Connect the Dots: From McClurkin to Warren

I just read over andgarden's 2007 Daily Kos diary on Donnie McClurkin.  I pretty much agree completely with andgarden's extremely well-written and principled comments on this subject.  And I knew that anyway.  So why go back to 2007?  Because the comments to this older diary made for extremely interesting reading.  Unfortunately, the discussion about McClurkin unfolded almost exactly as the discussions about Warren have on the left.

How does this all work in Obama world?  The ingredients are as follows:  Take one bigot.


"The problem is that it appears that no one on Team Obama bothered to read up on the well-known homophobia of the recloseted singer, who demonizes gays and lesbians, comparing them to liars.

McClurkin explains, 'There are certain things like, you know, anybody who has a lying problem; they get to the point where they hate being so, having such a lack of character that they make a change.'

And McClurkin has declared war on gays and lesbians as well:

'The gloves are off and if there's going to be a war, there's going to be a war. But it will be a war with a purpose. I'm not in the mood to play with those who are trying to kill our children.'"

(Pam Spaulding substituting for Glenn Greenwald Oct. 24, 2007)


"Rick Warren: But the issue to me is, I'm not opposed to that as much as I'm opposed to the redefinition of a 5,000-year definition of marriage. I'm opposed to having a brother and sister be together and call that marriage. I'm opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that a marriage. I'm opposed to one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage.

Steven Waldman: Do you think, though, that they are equivalent to having gays getting married?

Rick Warren: Oh I do. ... Most people, you know... I have many gay friends, I've eaten dinner in gay homes, no church has probably done more for people with AIDS than Saddleback Church. Kay and I have given millions of dollars out of "A Purpose-Driven Life" helping people who got AIDS through gay relationships. So they can't accuse me of homophobia."

(Karen in Kalifornia commenting at Pam's House Blend Dec 17 2008; of course there are other offensive things said/done by Warren to examine as well)

Lefty bloggers and the gay community are outraged!  Now add an after the fact damage control statement by the Obama team!

On McClurkin:

"Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said Monday evening that the campaign has no plans to drop McClurkin from the concert series, though Obama did issue a written statement late Monday distancing himself from McClurkin's views on homosexuality.

'I have clearly stated my belief that gays and lesbians are our brothers and sisters and should be provided the respect, dignity, and rights of all other citizens. I have consistently spoken directly to African-American religious leaders about the need to overcome the homophobia that persists in some parts our community so that we can confront issues like HIV/AIDS and broaden the reach of equal rights in this country,' Obama said in the written statement.

'I strongly believe that African Americans and the LGBT community must stand together in the fight for equal rights. And so I strongly disagree with Reverend McClurkin's views and will continue to fight for these rights as President of the United States to ensure that America is a country that spreads tolerance instead of division,' the statement added."

(from The Swamp Oct 22 2007)

On Warren:

"Let me start by talking about my own views. I think that it is no secret that I am a fierce advocate for equality for gay and lesbian Americans. It is something that I have been consistent on and something that I intend to continue to be consistent on during my presidency. What I've also said is that it is important for America to come together, even though we may have disagreements on certain social issues, and I would note that a couple of years ago, I was invited to Rick Warren's church to speak despite his awareness that I held views that were entirely contrary to his when it came to gay and lesbian rights, when it came to issues like abortion. Nevertheless I had an opportunity to speak, and that dialogue I think is part of what my campaign's been all about, that we're not going to agree on every single issue, but what we have to do is to be able to create an atmosphere where we can disagree without being disagreeable, and then focus on those things that we hold in common as Americans."

(Obama as quoted from Politico Dec 18 2008)

"During the course of the entire inaugural festivities, there are going to be a wide range of viewpoints that are presented," said Obama, who appeared with Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., at a campaign forum at Warren's Saddleback Church. "And that's how it should be because that's what America is about. That's part of the magic of this country -- that we are diverse and noisy and opinionated."

(Obama as quoted in the USA Today Dec 18 2008)

and finally

"Linda Douglas, a spokeswoman for Obama, defended the choice of Warren, saying, 'This is going to be the most inclusive, open, accessible inauguration in American history.' 'The president-elect certainly disagrees with him on [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender] issues. But it has always been his goal to find common ground with people with whom you may disagree on some issues.'"

(Pam's House Blend Dec 17 2008)

I truly find reading these statements from Obama one after the other a bewildering experience. Does Obama really believe "fighting for equal rights" includes standing onstage with someone whose latest achievement is depriving gays of equal rights? If Obama wanted to send a message about his feelings re: Prop 8's passage, he could've chosen another religious figure. Heck, he could've chosen one who didn't believe in gay marriage! But choosing someone so strongly associated with a recent victorious anti-gay campaign sends only the signal that Obama does not care.

Judging by the amount of tone-deaf crap in each Obama response, one can conclude that basically, Obama did not learn anything from the McClurkin experience.

Where is the evidence for his "fierce advocacy?"

Geekesque asks a question in andgarden's diary that sounds remarkably like those fielded during the Warren controversy of late. "How is he pandering to bigotry by firmly stating his disagreement with it?"

Although there are many good answers to that question, we have a new answer today:  Rick Warren.  Exactly how firm is Obama's disagreement if bigotry is given a pass onstage (literally) not once but twice?

When I watch the inauguration at home on my TV will Obama's "firm statements" scroll along at the bottom while Warren speaks?

