What a disappointing reaction to the Rick Warren controversy we’re seeing from so many Democrats: They roll their eyes and ask, So what if gays are unhappy with Rick Warren? Can’t they just let us have our moment in the sun? Why do they always have to make a mountain out a molehill?
These same Democrats then turn around and tell us how important it is for the Democratic Party to be inclusive, and show respect to fundamentalist Christians. Why can’t we just agree to disagree, and come together in spite of our differences?
These are questions that deserve answers – not because they’re good questions, but rather, because they’re dismissive, arrogant, insulting questions. Those of us who believe that the Constitution means what it says when it dictates that there must be equality under the law for all Americans cannot just agree to disagree with people who insist that the Constitution does not guarantee equality under the law. We believe that if the President of the United States embrace those who seek to perpetuate inequality in the system of law, that it’s… shock… gasp… a betrayal of trust and the violation of the Oath of Office.
It’s easy to discount this issue as just a molehill – if it’s not your legal rights on the line. If you’re not one of the thousands of married couples that Rick Warren has fought to break apart, and if you don’t belong to their social group, then it’s an easy matter to dismiss. Oh, equality for gays, you may say, is just a fringe issue.
Well, the truth is that I’m not homosexual. I’m hetero. Still, I don’t think that equality for homosexual Americans is a fringe issue at all. I think that it goes to the heart of what we should expect a President to do. The way I see it, Barack Obama’s decision to grant anti-gay bigot Rick Warren a place of special honor at the Inauguration is a fundamental moral issue.
The best way to judge the character of powerful people is to see the way that they treat people who don’t have power. The best way to judge the character of popular people is to see the way that they treat unpopular people.
Christians are an extremely popular group in the United States. Christian fundamentalists in particular are a very politically powerful group. Homosexuals, on the other hand, are neither popular nor powerful.
Barack Obama, right now, is about as popular and powerful as any human being could hope to be. So, how has Obama chosen to use his power and popularity? Who has he decided to stand with? Well, Obama’s in with the in crowd now, and so he’s chosen to stand with them. He’s gone to stand with the popular and powerful. He’s gone to stand with Rick Warren and his Christian fundamentalist ilk. Obama has chosen not to stand with homosexual Americans.
Barack Obama’s slap in the face to homosexual couples in America is an indicator of the way we can expect the Obama White House to treat unpopular minorities who don’t have political power. Instead of protecting them, he will join with those who persecute them.
It’s a disappointing lesson: Unless your group is popular or politically powerful, you shouldn’t expect anything from the Obama presidency. Real change isn’t going to come just by giving favors to the popular and powerful.
If you’re one of those Democrats who follows along with the popular and powerful groups in American culture, this may not seem like a big deal to you. If, on the other hand, you’re one of those Democrats who still believes that the Constitution should apply to all people, regardless of popularity or power, you’ll understand that the special honoring of Rick Warren by Barack Obama is a very big deal, even if you’re not homosexual yourself.
The shame of it is that the latter kind of Democrat appears to be suddenly growing very rare indeed. Far too many Democrats, rank and file as well as D.C. insiders, have become so flushed with the thrill of being popular and powerful again that they, like Barack Obama, have cast aside their allegiance to the Constitution and its vision of equality for all. Now that they’re feeling on top of the heap, they are excusing the very kind of arrogance they would have castigated, if it had come from a Republican politician.
These Democrats treat politics like a team sport, rather than the system for upholding freedom that it is. They are superficial and vain, and they have no cause to be proud of the change they are bringing to America.