I'm not gay, but I support the "gay agenda." I wonder, if you're only pushing one issue, do you have an agendum? If so, gay-bashing would seem a failed, Rovian political stratagem that should have receded along with the power of the bitch-slapped GOP after the last election, so that gays and lesbians might enter a new dawn of equal protection under the law. It would seem, that is, until two things happened; Proposition 8, an initiative banning same-sex marriage, passed in California; and Barack Obama invited one of the bill's primary advocates to deliver the invocation at his forthcoming inaugural. To paraphrase the Three 6 Mafia, "It's hard out here for a gay."
While the majority of the populous is preparing to celebrate their new president, homosexuals must endure the galling sight of Rick Warren, pastor of the ironically named Saddleback Church near Los Angeles, delivering the invocation. Warren is the author of the bestseller, "The Purpose Driven Life," which received a lot of press a couple of years ago after that woman in Georgia read it to a rapist-killer, and he decided, with the assistance of a little meth, to allow her to live. Warren's philosophy may work for outlaws, but Rachel Maddow has reported on the fine print, now removed, from the Saddleback Church's website that said homosexuals who were unrepentant of their gay lifestyle would not be welcomed as congregants. (Did you notice how I so delicately avoided saying "church members?") That's reminiscent of a country club that bans Jews, or putting up a sign that says, "We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone," and Warren is supposed to be one of the newer thinking evangelists that believe that climate change and the AIDS scourge are worthy of Christian attention. I suppose that gays are the last minority at which you can still throw stones, even forty years after the 1969 New York Stonewall riots. Before that, police were allowed to rough up and toss someone in jail for being publicly gay. You haven't come a long way, baby.
We were discussing how downright sorrowful it is that in this year of societal evolution, gays should suffer such a setback that rights granted them by the power of the state, could be taken back by a fear-driven ballot initiative. Melody said that everyone knows that you are born gay, and this discrimination is like hating someone because they have green eyes. I answered, "Not exactly, we all know what's at the core of this hatred, and it is "the act." Melody replied, "If that's what it is, then you're spending way too much time thinking about something that's not your business." But if it's not the act, why is it that so many homophobes seem to have no problem with lesbianism, especially if the chicks are hot? Melody is correct. Someone is born gay or they're not. Who would ask for all that tsuris? We all knew gay children with whom we grew up, but in the immortal words of Chris Rock, "they just didn't have anyone to be gay with" yet.
Candidate Obama could be infuriating, even to his most ardent supporters, during the campaign when he refused to engage his detractors. Then, after he won the nomination by running to the left of Hillary Clinton, his sprint back to the center was rivaled only by Ussain Bolt. I understand what Obama is attempting to do with the Rick Warren invitation. He's trying to bridge a gap between himself and "people of faith" who didn't vote for him in the first place and never will. But aside from Rick Warren's public comparisons of homosexuality with incest and pedophilia, Barack Obama is playing politics with God. This Saddleback symbolism may pacify some, but it violates the human code of conscience which demands, "First, do no harm." Not even the benediction by the sainted Reverend Joseph Lowery can't gloss over this bit of "scratch my back" politics with the Evangelical Right. It's sort of like putting lipstick on a pig.
Obama defended his choice of Pastor Warren and added that the message of the campaign was to promote dialogue between differing groups. Barack added that he had been "a fierce advocate for gay and lesbian Americans," while simultaneously opposing gay marriage. With heterosexual marriages failing at the rate of one out of two, and the out-of-wedlock birth rate skyrocketing even while the stigma of unwed pregnancy fades as we watch the gestation of the Palin teen, shouldn't we, as a society, be encouraging long-term relationships between loving couples, even of the same sex? Wouldn't that dampen the sexual promiscuity that the fundamentalists so despise, and lower the risk of acquiring AIDS in homosexual men? For those who consider same-sex marriage a threat to the public good, others still believe in the pursuit of happiness and the redemptive power of love. I think either John Lennon or Jesus taught that, too.
In this festive season of goodwill toward men, that should include gay men and women as well. And in this time of political renewal and the promise of a more just society, I take President-elect Obama at his word that he will be a "fierce advocate," for the only dis-included group at his upcoming gala. I understand that gays will march in the inaugural parade, but at the risk of aggravating straights by acting-up. Their mere presence has already been unjustly illuminated. Mainstream society's delusion is that this Rip Taylor, gay caricature has been accepted to be the norm, rather than the low-keyed, respectable citizen working at the desk next to yours, who also happens to be gay. That is who I wish Obama had considered before extending the invitation to Rick Warren to utter the opening words of a new era. A far better choice for the invocation would have been the Reverend Al Green of Memphis. Reverend Green has made it abundantly clear through his ministry and his music that his major concerns are "Love and Happiness." It makes you want to moan for love. The constitutionality of Proposition 8 will yet be tested by the California Supreme Court, so Merry Christmas everybody, and fight the power.