Gay Bishop’s Inclusion Heals Wounds, But Make No Mistake Who Made It Happen

Congratulations, Rev. Warren critics: You did it. Yesterday’s announcement that Episcopal New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson would lead the opening invocation of the Inauguration is great news for the gay community, but more importantly, it’s proof that vocal opposition to Rev. Warren had an effect.

An unnamed transition official claimed the appearance was planned all along, but of course, that’s a lie.

If it were true, why would it not have been announced in tandem with or shortly after the announcement that Rev. Warren would lead the day-of invocation? Are we to believe that Mr. Political Strategy decided to hold off on the announcement for three weeks while he suffered blistering criticism (from us, among many others) for being completely tone deaf to the needs of the LGBT community? Are we to believe that Bishop Robinson’s criticism of Warren’s inclusion in the event was done while all along, he knew he was going to be invited.

That unnamed official is a moron. But does the inclusion of Bishop Gene Robinson make things all better?

The answer is a qualified “Yes.”

The problem with Obama’s decision to include Rick Warren was that he claimed it was a sign of his inclusiveness. He maintained that we could “disagree without being disagreeable,” but he chose to make the medium of his message an insanely popular evangelical preacher who used his power to help Proposition 8, one of the most stinging pieces of legislative fag-bashing to pass in this country. It took away enshrined civil rights, and Obama’s argument that LGBT people should sit by and abide a man who made it his personal mission to deprive them of those rights in the name of “inclusiveness” was too ludicrous to stomach.

In expanding this idea of inclusion to include Bishop Robinson, Obama has managed to unite his rhetoric with his politics. Did he do it because of the loud, vocal and persistent opposition to Warren? You bet. Does that make the act any less significant? Not really.

Consider this the LGBT community’s first dance with the new President. He got it wrong, badly wrong and stepped on our toes. Well, actually, if we’re going to use a dancing analogy, it was more like he stepped up to us and slapped us across the face and then asked us for a waltz, but I digress.

The point is, we did not stand by and put up with it.

We were outraged and rightly so, and lo and behold, the President-Elect did something about it and is now asking our nation’s most prominent gay religious figure to kick off the Inauguration on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, at an event that’s open to the public, loaded with celebrity singers (see related article) and will be carried for free on HBO to any home that has basic cable on the second biggest home-viewing night of the week.

That’s change we can believe in. It shows the president-elect is different than his predecessor in that, when he is confronted with opposition, he doesn’t dig down into his bunker, but instead actually listens to what his opponents are saying.

More saliently, it shows we must speak up often and loudly about our issues. Make no doubt about it, had gay and lesbian activists not made a stink about Warren, Robinson would not be leading Sunday’s invocation.

There’s also a wonderful bit of schadenfredue in all this, as right-wing evangelicals blow their gaskets as we did three weeks ago.

Catholic League President Bill Donahue responded to the announcement by saying:

“President-elect Barack Obama says he wants to unite Americans, and yet he chooses the most polarizing person in the Episcopal Church, Bishop Gene Robinson, to offer a prayer at one of his inaugural events. Robinson, who dumped his wife and children to live with another man, is not just an embarrassment to rank-and-file Episcopalians, he has a record of offending Catholics, as well.
“In 2005, Robinson said the following: ‘I find it so vile that they [the Catholic Church] think they are going to end the child abuse scandal by throwing out homosexuals from seminaries. It is an act of violence that needs to be confronted.’ He added that ‘Pope Ratzinger [sic] may be the best thing that ever happened to the Episcopal Church. We are seeing so many Roman Catholics joining the church.’
“Three months ago, the disgraced openly gay bishop admitted that he had led a retreat a few years ago for gay Catholic priests. He stuck his nose into the affairs of the Catholic Church even further when he urged those priests to push for women priests, saying ‘that if you work for the ordination of women in your church, you will go a long way toward opening the door for the acceptance of gay priests.’”

It’s entertaining to hear Donahue complain about Robinson meddling in the Catholic Church (for the record, the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, which the Episcopal Church is a part of, and the Eastern Orthodox Church all consider themselves to be theologically bound to each other) when Rev. Warren has taken it upon himself to meddle in the affairs of the Episocpal Church.

