I have refrained from commenting here on the announcement that Rev. Rick Warren of mega-church fame has been selected to deliver the invocation at President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration. Not because I didn't have an opinion; just because I have been occupied with production of a New Year's Eve radio show by the Mickee Faust Club that airs at 9pm NYE on WVFS-FM(points for shameless plugging!!)
I, like many others in the LGBT community, are very disturbed and disappointed with this selection. Integrity President Susan Russell says:
“Rick Warren has become a recognizable pop culture religious voice but he is not qualified to be ‘America’s pastor,’” said Integrity President Susan Russell. “Warren is a not only a vocal opponent of LGBT equality who does not believe in evolution, he has compared abortion to the Holocaust and backed the assassination of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. His views are far outside the religious mainstream and his credentials are steeped in an “Old Time Religion” of narrow exclusionism that ill prepares us for the challenges of the 21st century.”“This unfortunate choice is particularly painful to LGBT Americans who have experienced first-hand the destructive impact of pastors like Warren who preach “family values” while practicing discrimination against gay and lesbian families. But it should also be a cause for concern to any American concerned that the exclusionism represented by Rick Warren is antithetical to the President-elect’s core values of inclusion, tolerance and the celebration of difference.”
Over at SisterFriends-Together, Anita Cadonau-Huseby further explains some of the fury about this selection.
But what I have found even more disturbing than just the fact that I'm going to be asked to pray along with someone who does not believe that I have a place in the body of Christ is that, because I expressed disappointment in Obama's decision, I have received an email telling me to "toughen up and not be judgmental". Friends have expressed via Facebook that the gay community's outrage is out-of-place and give the guy (Obama) a chance. And that maybe what Barack Obama is doing is a brilliant political tactic. Besides, Joseph Lowery will be delivering the benediction, and he's pro-gay marriage.
I guess what my friends, and others, do not understand is that this is not a balance one-side vs. the-other kind of thing. Why should we have to balance any of it? And why must the balancing act occur on the backs of the gay community yet again? Why must the President-elect, in an effort to show that we're all one nation under God, ask a man who has been outspoken in his disdain for gay relationships to bring us together to pray for this presidency and our nation.
One person said to me, "It's just a prayer". Yeah, it's just a prayer. And I'm just one voice in the wilderness trying to dispell the myth that "Christians hate queers". Making Rev. Rick Warren the face of Christianity at an historic occassion doesn't help.
Sorry, if it's "just a prayer", than that just tells me this was a cynical political move. How sad is that?