Michael Crawford

Melissa Etheridge: Shut Up and Sing

Filed By Michael Crawford | January 05, 2009 3:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Fundie Watch, Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Melissa Etheridge and Rick Warren, Rick Warren against gay marriage, Rick Warren hates gays

I know it is not my place to tell Melissa Etheridge when she can and cannot speak, but when she continues to make excuses for Rick Warren's anti-gay bigotry, I have to say to her: shut up and sing.

Here is Melissa's latest bit of political commentary on the Rick Warren controversy from a recent interview with NPR:

Audio and transcript after the jump...

I believe I understand Obama's choice here. I believe that Barack Obama wants to be the President of the entire United States. Pastor Rick Warren reached out to him, brought him into his church during the campaign, which outraged many members of his church. Yet he reaches across and I think this is Obama reaching back and going, 'I think we can disagree on things, yet we can still all move forward. We need to get past our differences.'

"And I just want to make sure that as the liberals and progressives and Democrats or whatever you want to call us are moving into this new time with this new president do not say that they, the evangelicals who say such horrible things about gays, they have to stay over here and we're not going to let them in. That makes us no better than the last administration."

"Just because he [compares gays to incest or polygamy] does not mean I have to not speak to him, or don't ever want to be in his company. We had a crazy experience at the Muslim Public Affairs Council conference...We met, we spoke. He's a fine person...He said he was trying to make the definition of marriage not change, not necessarily saying that gays are pedophiles or any of that stuff. One can draw whatever they want from that. This is what he told me.

Seriously?

I know that we ask that famous LGBT come out of the closet, but we should also ask that if they speak publicly about issues that effect our lives that they work with political organizations on messaging. Have gay celebs like Melissa Etheridge making excuses for anti-gay leaders like Rick Warren does us no good.

Celebrities get handed a bigger microphone by virtue of being famous and with access to that bigger microphone should comes a greater responsibility to say things that are going to help, not hinder the LGBT movement.

h/t Good as You


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We're in complete agreement on this Michael. It wasn't enough that she had to waste so many precious minutes during the LOGO forum last year babbling about herself, her feelings, and the New Mexican bark beetle, now she's back to show us once again that she's, as she calls herself, "a privileged rock star" and really has little or no clue about what life is like for those of us not on the Queer A-list.

Her music is great. She should stick to what she does best and leave the punditry to those far more capable and well-informed and far less self-centered and insulated from average working class LGBT's than she is.

Furthermore, the media needs to stop going to celebrity dilettantes for these things and make the same effort to involve those who are actually qualified to speak on the relevant issues in our lives as they do for non-LGBT topics.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | January 5, 2009 8:23 PM

She could be an effective spokesperson if she would to work with LGBT political leaders on messaging that could help further or cause.

You might well be right Michael. My problem with her has never been about her support of our rights but rather about the way she expresses herself on the issues.

Simply put, she's a rock star and she's used to being the center of attention. Nothing wrong with that, she's certainly earned that right as a star performer. The problem for me is that when that attitude is taken out of that arena and inserted into a situation where she is cast as a spokesperson for our community.

She clearly doesn't get why the community is so upset. If you read the quote, you see that once again it's just more "me, me, me"..."

"I think he's a fine person." So what? Who cares what she thinks of him? Truly fine people don't compare persecuted minority groups to criminals who prey on children.

"Just because he [compares gays to incest or polygamy] does not mean I have to not speak to him, or don't ever want to be in his company." Wow, really? If someone called me a pedophile or incestuous I don't think I'd be putting them on my speed dial. I'd venture to suggest that a lot of folks would agree with me on that.

Until Melissa Etheridge gets a clue that our community doesn't think homophobic bigots are fun people to party with she should really just shut the hell up about LGBT politics.

I just posted this at Queerty. I think her ignorance is dangerous. It's one thing to be easily swayed by flattery, and quite another start lecturing others about what they should do when she does not know the person whom she is endorsing.

This is the person to whom she says we should sit down:

"As described on an activist blog that specialized in covering the controversial anti-gay legislation [and whose author has contributed to Talk To Action], in February 2006 "the Primate of All Nigeria and leader of the Anglican Communion's largest Province, Archbishop Peter Akinola, endorsed legislation that would ban most basic civil rights for gay and lesbian Nigerians, and enforce that ban with a 5 year prison sentence."

On April 30, 2006, pastor Rick Warren wrote an op-ed, for Time Magazine, which lavished praise on Akinola, likening the cleric to Nelson Mandela"

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/12/24/191631/90


How does she not know this? Does she care? I am starting to think she does not care so long as it does not harm her at the moment.