Some asshat site called RaptureWatch (any second now, guys!) shares the outrage, writing:

“Truly, it is nice for a minority to see someone like them up front, but you know what else would be nice? To see the majority of people in this nation who oppose the lifestyle of Eugene Robinson on religious grounds be respected by our incoming president and his administration! If Eugene Robinson felt like he was slapped when Rick Warren was asked to pray, I, personally, feel like Barack Obama has shot me and every Bible-believing Christian in America and spit on our Bibles to boot by putting a wolf in sheep’s clothing like Eugene Robinson in the national spotlight on his very first day in office!”

Which is more like it. Some readers have written in and said that there’s entirely too much religion in the inauguration; that it violates the whole idea of the separation of Church and State and this is probably true, though the mission of the inaugural events is to share in the rich diversity of the country and showcase it. This is a congenital issue with our nation’s freedom of religion. Does it mean freedom from religion, or does it mean that we are to tolerate the multiplicity of religion in the public square?

Obama clearly likes to believe that he falls on the side of multiple viewpoints and the rich cacophony of opposing views. I happen to side with him. Nothing makes me happier than to see people on the left and the right, the religious and the non-religious, the gay, straight, the rainbow-hued populace of our nation forced to recognize that each of us has an equal part and voice in our destiny.

Should we continue to be upset that Rev. Warren will officiate at Obama’s inauguration? Absolutely.

Should we celebrate the prominent inclusion of Bishop Robinson, even if it took our shouting for it to happen? Absolutely.

This is what Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of 46 years ago, that the oppressed and the oppressor would sit down at the table in brotherhood, that we would be judged not by what we are, but by our character, that we would be one nation of equals.

But Dr. King knew that the dream could not be achieved by meek, apologetic and appeasing voices when he said on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial:

“It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual.”

Our issues are not gay issues, they are moral issues. Our rights are not gay rights, but civil rights and as we’ve seen, the only way we shall prevail is to make our ‘legitimate discontent’ known, not just to the President, but to the nation. If you are gay or lesbian, bisexual or transgendered, or you care about those who are, this is your moment of urgency. The historic events of the last few months are not the end, but the beginning.

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  • JP

    Now we have to demand loudly that other issues are addressed. It is only by making our voices heard that we will be listened to, so lets get out there and make our voices heard! Write to Obama, write to your governor, write to your US and state representatives, write to your local papers, and attend local marches. Make sure that people know we are out there and we are paying close attention to what they do.

  • R.W.

    Yes, and I would personally like to see representatives of other faiths, not just Christianity, represented at the Inauguration.

  • gayvirgo

    What a great article. Even some theological history! I LOVE the new Queerty.

  • Gerard Priori

    I still would much rather there be absolutely no religious ceremonies at an official government event. Keep goverment and religion separate.

  • ggreen

    PE Obama and the US congress don’t owe the gays anything and they will prove it again and again. No matter how indecent, unfair, or un-American it is to gays. Mr. Obama and Congress must be forced by constant pressure (and no ass kissing) to always consider gays. Otherwise we are expendable and we will be under the bus at every opportunity. Gays need to play hardball just like the Jews and the Blacks and of course big busine$$.

  • Alexa

    Excellent article, Japhy.

  • Kurt

    Say what you want, I still have no problem with Rick Warren giving the invocation.

  • Carbell

    This doesn’t heal any wounds for me… Being offered this sop seems condescending in the extreme — and I hate that we’re so willing to say that all is forgiven.

  • Wolf


    I agree. In a way I feel that we are being thrown a “bone” and not a good one.

    If they really wanted inclusion they would have put Robinson in the Inaguration Day program to balance off Warren. Scheduling him at a smaller pre inaguration event doesn’t heal the wond for me. I personally find it kinda like throwing us scraps to calm us down.

    I’m not forgiving over it.

  • JPM

    In an effort to combat Warren’s anti-gay message, Robinson has arranged for an elaborate invocation.

    Robinson has not yet decided if the Gay Men’s Choir of Washington D.C. will conclude the ceremony with “We Are Family (If the State Recognizes It)” or “Yes We Can (Eventually Get Married)”.

