Time Magazine: Obama Inaugural Pick Rick Warren is Anti-Gay

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday December 22, 2008

The GLBT community and liberals have joined in their condemnation of President-Elect Barack Obama's selection of mega-church pastor Rick Warren to deliver the Inaugural Invocation. Now Time Magazine has joined the chorus.

In a Dec. 18 editorial posted at Time.com John Cloud cited Warren's comments to the media that he is not, in his own estimation, a "homophobic guy," citing his friendly relations with gay acquaintances and his having had dinner with gays, as well as the efforts of his church to care for individuals with AIDS.

The editorial also quoted Warren as saying that, "homosexuality is not the worst sin."

More recently, Warren has repeated those arguments in the face of criticism leveled at Obama for the pick.

Commented Cloud, "So gays get to eat-sometimes even with Rick Warren!

"Then they get to die of AIDS," continued Cloud, "possibly under the care of Rick Warren's congregants."

Added Cloud, "And when they go to hell, they won't be quite as far down in Satan's pit as other evildoers."

Cloud denounced Warren's evident belief that homosexuals can be "cured," writing, "He didn't explain how, but I suspect he thinks praying really hard would do it, as if most of us who grew up gay and evangelical hadn't tried that every night as teenagers."

Continued Cloud, "Homosexuality, Pastor Warren explained in the virtually content-free language of the dogmatist, is 'not the natural way.'"

Cloud recollected that Warren, speaking with an interviewer, had compared marriage equality with incest and pedophiles, and wrote, "I wish the reporter had asked the next logical follow-up: If gays are like child-sex offenders, shouldn't we incarcerate them?"

Added Cloud, "Gays and lesbians are angry that Barack Obama has honored Warren, but they shouldn't be surprised.

"Obama has proved himself repeatedly to be a very tolerant, very rational-sounding sort of bigot. He is far too careful and measured a man to say anything about body parts fitting together or marriage being reserved for the nonpedophilic, but all the same, he opposes equality for gay people when it comes to the basic recognition of their relationships."

Cloud compared Obama to Richard Russell, Jr., "the longtime Senator from Georgia who--as historian Robert Caro has noted--cultivated a reputation as a thoughtful, tolerant politician even as he defended inequality and segregation for decades."

Wrote Cloud, "Obama gave a wonderfully Russellian defense of Warren on Thursday at a press conference. Americans, he said, need to 'come together' even when they disagree on social issues."

Added Cloud, "Russell would often use the same tactic to deflect criticism of his civil rights record. It was a distraction, Russell said, from the important business of the day uniting all Americans."

Cloud's editorial went on, "Obama also said today that he is a 'fierce advocate for equality' for gays, which is--given his opposition to equal marriage rights--simply a lie.

"It recalls the time Russell said, 'I'm as interested in the Negro people of my state as anyone in the Senate. I love them.'"

Addressing the popular speculation that Obama's repeated claim not to believe in marriage equality is ideological smoke concealing a more equitable disposition toward gay and lesbian families, Cloud noted, "People seemed to feel that once he had won, he would find a way--in his contemplative style--to help convince Americans that gay people really do deserve basic equality.

"Instead, he has found a way to insult gay people deeply."

Noting that the GLBT community had contributed heavily to Obama's presidential campaign, Cloud went on to write that, "Obama will now have to do something nice for the gays."

The example of "something nice," Cloud went on to cite is the advocacy from military leaders and Democratic lawmakers of openly gay William White for the post of Secretary of the Navy.

Wrote Cloud of such an appointment for White, "That would be cool. But I'm not getting my hopes up."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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