Bo Shuff

What inclusive means to me

Filed By Bo Shuff | January 12, 2009 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Gay Icons and History, Politics
Tags: American President, Gene Robinson, Inaugural, Rick Warren

Openly Gay Bishop Gene Robinson will offer a prayer on Sunday at an official Inaugural event on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

If this doesn't send chills of hop up your spine, well I just can't help you anymore.

Inclusion to me means that everyone, everyone gets a place to have their voice heard. It doesn't mean that I am going to agree with the voices, but they need to be heard.

After the cut is a clip from The American President, a movie I hold in high regard. From 1:19 to 2:01 sums up in 42 seconds how I feel about America.

I was disheartened by Rick Warren's selection yet remained silent. I remained silent because Rick Warren has the right to have his voice heard and I will never call on someone to be silenced for expressing their opinion and their viewpoint.

I was disheartened because at that time President Elect Obama had not created an experience that provided ample stage to all viewpoints.

It is my opinion that today's announcement and the inclusion of Bishop Robinson remedies that situation.

On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the day before the Holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. an openly gay religious figure will address the nation. I feel the impact already, and it hasn't even happened yet.

Inclusive, to me, as illustrated by The American President, does not involve silencing our opponents or those who see the world from a different point of view. The sole measure of inclusiveness is allowing all viewpoints to be heard and then allowing the populace to choose to form their own opinions. We do not have to be louder or have greater access or be granted more opportunities to be heard, we have to be better.

We have to be more convincing in our arguments than our opponents are. Let's stand Gene Robinson and Rick Warren on stage together and allow them to both present who they are and what they think to the world. Let's see how we fare in a dialogue like that. Let us allow the LGBT band to march in the parade at the same time the Knights of Columbus are and we can see how we fare in that match-up as well.

The American experience is one of drastically divergent opinions. President Elect Obama has done a great job in his Inaugural celebrations in making that be seen and respecting the diversity of this country.

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What a great perspective. We in the LGBTQ community cry for this and then we, including myself, want to deny others their voice. i love when you said, "Inclusive, to me, as illustrated by The American President, does not involve silencing our opponents or those who see the world from a different point of view. The sole measure of inclusiveness is allowing all viewpoints to be heard and then allowing the populace to choose to form their own opinions. We do not have to be louder or have greater access or be granted more opportunities to be heard, we have to be better." BRILLIANT!

i do not wish to silence anyone, even hurtful people. i think the reaction was strong because we had just lost the Prop 8 battle along with others and we were RAW, VERY RAW. So, Warren's pick just felt like a slap in the face when we were already down.

Thanks for opening my mind up and reminding me what all huma beings serach for - a place at the table.

Warm Regards,


What do you think now that the initial festivities have closed and Bishop Robinson was silenced because the sound system was sabotaged? And that HBO and MSNBC refused to broadcast his prayer? And that every one of the choruses was identified EXCEPT the Washington Gay Men's Chorus?

This was a carefully engineered ploy to mollify the LGBT community after the Rick Warren debacle, but designed to exclude us anyway. As usual, we're expendable. I seriously doubt that Rick Warren's mic will be turned off during HIS invocation.

beergoggles | January 12, 2009 6:42 PM

Guess I shouldn't be surprised really, Obama was quite upfront during the elections about being a christianist and expanding faith based initiatives, just pandering to both sides of the same aisle while Bush just pandered to one.

Wake me up when the population is enlightened enough to accommodate a secular humanist as a major part of the inauguration. Until then it's just religionists fighting over the pie.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!! This is the point Michael and I have been making, but seeing it on The American President was very heartfelt. People on this blog want to silence the opposition, exactly what the Religious Right wants to do to us. Who are the ones upholding the basic premise of the Constitution and who are not. I guess it takes us veterans to understand it best. Many no-veterans who see the reality also understands the Constitution. I'm glad I did advocate silencing another American, no matter how much he hates me.

This reminds me of an important saying that many may not believe in. "I may not like what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Silencing someone is not right. Period.

. . . did NOT advocate silencing another American

Is it possible to defend to the death his right to say it, but oppose him delivering the inaugural invocation?

