Barack Obama | Inauguration | Joseph Biden | Melissa Etheridge | News | Rick Warren

Biden, Etheridge Talk Rick Warren as Calls to Dump Him Continue


Last night, as I mentioned in a previous post, Vice President-elect Joe Biden appeared on Larry King Live and discussed the Rick Warren controversy. That clip, AFTER THE JUMP...

At the controversy wears on, a united front among LGBT people appears to be slipping away.

DumpwarrenThere are groups, like Californians Against Hate, who call for Obama to dump Warren, and have started a Facebook group and website,, urging the President-Elect to disinvite the anti-gay pastor from the inaugural ceremonies.

And then there are voices here and there, such as Melissa Etheridge, who calls for the extension of an olive branch to the pastor despite policies barring gays from his church and connections he made of gays with pedophilia, incest, and bestiality, though Etheridge has some odd rationalization for her change of heart in a piece in the Huffington Post:

"I told my manager to reach out to Pastor Warren and say "In the spirit of unity I would like to talk to him." They gave him my phone number. On the day of the conference I received a call from Pastor Rick, and before I could say anything, he told me what a fan he was. He had most of my albums from the very first one. What? This didn't sound like a gay hater, much less a preacher. He explained in very thoughtful words that as a Christian he believed in equal rights for everyone. He believed every loving relationship should have equal protection. He struggled with proposition 8 because he didn't want to see marriage redefined as anything other than between a man and a woman. He said he regretted his choice of words in his video message to his congregation about proposition 8 when he mentioned pedophiles and those who commit incest. He said that in no way, is that how he thought about gays. He invited me to his church, I invited him to my home to meet my wife and kids. He told me of his wife's struggle with breast cancer just a year before mine. When we met later that night, he entered the room with open arms and an open heart. We agreed to build bridges to the future."

And then there are legislators like Barney Frank, who has strongly condemned Obama's decision but expresses hope for his presidency and seems willing to, at the end of the day, move on.

Last night on Hardball, BlogActive's Mike Rogers debated Reverend Eugene Rivers on the Warren flap:

IMHO Obama will never dump Warren. He made a GRAVE miscalculation on the invitation, but the political stakes in dumping Warren are so great, I don't believe it will happen. I believe asking Obama to dump the pastor is the right thing to do, however, and is a direction that should be pursued, but is ultimately a fruitless battle. At the same time, I'm not forgiving like Etheridge. Warren would have to go a hell of a lot further than liking my album (???) for me to suddenly believe he's one of the good guys. Our voices must not weaken on these issues. It is right to continue to condemn the Warren decision, and it shows that not only must we hold Obama to the promises he made to the LGBT people who helped get him elected, we must demand even more.

It is shameful that Obama's campaign of "inclusivity" is to get its first national blessing from a man whose ideology is anything but inclusive. It won't be forgotten until promises, policy, and solid legislation are pursued in the direction of equality for LGBT Americans.

Watch Biden's clip from Larry King, AFTER THE JUMP...

You may have missed...
As Obama Bakes, Rick Warren Controversy Simmers [tr]
Rick Warren Defends Inauguration Invite, Engages Melissa Etheridge [tr]
Rachel Maddow: Could Obama Rescind Rick Warren's Invitation? [tr]
Congressman Barney Frank 'Disappointed' by Warren Invite [tr]
Rick Warren on Why He's Not Homophobic [tr]
Obama Defends Rick Warren's Inauguration Invitation [tr]

Feed This post's comment feed


  1. Yes, by all means, let continue to make this nontroversy into a big stink. Warren wins. GLBT lose. Christians thrive on the feeling of persecution. They are never happier than when they are being demonized by all the right people. If Warren is removed they will crow to the ceiling about the evil gays. And the left just ends up looking whiny and exclusive yet again. This is a nothing invitation that will be forgotten by Jan. 22nd by the majority of americans. At the same time it pulls Warrens base further from the republicans and shows his followers they don't have to be wed to a single party. In the long run this helps us, but why waste time on the big picture when we can have a nice hissy fit and storm about feeling superior?

    Obama has been criticized for alot of decisions that later turned out to have been extremely smart and subversive in their effectiveness. How about a little trust on this one.

    Posted by: mike in oly | Dec 23, 2008 9:37:13 AM

  2. Yes, Etheridge's inane "He likes me, he likes my album" comments are painful in their self-centredness.

    "He regretted his choice of words in his video message to his congregation about proposition 8 when he mentioned pedophiles and those who commit incest. He said that in no way, is that how he thought about gays."

    Well, isn't that nice. So why did he say them if that's not what he thinks? Peer-pressure? Judgement clouded by alcohol? Because it's trendy?

    Regardless, he can't unsay what he said and he can't unthink what he thinks. I resent that my human rights are an issue to be debated and disagreed upon rather than a foregone conclusion.

