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Endeavoring to define myself outside of a "job title." I'm a nomad of sorts who fell in love with technology, activism, and helping others. I run a web & media consulting firm, have a blog specifically for activists & non-profits, and travel often. I love talking about theology, politics, and social change. I love doing something about it even more. I also like to be a well-rounded and fully present person. That's why I write here. Connect with me on twitter

Saturday, December 20, 2008

On Lines In The Sand

With the selection of Rick Warren to give the invocation at the Obama inauguration and the ensuing brouhaha stirring among some advocates of gay rights/equality, I've been stewing on my own position. Here's where I'm at:

Gay people, and gay relationships, are absolutely and unequivocally on equal footing as their straight counterparts. There are many issues that invite healthy and productive debate, this is not one of them. There are not multiple valid perspectives. To denigrate queer identities and relationships is to place oneself opposite of truth, justice, God, and ultimately history. We certainly don't say that there is room for healthy debate around interracial marriage, or the rights of Christians to exist without persecution. As Mel White once said, the *issue* is not up for debate.

But I want the *people* who find themselves on the other side of recognizing my complete humanity as close to me as possible. I want to eat with them, work with them, pray with them.

When the Equality Ride was at Wisconsin Lutheran University, the chaplain (or dean or someone) refused to pray with us. I don't remember his title, but I remember the hurt we all felt. We were ready and willing to pray with them, it wasn't a charade or a stunt. And so I'm ready to eat, to speak, to work, and to pray with Rick Warren. I'm equally ready to call upon Obama to live up to his campaign promises and lead us toward justice for gay and transgender people. I'm ready to show Rick Warren and others who believe similarly how wrong they are by my actions. I'm ready to create a new kind of Christianity--one that takes the words of Jesus seriously and offers real solutions, not mere platitudes about love and service. I'm committed to deep, transformative change; not superficial tokenism. This is a start, it is absolutely not enough.

I've got to believe that Rick Warren can become a fierce ally for LGBT people, his invocation can be the first step. That's change I can believe in.


KipEsquire said...

Rick Warren has stated publicly that Jews cannot get into heaven and that it is a sin to vote for an atheist. Oh, and the whole "gay marriage is like pedophilia" thing.

Sorry, but your approach is simply not that of an "agent of change." It is that of an enabler.

The man deserves nothing but public shame, ridicule and denunciation.

Brian said...

A public shaming as the authors of "No Mob Veto" would propose?

Ridicule as pundits who mock gay people?

Denunciation as pastors who condemn gay relationships from their pulpits?

I'm not sorry to say, that sounds like much the same we've been seeing.

Rick Warren claims to hold grossly inappropriate views on matters of crucial importance. He's also demonstrated an openness, consideration, and even passion for others of great importance. Humans are individuals, not caricatures.

I'm not going to write off Rick Warren as one beyond redemption. I used to believe as Rick Warren, many of my friends used to believe as Rick Warren. We weren't changed by isolation, we were changed by a relentless pursuit.

Casey said...

Excellent response, Brian. Relentless pursuit is the model we follow, hard as it is, founded on hope in things unseen as it must be. That's what faith is. Keep up the hard work, keep praying, and I'll do the same.

Vincent Cervantes said...

I agree with Casey, EXCELLENT response!

Queers United said...

I think only good can come out of this, the discussion has begun on a national level.

wonder wong said...

as I was standing in the 20-degree cold with 2 million people on the national mall, my republican bf and I bowed our heads together and recited the Lord's Prayer with Rick Warren, and I felt like anything and everything could change.

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