Rochester, Minn: Hi Anne, Merry Christmas! Help me understand this. The gay community is upset at the inclusion of somebody whose viewpoints they strongly disagree with. Am I the only one who see the irony in this? I guess Obama’s campaign promise to include a wide range of differing viewpoints is no longer “change we can believe in”? I never pegged the gay community to be so hypocritical, but I was wrong.
Anne E. Kornblut: It’s a really interesting question — and it was interesting to see how team Obama handled it, which was to point out that Rick Warren won’t be making policy, but giving the invocation. (For anyone not up to speed, Obama has tapped megachurch pastor Rick Warren, not a fan of homosexuality, to put it lightly, but also a more open-minded breed of evangelical on some other matters, to speak at the Inauguration). This will be Obama’s balancing act going forward: to try to be inclusive, as he promised, without alienating the Democratic base. Where it will really matter is on policy, and we’ll get to see how that goes starting in…wow, less than a month.
Re: Rochester: “The gay community is upset at the inclusion of somebody whose viewpoints they strongly disagree with. Am I the only one who see the irony in this?”
So I guess the black community shouldn’t be upset if a KKK leader or vocal racist is ever invited to give a speech. The Jewish community shouldn’t be upset if an anti-semitic were to be invited somewhere by a politician. After all, it is just someone who has a different viewpoint — who cares if that viewpoint is to deny civil rights through bigotry?
Anne E. Kornblut: Another terrific point. Thank you for making it.
Because The Washington Post doesn’t feature nearly enough idiocy.
Curious George, VA: Seasons Greetings, Anne. Has there been much hard reporting abut who Rick Warren is besides the megachurch and bestseller stuff? Does he live in a big ole McMansion or a humble home ? There usually is more to the story with these mega-dollar congregations and I am curious.
Anne E. Kornblut: It’s a good question. I’ve actually met Rick Warren, and he seemed like a decent enough fellow. Down to earth, wearing a Hawaiian shirt, quite pudgy. He had a curious take on Judaism and other religions: I asked him about what he had to say to people who didn’t believe in Jesus, and he said, “That’s their bet, and that’s fine, but I’m betting on Jesus.” In any event, I couldn’t tell, from that encounter, what his lifestyle was like, but my understanding is that he has given much of his book proceeds back to the church and “reverse tithes” — giving away most of his salary. But don’t take that as, well, gospel — I haven’t really reported it out much and there are no doubt much greater authorities on him out there.
re: Rochester: Rochester has it exactly right. The Rick Warren issue is not about Obama picking someone with whom the gay community disagrees. It is about picking an unabashed bigot. And I fume every single time that the MSM media gets it wrong, which is about every single time that something is written about the controversy. Obama’s failure to get it is a real, hurtful disappointment. I just hope you will quit buying into the inaccurate rhetoric.
Anne E. Kornblut: And a point well-taken. Thank you for it. It’s actually a good question for one of us to ask, again, at an Obama press conference.
Salinas, Calif.: RE: Rick Warren: Anne, if one is to believe Richard Cohen from his column in the Post yesterday, “the party is over” before it’s even started. Like you, I’m more interested to see what policy initiatives come out of the Obama administration in the days ahead regarding equal rights (including same-sex marriage) before the law, rather than get stuck on the inaugural window dressing.
Anne E. Kornblut: And another good point…
Washington, D.C.: I disagree with the premise of Rochester’s analogy. Labeling somebody a homophobe because he or she opposes gay marriage is just ridiculous. It substitutes a personal attack for a reasoned disagreement. Many people, myself included, believe that marriage is ONLY between one man and one woman, and sorry, that’s not a homophobic position. So, comparing Warren to an anti-Semite is not appropriate.
Anne E. Kornblut: Thank you for this — and for all of you for keeping this debate smart and respectful, I really appreciate that.
Maryland: As a lesbian, I’m unhappy with any politician saying we can disagree over “social issues.” My being a lesbian isn’t a “social issue.” It’s a civil rights issue. In defending his actions to invite Warren to the inauguration, Obama should have said, I disagree with Warren on CIVIL RIGHTS issues. But of course, Obama won’t do that, because people everywhere dismiss their bigotry by saying it’s just a “social issue.” That phrase trivializes who I am.
Anne E. Kornblut: Thank you for this — and for being so personal and frank.
“because it almost makes up for my cluelessness.”
Washington: Obama has never said he supported the rights of gay people to get married, has he? Isn’t it his official stance that he’s against gay marriage? Shouldn’t this bother gay people more than inviting Rick Warren to the inauguration? How many people on Obama’s cabinet would publicly support gay marriage?
By the way, wouldn’t it have been a hoot if he invited Jeremiah Wright instead?
Anne E. Kornblut: A hoot is one way of describing it…And you are correct, he does not support gay marriage.
Neither does this queen.
Gaithersburg, Md.: The Warren issue is a big deal for gays because we’re constantly being asked to put our issues on the backburner and respect the opinions of religious homophobes. I don’t believe for one second that Obama would have an anti-Semite or white supremacist speaking at his inauguration, so why is it OK to invite an unabashed homophobe? It may seem like a minor political squabble to most people, but for hundreds of thousands of gays in America, this “debate” is personal. Giving this man such an important role in the inauguration is a slap in the face to gays who were hoping that this administration would be more respectful of our rights.
Anne E. Kornblut: And another good point. Thank you for taking the time to make it here
“cause I’ve been busy doing my nails.”
Washington, D.C.: Can you figure out why the same people who pooh-pooh’ed the 20 years that Obama spent listening to Wright spew hatred (including anti-gay sentiments) are now exercised over Warren offering one prayer? I sure can’t.
Anne E. Kornblut: Another perspective on this…
Could it be because Obama made a point of repudiating Wright? Well DUH!
A repudiation of Warren doesn’t appear to be in the cards.
Catonsville, Md.: Re: Richard Cohen’s column about his sister and Rick Warren: Here is the question I ask of people who think marriage should only be between a man and a woman, otherwise society’s foundations will crumble.
Why is it that I, a 60 year-old straight, divorced man, could go to Vegas, perhaps pick up a cocktail waitress and, while blind drunk, get married to her by a man dressed like Elvis and that’s okay –“traditional” marriage is protected. But Richard Cohen’s sister, who has been with the same partner for 19 years and has children with her, cannot?
Incidentally, I could repeat my scenario of getting married and divorced on the spur of the moment ad infinitum and that would apparently be okay with Rick Warren, et al.
Anne E. Kornblut: On this subject, I’ve often wondered why marriage is defined by the state at all, rather than left to religious institutions (with the state regulating civil unions for all). Thank you for this.
Here’s my L.A. Weekly piece on the whole ugly story — which involves a lot more than just the President Elect and his bigmouth Fundie friend.
It’s a Black THANG donchaknow.