  • ShoesShoesShoes

    I feel like a young Sally Field and just want to gush: “They like us they really, really like us.”
    As a gay member of the Episcopal Church I am elated to see the inclusion of the Episcopal Church in the Inauguration. That is why they chose Bishop Robinson, right?
    While this does not heal the three week old wound that Pastor Warren’s selection made, it comes closer than anything I can think of.
    Celebrate. It’s a new world. While our own private 1963 isn’t over at least maybe we have moved from the cold bleak days of mid-January to I don’t know – March. Maybe with fortitutde and persistence and a united voice we can move from March to May that brings it even closer to the June bridal season!

  • Leland Frances

    REALLY appreciate your helping lead the outrage against Warren, and not deepthroating the prosthetic penis bull about how Robinson was planned all along but you’re erasing your own point advantage by repeatedly misrepresenting what this is which is not, repeat NOT, “the opening invocation of the Inauguration”, nor the “kick off of the Inauguration.”

    You owe your readers the responsibility of writing more carefully.

    This apparently is the first “Inauguration week event.” For those who don’t get the crucial difference, think of it this way: it’s a White Party cocktail party with one drink ticket per person but neither Robinson, nor you, nor we, are invited to the private VIP event AKA the ACTUAL Inauguration two days later.

    Yes, there will be some MSM attention to this, but, unlike the actual Inauguration it will NOT be carried live, in its entirety, for la world to see. And your juxtaposition of the point about those with cable being able to watch it with “That’s change we can believe in. It shows the president-elect is ….” implies, however unintentionally, that HBO’s action is something Obama himself asked for.

    Too nitpicky? Hardly, when one looks back at the number who read the “some people are saying Obama should appoint gay man to Secretary of the Navy” into “OBAMA wants gay man for Secretary of the Navy.”

    And before you or anyone else interprets that the Obama Mafia also invited the DC Gay Men’s Chorus to perform, note it was HBO itself NOT O Inc.

    And just as one is thrilled by your statements about the urgency of our not resting but continuing to demand we be taken seriously, one is simultaneously disheartened by your obsessive compulsion for continuing to give credit to the driver of the bus ONCE AGAIN on top of us when none is due.

    Obama did NOT “actually listen to what his opponents are saying” unless we all were saying, “It’s okay to give Warren the starring role on the all-other-progamming-black-out day if you throw us a gay crumb a couple of days before while everyone else will be watching football.”

    Yes, I remain happy that Queerty seems finally to be going through some political puberty, but contradictory statements like, “Obama .. multiple viewpoints and … opposing views. I happen to side with him. Nothing makes me happier than to see people on the left and the right, the religious and the non-religious, the gay, straight, the rainbow-hued populace of our nation forced to recognize that each of us has an equal part and voice in our destiny” sadly demonstrate you still have to learn the difference between boy and man.

    For the problem all along has been that Obama doesn’t get that the Warrens of his Pollyanna Land do NOT recognize, do NOT believe in our having an “equal part and voice.”

    Schizophrenia much?

  • alicia banks

    hell no!

    this is a weak effort to correct a wrong that will be allowed to remain wrong and more prominently so…

    this will never undo warren!

    alicia banks

  • kevin

    Catholic League = One man with a computer.

  • Symonds

    @Leland Frances:

    “Nothing makes me happier than to see people on the left and the right, the religious and the non-religious, the gay, straight, the rainbow-hued populace of our nation forced to recognize that each of us has an equal part and voice in our destiny” sadly demonstrate you still have to learn the difference between boy and man.

    For the problem all along has been that Obama doesn’t get that the Warrens of his Pollyanna Land do NOT recognize, do NOT believe in our having an “equal part and voice.”

    Schizophrenia much?


    Sigh. Frances, you and so many other people seem so devoted to the idea of being in this big epic war. But believe it or not, the opposition isn’t a shadowy conspiracy of brittle housewives and sexually repressed priests. They’re *actual real people.* They want what’s best for their neighbors and friends, and they want to do right by their country and their faith. That makes this argument fundamentally COLLABORATIVE.

