how you define homophobia.

Rick Warren sure doesn't think he is homophobic and his words and actions seem to meet the description that most people accept of a homophobe.

So, if Obama refers to us as his brothers and sisters as he did in his acceptance speech, then I must ask why he would embrace someone like Warren.

Would Obama be just as accepting of Warren if he spoke of Obamas biological brother or sister in the same disrespectful and dishonest way?

Is someone a racist if they hold irrational beliefs about people based on race?

Is someone who befriends a racist a tolerant person or are they complicit in the racism that goes uncontested because of the validation implied in the relationship?

If Obama isn't a homophobe for choosing to associate himself with someone like Warren, then what is he? Just an enabler? Is that better?

Uncle Tom lives and breathes in the 21st century.

Barney Frank isn't happy with this, either.

"I am very disappointed by President-elect Barack Obama's decision to honor Reverend Rick Warren with a prominent role in his inauguration," Frank said, adding that it was irrelevant that Warren had invited Obama to a forum earlier this year at his Saddleback Church, since Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) had also been invited.

"Religious leaders obviously have every right to speak out in opposition to anti-discrimination measures, even in the degrading terms that Rev. Warren has used with regard to same-sex marriage," Frank continued. "But that does not confer upon them the right to a place of honor in the inauguration ceremony of a president whose stated commitment to LGBT rights won him the strong support of the great majority of those who support that cause."

I am not trying to paint Obama as a homophobe. He is, however, either the worst vetter in the history of the US Government or a man with the same high degree of respect for human rights and international law as Donald Rumsfeld.


The Majority of People Voted for CHANGE, including myself. Now I believe that I have already have been SHORT CHANGED . If this is the flavor we can expect without any sense of contrition, then this is just the beginning of a new litany of insults- veiled and unveiled.This shell game is old and another indication that the sweet nothings whispered in our ears were for the heat of the moment with no lasting commitment

Understanding and Compromise is not when someone takes 100 dollars from you and only has to give 50 back to you as a consolation. I am too old for games and simply want to see a leader who walks his talk. Obama choice to me is an indication that I have been played. His reaction to this storm just confirms that.


the friends of my enemies are also my enemies

warren is a vulgar rabid enemy of all gays

this choice has proven that, to date, obama is not our friend

alicia banks


The Majority of People Voted for CHANGE, including myself. Now I believe that I have already have been SHORT CHANGED . If this is the flavor we can expect without any sense of contrition, then this is just the beginning of a new litany of insults- veiled and unveiled. I live in the Real world, not a Political one where People have expectations of other's walking their talk. This shell game is another indication of "when when people lett you who they are, believe them" Maya Angelou. So we are a dispensable piece on the board game. Get ready for more double speak.

Understanding and Compromise is not when someone takes 100 dollars from you and only has to give 50 back to you as a consolation. I have been around too long to know the difference between an excuse and a reason.

Delroy Wilson | January 11, 2009 12:04 PM

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, Jan 2, 2009 at 8:26 PM
From: Delroy Wilson
To: Angela Clements
Subject: your letter to Obama


Dear Angela,

I am deeply saddened and offended that you chose to spend Thanksgiving with your family, after your father donated more than $5000 to the campaign in favor of Proposition 8. Why would you do that? How can you possibly love and/or respect such a person? Why not write him off forever?

If people are not made to suffer consequences for their hate, it will continue unabated.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, Jan 5, 2009 at 12:08 PM
From: bismillah haiyy
To: Delroy Wilson
Subject: Re: your letter to Obama

I agree with her letter, and I am deeply offended (but not surprised) that Obama chose that Warren creep to do the invocation.

I think that she was right to visit her family.

I think that the most important part of healing our world is LOVE. And practicing LOVE, even when we vehemently disagree with the people that we are trying to love, is the MOST important thing that we can do in my opinion.

I do not think that answering hate with hate is going to heal anything. It will only generate more hate!

I really and truly believe that LOVE is the answer...even though I am certainly far from perfect in practicing such!

Thanks for sharing this with me.

Perhaps I should write a letter to Obama, too!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, Jan 5, 2009 at 12:17 PM
From: Delroy Wilson
To: bismillah haiyy
Subject: Re: your letter to Obama

> I do not think that answering hate with hate is going to
> heal anything. It will only generate more hate!

I never advocated that Angela answer her father's hate with hate of her own. But I do believe VERY strongly that once your father has demonstrated that he is your enemy -- by donating thousands of dollars to those who hate you and want to keep you from enjoying the same civil rights they enjoy -- you must cut your father off. If you do not -- if you continue to be a part of his life in spite of his hatred for you -- then he never has to suffer any consequences. He must be made to choose between his daughter and his fucked-up beliefs about homosexuals.

He will probably cling to his beliefs about homosexuals, of course, because Jeebus told him to. That's fine; these are horrible people, and they're not going to change, and we must eliminate them from our lives. They will never agree with us, so we must wash our hands of them.

Would you still sit down to Thanksgiving dinner with your father if you knew he was a member of the KKK?