Comment of the Weekend

Over the weekend, I wrote a post giving three options as to why the story of Rick Warren’s inauguration prayer has hung on so long (and, as far as my blog reading this morning, it’s not going away just yet).  Among the many good comments on that post was this by Rosa Lee Harden:

What about this for the reason the Rick Warren prayer is such a big story:

There are quite a few of us in this country – and Christians to boot
- who have a problem with ‘religion’ being represented at the
inauguration by a person who equates love between people of the same
gender with incest.

There are more and more of us who understand the message of Jesus to
be primarily one of love and inclusion, not judgment and exclusion. How
Jesus treated the outcasts in society was the thing that got him in
trouble with the authorities. He didn’t label, judge and exclude. He
sat down at table and broke bread.

If we are going to have someone represent Christianity as our
‘nation’s pastor’ at the inauguration, perhaps there are enough of us
out there who want it to be someone who demonstrates those same values.
Maybe the GLBT people in this country are tired of being told that they
were not created in God’s image. That there is something fundamentally
wrong with them. Perhaps they and their friends are ready to take a
stand and be heard about this.

Maybe this is a big story because how we treat our GLBT sisters and brothers MATTERS.


  • http://existentialpunk.com Existential Punk

    Rosa, THANK YOU for your kind and provocative comment. i am sitting hear crying because i don’t get people telling us to get over it as it’s not that big of a deal and that it’s a symbolic gesture. It f’ing hurts when people don’t try to see our perspective and you have done it. So, it must not be that difficult to see our plight. Your words are encouraging and healing to a qyeer Christ-follower who feels burned out on Christians and the church. You are also a brave woman to say these things as i am sure there will be many critics. Thank you for being open and vulnerable with your thoughts. This is one person who really appreciates it!
    Here’s a comment i posted in response on another blog:
    It’s a slap in the face to those of us in the LGBTQ community. Warren opposes same sex marriage and fought to get Prop 8 passed. So with the passage of Prop 8 we were slapped in the face and left raw. Now Obama asking Warren to do the prayer is another slap in the face when we were already knocked down.
    i get what Obama is trying to accomplish with unity and reconciliation and coalition building, and i applaud him, but reconciliation involves an acknowledgment you have done harm or hurt people. Warren believes being gay is a sin and akin to pedophilia. So inviting Warren is enabling him in bad behavior. Obama is everyones president in our country, but inviting Warren is not being inclusive to the LGBTQ community.
    If Obama invited Rev. Wright or a KKK pastor, there would be outrage and the offer would be rescinded. Wright was even uninvited to Obama announcing his candidacy for president nearly 2 years ago in Illinois. When it comes to the LGBTQ community being outraged about this we are told it’s no big deal and to get over it.
    i wish more people would try and see our perspective on this issue.
    i have blogged a lot about this at existentialpunk.com
    Happy Holidays!
    Warm Regards,
    Existential Punk

  • panthera

    Rosa,
    I wish more American Christians possessed your capacity for love.
    Truly, this is the issue, defining one’s love of God through hatred of others.
    Thank you for your well expressed thoughts, and thanks to Tony for posting them.
    Many people from ‘my’ side of the discussion ask why Beliefnet permits so many hate-filled, theologically and scientifically false statements to be posted. I think you folks do so for the same reason you let Rosa and (not claiming to be in her league) me post – once you start censoring, it is very hard to stifle discussion.
    It also helps me in dealing with my fundamentalist, hateful family members to see the vile hatred pouring forth from so many evangelicals here – not much resemblance to the Christ I know.

  • panthera

    …make that “very hard not to stifle discussion…
    Sorry.

  • http://www.faithprogression.com Mike L.

    Tony, I agree. I also think it would be good for us to consider how we would feel if we heard that a new leader in Iraq or Iran selected a fundamentalist Muslim leader to pray at his inauguration (instead of a progressive). Would we see it as a sign that the new leader condoned misogynistic views and religious wars?
    On the other hand, I think that fundamentalists are still such a large portion of this country that they have to be included in some way. If they are going to have a say, I’d prefer it to be in a meaningless inauguration prayer rather than actually running our country for another 8 years. Maybe Obama found the perfect role for people like Rick Warren.

