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Ear to the Ground

A Frank Assessment: Rev. Rick Is Offensive

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Posted on Dec 21, 2008

Rep. Barney Frank, the first openly gay member of Congress, isn’t happy about the “high honor” Barack Obama has bestowed on the Rev. Rick Warren, who recently likened gay marriage to incest and pedophilia. This isn’t a speech at a forum, the congressman points out, but a role that is “traditionally given as a mark of great respect.”

AP via Google:

“Mr. Warren compared same-sex couples to incest. I found that deeply offensive and unfair,” Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., said in a broadcast interview.

“If he was inviting the Rev. Warren to participate in a forum and to make a speech, that would be a good thing,” Frank said. “But being singled out to give the prayer at the inauguration is a high honor. It has traditionally given as a mark of great respect. And, yes, I think it was wrong to single him out for this mark of respect.”

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By tropicgirl, December 28, 2008 at 11:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Based upon the complete callousness with which Obama has treated the various religious communities, I have to conclude the same, he really is NOT religious at all, NEVER was and HAS NO INTENTION of really understanding the various communities. Otherwise, as some have said, he would have asked a religious representative from a HISTORICALLY MODERATE religion, such as Buddhist.

The extent that Obama “uses” the religious communities is starting to really stink. He seems unaware, nor does he CARE, apparently, that he has contributed to and expanded a very nasty rift between religious groups. He has done harm here, for sheer political gain, and that STINKS.

I see no reason to push religion and politics together, but if he fees the need to legitimately draw people in, he must be ECUMENICAL about it. Not political. It shows an almost complete lack of world/religious education or concern.

The brokeback, homophobic, pie-hole has been successfully smeared, of his own doing. Take comfort in that.

But who is your next religious victim, Obama? If I were a religious leader I would keep away from you at this point. And I think you have enough on your plate keeping your POLITICAL campaign issues straight without stabbing THOSE people in the back. The RELIGIOUS community can do WITHOUT your kind of help until you understand them better.

(Why did Axelrod look so nervous this a.m.?)

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By Folktruther, December 25, 2008 at 8:19 pm Link to this comment

It’s very hard to unite consumers, Mendez.  they don’t have enough at stake. It’s much easier to unite producers or workers, and that is often very difficult.

I don’t see the US on your list of countries.

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By mendez, December 24, 2008 at 9:33 am Link to this comment

Consumers around the world still don’t understand how much power they have at the counter.  If consumers united against governments that don’t do enough to protect children, that would be the sole criterion, then they should not be supported.  Politicians or lobbyists who support any government, for any reason, that does not do enough to protect youngsters, should be shunned with extreme prejudice.  Some countries I have on my list are, Israel, China, Korea, Zimbabwe, Russia and I’m open for others.  Why is this so hard for folks to get right?

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By mendez, December 24, 2008 at 9:26 am Link to this comment

If a one day old fetus is given the same human rights as he would normally not get until he was born, then shouldn’t the two things responsible for creating that one day old fetus also get the same respect and legal protection?  I say, make sperm and egg legal entities and give them the same human rights as they get when they get together, and men will find lots of reasons to shut their dumb ass mouths when it comes to this discussion.

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By Fellowdigger, December 24, 2008 at 9:25 am Link to this comment

To clarify my earlier quote:

Child brides, polygomy and incest—-
I guess Rev. Warren does know his bible

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By Fellowdigger, December 24, 2008 at 9:23 am Link to this comment

The moderate democrat is certainly being tolerant of Rev. Warren.  Had this been John McCain and a right-wignut, anti-choice, creationist, homophobe up on the dais - the people now beinig so patient with Obama would be swinging from the proverbial ceiling with outrage.  They all drank the koolaid.  Where is Thomas Paine when you need him?

PS Cyrena - why don’t you just write a book on the subject…Jeez

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By mendez, December 24, 2008 at 9:16 am Link to this comment

The overwhelming fear that masturbation will be deemed a homosexual act - which of course it, definitively, is - threatens to throw the world off its wobble. Bring back Onanism now!!

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By Fellowdigger, December 24, 2008 at 5:08 am Link to this comment

I guess Rev. Warren does know his bible

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By Fellowdigger, December 24, 2008 at 4:54 am Link to this comment

At least the gays are not running around murdering people in the name of some man made dogma - but we are the ones with no morals - ha - what a joke all this all -

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By KDelphi, December 23, 2008 at 9:20 pm Link to this comment

dihey—polygamous marriage is not legal, anywhere in the US. As far as I know, it never was. The LDS marry legally, the first wife, then, the rest are just “married in the Tabernacle” and are not recognized as married in any court of law. Many are under the age of consent. This is what I know—not everything.

I “counseled” some at a State institute—-they were wierd people! They called it “Mormon syndrome”—the problem being, that, most typically waited so long to come in (it was seen as a weakness in faith or something—plus they a “big” on family—no pun intended)that they would be a real mess.

I guess that some of this would apply to the civil union vs. gay marriage argument. It may be true that Obama disagrees with gay marriage, but, considers it a civil rights issue. I hope that that is true.

But, no matter what I do I just cannot wrap my head around old Pastor Warren. From what I’ve heard him say he is a man filled with judgement and hate. Maybe, fear, also, as most people who are “afraid” of gays are.

The issue of gay marriage effects some friends and family, but not me directly. I am afraid that it indicates a pattern of “
tolerance” , that, I would rather were not tolerated! Of course, an elected official can decide something like this without any input at all. But, I can decide what that says about them, also. They have to know that people will make certain judgements about it.

