…Through years of queer demonstrations, meetings, readings and dinner table conversations, about gay bashing, police violence, job discrimination, housing discrimination, health care discrimination, immigration discrimination, family ostracism, teen suicide, AIDS profiteering, sodomy laws, and much more, I never once heard anyone identify the fact that they couldn’t get married as being a major concern. And then, out of the blue, gay marriage suddenly became the litmus test by which we measure our allies. We have now come to the point that many unthinkingly equate opposition to gay marriage with homophobia…
He then quotes an interview with Warren:
Q: Which do you think is a greater threat to the American family – divorce or gay marriage? A: [laughs] That’s a no brainer. Divorce. There’s no doubt about it.
Q: So why do we hear so much more – especially from religious conservatives – about gay marriage than about divorce?
A: Oh we always love to talk about other sins more than ours. Why do we hear more about drug use than about being overweight? [Note: Warren is quite overweight.]
Q: Just to clarify, do you support civil unions or domestic partnerships?
A: I don’t know if I’d use the term there but I support full equal rights for everybody in America. I don’t believe we should have unequal rights depending on particular lifestyles so I fully support equal rights.
Q: What about partnership benefits in terms of insurance or hospital visitation?
A: You know, not a problem with me.
And he continues:
I have an idea: let’s accept equal rights for all. Equal rights are the issue when it comes to national politics. That’s Obama’s position, and I think he has it right.
Then, for those of you who are truly concerned with marriage above and beyond the issue of rights, you should go to your church, or synagogue, or mosque, and have that battle. In your community of fellow believers. I wish you all the best. And the rest of us can move on to things that matter to everyone, regardless of religious beliefs. Like, say, global warming.
Which brings us back to Rick Warren. Warren is the shiny new star of American evangelicalism. Just one of his many books has sold over 20 million copies. And his books, like his ministry, are all about rallying evangelicals to battle global warming, poverty, and AIDS. He rarely mentions culture war issues like gay marriage…
I am delighted that there is a new generation of evangelicals that thinks the biggest issue isn’t homosexuality but global climate change, AIDS, and poverty. And who “don’t believe we should have unequal rights depending on particular lifestyles.” I am so ready to make common cause with them. I couldn’t care less about what they think of gay marriage.
It seemed to me worth having this dissenting gay view out there for discussion. My initial reaction is that I’d be far more persuaded if it looked like Warren really did support equal rights (other than marriage) for gay people, but that’s kind of hard to believe given his claims (noted by Ostertag) about how they’ll burn in hell.