Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I Don't Like Doing This

This is kind of uncomfortable.

I'm about to write a post that rebuts something another blogger I respect wrote in their space. It's not having a dissenting opinion that I dislike. Rather, it's the difficulty in finding a way to express my opinion powerfully without being insulting, that's a problem. Anyway, here goes nothing.

So, the Christian Progressive Liberal over at Jack and Jill Politics took Obama to task yesterday because she felt he was allowing a double standard regarding Rev. Jeremiah Wright to flourish. She said that Obama needed to be called out because he dumped Wright from his life after embarrassing statements about him surfaced, but decided to allow Warren to speak at the inauguration despite the furor regarding his comments about homosexuals. Here is a link if y'all want to check her argument out.

There is no doubt that Jeremiah Wright was treated differently than Rick Warren. While Warren has been criticized and condemned, the outrage is nowhere near as great as the outrage and attention paid to Wright. That's an indisputable fact. Moreover, it's absolutely true that this is partially due to the color of their skin. Again, I can't dispute that.

But, I'm still trying to determine why it's Obama's fault.

Let's recap: Videos of Wright preaching sermons that roughly 80 percent of black folks agree with surfaced during the primary. White people went bat shit. Obama, running for a position that needs the support of white people, told America that he didn't agree with what Wright had said, but cautioned people not to judge the man by a few small soundbites. White people continued to go bat shit. Obama gave the best speech on race ever given by a politician, and most white people calmed the fuck down.

Then, after spending a few months chilling in an undisclosed location, Rev. Wright resurfaced and decided to go bat shit crazy himself. This dude was getting jiggy in interviews, showing out in speeches and then damn near had a fit during a press conference. That's when black people got angry. They questioned Wright's motives and his timing, and urged Obama to cut his old ass loose. Obama, feeling hurt and betrayed, gladly obliged. The end.

I'm still waiting to get to the part where Obama threw his spiritual guide under the bus.

In my eyes, Obama handled the Wright situation pretty well. He refused to give in to pressure and call his pastor a raving black lunatic when the initial videos surfaced. He then urged Americans to move beyond their trite discussions of race. Finally, he only dumped Wright when the pastor clearly did not have his best interests at heart.

Where was the betrayal?

And that brings me back to the Warren issue. Obama is handling Warren the same way he handled Wright. Warren said some crazy shit and Obama made it clear that he does not agree with those comments.(By the way, comparing homosexuality to bestiality is going too far. Here's a question, how come preachers never compare homosexuality to adultery or fornication? They're all in the same sexual sin family, yet preachers always skip right over adultery and fornication when they talk about actions that should be illegal. Just a thought.) Obama then pointed out that Warren has a right to his opinion and asked people to consider where his viewpoints come from.

Now Obama is ready to move on and is urging everybody to do the same. Once again, I don't see the double standard.

Obama has clearly stated that he supports civil unions and not gay marriage, just like the majority of Americans. He has made it clear that he believes that homosexual civil unions should have all of the financial and health benefits of heterosexual marriages. When has he wavered from this position? He has not compared homosexuality to bestiality or pedophilia, so why is he suddenly being held responsible for the words of Rick Warren?

See, this whole convoluted issue would be funny if it wasn't so serious. People are becoming upset because of Obama's ASSOCIATIONS! Didn't we rail against the media and white people for doing the same thing? Didn't we tell them that you can only hold Obama responsible for what he says and does, not for what people he knows say and do? Strangely, while Warren may hold views that many liberals disagree with, the Philadelphia pastor chosen to do the benediction falls right in line with a liberal Christian doctrine on abortion and gay marriage. Yet, Obama has not gotten any credit for that.

Obama is allowing two preachers with vastly different opinions to speak at the same event. They are being given the same profile and the same honor, and basically people on the left are saying that since they don't agree with one dude he should just shut up. Seriously, people don't think that there are conservatives appalled that a preacher who believes in gay marriage and abortion is being allowed to do the benediction? Don't liberals think that is a big deal for conservatives?

I guess liberals have learned some valuable lessons from the Bush presidency. They've discovered that the best way to deal with dissent is to minimalize it and drown it out. They've learned to force everyone you vote for to think exactly the same way you do by threatening them with banishment. They haven't learned to treat opponents with respect, instead they've decided to rule with an iron fist and kill anyone that fights them.