I did not always feel this way, about evangelicals,. It is a “learned behavior”.

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By Folktruther, December 23, 2008 at 8:17 pm Link to this comment

Howard Mandal—What I am talking about is precisely kissing your sister or whoever.  And what has to be codified into law is the prevention of offspring if it is dangerous to do so.  which I don’t know anything about.  Laws for the protection of minors already exist.

I don’t make assertions simply to shock, but to make a point.  It’s true that I exaggerate to penetrate the conventional truth, but generally I mean exactly what I say.  People should be allowed to do what they want, provided it doesn’t harm anyong else. 

If three or four people want to get married, good luck to them.  If this destroys the nueclear famility, thatls fine, I think it is a terrible institution.  I’m not so big on marriage as a general institution either even though I probably would long be dead without it.  I personally like the concept of assisted living, which I needed to buy into at adolescence.  But hey, if marriaage is what people want to do…

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By cyrena, December 23, 2008 at 7:46 pm Link to this comment

dihey asks,

•  “..Can someone tell me what happened to the polygamous marriages which existed at the time?.. (when Utah was required to delegitimize polygamous marriages).. Were they declared illegal? When I consider the role that the Mormons played in the passing of Prop. 8 that should be an interesting issue.”

I don’t know the answer to this, but if we wanted to find out, we’d first have to know whether or not the marriages were ever ‘legally recorded’ to begin with. If there were polygamous marriages on record before Utah even became a state, then my ‘guess’ is that they continued to be recognized, but I don’t know. If you’re really interested though, that would be the place to find out.  That brings to mind the irony of religious ‘annulments’ to marriages. Catholics with the right ‘in’ with the church, (and several dollars worth of ‘donations;) can have their marriages (originally recognized by the church) ‘annulled’, which is the same as saying they never took place or existed. (the marriages).

So Ted Kennedy could be married to his first wife for however many years, (at least 20) have a bunch of kids, and then, just have the thing voided out. (the State requires a divorce – two completely different sets of procedure, since they are being granted by totally separate entities…the Church and the State.)

But I said that to say, does that mean that all of Ted’s kids by his former wife are turned into bastards by the fact that the Church decreed that the marriage never existed? Obviously not. What is DOES mean, is that the Catholic Church would NOT have recognized his second marriage, unless the Church itself were the entity voiding out the first. Just divorcing his first wife would not have been sufficient for the church to formally recognize his second marriage. The Catholic Church says you only get one spouse, and you are stuck with them no matter what, until one of them die, or get permission from the Church to act like the marriage never happened to begin with. Or wait, that’s not exactly correct. Catholics CAN divorce spouses in terms of the state legalities, but they just can’t marry anybody else, and expect the Church to recognize it. The Church only recognizes the first spouse, no matter how crippled or crazy that person might be. Now of course one can avoid all of that bureaucratic nonsense by keeping the Church out of their marriages in the first place. Needless-to-say, my religious cohorts would suggest that I’m a heathen for suggesting such.

Welcome to the academic world of Law & Society, where nerds like me collaborate with each other to try and find ways to understand, adjust and fine-tune efforts to make our legal system more appropriate to the cultural, traditions, and yes..‘values’ of an entire society that is more widely diverse than any other on the planet.

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By cyrena, December 23, 2008 at 7:39 pm Link to this comment

1 of 4
KDelphi queries:

•  “..Anybody here an attorney specializing in Marital Law?”

Marital Law is NOT my ‘specialty’ but I’m not so sure that such a specialist is required in this situation, if only because the question must be addressed at the most fundamental level of the law, if we’re really talking about the Law. In this case, it’s the CIVIL RIGHTS LAWS of our Constitution, as well as the fundamental Bill of Rights that is at the core of this controversy. So “Marital Law” isn’t helpful as a ‘stand alone’ knowledge, simply because Marital Law is dependent on the individual States, as well as the Federal Constitution in terms of the more basic fundamental rights that it provides.
The topic however, DOES fall right smack dab in the middle of what actually IS my own field, (Law and Society) so maybe I can help –somewhat-, at least in terms of the intellectual/scholastic foundation of this issues.

It is STATE LAW that determines whether or not one needs a license, blood tests, and whether or not it’s OK for people to marry their first cousins, or if they have to at least give a couple of generation spans between. I’m serious…some states used to allow for marriages between first cousins, (-and I’ll refrain from making comments on where and why that was the case-) but most states have generally not permitted closer than 3rd cousins. Again, these are just peculiarities of the laws of the past, and I don’t know all of the particulars for every state. Now if that seems discriminatory, (like why can’t you marry your first cousin) an argument could be made either way. (arguments can ALWAYS be made either way, but they have to be considered in a whole, and in conjunction with ALL the rights, of ALL the parties).

HOWEVER, unlike the situation of same-sex unions, the State can (if they choose) argue a compelling state interest in preventing for instance, “in- breeding.” I’d say it’s weak (that argument) and the same issues arise in situations of ‘state forced sterilization’ of women they’ve deemed mentally or physically incapable of taking care of themselves, let alone a child. The less vocalized, (but still overwhelming) concern is that they might reproduce mentally or otherwise incapacitated children.  Too bad. The Universal Law says that we cannot take away some other person’s inalienable rights. Something as basic as reproduction would fall in that category. PERSONALLY, I don’t think it’s such a good idea for people to marry their 1st cousins if they’re planning to have children, just because of the genetic risks involved. But I have no proof that ‘in-breeding’ causes any more incidents of craziness in the population than what is already produced in a neurotic society anyway. 

