I know there's been a lot said regarding this decision by President-elect Obama regarding his choosing Rev. Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church in Ca. to give the invocation at Obama's inauguration. Many have tared and feathered an effigy of Obama over this pick simply because of this choice, but truthfully I think it is a brilliant pick not because of what Rev. Warren stands for (because I personally disagree with is position of abortion and gay rights) but for the message that ALL Americans have a place at this administration's table.
My frustration is with both right and left critics and proponents who have lambasted both men for the move and the acceptance on Rev. Warren's part. Many talk about being inclusive or accepting of others, but both sides refuse to even meet together on neutral areas for the sake of the country. If we are to work together on the problems we face in our line of fire we got to get over "our ugly selves" (as a friend of mine says) and get to a place where we can talk understanding where each of us are in our position(s).
How we forget how Obama is one who isn't afraid of going across the aisle and trying to work with them finding common ground to build on. How we forget that Obama was against gay marriage on record before Proposition 8 came to light. His choice may not be the most approved thing on the books in his political career. If we let this decision concerning who prays for the nation keep us from witnessing the peaceful transfer of power and the new step Obama wants to take we miss out on the whole purpose of this campaign to begin with. WE talk out of the side of our heads if we just say we want to work with our enemies to find common ground. Say what you will about Obama's choice or policies, Obama can't be faulted for not taking a stand and living to his principals.
As a believer in Christ, I was taught by a wise Pastor (who happened to be gay) about holding a grudge. If you hold on to a grudge too long you won't be able to get to the business at hand. It's true. I hold on to too many grudges in my own life; many of these grudges could be let go so I can get to the place where I can reconcile with the people I have issues with. Trust me, I have issues not just with Rev. Warren but with all those who hold to this bigotry against my GLBT friends and family members. I can hold on to this grudge against Rev. Warren and his ilk missing the opportunity to turn the page on this divisive debate. Or, I can take a chance to put my grudge down and give a chance for someone like Rev. Warren a place in the spotlight letting all Americans know this administration doesn't represent just one type of American, but every American on these shores. Obama demonstrates with his choice his willingness to make the White House "the people's house"--ALL THE PEOPLE'S WHITE HOUSE!
If we want to discuss this topic on gay marriage and bring it to the rest of the country there needs to be three things necessary to win over our opponents:
- A willingness to talk directly to our enemies--religious or non-religious who cannot accept people of the same sex joined together in marriage.
- A willingness for the GLBT community to reach out to minorities who are strongly against anything that clouds their views about marriage. One of the main critiques from those who saw the aftermath of Prop 8 was that not enough outreach was made to minority groups and GLBT people of color to see where they stood and how they could find inroads within those communities. (Some of these communities still see the gay/lesbian community as a "white only lifestyle" or a "novelty" as apposed to something which is found on every social level of life.)
- A willingness to put the issue of marriage to the light and find who is telling the truth regarding what marriage is all about. There are many who think of marriage as a religious issue; some may see it as a secular issue. Should Americans look at marriage as a civil/religious subject? Can we find a common solution without the loss of life or personal attacks? Can government separate religion from politics and let both sides find a reasonable solution to this?
Look, I don't want to fight either side on this I just want to see Obama sworn in as our 44th President of the United States. Crucifying him before he even comes to D.C. is not the answer. I know not everyone will agree with this view and I am willing to be in the minority on this. But to me this is a brilliant and powerful move to me simply for one reason: If he is willing to give his enemies a moment to participate not as an enemy but as a human being with strong viewpoints then I can only imagine how he will deal with our enemies abroad. I do think just treating an enemy like Rev. Warren (and those in the Religious Right who agree with his views) like a human being --a part of the main populace--is a good sign for diplomacy with other domestic and foreign groups from this young administration.
I can appreciate Obama's approach knowing if I do disagree with him I got a chance to work hard, form with others, march, write letters, call my congressperson, challenge the President, protest, etc. I appreciate how he is willing to call those on the other side of the aisle and get beyond "gotcha" politics by making sure he is willing to treat them as people with views not targets for a "presidential list".
To ignore those on the other side (no matter how despicable they are and no matter how much I want to hold a grudge against them) and say we care more about America then they do is the wrong message in all the yelling and debating over the Warren pick. Those on the right do care about their country, they do care about where this nation is going, and they do have their men and women in all walks of our society. I know others will not agree, but to keep their chair empty from the table would be the worst signal possible in these trouble times we live in.
My .02...let me get my goggles so I can get my share of tomatoes.