    Posted by: David D. | Dec 23, 2008 9:39:48 AM

  3. Is it just me, or is intended to be read two different ways: and

    Posted by: Dave Rattigan | Dec 23, 2008 9:40:22 AM

  4. Just because a musician is gay does not mean they are qualified to speak on behalf of the gay community. On the contrary, most musicians aren't qualified to speak - period.
    People like Melissa Etheridge and Elton John need to realize that they are part of the problem, not the solution. What's best for their careers and album sales isn't necessarily best for the gay community.

    Posted by: Daryl | Dec 23, 2008 9:49:11 AM

  5. Mike, relax. It is not throwing a "hissy fit" to make your displeasure with your elected officials known. It's not even activism; it's simple self-respect. If you feel uncomfortable asking for what you want, you can continue to rely on others who are less afraid to object to a President we worked hard to elect sanctioning homophobia as a respectable social position.

    Posted by: CCasey | Dec 23, 2008 9:53:30 AM

  6. What's in that Kool-Aid you're drinking, "Mike in Oly"?

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Dec 23, 2008 9:57:37 AM

  7. The only place I am seeing exclusivity and hatred is here. Just because Barack Obama is not wrapping himself in rainbow flags for his inauguration, you folks suddenly are against him. Good grief.

    I side with Melissa; we have to give Barack Obama the chance to make his case. You can't change a mind by shutting it out; you welcome it to the table. I do not know Rick Warren, but I suspect he holds the key that will depolarize ALL this crap on civil rights. A president can set all the policy he or she wants. That's only as good so long as they are in office. It's the grass roots, the communities and their leaders that drive how a population interprets and accepts that policy. Minds and websites can be changed.

    Tolerance, people. Tolerance.

    Contemplate this for a moment; had the presidential election gone the other way in November, where would we be?

    Posted by: Rad | Dec 23, 2008 10:04:39 AM

  8. Absolutely agree with Andy's position. We must continue to hold all politicians "feet to the fire". Calling for Warren to be uninvited is the morally right thing to do. It shows that we will not tolerate being disrespected and that our fight for basic human rights is not negotiable, despite the almost certainty that Team Obama will not heed the call to do--what they surely know by now is--the right thing. Moreover, I do not expect much progress on specific issues, e.g. DOMA and DADT, in the first term because Obama will be too busy running for re-election almost immediately (political cynic that I am) and will have learned from the early Clinton administration debacles (hence, his invitation to Warren) to risk political captial on culturally controversial issues. Would that it were not so, but I am a realist. Nevertheless, I remain focussed on the eventual nominees to The Supremes (and the Federal Courts of Appeal). That is the holy grail and the means for our eventual success. Therefore, although I am deeply disappointed and insulted--but hardly surprised--by the Warren invitation misstep, I still believe that Obama remains the overall best candidate for the future of my gay community and my country.

    Posted by: rudy | Dec 23, 2008 10:13:43 AM

  9. What am I missing here? We ask people to listen and grow and change, and then when they show evidence that they are, we still diss them? It was clearly a miscalculation to invite Warren to speak at the inauguration. But he did MORE than say he liked Melissa's albums guys. Read it again if you must. When you call someone a bigot, you END the conversation. And conversations are one way to educate and enlighten people. Paving the way to have conversation is NOT being part of the problem. Clearly, it remains to be seen if Warren's actions will follow the change of heart he seems to be articulating. Keep protesting, but check yourselves to see if you are allowing for a dialogue. No dialogue = less chance to educate and change people.

    Posted by: Buzz | Dec 23, 2008 10:14:50 AM

  10. GLAAD has vids of interviews that Kay Warren did last year where she admitts that they didn't care about AIDS when they thought it was just a "gay disease"...

    Fox News: Hannity & Colmes - Warrens Address AIDS

    12.20.07 09:00 pm - Pastor Rick and Kay Warren talk about their work with AIDS and Kay says, “I thought it was a gay disease. And for me I thought that meant I didn’t have to care. And I was so wrong.”

    ABC: Nightline - Kay Warren on AIDS

    12.14.07 11:42 pm - Kay Warren, wife of pastor Rick Warren, admits she did not respond to the AIDS crisis immediately because it “was tied with homosexuality,” but now says all people with HIV/AIDS should be treated with compassion.

    Posted by: Josh | Dec 23, 2008 10:22:31 AM

  11. without any research how many can name who gave the invocation at bush's 04'inauguration or the any of the previous inaugurations. it will be forgotten. yes it was a bad tasteless choice, but there are infinite other things much more important.

    Posted by: titus | Dec 23, 2008 10:23:03 AM

  12. There is one good thing I am focusing on. Rick Warren has been called out on his anti-gay political and moral views. Now everyone knows how he feels about gay rights and abortion. Obama has really put this man's values front and center and now they are being publicly challenged. It's a great thing that we all got the chance to very publicly call him a bigot and state our feelings about prop 8 again. It draws even more attention to how wrong this whole thing is. This would have never happened if Obama hadn't done what he did. Even though I doubt very highly a well known racist would be saying prayers at his inauguration, perhaps some good can come of this.