  • panthera

    Are the hate-filled fundamentalists such a large proportion? Or are they only so loud, are so many Christians who believe themselves to be not directly effected so quiet, that these fundamentalists can scream down those who are more interested in preaching Christ’s message of love and salvation?
    I see precious little interest in spreading God’s word on the part of those who insist I am the same as a pedophile, a participant in an incestuous relationship, a…well, anyone who has spent time here knows their hateful, venomous screed. Rather, I see frightened little hearts, terrified of having to redefine their belief from the certainty of hatred of others to faith in God’s love.
    When I read the threads here and see the mindset of many, it is easy to understand how the US got into the mess we are in now. Just take a look at crunchycon today – Rod (not a prime candidate for liberal-progressive-socialist-Marxist/Leninist man of the year) posts a moderately damning comment on how the Bush administration got us into this economic mess and wham! the knee-jerk responses on how it is all the democrat’s faults, blaming this on Jimmy Carter, Barney Frank…no capability of reflection, no ability to consider one might have been wrong in one’s views.
    The world was round, even though most ‘good Christians’ insisted it was flat, complete with ‘here be dragons’ at the edges. The heliocentric view of our solar system was and is correct, even tho’ the fundamentalists of that day tortured those who dared to speak the truth. Blacks are the same humans as whites, equally loved of God…but the fundamentalists used the same Bible to ‘prove’ otherwise as they now do against homosexuals. Interracial marriage…well, the list is long. One last comment. Aids was identified as a communicable disease with known vectors fairly early on. Had Regan listened to doctors and not to the screaming, hateful fundamentalists, we would have had a chance to stop it in its tracks. Today, of course, we know that heterosexuals are the major suffers and carriers of the disease. But it was first discovered amongst us homosexuals, so the fundamentalists capitalized upon it, proclaiming it God’s justice upon us. That is the same hatred we see here.
    We need to embrace these sick, hateful Brothers in Christ. We mustn’t let them make decisions on science and human rights.

  • Larry

    Maybe the GLBT people in this country are tired of being told that they were not created in God’s image.
    Maybe you could come up with one example, other than Fred Phelps, of anybody denying that gays bear the Imago Dei?
    You might find a more receptive audience if you would quit lying.

  • Mike L.

    Panthera,
    I live in the bible belt. I can assure you that “YES they are a large portion”. Had Obama said anything negative about evangelicals or equated fundamentalism with hate, he would have lost badly.
    The truth is that you would not need to be gay to be lumped in with the likes of pedophiles by these idiots. You’d just need to be liberal. I know people (in my own family) who think Dr. King deserved to be shot for speaking out against the war in Vietnam. It is sad, but our views on equal rights for homosexuals are still a minority. Just look at the prop 8 vote in California. The whole “flat earth” thing didn’t go away over night. It’s been 150 years since Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” was published and 47% of Americans are still creationists.
    Keep speaking truth to power! That is the only way these things change.

  • http://tanstaaflblog.wordpress.com Jeff Moulton

    Yes Larry – that certainly helps narrow the audience – a bit of hyperbole. It couldn’t be the closed-minded and hate-filled rhetoric from the other side at all.
    Not that I believe that it is hyperbole, I feel like I get a similar (but certainly less intense) reception from fundamentalists simply because I was sprinkled and not dunked. I know I have heard the word “abomination” spread quite liberally about members the LGBT community – that would seem to me to legitimize her claim.
    The complete irony of this, and every other issue in which fundamentalists decide to exercise their rights to participate in the political process, is that the people the fundamentalists don’t consider to be Christian ALWAYS come of more Christ-like than the fundamentalists do.
    Is it any wonder that our churches are shrinking?

  • Larry

    The world was round, even though most ‘good Christians’ insisted it was flat,
    Another lie, the church has never thought the earth flat, a round earth is a feature of Greek cosmogony, which predates Christ.
    The heliocentric view of our solar system was and is correct, even tho’ the fundamentalists of that day tortured those who dared to speak the truth.
    If you’re referring to Galileo, he was never tortured, just placed under house arrest in his villa, I’m not justifying his treatment, though it had more to do with Galileo being a jackass than with his heliocentric views, but it fell far short of torture.
    Blacks are the same humans as whites, equally loved of God…but the fundamentalists used the same Bible to ‘prove’ otherwise as they now do against homosexuals.
    And no fundamentalist ever declared that blacks were less beloved of God. Just as nobody, except possibly the Phelpsians, is saying that gays are not loved by God.
    Had Regan listened to doctors and not to the screaming, hateful fundamentalists, we would have had a chance to stop it in its tracks.
    How do you propose that Reagan (I assume that’s who your talking about) could have done that? He, in fact, funded some major research initiatives concerning the disease.
    Today, of course, we know that heterosexuals are the major suffers and carriers of the disease.
    Oh, please, you just can’t stop can you? Over half of the new infections reported in the US are of gay men, given that gay men make up maybe 1% of the population that is rather significant. The AIDS retransmission rate among the straight, non-drug using, population is less than 1. This means that the disease would die out among straight population if it were not for reinfections from bisexuals and drug users.
    But it was first discovered amongst us homosexuals, so the fundamentalists capitalized upon it, proclaiming it God’s justice upon us.
    Actually it was medical professionals who first christened it “WOGS” (Wrath of God Syndrome), due to the populations that it strongly tended to affect.
    That is the same hatred we see here.
    Rick Warren does not hate you, nor do the vast majority of Christians, including fundamentalists. Maybe if you were to display the same tolerance that you demand of others, quit labeling mere disagreement as “hate” would be a start, there could be a genuine dialogue and understanding. It would also help if you would stop spreading inaccuracies about the church and what Christians believe.