I know some gay marriage supporters will compare opposing gay marriage to opposing interracial marriage or opposing basic civil liberties for black people. They may wonder how I as a black person would feel if a politician invited one speaker who thought blacks were fully human to speak and then invited a speaker who thought blacks were sub-human to speak. Good point. I would feel like both sides had their chance to speak and now people need to make up their own minds. I would also look to the politician and see what he believes to decide if I still supported him.

That's the main issue here. If gay people want to use gay marraige as a litmus test, then Obama fails. He has already said he doesn't support it. He was not vocal in opposition to Proposition 8. This is who he is and who he has been since the campaign began. Gay marriage advocates sound ludicrous saying Obama's selection of Warren is a betrayal when Obama is basically holding true to his own previously stated beliefs!

More and more, I'm starting to suspect that folks on the left are just as bad as folks on the right when it comes to wanting people to follow there views in lockstep. These folks love to crack down on politicians who deviate in the slightest from a staunch liberal platform. Well that's bullshit. Dennis Kucinch did not get elected president!

We elected Barack Obama. He's a politician who has embraced some liberal economic policies, but has also been fairly close to the middle of the road on social issues. He is not staunchly ANYTHING except for his own man. That's who we elected. Holding him to some random standard that has nothing to do with what the majority of Americans, or black people think, and then basically calling him a traitorous coward seems ridiculous.

Obama has treated Warren almost exactly as he initially treated Jeremiah Wright. There has been no double standard from Obama.

The real double standard is from folks on the left crying about the hardness of Republican hearts and then unveiling their own granite tickers as soon as they smell power.



The Christian Progressive Liberal said...

This was a fine commentary - we agree to disagree; however, if Obama is distancing himself from Wright (and he started doing so when he was backed into a corner - before the National Press Club fiasco) I want to see what he's going to do with Warren; whom, I might add, is being rewarded for trying to sandbag Obama during that "Christian" debate he was invited to have with John McCain, by allowing McCain, whom Warren supported, to violate the "cone of silence" rule where the debaters would not know Warren's questions ahead of the debate.

Obama played by the rules - Warren allowed McCain to CHEAT. And Warren's being rewarded for that Obama.

And I thought you were ripping me a new one, but you were just pointed out what you disagreed with.

No harm and certainly no FOUL.

Anonymous said...

Good post. I hate both wings, I'm a breast man myself. Govern from the center baby, Clinton style. You have to admit though, Obama won the nomination by going way left of Clinton and then went back to center afterward, feh. False advertising, no wonder the wingnuts are pissed.

Dizzy said...

You hit the nail on the head, sir. You know, this whole issue has just given me more and more respect for Obama. Regardless of whether we agree with everyone, we're all in this together and we may as well break bread and TRY to solve our problems.

I'm not going to pretend to be a scholar of US History, but isn't a whole ton of the racial problems in the US directly attributable to Reconstruction-era recriminations and bureaucratic-style civil war? (Of course they tended to favour Northerner whites over Southerner whites, but that's not how the mainstream were taught to see it.)

It's notable that HIV/AIDS activists only started seeing tangible returns on their actions when they turned the conflict down and turned the cooperation up with pharms, docs, and the Govt.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, some gay activists seek total validation under the guise of equality. They want everyone to agree with everything in the gay agenda and any opposition is labeled " homophobic". Therein lies the hypocrisy of the movement, don't label me, but if you disagree with me, I can (and will) label you.

Anonymous said...

Ideologues shut down all discussion and dissension, period. The one thing that Obama has shown himself to not be is an ideologue while clearly demonstrating that he strives to live by his ideals. Fine yet crucial difference there and one which is more in line with how most of us have to live our lives.

I take exception to the common perception of the Clinton administration governing "from the middle" myself. They triangulated and that is also a fine yet crucial difference which resulted in a number of people wondering how they ended up under the Clinton bus.

I have no problem with a president, or any person for that matter, who doesn't share all my views as long as they hew to the standard of honesty and compassion and Obama appears to be doing just that. This is miles from Don't Ask, Don't Tell and I'm patient enough to wait and see just how this plays out while supporting in all ways possible the ultimate goal of equal rights for my fellow citizens.

