Pope Bastard the Latest calls for saving humanity from queers, comparing it in importance to saving the rainforests from destruction. Best yet, it was part of his Christmas address. Merry fucking Christmas to you, too, asshole.
Christopher Hitchens isn't pleased by the Rick Warren presence at the inauguration any more than I am, calling him a "vulgar huxter" who "is a relentless clerical businessman who raises money on the proposition that certain Americans—non-Christians, the wrong kind of Christians, homosexuals, nonbelievers—are of less worth and littler virtue than his own lovely flock of redeemed and salvaged and paid-up donors," and adding, "if we must have an officiating priest, let it be some dignified old hypocrite with no factional allegiance and not a tree-shaking huckster and publicity seeker who believes that millions of his fellow citizens are hellbound because they do not meet his own low and vulgar standards." Mr. Hitchens is particularly upset at Reverend Warren's commentary on Jewish people, but admits it generalises.
Many people (chiefly and first flashfire) have pointed me at Melissa Etheridge's comments saying that Reverend Warren is not so bad, and that he "regretted his choice of words in his video message to his congregation about proposition 8," and so on. A lot of people have seen this article and read it and decided that this whole thing really is okay, in the end.
I don't buy it. I don't buy it because what I see is someone saying nice things on the phone to someone he wanted to work with at an event to keep them in the event. I don't buy it because he didn't just get into this gaybashing bullshit once, he's done it a lot; the fact that he hosts gay conversion ministries says everything that needs be said on that, really, but there's more. I don't buy it because he uses all the theoconservative weasel-words I'm used to hearing when they're talking to secular audiences - I hear echos of them in Ms. Etheridge's article - then follows the bog-standard practice of reverting to child-rapist smears when talking to his own. I don't buy it because I'm not surprised that someone who is in the business of charming people successfully charms Melissa Etheridge; charisma is a key part of his livelihood, of course he's going to be good at that. I don't buy that him trying to make nice with a musician, even a lesbian musician, makes all his other commentary and his works irrelevant. I don't buy that him being a "fan" of her music makes him think she's a person; the minstrel tradition is long and durable. And I don't buy it because the fundamentalist leadership doesn't buy it either - they think he's with them, with all that implies, and they're longtime experts at running stealth.
Atypically, I'm about to link to an article at TIME Magazine by John Cloud. It mentions Rev. Warren's idea that queers can and should magically change into heterosexuals, but more relevantly, talks about Mr. Obama's consistent opposition to equality - but in such a way that convinces his fans he doesn't really mean it:
Obama has proved himself repeatedly to be a very tolerant, very rational-sounding sort of bigot. He is far too careful and measured a man to say anything about body parts fitting together or marriage being reserved for the nonpedophilic, but all the same, he opposes equality for gay people when it comes to the basic recognition of their relationships.I've had the argument more times than I care to recount that saying something politely doesn't make the content of what you're saying any different. Saying politely that you think all queers are going to hell, need to convert to Jesus(tm), and are equivalent to child-rapists is not better than saying it crudely - and yet, saying it in calm and measured tones somehow gets it a pass. I don't understand why; if someone came up to a dog's owner and said quite calmly, respectfully, and politely that they were going to kill and dismember their pet, that certainly wouldn't help. Personally, I think it'd be even creeper. But somehow, saying these things about queers is okay, and if said politely, it's not just okay, it's showered with praise and is worthy of the kind of honour being given here.
... Obama reminds me a little bit of Richard Russell Jr., the longtime Senator from Georgia who — as historian Robert Caro has noted — cultivated a reputation as a thoughtful, tolerant politician even as he defended inequality and segregation for decades. Obama gave a wonderfully Russellian defense of Warren on Thursday at a press conference. Americans, he said, need to "come together" even when they disagree on social issues. "That dialogue is part of what my campaign is all about," he said. Russell would often use the same tactic to deflect criticism of his civil rights record. It was a distraction, Russell said, from the important business of the day uniting all Americans.
I guess what I'm trying to say is simple: Tone is not content. Tone is not content. Tone is not content. I don't know why this is so damned difficult for people, but I know from long personal experience trying to get people to separate them that it in fact is. But I'll say it again: it doesn't matter how politely and respectfully someone says the twisted horrible things; they're still twisted, and still horrible.
Maybe someday people will figure that out.