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Will You Reconsider?

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Milton Lee Norris     Permalink
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Some things seem to take on a different tone; we become mindful of what is really being said. The tone of our language whether in writing or speaking is extremely important; words can be interpreted in so many ways depending on how the sentence is structured.

When someone [Ruben Navarrette Jr.] writes, "If controversies were sitcoms, the ruckus over Barack Obama's decision to have the invocation at his inaugural ceremony given by Rick Warren -- bestselling author and pastor of the 20,000-member Saddleback Church in Southern California -- would be the "Seinfeld" of the bunch.  After all, it's about nothing."

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He then goes on to say, "Don't misunderstand. I don't mean that the concerns of those liberal groups, pro-choice activists and gay rights proponents who are upset with Warren's selection are nothing. I admire their passion. In fact, I suspect, my worldview isn't so different from theirs." This to me sounds a little condescending, with a bite of arrogance. 

Basically it sounds as if he is saying, that he doesn't don't know why gays are upset that President Elect Barack Obama chose Rick Warren to give the invocation. Gay people wouldn't come out and say something like that, nor would anyone else had they read or heard certain incendiary remarks. It's the same as when certain remarks were said about Blacks. Someone would flippantly say something like, "well I don't know what all the fuss is about, don't they have the things that they need, what more do they want, and don't they have enough?" Well black or gay, it's the same. Minorities know their own suffering more than anyone else; one suffers when they hear inhumane remarks made by those who are not in the same category, so others cannot feel the pain that is felt in the lives of African American People of Color or gay people, when remarks like those are made. One has to be gay and fighting for their rights, just as people of color in this country had to and still have to fight for certain things. There is a certain understanding that comes with being born gay or black; certain prejudices you just feel, you might hear certain words, but unless you're that minority, you won't really feel how certain words cut and sting; those words don't bring smiles to our faces.

Dear President Elect Barack Obama:

First let me start by telling you how proud I am of you; you are the first African American Person of Color to win the national presidential election, becoming the first elected president in eight years. You are most definitely the first African American Person of Color to become the President Elect of The United States of America.

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I love and admire you Mr. Barack Obama, even though right now I believe that you're in a bit of a quandary with gay people in America. To many your choice of Rick Warren to give the invocation at your inauguration is controversial. What disturbs me is the fact that Rick Warren hasn't been inclusive of any gay people in his church.

I feel that a President Elect has to be very careful in the choices being made, especially an invocation. Perhaps someone mistakenly advised you. Does anyone want someone praying for them who really doesn't have their best interest at heart? Alienation is not a good thing; it could really send the wrong signal to a particular group of people, a group that helped you get elected to the white house.

Though you've been honest from the beginning about your stance on gay marriage, to choose someone like Rick Warren, who is totally opposed to Proposition 8 looks like it may be sending the wrong signal to most of your gay supporters; some gays may look at this as a wall between them and you. Some may ask are you aligning yourself with Rick Warren in a closer way, especially because of the things that he has said.

When Rick Warren says, "You don't have to see eye to eye to walk hand in hand." I ask when or where has he walked hand in hand with the gay population?

Rick Warren also said, "...that he has nothing personally against gays," he has condemned the same-sex marriage.

Do you remember when people used to say and probably still say, "I have nothing against blacks, but I don't want to live next door to them." Also people used to say, well some of my best friends are black or gay, and they still say that too.

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Then when someone says, "I have many gay friends. I've eaten dinner in gay homes," I ask myself, has he ever had any of these gay friends dining with him in his home? Or is it like when people used to say and probably still say, "you know I don't have anything against you, but I can't bring you home, it's my parents or they'll say their roommate." Then in another conversation when it becomes heated, they say something like, "you know that those blacks and gays are..," and they catch themselves and say to you, not you, you're different." Then you ask them to tell you what they meant, and "they say, oh I didn't mean you, you know that." When I've been in those conversations I would say, no you tell me exactly what you mean. I used the same anomaly in my book, "Born In The Wrong Country," which is soon to be released. What I want to know as an African American Person of Color, who is a gay man, how much of a friend is Rick Warren to the gay community?

Rick Warren also contends that "no church has probably done more for people with AIDS than Saddleback Church." Unfortunately later in an interview with BeliefNet, "he compared the "redefinition of marriage" to include gay marriage to legitimizing incest, child abuse, and polygamy." If one wants to talk about legitimizing incest, child abuse, then perhaps he should look at the priests in the Catholic churches.

When someone speaks like that, one has to wonder about these so-called gay friends of his. Are these gay people that he speaks of having really friends of his? It seems to me that perhaps his ego is overblown.

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