In order for the State to deny rights to any group or person, it has to convince that it is in the STATE’S INTEREST to prevent those people from exercising their rights. Since the union of two people of the same sex does NOT infringe upon or otherwise violate the rights of anybody else, it SHOULD BE a legal no-brainer. (which is what Jerry Brown belatedly figured out.)

Now here is my take on where all of the confusion resides, and maybe –because it is such a critical issue- Obama should have gone further into his professoritorial mode on this, in speaking to the public. The confusion seems to lie (at least partially) in the understanding of Civil Unions as opposed to Marriage. For the lay person, it probably IS confusing to say that you are for Civil Unions but not Gay Marriage, because in legal terms, we are talking about the EXACT SAME SET-UP. (I don’t remember Obama saying he was OPPOSED to Gay Marriage for other people, but that seems to be what most want to assume.)

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By cyrena, December 23, 2008 at 7:35 pm Link to this comment

2 of 4

State legitimized marriages/partnerships/whatever, provide a multitude of social/civil rights for those entering into such agreements. They include but are not limited social security benefits, retirement incomes, educational benefits, tax credits, death benefits, Veteran’s benefits, and recognition of any dependents legally associated with that union. The same applies to alimony, and child support, and any of the other legalities that are associated with the termination of such unions. (divorce). These Civil Unions are legally recognized partnerships, and there is no mention anywhere in any of the paperwork, (all married people should check their licenses) about the gender, race or other physical traits of each person in the agreement. Just the names and other pertinent stuff like their dates of birth, and birthplaces. (I’m not even sure about the birth places – don’t have a marriage license handy, and that too probably depends on the individual state.)

So in terms of the LAWS of the land, there is literally and virtually NO difference between a ‘marriage’ and a “Civil Union”. Both are the same in the eyes of the law. So if Obama claimed at one time, that he was supportive of Civil Unions and NOT “Gay Marriage”, he failed to articulate that based on the LAW,  they are the same, and it’s only one’s personal ideology, (as dictated by religious texts most frequently) that would generate an ideological difference, and nothing more.

Now in my OWN ‘interpretation’ of what he has said and written at length, it seemed really clear. He DID articulate, (and I believe it was in the thing that Warren set-up between him and McCain) that while he personally did not espouse the same-sex marriage practice (and would probably prefer that his daughters married males, or didn’t get married at all – I added that part)  it was NOT his right or place, (even as president or parent) to prevent others from engaging in such unions. Long before that, (at the start of the campaign) he had already committed to the Gay Community, (in a letter to a national LGBT organization) that he would work to repeal all of these laws already in effect. Now as a professor of Constitutional Law, and practicing Civil Rights attorney, and as PRESIDENT, that IS his responsibility.  And, that really IS the crux of the issue.

•    “Civil rights are equal Social rights are not? …“I think it means that the couple can have most of the civil rights that a married couple does. Hospital privileges, they can make up a will, (they already can!), can adopt children as a couple, etc. That is the only way I know to interpret it.”

They have ALL of the SAME rights as any other legally sanctioned union in a domestic setting KDel. Period. Civil Rights are provided equally to everyone within the society, based on the laws of the state. The State cannot however, create a law that denies another portion of the population their equal rights under the law. There are Civil Rights and Inalienable rights, and even Jerry Brown explained that pretty concisely in the few excepts from this piece..

Think back on the 400 year old model for this…racial discrimination that was actually embodied in ‘the law.” Miscegenation laws (and they may still exist in some states) prohibited/CRIMINALIZED marriage, cohabitation, and sexual relations between the races. California was the first state to repeal such laws in 1948. It was nearly 20 years later before the Supreme Court ruled in Loving v. Virginia, and settled the question at the Federal level..

•  “..declared Virginia’s anti-miscegenation statute, the “Racial Integrity Act of 1924”, unconstitutional, thereby overturning Pace v. Alabama (1883) and ending all race-based legal restrictions on marriage in the United States…”

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By cyrena, December 23, 2008 at 7:33 pm Link to this comment

3 of 4
Think back on the other landmark civil rights legislation, such as the rejection of the premise that education could be equal, and remain ‘separate’. (That’s conceptually impossible). They attempted to satisfy the separate but equal requirements by allowing one black man seeking admission to a Texas Law School to attend, but ONLY after setting up a separate area of the classroom for him to sit. NO. I’m not kidding. It was a desk in a corner stashed away from the rest of the class/lecture behind a makeshift curtain, or maybe it was just outside the door of the lecture hall. Can’t remember. (I guess the poor guy could still hear the lectures.) Regardless, the Warren Court threw ALL of that shit out, which is how we finally got the COLLECTION of Civil Rights cases that led to the sweeping reform of Civil Rights laws in 1964.
Needless to say, the law does NOT change mentalities and ideologies. It IS however, the only thing we’ve got to protect ourselves from ourselves/each other, and the tyranny of a lynch-mob mentality.  No, morality anc conscience cannot be LEGISLATED, and we should not be so naïve as to think so. A bigot doesn’t change his or her stripes as a matter of law, so the racist, the misogynist, and the homophobes, and the social class snobs will continue to THINK and believe as they do. These laws prevent people from ACTING on these criminal mindsets (sometimes) for fear of the appropriate punishment. More importantly, they are in place to protect the REST of us, from the tyranny of such mindsets. These laws are critical to ANY society that claims (as we do) to be governed by the rule of law.

