The talking heads seem to only reference "anger in the gay community" in regards to the invitation from P.E. Obama to Pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration and yes, there is plenty. However, I am not gay and I am plenty angry and very disappointed. I agree with Pastor Warren that it is commendable for Obama to invite someone who doesn't share his views to take part. However, it's this guy and these views that gall. Gays may not be members of Saddleback Church, Warren's massive congregation. His church runs a group that tries to "cure" gays. He has compared homosexuality to bestiality and pedophilia. He said on NBC just today that while he is naturally inclined to sleep with every beautiful woman he sees, he is able to control himself and went on to insinuate that gays should just exercise that same sort of control and maturity, the extrapolation being that they would eventually be able to overcome their homosexuality.
I am reminded of my mother telling me why she began turning away from her Southern Baptist upbringing as a child. On one hand, she was being taught in Sunday school that Jesus loved all the little children. On the other, she was growing up in the segregated south and remembers being scolded for playing with the children of the one Jewish family in town. Children can smell a hypocrite at a thousand paces; it's one of the things I love about them. My mother was no different.
I know there are many people who do not understand, accept or condone homosexuality; many who do not see homosexuals as human. Having gay friends and loved ones, it's a tough one to try to understand. And the Warren invitation is tough for those of us so energized by Obama's election and the end of the Bush administration. One the one hand, many of us worked and voted for an attempt at unity, an effort to overcome our differences and work together. On the other, we were promised change and this doesn't feel like the right kind.
I've had plenty of experience with judgemental people. My own grandmother insinuated that I was bound for hell for not sharing her beliefs when I was 17 and I have heard plenty of preaching from amateurs and professionals alike on how things are to be done. I often respond that I'd not seen the help wanted ad indicating that The Almighty had resigned the judicial position.
I doubt the invitation will be withdrawn. What I hope, but doubt, is that this will help spur a substantive discussion about the role of religion in our government - why, with the separation of church and state is there any need for an invocation or pastors at the inauguration? - the basic human rights too often denied gays and their place within their respective faith communities.
One roommate, herself gay, has taken to speaking of Obama like she had been double crossed by her best friend. This is not the way this was supposed to begin.