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December 19, 2008

Comments

i saw this and almost wrote on it until epstein's op-ed pissed me off more. but this is just outrageous. every EU country, but not us.

Outrageous indeed. But the Epstein piece needed attention, and that's kind of in your wheelhouse.

OT: What does "in your wheelhouse" mean, literally? I'm familiar with the intended meaning in this context, but just realized I don't know what the original actual physical "wheelhouse" was - assuming there was one - nor how its proprietor would handle something that was "in" it.

Dunno doc. I only know it from the baseball context - as in, in a particular hitter's hitting sweetspot.

(googling)

And this is what I came up with:

It is a nautical expression. On a boat, the wheelhouse is generally where the captain is, and where the wheel and other controls -- displays, radio, radar, etc. -- are located.
The expression is akin to "in my backyard" or "close to home", and basically means that someone or something has gotten a little too close or personal.

It can also refer to someone's area of expertise.

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_origin_of_the_idiom_'In_your_wheelhouse'

It's a macho synonym for "in your kitchen."

a historic step to push the General Assembly to deal more forthrightly with any-gay discrimination.

And once that's dealt with, we can move on to some-gay discrimination.

OT: Ah, I believe that may be in my wheelhouse! http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_origin_of_the_idiom_'In_your_wheelhouse'

Dammit, scooped by four minutes.

If Obama`s courting the homophobic vote as hard as his invite of Rick Warren suggests, he won`t do anything different with regard to the UN resolution next time it comes up.

I'm assuming that the AP article meant to say "anti-gay discrimination" - but, it IS a UN Resolution, after all: some degree of ambiguity isn't completely out-of-the-ordinary.

"It is a nautical expression."

Jeepers, hasn't anyone ever read Mark Twain?

Is Rick Warren known primarily as a homophobe or as an evangelical minister?

G.O.B.

I think the big issue with Warren is that he was a vocal leader in the California measure 8 campaign. Since this election coincided with Obama's election, it's pretty raw for the LGBT community and its supporters. Yes, he's also known as an evangelical minister, but the controversy is about his open opposition to gays.

Is every person who was so positioned on the California measure 8 campaign to be shut out of any involvement in the administration of Barack Obama?

Is every person who was so positioned on the California measure 8 campaign to be shut out of any involvement in the administration of Barack Obama?

It would certainly be nice to think that Barack Obama would shut out of any involvement in his administration anyone who worked to make marriage in California a privilege for only certain groups of people, not a civil right for all.

After all, the kind of people who believe marriage is a privilege which some couples don`t deserve, are the kind of people who would have opposed Obama`s parents having the right to marry. It would show proper respect for his parents` marriage for Obama to do so.

But real politics is full of even worse ironies than the child of a mixed-race marriage giving political privilege to people who want him to have been a bastard, or better yet, not born at all. There was a British politician in the 1980s, the child of a Jewish couple who fled to the UK from Germany in the 1930s, positioned himself squarely in favor of the kind of restrictions on seeking asylum in the UK that would have left his parents in Nazi Germany. That was an even worse example of political irony than Barack Obama inviting Rick Warren to pray for him.

(Dear God, the President of the United States should be a bastard, whispers Rick...)

Yes, I've read Mark Twain. I knew that steamers had wheelhouses, even. I just wasn't clear how the expression "IN one's wheelhouse" worked, although the explanations above, making the phrase jurisdictional, sort of manage it.

But that only makes it similar to the British bureaucratic "within one's remit" and doesn't quite convey the "sweet spot" sense of the baseball term - not just a pitch that one is entitled to hit, but an ideal pitch for hitting, exactly where one would want it to be.

Is the comparable phrase "in one's domain" - as in the Seinfeld episode? ;}

Thanks to all for the advice, and for confirming my view that (American) English is a funny old language.