Was my right to say my own opinion trampled when I was passed up for the inaugural invocation?

Question 1: No, because you are also not allowing the President-Elect to make the decision, imposing your beliefs on HIS Constitutional rights.

Question 2: You weren't in the running, so that is a silly question and moot.

Warren has the right to speak and Obama has the right to give him that chance. Nothing wrong with "expressing opinions," but you and many others went beyond that by demanding that he remove Warren, thus trying to silencing him, thus denying his rights. And, all of your excuses focused on his work denying us our rights. That puts the both of you on the same level. Hey, if you want to slum with him, it's your Constitutional right.

And we also have the right - and the duty - to tell the man that many of us helped get elected that he made the wrong choice and that we will use our rights to block him in any way we can from making more mistakes - whether you allow him to do it or not.

Warren can say antyhing he wants...but he doesn't have any more of a right to his opinion than I do. And if I don't like Obama's choice of a slanderer, bigot and religious fanatic, then it is my responsibility to not look the other way.

You sound exactly like a Log Cabin Republican. You must be proud of all the gymnastics you continually do to defend Warren.

Why do you bother?

I took and oath to defend the Constitution, and the oath still stands. That's why I bother. Did you take an oath?

I did in fact when I was admitted to both Federal Practice in various courts and then to Supreme Court practice.

1. He's allowed to make his decision. I'm not putting a gun to his head and stopping him. I'm not calling the police and having him pulled away. I have a right to speak on this issue too, you know.

2. Why wasn't I in the running? Jeez, my freedom of speech was even more denied than I thought!

It's not silly, since your argument is "People who are not allowed to deliver the inauguration invocation are silenced." I was just reminding you that there are other people not delivering the inauguration invocation.

And what about everyone else who was is the running? What about their freedom of speech?

Waaaaait.... he'll be "silenced" by not being able to deliver the inauguration invocation? That's laughable.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | January 13, 2009 7:41 AM

Rev. Blaze can we see your "Doctorate of Divinity?"

Is that your standard? Are you saying, then, that everyone with a Doctorate of Divinity (which Rick Warren doesn't have, either) is being silenced if they're not picked to deliver this speech?

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | January 15, 2009 9:29 AM

I was attempting to be amusing in that I could not imagine your accepting an invitation to an invocation, transubstantiation or any other alliteration.

Free speech includes believing what you are saying.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | January 15, 2009 9:20 PM

And he does have a Master's degree in Divinity and a Doctorate in Ministry. He has a big church full of suspicious, backward Americans who cling to their god, guns and religion. Divinity, Ministry.

Potatoes, Po tat ohs

I forgot that your Constitution includes torturing people using a technique that you executed Japanese for engaging in and also includes assasinating or advocating for the assasination of heads of state that you are not at war with.

Warren advocates for the murder of a head of state in violation of Hague Convention IV Monica. That is an international crime. Period.

He glossed over and defended Akinola, Akinola's enslavement of LGBT's through hard labour sentences, and his murder of 700 Muslims. Yet another international crime,a nd a crime against humanity.

He supports that loon in Uganda who wants LGBT's dead.

Silencing an opposing viewpoint?
How about not becoming supporters of crimes against humanity?

You like bringing up all that other stuff, thinking its an excuse to deny him his right to speak and Obama the right to choose who will speak. The Constitution, is the Constitution is the Constitution. If you start making excuses to deny him his Constitutional rights, then you are no better than him in that way. To sink to Warren's level, it's your right.

What the jackass has done doesn't mean you can deny him his Constitutional rights. He will have to answer for those things in ways you may not believe in. But, if you care one iota for our Constitution, you will not advocate silencing Warren. If you advocate silencing him, then you have NO EXCUSE complaining when the Religious Right tries to deny yours. No excuse.

On August 17, 1970, I took an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. Leaving the Navy didn't relieve me of that oath. I'm seeing I have to do more defending domestically these days.

I don't have the power to deny him his right to speek, Monica, please don't use a hyperbolic argument.

I do have the right to protest his being chosen.
I do ahve the right to implore that the preseident elect remove him...

And "all that other stuff" is precisely my objexction to him, Monica. It isn't a wedge to get rid of him, thise items are the basis of my objection.