Michael,

I agree, 100%.

Melissa and Tammy are an embarrassment to our community. This tendency for queers to lapse into accommodation mode the moment a homophobe shakes our hand or drapes their arm around us, is scary.

Of course, I blame Obama. He had thousands of pro-gay men and women of the faith he could've asked to perform the invocation but he chose Rick Warren.

I am much more measured about Obama now and more inclined not to trust him and it's not just Rick Warren.

His "O"-Ness chose Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine to head up the DNC. A very troubling choice. Kaine is not only against gay marriage -- he's opposed to civil unions! He's opposed to abortion and stem cell research too.

It looks like we're in for a long four years, as Obama runs decisions past his BFF, Rick Warren, to see if they pass the smell test of the religious right.

Not good, my friend. Not good.

I started reading, but stopped at "shut up and sing". This reminds me of what the über-conservatives were saying when Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks denounced Bush during a concert. (Isn't "Shut Up and Sing" the name of a documentary about the incident and its backlash?)

She has the right to say what she wants, you have the right to post what you want on your blog but the difference between the two is that you're trying to stifle another point of view.

I don't agree with that point of view, but I won't tell someone who does to shut up.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | January 5, 2009 8:20 PM

Jeff,

My post is not like the right-wing trying to shut down Dixie Chicks when Natalie Mann spoke out against the Iraq war. They were trying to silence anti-war opinion. In my post I urge Etheridge to work with LGBT groups on messaging.

As an out celebrity, she is seen by the media as a spokesperson for LGBT issues and she has a responsibility to the rest of us to better educate herself on the issues or to refer the media political activists who have more political savvy.

My preference is not that she shut up, but that she realize the important opportunity she has to give voice to so many LGBT people who the media overlook because we are not rich and famous.

Sorry, Michael,
but "shut up and sing" doesn't come off as urging her to work with the community on messaging.

It's clear and unambigiuous. This reminds me of how often people think of the Black community as one who thinks and acts and votes in lock step. We don't. Neither does the gay community.

There are many who agree with Melissa's approach. Of course, most don't have the balls to stand up to the vicious rabble from the other side.

Shut up and Sing is an unfortunate and foul way to approach this issue. You disagree with her. That's okay. It's America.

But no one is telling you to Shut up and Write (about something else)! See. That would be very foul and intolerant of the possibility that MY opinion is not the only one that matters. ~~

I like your approach to this.

So, should we have her speak to Joe and HRC before framing the message? Apparently she'll be damned if she does and damned if she doesn't.

Hyprocricy is not limited to the Religious Right.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | January 6, 2009 12:16 PM

I didn't say she should speak to HRC, though that would not be a bad idea.

It is not hypocritical to ask that Melissa look at how her words will be used by Warren and his supporters to provide cover for his anti-gay attitudes and actions.

Melissa's words will be used by the anti-gays to reinforce Warren's image as "James Dobson in a Mr. Roger's style cardigan."

Michael, you are a highly experienced and intelligent man to know that it doesn't matter what any of us say, even if Melissa said the sky is blue, the Religious Right will figure out how to twist our words for their purpose. Should we remain silent because of that? It's not a good enough excuse to ask her to be quiet.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | January 6, 2009 12:52 PM

I want her to speak intelligently not be silent.

Words do matter and the words of a celebrity in our culture matter more.

The fact you have to defend asking her to speak through intelligent understanding of the issues is damning of the level of discourse in this country.

I am stunned that anyone would debate educating oneself on the issues involved before speaking. Why is this controversial?

"There are many who agree with Melissa's approach. Of course, most don't have the balls to stand up to the vicious rabble from the other side."

Who are you and what have you done for the glbt community to have the "balls" to call those of us who have been in the trenches for years fighting for our rights, those who expose Rick Warren for the two-face jerk he is, "vicious rabble?"

Religious bigots like Rick Warren will NEVER change their stance on homosexuality, abortion or stem cell research because "The Bible says . . .

People like him MUST be confronted for their bigotry each and everytime they open their mouths.

I have confronted face to face people like Lou Sheldon and Gary Bauer. I sued Jerry Falwell - AND WON!

It is countless confrontational activists who have established our community centers, our AIDS programs, our political lobbying groups.

Your characterization of "vicious rabble" of us activists shows that YOU are the one who would sell us out in a flat second if it would enrich you.

