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Time Magazine’s Cloud Calls Obama a Bigot

Timothy Kincaid

December 21st, 2008

John Cloud, writing in Time Magazine, pulled no punches in his response to President-Elect Obama’s selection of Rick Warren as the minister for his Inaugural Invocation:

Gays and lesbians are angry that Barack Obama has honored Warren, but they shouldn’t be surprised. 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. He did throughout his campaign, one that featured appearances by Donnie McClurkin, a Christian entertainer who preaches that homosexuals can become heterosexuals.

I’m not willing to go as far as Cloud and call Mr. Obama a bigot. He has established a comprehensive list of goals that would go a very long way towards eliminating institutionalized discrimination against the LGBT community and it is far too early to dismiss this agenda as insincere.

But I do think that the President-Elect is now demonstrating a pattern of response to the gay community which suggests that he does not see our expressions of concern and dismay in the same light as he might those of other subgroups of the American population.

I find it unconscionable that any religious leader would say that a “brother and sister [being] together” and “an older guy marrying a child” are “equivalent to gays getting married”. And I find it perplexing that Barack Obama does not.

Comments

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Andrew
December 21st, 2008 | LINK

That may be so, but what about the extensive efforts he has made to even avoid being in the same room as Gavin Newsome. I’m not talking minor scheduling changes either, but in some cases duck and run tactics. And if we look at Prop 8 results, it seems clear that he’s picking and choosing which identity groups to court.

Attmay
December 21st, 2008 | LINK

I think he is a cynical, smarmy Clintonesque politician. I will be genuinely surprised if we get any real results from his administration.

jOHN
December 21st, 2008 | LINK

Warren….why? There are so many other choices why go with Warren? I mean if Warren was not selected it would not have been any big deal. Was this a promise that was made during the campain? It just does not make any sense.

David
December 21st, 2008 | LINK

I’m begining to wonder if even BO’s future Supreme Court appointees will really be very progressive or helpful.

Maybe we should find a way to get in touch with the Mayan gods of the underworld, who are due in 2012, and get them on our side; they’re at least as likely to help as BO.

Joel
December 21st, 2008 | LINK

“I find it unconscionable that any religious leader would say that a “brother and sister [being] together” and “an older guy marrying a child” are “equivalent to gays getting married”. And I find it perplexing that Barack Obama does not.”

Let’s explore the principle of a conservative christian. If god says/implies or can be interpreted from that X is wrong, it’s WRONG(sin). Pedophilia is wrong, incest is wrong, homosexuality is wrong. Thus all that is lumped in those ‘wrong’ categories are equivallently WRONG. Now, most christians would agree(i think) that killing someone is not equivallently WRONG, per se, as a lie, but they all have a sexual connotation to it and ultimately find it reasonably easy to lump them together.

Dennis Veite
December 21st, 2008 | LINK

I’ll go as far as to call him a bigot. He’s proving himself one now with this Rick Warren debacle. He voted to approve the FISA amendments just this year while at the same time saying he was for restoring our constituation rights to privacy and ending unwarranted government surveilance. He threw a man that had been his pastor for 20 years to the wolves when it came out about the good Reverend Wright’s anti-white tirades from the pulpit to protect his own rear end. And the list goes on.

I agree with John Cloud: he is a bigot. I’m not adding liar to the list yet, but we’ll see. I expect that come January 21st 2009, I’ll be adding that unfortunate nom de guerre to the list as well.

Everyone that voted for him deserves the egg that’s on your face right now. Unfortunately, those of us that saw him for what he actually is will have to suffer through this as well. That’s the part that really stinks.

Swampfox
December 21st, 2008 | LINK

“I find it unconscionable that any religious leader would say that a “brother and sister [being] together” and “an older guy marrying a child” are “equivalent to gays getting married”. And I find it perplexing that Barack Obama does not. – Dennis Veite
December 21st, 2008″

I agree. I did not vote for Obama and I still find it perplexing that he tapped Rick Warren for such an honor. If McCain had won the election and had tapped Warren, I can only hope that he would have come under the same amount of criticism.

G
December 21st, 2008 | LINK

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Priya Lynn
December 22nd, 2008 | LINK

Dennis Veite said “I agree with John Cloud: he is a bigot…Everyone that voted for him deserves the egg that’s on your face right now.”.

