Rev Irene Monroe

LGBTQ Community Too Sharp For Recycled Propaganda

Filed By Rev Irene Monroe | March 04, 2008 8:45 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement
Tags: Barack Obama, gay marriage, marriage, New Jersey, Sermon on the Mount

If Illinois Sen. Barack Obama's recent flood of campaign literature can be believed, then his recent media buys in Ohio and Texas might be a sign of "a change of heart" or, as we say in religious language, a "conversion," as he demonstrated at Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio, where he shared his thoughts on same-sex unions.

"I think that it is a legal right that they [homosexuals] should have that is recognized by the state. If people find that controversial then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans," Obama said, which was then used in advertisements in the four largest LGBTQ markets in Ohio and Texas -- Columbus, Cleveland, Dallas, and Houston.

According to Obama's LGBTQ Steering Committee member Eric Stern, purchasing of these ads was "the icing on the cake" leading up to today's primaries.

But before the Obama campaign have their cake and eat it too in celebration of their outreach to these targeted queer communities, perhaps they need to chew on this as well: What about the queer newspapers in Rhode Island and Vermont that run throughout the New England states, one of which I write for?

Perhaps the LGBTQ populations are two small in numbers to matter and the states too weak in delegate power in helping Obama clench the presidential nomination?

But let me refer Obama to Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus says in Matthew 5:5 "Blessed are the meek, for they too shall inherit the earth."

And but our community here needs to hear this from you as well if we're going to ever believe that you want to be part of us.

This timely conversion might appear more faith-driven than politically motivated, but the language of Christian equality was non-existent in Obama's "Open Letter from Barack Obama to the LGBT Community" as a guest blogger here on The Bilerico Project just last week, in which he said:

I personally believe that civil unions represent the best way to secure that equal treatment. But I also believe that the federal government should not stand in the way of states that want to decide on their own how best to pursue equality for gay and lesbian couples -- whether that means a domestic partnership, a civil union, or a civil marriage.

The differences between civil union vs. civil marriage for same-sex couple is approximately 1,049 benefits and protections that are conferred upon heterosexual marriages. And the differences have been explained and expounded upon to Obama and his campaign ad nauseum. However, his repackaging the same pro-civil union rhetoric since his run for the White House is like re-gifting your undesirable Christmas presents. Sooner or later, when these gifts are passed around enough, someone will take them.

But, Obama, not everyone is buying your re-gift.

A commenter at Pam's House Blend wrote:

Obama not only thinks that separate-but-equal is just ducky for LGBT couples. It was a gimmick from an era in which Obama could have aspired to no position in the White House higher than that of head janitor..., Once he's in office, LGBT citizens will be forgotten. Fast.

Obama is also in favor of the "States Rights" approach to the whole marriage equality issue. This was a principle sacred to the White Citizens' Councils a half-century ago and is just as unconstitutional now.

This isn't a compromise or incremental approach to marriage equality; it's flat-out opposition to it -- and on the basis of old segregationist tricks at that all.

But there's no limit to the ability of some voters to believe whatever is presented to them in a slick package, apparently.

Another commenter there wrote:

People are very galvanized by Barack (who is my Senator) in a way that surprises me. I am all for hope and change and then the question becomes what will the change be on the issues I care most about. My husband and I have two kids and face constant challenges, great and small, by not being treated as legally married (which we are in Canada) so protecting my family is critical for me. Here, Barack advocates something less than marriage (and since he is very popular and very persuasive, this reassures a lot of people that they, too, can be against marriage). This has particular sting because he presents himself, as Karen noted, as a constitutional law expert. As such he knows that the right to civil marriage is constitutionally protected and has been held to be so important it cannot be denied even to convicted serial killers (who can lose the right to vote and other civil rights). Why do we deserve less? No one ever asks him.

Since Obama doesn't often defend his position on civil unions to members of the GLBT media, it is politically prudent for him to buy ads speaking to us because doing so lets him control his interactions with the LGBTQ community and the topics on which he doesn't want to be challenged.

Let me suggest that Obama take his time and read the entire Sermon on the Mount, chapters 5-7, from which he referenced recently. It contains the central tenets of Christian ethical teachings on which he claims to base his campaign. And I strongly suggest that he reads all of Matthew 7, the concluding chapter. It emphasizes the difficulty of doing what is right, but the moral imperative to do so nonetheless


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Ms. Monroe, or any Hillary supporter, could you please tell me where and how Hillary's position on ANY of these gay issues (particularly marriage equality) is different from Obama's?

I hear a lot of Hillary supporters attacking Obama for not supporting marriage equality almost as if they don't know that Hillary doesn't either.

So my challenge to you Ms. Monroe is to explain to me why Hillary's position on marriage equality is better than Obama's.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | March 5, 2008 4:54 AM

I would certainly remind any reader that the Christain Bible is recycled propaganda and to base a secular government or a political campaign argument on said document is spurious. Now if the Vatican can dig up the gospels of Mary Mother of God I would find them an interesting read, but doubtless as she was ONLY A WOMAN they were not worth preserving. As there is no evidence that any of the apostles other than the self appointed Paul (who never met Jesus) was literate who knows who wrote what....or how it was altered. Remember homosexuality was practiced freely throughout the Roman Empire and was a non issue since the time of Alexander the Great a thousand years before.