Would you say the ACT UP people of the late 80s & 90s were "vicious rabble?" NO! They were heroes whose actions forced our government to move and help those afflicted with HIV/AIDS!

Melissa's comments were uninformed and harmful to the struggle for our rights.

Jerry ...

You've got a very impressive list of accomplishments. Good for you. I'm truly proud of those in the trenches.

However, if I just landed from Pluto and couldn't even spell 'activist' ... it would still make my opinion - as one who has not had his head bashed in - as valid as one who has.

You seem to place yourself on a pedestal, my friend. This is a dangerous way of thinking. Yes, in-your-face ACT UP type activism is certainly effective. But is that the only way?

"My Way or the Highway" seems to be the way your brain is working. I tend to disagree with that closed mindset. I tend to think some forms of activism can actually be less in-your-face and still be, surprise surprise, equally effective.

But, like you alluded, who am I to actually have an opinion? Who's Melissa? I guess there's only you and those who think like you.

Is anyone else frightened?

She does not need to shut and sing, but she does need to first, shut up and figure out whether she knows what she is saying is accurate or not, and then talk.

Her right to speech does not mean I don't get to call her ignorant, and asked her (however impolitly) to first know what she's saying is true or not.

As I mentioned above, and I will repeat here, this is the man she says we should be okay with:

"As described on an activist blog that specialized in covering the controversial anti-gay legislation [and whose author has contributed to Talk To Action], in February 2006 "the Primate of All Nigeria and leader of the Anglican Communion's largest Province, Archbishop Peter Akinola, endorsed legislation that would ban most basic civil rights for gay and lesbian Nigerians, and enforce that ban with a 5 year prison sentence."

On April 30, 2006, pastor Rick Warren wrote an op-ed, for Time Magazine, which lavished praise on Akinola, likening the cleric to Nelson Mandela"


I would be much better with her talking if she's going to be a designated 'spokesperson' who knows the subject matter.

The problem I have hear is that others (you could find several diaries with hundreds of comments at Daily Kos for example) are using her as a spokesperson for gays, and its a role (look at her writing on Huffington Post that she has taken on). If she's going to take on that role- then she needs to not be ignorant. It's that simple.

"I know it is not my place to tell Melissa Etheridge when she can and cannot speak..."

But you're going to do it anyway, right?

"I know that we ask that famous LGBT come out of the closet, but we should also ask that if they speak publicly about issues that effect our lives that they work with political organizations on messaging."

So they can toe the official party line, or else?

"Have (sic) gay celebs like Melissa Etheridge making excuses for anti-gay leaders like Rick Warren does us no good."

Hold it a minute! It wasn't Melisa Etheridge who invited Warren to speak at the inauguration, it was Barack Obama. I suspect that you find it easier to attack Melissa on this issue than your Messiah because you can relieve yourself of the anger and betrayal you feel without having to admit that you might have been wrong about Obama.
In any case, none of this would be an issue if Obama actually respected the separation of church and state our constitution requires and refused to have an invocation, or convocation, by any clergyperson, left, right, or center. But he's made it clear that he believes that religion has a place in public life (i.e., politics), just like Shrub. I hope all you who voted for him are ready for four more years of this!

Right on! BTW, would you happen to be available . . . for the next dance?

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | January 6, 2009 11:37 AM

Wow. You got a little worked up reading my post!

For the record, I don't think PEBO is the messiah. I do think that he has the potential to be a transformational president and that we will have to help him realize that potential.

Asking that a celebrity who acknowledges being seen as a spokesperson to think about how her words will be seen and used is not asking that anyone follow "the party line." It is asking that they use the enhanced microphone that they have access to responsibly.

Melissa Etheridge, nor any GLBT celebrity, should be the spokesperson for GLBT rights. She lives in a completely different world than the rest of us, so she doesn't have a clue.

Ever since the Logo forum, I'm beyond convinced that whenever Melissa opens her mouth, it's for self-promotion only, and that's it.

I'd appreciate it if she'd stick with talking about things she's actually familiar with: music, or breast cancer survivors. Melissa would be useful in those conversations, but not when it comes to us average non-celeb GLBT folks.

Re: "we should also ask that if they speak publicly about issues that effect our lives that they work with political organizations on messaging"

As a "LBGTQ", I enjoy being able to form my own opinions (without having to consult with a central organization first) and being able to express them.

I would not want to deny such pleasures even to celebrities.

