Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Richard Cohen's Outstanding Editorial

I have not always agreed with Richard Cohen, but today he wrote a really excellent piece in today's Washington Post. I know the media is trying to brush this Warren off as a little gay issue, but I believe it could be more. It could potentially be very damaging for Obama. Cohen's column illustrates tha this isn't just about gays and lesbians. It's about their family members, who are also offended by someone comparing their brother, their sister, their child, to a pedophile.

"I'm opposed to redefinition of a 5,000-year definition of marriage," Warren told Beliefnet.com's Steve Waldman.

"I'm opposed to having a brother and sister being together and calling that marriage. I'm opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that marriage. I'm opposed to one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage."

Waldman asked, "Do you think those are equivalent to gays getting married?"

"Oh, I do," said Warren.

There you have the thinking of the man Obama has chosen above all other religious figures to represent him in this most solemn moment. He likens my sister's relationship -- three children, five grandchildren, so loving as to be envied and so conventional as to be boring -- to incest or polygamy....I can understand Obama's desire to embrace constituencies that have rejected him.

Evangelicals are in that category and Warren is an important evangelical leader with whom, Obama said, "we're not going to agree on every single issue." He went on to say, "We can disagree without being disagreeable and then focus on those things that we hold in common as Americans." Sounds nice.

But what we do not "hold in common" is the dehumanization of homosexuals. What we do not hold in common is the belief that gays are perverts who have chosen their sexual orientation on some sort of whim. What we do not hold in common is the
exaltation of ignorance that has led and will lead to discrimination and violence.

Finally, what we do not hold in common is the categorization of a civil rights issue -- the rights of gays to be treated equally -- as some sort of cranky cultural difference. For that we need moral leadership, which, on this occasion, Obama has failed to provide. For some people, that's nothing to celebrate.

The party's off.

That last full paragraph is the crux of the matter, and the reason the Rick Warren issue has touched off such indignation. Obama is essentially asking us to acknowledge that the humanity of Gays is negotiable. That Gays as full members of American society, as equal members of the human race, is somehow "just an opinion," no more and no less valid than those who compare them to pedophiles. Barack Obama wants us as a nation to acknowledge that there are two sides to every issue, even on our civil rights. He wants us to tolerate intolerance, as he is about to do from the highest office in the land.

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