Waymon Hudson

Should "Inclusion" Include Everyone?

Filed By Waymon Hudson | December 19, 2008 2:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Living, Marriage Equality, Media, Politics, The Movement
Tags: Barack Obama, homophobic behavior, inauguration, inclusion, racism, Rick Warren

It is pretty obvious to anyone how I feel about Rick Warren being chosen to deliver the blessing on inauguration day. Warren is a unabashed bigot draped in religious clothing who hates the entire LGBT community. And let's be clear, he doesn't just disagree with our "issues", he hates our very existence.

His participation in this day in history is being written off as a sign of Obama's inclusion of all viewpoints, the fulfillment of his campaign promise to give everyone a seat at the table.

But should "inclusion" really include everyone? Or is this really about society's view that hating the LGBT community is simply an acceptable political viewpoint and not bigotry, pure and simple.

Let's make sure we draw distinctions here. Opposing same-sex marriage could be considered a "political view." Some people in our own community oppose it for various reasons. The same could be said about opposing hate crimes legislation- some feel harsher sentences are not the answer to the problem. While these may be different viewpoints from mine, they are issues in a larger debate.

Warren goes beyond that, though. He and his ilk think that LGBT people should not exist. He equates us to rapists, pedophiles, and sexual deviants. He wants to tear apart our families. He supports us being "converted" from who we are or simply wiped out completely. He thinks we don't have a place in society.

Sound familiar?

It should, because that's not a political view- that's bigotry. If he was saying that any other groups had no right to exists, say African-Americans or Jews, he would be called an extremist or terrorist and drummed out of the political process. So why is he being elevated to national pastor on inauguration day?

Because homophobia and transphobia are acceptable forms of hate in our society.

You can bet if he were a raging racist or anti-semite, there wouldn't be calls for "inclusion." But because it is just the LGBT community he's hating, it's a "valid" political viewpoint. Why do we have to sanction and condone one kind of hate. Why does anti-LGBT bias have a seat at the table as acceptable while other types do not?

Even some in our own community has accepted that this is simply a "political" difference. Read some of the comments on any of the Warren posts and you'll see people agreeing that while Warren's views may be repugnant, it is simply Obama opening his arms to different people. He's being inclusive. Would these people be saying the same thing if it was a neo-nazi asked to give the blessing? Hardly.

But we've been trained and conditioned to view even our own existence as a political movement, where if someone disagrees we should just suck it up. Why is that?

Warren may wrap himself and his hate in religion, but that certainly shouldn't make it valid. Racists used (and continue to use) the bible and religion to justify their views, as do anti-semites. Why do we think these religious fanatics should be pushed aside, yet people like Warren are considered acceptable? I fail to see the difference.

Maybe that's really what this choice has made crystal clear to me- hating us is simply acceptable. Our very existence is something we should "disagree on without being disagreeable."

That's one point of view I don't want to be included on.


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It has taken me longer to fully react to this development than apparently the rest of GLBT America. I wanted it to roll like water off a duck's back. I didn't want to take it personally.

I've been reading and listening to reactions all morning. It is personal. Parade my foot.

I think the great philosopher, Karl Popper, and his Paradox of Tolerance needs hauling out and dusting off again:
"Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. — In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal."

It is not wise to "tolerate" everything...our gut reations over Rick Warren are not wrong!!

Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I intend to borrow this quote shamelessly.

Great find!

Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | December 19, 2008 3:23 PM

"Warren is a unabashed bigot draped in religious clothing who hates the entire LGBT community. And let's be clear, he doesn't just disagree with our "issues", he hates our very existence."

Really?

Wow!

When you're finished venting, and I know you're understandably angry......I have gone through those cycles at times myself, take a deep breath and consider every word of the above quote.

Really?

Wow.

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | December 19, 2008 6:14 PM

Yes, really. The only difference between Warren and RobertsonDobson is his wardrobe of Hawaiian shirts and that, unless I've been right all along and RobertsonDobson are really the undead with clever dental work covering their fangs, he'll get to spew his venom longer into the future than they.