I agree that he’s a bigot, but that’s not the point, its a matter of degree. He’s far less of a bigot than the alternative was and LGBTS are still far better off with him. I suspect most LGBTs who voted for Obama are not surprised by this type of move given Obama’s oppostion to equal full marriage and they are not regretting their votes one bit.

L. Junius Brutus
December 22nd, 2008 | LINK

Cloud is an idiot, and Obama is not a bigot. But he is a cynical politician, and I wonder how many of the ‘goals’ he’ll achieve, and whether he will expend even one cent of political capital in their pursuit.

Pender
December 22nd, 2008 | LINK

There are no non-bigoted reasons to oppose marriage equality. Therefore people who oppose marriage equality are bigots. Obama opposes marriage equality. Therefore, Obama is a bigot.

The day we accept that it’s not bigoted to oppose our right to marry is the day we lose all hope of getting the right to marry.

RomeoandJoe
December 22nd, 2008 | LINK

The issue raises flags about Obama. I don’t think Hillary would have done it, and it definitely tarnishes what has so far been an illustrious record. Just to note also, that WARren is anti-abortion — which should get some women who voted for Obama upset. And just for the record — pedophiles molest little girls too — more often I think — it is NOT a gay issue!!!

L. Junius Brutus
December 22nd, 2008 | LINK

‘If god says/implies or can be interpreted from that X is wrong, it’s WRONG(sin). Pedophilia is wrong’

Really? Can you show me where “God says” (ha ha) that pedophilia is wrong? The only mentions I can find in the Bible are the times when the people are commanded to kill the men, women and boys, but to keep the girls who are virgins for themselves.

Funny how the people who are more ignorant of everything in the Bible are conservative Christians, just like their general level of ignorance exceeds everyone else’s.

Nevada Blue
December 22nd, 2008 | LINK

Pender is right with that simple equation – Obama’s a bigot. I voted for Obama, and I would again. But, I did not vote for him at caucus.

I see the egg on my face as a splotch on the chin, whereas it would be completely covered had I voted the alternative.

Unfortunately, I suspect any good he will do will be minor right now, but hopefully more meaningful down the line.

Debbie Golden
December 22nd, 2008 | LINK

Swampfox wrote – “I did not vote for Obama and I still find it perplexing that he tapped Rick Warren for such an honor. If McCain had won the election and had tapped Warren, I can only hope that he would have come under the same amount of criticism.”

It doesn’t matter anymore if you voted for him, he’s
your president too. The difference is if McC would have called upon him we know he would have been cowtowing to his base but for BO this is treason!

CLS
December 22nd, 2008 | LINK

Of course Obama is a bigot. If you argue that one group of people do not have the same and co-equal rights of all other groups then you are bigoted. If anyone argued that govt. schools should be open to everyone but the Jews that position would be declared bigoted. But apparently if you argued the institution of marriage is open to the sexual majority but not to gays that is not bigoted.

Obama would not tolerate a white president bringing in a bigot on black issues to pray. He would denounce it. But he clearly does not, and never has, seen gays as equal to straights. He is quite happy to keep us at the back of marriage bus.

As for his list, didn’t he already announce that DADT won’t be touched for some years.

And while he said he didn’t support Prop 8 he never made any deal publicly about opposing it. All his comments on 8, that I read about or saw, were in response to questions about it. But Reagan went much further in opposing Prop 6 than Obama did in opposing Prop 8. And Obama made damn sure that every comment he made about Prop 8 was coupled with his dismissing gay marriage. If anything, his comments did more harm than good.

Obama has retreated on many of his promises already. His choice of cabinent members and top officials is pro-war, not anti-war. Some of the most rabid foreign policy types have been brought on board, including his chief of staff. And we should not forget him keeping a Bush war monger in his court.

Obama’s economic policies, so far have all been measures that allow politicians to shower billions on major corporations like the phony ethanol industry that is driving up food prices for the poor and producing a product that is more harmful to the environment than the one it replaces. But its good for politic even if its bad for people. His “job” creation program confiscates billions from the productive sectors of the economy, thus destroying jobs there, to fund unproductive sectors of the economy. At best it redistributes existing jobs but doesn’t produce new ones.