I would recommend -- without demanding that you do so -- that you cease expecting every utterance by every individual who belongs to the same special interest group as yourself to express the lockstep opinions that you would wish them to.

She's saying this because people are treating her like a spokesperson for the gay community when clearly her ignorance does not even represent a significant minority view of the community. She knows she is being treated as a spokesperson. She was on a site like Huffington Post defending her position in this capacity. Your language is also manipulative. While you describe people as acting in lockstep, the fact is this is part of Obama's concerted effort to require gays to shut up. Indeed, her entire argument is "Warren likes me personall, and I trust Obama. It's ironic you speak of lockstep while this is being pushed onto the gay community as shut up about Warren. I can't tell if you are naive or manipulative. Either way, your arguments are for the reasons stated suspect.

Re: "the fact is this is part of Obama's concerted effort to require gays to shut up"

Really? It was Michael who said "shut up and sing", not Obama.

I know Melissa's opinion doesn't count as "gays" because it does not agree with yours. That's what I meant when I manipulatively used the word "lockstep".

Excellent point, Jason ...
I can't having to 'clear' my opinions with Cental Command. Like, uhmmm ... How do WE feel about such and such?

God forbid I become a global celeb, they're gonna be a lot of pissed off people in the community.

Curious Michael;
President-elect OBama selects Warren and you want the dogs called off; Etheridge speaks out on behalf of Warren and you want her to shut up.

I think that she is wrong about Warren, but I wonder if your pique has to do with her being a Lesbian?

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | January 6, 2009 11:28 AM

Thanks Maura! Just yesterday I told Alex via IM that someone would claim that I was criticizing Melissa because I'm anti-lesbian.

Of course, I'm not anti-lesbian nor have I asked that people stop criticizing PEBO because of the Warren pick. You are just reading whatever you want into what I wrote so that it fits your world view.

Thanks Michael;
I told a friend this morning that you'd find a way to be dismissive of my observation.

For what it is worth, I believe that Etheridge is ill informed at best.

And Obama is simply showing poor judgement in keeping warren

It's infuriating that you would tell someone that because she is a lesbian and famous that she has to be YOUR spokesperson and cannot express her own views on an issue.

This is exactly what I hate about the whole idea of "coming out" in the first place, not just for famous people. Not only do you expect people to "be honest" about their sexuality (meaning, use the vocabulary prescribed by the activist community to describe their deepest feelings and most intimate relationships), you expect them to conform to your strict notion of what it means to be "gay," including which opinions one may hold, which candidates one may vote for, which political parties one may join.

And then you're surprised people like Anderson Cooper don't want any part of it?

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | January 6, 2009 11:44 AM

I did not tell Melissa that she had to be my spokesperson on LGBT issues. But, she sees herself as a spokesperson and by virtue of being a celebrity she is one. That means that she has a responsibility to educate herself about issues that are affecting not just her, but also the overall LGBT community.

It sounds like you may be having issues with coming out and finding your place in the LGBT community. I hope that you are able to figure out how to be yourself and be comfortable as an openly LGBT person.

You don't make any sense. You say that Etheridge should check in with your approved glbt organizations before she expresses an opinion, but then you say you're not asking her to be your spokesperson. She is a citizen, an artist, and a lesbian, and she is expressing an opinion which, incidentally, is held by many other lgbt people. Those people might not be on your approved list, but their opinions are no less valid or informed or compassionate or right.

And, to address your speculation on my personal situation -- I have been out for almost 3 decades. If by finding my "place in the lgbt community" you mean learning how to march in lockstep with the activist establishment, I was pretty good at that in my twenties, but then I grew up and realized that the world is not black and white and that authoritarians are dangerous, no matter their ideology.

It's only confusing if you think criticizing her lack of knowledge on the issue instantly defines how she can become informed.

I don't trust your post in the sense that you seem to list only those organizations which you think make your argument.

The statements being made here can be made of anyone trying to speak for the gay rights efforts.

There are a large number of people, whether its Melissa or Dan Savage, who make comments that are factually and intellectually inaccurate.

What's wrong with asking them to think before speaking to make sure they understand the issues involved?

You seem to be advocating the right to speak not matter what regardless of consequences. That's fine. But don't act like a title is the same as what the writer is saying. He's saying something different from censorship. He's saying that she should educate herself as to the issues. And no, I don't believe based on what I have seen of her writings or her positions on issues that she understands the concepts involved.

