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The Elephant in the Room – Rick Warren

Posted by amy On December - 18 - 2008

Over the last 24 hours, many have asked what Join The Impact’s take is on the pick of Rick Warren for President Elect Barack Obama’s invocation speech. Thousands of members have expressed anger, fear, sadness, confusion, aggrevation… the list goes on. Simply put, this is a slap in the face… especially in the wake of Proposition 8. In an effort to unify America, Obama’s choice could easily divide us further. In such a historic election, it is embarrassing that a man who DOES NOT stand for change is given a stronger voice than those that do.

The Reverend Rick Warren has spoken openly about his approval of Proposition 8 – saying that allowing Same-Sex Civil Marriage will somehow take away his freedom of speech. Honestly, I have no clue how an argument like that even holds water. There are still racists in this world Mr. Warren, and they still have the freedom to express their ignorance as unfortunate as it may be. This will not change for you WHEN WE DO RECEIVE FULL EQUALITY. The fact is, our fight for equality is like pulling off a band aid: if you continue to fight it, it’s only going to hurt more… either way, that band aid is bound to come off and you’ll realize that there is no scarring at all. Our rights do not affect you, they affect US!

If President Elect Barack Obama DOES NOT revoke his invitation to Rick Warren, then I see only one solution for the President Elect: find an openly gay leader and ask that they too have an opportunity to speak. Obama’s goal is to represent ALL Americans and he is grossly under-representing 10% of the population! To save face, he must contact an intelligent, well-known, political, and LGBTQ man or woman to speak at his inauguration. Some ideas that come to mind: Eliza Bayard of GLSEN, Joe Solmonese of the HRC, Andrew Sullivan, Kevin Jennings, Rea Carey of the NGLTF, the list goes on and on. Ultimately this might be a golden opportunity to educate the public and increase LGBTQ representation on Inauguration day by DEMANDING an LGBTQ speaker. Of course, if Obama were to choose a fully inclusive religious leader to give the invocation speech, then he can kill two birds with one stone… but it seems like he’s making it difficult on himself, so it’s time we give ourselves a voice and make our visibility known! We will NOT BE IGNORED!

I keep coming back to the following: Obama can’t go back on his word. Sure, politics is politics – everyone goes back on their word too many times to count. But President Elect Barack Obama has made it clear that these should not be the standards. He sold us on his character, his ethics, and his morals. He sold us on his promises. In many ways, this issue is a double-edged sword. He promised to give EVERYONE a voice and that includes Rick Warren. He promised to include ALL ideas and beliefs in his cabinet. Therefore, in SOME points of view, his choice of Rick Warren, could also be viewed as him sticking to his promises. So, Mr. President Elect, we at JoinTheImpact implore you to CONTINUE sticking to your promises. If EVERYONE deserves a voice – then GIVE US ONE AS WELL. You made many PROMISES to the LGBTQ community. So when will you start calling on one of our leaders to speak? It is our duty to continuously remind President Elect Barack Obama of the MANY promises he made to our community: REPEAL DOMA, REPEAL Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, STRENGTHEN Hate Crimes Legislation, PASS a Fully Inclusive Federal ENDA law… and now, since you have clearly given one viewpoint a voice, you must also give us a VOICE on inauguration day as well!

On December 20th – We will all UNITE to Light Up the Night for Equal Rights. Our Goal is to REACH 1 Million People. Based on our numbers, this is an easy goal to accomplish. So now is the time to STEP IT UP A NOTCH. Now is the time to show this country exactly why Rick Warren DOES NOT speak for us. If Obama won’t give us a voice, then WE HAVE TO DO IT OURSELVES! On December 20th, we have been asking that you come with “2nd Class Citizen” shirts on. Clearly, Barack Obama has chosen someone who DOES consider us 2nd Class Citizens to speak on behalf of all the people. We need to let the people know the words that are being put in their mouths. As such, I’m grabbing a sharpie and making some changes to my message on Saturday night. The messaging on my shirt will say the following: “RICK WARREN THINKS I’M A 2nd CLASS CITIZEN… Do You?” Join us to make our voices heard! Join us to make an impact! And Join us to SHED LIGHT on the darkeness of this important issue!

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