The spirit of inclusiveness! Agreeing to disagree! Sharing a variety of viewpoints! President-elect Obama has made it fun!
Here’s some stuff that you might not already know about his Special Friend Rick Warren, the man who will be in the international spotlight at the historic Obama Inauguration:
By Bruce Wilson, from The Huffington Post, December 25, 2008
Many sharp journalists, such as Michelle Goldberg, Sarah Posner and Max Blumenthal, are cranking their talents into exposing the angry underbelly beneath Rick Warren’s carefully airbrushed and polished public persona. And, a number of political bloggers [1, 2, 3] have noted Rick Warren’s support for the virulently anti-gay Archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola, but the story has lacked some needed historical context; In 2006, Warren publicly lionized (literally) Akinola three months after the Archbishop had endorsed legislation more draconian than comparable anti-gay statutes passed prior to World War Two under the Third Reich.
As I described in a December 18, 2006 Talk To Action story, a schismatic faction of Virginia Episcopalian churches had just voted to align themselves with the Archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola, who earlier that year had thrown his substantial political weight and religious authority behind draconian Nigerian anti-gay legislation to, among other strictures, “make it illegal for gay men and lesbians to form organizations, read gay literature or eat together in a restaurant.”
Although I missed it at the time, the proposed legislation was apparently denounced, according to the current Wikipedia writeup on Akinola, by the US State Department: “The proposed legislation was formally challenged by the United States State Department as a breach of Nigeria’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”
It was one of those rare examples from the last eight years, it would seem, in which United States foreign policy clearly aligned in support of basic human rights. Rick Warren, however, appeared to be on the other side of the issue.
In my post, I went on to chart, in very specific detail, the ugly reality that the Akinola-supported legislation was actually harsher than similar anti-gay legislation, 1935 revisions to Paragraph 175 of the German penal code, applying to homosexuality, voted into law during the early years of Hitler’s Third Reich.
As described on an activist blog that specialized in covering the controversial anti-gay legislation [and whose author has contributed to Talk To Action], in February 2006 “the Primate of All Nigeria and leader of the Anglican Communion’s largest Province, Archbishop Peter Akinola, endorsed legislation that would ban most basic civil rights for gay and lesbian Nigerians, and enforce that ban with a 5 year prison sentence.”
On April 30, 2006, pastor Rick Warren wrote an op-ed, for Time Magazine, which lavished praise on Akinola, likening the cleric to Nelson Mandela:
“Akinola personifies the epochal change in the Christian church, namely that the leadership, influence, growth and center of gravity in Christianity is shifting from the northern hemisphere to the southern. New African, Asian and Latin American church leaders like Akinola, 61, are bright, biblical, courageous and willing to point out the inconsistencies, weaknesses and theological drift in Western churches.”
“…Akinola has the strength of a lion, useful in confronting Third World fundamentalism and First World relativism.”
“…I believe he, like Mandela, is a man of peace and his leadership is a model for Christians around the world.”
Rick Warren’s support for Akinola is not an anomaly but appears to be, rather, the rule. As detailed at Talk To Action by Richard Bartholomew (author of the exceptional Bartholomew’s Notes On Religion), The Kampala Monitor reports:
Dr [Rick] Warren said that homosexuality is not a natural way of life and thus not a human right. “We shall not tolerate this aspect at all,” Dr Warren said.
Warren was speaking in support of Ugandan Anglicans who intend to boycott the forthcoming Lambeth Conference, and this harsh rejection of tolerance for gays and lesbians may have serious consequences in a country where homosexuals face harassment and and the threat of imprisonment.
Warren’s comment is of a piece with his support for Martin Ssempa, the Ugandan evangelist who has been a keynote speaker at a Warren conference, and who has received US global AIDS prevention funds. As I wrote in August, Ssempa wants to ensure that homosexuality remains illegal and that gays and lesbians are identified in the public mind as sexual abusers. Ssempa calls for media censorship against opposing views and the dismissal of dissenting academics, and last summer he organised a rally with the theme “A Call for Action on Behalf of the Victims of Homosexuality”, at which he railed against “molestation and sodomy.”
[Source: “Warren-Endorsed Nigerian Archbishop Backed Anti-Gay Laws Worse Than Pre-WWII Third Reich’s”]
For straight and gay citizens who feel strongly that all Americans were intended to enjoy the protections of the 14th Amendment, there is a new Web site about focusing on that issue: BrandNewGay.com.
In 1967, activist judges redefined traditional marriage. Not content to let states decide for themselves, the Supreme Court ruled in Loving v. Virginia that banning inter-racial marriage was unconstitutional. History has proven how destructive that was of “traditional marriage.” We must not let that happen ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever again. Tsk, tsk!
For your “activist judges” swag, click the image at right (© LavenderLiberal.com).
Responding to the outcry of progressives and gay Americans over anointing his special friend Pastor Rick Warren with a place of great honor in his inauguration, President-elect Barack Obama maintains that he is a fierce advocate for gays.
“Look, um, I am a fierce advocate, uh . . . and the dictionary definition of ferocious is: marked by extreme and violent energy as in a ‘ferocious beating.’ I think we can all–gay, straight, black, white–agree that I have just delivered gays a pretty ferocious beating.”
Obama went on to say that he stands by his message of change for all Americans. “Look, if a gay person comes up to me with a five dollar bill, I’ll give him or her change. I’ll give him five ones, or four ones and four quarters, or three ones and twenty dimes. I’ll change a twenty or a ten or a hundred. ” With his trademark wry humor, he added, “Just don’t be spending that money on a wedding!”
UPDATE: 12/27/08. According to sources inside the Obama transition, President-elect Obama has stated that he will “not move for months, and perhaps not until 2010″ to make change for gays, regardless of the size of the currency they tender. Even though making change for all was an Obama campaign promise, Mr. Obama first wants to confer with the Secretary of the Treasury and his new economic appointees to reach a consensus on this issue. Gay activists, disgruntled at having to use $5 and $10 bills for small purchases like subway tokens, have planned an economic boycott. On January 20, gays plan to refrain from spending any money on anything anywhere. Economic analysts predict that the loss in revenue for that day alone will approach $12.5 billion, or roughly $42 for every gay person in America. Calling the gay community “an American economic mainstay,” one analyst said that the gay sector of the economy is “too big to fail” and might force a cascading effect in bailout disbursements. Were the boycott to continue, “our entire economy could collapse.” Gays are likely to be blamed for America’s economic woes in any case, as President-elect Obama’s strong consituency of evangelicals has already sought to blame gays for Hurricane Katrina, the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, and the controversial loss of the Seahawks at the hands of the Steelers in Super Bowl XL.