Friday, December 19, 2008
Politics makes strange bedfellows...
A lot of people on my side of the political fence have their knickers all in a bunch because President-Elect Obama went ahead and invited Rick Warren to be the presiding clergy at the Inauguration.
He's anti-gay, they say.
Yes he is.
But what kind of Democrat, what kind of Christian would Obama be if he shut people out just because they disagreed with him?
As much as I loathe the position of (most) evangelical Christians when it comes to the discussion of the rights of GLBT people, what disgusts me even more is that they have become a sect that chooses to focus on a few hot button issues about which the Bible has little to say - gay rights, abortion, sex education, creationism - while neglecting the issues about which the Bible has the most to say - poverty, oppression, the marginalization of the few by the many.
My point is, how can we accuse the religious Right of having too narrow of a focus, if we then turn around and do the same?
Christian gay rights groups like Soulforce have a hell of a time just getting conservative pastors to sit down with them and have a conversation. If the Right says "We won't talk to you or associate with you because you're gay," how is the Left making things any better by saying "We won't talk to you or associate with you because you're anti-gay?"
Obama is right.
There are issues on the table that we can agree upon, and we ALL need to work together to address them.
Do I want the legal right to marry my partner? Yes.
But the guy who is sleeping on a freezing cold sidewalk tonight because he doesn't have a home and the shelter is full....well I think his issue is a little more pressing at the moment.
I recognize that I am in a privileged position to be able to say that.
I managed to make it out of my teens and through the hell of high school without killing myself, many gay kids are not so lucky.
Every minute of every day someone somewhere is verbally abused, fired, thrown out of their home, assaulted or killed, just because they don't conform to the sexual 'norm' that someone else has ingrained in their head.
And as much as some Christians would like to deny it, the words flowing from the pulpit can do as much damage, if not more, than those shouted in the street or whispered in a high school hallway.
Yes, the gay rights issue is an important issue, a life and death issue - as is poverty, oppression, health care, violence, addiction, the economy, education, and a slew of other issues that leave people homeless, helpless, and hopeless.
Jesus said, "you will always have the poor with you."
Well, I believe we will always have Christians who believe in their heart of hearts that being gay is a choice that God has forbidden. I can't get inside their heads and change their minds, and neither can Obama. That doesn't mean we can't find common ground on the 98% of the Bible that we can agree upon - feed the hungry, support the weak, strengthen the fainthearted, help the suffering, honor all beings.
We shouldn't stop talking to each other, or inviting each other to share in our common celebrations, just because we disagree on how we believe God intends for us to live in this world.
I say kudos to Obama....we finally have a Christian in the White House who pays more than lip service to Jesus' command to "love thy enemies."
Paul said "we, who are many, are one body in Christ” (Romans 12:5)
Now if we could just get the left hand and the right hand to stop bitch-slapping each other we might just get around to putting one foot in front of the other and solving some of the problems in this world.