So far the Obama program has been a major disappointment.

HappyCat
December 22nd, 2008 | LINK

I get the fact that Obama will be the president for all people. And as much as he called for bringing this country together, I can see tapping a religous right figure. But why Warren, he is very divisive.

I also understand he has 30 days before he becomes president and we all are just trying to figure out where he is going to be regarding LGBT issues. Finger in the air checking the wind instead of setting a scene of the policies he ran on.

I will wait before I jump on the ‘calling him a bigot’ bandwagon, but what he has shown so far doesn’t look promising.

Priya Lynn
December 22nd, 2008 | LINK

CLS said “So far the Obama program has been a major disappointment.”.

CLS, its not like Warren has been given an ongoing position in the government with authority and decision making power. He’ll spend a micro second on stage and then be gone. How about letting Obama actually become president and do something before you judge his performance. If two years go by and nothing has been done then maybe you can start complaining.

Rick
December 22nd, 2008 | LINK

One definition of bigoted is:

“Obstinately convinced of the superiority or correctness of one’s own opinions and prejudiced against those who hold different opinions.” [Oxford American.]‘

I don’t yet see the stubbornness or persistency of prejudice in Obama required to fulfill this definition.

L. Junius Brutus
December 22nd, 2008 | LINK

“If two years go by and nothing has been done then maybe you can start complaining.”

The question is: what is ‘nothing’? I would consider passing hate crimes legislation and eliminating the tax penalty for domestic partners after two years to be ‘nothing’. I could live with that and ENDA (whether it includes gender identity or not).

Otherwise, he’s definitely worthy of complaints.

Ben in Oakland
December 22nd, 2008 | LINK

I don’t think Obama is a bigot. But he is no Harvey Milk, or even Ben in Oakland.

What he is is a politician, which right there makes his morals, his honesty, and his principles somewhat suspect, to say the least, in my book. He is also heterosexual, which means that most likely he actually doesn’t “get it”, though I am sure he gets it better than many, or most.

He has also inherited what appears to be the biggest mess this country has ever been in on so many levels– constitutional, economic, religious, diplomatic, credibility, military, a congress that long ago excused itself from any constitutional responsibility, andandandand you name it– otherwise known as the LEGACY OF GEORGE BUSH. (Side note– i remember before the 2000 election someone knowledgeable commenting the Bush has managed to screw up every enterprise he had ever set his hand, smirk, or pea-brain to. This should not be a surprise about his Legacy).

For all these reasons, our issues are way down on his list and his radar. Personally, I think Warren was a horrible choice from our viewpoint, but possibly a good one from a policy (politics) POV. There are so many positive places we could be putting our energy– coming out to everyone we know, for example– supporting our organizations, writing letters to the editor instead of BTBedcuacating our family and church members, for example.

I’m willing to give O a pass on it, and wait and see what else he does. Only time will tell whether he is the president of all of America, or just another Clinton with all of the conscience and principle of a hard dick.

Just my thoughts.

David C.
December 22nd, 2008 | LINK

Ok, just to set the record straight, I was convinced that we would have to endure a continuation of Bushism were John McCain elected president. Worse, I saw the religious right in the person of Sarah Palin creeping closer to that seat of power. So, from a risk-management perspective, I reasoned that Obama was a better choice for a whole host of reasons and voted for him.

The outgoing Bush administration’s record on gay rights was abysmal, and many had hoped that Obama would, having acceded to the Presidency of The United States, would immediately begin to undo the Bush damage. Surely, one of the first acts of the new Obama administration would be rolling back the frontier of religious right influence and it’s favored legislation, along with hundreds of Bush Executive Orders.

But wait, we’re getting ahead of ourselves, President Elect Barack Obama doesn’t take office until January 20th, 2009, a little less than a month from when I’m writing this. Yes, indeed, his Transition Team has been building the upcoming Obama administration at breathtaking speed. Several of the advisors on that team are even openly gay, but there has been disappointment that Obama has yet to nominate any gay people to cabinet-level positions, though as of December 20, the openly gay chief operating officer of the Intrepid Museum Foundation, William White, is being considered for Secretary of the Navy. At least one Lesbian, Nancy Sutley, was selected to be the Chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. It’s not as if there were no visible gay people either on the Transition Team or in the upcoming administration.

