Friday, December 19, 2008

President Elect Obama's Inaguration choice

This was posted yesterday and I wanted to comment on it from my perspective:
"L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center Calls on Obama to Disinvite Homophobic Rick Warren From Delivering Inaugural Invocation
President-Elect’s Big Tent of Hope Stretches to Include Bigotry

LOS ANGELES, December 18, 2008–In response to President-Elect Barack Obama’s selection of homophobic mega-church minister Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at the presidential inauguration, L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center Chief of Staff Darrel Cummings has issued the following statement:

“If President-elect Obama’s selection of Rick Warren to give his inaugural invocation is intended to send a message to America that he will be an inclusive leader, then he has clearly made a decision that the exclusion of the LGBT community is acceptable.

Inclusion is generally a term referencing the involvement of those who have been historically underrepresented, the subject of historic discrimination, or unrecognized altogether. The inclusion of people with disabilities in public policy decision-making related to housing and building codes, for example, is vital and a relatively new trend. This kind of action not only sends an important symbolic message to people with disabilities and to the larger community, it contributes to better policy.

Mega-church multi- media stars and religious “leaders” like Rick Warren have been overrepresented in government decision making for many years and have brought their narrow, exclusionary brand of theology into the oval office, Congress and the Supreme Court. They amass great wealth, own powerful financial empires, and preach division on the public airways. Yes, they and their followers are part of America—a relatively large part—but they are redundant as messengers of inclusion since they have always had influence over government, especially since 1980.
The unfortunate consequence of this “big tent” approach is that Obama is not really sending a message of inclusion, at least not the kind that invites into the tent those who have been historically and intentionally locked out for so long. Instead, on the first day of his presidency, he plans to send a very clear message that LGBT people are only welcome if we are agreeable to our own oppression, as represented by his choice of spiritual leader on inauguration day.
Obama’s response to press inquiries on the subject rings hollow. He talks about others like Southern Christian Leadership Conference President Joseph Lowery who will share the spotlight and bring alternative views to the stage, as though it’s important to have “balanced” representation regarding the issue of our civil rights. Joseph Lowery does not represent an alternative viewpoint to Warren. He represents an ethical and just choice on behalf of people historically oppressed and left off the presidential stage. Is it important to “balance” the work of a person who has spent his life fighting racial bigotry and discrimination with someone who opposes those ideals? Are these the politics of hope we have heard so much about?

Continuing his defense, Obama spoke eloquently about his campaign’s support for full equality for lesbians and gay men as an indication of how he will govern. Unfortunately, he did not and does not now stand for our full equality since he has made it clear that he opposes marriage equality. In this regard, he walks in lock step with Warren, even though Obama opposed the passage of Prop 8.

Warren played an important role in helping to re-write the California constitution to eliminate our rights. So now it is clear. If President-elect Obama does not disinvite Rick Warren, then he is defining what inclusion in America will mean under his administration. It will mean that the practice of bigotry is acceptable, and that as president—in the name of “inclusion”—he will provide a place and platform for that bigotry to be expressed and grow. Apparently we are welcome into the big tent of hope, but if we choose to enter, we should do so knowing we are in hostile, yet “balanced” territory.”
Speaking as the transgendered woman I am, I would ask, why should The President Elect recognize us formally and consider us when he chooses a speaker for his inauguration? Rarely do T-people come out for public events, and virtually no one associates us or any of TBQGL people, for that matter, with mainstream evangelicalism (and we avoid them like the plague), so how are these prominent leaders and preachers supposed to know or care we exist or ever go beyond the limits of their antiquated dogma if they don't know us? But even in their ignorance, they have given us a way in and shown that they are, if we appraoch this right, willing to cease being bigots – “...we are welcome into the big tent of hope” and even if it isn't a particularly warm invitation, we must not miss the opportunity now though it is an uncomfortable and humbling one.

What would we have if McCain were coming in? Nothing! !
So lets take the angry tone out of our response and be a little more patient (yes – still we must bite our tongues and be patient even longer - please). Soon we will realize our rights fully if we don’t give in to hate and anger and if we stand in unity and work together peacefully. There is hope they will listen to us.

Rick Warren - he really isn't a bad guy, at least not intentionally - but he certainly does not understand or accept TBQGL people. This choice shows that President elect Obama really does not understand us either. But that is why we have to become a visible part of society - until we all get out of the closets, put aside our differences and stand together in unity we will always get run over by the well meaning but ignorant bulk of society. We have to educate them by being present and being involved in life.

I think the choice of Rick Warren isn’t necessarily a statement against us personally, and certainly does not indicate bigotry being sanctioned, but it certainly gives us a challenge to build up our unity in the TBQGL… community and reach out to the mainstream in love and kindness, with a friendly, team-building spirit to overcome the understanding gap.

So, Please post your comments and tell me what do you think about this.


Advocate for civil-rights and Faith without Prejudice
On Camera Host/Moderator/Coordinator - Living Transgender in American Society Today, 2008

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