Friday, January 16, 2009

final thought on Rick Warren

A friend sent me a link to Melissa Etheridge's statement about Obama's choice of Rick Warren to speak at his inauguration. I had read reports on this, including recently a quote from Etheridge’s piece quoted in The Christian Century, which I subscribe to. It was nice to read the whole piece.

I totally agree with her position, especially the essential question she asked herself before agreeing to appear at the event with Rev. Warren, “Am I really about peace?”

Rick Warren and other folks need education not vilification. We will not really win this struggle if it’s only shoved down the throats of America by legal decisions and yet their hearts and minds are never persuaded. It’s not a shotgun wedding that I’m seeking for gays and lesbians, it’s a wedding that is supported by my fellow-citizens in just the way that I wish to use my own marriage to support my society.

There will certainly be some bigots out there who will never get it. Rick Warren may be one, though I doubt it. But discovering who is persuadable and who isn’t requires that we try talking before we exclude. I applaud Obama’s strategy of bringing opposing voices to the table. Then we’ll see who’s willing to talk and who isn’t. I want to be one of those who’s wiling to talk.


doug said...

Well said. I was surprised how many people quickly viciously turned on Melissa without even reading her full essay. I also believe that we can change people by educating them. It's worked before, and hopefully it will work again.

Robin Edgar said...

Well said, Rick. I am still waiting to see who at the UUA is willing to talk about this important issue. I already know who isn’t, at least so far. . .

Cany said...

if I may...

The 1964 Civil Rights Act was a legal instrtument. Other litigation following led to inter-racial marriage and school desegregation.

It DID, FACTUALLY DID, require legal ruling to establish a baseline of treatment for Afrcan Americans to eventually become less reviled.

So for you to suggest that the courts are not the first stop, well... historically, that is wrong. There were, and I believe still are.

When people are required to live as equals, side x side, only then do many even have the opportunity for full freedom.

Rev. Ricky Hoyt said...

Cany - I'm not against using the courts to secure rights. We should use all of the tools available to us, legal, educational and activist.

I will cheer if the California Supreme Court overturns Prop 8 later this year because that would be the right thing to do, legally and morally. But a legal right that is not supported by the society is just half the battle. 100 years before the Civil Rights Act, the 14th and 15th Amendments changed the law but not the hearts of white bigots and racist institutions, and failed to solve the problem.

The opposite is also true on issues like Universal Health Care where the public mind is with us but we haven't found the legal mechanism to make it happen yet.

What we need is both: legal and societal change. Frankly I don't care what order they come in. The point of my post was that neither tactic is advanced by refusing to talk to people who might eventually come to support us.