Friday, December 19, 2008


The above was copied from Barack Obama's Presidential Campaign website.

My ability to bring about "real change" includes speaking out when I feel strongly about something. It includes me telling Barack Obama, too. Which I did with the following body of text to http://change.gov/page/s/yourstory

I am thankful that Barack Obama has shown better judgment in picking his wife, his cabinet and his campaign leaders than his selection of Rick Warren. However......


I believe President-elect Obama when I have heard him say that he wants to change how we approach living together here in the USA and in the world. So much so, that I for the first time in my life (59 years old) actively campaigned for Barack Obama in New Hampshire, my home state of Rhode Island and also phone banked on his website in New Jersey. Even though I shouldn’t have, because I am in a scary place economically personally, I donated repeatedly for his campaign. I speak out when I have a position whether it be in support of the arts, human rights, native indigenous peoples of North America, the raping of our land with strip mining and systematically killing our people with the polluting of water and air in coal mining areas or the genocide of Darfuris we have been complicit in regarding Omar al-Bashir. I believe we don’t have freedom of speech if we don’t use it. This brings me to the following: I want to speak out about gay people. I have understood that Barack Obama welcomes our participation in our democracy and that is how I come to this expression of my anger that Rick Warren will represent the spiritual and religious people of this country at the inauguration by being chosen by Mr. Obama to pray to God before the world to begin this new era.

I am a female retired music public school teacher and I am not gay. But because I am addressing the Rick Warren issue I want to make it clear that I speaking from a position as a heterosexual. I am dismayed to put it mildly. It is so emotionally affecting me that it is difficult to express my rational reasons for being so very disappointed and repelled by this choice. Mr. Obama has maneuvered through so many sticky situations throughout the campaign with such intelligence, grace and transparent reasoning. Granted at times I haven’t always agreed with his decisions, but I could still trust that he could be trusted with my trust. But this is not one of those decisions.

The rationale in choosing Rick Warren in this highly honorable role is incomprehensible in any acceptable way for me personally. Choose a muslim clergy, choose a Rabbai, choose an agnostic, choose an Unitarian, choose a Bahá'í, choose a fundamentalist Christian, choose an average citizen – choose anyone who lives his or her life in ways that bring people together with welcoming and compassion for all. But to choose someone who openly purports division in our culture regarding discrimination of gay people is a mistake. This is not welcome by me or anyone who believed the change Mr. Obama spoke of. Change for us meant we welcome unity by how we live our lives with inclusiveness. Certainly not divisive statements such as Rick Warren is known for.

Proposition 8, California's ban on gay marriage, which Warren strongly supported is divisive. Warren compared same-sex nuptials to approving polygamy and pedophilia. Warren actively promoted legalizing discrimination in Prop 8.

Video link of Rick Warren on Proposition 8 on his website
2% of population (Gays, Lesbians) ~ not important says Rick Warren

The lives and relationships of millions of Americans were once again marginalized at best. When we as human beings put our trust in someone we feel betrayed when we are disrespected and treated with disdain. And this choice of Warren for the role of saying our invocation - a calling upon a greater power or God for help – makes me feel betrayed.

I would have been so happy to attend the inaugural if I could have afforded to come, but now I don’t feel like I even want to watch it on television. I know this is an emotional response. A visceral reaction.

I am so disappointed in our new President Obama in making this choice. Diversity and divisiveness are not compatible. To what purpose does this choice serve the country, our need and want to feel a “whole” nation and furthermore, how does it bring in the gay community to our overall community? Though I am heterosexual, I understand that to be gay in a heterosexually power base of a country is extremely stressful and unjust. Time and time again, people who are gay have been betrayed by this country. And this is no way to demonstrate a change in this regard. What does this say to the little boy or girl who knows in his or her heart that they are gay but have been carrying the secret because it is so difficult to live their lives in truth. They feel forced to live their lives in pretense. Even often without the love of their own families. We must stop alienating our children and adults who are born gay. Requiring people to live in pretense and secret is not freedom. We remember the Clinton “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” betrayal and are so hungry for a change in this society-generated moral injustice. If not now, when? If an Obama administration lets us down in this regard, we don’t have a chance, do we? We are done waiting for all of us to have our acceptance, love and freedom from institutionalized bigotry.

Not only are our children watching, but the world is watching and having chosen this one man to be our religious leader for the hour, the inauguration, is detestable and disgraces the words “Out of Many We Are One”. This could have been a moment of elation to be walking into the path of a purpose to be One, but the man praying to God to begin this official path does not stand for that purpose unless we believe as he does…women are second class citizens, gay people are not equal to him.

There is very nearly no way for this to be explained to me and make it okay to have this man stand on the world stage on inauguration day. I wish Warren well in his life and work but the inauguration stage should not have him speaking on it January 20, 2009.

What does it symbolize?

I believe that symbolism matters. Symbolism is what the inauguration ceremony is. Choosing our symbols represents us. President-elect Obama needs to address this issue. Our country is wounded on so many political and social levels, and the requirement of separation of church and state getting waived on inauguration day is something I can accept if I have to, but it is asking too much to accept a bigot to say the invocation.

Thank you for your consideration.


Sandra Hammel speaking and introducing Senator John Kerry
in March 2008 in the Newport, Rhode Island Obama Primary Campaign Office



I found this video at the following post: bullied-children-and-gay-bashers
Terrence has two fathers. He likes them alot
and he sings a song about them. (English subtitles)

Uploaded by fluffythecat

Article on choice of Rick Warren by Barack Obama

Rick Warren, Obama Invocation Choice, Causing First Real Rift With Progressives
Source: www.huffingtonpost.com

From the above link

...Indeed, lost in the hubbub about Warren, is the fact that the man tasked with overseeing the benediction is a icon within progressive politics. Rev. Joe Lowery, a hero of the civil rights movement and co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Martin Luther King famously called out President George W. Bush during Coretta Scott King's funeral. He also is a supporter of same-sex marriage. But he is not garnering the same attention as Warren for his inauguration role.

It's vintage Obama, several observers say -- bringing the spectrum of the religious/political experience together for one event. And yet, it is also a big source of frustration for progressive leaders, many of whom aren't interested in legitimizing viewpoints antithetical to their message.

"I think there is probably an actual friendship between the two, and I admire that because Barack Obama has an ability to be friends with people he disagrees with, and that is a good quality for a president," said Rev. Currie. "But I think that he is very much the wrong person to put on the stage with the president that day. It sends a very wrong message about who America is and what our aspirations are."

A relevant post of my own:

Other bloggers' posts:


Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home