both ways

Obama’s Promise to Have Our Backs Disappears With Roman Catholics


When we asked yesterday whether President Obama was playing a two-faced frenemy with The Gays, we forgot to mention the obvious: Yes, yes he is.

Meeting with the Roman Catholic media last week, Obama broached some sensitive subjects when it comes to the devout: abortion … and gay rights! He told reporters: “For the gay and lesbian community in this country, I think it’s clear that they feel victimized in fairly powerful ways and they’re often hurt by not just certain teachings of the Catholic Church, but the Christian faith generally. And as a Christian, I’m constantly wrestling with my faith and my solicitude and regard and concern for gays and lesbians.”

See what he did there? He told the Catholics what they wanted to hear — that he’s a religious type, and that he’s an imperfect man who leans on his faith — while also making sure that when his words reached America, they wouldn’t seriously offend the gays (read: he hears us!).

What Obama did not do, as it’s blatantly clear, is tell the Catholic world what he told us before and after the election: He’s our ally, our advocate, and will use his White House residency to help bring us equality.

We’re no spring chickens with politics; we’re aware that, as a world leader, he must say certain things in certain ways to certain groups of people. But what you have here is a president whose stance on gay rights is, at best, just a couple degrees greater than lip service. Given the chance to tell the Catholic world GLBTs deserve full protection, he opted to let them interpret his words however they saw fit.

Obama will tell the religious world that he’s against poverty, malnourishment, and lack of education across the board, because he and the Vatican and Jerusalem agree on those things. What he won’t do, however, is remind them he’s proclaimed himself the fierce advocate of gay Americans — because we remain too controversial. And thus, he sacrifices our visibility and right to equality in exchange for making nice foreign policy with religious conservatives abroad.

That’s not exactly “[using] the bully pulpit” to demand our rights.