    Are they fucking up the country, and tearing the constitution to shreds? Sure. Are they destroying lives? Absolutely. But those things are *impersonal* acts. They only happen because it’s so easy for the religious right to mythologize GLBT Americans in to a bunch of demon-possessed prostitutes. It’s high time that we realized that the only way to break those delusions, and stop all the bullshit that they’re spouting and the damage they’re doing to themselves and to us, is to invite them to the table even in the absence of reciprocity.

    Tell me, Frances, when you spend your day screaming at a bunch of anti-marriage protesters instead of talking with them, what happens to their son, who’ll find out he’s gay in a few years? What have you taught his parents to expect, and what chances have you lost for his sake?

  • RichardR

    @Leland Frances: Leave it to Leland. Always enjoy your trenchant posts with their strong historic framework.

    But the mean bitch in me loves how the silly Donohue’s of this world are squeeling.

    All of this Warren/Robinson melee is richly symbolic. What truly matters is action and outcome. Obama himself has told us it’s up to us to get the change made. We have to build the fire and hold their feet to it.

  • Nick

    It’s pathetic and doesn’t change anything.

  • Tomsky

    I’m very pleased at what we have accomplished by forcing the inclusion of Robinson at the pre-inauguration event. And I’m all in favor of inclusiveness and dialogue between the gay community and the religious Right. But it is still wrong that Obama honored a bigot by allowing him to give the invocation at the inauguration. Even if Obama had decided to allow Warren and Robinson to give a joint invocation on Tuesday, it would have still been wrong. I believe the mantle of inclusiveness has been applied to this situation merely as a smoke screen and damage control. Warren should not be on that podium. Let the dialogue take place in appropriate venues after Obama takes office. Never honor bigotry.

  • BrianZ

    You know, people were willing to give ole Georgie the benefit of the doubt on the “compassionate conservatism” when he took office and we see how that worked out.

    Benefit of the doubt my ass. Pretty much how I feel about the notion of “change” at this juncture as well. There are strong Christian ministers in this country who don’t push an anti-gay agenda who would have served just as well at being inclusive. Just as there were strong, popular gospel singers other than that self-hating homo McClurkin. The _choice_ to include Warren is spit in the eye of every queer out there. I think the choice to put Warren front and center tells you exactly what we can expect out of this president.

  • Leland Frances

    Thank you, RichardR.

    As for you, Symonds, one could dine on the sweet sentiment in your post IF he were as apparently ignorant as you are of what has been happening for decades in terms of “our side”—rather than screaming as you imagine—trying to build bridges with those who preach homohatred. Just a few examples, the first being what should be the most obvious:

    1. The ordination of Robinson as Bishop is still an outrage to many “good people” in the Episcopal/Anglican church. After their initial protests didn’t work, they resorted to false accusations of his being involved in pornographic Websites, etc. When the charges were proven false, they then resorted to a bomb threat during the ordination service itself. The threats against him were deemed so serious that he was convinced to wear a bulletproof vest beneath his Bishop’s vestments. Since then, they have started to secede from their local parishes in order to create their own, and are involved in lawsuits to take property with them [which, as Queerty has posted, is supported by Rick Warren]. An African bishop [forgetting that the same kind of arguments were once made against ordaining blacks] insists that Robinson will give Muslims another excuse to kill non-Muslims.

    I don’t know about you, but I’ve met Bishop Robinson and can’t imagine him “screaming” at anyone.

    2. At the opposite end of the gay/religious arc, the Rev. Troy Perry formed the predominantly gay Metropolitan Community Church denomination FORTY-ONE YEARS ago this October after being defrocked by his original denomination and seeing how many gays and lesbians still hungered for a formal spiritual home but couldn’t bear remaining closeted in the mainstream denominations in which they’d grown up. To this day, the National Council of Churches will not admit MCC to its membership and I’ve never heard Perry “scream” once as you mean it.

    3. Gay-operated support groups began within existing denominations about the same time, e.g., “Dignity” among Catholics FORTY YEARS ago, Episcopal “Integrity” THIRTY-SIX years ago, and Mormon “Affirmation” THIRTY-TWO years ago. While they have been a spiritual band aid for many, one need point no further than the vicious homohating pronouncements of the current and previous Popes [and the various refusals to let them meet on church property and the official orders that priest/nuns not work with them], the threats on Robinson’s life and literal splinter of Episcopal dioceses, and the $20 MILLION + Mormons gave to destroy gay marriage equality in California to see how little their decades-long, gentle, let us break bread together approach has worked.

