Tonight, I’d like to comment briefly on a relatively new item and a relatively old one.
The Rick Warren Controversy
Frankly, I don’t get it. While I personally support gay marriage, I am confused by the outrage shown by the GLBT community concerning Rick Warren’s planned inclusion in the 2009 Obama Inauguration festivities. First one has to accept the premise that an “invocation” has any place in an inauguration at all. Seems to me we play with separation of church and state when we have official prayers at a governmental ceremony. I won’t pursue that argument any further as I believe congressional sessions are sometimes started with a prayer and like it or not, we regularly accept a tacit Christian oriented skew to our government. So let’s get past that initial objection.
This brings the argument to how we reconcile being gay with organized religion. Unless this is a perverse interpretation, as I understand it, the Bible considers homosexuality an abomination. As I’ve said in several previous blog entries, I don’t subscribe to the salad bar approach to religion. Either you believe the precepts or your don’t. As far as I’m concerned, gays wanting into organized religion makes no more sense than Blacks wanting into the KKK. OK, perhaps that’s a bit extreme. But it seems reasonably clear to me that gay folks are not going to get “validated” by standard organized religion. This is a futile battle for them.
Now let’s get specific about the two central players in this drama, Warren and Obama. I’m not overly familiar with Rick Warren but as far as I can tell he is no Jerry Falwell. I think it’s fair to say he represents the intellectual arm of the Christian church. I think he demonstrated his intellectual curiosity when he hosted Obama and McCain at Saddleback Church earlier in the campaign season. This is what I believe attracts Barack Obama to him. My guess is that Obama finds Warren a reasonable man with whom to debate and with whom to form an alliance. I also think Warren’s practicality was demonstrated when he had his church remove some anti-gay rhetoric from his web site in the immediate aftermath of the brouhaha.
As for Obama, did the GLBT community bother to listen to Obama before they voted for him? I know that to some extent Obama represented an empty vessel into which many Americans poured their hopes and aspirations but Obama’s position on gay marriage could not have been clearer. He was and is against it. (He favors civil unions.) While I don’t think Obama would actively support an initiative like Proposition 8 in California, I also don’t think he would hold such support against the likes of Rick Warren. The simple fact is that when it comes to gay marriage, Warren and Obama agree.
Why the gay community needed a reality check in this area escapes me. The Christian stance on homosexuality is unambiguous and the Obama stance on gay marriage is equally unambiguous. So in what way did Obama let down his gay supporters?
September 11, 2001, “The Day Everything Changed”
Baloney! Over the weekend, First Lady Laura Bush was interviewed by Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday”. Mrs. Bush said that she and the President never expected to be party to a “wartime presidency”. Then on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” today, the host quoted Mrs. Bush and nodded in agreement saying “that day [9/11] everything changed”. I’m sorry folks but the idea that Bush should not have expected to be a wartime President and that everything changed on 9/11 is simply the myopic view of a very selfish nation.
Let’s talk about this war we’ve been fighting. It’s the war on terror, right? Did that war begin on September 11, 2001? Certainly not. International terrorism was a well established problem before that. The war on terrorism that needed to happen well before 9/11 didn’t much interest us until WE got hit. (It’s actually quite similar to WWII where we stood by and watched the world go to hell in a hand-basket until we got hit in Pearl Harbor.) Absolutely nothing changed on September 11, 2001 except that the hell that people all over the world were suffering finally came to our shores.
While I have not been a fan of the Iraq war (because it’s not the enemy we should have been fighting), it does seem reasonable to me that if we’d sent troops to Afghanistan and other terrorist harboring nations before 9/11, then 9/11 would never have happened. The war was already being waged. We simply chose to not actively pursue it.
The time has come for us to realize that isolationism no longer works for us socially, politically or economically. When we see some other country getting their ass kicked by a terrorist attack, we should jump into action to send a clear message that it’s unacceptable. The message should be that any faction that terrorizes our neighbor (and not just a Western hemisphere neighbor) could potentially terrorize us so we will proactively stamp them out before they do more harm. That essential piece of the Bush Doctrine got invoked one day too late in my view. We didn’t really care until we lost 3000 of our citizens.