My impression was that the expression originally referred to a cannonball hitting the ship in its wheelhouse.

trying to shift the balance of power from within the evangelical movement to the Warren wing (which is less hostile to Dems)

Only marginally less hostile to Democrats. I would like to know what 'wing' of the evangelical movement you understand Warren's to be. He is not a moderate; he is a repackaged right-winger (as shown by his activism in favor of Prop H8, this Old-Testament, pre-Christian support for killing 'enemies', and more).

There's a comment over at TPM cafe which I linked to at "Taking It Outside" because I thought it was pretty good. I don't know how to link to a specific comment, so scroll down a few comments until you get to a long one by "Dan K".

Link

It does seem odd to me that this is the Obama pick that has some online lefties so upset, when this is a symbolic one and his earlier choices of cabinet members are substantive and mostly centrist. I don't completely agree with DanK in one respect--I'm more bothered by the blessing he's giving Warren. But it is possible that Obama is trying to win over a segment of the evangelical movement with this particular act of Clintonian triangulation and that he's trying to split the evangelical right by being friendly to one of the leaders who agrees with him on some issues. Some mainstream evangelicals are shifting a bit to the left (some even on gay issues) and while Warren is very bad on gay rights, he's on the right (i.e, the left) side on the environment and maybe, as Eric says, being friendly to him will help swing more evangelicals towards the left.

OTOH, maybe it will turn out to be, as Glenn Greenwald says, yet another example of Democrats reaching out to conservatives in an attempt to win some over and getting nothing in return.

I've triangulated so much in this post I half-expect to get an Obama cabinet appointment myself.

In the event that I do get a call from the Obama transition team, I just want to make clear that the "Donald Johnson" who praised the Iraqi shoe-tosser and the whole notion of shoe-tossing was either someone else, or me in my early radical phase, a phase that I've long outgrown (it's been hours since I felt that way), and nobody should be judged by the rash statements he or she might have made in one's impetuous youth, assuming I did say such things.

Equally OT, but deserving of a blog post someplace--

Link

Back on topic-- Richard Cizik would have made an interesting choice. He's where Obama is, I think (pro-civil union, but against gay marriage), and even this got him in trouble--

link

It's interesting to think about what the response would have been from evangelicals if Obama had chosen Cizik. I suppose it would have been seen as a slap. Even better, suppose he'd picked Peggy Campolo,

I should have read my own link. I had heard Cizik had taken a stand in favor of gay unions (though against gay marriage), but looking at the wikipedia link, he backpedaled. Time for me to stop cluttering the comment thread. Good night.

Uh, do you really think this anointing of Warren as the new Billy Graham, giving him new respectability, will do the slightest bit about the hate and intolerance gay people face every day?

We get a marching band, one of 70. What the hell is this magical thinking that people like Warren or his "followers" will ever change their minds about anything? No, they will take it as admission of their righteousness. And I'm sick of reading our alleged straight allies on liberal blogs rationalizing this to such unrealistic ends.

No, they will take the mile from that inch given. But thanks for the pat on the head and the marching band, you wonderful well-meaning straight liberal bloggers and commenters. Your notional opposition and frequent comments that gay people should sit down and STFU aren't news. But fooling yourselves that Warren and his sort can be appeased is folly.

Back again.

Deschanel--You're probably right about Warren himself and actually, you've shamed me into realizing that I'm wrong and Obama shouldn't have given in (not that his own position is any too great). But some people in the evangelical movement have changed and become pro-gay marriage--they may end up leaving the evangelical church, or finding a very liberal one (they do exist) or else joining a mainline church or abandoning it altogether. I used to be an evangelical (more mainline now) and I know a number of people like this. How you get people like us to change I'm not sure--it just gradually dawned on us that our old beliefs were dead wrong. I don't know of anyone who had a Road to Damascus experience along the lines of "My God, I've been a bigot," though if anyone knows a method for speeding up the process it would be good to share it. So the reason I was less bothered by the Warren choice was that I imagine some future liberal among the evangelicals thinking "We're not at war with Obama--we just disagree." Now whether that could be a first step along a path to change I don't know, but you're right--it's too vague a hope to justify giving Warren a platform.