Rick Warren is basically a non-issue, in my opinion, and as long as he doesn't exert some sort of undue political clout in the Obama administration I'm content with his choice. He is miles away from Haggard and Falwell and all the rest of those hatesinks.

Big Man said...

I'm glad you came through and we can agree to disagree on some stuff.

I do agree with you that Obama is rewarding a cat who betrayed him during the general election. Warren obviously let McCain cheat, but I've discovered that Obama is much more willing to let bygones be bygones then I am. Particularly when it benefits him. I can respect that trait.

Big Man said...


I'd love to hear more about this triangulation thing because that's the first time I've heard that phrase regarding the Clintons.

Anonymous said...

i don't think basic human rights should be up for voting or discussion; all or none.

obama's a smart guy but this seemed tone deaf. what's interesting though, its had more blow back on warren than obama. warren's been on the hot seat to defend his view and biases. he scubbed his website (but on the web it lives forever.)

maybe he gave warren the dipsea do, crossover and the boy's thinking, "wait how did i get here?" with his pants around his ankles.

Big Man said...


I agree with you on human rights and voting. I've written several posts in favor of gay marriage, despite the fact that I view homosexuality as a sin.

My point was that this issue has joined abortion as a litmus test and that is a problem for me.

Anonymous said...

Well, I think you already know I'm on board with your post here...I've always had problems with left- and right-wing approaches and I've long feared that the liberals would take the opportunity of an Obama/democrat win to be just as bad as the conservatives were for the past 8 years.

I pray I will be proved wrong, given that I do lean slightly left.

Imhotep said...

Big Man, I got to agree with Christian Progressive, in that Obama did throw Rev. Wright under the bus. I understand why he felt he had to do that, but there is no denying that he did throw him under the bus. Even the most ardent Obama supporter have to recognize that move as politically expident. In my mind Rev. Wright is the rightful person to be doing the invocation.

Which brings me to Rick Warren, in many ways I don't care who does the invocation, as a non-christain it matters very little to me. I would be fine with a devil worshiper doing invocation.

It's rather curious to see Obama going to bat for a white preacher with questionable interpetation of the bible, but he would not go to bat for a Black minister speaking historical truths.

Unknown said...

i don't understand why the gay community voicing their displeasure at Barack's choosing of Rick Warren is so wrong. Many gays don't agree with Lowery's views on gay marriage, but we accept and respect his participation. Many gays supported Barack despite his views on gay marriage. That's the definition of bridge building, and disagreeing without being disagreeable.

I heard a lot of this same rhetoric after 9/11. People were saying that now isn't the time for dissent, and that no one should question the actions of our President. Dissent is important. Questioning our leaders is important. It keeps them honest, and gives them feedback on the job that they are doing.

I understand your point of view, but can you try to understand mine? Rick Warren has compared me, and people like me, to pedophiles. He likens my relationships to that of incest. He says that I cannot be a member of his church. He has compared my sister, and women like her, who have received abortions to nazi's. he has compared pro-lifers, like myself and many of my friends, to holocaust deniers. He believes that all of my Jewish friends will be going to hell. He has called for the assassination of the president of iran. These reasons are why I find Obama's choice to be disturbing.

I take umbrage at the notion that I should temper my feelings due to the fact that many share the views of Pastor Warren. As a black man, I'm well aware of the tyranny of the majority.

I hope that Obama can bring real change to this country, but that doesn't mean that I should never raise my voice when i disagree with him.


Hello there!

I agree with you that Obama is not above criticism by blacks and he is not above scrutiny by blacks.

I notice that there are many blacks who are outraged about Obama's invitation to Rick Warren and that is a bunch of bogus noise....everyone knows that the black community bashes gays and lesbians regularly and that there is also a very strong anti-abortion undercurrent among blacks.

Rick Warren is coming out against many of the same issues that black moderates and black conservatives have been railing against for a long time...whether they want to admit to that or not.

On an unrelated note...

I want to speak blessings upon you on this wonderous day of celebration and remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ!

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

Isaiah 9:6 (NKJV)
"For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Anonymous said...

This is nothiing but more ish to keep us divided!

Anonymous said...