We were told disinviting McClurkin was not an option. That complaining about McClurkin was overkill, and the issue was beaten to death.

Well, a year later, we get the same damn thing.  What kind of campaign plays with fire like this twice?  At what point can this be seen as the craven political posturing it is?  Apparently, nothing the liberal or LGBT community did between McClurkin and Warren led Obama to believe that fighting for gay civil rights involves actually opposing what is anti-gay. No lessons learned. But also no lessons taught.

Obama made two extremely insulting selections. Advocacy is more than passing laws - especially when the scope of Obama's potential law-making doesn't include passing a law to recognize and legalize gay marriage in all 50 states. Obama has made it more than clear that we are on our own when it comes to that state by state fight for gay marriage.

What Obama said at a press conference the day after announcing Warren would give the invocation is no prize to me. I don't think I'm "lacking perspective." The Warren apologia is the same old sh*t.

This is triangulation at its finest. Or call it insanely lowering expectations. Because now, policy (and only federal policy) is all we're supposed to focus on with Obama (not so much leadership - which would be of great assistance to people advocating for gay rights and trying to live their lives at the state level).

I'm reading the same blogger defenses and hearing the same justifications from the Obama team as I did a year ago.  Cut it out, look at this map and turn up the heat on Obama.  And if you're at inauguration and Warren comes to the podium, make your disagreement (non-violently) known!

Thanks to andgarden for writing the diary I refer to here.  I hope you don't mind that I sort of reappropriated it for my purposes.

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  • Display: Sort:
    You're checking to see if I read (none / 0) (#1)
    by andgarden on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 06:37:02 PM EST
    this side of the page?

    Actually, I dashed off that diary pretty quickly, as I recall, and there was much more to be said. But yes, you are absolutely right, very little ever changes.

    BTW, (none / 0) (#2)
    by andgarden on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 06:38:47 PM EST
    the outcome of saga McClurkin to my mind proves that we weren't loud and angry enough. Obama got away with it and felt free to do the same thing again.

    yup (none / 0) (#3)
    by lilburro on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 06:53:12 PM EST
    the "I can't believe this is happening!  If he ever does this again..." reaction re: Warren from some strikes me as extremely stupid.  The Obama responses to both events are almost exactly the same.  Absolutely nothing positive came out of McClurkin.  Nothing.  Which indicates to me that absolutely nothing positive will come out of Warren either.  Time passes, the event diminishes to a name that diminishes in importance, and the process is repeated again with someone new.

    Obama is letting these people nurse at his tit.  I hope at some point he learns (maybe when McConnell f*s up his stimulus package) that these people need to be thrown aside.

    I thought the conversation in the diary you wrote in 2007 was almost exactly like the Warren conversation.  It's just amazing.


    Yup (none / 0) (#4)
    by andgarden on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 07:01:35 PM EST
    Just ask BTD: there are no new arguments about Obama, just old ones in slightly different contexts.

    ARGH (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by lilburro on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 09:29:25 PM EST
    I forgot that this kind of crap - disrespect for gay rights - is probably viewed by Obama as being "non-ideological."

    Obama's Advocate interview was a strike against him in my book anyway.  He seems oblivious as to the value his charisma could have for the gay community.  

    I wonder if he considers the inauguration audience as a "general audience"...

    The more I think about this the more angry I get.  Frankly he's completely duplicitous and immediate action on behalf of gays % lesbians should be demanded of him.  Especially since policy - and policy alone - is the special measure we (and we alone!) are supposed to use to measure his success.


    ARGH 2 (none / 0) (#6)
    by lilburro on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 10:45:58 PM EST
    The Advocate Oct 2007


    Look, when I went to Rick Warren's church at Saddleback, he was under enormous heat because, among his constituency, my position on LGBT issues and my position on abortion is anathema. So his position could have been, we will not have Obama speak because he does not subscribe to our views on these two issues. To his credit, he allowed me to speak, in his church, from his pulpit, to 2,000 evangelicals. And I didn't trim my remarks, I specifically told them, "I think you guys are wrong when it comes to issues like condom distribution." And by the way, I got a standing ovation.

    My views on gay issues and on choice issues are well-known. I did not trim my sails in the conversation I had with them. And I think as a consequence of appearances like that, I am helping to encourage understanding that will ultimately strengthen the cause of LGBT rights.

    At some point, if we are going to have a conversation on these issues, what I expect to be judged by in the LGBT community is, have I been a strong advocate, have I been a forceful advocate, have I avoided these issues in any way. And If I have not, then that's how I expect to be judged.

    Yes, it was amazing how touched all those Saddleback members were.  Sadly, Rick Warren's efforts, along with our own, could not successfully combat Prop 8...

    oh wait...that's not how it happened at all.


    QED, no? (none / 0) (#7)
    by andgarden on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:34:36 PM EST
    "unity" is phony baloney as far as substance is concerned.

    There's no comparison (none / 0) (#8)
    by MyLeftMind on Fri Mar 20, 2009 at 01:16:47 PM EST
    between inviting a presidential candidate speak at your church, versus inviting and thereby promoting an otherwise obscure homophobe who would wither away when his own co-haters stop funding him.

    Note to Obama - honoring homophobes by allowing them to speak at your inauguration is not being inclusive.  Allowing them to communicate with you would be including them.  Giving them a national platform is promoting them.  

    Did this move help you win favor among evangelicals yet?