Actually, I'm completely happy with that statement. 100%.

Yes, really. I don't see any overstatements in that.

If pissing off the queer community by inviting homophobic pastor Rick Warren to perform the inaugural invocation is acceptable, how can Mr. Obama blithely accept Pastor Warren visiting the patron-saint of state sponsored terrorism, Syria and then praising the Bashar Assads and characterizing the country as a “moderate nation.”

It may come as a surprise to President-elect Obama to learn that Syria has worked in concert with Hezbollah and Iran, and provided shelter for every Islamic terrorist group imaginable, Nazi war criminal Alois Brunner, and Jamil Al-Gashey (the only surviving Munich terrorist), etc.

I realize the President-elect is still learning on the job but, is this the type of inclusiveness Mr. Obama was referring to when he defended including Rick Warren in the inaugural festivities? Perhaps, President-elect Obama was unaware that Rick Warren held Syria in such high esteem? On the other hand, maybe the fact that Syria is hell-bent on the destruction of Israel just doesn’t resonate for Mr. Obama?

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | December 20, 2008 1:44 AM

OK, so which Gay friendly Mullah would you have give the opening interdenominational prayer?

Thank you Waymon. You are not afraid to make connections that many people are too busy trying to be polite by avoiding.

We have to be agreeable - they don't.
We have to be accepting of their bigotry - they can take any action they want to marginalize our citizenship.
We have to turn the other cheek - even though that is their philosophy in the first place (that they don't uphold).

Inclusiveness would be a speaking appearance by an LGBT person at the inauguration. Warren's appearance is not inclusive, it is complicity.

We no longer need to make excuses for Democrats. We need to make demands and stick by them.

Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | December 19, 2008 4:15 PM

"We no longer need to make excuses for Democrats. We need to make demands and stick by them."

And do what? Since so many in the GLBT community condemn any dialogue with Republicans, what do you suggest? Resurrection of the Whig Party? How about the Anti-Federalists? Yeah, all of those big third parties that are just waiting in the wings. (Save your breath, Bill Perdue....but I know you won't for long)

And do what, Patrick. Put forth your detailed plan for us all to see, please.

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | December 19, 2008 7:20 PM

You know I talk to Republicans and Democrats and would talk with the Devil Incarnate if He had a vote on something that I cared about. But talking to doesn't mean being seduced by or losing one's independence or objectivity -- particularly when one's supposed "friends" are the ones kicking you in the teeth.

The plan hasn't changed. Neither, sadly, has the battlefield nor have the rules of the culture war.

Obama has cast his lot with an evil man, albeit a currently popular one. Being quiet about it serves no functional purpose. We should have made them pay for the McClurkin event -- if we had, they'd have likely sought out someone to help them not make such gaffs in the future. We should not make the same mistake again unless we want to face the same problem ad nauseum for the next four years.

(Hoadley is wrong about what happened with Nunn, BTW.)

beachcomberT | December 20, 2008 7:28 AM

This invocation flap will help remove the stars from our eyes and recognize Obama for what he is -- a guy driven by politics, not principle. If he had principles, he would not have ditched his own pastor, Rev. Wright, and would have invited him, or at least someone from his own gay-marriage-friendly denomination, United Church of Christ, to give the invocation.
The invocation itself is no big deal -- 5 minutes of national air time that will be forgotten the next day. But it alerts us that Obama will treat the GLBT community just as a fringe group that can be safely ignored or given just incremental crumbs. Sadly, our own so-called leaders are claiming the top priority right now is to get cushy federal jobs for GLBT people so that we are "at the table" (of the pork-barrel trough.)We need leaders who are not afraid to demand first-class citizenship in all respects. As I hear the news that Lambda Legal is forced to lay off people because of a fall-off in donations, I resolve to route all my future donations to them, and let HRC continue raising its money through its celebrity cocktail parties. Maybe they can apply for a grant from Bill Clinton's tainted Foundation.

