Why Rick Warren Is The Wrong Choice

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[Black Star News Editorial]

Sometimes you have to cut your losses.

Rick Warren is a Pastor of intolerance; even if he's a best-selling author with worldwide following and appeal.

He has been recently scrutinized and he comes off smelling of bigotry. He is most unsuitable to deliver the invocation at the Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama before a projected five million people and an international audience of billions.

I don't agree that the experience of Gay people in the United States should ever be compared with the experience and suffering of African Americans, whose ancestors endured the peculiar institution.

One can vehemently condemn homophobia on its own merit without bringing up the Black experience in this country. It's completely uncalled for, unwarranted and it always backfires.

To begin with no other people in the history of the United States were dehumanized, exploited and subjected to plantation slavery; because of their race. Tortured, daily brutalized, whipped, lynched, raped, and worked to the bone, and then to the grave; because of their race. Again tortured, raped, whipped, lynched, discriminated against, and excluded from participating in the national life after Slavery was supposedly abolished.

It is a unique and horrible genocide that has not been yet adequately exposed, and which remains uncompensated for and inadequately addressed primarily because the descendants of that peculiar experience have not historically wielded enough clout: politically, financially, and with respect to owning and controlling national media that can adequately disseminate the extent of that horror.

All this is not to diminish the extent of the discrimination against Gay people, but it’s to point out that some Gay people are naïve to presume that all Black people should inherently identify with Gay rights and support their campaigns—that’s why many Gay Whites were shocked when many African Americans joined with those who supported Proposition 8 in California, which prohibits Gay marriage recently.

When White Gays claim that African Americans have betrayed them by failing to see discrimination against Gays as a Civil Rights Movement they create a rupture with Black people by drawing such comparisons. It is just as wrong as if they were to draw comparison with the suffering Jews endured under Adolf Hitler's Nazi terrorism.

Moreover, to the extent that Gays have been discriminated against generally, African Americans, who are Gay, have suffered a triple discrimination: they are discriminated against for being Black by White people generally; they are discriminated against for being Gay by much of the Black community which tends to be conservative on social issues; and, they are discriminated against by the general population, for being both Black and Gay.

So support for Prop 8 by some Blacks had nothing to do with the fact that it adversely affected Gay Whites since Black Gays are also discriminated against by Blacks.

Additionally, to the extent that Proposition 8 adversely affects Gay White people, it similarly negatively impacts Black people who are Gay and who already face the kinds of discrimination outlined above. So Gay Whites, who reacted with racist hostility towards African Americans after Proposition 8, showed an ugly side that they share with the general community.

Discrimination is an enduring and ugly form of discrimination and antipathy in this country; it is something that even so-called "liberals" can always fall back to as a last resort.

These are the kind of issues that Gay Whites and "liberals" need to reflect upon, if they want to strike serious alliances in the future with African Americans.

Having established this background, it's as clear as daylight that Pastor Rick Warren is an apostle of intolerance. Yet he is not unique in this respect since most Christian churches that state that they adhere to the teachings of the bible also don't tolerate homosexuality. (Ironically, the much-maligned Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s former pastor, has long approved of and supported Gay marriage).

The only reason why the focus is on Warren is that he is a prominent preacher and author who has been selected for a critical event at a unique and historic moment in this nation's history; the ascension of a Black man to the presidency of the United States for the first time.

Given the historical terrorism and brutalization experienced by Black people in this country, it is indeed disappointing that Obama would select Rick Warren, and accord him this global platform, given the pool of stellar ministers from which he could have selected a preacher.

Warren, who compared Gay people who marry to a brother and sister marrying; to a man who married a child; and to a man who wants multiple wives, crystallizes bigotry to the extreme.

If Warren is not dropped from the schedule, he should unequivocally apologize for his remarks so that it's abundantly clear that Obama –as he has already said—does not endorse such sophomorically foolish views.


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