Michael Crawford

Forget Rick Warren, Joseph Lowery is the voice our country needs to hear

Filed By Michael Crawford | December 22, 2008 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Joseph Lowery, Obama's inauguration, Rick Warren, Rick Warren and gays

While the debate over Rick Warren delivering the invocation at Barack Obama's inauguration continues, not nearly enough attention has been paid to the selection of Rev. Joseph Lowery to deliver the benediction.

Unlike Rev. Warren who has equated marriage with incest, child rape and polygamy and campaigned fiercely for Prop 8, Rev. Lowery has been a passionate supporter of LGBT equal rights. Rev. Lowery gave the following speech at the funeral of Coretta Scott King.

Rev. Lowery was a key figure in the Black Civil Rights Movement. After Rosa Parks' arrest for refusing to yield her seat on a bus to a white passenger, Rev. Lowery helped to lead the Montgomery bus boycott. He went on to co-found with Dr. Martin Luther King the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and led the organization for twenty years.

While Rev. Warren continues to deliver a message of intolerance against LGBT people wrapped in sheep's clothing, it is Rev. Lowery who will really be speaking the message that will help to heal our nation's wounds and unite us as a country.

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Amen Michael
But some elements of the gay community are so quick to conclusion jump on Obama and attack him before he's even gotten the chair warm in the Oval Office they have overlooked the fact that a civil rights icon is also on the inauguration program.

But then again, it points to on of the reasons why many African-Americans have a problem with the 'Gay Is The New Black' slogan: Lack of appreciation of the history of the Civil Rights Movement

We don't attack Obama, Monica, we attack his choice of invocation leader and we attack the values he is promoting and giving credibility to in doing so.

There is a difference and it's a big one.

Warren is giving an invocation. He is not setting policy. I agree with Bil and Monica that Warren's inclusion is not worth the cause celebre that it has created. He's not giving credibility to Warren's every opinion; he is making the statement that he intends to be the President of all the people, and will take alternate points of view in consideration. I believe that the GLBT community is reading too much into this. I've often stated that the favorite exercise of the T community is the conclusion jump, and that's happening in the GL community over this.

As for Reverend Lowery, I can't wait to hear what he has to say at the inauguration. He is the real deal.

He advocates violations of international law that make Europe nervous about America continuing in its Cowboy Jingoism.

Warren ought not be there for mutliple reasons; the excellent choice of Reverend Lowerey does not alter that fact.

We ought to be protesting Warren and writing not just about his anti-LGBT activities here, but those aborad and his reckless call to violate Hague no IV by assasinating the Iranian PM. But we won't. Because we've become bloody sheep again....

This is an excellent post, Michael. Thank you for introducing me to the words and work of Rev. Lowery. While I am profoundly disappointed that the President-Elect chose to play politics with the Warren invite, it is encouraging to see the Rev. Lowery will be closing things out.

No, Crawford, we shouldn't forget that Warren is a rightwing scum whose being honored and given a huge national audience by Obama. We're going to be living with that kind of open bigotry from Obama's administration for the next 4-8 years so we might as well be clear about it.

The Warren debacle began with a sick bigoted attack on our rights by Obama and McCain at's Warrens southern baptist megachurch that ended our hopes to defend ourselves against same sex marriage rights. Those who say the appearance of Warren is no big deal are shortchanging the GLBT movements as all of Obama’s supporters have done from the beginning (just like those of McCain and Clinton).

This isn’t Obama’s first or his only attack on our rights. He’s been a consistent bigot. He didn’t lift a finger when Barney Frank gutted ENDA as a favor to the Chamber of Commerce bigots who make big bucks underpaying us. His lips were zippered when Ted Kennedy and Nancy Pelosi quietly dropped the hate crimes bill after it’d passed both Houses of Congress. (They did it so no one could accuse the Democrats of being soft on child molesters, as Warren describes us, as if we all wore roman collars.)

He began his campaign in the bible belt with a series of revival meetings featuring anti-GLBT scum like MaryMary and ex-gay bigot KcKulkin. Obama pandered from day one because he wanted to chip away at the Rovian strategy that collared the bigot vote for Bush and was far more successful at it than Bill Clinton. Polling shows that he succeeded, especially after Warren gave him an intro into the southern baptist milieu. Opposition to the basic right to marriage is the cornerstone of Obama’s bigotry. When he spoke at Warrens cult center in California shortly before the election he empowered the bigots by telling them that he was a bigot just like them and gave them the go ahead to vote their bigotry.

