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To My LGBT Brothers and Sisters: Obama Never Promised Us A Break with The Christian Right

By       Message jill mclaughlin       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

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I know you're pissed, and probably really confused, and in shock that Obama, of all people, would choose Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration. I'm pissed too, but for a different reason. I'm not confused, though, and I'm not all that shocked. What I'm about to say is pretty raw, blunt, and not so very nice...but it is the truth in all its naked glory. And this was not easy for me to write either. It took me awhile to get to this because in a free and quieter moment when I would have time to write this would hit me so hard and I'd be too enraged. What I write here comes from the depths of my heart and my human soul. I don't give a rat's ass if it offends the Christian right. After all, these are the same people who have said and done the most vile things in the last eight years to cheerlead and fuel the war crimes, civil liberties abuses, and hate crimes of the so-called "war on terror."

I don't care anymore and I am not going to take it anymore and neither should you. I'm done. I don't care if it offends the left or the progressives who think we ought to "wait and see" and "give Obama a chance." How about giving me an f-ing break? It's high time the gloves came off. Our lives and most importantly the lives of the people of the world depend on it. And at the end of this I'm going to tell you to take that anger, shock, and confusion and turn it into a righteous, clear, and determined action.

First of all, you gotta understand that Obama never promised the LGBT people a break with the Christian Right. He has said all along that he doesn't support gay marriage. He has said all along that he wanted to bring unity between those on the right and those on the left. When Barack Obama speaks of unity where the religious right is concerned what he actually means is "In order to run this empire I need the most powerful and richest political base, which is the Christian Right." It matters little to him if he is seeking unity or common ground with those who seek to oppress so many sections of people in this country, i.e. LGBT, women, Muslims, Immigrants, etc.. He needs the right to run an empire that is in a lot of hot water right now. He has little use for us.

But Obama wasn't going to be obnoxious or overt about giving the religious right a say in social or foreign policy in the way George Bush was. No, instead he dangled the carrot of "you can have job protection and you can visit your sick partner" in front of us. At the same time, he told us that he doesn't support gay marriage. But he supports everything else for gays, right? Not so fast. He appeared sympathetic to LGBT issues, but then he goes and finds the most seemingly benign and "feel good" evangelical who wrote this nice book about how your life can have purpose. You know that book, The Purpose Driven Life? But your life only has purpose if you're not gay or if you're a self-hating gay and you never had an abortion or you don't support a woman's right to choose. Otherwise you can expect to have your life driven into the damn ground. Don't believe what the liberal and progressive pundits are saying about how this invitation to Warren is a good way to find unity between the left and the right. Don't let them make excuses and justifications for Obama at our expense. I'd like you to learn more about Warren and ask yourselves what are we seeking unity with. Who is Rick Warren? Obama put a knife in our backs alright by asking Rick "Gays are like pedophiles and those who have sex with animals" Warren to give the invocation.

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With this slap in the face we all might as well have been getting out of our cars at night trying to get home to our partners only to be jumped by four men and brutally raped and kidnapped, brutally raped again and left naked in a burned out building just for being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. This recently actually happened in the San Francisco Bay area to a lesbian woman Read Here. I encourage you to note when reading this article that it reveals that whenever there are anti-gay initiatives, attacks on LGBT people rise. Also note that the Pope has felt compelled to weigh in with ant-gay rhetoric of his own in his Christmas address. Read Here

Like me, many of you have probably experienced that heart pounding, palm-sweating, knee-shaking moment when you are walking down the street and a person or a group of persons menacingly hurls an anti-gay epithet at you. And you wonder in that moment if that is as far as it will go. Or will they follow you and do worse? When our leaders make these kinds of decisions and make these kinds of statements these experiences either in our minds or in our daily lives become magnified times a thousand. Think about this woman in San Francisco. Is this as far as it will go? We cannot afford to just suck it up when our government officials are so dismissive of our welfare and our safety in the guise of seeking unity and diversity. We have a right to our outrage and we need it.

Remember after Katrina when Kanye West said "George Bush doesn't care about black people?" It was true. Well, it doesn't look like Barack Obama cares about LGBT people. And, for the record, he doesn't care all that much about Black people either, and there is plenty out there to support that statement too. Are we as LGBT people, when it comes to our rights as human beings, going to say "we want it all and nothing less?" It's been 30 years since the assassination of Harvey Milk who galvanized the gay rights movement. When he was alive it seemed full civil rights were possible. There were moments over the years since that it seemed we might see full civil rights. It's been thirty years too long of asking and waiting. SCREW asking and waiting! We're going to have to just get our rights by taking to the streets. Our presidents, our leaders -- no matter who they may be -- are not going to give them to us. We need to do it ourselves.

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And while we are on this topic of standing up for rights, I'd like to ask this: "When are we the people of this country finally going to realize that the powers bank on us being divided and work hard to divide us into our groups and communities just fighting for our own rights so that they can effectively silence and eventually screw us all just so they can keep this empire running?" Here's an example of what I'm talking about. There are sections of the Black and Latino communities that have deeply held religious beliefs against homosexuality. It is widely believed that a large section of the Black and Latino communities in California voted for Prop 8 and there has been a lot of misdirected anger towards those communities because of this. But in reality, indications are that a large percentage of people with a non-college education voted for it, misled by the false advertising of the "yes on Prop 8" campaign. These factors - and not race - played a role in the passing of Prop 8 Read more here.

So as long as the right exploits these discrepancies as truth and the left accepts them as fact, we will have minorities fighting each other to protect their rights instead of uniting for human rights for all. If any of us want equality and rights, we are going to have to take them -- not ask nicely for them -- and we are going to have to work together to do it. A final word to those who think they are safe because they are not in a minority. If you think you are exempt from the onslaught of attacks from the right, just remember that Obama is seeking common ground with religious fanatics, and your needs and rights can easily be dismissed as well.

Don't be silent. Read Reverend Niemoller's statement: "In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist; And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist; And then they came for the Jews, And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew; And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.

There are some liberal and progressive pundits, as I said before, who think we are making too much out of nothing. Who believe that because Obama and allegedly Warren support gay rights on other issues that we should let this one slide and demand separation of church and state and try to fight for federal civil unions. Read Here I don't know where these people have been the last eight years. The Christian Right is not interested in separation of church and state. The Christian Right banks and feeds on our ceding more and more ground. No, we need to specifically and clearly call this out for what it is. Every time we stuff our anger and "go along to get along" we lose more and more.

I told you at the beginning of this writing that I wanted you to do something with your shock, confusion, and anger. Here it is. I want you all to come to D.C. during inauguration week, January 19/20. We need to make our righteous outrage visible and heard in a clear, determined, and uncompromising way.We need to show that we will not accept our government officials seeking common ground with the religious right at our expense. We need to protest Obama's invitation to Rick Warren giving the invocation. We need to be there, be seen, and be heard. All of us must be there making it known that we will not live with the continuation of endless wars for empire, torture, assaults on human rights and civil liberties, and theocracy.

 

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Jill McLaughlin is an activist/organizer with the World Can't Wait. She currently sits on the national steering committee of World Can't Wait and has been an active activist/organizer with the Chicago Chapter of World Can't Wait. She has written (more...)
 

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