    4. Members of Soulforce have tried, at least twice, once led by Judy Shepard, to peacefully meet with James Dobson at the headquarters of his pseudo Focus on the Family. Not only has he refused, but some were arrested for even stepping on FOF property.

    5. Clergy in at least two MSM denominations have been penalized, faced defrocking for even symbolically marrying gay couples.

    This history over FOUR DECADES has two things in common:

    (a) The religious bigots, from the start and up through Prop H8TE deny that they are “bigots,” and too few, including Barack Obama even “get” that they, in fact, are let alone have to balls to call them out for it. Thus, they have NO SPIRITUAL MOTIVATION to change.
    (b) These quiet, loving approaches, these endless and endlessly kind invitations to the table which usually end up empty on one side have entirely failed in changing the minds and hearts of the majority of the members and 100% of the leadership. Our side has practiced the pious Pollyanna role for so long that the bigots have no PRACTICAL motivation to change. The black civil rights movement, after decades of similar failed tactics led by the NAACP finally realized that they had to create a reason for racists to change their behavior if not their minds. Hence, the Montgomery bus boycott and all that came after.

    So, Mr. Symonds. After forty years of the failure of your formula what’s your next suggestion?

  • petted

    Awesome post Japhy, it was a great read!

  • Bruno

    I see it as small consolation. But at any rate, at an event where Obama should’ve strived to depoliticize, he has 2 polar opposites of the “culture war” invocatin’. I’m sure their invocations will be as neutral as can be.

  • Bill in PDX

    Sorry, this does not heal me. I am and will be outraged. My eyes have been opened.

    Inviting Warren is not inclusive if the invitee is a bigot’s bigot. His sorry ass can preach to his shopping mall suburban flock but he does not need to address the nation. I walked for Obama door to door for months in rain and snow–how many of RW’s flock of sheeples did that? Zero, most likely and they won’t vote for him in 2012 either and I won’t be walking door to door or making calls either! So Lose Lose situation– Obama the appeaser.

  • Rick

    This is a great article. You have made some excellent points.

  • LeaderofMen

    Breathe, people. The controversy is going to hit the right now. The scheduling of the Bishop simply allows the pendulum to swing the other way. I can’t wait to see how many cries of anguish go up from the Bible-steeped crowd now!!!

  • getreal

    I think we should give Obama a break he is trying to be inclusive. Let us not forget this man has been more inclusive of gays and lesbians than any President in the past he mentioned them in his speech the night he won no one has ever done that before. As a christian I’m embarrased of this Rick Warren idiot but christians minds will be changed (and their minds are changing person by person day by day) by gays and other americans who support equal rights maintaining our MORAL SUPERIORITY. We don’t have to try to stop them from speaking because they are hypocrites and the average american deep down is swayed by what is right.

  • BrianZ

    @getreal: More inclusive eh? Seems to me that every gay person to be included in his administration at a high level was part of the Clinton administration.

    Break time is over, it’s time to get to work.

  • Greg

    Has anyone considered the possibility that the invitation was offered to Gene Robinson before the Rick Warren announcement, but that Robinson simply hadn’t accepted it until more recently? That’s the gist of the article I read yesterday on CNN about this, and seems to make sense.

  • Jennifer

    Inviting Bishop Robinson doesn’t make things all better as far as I’m concerned. Disinviting Warren, that would make it all better. I realize that won’t and probably can’t happen. Inasmuch as the Robinson invite makes the christianists and Warren squirm, I guess that’s a silver lining.

    Selecting Robinson in particular just seems like pandering to the community, and it’s kind of patronizing. Maybe I’m just splitting hairs and being unnecessarily oppositional, but I would have preferred (if it had to be an Episcopalian) Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schiori, the head of the Episcopal Church in America — not only is she an ordained woman, she has stood steadfastly behind Robinson and hasn’t yielded an inch to the rogue diocese’s leaving the diocese over his ordination. That would have sent the same message, maybe a little deeper, and not such an obvious pacifier. It makes me wonder how/who is advising BHO on LGBT issues….the Robinson invitation just makes us look shallow and the administrations support superficial.