"I don't know how to link to a specific comment"

Same as every other link.

I think maybe you mean you don't know where TPM puts its links to individual comments; blogs vary a lot in this, of course, and some blogs don't have links to individual comments at all. Generally, one simply has to look over comments at a given blog, by running one's cursor over anything that looks like a permalink, until you either find it or you don't.

At TPM Cafe, it's done as clearly stated as it ever is: the link to the comment is under the part of the comment is where it says "permalink": "December 19, 2008 12:29 PM | Reply | Permalink"

Some blogs make it trickier by using funny icons.

Thanks Gary. I have a remarkable capacity for overlooking the obvious, at least when it comes to linking. (And probably other things as well, but that's all I'll admit to for now.)

Prey ...ioz

Of course, Barack Obama knows, and Joe Biden knows, and Nancy P. and Harry R. know, that if Barry O. dons the scarlet robes of an emperor and has himself crowned Grand Moff of the Universe by the Pope, the Dalai Lama, and the Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Progressives will still come out for the party, before returning to their blurgs to murmur darkly about the traitorous thanksralphery of "purists," whose uncompromising un-commitment to lesser-evilism makes them an eternal target of proggie ire. "The perfect," they cry, "is the enemy of the good." True. But so is the bad. The problem with the Democratic Party is not forgivable imperfection. The problem is that the Democratic Party is evil, vicious, and wrong. Is Rick Warren a vacuous moral apologist for American exceptionalism? Yes! The word for his selection is: appropriate.

Seriously, this is disgusting. Unbelievable.

In numerous states, landlords and private employers are allowed to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation

I actually did not know that. Actually, I can’t believe that. Anyone have any details? I couldn’t find anything with a quick google…

OCSteve: I actually did not know that. Actually, I can’t believe that. Anyone have any details? I couldn’t find anything with a quick google…

You will find full information here, but in brief - in it is prohibited for employers to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation only in the states of California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.

In Colorado, Delaware, Indiana, Michigan, Montana, and Pennsylvania, discrimination is only prohibited for public sector employers - private sector employers can discriminate all they like.

In all other states, except for employees of the federal goverment (or where a local ordinance bans discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation) it is perfectly legal for an employer to refuse to hire a lesbian, fire a gay man for being gay, or deny any lesbian, gay, or bisexual employee the same treatment at work as a heterosexual employee would receive.

Actually, it's not accurate to say that "it is perfectly legal for an employer to refuse to hire a lesbian, fire a gay man for being gay, or deny any lesbian, gay, or bisexual employee the same treatment at work as a heterosexual employee would receive". Just because there's not a law on the books doesn't mean that a discriminatory act wouldn't fall under a number of other legal theories, including a state constitution's equal protection clause. Discrimination is very hard to prove even when it's explicitly illegal.

By all means, Sapient, please do play down discrimination against LGBT people at work as much as possible: it will make American heterosexuals feel more comfortable about their country, and their feelings are of far more importance than preventing active discrimination against LGBT people.

Sexual discrimination at work only became illegal in the UK in 2003 (though military personnel had protection from 2000). Aside from the times I worked as a childminder - where I would have been extremely cautious about letting parents know I was a lesbian, even if the law protected me, because, well, who needs to deal with that kind of freak-out? - the work I did was always in the kind of technical, non-public areas where sexual orientation discrimination is pretty rare unless you have an actively homophobic manager, which only happened to me the once. But, until 2003, from first-hand report and from some personal experience, any LGBT person at work was damned careful about how open they were about their personal lives until they were certain of the atmosphere at work, since it easily happen that between a homophobic bully and an openly-gay employee, it would be the gay employee who would be fired for "causing trouble". And the vast majority of straight people, again from my own personal experience and from first-hand report, take for granted the invisibility of gay people* and homophobic jokes or comments.

The number of times someone's said to me "You're the first lesbian I've ever met!" when they mean "The first lesbian who ever came out to me" - all the other lesbians they ever met were careful not to let the straight person know anything about their personal lives.