To suggest that Obama is ‘straddling the fence’ in terms of what the LAW says, is an indication of the ignorance of those who make such suggestions. He has been crystal clear on his legal interpretations, and his religious or ‘moral’ persuasions have nothing to do with it. Neither do the moral convictions of the next guy or girl, based on what they read from their Bibles. Our Constitution does NOT use the Bible or any other religious text to determine who gets to do what.

The US Constitution is built on Positive Law. A very quick definition of positive law is that everything is permissible in our civil society, as long as it has not been explicitly prohibited. The BANNING of any practice without conclusive proof that it is harmful to, or otherwise infringes on the SAME RIGHTS of others, is referred to as NEGATIVE law, or simply BAD LAW!!

Proposition 8 is one of many examples of BAD LAW, which is why Obama spoke out passionately AGAINST prop 8 in the lead up to the election, calling it discriminatory and divisive, because it is.
I don’t know why it took Jerry Brown this long to get to that, but obviously the political pressure was on him. That’s the whole point. The Christian Taliban arm of the body politic, (which seems to generally include most bigots of all stripes, - racists, misogynists, homophobes, and all the rest) has always operated by using wedge issues that will appeal to certain portions of the body politic to gain the power to push their own agenda via the courts and the political system.

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By cyrena, December 23, 2008 at 7:32 pm Link to this comment

4 of 4

In theory, not a single solitary supporter of prop 8 (and believe me, I’ve quizzed many of them) can actually tell us, (when forced to it) HOW the marriage of two other people, (outside their OWN marriages) infringes in ANY way, on their OWN civil rights regardless of the gender or sexual orientation of the participants. Some will (after more hemming and hawing) suggest that ‘isn’t the point’, as my own sister did. HOWEVER, that is EXACTLY the point, in terms of the laws of the land. When I finally pointed out to her that her entire argument was based on ‘semantics’ (because she denied being ‘religiously motivated’ and swore that she DID support ‘civil unions’ for same-sex legal partnerships) she actually got even more pissed at me, because I suggested that she was willing to allow the lifestyle choices of others to dictate how she interpreted what her own marriage means. I mean, what else could I think? It was either that or the ‘semantics’ argument. The only basis for her argument (really) was ONE of the definitions of ‘marriage’ that Webster cites in his famous dictionary, which has been constantly upgraded and revised over the centuries. If this were about linguistics only, a marriage is a union between two people or other entities entering into a contract with the state and each other. I would like to believe that most married people do not have to consult the dictionary to understand the emotional/spiritual/legal terms of their individual relationships, and that they certainly wouldn’t judge their own, based on the marriages of other people that they don’t even know. Yeah I know, wishful thinking, and I’ve been cautioned many times that ignorance will never be completely eradicated. There’s proof of that right here on TD.

Last but not least, if it still seems confusing, you can’t remember anything else, remember this..A marriage and a ‘union’ are the SAME thing, whether you put ‘gay’ or ‘same-sex’ in front of them or not, and rest assured that Obama is in possession of that little kernel of legal knowledge, and nothing that the Rick Warrens of the world say, is going to change that, though it is very OBVIOUS that is exactly what they’d LIKE to do, and the best way is to create division based on discrimination, within the population. (and it seems to work for them every time. Witness the responses here on TD, to what is basically a low priority, relative to the times. (ie, who really gives a shit who says a prayer at the inauguration?) This is NOT an ‘irreverent’ question, considering the fact that the majority of the US population, really does NOT give a shit about this.

Hope this helps:
Civil rights (not to be confused with inalienable rights)

civil rights: an overview

“A civil right is an enforceable right or privilege, which if interfered with by another gives rise to an action for injury. Examples of civil rights are freedom of speech, press, and assembly; the right to vote; freedom from involuntary servitude; and the right to equality in public places.” (and equal treatment /recognition under the law – my addition) “Discrimination occurs when the civil rights of an individual are denied or interfered with because of their membership in a particular group or class. Statutes have been enacted to prevent discrimination based on a person’s race, sex, religion, age, previous condition of servitude, physical limitation, national origin, and in some instances sexual preference.” *

*Gender identification, or ‘sexual preference’ has been included in the Universal Laws/Human Rights Laws at the International level. – my note.

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By tropicgirl, December 23, 2008 at 2:56 pm Link to this comment

See what you did, Obama?

This brokeback piehole guy’s reputation is in the toiloitte now because of you. Don’t be so much of a self-appointed savior next time and just do your job, please…. Obey the law (wiretapping), keep your promises (Iraq) and step up to the plate and help people economically. You are obviously NOT a good judge of character in these situations.

I can’t help thinking this is payback for Rev. Wright.

And to all my gay friends here… We were at this same point in the 70’s and the equivocating and waffling got the whole thing stalled back then (Melissa Etheridge?). A bunch of celebs came out then stabbed the rest in the back.

I doubt you will get another chance in this lifetime.

Remember the ERA movement? It was quashed by the already compromised women’s movement and other so-called civil righters back then. But we almost got it. It would be humorous if there weren’t so many gays suffering over those 30 years.

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By Tony Wicher, December 23, 2008 at 9:16 am Link to this comment

As a supporter of gay rights, I say these rights will be advanced by Obama’s act of tolerance in having Rick Warren give the invocation, whereas the intolerance of evangelicals shown by other supporters of gay rights here on Truthdig will only prevent further progress. A brilliant, courageous move by Obama.