    …or maybe not, I could be premenstrual.

    And ditto on the calls for clergy from other religions. While I’d like to see a scaling back of the religious rhetoric in general, if it’s got to be there I’d just like to make sure that the christianists are drowned out by the authentically faithful.

  • Kdogg

    Great turn around Obama! How nice it will be to actually have a President again that listens to the cries of the people!! Well done Obama! Well done!

  • Steve

    I’m afraid I fall into the “why in the hell are there prayers at the inauguration” camp myself.

    Putting that aside, I’m baffled why the Obama team wouldn’t want to take credit for fixing a mistake…could it be because they’ve done it before, during the primaries in South Carolina when Donnie McClurkin was asked to take his ex-gay song and dance routine on tour for Obama? When that choice was questioned, Obama also pulled out the “inclusion” card. Days later a gay minister was added to the program.

    Deja vu anyone?

  • seitan-on-a-stick

    Last Word from GOD: I don’t exist!

  • mark

    too damn little
    too damn late

  • Leland Frances

    “GetReal,” it’s time you got an education, instead of simply deepthroating the hagiography that’s grown up around St. Obama.

    You claim, “this man has been more inclusive of gays and lesbians than any President in the past” when, as BrianZ, correctly points out, most of the out gays he’s named previously worked in the Clinton administration.

    You also claim, “he mentioned [gays] in his speech the night he won [when] no one has ever done that before.” Read the following excerpt from Bill Clinton’s nomination acceptance speech to discover what a myth that is AND a very familiar theme uh, “borrowed” by a certain former Illinois Senator:

    “…And so we must say to every American: Look beyond the stereotypes that blind us. We need each other – all of us – we need each other. We don’t have a person to waste, and yet for too long politicians have told the most of us that are doing all right that what’s really wrong with America is the rest of us- them.

    Them, the minorities. Them, the liberals. Them, the poor. Them, the homeless. Them, the people with disabilities. Them, the gays.

    We’ve gotten to where we’ve nearly them’ed ourselves to death. Them, and them, and them.

    But this is America. There is no them. There is only us. One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. That is our Pledge of Allegiance, and that’s what the New Covenant is all about. …”

    Gov. Bill Clinton
    Democratic National Convention
    July 16, 1992

  • World Can't Wait LA

    Join with the LA Chapter of The World Can’t Wait! and say “No Common Ground with Christian Fascists like Rick Warren!”

    What: Protest Christian Fascist Rick Warren. Wear a ***pink triangle*** to symbolize the historical precedent in Nazi Germany of his anti-gay message. Also, wear orange, the color of the prisoners’ jumpsuits in Guantanamo, to denounce torture, war, and theocracy.

    Where: Saddleback Church, Location: Saddleback Church in Lake Forest (southern Orange County) – 1 Saddleback Parkway, Lake Forest, CA

    Who: Initiated by Contact World Can’t Wait at 213.924.8571 or [email protected] to carpool at 9 AM – it’s 1 1/2 hours from LA.

    Why: “YOUR GOVERNMENT is moving each day closer to a theocracy, where a narrow and hateful brand of Christian fundamentalism will rule.” (from WCW’s original statement)

    Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, is a Biblical literalist. Just as some used the Bible to defend slavery, he uses the Bible to promote hate and discrimination against gays and lesbians. He backed Proposition 8, a California constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages, and equates
    homosexuality with pedophilia and incest. He upholds war and capital punishment while declaring abortion as murder and promotes women’s subservience to men.

    Obama invited him to deliver the invocation at the inauguration. This is outrageous! Seeking “common ground” with bigoted theocrats is unacceptable! As the World Can’t Wait Call says, “That which you will not resist and mobilize to stop – you will learn or be forced to accept.”

