So When Will the White Supremacist Speak?
By Jon Ponder on 12/18/2008, 8:29am PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.


This is really bad:

Barack Obama’s choice of a prominent evangelical minister to deliver the invocation at his inauguration is a conciliatory gesture toward social conservatives who opposed him in November, but it is drawing fierce challenges from a gay rights movement that --- in the wake of a gay marriage ban in California --- is looking for a fight.

Rick Warren, the senior pastor of Saddleback Church in southern California, opposes abortion rights but has taken more liberal stances on the government role in fighting poverty, and backed away from other evangelicals’ staunch support for economic conservatism. But it’s his support for the California constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage that drew the most heated criticism from Democrats Wednesday.

After the debacle of Prop 8 --- which Obama never mentioned on a public platform during the campaign and has not addressed since Election Day --- this is a kick in the gut to every gay American. Here's a quick look at Warren's positions from Right Wing Watch:

[In] 2004 Warren declared that marriage, reproductive choice, and stem cell research were "non-negotiable" issues for Christian voters and has admitted that the main difference between himself and James Dobson is a matter of tone. He criticized Obama's answers at the Faith Forum he hosted before the election and vowed to continue to pressure him to change his views on the issue of reproductive choice. He came out strongly in support of Prop 8, saying "there is no need to change the universal, historical defintion of marriage to appease 2 percent of our population ... This is not a political issue --- it is a moral issue that God has spoken clearly about." He's declared that those who do not believe in God should not be allowed to hold public office.

So why has this man been tapped to deliver the invocation at Obama's inauguration?

Pam Spaulding:

This selection is clearly not about "change" --- it's about making a high profile decision to give the stage over to a known homophobe; choosing Rick Warren is tantamount to asking any of the professional "Christian" set to stand up there. There is no excuse for this, given there are so many leaders of the faith community out there that are in alignment with equality for all.

Andrew Sullivan:

Warren is a man who believes my marriage removes his freedom of speech and cannot say that authorizing torture is a moral failing. Shrewd politics, but if anyone is under any illusion that Obama is interested in advancing gay equality, they should probably sober up now.

The response from the Obama transition team just adds insult to injury:

Linda Douglass, a spokeswoman for Obama, defended the choice of Warren, saying, "This is going to be the most inclusive, open, accessible inauguration in American history."

"The president-elect certainly disagrees with him on [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender] issues. But it has always been his goal to find common ground with people with whom you may disagree on some issues."

Right. So at which point in the ceremonies will we hear from a white supremacist?

In October 2007, Obama made a negative first impression on millions of gay people when he invited "ex-gay" gospel singer Donnie McClurkin to join him on a statewide tour of South Carolina, despite the fact that the "ex-gay" movement has been discredited by every legitimate psychological authority, and, in fact, it does more harm thang good. Obama's decision to include McClurkin was viewed as an attempt to pander to African-American evangelicals.

According to the Advocate, not long after the McClurkin debacle, "the press latched on to Obama's friendship with antigay minister James Meeks, from whom Obama had long claimed to seek regular 'spiritual counsel.' This association led a number of on-the-fence LGBT voters to rally behind Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries."

What this shows is that Obama is either tone deaf on gay issues, which is not unusual among leaders of the Democratic Party --- Bill Clinton signed the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act while he was having an extramarital affair with Monica Lewinsky --- or he really is fundamentally homophobic, and the truth is just now coming out.

We'll know which is which on Inauguration Day.