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By Howard Mandel, December 23, 2008 at 9:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Folktruther: “I’ve known women who had sexual relations with their brothers as consenting adults.”...“I would guess its much more common than one would think, but too shocking to acknowledge publically, like gayness once was.”

Dude, please! We are not talking about kissing your sister. This about marriage. While I might agree that harmless incest might occur, once in a while. It is far too dangerous to the overwhelming majority to be codified into law. For the most part it is criminal behavior, and offensive to compare that group to a legally recognised minority seeking equal protection under the law.

That said, if I tried to stop every preacher who ever personally offended me from speaking at the inarguration, that wouldn’t leave anybody. So be it.

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By KDelphi, December 22, 2008 at 8:23 pm Link to this comment

Paul—Society created religion for one purpose: to placate peoples fears of dying, and, to convince them that , if their life sucks here, dont worry, you’ll “get yours in heaven”. It causes people to put up with all kinds of things they wouldnt otherwise. They think that there will be “justice later from god”.

the opiate of the masses. And, in the US, they’ve been sucking it down life coffee.

tropicgirl—good points! With the state that so amny people are living in, the money spent on the inaugeral balls, etc. , is just more of the same.

Little Brother-yes, and woe to us who cannot ‘warm up to him”! It certainly wouldve been easier, and , alot more popular and comfortable to just say, “sure, right, he is a great candidate”. I tried so many times. I just never could.

I think that the apppt. of Warren is symbolic of so many of Obama’s appts. It just represents more of the same, not change at all. I guess that that is why it bothers me so much

howard mandal—I submit that, the constituency of people like Warren is not so large—just loud. They will probably never vote Dem, anyway, and, are complaining loudly that Warren accepted!WHY would we “reach out to “whacked out bible thumpers”, even if they are a small voting bloc??

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By Paul, December 22, 2008 at 5:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Society created institute of family and marriage for one purpose only: create the best conditions for self preservation by promoting separation of labor within family and traceable transfer of genetic material from one generation to another. Gay marriage has nothing to do with any of this goals, so society should not provide any benefits and protect it. It is that simple. And please, stop calling other people names if you do not agree with them - this is real intolerance.

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By Rodger Lemonde, December 22, 2008 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To my mind preaching is a deviant activity. Usually supported by a strongly prejudiced group with limited tolerance(note the frequent schisms in religion).
If the pious want to run the country let them pay taxes.

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By Dyev, December 22, 2008 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Has anyone noticed how well-fed (over-fed) these conservative Christian ministers seem to be?  If they were really charitable, wouldn’t they cut their own consumption and send the excess to the poor?

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By dihey, December 22, 2008 at 1:02 pm Link to this comment

My system mangled a line. It should have read: “Did he for his next inauguration invite a segregationist preacher to soften the blow for the same lame reasons that Mr. Obama and his supporters present to justify his selection of the Reverend Warren?

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By dihey, December 22, 2008 at 1:00 pm Link to this comment

When Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights act of 1964 he knew that this would turn many Southern States into Republican bulwarks for many years to come. Did he then invite a segregationist preacher to soften the blow for the same lame reasons that Mr. Obama and his supporters present to justify his selection of the Reverend Warren? No, LBJ did not. So who occupies the higher moral ground, the foul-mouthed and swearing LBJ or the sweet talking BO? I paraphrase Senator McCain: Obama and his supporters still don’t get it.

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By Folktruther, December 22, 2008 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment

howard Mandel :  I’ve known women who had sexual relations with their brothers as consenting adults.  It is also portrayed in British novelists by Iris Murdoch and others.  I would guess its much more common than one would think, but too shocking to acknowledge publically, like gayness once was.

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By Howard Mandel, December 22, 2008 at 10:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


I know your comments are simply designed to shock, but I had to say something. Incest is not acceptable. Familial ties and influence are too strong (even into adulthood) to assume that either party is can act out of reasonable consent. For example: a brother abuses his sister from childhood so aggregiously that her ability to properly act in her own interest has been compromised. If she were allowed to marry her brother, she might easily be forced into it, and there would be no independent evaluation into the intergrity of her consent. This seems pretty obvious to me, but then I had a family.

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By tropicgirl, December 22, 2008 at 10:34 am Link to this comment

The whole shameless pompousness of the inauguration is inappropriate at this time. It has become divisive, sad and unfair. At the very least, the homophobic pie-hole Warren should withdraw. Every day the anger is worse.

The real victim here is going to be Obamas new “pastor”. Every word will be scrutinized, rightly so.

Melissa Etheridge needs to be careful not to “sell out” the rising gay equality movement to keep herself in the “in” crowd. This is basically what ended up happening in the 70’s and 80’s when women and other minorities turned against total equality.

“Pastors” like Warren, like other tv preacher-types are not really traditional protestants. They are Christian “dominionists”. They have decimated the traditional church landscape in favor of their mega-theocratic views and money pipeline, causing their demise.

Much of their apologetics, or “teachings” behind their actions are traced back to the teachings of a now deceased man, Francis Schaeffer and others:

These teachings, now notorious among true Christians, have been rejected by his own son, Franky Schaeffer.

They are nothing but modern-day witchburners, and Etheridge and others need to be careful not to preach moderation on the backs of their own friends. Once the equality movement is quashed again it will be hard to rescue. Kudos to Caroline Kennedy! Thats true bravery and I am not surprised.

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By Folktruther, December 22, 2008 at 10:20 am Link to this comment

Obama has made much worse appointments than choosing a religious bigot for his inaugeration. But there was a gay and lesbian minority that stood up againt it and managed to ignite a firestorm of progressive opinion against it.