    TUNE IN on Tues., Jan. 13th, 5-6 PM, KPFK, 90.7 FM with host Michael Slate to hear Max Blumenthal and Sunsara Taylor tell the truth about Rick Warren. (online at

  • Alfredo Munoz

    Aha, you say, there’s no evidence of any quid pro quo here. (Or, in other words,
    Chagoury gives a fortune to Clinton because he, too, wants to “fight AIDS.”) Of
    course, this may only be seed money for a later “quid” or even “quo” that hasn’t
    yet materialized. And if Chagoury or anyone else had ever received the
    impression that the Clintons would play for pay, it’s easy to see how he got the
    idea. (See my Nov. 24, 2008, Slate column on the investigations of the Clinton
    campaign-finance scandals and the shenanigans surrounding the Marc Rich pardon.)
    But does a contribution to Bill Clinton’s foundation get you any traction with
    Sen. Clinton, at least in her political and official capacity? Let’s see. A
    recent story in the New York Times managed to begin with some very crisp and
    clear and fact-based paragraphs:
    An upstate New York developer donated $100,000 to former President Bill
    Clinton’s foundation in November 2004, around the same time that Senator
    Hillary Rodham Clinton helped secure millions of dollars in federal assistance
    for the businessman’s mall project.
    Mrs. Clinton helped enact legislation allowing the developer, Robert J.
    Congel, to use tax-exempt bonds to help finance the construction of the
    Destiny USA entertainment and shopping complex, an expansion of the Carousel
    Center in Syracuse.
    Mrs. Clinton also helped secure a provision in a highway bill that set aside
    $5 million for Destiny USA roadway construction.
    Why should anyone doubt, then, that in small matters as well as in large ones,
    the old slogan from the 1992 election still holds true? As Bill so touchingly
    put it that year, if you voted for him, you got “two for one.” What the
    country—and the world—has since learned is a slight variation on that, which I
    would crudely phrase as “buy one, get one free.”


  • michael

    Why wouldn’t Obama ask Al Sharpton to be a part of the inauguration, cause this man has something to say.

    Sharpton: Church uses money and power to persecute gays but ignores poverty
    by Nick Cargo

    On Sunday, Rev. Al Sharpton slammed major faiths for using their resources and power to pass California’s Proposition 8 while showing indifference to issues affecting Americans such as poverty, social inequality and economic sabotage. The Church, he said, was silent until California affirmed marriage rights for its same-sex couples.
    Sharpton was the keynote speaker at the Human Rights Ecumenical Service held at Atlanta’s Tabernacle Baptist Church to welcome the Atlanta-based Alliance of Affirming Faith-Based Organizations, whose mission is to unite gay-friendly churches.
    “The only way we are going to combat all of these other conservative organizations is with another religious voice,” said co-founder Pastor Dennis Meredith.
    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in particular, raised about half of a total $35.8 million in support of the voter-driven California initiative Proposition 8, currently being legally challenged after its passage last November. Church members were also encouraged to donate their time and labor. Proposition 8, should it survive, would write the language of the state’s statutory gay marriage ban, ruled unconstitutional in May 2008 by the California Supreme Court, directly into the state’s constitution.
    “There is something immoral and sick about using all of that power to not end brutality and poverty, but to break into people’s bedrooms and claim that God sent you,” Sharpton told a full house on Sunday.
    “It amazes me,” he said, “when I looked at California and saw churches that had nothing to say about police brutality, nothing to say when a young black boy was shot while he was wearing police handcuffs, nothing to say when they overturned affirmative action, nothing to say when people were being [relegated] into poverty, yet they were organizing and mobilizing to stop consenting adults from choosing their life partners.”
    “I am tired,” he went on, “of seeing ministers who will preach homophobia by day, and then after they’re preaching, when the lights are off they go cruising for trade…We know you’re not preaching the Bible, because if you were preaching the Bible we would have heard from you. We would have heard from you when people were starving in California–when they deregulated the economy and crashed Wall Street you had nothing to say. When [accused Ponzi scammer] Madoff made off with the money, you had nothing to say. When Bush took us to war chasing weapons of mass destruction that weren’t there you had nothing to say.
    “But all of a sudden, when Proposition 8 came out, you had so much to say, but since you stepped in the rain, we’re going to step in the rain with you.”
    As a presidential candidate in the 2004 election, Sharpton made his stance on marriage equality clear while opposing the Federal Marriage Amendment and defending the LGBT community against what he saw as “gay-baiting” for votes by the Bush campaign. “This is an issue of human rights,” he said. “And I think it is dangerous to give states the right to deal with human rights questions. That’s how we ended up with slavery and segregation going forward a long time…Whatever my personal feelings may be about gay and lesbian marriages, unless you are prepared to say gays and lesbians are not human beings, they should have the same constitutional right of any other human being.”
    Another memorable Atlanta visit for Sharpton was as keynote speaker for the National Black Justice Coalition’s first annual Black Church Summit in January 2006. There, he criticized black denominations that preached against their gay and lesbian members rather than embracing them.
    “It’s not a question of bringing the issue of the gay and lesbian community to the church. It’s about having an open discussion because they’re already there,” he said. “All of us know that this is nothing new. The only thing new is to have an open discussion on how we deal with it.”
    “Adultery broke up more marriages than gays did,” he added, revealing that a member of his family was gay and dismissing the notion that gays were a “threat” to marriage.
    The Reverend also warned against playing politics with civil rights. “[Social conservatives] will start with the gays but they will end with everybody else,” he said. “If you give the Pat Robertsons of the world the theological right to condemn some, then you give them the right to condemn others.”

