comsc US Politics | AMERICAblog News: Rick Warren and Rev. Wright
Join Email List | About us | AMERICAblog Gay
Elections | Economic Crisis | Jobs | TSA | Limbaugh | Fun Stuff

Rick Warren and Rev. Wright

| Reddit | Tumblr | Digg | FARK

Richard Cohen's piece in today's Washington Post is brilliant. It's also troubling for the Obama people, as Cohen draws a direct line from the Rick Warren fiasco to the Rev. Wright imbroglio.

It's one thing for Obama to be able to write off a "little" gay controversy. You know those gays. But it's quite another matter when that little gay controversy starts leading commentators to bring up Rev. Wright, and suggest that, in view of Obama's handling of Rick Warren, perhaps Wright was more than just an anomaly. I always thought the Rev. Wright issue was bs. But it was potentially very damaging for Obama. It's not good when anything resurrects, and validates, a scandal that we thought was water under the bridge.

Cohen's column also illustrates another point. This isn't just about gays and lesbians. It's about their family members, who are also offended by someone comparing their brother, their sister, their child, to a pedophile.

"I'm opposed to redefinition of a 5,000-year definition of marriage," Warren told's Steve Waldman. "I'm opposed to having a brother and sister being together and calling that marriage. I'm opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that marriage. I'm opposed to one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage."

Waldman asked, "Do you think those are equivalent to gays getting married?"

"Oh, I do," said Warren.

There you have the thinking of the man Obama has chosen above all other religious figures to represent him in this most solemn moment. He likens my sister's relationship -- three children, five grandchildren, so loving as to be envied and so conventional as to be boring -- to incest or polygamy....

I can understand Obama's desire to embrace constituencies that have rejected him. Evangelicals are in that category and Warren is an important evangelical leader with whom, Obama said, "we're not going to agree on every single issue." He went on to say, "We can disagree without being disagreeable and then focus on those things that we hold in common as Americans." Sounds nice.

But what we do not "hold in common" is the dehumanization of homosexuals. What we do not hold in common is the belief that gays are perverts who have chosen their sexual orientation on some sort of whim. What we do not hold in common is the exaltation of ignorance that has led and will lead to discrimination and violence.

Finally, what we do not hold in common is the categorization of a civil rights issue -- the rights of gays to be treated equally -- as some sort of cranky cultural difference. For that we need moral leadership, which, on this occasion, Obama has failed to provide. For some people, that's nothing to celebrate.

The party's off.
That last full paragraph is, I think, the crux of the matter, and the reason the Rick Warren issue has touched off such a firestorm in the gay community. Obama is essentially asking us to acknowledge that our humanity is negotiable. That our view of ourselves as full members of American society, as equal members of the human race, is somehow "just our opinion," no more and no less valid than those who compare us to pedophiles. He wants us to acknowledge that there are two sides to every issue, even our very existence. He wants us to tolerate intolerance, as he is about to do from the highest office in the land.

blog comments powered by Disqus