  • Your Name

    Why does accepting have to be equatted with affirming? Whose denying that GLBT are not made in God’s image? Name one sinner who Jesus loved and accepted at the same time he endorsed their lifestyle?
    The marginalized that Jesus sat and broke bread with were also repentant and recieved the forgiveness of sins. Jesus would then tell them to ‘go and sin no more’.
    And if one sticks to your presuppositions, why should be not accept and affirm others things some may find deplorable, like incest (since that was mentioned). Maybe you shouldn’t label, judge and exclude such people.

  • http://gracerules.wordpress.com/ Liz

    Rosa, I just wanted to add my thanks for your comment. I think you hit the nail on the head. This is a big issue – in politics, in the church and in society in general. Some have argued here that gays have not been told “they are not created in God’s image”… but whether they have been told that specifically or not, that is how they are treated by many…like second class citizens, isolated, rejected, looked down upon, ridiculed and mocked. Many christians disqualify them completely from contributing to a christian community in any way. I saw the movie “Milk” this weekend and was reminded of the rejection, oppression and persecution that gays have had to endure over the years – much of it led by christians. I came away from the movie wondering who was more Christlike – Harvey Milk? or Anita Bryant?

  • http://www.faithprogression.com/2008/12/obama-knows-best.html Mike L.

    In hindsight, I think Obama did the right thing. Here’s why…
    http://www.faithprogression.com/2008/12/obama-knows-best.html

  • panthera

    Larry,
    I do so enjoy your outpourings of charity. You really let that Christian love burn right on through.
    Since there is no possible basis for discussion with you, I’ll just briefly correct a few of your assumptions regarding my posting to and let it go at that.
    Let’s see now. Well, if you were to actually read the Bible and not merely cheery-pick for texts which justified your desires, you might notice this passage in Isaiah 40:22, …God dwelling above the circle of earth….
    Circle, as in flat, not globe, as in round. Well, never mind. I do acknowledge that there is considerable discussion on this topic and, through rigorous research it may well be shown that most people didn’t think the earth flat in the early Christian era. Still, it does rather leave a bit of a problem with Isaiah, but no doubt you will find a way to interpret that literally to fit your needs.
    As for being tortured for disbelieving the geocentric view, well, no, I wasn’t thinking of Galileo, actually, but of Giordano Bruno, burned at the stake in 1600 after some six years in the tender mercies of the Inquisition. Oh, right, revisionists now maintain that the Roman Inquisition didn’t really torture, they merely applied methods of “enhanced interrogation”. As you were reasoning deductively, it suffices to show one case of disproof. Sadly, I could show many, many more.
    AS far as the conservative Christian perspective on blacks, I would refer you to the Constitutional debates of 1787 regarding the 3/5 solution and how it arose. You are on very very shaky ground there, though I suppose one might argue that your version of fundamentalist hatred is rather more modern, the roots go very deep. Of course, the Bible never says word one about homosexuality, either, so I suppose we shouldn’t be too precise with our labeling…
    I do apologize for misspelling Reagan’s name.
    I am sure it is a great relief to all those non-American heterosexuals dying of Aids in Africa to know that, in your country, it is still quite a problem in the gay community. Your hatred really shines through in your response, goodness.
    I’m done with you. Your hatred has such deep roots, I wonder whether you might not be my brother in more than Christ.

  • Bill

    Sigh… Is this issue really an all or nothing context? If one believes homosexuality to be inconsistent with Christianity, does that immediately mean that they are haters?
    I grieve regularly over this issue, longing to believe that it is not the case. However, I am not convinced and would be a hypocrite and a liar to simply say otherwise. Even still, I affirm the right for gay marriage and would easily share Eucharist with a gay brother or sister. However, I believe that the active lifestyle is sin.
    Are Warren and people like myself truly haters? What say you, Tony?


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