Friday, December 19, 2008
This is not primarily a political blog, but sometimes an issue is so pressing that one simply cannot remain silent. (Some are calling for "mystical activism," and perhaps this reflection is a form of that.)
Recently, I went to see the movie "Milk," now playing in theaters across the country. Sean Penn in the lead role does a truly stunning job in the role of Harvey Milk, the San Francisco gay activist who was the first openly gay male to be elected to the Board of Supervisors of the city, an man who fought relentlessly for the civil rights of gays and lesbians, and who was ultimately assassinated (along with Mayor Moscone) by a disgruntled former Board Member. Among other things, the movie showed clips of Anita Bryant, the infamous Florida orange juice queen, who at the time went across the country attacking gays and their right to be treated as equals in terms of employment and housing. Today we see Anita as a near comic figure, peddling her own strange form of "religion." But in those days, she was taken quite seriously, and she was a major player in the efforts of the religious right to prevent gays and lesbians from winning equal status before the law.
Things have now changed in many respects, as times have moved forward and attitudes have progressed. But when we hear the arguments against gay marriage, they sound disturbingly familiar. Here is an e-mail I received today:
Friday, December 19, 2008 11:30 AM
"Rick Jacobs, Courage Campaign" email@example.com
"I'm opposed to redefinition of a 5,000 year definition of marriage. I'm opposed to having a brother and sister being together and calling that marriage. I'm opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that marriage. I'm opposed to one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage." Rick Warren, Pastor of Saddleback Church, December 15, 2008
Incest. Pedophilia. Polygamy.
When Pastor Rick Warren was asked to clarify this statement --if he actually equates same-sex marriage with incest, pedophilia and polygamy --his answer was direct and unequivocal: "Oh, I do."
That didn't stop President-elect Barack Obama from choosing Pastor Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration --an appalling mistake that will forever tarnish our country's celebration of Obama's historic ascendance to the White House.
While President-elect Obama has chosen to ignore the troubling beliefs of the man who will spiritually usher in his presidency, Californians can not ignore Rick Warren and his Saddleback Church followers, based in Orange County.
We can not ignore Rick Warren's fervent support for Proposition 8 or his mobilization of thousands of evangelical Christians to enshrine discrimination into our state constitution.
Harvey Milk did not ignore John Briggs in 1978, when Briggs sought to pass Proposition 6 -- the infamous "Briggs Initiative" that attempted to ban gay and lesbian teachers, and anyone who supported them, from our California's public schools. Milk challenged Briggs to debates across the state.
And we're not going to ignore Rick Warren. That's why we're asking you to give Pastor Warren a new invitation -- a Courage Campaign invitation to a public debate on same-sex marriage with Reverend Eric Lee, President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) of Greater Los Angeles.
It's time to challenge Rick Warren to an open, honest debate about same-sex marriage. Click here now to join us, by signing your name to our invitation to Rev. Warren to debate Rev. Eric Lee. On December 24, the Courage Campaign will deliver your signatures to Pastor Warren at the Saddleback Church in Orange County:
You may not know Rev. Eric Lee. But you should.
Rev. Eric Lee is a courageous leader on marriage equality in the faith community and in the African American community. Representing the SCLC, founded by the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rev. Lee expressed his strong opposition to Prop 8 in October by taking a stand with the Courage Campaign against the Mormon Church's heavy involvement in the Prop 8 campaign.
Now, Rev. Lee is taking a stand again, challenging Pastor Warren to a debate about Prop 8 and same-sex marriage.
Rev. Eric Lee needs your support to challenge Rev. Rick Warren to debate Prop 8 and explain Warren's comparison of same-=ex marriage to incest, pedophilia and polygamy. Please sign here -- and ask your friends to gather as many signatures as possible --before December 24:
Thank you for everything you are doing to restore marriage equality and push for progressive change in California.
P.S. To repeal Prop 8, and change California forever, we need to change the conversation.
You can change the conversation by signing this invitation to Rick Warren and forwarding this message to your friends today. The more signatures we gather, the more likely Rick Warren's views on same-sex marriage will be challenged, this time by another man of faith. DEADLINE: DECEMBER 24:
Courage Campaign Issues is part of the Courage Campaign's online organizing network that empowers over 300,000 grassroots and netroots activists to push for progressive change in California.
To power our campaign to repeal Prop 8, please contribute today:
This email was sent to:firstname.lastname@example.org
(Now from Dorothy):
Needless to say, I was profoundly disappointed by this choice. Once again, gays have been shoved to the bottom of the agenda (the scapegoat? the sacrifice?) For me, this is not hope and change, but more of the same which we have experienced for so very long.
When I was young, I heard similar arguments from the fundamentalist preachers against inter-racial marriage--denounced as a sin, an abomination, against Biblical teachings, etc. We finally got past that stage of history and managed to elect a man of mixed blood to the highest office. Some do not seem to remember the recent past when they focus on today's struggles.
Recently, I sent an e-mail to someone on the internet to explain some of my feelings about this issue. I signed it "Eighty and still waiting." To quote a famous saying, "How long, Oh, Lord, How long?"
(Well, as they say, "Now I feel better.")
(Image from Hubble site)