A Liberal Flat Earth
I just read a post in Juan Cole's blog about his attending a Muslim event along with Melissa Etheridge and Rick Warren. Rick Warren is the author of the book The Purpose-Driven Life and pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. Barack Obama has invited Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration ceremony on January 20. This has caused quite a stir since Warren is a religious conservative and advocated for California's Proposition 8 which banned gay marriage in the state and annulled 18,000 gay marriages. I have been reading for days in John Aravosis's AMERICAblog about what a bad idea it was for Obama to make that choice since Warren has done so much damage to the gay and lesbian community. Aravosis was an early and strong supporter of Obama even when other highly respected liberal bloggers favored Hillary Clinton.
I'm neither gay nor lesbian. I found the love scenes in Brokeback Mountain disturbing and un-tasteful. In other words I find male homosexual copulation to be disgusting. I don't attribute morals to the God who is going to oversee the destruction of our entire universe eventually and certainly the death of our own sun. But in human terms I can understand why most societies consider homosexuality immoral. Homosexual marriage appears to me to be an attempt to legitimize the morality of homosexual sex. I do see that this is what the gay and lesbian activists have been trying to do for decades here in America, to legitimize the morality of how they engage in sex. Again, morality isn't a God thing. It is based on human consensus. But that doesn't mean that in human terms anything goes. Some things clearly are immoral. Take for instance the torture of human beings. That is clearly immoral by any human standards of morality.
Back to my thesis...
Aravosis's derogatory tone towards Obama's choice of Warren and by extension Obama's bad judgment in general - something we have heard a lot of recently from liberals - hasn't been striking a chord with me. I have not been surprised or upset so far with Obama's leadership or with his choices when it comes to advisors and cabinet members. It makes sense to me that Obama wants his administration to represent not a small core of America's political community, the liberals, but a wider spectrum. Obama has enough faith in his own judgment and in the powers entrusted to him by the Constitution to believe that he can lead this wide political spectrum to do what is right for America. I still think that's what Obama is doing - not just trying to do but doing in reality.
So I disagree with Aravosis and the LGBT "community" here. I don't see Warren as a hateful person. I don't see myself as hateful either. But Aravosis is basing his support on only one issue, the gay and lesbian marriage issue. This isn't at all unlike the conservatives who base their judgment of political figures on one or a few conservative hotspots.
Juan Cole attempts to lift the debate a little bit. He comes to Warren's defense and suggests that it would do the right wing religious faction good to embrace social issues the way Warren has been doing. That's a very good point. But it seems to be Cole's only point.
I've met a lot of conservative-minded people who have good personalities, really likeable people, gifted and charming. That's no reason to trust them any more than charm and philanthropy are good reasons to trust car salesmen. There can be very little doubt that Warren and his congregation are advocates of conservative policy and adversaries of anybody with liberal intent. Cole doesn't seem to want to point that out.
I just think that all these single-issue debates are two-dimensional, so flat-earth. You have to look into the depths of what people want to keep secret before you can see things three-dimensionally, before you see the curvature of the earth. Warren may appear to be philanthropic, but at his core he's still a conservative and so are his constituents. They keep a lot of secrets. Aravosis may appear to be liberal and an Obama supporter, but at his core he is a gay activist. He keeps a lot of secrets.
The earth appears to be flat from so many different and opposing perspectives. It's up to us to expose that it is round, to expose the secrets that make the illusion of two-dimensional reality possible.