By all means, Sapient, please do play down discrimination against LGBT people at work as much as possible: it will make American heterosexuals feel more comfortable about their country, and their feelings are of far more importance than preventing active discrimination against LGBT people.

Uh, please don't let Sapient speak for the rest of us American heterosexuals. Thanks.

OCSteve: I actually did not know that. Actually, I can’t believe that. Anyone have any details?

What did you think the phrase "gay rights" meant, and why did you think people have been fighting about it for the past few decades? Or didn't you notice? I am not being snarky, just a bit incredulous. I understand that the level of public attention to the issue can be dependent on which state you live in, and of course on whether you're either gay yourself, or one of those people on the extreme end of the religious right, who can find nothing better to do with their time than try to stamp out evidence of people they're (as TLT points out) afraid of, in the "different is worse" mode.

In Maine, someone with your level of attention to politics couldn't possibly have missed it; there were 6 (or was it "only" 5? I eventually lost track) very visible statewide referenda on gay-related topics between 1995 and 2005, when a gay rights bill finally passed the legislature.

Here's a capsule history for Maine. I don't have time to research all the dates and details, so this is kind of anecdotal, besides the fact that I only moved to Maine in 1987 and this hasn't been my focus most of the time.

The gay rights bill that was finally passed in http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Maine_passes_gay_rights_law >2005 "adds the term sexual orientation to the list of protected classes in the Maine Human Rights Act banning discrimination in employment, housing, education, credit, and public accommodations."

Before 2005 there had been roughly 30 years of efforts to get a bill passed. For 20 of those years, if memory serves, gay rights activists tried in every legislative session (every 2 years), and failed every time.

In 1995 some of our favorite right-wing "Christians" (most visibly the "Christian Civic League") initiated a state-wide referendum to explicitly ban any protection from discrimination for gay people. It was during that campaign that I was involved in the Speakout Project; that vote came out the right way (from my point of view ;), but there was still no gay rights bill, there was only a statewide vote that said we weren't going to specifically ban gay rights.

There were several more referenda after 1995. When the bill passed the legislature in 2005, the Christian Civic League tried to get enough signatures to force another referendum to repeal it, but they failed. Times do change, and I would like to think that by that time most people in Maine had figured out that the sky was indeed not going to fall, that gay people were their neighbors and coworkers, and that they had had enough of the nonsense.

Gay marriage has taken the spotlight away from gay rights in more recent years, but even before gay marriage became the more visible issue, lots of people -- just like you -- were incredulous at the idea that gay people didn't already have the same rights as everyone else. But this is a complex issue, legally, and I'm not qualified to say much more about it. If you're interested, here's a book I learned a lot from, not just about the law relating to gay marriage but about civil rights in general, and for that matter the Supreme Court: Same-Sex Marriage and the Constitution.

Jes, why are you jumping on Sapient for pointing out that EPC's might be interpreted to already ban discrimination against gays and lesbians? Isn't this what happened with same sex marriage in MA? Different area of law, true, but same principle. Or would you call this "legislating from the bench"?

JanieM: What did you think the phrase "gay rights" meant, and why did you think people have been fighting about it for the past few decades?

"Gay rights" means "special rights for gay people". After all, normal people don:t want laws to make it illegal for them to be fired for their sexual orientation.

People have been fighting about it for the past few decades because of the Homosexual Agenda. You know;

2:30 p.m. "Dessert at your place." Find out, once again, people lie on AOL.

3:33 p.m. Assume complete control of the U.S., state, and local governments (in addition to other nations' governments); destroy all healthy Christian marriages; recruit all children grades Kindergarten through 12 into your amoral, filthy lifestyle; secure complete control of the media, starting with sitcoms; molest innocent children; give AIDS to as many people as you can; host a pornographic "art" exhibit at your local art museum; and turn people away from Jesus, causing them to burn forever in Hell.

4:10 p.m. Time permitting, bring about the general decline of Western Civilization and look like you are having way too much fun doing it.

