Friday, January 02, 2009

Some more thoughts on Warren

This is the one where Obama has invited an evangelical pastor to do the 'invocation' at the inauguration ceremony.

I think in the long run that getting rid of Don't Ask Don't Tell, federal discrimination legislation and support for moves in the UN to support the ending of the criminalisation of same sex relationships (to give just a few examples) are what we are wanting from Obama over the next 4 years and whether or not he delivers on these is how I will judge him (from an LGBT perspective).

But just what is Warren's position? While opposing same sex marriage he has used language suggesting that it's the word 'marriage' that irks him. He therefore might be amenable to all sorts of legislative action (at a federal level for instance) on same sex partnership rights, possibly even for Civil Unions. And in many states that's potentially an enormous advance - maybe not all of the journey - but a huge step forwards nonetheless. Or maybe it's all a smoke screen - let's put the spotlight on him and ask him what he does support and go for that at an absolute minimum.

It poses a question of how we should relate to religious folk who don't sign off on all our agenda in all its integrity but might be willing to sign up for some of what we want and maybe Warren is an example of that.

I think sometimes we use a kind of litmus test and then having failed it we kind of discard people instead of working out where we need there support and holding them accountable for delivering it.

Getting prominent evangelicals who aren't known for being gay friendly to state they are against criminalising same sex relationships to advocate the position they allegedly espouse can be a big difference in countries where there is a lot of anti-gay discourse (one thinks of Jamaica and Nigeria).

It may be that it's all dishonest posturing and in many cases I am sure it is and that the anti-gay leaders in the UK and US who pretend to be so moderate actually only adopt this position for show to make their prejudices seem more palatable.

But we let them off and give them a free pass. We don't put them to the test. We don't hold them accountable. We effectively let them wriggle away from their own contradictions while in some cases just don't take advantage of those who might be willing to support us in some of our struggles.

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