While I have a deep respect for Michael Funke and the Gay community, I must disagree with Michael's letter to The Source in which he called for President Obama to rescind his invitation to (pastor) Rick Warren. While I heavily support Gay rights, I also believe that the only way we make changes in this world is by having an open dialogue between all groups of people. If we shut out one group then how do we convince them to change their minds? I personally have never been one to listen to someone who was unwilling to listen to me.
Perhaps the inauguration of a new president, especially one of most historical significance, is not the place to be inclusive of people who are not. However the main reason I voted for Barack Obama is because he does not toe a line for anyone-even me.
I felt extremely shocked when I first heard of this appointment. The same way I felt shock when people continually tied President Obama to Rev. Jeremiah Wright's personal beliefs. Since when does anyone speak for Mr. Obama besides Mr. Obama? Again, (it's) one of the reasons I voted for him.
Upon further reflection of the choice, as much as I knew it felt hurtful to myself and many others that I deeply respect, I realized President Obama was just doing what he was always doing, being inclusive.
When we exclude anyone, we give everyone permission to exclude us. I don't believe my gay friends, family and neighbors deserve to be treated as second class citizens. I don't believe that they are "sinful" in anyway. And it makes me angry that people like Rick Warren believe that the word of the Bible is more important than the word of our Constitution, which protects his right to follow his Bible.
How do we get people like Rick Warren to begin seeing things differently? It is not going to be easy, as Mr. Warren and his followers believe in a very old, established dogma that has traditionally been known to instill fear into its followers. If anyone can begin to chip away at that, President Obama can. Imagine all of the people, like Rick Warren whose ears are just slightly more open now to our new President than maybe they were before. The thought of that makes me hopeful.
Now, Mr. Obama has chosen a woman, Dr. Sharon Watkins, to give the sermon at the traditional National Prayer Service that follows the presidential inauguration. She is the minister of a very liberal church in Washington, which promotes diversity. Obama has also chosen the Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop, the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, to kick off the Presidential Inauguration Week with an invocation on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial this Sunday which Obama will be present for. Do you think Rick Warren and his followers are happy about Dr. Watkins and Rev. Robinson representing their Christian ideals? Probably not, but then again, Obama represents us ALL, not us FEW.