It's like those who think civil unions are like marriage. Whenever I , as an attorney, see this. I want them to just be quiet. Not literally, but long enough to not confuse their opinion with the facts of the matter on the subject. I want them to go out do some research. Democracy does not require that we ignore the fact someone is ignorant simply because you think that's protecting speech. Speech, like everything else in a democracy, is a matter of balancing concepts.

So, you're saying ...

... that if she sat quietly and/or read a few books on the subject, that she'd eventually see the error of her ways and agree with YOU?

Interesting -- no room for a scintilla of a chance that she just might be right.

Must feel good to have all the answers. I wish I was that smart.

Right now, I am reading multiple books, articles, and journals on green (or clean) technology because it's a subject matter of which I am ignorant, but, for which, I want to gain expertise. I am meeting everyone and talking to everyone that I can to understand the concepts. What I am advocating for Melissa is no different than I expect of myself or anyone who wants to have a reasonable discourse.

How exactly is she , even if she does meet with Warren, going to have a conversation that's useful to the gay rights movement if she doesn't know a) who he is b) the spectrum of issues involved and/or c) how to resolve them? Again, she's putting herself out there as a spokesperson, and therefore, this is the basis of why she should know what she's talking about.

Disagreement is fine when its based on that common understanding. Disagreement, such as the kind that Sullivan and you do, is not fine when it's based on manipulation of what's been said. One is logic and the other is factual.

About green tech, I could take your position and that of Melissa. Talk about the subject with potential clients without having studied it.

This certainly would drive my ego because then I really would be doing what you describe- assume that I am some kind of genius. That was very Rovian of you to say that by the way. To describe your behavior as if it is mine.

I choose to add something constructive to any future conversations I have on the subject by educating myself. That's all that is being said of Melissa.

You seem to think of that as a bad thing. I think its a healthy part of any real discourse. Unless your goal isn't discourse, but instead conclusionary positions about how she agrees with you? I suspect that's what this is about for you.

For the record, I would not have a problem with debating Warren in a forum that allowed both sides, gay and anti-gay, to have their say. So, I am not against real discourse. I am, however, against the ignorance that you are promoting as a virtue.

I'm not the one trying to force my opinion as the right one, as the only way to move forward. Far from it. That position holder is you and some others.

While I can see the point of Freud's angry horde who see no 'peace talks' with the likes of Warren in the future, I happen to be an OLIVE BRANCH type of guy. It's my nature. Maybe its to my detriment. Who's to say? Not I. Certainly not you.

So yes, I stand behind Melissa's position to at least attempt to find some common ground and to change opinion through subtle persuasion rather than histrionics. We are extremely good at the latter, I know. But its time for change. This is the year for change.

Pouting and holding our breath every time some struggling-to-be-relevant religious figure utters faggot or dike or some other such nonsense is no longer the way, IMHO.

You seem to take an analytical approach to the matter. No visceral reactions to anything, always thoughtful, rational, by the book. And this is a wonderful motto. Sorta like the professorial manner people have attributed to the President-elect. Maybe his Warren decision came from such analysis. I don't know. And no matter how many books who've digested neither do you.

Somethings requires deep study, like rocket science. Basic human rights is little more from the gut.

So you keep reading up on Green Tech, your clients will thank you for it.

There is a right and wrong answer here regarding ignorance. We are discussing ignorance. You may want to keep shifting the discussion to your conclusionary point, but I will stay on topic.

You can say you are not trying to "force" your position all you want. It's a misdirection. Since the discussion is about ignorance, you are indeed trying to force a position. It's clear to me that it's incredibly easy to be your kind of fake discourse in which we don't expect anything of each other other than an opinion.

But, opinions, as that saying goes, is like a___holes in that everyone's got one. What separates the good ones from the bad ones is whether they move forward public debate in a constructive way.

Someone ignorantly spouting off is not as useful as a spokesperson (again what she has chosen) who is versed. Even if I disagree with such a person at least it creates a frame from which we can come to a common mind toward compromise. You offer no such structure.


Your position is indefensible with regard to reasoned discussion. It only makes sense in a faux sense of discussion in which people don't understand the subject matter.

In such a discussion, it's just as easy as to throw a dot at the board as to come to a clear understanding. The three questions I asked before about Melissa's ignorance is my problem with her. You ignored my thesis:

Ignorance is never a good thing for public discourse.

On that point, there is a right and wrong answer.

Just like if someone said 2+2 equals 10 is not a useful discourse by saying "well that's just that person's views.'

Yes it is. But it's still wrong. Melissa needs to understand the issues outside of herself and her circle of friends if she's going to put herself out as a spokesperson. Just like one would expect a person saying 2+2 equals 10 to be corrected.