I agree. I am not interested in the left being it's own version of the rightwing Borg. I guess some people though Obama's words during the campaign were just pretty and didn't think about him actually following through on his promises. Some people just like to bitch and moan no matter what but I'm not going to let them take away from my celebration that we won this damn election. People need to get over themselves and stop being so narcissistic. We all need to do a little less whining. Blacks, gays, women every damn body. Now is the time for action and solutions, not complaining and turning every percived offense into a crusade. How can you be taken seriously when some real shit happens? Even Melissa Ethridge and her wife said to gwt over it, it's no big deal. If she, Warren and a Muslim Organization could share a room and find common ground, so can everyone else.

Unknown said...

Big Man - never heard of the Clinton's triangulating? Really? C'mon sweetie, name me one thing he did in office that wasn't TOTALLY politically based. Mandatory minimums and DADT are just two of the oldies but goodies of the Clinton Era.

Yeah, it looks all golden and shiny from this vantage point, but you have to remember we're peering back through eight years of Pres Shrub and ANYTHING would look good from this vantage point.

I don't think he was a bad Pres actually. I do think that politics were both his means and end which did leave many people, as Lolo said, wondering how they ended up under the Clinton bus.

Constructive Feedback said...

Big Man:


If you fail to make note of the ultimate motivations of Christian Progressive-Fundamentalist then you fail to address the real issue at hand.

How is it that one can compare "Wright-Warren" with the pretext of RACISM in the differentiated treatment but fail to admit that a WHITE CANDIDATE who was associated for 20 years with a church which practiced the same WHITE CONSERVATIVE VERSION of radicalism that was the case with Rev Wright would not have been toxically damaged from the affair?


[quote]Videos of Wright preaching sermons that roughly 80 percent of black folks agree with surfaced during the primary[/quote]

Excuse me: 80% of Black folks who are 13% of the US population is but 10.4% of the population of the United States.

[quote]Obama, running for a position that needs the support of white people, told America that he didn't agree with what Wright had said, but cautioned people not to judge the man by a few small soundbites.[/quote]

Obama said that he doesn't agree with Wright's RACIAL Propaganda and gasoline pouring.

Obama, as you say AGREES with Rick Warren on the subject of the Traditional Marriage. If the call is to look at a person's ultimate point rather than sound bites - what is the problem?

[quote]Here's a question, how come preachers never compare homosexuality to adultery or fornication? [/quote]

I find it interesting that the same people who throw out these type of questions would also CONDEMN and paint those people who seek to maintain consistency as "Fundamentalists" who are out of touch with reality.

Strangely, while Warren may hold views that many liberals disagree with, the Philadelphia pastor chosen to do the benediction falls right in line with a liberal Christian doctrine on abortion and gay marriage. Yet, Obama has not gotten any credit for that.

Excuse me Big Man: Isn't this the time that we PULL OUT THE BIBLE and then seek to measure BOTH OF THESE MEN against what their religious guide book speaks to them on these subjects?

What is the "liberal Christian doctrine" on abortion and gay marriage?

Is this like a liberal read on algebra or physics?

[quote]The real double standard is from folks on the left crying about the hardness of Republican hearts and then unveiling their own granite tickers as soon as they smell power.[/quote]

I agree with you on this one Big Man.
There is little difference between the hatred, bigotry, willingness to violate one's right to free speech between left extreme and right extreme.

Both claim to be operating in the best interests of man as a cover for their violations.

Anonymous said...

First of all correction:

Joseph Lowery is if anything an Atlanta pastor, certainly not a Philadelphia pastor.

I believe a few commenters pointed out what I wanted to say, but I believe it bears repeating. There is a stark difference between his relationship with Jeremiah Wright and Rick Warren. It almost (sadly) should have been of no shock that he would pick someone like Warren. Obama is religiously homeless. If anyone would take the time to read his remarks on his religious beliefs prior to the Wright bruhaha, my friend said that Obama is probably a religious skeptic and at best, a Unitarian Universalist--which would explain why he was associated with the United Church of Christ.

So with Wright no longer on his short list, the last person he had a conversation with concerning religion was Rick Warren who was more than obliged to talk about it with him. That being said, I think you're dead wrong Big Man, he threw Wright under the bus. The time honored tradition in the black church is to stand by your pastor right or wrong regardless. I mean, even up here in Chicago, a pastor of a church was found GUILTY, by a jury of taking church money and other fraudulent deeds, and the church members busted out crying when he got sentenced to 18 months. Members went on record to the papers saying that even though they took money from them, they felt that his good in the community outweighed the money he stole from the church.