And the most awful thing about Warren being chosen for such a high-profile event is that it gives him credibility and will probably win him a million new followers.

Go see the film Milk.

That guy helped defeat a proposition 30 years ago without any recognized gays in power and without a $40 million budget and without much help from the Democratic party.

Since his death all the momentum has been lost. SF used to erupt (according to the film) with demonstrations as one community after another outside of CA repealed gay rights legislation. That hardly happened at all during the past 16 years as we accumulated DADT DOMA 30 amendments and 40 mini DOMAs...and we are still no where near an ENDA worthy of attention.

Instead of being engaged in the street it seems to have become more important/popular to work within the system - making gay more mainstream, electing gays and (supposed) gay allies - and what has it achieved? Look at the previous paragraph, Don.

You want my detailed plan?

Stop making plans and start raising hell.

Caluclations like you propose only result in compromise that has erodoed our standing. Sure, we have "important" gays now..and those people don't seem to be making a damn bit of difference to anyone except themselves.

The trickle down theory of social justice is not any more effective than that the trickle down theory of economics.

Let the Democrats come to us...we have work of our own to do. Stop repeating the same bullshit that there are no other choices when you don't even seek them out.

Patrick, hon, you are falling for the "It was in the movie so it must be true" fallacy. I saw "Milk" last night, and although it is definitely a movie worth seeing, it is full of inaccuracies and is even more vulnerable for all the events and people it left out. Sure, you can't re-tell the entire six years in two hours ... and thus, exactly, the movie doesn't tell the whole story.

I can't name all the people who deserve credit for the Briggs Initiative defeat, but did not hear the names of Sally Gearhart, Troy Perry, Leonard Matlovich, David Mixner, Peter Scott, Ivy Bottini, Diane Himes, Dave Johnson, Steve Schulte, John Duran, Jack Campbell, Del Martin, Phyllis Lyon, Barbara Gittings, or Jackie Goldberg in the movie I saw last night, all of whom worked tirelessly, both inside and outside of California, to defeat the Briggs Initiative. Harvey Milk made a great contribution, but he did not blow this thing out of the air all by himself.

Contrary to the claim in the movie, Milk was not the first openly gay candidate to be elected to major public office in the US. A better guess for that designation would be Allan Spear in the Minnesota State Senate who came out in office and was soon after re-elected. Elaine Noble of the Massachusetts House of Representatives might also fit that bill, if you require a first election into office instead of a re-election.

As for Milk, he (1) got elected, (2) got the SF non-discrimination ordinance passed, (3) died and became a martyr and a legend. His fame is vast, his story is venerable, but his actual accomplishments are quite limited.

Oh ... and he got the dog poop out of the San Francisco parks.

I know AJ. That film isn't my first exposure to Milk. Thanks for the lesson, though.

My point is that the activism that was apparent in the 1970s was effective and it produced results.

Since that time and those demonstrations we have become selfish and self serving and short sighted and lazy and far too reliant upon a political party and/or cultural/political icons to save us. Obama is just the latest example of the unreliability of his party and that strategy.

We need to disengage from helping them achieve positions of power and focus on demanding our own citizenship from them. We enable them to use our minority status against us.

THAT is not what Milk & co did and THAT is my point. If the film weren't out right now, I wouldn't be making the connection.

It's events like this that have had me questioning my committment to the Democratic Party for some time. Democrats have been able to count on support from our community at levels that are only exceeded by the African American community. But I fear that as a result of that, we are taken for granted because those in power think we have no where else to go.

And they are justified in their assumption that the odds of my voting for a Republican candidate over a Democratic candidate are slim. But that does not mean I have to continue to support the Party that I'm not convinced supports me.

