Open Letter to Obama on Rick Warren
Dear President-Elect Obama,
I decided early in your campaign to support you. I caucused for you in Washington State, and voted and advocated others to vote for you. I sent out emails with your promotional materials and discussed your ideas.
I have argued against other progressives who have been upset by your cabinet choices, I am a staunch centrist Democrat.
Your selection of Rick Warren to deliver the inaugural prayer is beyond unacceptable to me.
It is less a matter that he be given a greater pulpit to bully homosexuals from — he will have that — he is media savvy and will continue to demean and disparage people from it for as long as he lives.
I am astonished, however, that in the wake of the passing of Proposition 8, you could be so insensitive to a constituency which supported you, and whose claims, based as they are on the separation of church and state and equal protection under the law, are so just.
Rick Warren has every right to define what marriage is for him, and anyone who agrees with him is free to support his church. He does not have any right to define marriage for anyone else.
You have said that you want to heal the rifts in America — would that include inviting a preacher who believed in non-violent racial segregation? Would you feel comfortable being prayed over by a segregationist? Because a few short years ago it would have been easy to find one to do the honors.
If you do not understand that democracy means equal protection under the law, and that hate in any form is unacceptable then I cannot in good conscience continue to support you. I voted for you once, and I even understood your distancing yourself from the issue of homosexual rights during the election, because it is so divisive and you needed to get elected.
But you have chosen to put yourself in the middle of the debate in the national spotlight, and chosen to share your moment of triumph over bigotry with a bigot.
How many times has this been said? “But I thought you were different.”
I thought you were. But the central issue in politics for me is human equality. If politics is to populist, to dirty, to ugly a place for that vision to find a home and the courage to support it, then I see clearly that I was wrong about you, I was wrong to support you and vote for you — I will stand humiliated in my naivete and I will not vote for you or any Democrat again.
I am stunned that you ever even considered this,
James D. Newman
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