**rolls eyes**

Obama, in my opinion, after 20 years of sitting at Trinity agreed with most of what Wright said, which is usually the case of most parishoners. He threw him under the bus no questions asked. Fact of the matter is that the media "understood" what Rick Warren pushed theologically; conservatism operates off of stability and absolutes. Liberalism, even the kind of black liberation theology that still many black churches subscribe to raises many questions and always begs the question "now what?"

As far as the gay agenda is concerned, I agree that perhaps they get away with more than most people think. If we as black folk started hollering en masse about the lack of black faces--moreover black MALE faces (this is no knock at the black women that thankfully made it in that number) that are in his cabinet, then either a) Obama would be labeled as catering to "unqualified" blacks if he had, or b) then blacks would be labeled as forever complaining and never satisfied. Meanwhile, the LGBT community (mostly white it seems) has been hollering about no openly gay picks.

Although, I agree with them, that this seemed like their best bet for finally getting an openly gay person on a cabinet position, especially when one was qualified for the position. And it would seem as a slap in the face for having Rick Warren as a pick on the heels of not picking homegirl (who's name I can't think of) as Labor Secretary.

Okay, Joseph Lowery prolly doesn't agree with gay marriage either, but he aint go on record nowhere saying that. Moreover, since he stands in the preaching tradition of Gardner C. Taylor, Dr. King, Ralph Abernathy and Fred Shuttlesworth, at a Progressive Baptist Convention, as the story goes, an older lady pressed her way to the microphone and asked Taylor about homosexuality and Taylor responded with John 3:16 ultimately saying that at the end of the day, that the "whosoever" word sums it up just how God views homosexuals.

Annnnnd, of course I'm prolly going to be quoting this post in my own blog, lol.

Anonymous said...

I'm amused that when I enter "Clinton triangulation" into google it returns 96,000 results. I followed the first link to Wiki and am further amused that one of the footnotes is "Sistah Soujah".

Pretty much sums it for me but I guess what I'm left with as far as why I equate Clinton with triangulation is this - He always excelled at not actually inhabiting the middle ground but at skating as close to the edges of the center as he deemed most profitable for him.

From Sistah Soujah on downward, he winked and nodded at us while never actually revealing what he actually believed but what best served his interest, ya dig? The whole "I didn't inhale" to the "I did not have sex with that woman" was one continuous exercise in skating, triangulating to find the safest place for him to park his lying ass.

Now, it may well be that Obama is a triangulator but ... not only do I hope not, but I've not yet seen signs that he is. I get a strong sense of what he BELIEVES while he may indeed have to strike a balance that includes dissent. The man is no stranger to self examination and he's on record with it.

He's an evolution in politics, mark my words and may we all reap the benefits.

Constructive Feedback said...

[quote] I mean, even up here in Chicago, a pastor of a church was found GUILTY, by a jury of taking church money and other fraudulent deeds, and the church members busted out crying when he got sentenced to 18 months. Members went on record to the papers saying that even though they took money from them, they felt that his good in the community outweighed the money he stole from the church.[/quote]

Uppity Negro -

The same sentiment can be seen within some Black communities regarding:

Drug Dealers and Politicians. Is it the preacher that makes the different or in truth are we dealing with an instance of where people prefer "THE MAN" over "THE MISSION"?

I am also not understanding the framing of Rev Rick Warren. His views on Traditional Marriage is in line with the multi-millennial view upon which our present Judeo-Christian set of values are built upon.

It seems to me that the GAY MARRIAGE ADVOCATES on on the dime to JUSTIFY why our nation and our society should agree with their proposed change that runs counter to the obvious physiological form that man has been crafted with - complementary genders. With the present Judeo-Christian system we have ORDER and PURPOSE. With the introduction of competing views and/or the liberalization from this order comes DISORDER and CHAOS as the shifting sands of "man's will" gets imposed.

Big Man said...

Thank y'all for all the comments.

WNG and Lolo

Thanks for explaining the triangulation thing to me. I wasn't familiar with it since I really wasn't into politics too much back then.

Other folk

I appreciate the dissent and the agreement. Thanks for reading and responding.

Raving Black Lunatic