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.