It's really that simple. Spin as might, that's the issue here being discussed. I think you may labor under the American public view that anything regarding public policy is a matter of how one personally feels without regard to what our system is.

Miss Marsha | January 6, 2009 9:46 AM

Not saying this was Obama’s intention, but bringing Rick Warren to light on the inaugural platform presents an opportunity for dialog and, possibly, reconciliation with an awful (no pun intended) lot of people.

HELLooooOOOO!!

The lengths you Obama supporters go to in order to make his gaffes and blunders look like brilliant political strategies is hilarious. I hope Saturday Night Live is taking notes for their new season (provided they'll have the guts to even tackle it.)

Hmmm...

I'm sure SNL is making note of the internal intolerance of a community constantly on the stump for tolerance.

Shunning those who are different (in opinion). Wow. Who woulda thought?

Differing opinion?

Where have you been?

These so-called "christians" in the USA have pushed for the execution of gay people twice, in the 70's and 80's.

And because they can't get away with that (just yet), they instead pass around propaganda about gay people, which is nothing more than plagiarized anti-Jew Nazi propaganda, with the word "Jews" simply replaced with "homosexuals".

Some of you timid gay people are going to give these kooks enough rope to hang the entire community. Melissa will be one of them.

Regardless of who speaks, religion has no place nor right to preach at a civil state function. If people wish to believe in an invisible man, that's there right. This is supposed to be a Republic not a Theocracy and religion should not be tolerated in civil politics. While freedom of religion is a right, it should not be allowed to use Government to control the masses nor should the government be used to control citizens. Religion's only purpose is to put power in the hands of those who seek power. Remember all religions are created by and run by man; and thus cannot be perfect in any way.
Peace and love,
Tammi Dee Voytek

Apparently, you don't study history. The very first President and all others afterwards have sworn in with their left hand on a Bible. Religion in politics. As far as I know, each President has had an opening and closing prayer at their inauguration. Religion in politics. It's a tradition.

Personally, I agree with Melissa. You attract more flies with honey that vinegar.

Perhaps we're spending too much time demonizing Rick Warren than approaching and lobbying him into changing his views. Think of how powerful he could be as an advocate for our community. After all, if it worked for the Apostle Paul... :)

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | January 6, 2009 12:21 PM

If I thought Melissa's approach was going to work, I would be all in favor of reaching out to Warren.

That serves to underscore my point that by working with gay organizations on messaging and approach she could have helped a stronger way to reach out to Warren and his supporters.

I am not opposed reaching out and working with those who may disagree with us, but we have to do so in a way that is smart and strategic.

Several of the gay organizations are not anymore in step with the rest of the community then Melissa is. Why should we trust them to give her the perfect message? She needs to speak to the ordinary LGBT folks on the true issues. If she wants a reality check, she needs to visit an LGBT youth center.

According to wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_inauguration

"According to tradition, in the first inauguration, President Washington added the words "so help me God" when reciting the oath, although there is no contemporary evidence of this. However, the only contemporaneous source that fully reproduced Washington's oath completely lacks the religious codicil.[3] Given that nearly every President-elect since President Franklin Roosevelt has recited the codicil, it is likely that the majority of presidents-elect have uttered the phrase (as well as some vice presidents, while taking their oaths). However, as President Theodore Roosevelt chose to conclude his oath with the phrase "And thus I swear," it seems that this current of tradition was not overwhelmingly strong even as recently as the turn of the twentieth century. Only Franklin Pierce has chosen to affirm rather than swear.[4] It is often asserted that Herbert Hoover also affirmed, because he was a Quaker, but newspaper reports prior to his inauguration state his intention to swear rather than affirm.[5]"

This entry goes on to note that there is no requirement in the Constitution that the Bible be used for the swearing in. It is merely customary, or as you prefer, traditional, but not constitutional. (Apparently you don't study history, either.) Politics and religion may be traditional in this country, but so is homophobia/transphobia traditionally an expression of the union of the two, and I know that's not a tradition you want to continue. Keep reigion out of politics and you're half way there to full equality for LGBT people. The religious right understands this well enough; Barack Obama doesn't.

I wonder if working with a nonprofit would have helped her in this situation. There are a lot of folks who work for them who don't see the point in this rick warren situation either.

I think that the issue of what sort of rhetoric we valorize and what sort we impede and silence (which both happen on a regular basis and can't be avoided) is a bit too abstract for some people in the community.