The Clintons have a history of greater support to the LGBT community than any politician I can imagine excepting Barney Frank. William Jefferson Clinton should be remembered as the first sitting president to address a Gay convention. He was not just the first "African American" president he was the first Gay friendly president as well. I can understand that any "African American" hetero male could have a problem being truly clear about his feelings/justifications regarding LGBT persons. Being a founding member of the GLF at a major University in 1972 I can attest to no support and open hostility to gay persons from "Black Civil Rights" groups of the day. Anyone seen a float for the NAACP at a Pride Parade? We have come a very long way out of bigoted darkness and part of the way is to stop trotting God into discussions in a secular state.

Do you remember the proud African American Character Actress Butterfly McQueen who was forced by the Hollywood "system" into playing stupid sterotypical parts?

"I don't know nuthin about birthin no babies!"

Here is a quote from THIS proud Woman: "As my ancestors are free from slavery, I am free from the slavery of religion."

Come to your beliefs on your own terms, but expect nothing of religious types or those who make arguments based upon a religious base of belief. I and my partner have been together for over 31 years and we have reciprocal wills drawn up by a Gay attorney for over 25 of those years. Now you mention 1049 special privileges specific to hetero marriage. We have to be smarter than them in managing our affairs and on some levels I am glad for that. We are richer (on average)than the average American because of it and now may justly call our straight friends "dumb breeders."

If the laws of the State in which you reside are onerous vote with your feet. This was why I left Indiana in the 1970's to move to Illinois which offered better laws and many more financial opportunities. We are only a few years away from the promised land. In order of importance to our interests it is Clinton, Obama, and McCain.

"LGBTQ Community Too Sharp For Recycled Propaganda"

I realize this is off topic, but if the title of this post were true, then HRC would have gone out of business around 1990.

Rev. Monroe, one of the major reasons I'm supporting Sen. Obama is because of HRC's early endorsement of Sen. Clinton.

HRC is an organization that has for a decade hostile to transgender people, so why would I cast my vote for a candidate that has their endorsement?

Michael Bedwell | March 5, 2008 4:54 PM

Really, some people need to get a new triangular tin foil hat. The signals they're getting are all messed up....

But perhaps it's my tin foil that needs updated. Your entirely subjective OPINION of whether or not HRC has been "hostile to transgender people...for a decade" aside, please, exactly when did they endorse Sen. Clinton for President?

You know, Reverend, I'm not so sure on this one. Personally, the way I see it is that the money was the campaign's to spend. I didn't get an ad, but I don't feel upset about it. Texas and Ohio both rank as some of our top states our readership comes from, but we were passed up.

Vermont was already going to be his - why bother wasting money to win a primary you're already going to win? It was too far away from Ohio to help there. Rhode Island? Yes, he could have bought into a paper from Rhode Island. Is there one?

But holding it against him for not buying an ad in a newspaper? We should be happy we're getting the ad buy to start with.

The comment about Clinton's position's on LGBT equality not being particularly better than Obama's is an excellent one.

As a longtime admirer of Rev Monroe I have wondered why she ONLY lifts up criticisms of Obama's positions regarding LGBT folks but does not highlight similar failings by Clinton. I have also wondered why Rev Monroe has not also criticized some of Clinton's campaign tactics, particularly those many see as racially inflamatory and divisive.

My belief is that Rev Monroe puts her energy into challenging Obama because she feels he is at least worth challenging. Obama represents a call to a new approach in American politics and a hope of bringing folks together in new and healing ways. I sense that if there is something worthwhile associated with a particular candidate's message/vision then it is worthwhile to confront and challenge that candidate when one feels he/she falls short of the possibility of that message/vision. Rev Monroe said as much in her earlier commentary when she noted that Obama had "succeeded by getting disenfranchised Americans involved in his campaign" She said that Obama had "proved that not only can he reach across this nation’s dividing lines, but we as Americans can too." And she noted that Obama has " brought out untold numbers of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Americans to cast votes for him. " Yet she felt that Obama in some ways has fallen short and disappointed in terms of the quest for full LGBT equality . So she challenged him VIGOROUSLY while concluding with the hope that Obama could indeed change to become a stronger ally of our community.

I take it as a positive thing for Obama that Rev Monroe continues to take the time and energy to push him to go even farther in supporting true equality and justice for the LGBT community. Obama should be honored that Rev Monroe deems him and his campaign worthy of her efforts to improve them. After all Obama was endorsed early on by Bishop Gene Robinson , who Rev Monroe has celebrated as "our Martin Luther King" (
http://www.irenemonroe.com/2007/01/19/gene-robinson-is-our-martin-luther-king/ ) .

To my knowledge, Rev Monroe has made no such effort to challenge or enlighten Clinton and her campaign.

That says a great deal.

Robert, excellent post. I completely agree.

I am a loss to understand why so many of my friends and others online bemoan the fact they are rejected by their churches yet still want to be accepted as part of a religion that preaches hatred and intolerance towards them, and proclaims LGBT people to be sick/evil/sinful, even if amidst the congregation there are personally known those who are good, responsible, nice queers?

And yes, in Australia too we keep asking, whatever happened to the separation of church and state?

If we actually valued that idea, shouldn't the very act of declaring policies to be religiously based, preclude one from participating in the secular political arena?

The words "fundamentalist" and "politician" should especially be mutually exclusive.

Regards, Grace