  • Mister C

    All just remember one thing Ms Leland was NEVER an Obama supporter she was always a sucker up to the Clinton’s they have always did well by the Gays according to Leland.

    So it’s not strange we get some synopsis from her upcoming novel I hate Barack Obama on here So queens will not be satisfied until the GOP takes control again and then what?

    Will you wish the days that someone else was in power because if they get back in the gays will be left on Gilligan’s Island with no regrets!

    Rick Warren or no Rick Warren

  • Bill

    Have to say I lean toward this sentiment. I continue to lose respect for Obama now that he’s said there will be no investigations of the Bush administration – let’s let by-gones be by-gones. And this – well, I’d have respected him more if he’d just admitted his blind spot when he invited Warren. He’s placating us; he still doesn’t get it. Here, eat this and be quiet. It’s patronizing and it sucks.

  • mark

    Obama gives queers a puppy too…BITE ME!
    Josh DuBois sucking up to Tony Perkins and Lamb of Southern Baptists makes Obama’s team equally hateful if not worse than the Reign of Cheney. If Obama wants to appease queers, DUMP DuBois publicly,and retract Tim Kaine as DNC choice. btw Since when does a president PICK who leads the Party?
    SAME you can believe in.
    The idiocy that Democrats will except Tim Kaine as head of the DNC without a FIRESTORM is not what we contributed MILLIONS and 2 years of carrying Obama’s water.
    Attempting to make the DNC the RNC with an anti-gay, anti-CHOICE, anti-Labor, anti-Green Iraq War Hawk Tim Kaine makes no sense, America just said…OH HELL NO, to that.

  • Chris

    I do know that Gene Robinson knew of this invitation for more than two weeks before it was in the press. He was asked to keep it relatively quiet until an official announcement was made. He told me in a private conversation and he told a crowd at the Cathedral in Miami at the end of December. Perhaps it was planned all along. Who knows?

  • Chris

    One more thing…I love how RaptureWatch refers to him as Eugene Robison….not his name.

  • Alfredo Munoz

    Sharpton is a race racketeer who will sell himself to the highest bidder.


    @ShoesShoesShoes: @ShoesShoesShoes: Thank you, thank you so much for your positive take on this!
    Barack Obama’s greatest strength is his ability, and belief, in bringing people who disagree to the same table. He knows, only too well growing up black in the 60’s and 70’s, that freedom for the oppressed can only truly happen when we (the oppressed and the oppressor) come willingly to that table. If people are so angry or scared that they won’t come to the table, no dialogue will happen, and change has no hope.
    Rick Warren represents the conservative Christian (but far from the most conservative) in this country, and Gene Robinson represents the liberal. I say we celebrate this! And still keep speaking our truths and exposing oppression!

  • Geoff Staples

    Does Robinson make up for Warren? In two words, “Hell No!”

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