And there are other significant women’s groups that feel their representation in the Obama administration is inadequate. Obviously not everybody is going to be happy with every appointment, nor is it possible or even desirable that every group have a representative in the cabinet. But at least this time, gay people are more visible in the creation of the administration and the administration itself.

Now, let’s take a closer look at this Rick Warren thing. Rick Warren is a prominent Evangelical Christian leader that is certainly no friend of gay marriage, heaps vitriolic scorn on gay relationships by likening them to a host of atrocities, all the while claiming to have “many gay friends”. Almost all of the left has pretty much condemned the Warren message on homosexuality. So why would Obama invite him to give the invocation at his inauguration? One writer suggests there may be method to such apparent madness:

What Obama is doing is exactly what George W. Bush and others like him would never, ever do – reach out to those who would otherwise reject them. But, here’s the genius to the madness – if Focus on the Family and other right-wing groups refuse to accept Obama’s invitation to promote and participate in a day of service – who looks like the chump – the guy reaching out to a perceived “enemy” or the organization passing up a chance to do good work because of who the invitation came from?

Candace Chellew-Hodge is referring to a perhaps overlooked note in the New York Times where Obama calls for a National Day of Service. She is not alone in seeing a method in Obama’s invitation to Warren. Author Frank Schaeffer thinks Obama was right to pick Warren, and his argument for that position is compelling:

Unlike his lefty critics lamenting Obama’s ideological impurity, the President-elect is actually positioning himself to help gay rights. That is because he is going to actually govern, not stand on the sidelines complaining. As such he needs to do all he can to soothe the idiots, when it comes to the tough social/political issues that are the residue of 30 years of culture wars.

Equally compelling is this little bit of advice Schaeffer goes on to offer:

Progressives are too used to failing. Stop worrying about little battles, you just won a war. It’s all about real results now, not words, and not symbols. It is time to think like winners. The issue now is governance, not symbols.

I tend to agree.

People that monitor both sides of the debate over gay rights may have noticed that evangelicals are not all pleased with Rick Warren having anything to do with Obama. I for one actually see this as a good thing because it indicates that the give and take of politics will now reach into the very heart of the evangelical movement with the resulting debate perhaps prompting the unstopping of a few ears.

Ok, so now what? How about we wait and see what actually happens after Obama actually becomes President and begins to govern. That might start by withholding judgement until we actually see what progress is made in 2009. I’d also suggest that we stop labeling everybody a “bigot” we disagree with, or shrilly decrying every effort at dialogue and reconciliation with those that are perceived to be our enemies. To borrow from Candace Chellew-Hodge again:

It’s been said that if you fight something long enough, there is a danger of becoming what you hate. I think we’re getting dangerously close to that with this controversy.

Something to think about.

Priya Lynn
December 22nd, 2008 | LINK

L Junius Brutus said “The question is: what is ‘nothing’? I would consider passing hate crimes legislation and eliminating the tax penalty for domestic partners after two years to be ‘nothing’.”

Hate crimes legislation and eliminating the tax penalty for domestic partners are by definition something so you’re quite out to lunch here.

L. Junius Brutus
December 22nd, 2008 | LINK

“Hate crimes legislation and eliminating the tax penalty for domestic partners are by definition something so you’re quite out to lunch here.”

I don’t think you get what I meant. You tried to make the standard ‘not nothing’, which I don’t think is enough. And yes, if he decides to throw a bone, I’ll consider that to be nothing.

Priya Lynn
December 22nd, 2008 | LINK

Hate crimes legislation and eliminating the tax penalty for domestic partners in two years would be far more than you got from Bush in 8 years. If you consider that to be nothing you’re out to lunch.

Attmay
December 23rd, 2008 | LINK

“There are no non-bigoted reasons to oppose marriage equality. Therefore people who oppose marriage equality are bigots. Obama opposes marriage equality. Therefore, Obama is a bigot.”

Amen. And to carry that further, anyone who votes for a bigot is an enabler of bigotry.

Priya Lynn
December 23rd, 2008 | LINK

Attmay when your choice is between two bigots you have to take the lesser of two evils. That is Obama by a long shot.