Apparently it is the visible symbolic nature of the appointment that evokes the emotion, whereas keeping Gates in office, or putting Arne Duncan in as head of Education to corportize and militarize the schools did not have a sufficient minority to oppose it.  The teachers who will suffer from Duncan were apparently too Educated react like gays and lesbians did.

Consequently it is necessary to find a power grouping of some kind that can lead an opposition to warterrorism that Obama is promoting.  I can’t think of one.  All groupings have leaders like Frank who will soften and difuse the policies of their grouping, as he does when he says it is appropriate to invite him to a forum.  But as Anarcissie argues, there is no rank and file group that rebels against the authorized oppression.

Not incidentially, I am in favor of incest, or at least not against it, as long as no children are involved.  If a woman wants to marry a relative, including a brother or father, she should be permitted to.  Incest taboos like other sexual taboos are simply superstitions imposed by people like BOTH Warren and Frank.

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By felicity, December 22, 2008 at 10:11 am Link to this comment

It’s quite common among us humans that when faced with monumental problems, so monumental as to seem unsolvable, we, driven to be able to solve something, turn to small problems that we think we can solve.  It seems to me that the Rick Warren, oily creature that he is, furor is a case in point.

Another is the Blago peccadillo presently jamming our airwaves. A tv blowhard recently called the Blago ‘affair’ “the soap opera of the century.”  Hyperbole aside, the Blago caper is if nothing else solvable.  Of course the down-side is that in the process the monumental problems facing this nation get relegated to the back burner where they unfortunately seem to stay.

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By dick, December 22, 2008 at 9:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Warren is not much different than the other religion business charlatans. Millions of gullible folks are conned by them.

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By Little Brother, December 22, 2008 at 8:37 am Link to this comment

I agree completely, Feral Cat.

During the horrendously overlong campaign season, I had a running friendly argument with a family member who became infatuated with Obama.  For a while, I really struggled to warm up to Obama—but when he finally overtook Hillary and castled firmly behind his right rook, I was unable to “cut him some slack”, as my relative constantly urged.

When Obama announced his Foreign Policy Work Group—after Samantha Power left the campaign, IIRC—I predictably went ballistic over his choice of refried Clintonista hawks, including the monstrous Madeleine Albright.

My Probama relative, previously a leftish progressive type, was untroubled.  He explained in a condescending tone—but only a faint echo of the patronizing and condescending tone employed by Obama-zealots—that of course Obama would pick “solid” Democrats to shore up his authority and support within the party and to mend fences with the powerful Clinton bloc within the party leadership.

“Who did you expect him to pick—Noam Chomsky?” my relative asked incredulously.

That shut me up for a minute, but after I thought about it, I replied that it wasn’t such a crazy idea at that—regardless of whether Chomsky would be interested.

Because it struck me even then that there was something fishy about Obama’s highly-touted “vision” of post-partisanship and the politics of inclusiveness and reconciliation—namely, for all of his high-minded and noble-seeming ideals, in fact Obama was demonstrating this “inclusiveness” by exclusively gathering the most neoliberal, socially conservative, Establishment hacks he could find.

I thought, and think more strongly than ever, that there’s something disingenuous and patronizing about Obama’s messianic mission to pour oil on the troubled and divisive waters of Amerikan politics.  Obama’s abiding contempt and rejection of “Sixties” politics and values become clearer with each choice.

Those who support the relatively trivial choice of Rick Warren explain piously that Obama had declared himself to be the president of all Amerikans—and regardless of how abominable “some of us” might find Warren’s bigoted demagoguery, that Obama’s exalted mission requires him to embrace such Prodigal Sons in order to reassure nervous and anxious fundies that Obama honors and respects their values.

But this argument overlooks the disturbing fact that the Obamamobile only makes right turns.  Even if Obama slips in a non-homophobic minister for “balance” later on in the inaugural agenda, it’s a little bit like corporate news “balancing” their coverage by pairing off an extreme reactionary or conservative with a moderate reactionary or conservative.

So far, Obama hasn’t come up with anything close to a “Noam Chomsky”.  And I suspect that the same supporters (and infotainwhores like EJ Dionne and his ilk) who imply that progressives must be the “bigger” persons, and not fuss over Obama’s habit of fawning over Establishment moderates and outright bigots, would be just as quick to explain that Obama “can’t” very well reach out to persons like Chomsky because the Silent Majority Obama is wooing would find it off-putting.

Not a very even-handed inclusiveness, methinks.

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By Howard Mandel, December 22, 2008 at 7:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m an atheist, but of all the fig leaves Obama could offer the wacked out bible thumpers (a significant constituency whether we like it or not), this seems relatively inoffensive to me. I’m not opposed to giving them some token respect considering they’re not likely to get any traction on their agenda for the next 8+ years.

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By Feral Cat, December 22, 2008 at 7:35 am Link to this comment

There is something troubling and dark about having Rick Warren give the invocation at the inauguration of Barack Obama.  It appears disrespectful and too in-your-face to the gay community, pro choice advocates, equal rights for women advocates, and, well, most of the world .  Even if Rick Warren had never compared homosexuality to incest and pedophilia or called abortions a Holocaust, he would still be a flim flam Elmer Gantry tent revival preacher.  He’s a profit preacher not a prophet preacher no matter how much money he gives away.  His Saddleback Church is a temple of capitalism. It is there that you profit motive is reinforced.  It is also a symbol of marketing that you could call community organizing.  Bill Bishop in “The Big Sort” says that the model for these megachurches is a cruise ship. And what Warren did in California he says is “targeted evangelism”.  It is group polarization says Bishop and these like minded groups become more and more extreme. These are the new soldiers of American fascism. Don’t be fooled by the Hawaiian shirts and khaki pants. 

