Saturday, December 20, 2008

Have a Little Faith

In case you missed it, President-Elect Barack Obama has selected Rev. Rick Warren to deliver the Invocation at his inauguration. Warren has actually done a great deal of charitable work including work focused on AIDS; however, Warren also supported Prop 8, making gay marriage again illegal in California.

Unless you've never read my blog before, you know that I am not a fan of discrimination and that denying rights and liberties based on sexual orientation is discrimination. I don't excuse Warren, and I found his performance on Dateline this week appalling. He never gave any coherent response to the interviewer's question as to why he supported Prop 8 and opposed gay marriage. He uttered some mumbo-jumbo about how the Bible forbids it, but when interviewer Ann Curry pointed out that there are a lot of things forbidden in the Bible and deemed sinful that most Christians simply ignore (prohibitions against eating shellfish for instance), Warren had no understandable response.

He did go off on some tangent about how he was naturally inclined to have sex with every attractive woman that he saw but he didn't do it because it would be wrong. If I follow his analogy, then people who find themselves physically and emotionally attracted to people of the same gender should simply tell themselves, "That would be wrong." I really think that there is a whole lot of flawed logic in the Reverend's thinking, not the least of which is that two people seeking marriage to each other is just not parallel with wanting to have sex with multiple attractive partners.

Believe it or not, I didn't set out to write about Warren; I just needed to get that off my chest. What I'm frustrated by is how quick the media and many Obama supporters are to decry his selection of Warren as a "selling out" to the right. Obama's camp presents the selection as consistent with his belief in the need for reconciliation, for working together as a country to heal the wounds that threaten to destroy us.

Sorry, but Obama doesn't walk on water and he's never claimed that he did. He ran his campaign based on "Yes, we can." Showing the right the same disdain that the right has shown for anyone who challenges them is not likely to be effective in doing anything except giving us a chance to show them who is in charge now; however, it is highly unlikely to initiate change. As a member of a minority group that endured legalized discrimination for generations, I can say that while turning the other cheek doesn't seem to be effective, an intelligent, measured, and reasoned approach does.

When Dr. King proposed his nonviolent approach to civil rights, there were people who thought that he was a foolish idealist, disconnected from reality. King was a big believer in communication and took every opportunity to dialogue with even the most extreme racists. Black civil rights wasn't about discrimination in select areas of the society but a full scale disenfranchisement of an entire people that was sanctioned not only by cultural norms but by the legal system as well. Keep in mind that I grew up in a country where the places that I shopped, lived, received medical care, went to school, ate, and played were determined by law. My world consisted of colored only and white only signs. When I went to UNC in 1973, the parents of the white girl assigned to be my roommate said, within my hearing, "She's not rooming with no nigger." She didn't, and for my entire freshman year I didn't have a roommate.

A lot has changed in the last 35 years. The world that I live in is very different from the world into which I was born. Change is possible and I believe that Obama is making decisions based on reason. I supported him during his candidacy because I trusted his judgment. I still do.

I also have a lot of patience. You can't grow up under the yoke of discrimination that burdened African-Americans in this country and not have patience. Every generation has had to pass along a determination of spirit and the "audacity of hope" to the next generation. It's the only thing that has kept us sane and made it possible to survive.

I am weary of the second guessing of Obama's every move. The media waits to pounce. That's bad enough, but those who supported him are even worse, looking for offense or betrayal in every action. Let the man do what we elected him to do. Let us do what we can to be a part of the change, because we can, yes we can.

Another song that I love, Have a Little Faith in Me, written and performed by John Hiatt.

Have a Little Faith in Me

When the road gets dark
And you can no longer see
Just let my love throw a spark
And have a little faith in me

And when the tears you cry
Are all you can believe
Just give these loving arms a try
And have a little faith in me

Have a little faith in me
Have a little faith in me
Have a little faith in me
Have a little faith in me

When your secret heart
Cannot speak so easily
Come here darlin
From a whisper start
To have a little faith in me

And when your backs against the wall
Just turn around and you will see
I will catch, I will catch your fall baby
Just have a little faith in me


Sung over fade:
Well, Ive been loving you for such a long time girl
Expecting nothing in return
Just for you to have a little faith in me
You see time, time is our friend
cause for us there is no end
And all you gotta do is have a little faith in me
I said I will hold you up, I will hold you up
Your love gives me strength enough
So have a little faith in me


Lisa :-] said...

The piece I posted today at "Women On" had a similar theme...

You are right. We need to have faith. And we need to not turn around and do what the right has done to us. Ours has been an ugly nation for the past eight years, and continuing the same divisiveness, no matter which party is on top, would not make it any prettier.

Beth said...

Sheria, since we corresponded about this, I saw the interview with Warren, and I am NOT cool with the guy's views.

However, I'm not going to be outraged at or disappointed in Obama for his choice. The situation is what is is, and this is only a small part of the bigger picture of Obama's inauguration.

I also think it's opened some eyes when it comes to Warren. I don't dispute some of the good things he's done, but his narrow view of how he thinks things should be is a little too tight for me.

As I wrote on Marc's blog, once we get past the invocation, we'll get to the fun stuff--the inauguration and the parties!

Love, Beth

kelly said...

Well said. I too put my trust in Obama...we have to start somewhere, obviously the people in charge in the past have made this world a very scary place to live..I pray for all ...
Happy Holidays to you and yours...

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Worst part is that the President Elect has not even yet taken office and he is getting the second degree. Give the man some space and let him get settled in and start to make the change he promised.

Marc said...

Thank God I was prepared to be disappointed in something Obama did, I just didn't expect it so soon.
What I refuse to do is feel hurt by it. Rick Warren's ignorant notions are his own. We as gays need to stop feeling hurt by them.
What irks me about Obama's choice of Warren is that he picked a stupid man, as his self-serving, cherry-picking answers on Dateline attest.
But I blogged abou it too!

Cathy said...

I've much to say on Warren and assorted topics you brought up, so I'll give you a break and wish you a very SWEET SATURNALIA and WARMEST WINTER SOLSTICE! (Great seasonal tunes)