Observations on the world today.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rick Warren: Wrong Choice For Our Times 

I just sent the following letter to the editor of my local newsrag:
To the Editor;

When the 2008 election cycle began, I was a strong proponent of John Edwards, my first choice of all of the candidates on both sides of the race. When he dropped out, I immediately and whole heartedly shifted my support to my second choice, Barak Obama. I campaigned for him, wore buttons for him, wrote extensively on Internet message boards, and created videos for online distribution; all because I believed that he was the best choice for the country. I and others like me were frustrated by several unfounded memes from the right; that he was a secret Muslim (whatever that means,) that he was not a US born citizen, that he was a socialist, and that he was an associate of domestic terrorists; all of which were easily disprovable, yet which refused to die a natural death as the stories circulated. In fact, as I campaigned door-to-door, I even confronted one voter who believed that he may in fact be the anti-Christ. To say the least, it shook my confidence to confront such stupidity.

Yet, I and millions of others persevered, and our efforts were rewarded with an historic victory that was both a landslide in the Electoral College and a mandate in the popular vote. The only sour note for me on election eve was that I went to bed believing that while we had won every victory I had personally wanted, we had unfortunately lost the county. However, even that bitter pill turned sweet a few days later at the conclusion of the paper ballot count, when it was determined that Obama had in fact won both Jefferson County as well as my own hometown of Toronto.

Since the election, my support has been validated (for me at least) as Obama’s transition team has made one excellent choice after the other in naming the planned next administration; even to the point of those from the current Bush administration who Obama has asked to remain on board. In fact, the only disappointment I had during the entire campaign was when in the Vice Presidential debate, Joe Biden gave voice to his and Obama’s ill-conceived refusal to advocate for equal marriage rights to homosexuals. On this position and this position alone, I feel that Barack Obama is on the wrong side of history. Marriage as a social institution (not a religious one which the government, I agree, has no business being involved in) is not about procreation, nor is it about tradition. It is about a legal contract between two individuals wishing to commit to a partnership for the sake of establishing a household together. It is about taxes, and property distribution, and next-of-kin status, and nothing else. The fourteenth amendment to the Constitution mandates that all citizens must be granted equal access to all rights afforded to any citizen. It’s a no-brainer, what was allowed to me and both of my ex-wives should be allowed to my gay friends and relatives.

Yet, this week we learned that the Obama camp has selected for the invocation at the inauguration, a pastor, Rick Warren, who openly advocates for the denial of that right to his fellow citizens on biblical grounds. Citing tradition, he insists that marriage means one man and one woman. Well, that’s fine for his church, but others in the past have cited tradition to attempt to deny inter-racial marriage, to advocate for polygamy, and to sell off their children as chattel. He argues that marriage is about procreation, yet there is no rule that says one-man-one-woman marriage must result in progeny, there is no law denying marriage to person’s past child bearing age, and many gay couples willingly adopt otherwise unwanted children into loving homes. He notes that the bible (which, as I have already noted, has no place in this argument) calls homosexuality an abomination; but does he deny marriage to couples who plan to offer lobster at their receptions? After all, the same book of the bible which declares homosexuality an abomination (Lev. 18:22) similarly declares the eating of shellfish as one as well (Lev. 11:10,) and pork chops are off the menu too (Lev. 11:7.) Additionally, Rick Warren lied as he advocated from the pulpit that his parishioners vote against Proposition 8 which by decree of the vote denied same-sex marriage rights in California, when he said, “any pastor could be considered doing hate speech . . . if he shared his views that homosexuality wasn't the most natural way for relationships.” In fact, the ACLU advocates for the right of Neo-Nazis to proselytize their hate speech, in these post suffrage times rappers still openly sing misogynistic lyrics, and churches will always be free in a free society to distort the bible to mean any idiotic thing they want it to mean, including that homosexuality (which has been observed in almost every mammalian species as well as reptiles and avian) is unnatural.

Please, whether you are heterosexual, homosexual or somewhere in between, if you agree with me and recognize that future generations are going to look back on our time and wonder why so many of us allowed our modern-day Simon Legrees to vote for homophobic laws like Ohio’s own 2004 gay intolerance legislation, and gave the bully pulpit to sanctimonious fops to spew their empty rhetoric in the name of “tradition” and “procreation,” then be heard. Find a way. This is not change we can believe in.

UPDATE: I had to edit down to 500 words, but it was published here.

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