I am not "silencing " him; but I object strenuously to the Government lending him credibility by providing him this podium.

You are defending the indefenseable; I have to question your motives on this Monica. .

I have stated repeatedly what my motivtions are Monica.

I have been logical and very up front about them.
Violations of International Law and Human Rights.
Pretty clear, for a barrister

What do you think my motives are?

It doesn't appear the overall good of the country and the sanctity of the Constitution isn't one of them. Sometimes, one needs step out of themselves to work for a greater issue then for themselves. There are about 20 to 30 million LGBT people in the US, a country with over 300 million people. Just pointing out where we fit in the big picture scheme of things, in case you forgot.

Wow. The overall good of the country is served by the Government giving a place of honour to a man advocating violations of international law and murder, and supporting others who are responsible for huge human rights violations and Crimes against humanity

Monica, denying him a place of honour is in no way restricting his constitutional rights, that is simply a silly argument and unworthy of you or you've just never read the document.

The Government of the United States, by giving him a place of honour, is perforce sending out a message of support for his ideas and actions.

Yes, Monia, we need to step outside of ourselves to serve a greater good many times. Lending credence to Warren is not a greater good, it is a distinct disservice to humanity.

And there are more pople in the world than just the US Monica; there are the people of Iran whose president Warren wants to have murdered, there are the Muslims of Nigeria, 700 of whom were murdered by Warren's ally, there are the LGBT's of Uganda and Nigeria, locked up by men Warren supports and whose policies of terror against LGBT's warren supports.

How do you suppose the Islamic nations will feel with Obama honouring a man who wants people to murder an Islamic head of state Monica?

Step outside of yourself for a moment, ok?


Sorry--the C was the beginning of "Can you do that?"

You say:

"We have to be more convincing in our arguments than our opponents are. Let's stand Gene Robinson and Rick Warren on stage together and allow them to both present who they are and what they think to the world. Let's see how we fare in a dialogue like that. Let us allow the LGBT band to march in the parade at the same time the Knights of Columbus are and we can see how we fare in that match-up as well."

Unfortunately, those two men will not be on the stage together - nor will they be at the same event or even appear on the same day. One is part of the day of inauguration, the other appears the day before.

Making room for the dissemination of lies and slander as some form of inclusion is not a legitimate argument. Does Robinson spew distorted facts about Christians or religious fascists like Warren or his followers?

If he did, then there would be a comparison to discuss.

Giving Robinson a place during the national circle jerk is commendable.

It is not quid pro quo.

DanaRSullivan | January 12, 2009 8:54 PM

While I do think the Gene Robinson invitation is a good sign, I disagree that the anger over Rick Warren's invitation is a free speech issue. He asked a person who is publicly known for being virulently anti-gay to speak for him and for the nation. When you give someone a task that important and symbolic, you're sending a message, and a big part of that message comes from how this person conducts their life and what they stand for in the public eye. In the same way, if Obama himself said anti-gay statements people would be angry, and rightfully so, and that would have nothing to do with wanting to take away his right to say them.

I yawned over Warren because it's obvious Obama is trying to build support for his domestic agenda. The Clintons did that, and the community went balistic then too. But we're not the only people in the world and shouldn't expect politicians to bow to our every whim.
I loved watching the Clintons dodge and weave. And far from criticizing Obama for doing the same, I say go daddy. Make me a sweater.
As for Robinson, although it's just ceremonial, I'm thrilled to the gills. This is huge pr for us. It's also historic.

I can't comment yet until I see the inauguration ceremony and concert and hear the good Bishop give his prayer before the Bruce Springfield and Beyonce performances. He is probably not invited to pray in front of the children's program. Where were the daughters when Michelle Obama addressed the LGBT caucus at the DNC convention? They were always by her side except in front of us. I only hope the Bishop wears his jeweled encrusted pointed hat, it is so gay. The good news is that he said he won't have a bible in his hand.

Gee then why wasn't David Duke invited? Why is it that being inclusive always includes people who hate gays? Why no Klan members? Stop being a self hating fag and man up.
I don't need to please anyone to have my civil right I just need to be an American.