Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The following conversation may, or may not, have occurred between President-elect Barack Obama and the chair of the Joint Congressional Committee on I

John Aravosis, The following conversation may, or may not, have occurred between President-elect Barack Obama and the chair of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, US Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA):
BARACK OBAMA: So who we gonna have do the invocation at my inaugural?
DIANNE FEINSTEIN: Oh my God, you're gonna love this, B.
BO: Okay Di, hit me.
DIFI: Ready? Rick. Warren.
BO: You mean conservative evangelical Christian leader Rick Warren?
DIFI: Yup.
BO: Rick Warren who wants to ban all abortions and basically said that I support a holocaust?
DIFI: Uh huh.
BO: The guy who compared gay marriage to pedophilia and incest, and helped lead the fight for Prop 8 in California?
DIFI: That's him.
BO: The man who said he agrees on everything with far-right nut James Dobson.
DIFI: Yesiree.
BO: But Di, the guy has devoted his entire life to destroying everything I stand for, everything I believe in, everyone who worked so hard and so long to put me into office.
DIFI: I know, isn't it brilliant!
BO: I don't get it.
DIFI: Okay, think about it. You're so post-partisan that you're willing to embrace and promote someone who loathes you, didn't vote for you, and will do everything in his power to destroy your presidency. It's like the Lieberman thing, but even bigger!
BO: So you mean, by promoting a guy who represents none of my goals, ideals or hopes that the majority of the country voted for, and by devastating my own supporters on what was supposed to be a day of celebration and national rebirth, I'm actually promoting "change" by publicly undermining it?
DIFI: Exactly!
BO: But won't I be screwing the gays, women, and pretty much everyone else who got me elected?
DIFI: Never stopped me.
BO: But doesn't this make me no better than the guy I'm replacing or the guy I just beat?
DIFI: Never stopped me.
John Aravosis: Throughout the campaign, there were a few times when I was irritated with the Obama campaign, but I have never been so angry with Obama and his staff. By choosing homophobe Rick Warren, who helped pass Prop 8 in California, to do the invocation at the inauguration, Barack Obama just said to LGBT Americans that we're not part of that event. Thanks.
I'm sure the brain trust around Obama thought Rick Warren would be a great idea. You know, because they're so smart that they're post-partisan. But someone on the Obama team missed the intense anger that erupted after Prop 8 won and we lost rights (or maybe they didn't care). It's visceral. Believe me. Visceral and real. And putting one of the leading supporters of that campaign on the stage at the inauguration is an affront to us.
That may not matter to Team Obama. He's got huge approval ratings, after all. Maybe we're expendable now. Obama's brain trust has decided he needs new friends. So have fun with Rick Warren. If he's there on January 20th, I won't be. And, unlike Rick Warren, I actually worked hard to get Obama elected. It's weird and disturbing. I'd expect George Bush to have a homophobe on the stage. But Obama? That's not the kind of change I expected, and it's not change I can believe in.
From CNN: ..."[It's] shrewd politics, but if anyone is under any illusion that Obama is interested in advancing gay equality, they should probably sober up now," Andrew Sullivan wrote on the Atlantic Web site Wednesday. ...
People for the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert told CNN she is "deeply disappointed" with the choice of Warren and said the powerful platform at the inauguration should instead have been given to someone who has "consistent mainstream American values."
"There is no substantive difference between Rick Warren and James Dobson," Kolbert said. "The only difference is tone. His tone is moderate, but his ideas are radical."
NY Daily News: ...Joe Solmonese, the head of gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, was harsher, writing in a letter to Obama that his invitation to Warren, “tarnished the view that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans have a place at your table.”
Solmonese ripped Warren for pushing for California’s Porposition 8 that made gay marriage unconstititional in the state, and urged Obama to disinvite him.
“We feel a deep level of disrespect when one of architects and promoters of an anti-gay agenda is given the prominence and the pulpit of your historic nomination,” he wrote.

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