4:30 p.m. Take a disco-nap to prevent facial wrinkles from the stress of world conquest and being so terribly witty.

Seriously, it doesn't surprise me in the least that a right-wing straight guy has got no idea that LGBT people are legally discriminated against in the US; the strong conservative meme has always been that gays have the same rights as everyone else. OCSteve is a good sponge for such memes, and never much inclined (from his comments here) to think much about anything that doesn:t directly affect himself.

Just for the record, I don't even like the phrase "gay rights." It's a useful shorthand, I guess, but it's more accurate to talk about a certain set of "civil rights." The "protected classes" mentioned in the wiki article I linked to earlier are explicitly named in the law because they are groups that are or have been specifically and widely discriminated against. The so-called "gay rights" law adds "sexual orientation" to the list of characteristics that cannot be used as the basis of discrimination, so it actually bans discrimination against straight people for being straight, too. We just don't need that one so much....

But I'm edging back toward the legal intricacies that are best left to someone else to explain.

Gromit+ Jes, why are you jumping on Sapient for pointing out that EPC's might be interpreted to already ban discrimination against gays and lesbians?

Because "might be interpreted" means "you might, if you decide to fight your employer for unfair dismissal, maybe win your case". And as I thought I:d made clear from my earlier comment, that's very, very different from discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation actually being illegal.

Jes...my laugh of the day. The secret agenda, revealed for all the world to see!

And -- with all due respect and fellow feeling, and recognizing that there's a long history here that I'm not part of, I doubt being ragged on makes it easier for OCSteve (or anyone else) to stay on (or come to) our side......

I doubt being ragged on makes it easier for OCSteve (or anyone else) to stay on (or come to) our side

If you can convince Jes of that, you'll have made an immense contribution to the ObWi community, but I'm not holding my breath.

Jes or Janie: I've been seeing the phrase "gay and lesbian community" a lot here and elsewhere. Isn't that redundant? Shouldn't it simply be the "gay community"?

Also, is my computer the only one going nuts: It is showing a whole new format for ObWi and when I hit the "next" button I don't get to the next page.

Bedtime, I think Typepad is having some problems. The site wasn't loading at all a while ago, and then I was getting formatting issues (probably the stylesheet not loading) and proxy errors. Seems to be okay for the moment.

Jesurgislac: Because "might be interpreted" means "you might, if you decide to fight your employer for unfair dismissal, maybe win your case".

That's the case even if there are anti-discrimination laws on the books.

And as I thought I:d made clear from my earlier comment, that's very, very different from discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation actually being illegal.

Sapient didn't say it was illegal, but rather that it's not necessarily legal. I don't see why you are interpreting this as minimizing the discrimination itself.

Jes or Janie: I've been seeing the phrase "gay and lesbian community" a lot here and elsewhere. Isn't that redundant? Shouldn't it simply be the "gay community"

It should actually be the LGBTIQ communities. ;-)

Or GLBTIQ.

Many lesbians don't feel included by the word 'gay'. Many bisexual people don't feel included by the word 'gay'. Trans and intersexed people may be lesbian, gay, bisexual or heterosexual. I think queer is actually a pretty good inclusive word inside the LGBT community, but some people still use it negatively, some LGBT people are offended by it, and it:s awkward for straight people to use it because they tend not to have the same sense of social nuance as queer people do about where it:s appropriate. Safest usage is LGBT or GLBT.

But `lesbian and gay` has been in frequent use since the 1970s among gay men, gay women, and lesbians, to specify that the speaker means 'both men and women'. Still shortchanges bisexual people, though...

Gromit: Sapient didn't say it was illegal, but rather that it's not necessarily legal. I don't see why you are interpreting this as minimizing the discrimination itself.

I refer you to both of my previous comments. I can:t be bothered to type all of that out again, so you'll just have to reread it and think about it a bit harder.

bedtimeforbonzo -- you jump in where angels fear to tread. People have their own preferences about terminology, and then there are the people who think that everyone should use their terms. I try to stay out of it, but I do have my own idiosyncratic usage.

