Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Modest Suggestion

I really like Heather Gold's take on how to deal with Rick Warren (of Yes on Prop 8 infamy) presenting the invocation at Obama's inauguration. Her basic thesis is that while it sucks that queer folks always have to be the "bigger people" in terms of practicing inclusiveness, ultimately we should do it because it's who we are. If we truly believe in the little-d democratic principle of making room for everyone, then that also means the people we virulently disagree with get to enter the big tent, too.

Yes. And.

I also think Obama could signal his willingness to be that Big Tent President while not simultaneously slapping his queer supporters on the way in. Was there no other Evangelical pastor in the entire country available that day? One who hadn't been quite so visible and active in taking away marriage rights from same-sex couples? Someone who exhibits his/her Christian faith by, y'know, actually treating all human beings with dignity?

I have a suggestion. I know it's extremely unlikely that Warren's invitation will be revoked. So be it. Why not counterbalance him, then, by having Melissa Etheridge perform at the Inaugural Ball? Or some other highly visible proponent of LGBT rights?

Make the tent as big as you can, Mr. Obama. I know our country needs to come together in a big way right now. But if elbows are going to fly, at least give us a little padding. Our community has already taken far too many hits as it is.

UPDATE: 12/19/08
An Even Better Modest Suggestion

If Obama really wants to demonstrate how he's going to bring people together across great divides, he can start by inviting a queer pastor to co-invocate the inauguration with the rabid homophobe Rick Warren.

There are plenty of candidates to choose from, even before you start counting the closet cases. A few names to get the transition team rolling: Troy Perry (MCC founder), Gene Robinson (Episcopal bishop), Yvette Flunder (Ark of Refuge), Phyllis Zillhart and/or Ruth Frost (awesome Lutheran pastors who are also a couple). I know there are many, many more.

The brilliance of this move is that Obama doesn't have to disinvite Warren. The moment becomes both more balanced and even MORE symbolic. (I'm a big believer in the power of symbolism, but the transition team seems to snort it for breakfast.) BONUS: We get to see Rick Warren wring his hands over whether or not to participate. Would a Christian right-winger, for once, have to be a big enough person to accept the honor for what it is and meet the LGBT community halfway?

Of course, if they had Rachel Maddow emcee the event, I'd also accept that in lieu of apology.

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Blogger syzygy13 said...

heck-the-heck yes. this is a tough one. was it a dick move on obama's part? absolutely. is my hard-core, staunch republican brother actually kind of excited to have obama as president, specifically because he's being "every side" man? yes.

so, i really like the "yes, and" idea. i kind of always do.

part of me feels like a traitor to the queer cause for saying some of this. or at least lame. i don't know what the solutions are.

1:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, this seems darned close to what you asked for:

"New Hampshire Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson, a vocal gay
rights leader, will open President-elect Barack Obama's
inauguration with a prayer on Sunday's kick-off event at
the Lincoln Memorial."

Not sharing the microphone, but, well, CLOSE to what you asked.

What do you think? Has Obama been reading your blog?

5:31 PM  

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