The Florida Democratic Party's performance in 2008 was pretty poor. Their failed miserably to meet their stated goals for GLBT delegates to the National Democratic Convention. (The only group that did worse were youth delegates - which gives you a pretty good idea of who controls the Party in Florida.) Their support in defeating Amendment 2, the so called Marriage Protection Amendment, was virtually non existant, resulting in discrimination being written into our constitution, even though you have to have a 60% yes vote in Florida for a constitutional amendment.

So it may be time to admit that working within the Party may not be the most productive use of my efforts. And mine is not a trivial committment. I'm an officer of one of our state Democratic caucuses, my local Democratic club, I'm a precinct committeeman and spent considerable efforts supporting the local Democratic get out the vote effort this fall.

But I'll give it a bit longer. Not quite time for a "goodbye cruel world" exit, but it is time to put my party on notice. Support me or don't count on my support much longer.

Bill, I can tell you from personal experience that you are exactly right about the Democratic Party. Back in '04, I led a group of 10 transgender activists in a meeting with the LGBT outreach people of the Kerry campaign. They wanted us to work for Kerry and promote him to our community but they also flatly refused to even do so much as publicly acknowledge our existence or even subscribe to a non-specific statement that all Americans should be treated fairly and equally under the law.

At the end of the meeting, one of the Kerry reps, a gay man, brought it all home for me with a single smug question, "Who else are you going to vote for, George Bush?"

That's the attitude we transfolks had to deal with and its exactly the same attitude gays and lesbians are dealing with now. Better get used to it because not only hasn't their attitude improved it's now been expanded to include all LGBT's.

Settle in folks, it's going to be a very long four to eight years.

I hope this story brings a smile to Obama's face...it sure will make Rick Warren happy...and that is what inclusion is all about, right Don?

Prop. 8 sponsors seek to nullify 18K gay marriages

By LISA LEFF, Associated Press Writer

Friday, December 19, 2008

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2008/12/19/state/n150241S64.DTL&tsp=1

Don't say anything and don't do anything about this, Don. Just sit there and take it. It looks much better...very 1950s...stoic.

Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | December 20, 2008 8:12 AM

Patrick:

I'm not completely sure where you are going in including the link concerning new news concerning proposition 8, but appreciate seeing it because I wasn't aware of California Attorney General Brown's decision to switch and fight against Proposition 8. That's a good thing. If you were referring to the reference to the fact that the fundamentalists are now arguing that Prop 8 should apply retroactively, I don't think that is really anything new, but I guess you wanted to emphasize the point that the invalidation of some 18,000 marriages is just cause for being angry.

And I certainly don't disagree.

Understanding anger because I've been angry probably many times more than you because I suspect I'm significantly older than you is one thing. Perhaps having had a bit more time to contemplate the whole thing makes more more appreciative of all of the wasted time I have personally spent, sometimes wallowing in it because somehow it felt good and gave me the excuse not to come to a more rational and productive state and do something about the underlying causes.

We're not really all that far apart on what's bugging us. We don't agree on approach. I spend a part of many of my days telling people, many of them poles apart from my own ideology, who I and my partner are, how we share some 95% or our human values with them, point out the unfairness of certain aspects of marriage inequality to our household, etc. There are many days when I'm talking to the wall. But then there are times, not always seen immediately, where I do see individual hearts and mind start to change a bit. That's not at all glitzy, and I don't suggest that it is the only "weapon" in the LGBT civil rights aresnal. But it works for me.

I was very surprised to learn about Rick Warren's being chosen to speak. Doesn't Obama remember how he was treated in the debate at Saddleback?

In order to respond to Warren's questioning in a way that wouldn't bury him politically with Warren and his church he had to continually answer "Well, no, but this is why we should not be concerned about about that, because the REAL issue is about (fill in the blank)." It took forever, and caused Warren to periodically skip over questions (of his choosing, not Obama's), and at one point backed Obama into a corner where he had to answer from his own personal conviction "Do you personally believe marriage is between one man and one woman, yes or no?" I well recall the expression on Obama's face. (If looks could kill.) Because he knew he'd been out-maneuvered.

