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It's Not About
Marriage With Rick Warren

It's Not About
Marriage With Rick Warren


Saying gay people opposed Rick Warren's participation in Obama's inauguration because he's against marriage equality is like saying the Jews opposed Hitler because he was anti-Semitic.

Upon the selection of the Reverend Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at Pres. Barack Obama's inauguration, an angry backlash dominated the media cycle for nothing short of four full days. Fiercely eloquent spokespeople such as Hilary Rosen and Mike Rogers properly characterized Warren as someone entirely out of touch with LGBT people. Journalists including Ann Curry of NBC met comments by Warren comparing homosexuality to pedophilia and incest with gasps and looks of shock. He also did himself no favor in proclaiming that, were it not for the bonds of marriage, he would not be able to control his attraction to every good-looking woman he saw.

Fresh off the stinging defeat of Proposition 8 in California, it was easy to connect Warren and his megachurch's support of the ballot measure to discontent with his selection for the highly visible and honored role in the inaugural ceremony. But proper reporting isn't supposed to be easy.

That is where recent media reports in The New York Times and USA Today are examples of shoddy journalism that lack proper context and are devoid of sensitivity and understanding of the LGBT community. Each publication completely mischaracterized the opposition to Warren's selection as being based on his opposition to marriage equality. That's kind of like saying that Jews were opposed to Hitler because he was anti-Semitic. It doesn't come close to explaining the whole story.

I didn't write anything about Rick Warren throughout the entire controversy. I tried. But fellow writers, activists, and media pundits had done such a collectively superb job of providing meaningful commentary and properly framing the opposition to Warren that I was content to allow the public record to stand.

However, when tone-deaf reporters with lazy editors try to rewrite history and characterize "the gays" as simple, uncomplicated, single-issue people, I am no longer content to sit by and say nothing. Simply put, their characterization of several media cycles of opposition to Warren was as lame as it gets.

Chris Matthews has often shown himself to be chauvinistic and prone to foot-in-mouth syndrome. But he understood the absurdity of selecting Warren when seen through the lens of the LGBT community. Comparing intelligent, well-spoken people like Rachel Maddow to criminals just doesn't pass muster these days.

When it comes down to it, Rick Warren and President Obama aren't too far apart on gay marriage. It could properly be characterized as: Warren opposes gay marriage and Obama does not support it. While effectively the same position, we know that language matters and that Obama is far more likely to complete the journey to equality in a timely manner than Pastor Rick.

Saying that the LGBT community's opposition to Warren is solely based on the marriage issue goes further than shoddy reporting. It is insulting. Based on their reporting, we should have also been opposing pretty much every other person who spoke at the inauguration. It gives their readers the impression that we are dumb, lacking savvy, picking random battles that single out the "religious folk."

TheNew York Times and USA Today would be well served to recognize when the LGBT community strikes a proper balance between criticism, advocacy, and political skill. Properly characterizing Rick Warren as out of the mainstream because of his views and repeated insulting comments was not only justified, but also well executed. The entire episode surely taught the Obama transition team and eventual administration a valuable lesson that we will no longer take being insulted sitting down. We will stand and fight for fairness, justice, and equality.

That's a good thing.

Only when we fight for ourselves will we ever stand a chance at changing the way people think about us. Hopefully, the Obama administration will continue to look at the Rick Warren controversy as a lesson learned. TheTimes and USA Today would find the same lesson to be valuable as they strive to provide us with properly reported news and commentary.

Until then, they deserve the scrutiny being brought upon them by Media Matters and anyone else that will call them out for their stupidity and laziness.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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