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December 30, 2008


In his sunday op-ed piece, New York Times columnist Frank Rich questions Obama's decision to pick anti-gay pastor Rick Warren to give the coveted invocation at his inauguration.

Rich praises Obama for the contagious feelings of hope that his election has instilled in the overwhelming majority of Americans. And for the hope of a new sense of cooperation based on knowledge, integrity and forthrightness that our friends, allies and trade partners have expressed.

Rich said that he shares these hopes too but he also said that, "...for the first time a faint tinge of Bush crept into my Obama reveries this month."

As Rich explained in his column:

As we saw during primary season, our president-elect is not free of his own brand of hubris and arrogance, and sometimes it comes before a fall: “You’re likable enough, Hillary” was the prelude to his defeat in New Hampshire. He has hit this same note again by assigning the invocation at his inauguration to the Rev. Rick Warren, the Orange County, Calif., megachurch preacher who has likened committed gay relationships to incest, polygamy and “an older guy marrying a child.” Bestowing this honor on Warren was a conscious — and glib — decision by Obama to spend political capital. It was made with the certitude that a leader with a mandate can do no wrong.

Granted, Warren isn't quite as much of a fanatic as the homosexually obsessed family-values ayatollahs like James Dobson and Tony Perkins. In fact, he was viciously pounced on by the Phyllis Schlafly gang when he invited Obama to speak about AIDS at his Saddleback Church two years ago. That visit is pretty much why he was picked for the invocation.

But, as Frank Rich put it:
"There’s no reason why Obama shouldn’t return the favor by inviting him to Washington. But there’s a difference between including Warren among the cacophony of voices weighing in on policy and anointing him as the inaugural’s de facto pope. You can’t blame V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop and an early Obama booster, for feeling as if he’d been slapped in the face. “I’m all for Rick Warren being at the table,” he told The Times, but “we’re talking about putting someone up front and center at what will be the most-watched inauguration in history, and asking his blessing on the nation. And the God that he’s praying to is not the God that I know.”"

I, of course, share Bishop Robinson's feelings but I'm also hopeful that this shameful incident will become just a bad memory and not the defining point of a Barack Obama presidency. The only way that can happen is if Obama actually does follow through on the many promises he has made to our community.

The key to that is constant vigilance and a readiness to SPEAK OUT LOUDLY when it looks like he may veer from that course. I'm sure he wants to be reelected in 2012. And, if our newly formed activist groups continue to grow and become even more organized and the ranks of our straight allies continue to swell, NO politician is going to risk alienating a voting block that big and that vocal.

It's up to us what happens from here.