I use "gay" the way you seem to understand it: to mean both genders. As I explained during my very early time at ObWi, I like "gay" as an adjective that denotes an attribute a lot more than "lesbian" as a noun that denotes an identity. Being gay is just one thing about me, and in a sane world it wouldn't even be particularly important. In a sane world, I wouldn't have to mention it at all, except as a practical matter in negotiating dating situations. ;)

But yes, lots of people do use "gay and lesbian" -- prefering to name gay (men) and lesbian (women) separately. But then, if you're fine-tuning the groupings and terms, you're don't want to leave out the bisexuals and the transgendered people, so you get LGBT...

Then there's "queer" -- radish used that term last night in the other thread. It's kind of nice in that it's a blanket term, but I'm a little old and old-fashioned for it. I would rather emphasize the common humanity I share with everyone than set myself aside under any label, but especially one that emphasizes (with however much irony and perhaps humor) the differences.

I think you should use whatever terms you want -- and prepare to get picked on by someone who thinks you left someone out, or didn't use the "right" terms, or whatever. In my book, as long as we're respectful to each other, that's the most important thing.

Cross-posted with Jes....what she said, more succinctly than I did.

bedtime -- one more nuance, which I'm reminded of by Jes's comment.

The usage I said I preferred ("gay" as most generic) is what I use when referring to myself or to people in the abstract. If specific people prefer to be called specific things -- for instance, friends of mine who prefer to be called lesbians -- I call them what they want to be called.

bedtimeforbonzo -- you jump in where angels fear to tread.

Yeah, I winced a little when I read that question. I'm glad everyone was nice about it. I was curious about that myself, and found the use of "queer" to be surprising, but cool somehow. There's a lightness to it, I think.

How many Obwi readers at actually acquainted with some Warren "followers"? I'm asking because the discussion on this thread treats his "followers" as if they were brainless members of a cult who do what they are told. In fact most people who know of Warren know of him through his book which is (in my opinion) religion-lite pap, but not over the top political. Likewise his preaching tends to be of the cheerleading variety, rather than the Five Minutes Hate variety. How do I know? Because I watch evangelical TV all day at work. One of my clients is a "follower".

IN fact right now all of my clients are "followers" as poor whites tend to be. And guess what: none of them hate gays, all are pro-choice on abortion, none of them like preaching that is too political, none of them think that Obama is the anti-Christ,and all of them are liberals without knowing it on a whole spectrum of issues.

Liberals without knowing it is the key. They watch Faux. They listen to rightwing preaching. They were raised in a narrow and dark religion. And yet every last one of them can sit and talk about gay issues, abortion issues, comparative religion, and politics with me and find out that we are mostly on common ground.

The Republican party spent a lot of time and effort convincing Democrats to write off religious people as unreachable to us so that those folks will be only influenced by them. And we have collaborated by accepting the stereotype and the assumtion that it is a waste to try to communicate with them. Which is part of why they occupy a separate information world. However that separate information world is breaking down. In another ten years the Faux audience will be dead or in nursing homes. Younger evangelicals aren't as moved by wedge issues as their elders were and are more concerned about the environment and economic issues. Evangelicals are changing.

you said it yourself, it is not binding, who cares if we sign it or not. Perhaps the UN should tackle other issues like Darfur, and Kenya.

you said it yourself, it is not binding, who cares if we sign it or not. Perhaps the UN should tackle other issues like Darfur, and Kenya.

Perhaps the UN should tackle other issues like Darfur, and Kenya.

What do you think needs to be tackled by the UN in Kenya? They've certainly got a lot of fairly common problems there: HIV, tribal tensions, government corruption, accomodating large number of refugees from Somalia, etc, but it's not one of the most damgerous countries in Africa (let alone the world) by a long chalk. Of course they do have discrimination against gays there still...

Or do you actually mean some other country, but don't realise you do? Because I don't think it's really a good idea to start telling the UN where to intervene until you've worked out the differences between foreign countries.