All McCain had to do was show up and say "I DO!" to any question Warren put to him. At least he elected to say more than that.

Is it possible that Obama was so intimidated by this previous encounter that he doesn't dare NOT invite Warren? Or could he actually believe that man's garbage?

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | December 20, 2008 7:51 AM

It is precisely because of the way Obama was treated that he wants to parade the clown who was in McCain's pocket. My understanding still is that Obama did not choose the man. He just did not veto him after the cat was out of the bag.

Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | December 19, 2008 9:03 PM

Sorry all....but a lot of heat above and not very much light. Makes for good anger therapy, perhaps, but not much more, in my book.

I recommend reading this perspective on the Warren issue:

http://sidewaysmencken.blogspot.com/2008/12/dickdar.html

This move reminds me of Obama's "lipstick on a pig" comment. Was the comment a coincidence, or a cunning political move to drop bait? Either way, he was able to use it as leverage against Republicans who pounced on it.

This strikes me as being another shrewd maneuver. He's castrating his opponents by being a gentleman to them, and he's simultaneously stirring up the LGBT community, getting us to stand up and speak out, without actually doing us any harm.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | December 20, 2008 7:55 AM

Actually we are shooting ourselves in the foot. Do you think that the first African American in history to hold the highest office in America is going to be intimidated by...The Gay Movement?

We could protest rahter than whine; we could call up NOW and get out there to object to Warren. We won't get him removed, but we can call attention to the fact that many of us do not see him or his views as either acceptable or mainstream.

Inclusion is not about validating the "last acceptable form of bigotry" in America.

What do the "don't get angry" people think that we should do? I think most people here are open to new strategy, but I think those who want to change course ought to put something forward.

Everyday Realist | December 22, 2008 4:04 PM

Sorry to burst everyone's bubble here folks, but is this entire Warren issue really necessary ??? I'm not saying that I support the man and his views, but if we as the GLBT community are going to open our mouths about such an issue of inclusion and bigotry then should it not be fair for others to expect us to put our money where our mouths are when it comes to INCLUSION in our very own community ??? This has been and continues to be a very bitter pill to swallow among the community "leaders".

Think about it, how many everyday people in the community are invited to serve on non-profit boards, speak at activist lectures, invited to write articles for GLBT publications, invited with open arms in both the political and corporate GLBT scene ??? The answer is simple, not many............... In order to be "included" in the GLBT circle of change you have to grease palms with some corporation, know someone who is willing to bring you onto their political platform, or know the editors of GLBT publications. And of course then it becomes just the same old status quo of the GLBT media/activist/corporate boys and girls only club !!! And those who speak out in protest about it, well they receive the same debasing criticisms from the community that these straight folks receive.

Exclusion, bigotry and debasing ideology is very alive and well in OUR VERY OWN community by our community members towards our community members and I feel that we need to resolve this issue first within our very own community before being quick to jump on the Barney/ Activist bandwagon an denounce others for disagreeing with us. How on earth is the rest of America going to think we have any shred of credibility in our beliefs if we don't practice what we preach ourselves ???

So in closing, I say if we are going to raise a national stink about Warren and his views, then we should also be prepared for some harsh criticism for speaking out against ideology and exclusion that we as a community don't practice ourselves............

Thank you for your time

I basically agree with that point. The primary interests of the Democratic Party and those of the GLBT community don't always coincide --- and too often we count on them to do the heavy political lifting for us when we should be doing it ourselves. Unfortunately, when they say they will help us and don't follow through, that distracts us from doing the things we need to do for ourselves --- and even distracts us from realizing that we have to do it ourselves.

The above was in response to comment from "patrick" at Dec 20 2:19PM --- I had trouble getting it to post, and somehow the insertion point into the comment tree got dropped.