So what Obama is saying to the world’s big audience who will be watching this historic event is “Greed is still numero uno, folks.  All that social gospel Christian stuff is crap.  It’s"closet Marxism” like Pastor Rick says. So shut up you whining lefties.  Get with the program. Besides I like his shirts.”

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By Little Brother, December 22, 2008 at 7:10 am Link to this comment

“I have many gay friends. I’ve eaten dinner in gay homes. No church has probably done more for people with AIDS than Saddleback Church,…”

Yes—but would you want your brother to marry one?

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By Frederick Ferguson, December 22, 2008 at 6:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

On Proposition 8, he was silent.
On the US Veto of the UN Resolution for decriminalizing homosexuality, he was silent.
On Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, he says, “Wait.”
And now associating with someone who compares me to a pedophile?

I never expected much from PE Obama on LGBT issues.
But I have to ask, “Where is the leadership?”

- Black Gay Americans Under the Obama Bus

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By Frank, December 22, 2008 at 5:37 am Link to this comment

bigoted |ˈbigətid|
•obstinately convinced of the superiority or correctness of one’s own opinions and prejudiced against those who hold different opinions (probably 90% of the leftists on this board display this characteristic): a bigoted group of reactionaries.
• expressing or characterized by prejudice and intolerance (intolerance of blacks and gay would generally preclude having them as friends or eating at their homes): a thoughtless and bigoted article.

Those who may have a personal preference for people of their own race (which may very well be a biological imperative born of evolution) or sexual preference (due to religious convictions) but who still make a sincere effort to avoid discrimination or blatant disrespect are not bigots in my opinion. They are tolerant. Tolerance implies a non-preference to begin with. You can’t be tolerant unless there is something you would prefer to avoid but tolerate anyway.

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By michele, December 22, 2008 at 5:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This man has no place at this event.
Frank said it as well as anyone.
A place a table of discussion- maybe.
THis- Obama has undermined the significance of the day to a fault.
If only hte whole crowd would turn thier backs on him.
THAT would make it worth watching.

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By cyrena, December 22, 2008 at 3:11 am Link to this comment

1 of 2

•  “I have many gay friends. I’ve eaten dinner in gay homes. No church has probably done more for people with AIDS than Saddleback Church,…”

Warren is EXACTLY like every single other bigot that’s ever placed himself (or been placed by his handlers) in such a profile. The Bigot’s Mantra here is a dead give-away, and we’ve heard it for decades from the HYPO-bigot’s of the world.
“I have many gay friends” (Warren now)

“Some of my best friends are black” (all bigots -from about 1970 to date)

“I’ve eaten dinner in gay homes” (Warren now) – Kinda funny. I wonder what ‘gay homes’ are like to eat dinner in? Geeze…
“We even let ‘em come into our backyards for barbeques” (red neck bigots from the same period to date)

And of course it just gets worse from there. Warren claims (in the very same breath) that his church has done more for people with AIDS than any other church. The implication of course is that the ones with AIDS (helped by Saddleback Church) have all been gay, and that only gay people get AIDS.

All bigots are the same. It doesn’t matter if they’re misogynists, racists, homophobes, or whatever else. The only real difference is the hypocrisy. Some are actually upfront about their bigotry. But the hypocrites that try to hide behind the clerical collar are the most heinous, because they can do the most damage.

I’m willing to bet that Warren has some exceedingly LOW profile handlers. Low profile as in having tons of money and as much hate, to finance such an operation, but they stay in the shadows. The Klan and similar organizations have been known to finance their operations exactly this way; especially via these mega churches with handpicked operatives like this crackpot, because there’s enough of an audience in the body politick that will respond. 

Meantime, I get Barney Frank’s point on this being considered an ‘honor’ to deliver this prayer, but in all honesty, I don’t see it as any particular honor. It’s an ‘honor’ because some vague religious ‘value’ or recognition has to be present even at Official STATE Event. It’s not an honor to the non-religious among us.

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By cyrena, December 22, 2008 at 3:09 am Link to this comment

2 of 2

It’s a political trick, pulled off by the hypocritical religios who are their own political party.  Talk about a TRAP; he admits it right here:

•  “Warren, in a speech on Saturday, said he took “enormous heat” three years ago for inviting Obama to speak at his church, even though the two men disagree on some issues. “Now he’s invited me,” Warren said.”

Pompous fucker! He claims he took enormous heat for ‘inviting’ Obama to speak at his church THREE years ago? Did Obama ask to be there? Something makes me think no.

Then he proceeds to set the trap by hooking up the so-called debate with McCain. How bizarre was that? And how the hell was Obama gonna ‘decline’ that invitation? Now Warren is (typically) putting a You-Owe-Me note on what was obviously a multipurpose trap all along.

I’ve said this before, but I bet Obama would like to kick himself in the ass right about now. He obviously walked right into that trap three years ago, and didn’t pay enough attention to the dirty bastards. You can’t turn your head on people like Warren, (homophobic closet gays are among the meanest /most dangerous) for even a second, and you damn sure can’t trust anything they say.
Meantime, I’m wondering if Obama ever heard these remarks about the comparison of same-sex marriage to incest. (like the obvious incest that had to have occurred in Biblical times if you believe that stuff). But then, that reminds of this same discussion in terms of the Rev. Wright. Remember THAT explosion? Seems to me like Obama’s been plagued by instances of having to explain his own actions in terms of what various men of the clergy have said or done.