Appreciate the clarifications, Janie and Jes.

I should have added that I felt a little ignorant in the asking, but, frankly, I am finding out a lot of stuff on this and the other thread that, to me, makes Warren seem all the more polarizing -- and makes me wonder just how sensitive Obama is to the various GLBTIQ we are discussing.

Bedtimeforbonzo: it was a perfectly good question, which I appreciated your asking.

It's also a good question whether Obama picked Warren knowing how offensive that pick was going to be, or if he had no notion and had no one who could tell him. I don't see that there's any way to find out, but I thought http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/12/19/obama/index.html>Glenn Greenwald made some good points.

Jes, I think Greenwald's critique is ignoring the difference between acknowledging people we disagree with (and making them feel respected) and actually compromising policies. That's a huge difference between what Obama has done and what Clinton did.

If Obama does something equivalent to signing the Defense of Marriage Act, then Greenwald will be right, but this invocation, while offensive, is not that. It would have been pretty insignificant if people hadn't decided to treat it as huge. Anointing Warren as the person responsible for the first event of the campaign featuring both presidential candidates (and making that event a religious event of any kind) was a much bigger deal, in my opinion.

A letter on the Warren invocation from one of the pastors at the church the Clintons attended in DC when Bill was president (though he wasn't a pastor there at that time).

I think Greenwald's critique is ignoring the difference between acknowledging people we disagree with (and making them feel respected) and actually compromising policies. That's a huge difference between what Obama has done and what Clinton did.

I think you miss the point of Greenwald's critique; Obama has not yet compromised his Presidential policies in order to appease the conservatives, because he has not yet been inaugerated.

Bill Clinton sounded very good on LGBT issues before he was inaugerated. He really did. I'm old enough to remember how happy people were at having a President who was clearly so much better than Reagan/Bush - who appeared to be about to instigate real change in the American polity on LGBT issues.

Now maybe Obama will be different. But the valid point Greenwald makes is that, as yet, he hasn't proved he will be.

It would have been pretty insignificant if people hadn't decided to treat it as huge.

Yeah, because insulting and offending LGBT people is pretty insignificant. That's exactly why I don't think anyone should assume ahead of events that Obama will follow through on the committments he's made to LGBT people - because just as insults to LGBT are insignificant, so too are committments to LGBT people. What really matters, to you and to other straight Obama-followers, is making nice with conservatives in the hope that they won't treat Obama just as badly as they treated Clinton.

Jes, of course Obama hasn't been inaugurated yet, but he did have an opportunity to demonstrate his strategy while he was an Illinois legislator, and he was successful in getting progressive legislation implemented without compromising the policy. I'm not going to assume he's going to betray progressive policies before he does.

I don't think offenses to LGBT people are the same as actual policy changes related to LGBT rights. You are choosing to assume that Obama chose Warren specifically as a slap in the face to LGBT people, but I don't thinkmthe choice had anything to do with LGBT people at all. If I'm right, then that may be a blind spot that Obama had in this case, but it's not something that would be applicable in the approach to actual legislation and policy.

You think of Rick Warren purely as a symbol of bigotry, but Obama sees him as something else -- someone who can help on other issues, like the environment and health care, even if he has repellent views on other subjects. There's not a similar difference in view when you're looking at a particular piece of legislation or policy proposal.

I don't expect LGBT issues to be a huge priority in the Obama administration, and I don't know why anyone would have expected them to be, for him or any other candidate who might have become president. That's the reality that we live in now, though things are changing. I expect things to continue to move forward at the grassroots, though the progress will always be slower than it should be (even though it's been faster than many of us imagined it could be).

Rev. Peter L. DeGroote's letter, linked by KCinDC represents an interesting view of Christian worship. I didn't realize that people should decide not to pray with other people who have bigoted beliefs or who speak out in a way that is intolerant or bigoted - it must be difficult to operate in a large church. I thought the idea was that people could pray together in a shared common humanity, with the recognition that we are all imperfect. Certainly I wouldn't join in a prayer with Rick Warren that gays never be allowed to be married, or that God should only bestow blessings on straight people. But in a more generic kind of prayer that God bestow blessings on humanity (or something) I could join with just about anyone. (Leaving aside that I don't pray much, or believe much.)