His success insured our failure because the bigots he empowered wiped us out with Prop 8 and 102 and 2 in Arizona and Florida.

Then he excluded us from any major government appointments and all Cabinet positions.

Then, likely as not as the result of some pre election arrangement, Obama invited Warren to speak at the inaugural.

On top of that Obama appointed a cabinet so right wing it’d make Reagan blush, exhibited a total and unflinching support for the multitrillion giveaways to the rich and all his appointments reiterate his commitment to continue the murder of GIs and muslims by enlarging the oil war. Obama is a right winger who fooled a lot of people and we’ll all have to pay the price for their gullibility.

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | December 23, 2008 2:30 AM

You'd think, though, that he'd be more respectful of his place in history than to trash his inaugural this way. I knew from his campaign behavior that he was just another cheap politician who didn't mind using us to score points with people willing to do us harm but I admit I was a bit surprised he'd spoil his own inauguration and tarnish his personal presidential legacy this way. Of course it's a screw-up or it would never have gotten the condemnation it has and of course Lowery is a wonderful selection for the benediction. But Lowery doesn't cancel or ameliorate Warren's selection. They each stand alone and do not sum together to a wash. The politics of negatives is always that they glare brighter.

We don't attack Obama, Monica, we attack his choice of invocation leader and we attack the values he is promoting and giving credibility to in doing so.

News flash for y'all: African American peeps gay and straight are STILL pissed about how easily the hateful anti-Black rhetoric flowed from the gay community after the Prop 8 loss.

Becky, that's not the way it's being interpreted in some quarters of the African-American community.

From their point of view, they see the Rick Warren controversy it as another attack from gays.

BTW, did you know Rick Warren is being slammed by the Religious Reich for ACCEPTING the invitation?

That may not be how it's been seen by some, by that is, in fact, what it is. I've been following the coverage of this as I'm sure you have. I have yet to see, except for a few on the far right who I'm sure most of us would consider less than credible at best, anyone go after Obama personally saying, in essence, "He's a bad person for doing this."

What I do see coming from people in our community is a message of "This is a bad choice on Obama's part and we are angry and upset about his choice and the message it sends to us."

I believe there's a very big distinction to be made between those two positions. Some will see the difference, some will not.

Personally, I believe it's not proper but our duty as American citizens (and, presumably, as Democrats) to let Obama know when and why we're not happy with something he's doing. He's opened up multiple avenues to enable citizens to let the incoming administration know where they stand on the issues and those of us who are speaking out against this choice are doing just that.

I believe that his choice of Warren is wrong and disrespectful to our community and I will not hesitate to say so publicly. He has asked us to be open with our opinions and so we are doing as he asked, even (especially) when we don't fully agree with something he's doing.

Those who don't agree with us are equally welcome to make their own feelings known. That's the way America is supposed to work.

Obama went out of his way to ask us what we're thinking. We're telling him. Not only are we acting as responsible citizens here, we're giving Obama exactly what he asked for.

The politics of negatives is always that they glare brighter.

Marla, The Black GLBT community will remember that the next time we ask you White GLBT peeps for support in shutting down Chuck Knipp's insulting Shirley Q. Liquor minstrel show.


Excellent post. Thank you for reminding us of Joseph Lowery's elequence. He will be a superb closer for the best day America has had in many, many years. The Obama years will be remarkable for its accomplishments. Naysayers be damned.

By all means, if he's done something wrong, call him on it. I'll be doing that myself.

But unlike y'all, I'm not holding him to an impossibly high standard of leadership that you don't subscribe to for politicians that share your ethnic heritage.

The problem Rebecca, is that this is being seen by some peeps in the African-American community as another in a series of attacks on him by white gays going back to the campaign.

Just dip into the Bilerico archive and read the attacks on Obama about Donnie McClurkin. Then it was the lukewarm support and being called 'unqualified' from some white gays who threatened to bolt to McCain after he beat Hillary in the primary.

Now once again, he's being attacked as 'unfriendly to the gay community' for choosing Rick Warren to give a prayer.

Some of us in the African-American community are looking at the big picture of behaviors over the past year and see this as part of the ongoing pattern of negativity directed at him by some white gays.

We're also more than a little sick of hearing 'he's the same as Clinton' when he hasn't spent five seconds in the Oval office yet.