Seems like he should have re-considered on opting for a different ideology than his atheist parents. This could be a sign that he should stay away from ministers for a while. Just a thought. It’s still not too late to cancel the invocation is it? I think the benediction will be enough. We should be tightening our belts on everything these days.

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By KDelphi, December 22, 2008 at 2:29 am Link to this comment

Shift—christian leaders are , in general, suggesting (and, now, if it stands, FORCING) others to live by their principles.

Gay people are not. They merely want to live by their OWN.

Dr. Knowitall PhD—You had me with, trying to prevent inaugerations (in the future)from using any religion at all, then, with turning your back on them. Then, you lost me with “why should Barney give a damn” (because teh “good Pastor ” wants to infringe on his civil rights) and, “can you imagine an atheist giving an invocation”—why not?? Alot of us think that it is alot less “silly” than the bigoted , revolting views of people like Warren.

But, in a society where there is supposed to be separation of church and state, a civil ceremony would be best. A civil ceremony would be all I would do if I ever got married again. But, apparently, to some people , it is not enough. I think that they have a right to the same cermonies, cultural “absurdities” (in my opinion) as everyone else.

If Obama thinks so, he has made a mistake with Pastor Warren.

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By Jonvio, December 21, 2008 at 8:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

President Kennedy had the great poet Robert Frost as Poet Laureate at his Inauguration. Obama’s choice of Rick Warren is equivalent to having Coolio or some rap artist as poet laureate. (Not meant to be racist).

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By Shift, December 21, 2008 at 5:50 pm Link to this comment

Extremism by both gay and christian leaders is offensive to me.  Find a middle way that we can all live with.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, December 21, 2008 at 5:12 pm Link to this comment

O.K. if you’re going to insist that you have an invocation at the inauguration, and it’s to be given by a hate monger, then, when the announcement is made, “The Reverend Rick Warren, man of the cloth, lover of Jesus and spreader of the message of love, compassion and tolerance” gets up to give his precious invocation during the US federal ceremony installing the president of the US, everyone who doesn’t want him there, stand and turn your back on him.  You have as much right to do that as he has to pray at the ceremony, in my view, more right.  And stop complaining.

We live in an imperfect world.  Keep in mind there may be as many fauxpeople loving his being there as there are those detesting it.

If you want to make progress on this issue, then advocate for a purely civil ceremony, leaving Jesus, God, and other imaginary people at home looking after Whinnie the Pooh, and out of really serious, government business.  Were there no invocation, what could we complain about?  The only people then complaining would be those wanting an invocation at the inauguration, i.e., the people who think it’s unthinkable that Jesus, et al, shouldn’t be invited to inaugurations. 

It’s all just another flag lapel pin. 

Then, everyone would scurry around in attempts to do the right thing and right the wrong.  “OMG, what will they think of us if we don’t invite JC?  We have to invite JC!  We don’t want to be thought of as heathens.  That’s almost as bad as being pro-choice.  Or buying beer on Sunday.  It’s going to create a lot of problems if we don’t invite JC.  People’ll hate us and say bad things about us to others.  Our jobs will probably be in jeopardy.  This is a God-fearing country.  The terrorists can’t hold a candle to God. If we screw up and get God’s wrath down on us—locusts or hail or dust or something, we’ll wish we only had a terrorist problem.” 

Frankly, Barney, why do you give a damn?  You ask to get up and give a rebuttal prayer.  Then, the pro-choicers, who have as big a complaint as you, can have their say.  Then the Jews and the Muslims and the Janes and the Quakers and so on and so on.  Then the atheists.

Can you imagine an atheist giving the invocation???

Christ, before we’re done giving equal time to every group that is offended by the asshole preacher’s presence at this Federal ceremony, there won’t be time to install the new Prez, and we’ll be stuck with W for another 4 years.

Why not ask TAO Walker to give the invocation?  In fact, if he’s not asked, he should request equal time, too. 

I think Obama should cancel the inauguration altogether and take the money it cost and distribute it to humane socities all across the country.  Jesus wanted us to take care of the least of us.  I think that’d be a good start. Who cares about an inauguration?  Skip it and get the Hell to work fixing this mess we’re in.  Jesus wouldn’t even like an inauguration.  He’d get right to work, starting with the poor and the sick and otherwise afflicted.  We’re all afflicted with an out of control MIC, national debt, deficit, cheating, lying, manipulating, unscrupulous money grabbers, crumbling infrastructure, substandard schools, urban blight, crime, a neanderthal healthcare system that throws sick old ladies out on the street, and war mongering, just to mention a couple flaws.  Jesus’d have all that fixed in no time because he’s an action man.  He wouldn’t fart around with a stupid inauguration.

My fellow Americans, let’s get to work!

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By KDelphi, December 21, 2008 at 4:49 pm Link to this comment

“I have many gay friends. I’ve eaten dinner in gay homes. No church has probably done more for people with AIDS than Saddleback Church,” he said in a recent interview with BeliefNet. But later in the interview, he compared the “redefinition of marriage” to include gay marriage to legitimizing incest, child abuse, and polygamy.”

Be honest. How much does this sound like how some people used to (and some stil do!) talk about civil rights issues and bigotry against African Americans?

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