I tend to agree with wonkie on what Obama's trying to do here. I hope though that if Obama keeps "reaching out" to conservatives in these symbolic ways he does some significant things for the GLBT community when he starts implementing policy.

(Also, I deny that my pointing out that Jesurgislac overstates things when she says that it's "perfectly legal" for people to discriminate against gays is "playing down discrimination". I would say that it encourages bigots to discriminate when you lead them to believe it's "perfectly legal" to do things that, in fact, it may not be legal to do. And even where there are laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, there still have to be lawsuits and challenges to specific behavior. So, although nondiscrimination laws may give people an extra peg upon which to hang their hat, it's not going to end discrimination and bigotry. It's just that when there's proof (which is difficult to collect and document) of discrimination, it becomes easier to bring and win an lawsuit.

Sapient, when De Groote says "pray with" he's referring to having Warren give the prayer. Since he says he'd have been okay with having Warren present at the inauguration with someone else giving the invocation, presumably he'd be able to "pray with" Warren in that case, so the size of the church doesn't really enter into it. But I think you have a point about refusing to participate in an otherwise acceptable prayer because the messenger is flawed, even severely flawed.

You think of Rick Warren purely as a symbol of bigotry

Not at all. I do not think of Warren as a symbol of bigotry. Rick Warren is a bigot. He thinks that same-sex couples getting married is like paedophilia or incest. He thinks that Jews go to hell when they die. He thinks that women having abortions is like concentration camp guards killing Jews. This plainly doesn't matter to Obama - whether because he thinks it will be helpful to his image as President to prove he embraces conservative bigotry, or because he just doesn't care what Warren's views on Jews, women, and LGBT people are - we'll never know.

but Obama sees him as something else -- someone who can help on other issues, like the environment and health care, even if he has repellent views on other subjects.

Warren is anti-abortion and pro-abstinence. If Obama thinks of Warren as someone who can help on health care, then Obama is really not going to be 'progressive' even by the US's very limited notions of what is 'progressive'.

I don't expect LGBT issues to be a huge priority in the Obama administration, and I don't know why anyone would have expected them to be, for him or any other candidate who might have become president.

I certainly didn't. There's a very big different between "righting your wrongs is not a priority for me" - and "I'm going to insult you publicly to give me credibility with the conservatives who see keeping you down as a top priority for them".

A correction: De Groote is no longer at Foundry United Methodist Church, though he was one of the pastors there for a while. He's now at the United Church. Sorry for the misinformation.

"I'm going to insult you publicly to give me credibility with the conservatives who see keeping you down as a top priority for them"

No, the idea is to reach out to people who view Warren as some sort of leader but don't have keeping you down as a top priority. Viewing evangelicals as a monolithic block who care about nothing but oppressing gays and women is the same sort of mistake as viewing Muslims as monolithic block who do the same, or even worse as a monolithic block who support terrorism and hate America.

Viewing evangelicals as a monolithic block who care about nothing but oppressing gays and women is the same sort of mistake as viewing Muslims as monolithic block who do the same

The evangelicals who care about other things besides oppressing LGBT people and keeping women subjugated, IME do not regard Rick Warren as a leader.

Why the confusion? Where did I say `evangelicals'? I said, and I meant, "the conservatives who see keeping [LGBT people/all women] down as a top priority for them". That you assumed by that I meant "evangelicals" says something about your perception of evangelicals as a monolithic block, not about mine...

Oh, and: `evangelicals' are a specific branch of a religion; equating them to `Muslims` is just wrong in the same kind of way as you were trying to condemn.

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.
Sarah
http://www.thetreadmillguide.com


I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.
Sarah
http://www.thetreadmillguide.com

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