Timothy Kincaid
December 23rd, 2008 | LINK

I would caution that the use of “bigot” be applied less freely.

There are non-bigoted reasons for marriage equality. A person could support equality and have other reasons that they believed outweighed issues of equality.

For example, if I truly believed that marriage equality would lead to, say, war with Iran or the dissolution of the family unit or the end of free speech or preachers being thrown in jail for sermons or any of the other scare stories, I too might reluctantly oppose marriage equality. That might make me a fool, but it wouldn’t make me a bigot.

Others may just not “be there” yet. There are folks who don’t favor gay marriage who, in time with the right persuasion, will. They just haven’t had the right conversation, or spent any time thinking about it, or actually got to know a real living gay person.

And there are those who are just part of the crowd. Everyone they know voted Yes so they did too. Or their pastor said to vote yes. Or some nice person called them from a phone bank. Or their neighbor put up a yard sign. They may not be very bright or they may not have any interest whatsoever and they may just be trying to be a good “go along to get along” part of their community. Such people may have no animus of their own whatsoever and may genuinely be surprised and saddened that their actions hurt real (not televised militant activist) people.

There are a whole lot of people living in Bakersfield, Redding, Turlock, Chico, and Fresno that voted to ban gay marriage who did so due more to where they lived and who they know than to any ill intent on their part.

Priya Lynn
December 23rd, 2008 | LINK

Timothy, its a matter of technical definitions and degree. A slap and murder are both violence but they are in no way comparable. By the same token there are bigots and then there are bigots. Technically if you oppose full gay equality you are a bigot and you have some, possibly very small, ill intent. One doesn’t believe that that marriage equality will lead to war with Iran or the dissolution of the family unit or the end of free speech or preachers being thrown in jail unless one has some unjustifiably negative attitudes towards gays.

Timothy Kincaid
December 23rd, 2008 | LINK

Priya,

If it is what you have been told by someone you trust, you may well believe anything. So I don’t necessarily fault the ill informed.

I’m sure that I have many many false assumptions about a whole host of folks that are due to my surroundings or upbringing. I hope that if I were presented with facts showing otherwise, I would not hold onto my biases. And I would certainly not consider those false impressions to be based in animus, hatred, or bigotry.

N Waff
December 23rd, 2008 | LINK

====================================
=
= THE HYPOCRISY OF THE GAY AGENDA
=
====================================
It’s amazing how the LGTB movement can express such venomous hate against those who they claim are “haters’ – such hypocrisy.

The problem with “gay marriage” is it’s not equality. It’s subjectively accepting this one other forms of “loving” relationship and rejecting polygamy, incest or pedophilia. “Gay Marriage” is not equality.

[Ed: Vulgar reference removed for violation of our Comments Policy]

And finally, the fact is people leave their sexual perversion and are able to restore their heterosexuality.

“Homosexual activist predicted takeover of nation” – http://www.afa.net/homosexual_agenda/takeover.asp

Ben in Oakland
December 23rd, 2008 | LINK

N Waff–sure they can leave their perversion and rssote heterosexuality.

Ask Ted haggard. ask Lonnie Latham. ask Paul Barnes.

Ask a good portion of the roman catholic priesthood.

Honey– you’re just ignorant. educate yourself.

Jason D
December 23rd, 2008 | LINK

Hate?

I’m sorry, I missed the Gay Meeting where we discussed our plans to:

-Keep Christians from holding certain jobs.
-Keep Christians from living in certain areas
-Violently attack Christians for being open about who they are
-Enact laws to keep Christians from adopting children
-Take Children away from their parents because they are Christians
-Refuse to let Christians visit their loved ones in the hospital
-Boycott businesses that put ads in Christian newspapers and magazines
-Lie about ballot measure that would forcibly divorce several thousand Christian couples and put their children in jeopardy
-Push schools to encourage and support children leaving the Christian Lifestyle.
-Insult the relationships of Christians by suggesting they are short-lived, shallow, and revolve exclusively around sex.
-Spread lies about what Christians do to/with each other.
-Push for legislation to repeal any and all civil liberties that Christians enjoy, including marriage, adoption, and equal protection before the law.

Course you can just replace the word “Christian(s)” in the list above with the word “homosexual(s)” and it would be very accurate, so who exactly is the hateful ones?

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