    Posted by: LarsonNY | Dec 23, 2008 10:24:48 AM

  13. IMO we have been played like a cheap violin by those who want to deny us our rights and they are succeeding in creating a rift within us and are making us our own worse enemies.

    Let me explain.

    After Prop 8 passed we were angry (And we still should be angry) Our vioces became loud and clear, we started boycotting, protesting loudly and began to expose the religious bigots and right wingers who would deny us as what they really were. And it was working. Then they got scared and started making themselves out to be THE VICTIMS and us the bad guys with quotes like

    "Religion is being attacked"

    "See how they act?"

    "For a group that wants tolerence they should be more tolerent."

    The fact is they spun it and spun it good and those wspecially in the mainstream got scared at how THEY looked. NOT US.

    The simple facts are that we are not looking to be "TOLERATED" we are FIGHTING FOR OUR INALIENABLE RIGHTS. I don't care if they like me or "tolerate" me. (And tolerate sounds bad in itself) I DEMAND THE RIGHTS THAT ARE BEING HELD BACK FROM US. And we all should. This IS AMERICA

    I am sure that those who are taking the "olive branch" care also But heres the thing. If you want to extend an olive brance go ahead. Thats fine by me. If I want to boycott and march that should also be okay. If you don't agree don't comment and critize it publically. Because if you do YOU are dividing the community, promoting infighting and making us look worse in the public eye and doing exactly what they want you to do.

    KEEP YOUR FOCUS AHEAD ON OUR GOAL. (And our foes. NOT on each other)

    It takes many startagies to win. Not just one.

    Posted by: Wolf | Dec 23, 2008 10:31:56 AM

  14. If someone doesn't want to be called a bigot, then they shouldn't do or say things that are bigoted. It's very simple. The conversation ended the moment Warren equated us with pedophiles and incest. The interviewer even gave Warren a chance to amend his statement at the time, saying "Is that really what you believe?" His answer? "Well, yes... it is." And now Warren's taking anti-gay language off his site and saying "I never meant that"? Bullshit. He's a bigot, plain and simple. I am not interested in anything he has to say, and no one else who has a shred of self-respect should be interested either. If Warren has been trying to tone down his anti-gay rhetoric lately, it's not because he's had a change of heart. It's because homohating is quickly becoming a biblically justifiable but no longer socially acceptable bias. That's a good thing, but this progress is occurring not because of, but IN SPITE OF people like Warren.

    If Mr. Obama wants to include evangelicals or other conservative christians in a national dialogue about equality and change, then he could easily have found some clergy that were not crazed homophobes. He didn't. Instead, he's giving a national stage to this prejudiced oaf, and expects everyone to think that this is somehow indicative of "chage we can believe in".

    People who think that we need to "show some tolerance" to bigots like this are utterly deluded about what tolerance really means. Read what Dan Savage wrote about how intolerance of intolerance, and you'll understand.

    As one of the people who has been and continues to be discriminated against by Warren and his ilk, it is not my responsibility to seek dialogue or resolution. It is up to Warren to publicly apologize for his MANY previous statements, to publicly offer a full-throated repudiation for all religion-based homohating, to publicly call for all christians to vigorously support the full and equal human and civil rights for all Americans (including gays), and to make a public announcement that his church will never again engage in anti-gay activities and will instead atone for his hatred by putting the full resources of his church to work for equality and fairness for GLBT people.

    When that happens, I'll consider a dialogue. But I won't hold my breath.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Dec 23, 2008 10:36:13 AM

  15. Exactly Titus,so all the queens should stop throwhing a hissy fit and stop calling Obama a "bigot",frankly I see this as more of a bunch of white Racist homos,who are using this as an excuse to express their racism for someone of color and happens to be "the new man in charge".Gay people are whining and bitcing about the wrong thing,this shouldnt even be an issue.Get your motherfuckin' priorities str8.

    Posted by: DJ | Dec 23, 2008 10:37:35 AM

  16. ANDY,

    i agree with your assessment. obama cannot unring that bell anymore than rick warren can suck back his effluvium.

    i can only hope that obama's affront to the gay community, the nonreligious, the liberals, the extreme leftists, and the feminists will not be repeated (gee, i am all of those).

    further, melissa etheridge does not speak for me. her impertinence toward hillary had already soured me to her, and her kissy-face, huggy-body attitude toward rick warren only adds to my distaste. her heart is in the right place, but her brain is AWOL.

    truth be told, we (the aforementioned) have nowhere else to go. it is obama and the dems -- or oblivion. hence, my anger and my frustration.

    Posted by: nic | Dec 23, 2008 10:38:26 AM

  17. Yay! Warren owns Melissa Etheridge CDs!! Big deal! There are lots of people who like her music, but that doesn't mean they like lesbians and gays. Before Etheridge even had a chance to criticize/question him, Warren played to her ego and won her over. Sucker!

    If Warren told Etheridge that he regrets the comparisons he made about gays and incest, etc....why are we hearing it from HER? Let's hear it from HIM! He's had the opportunity during recent interviews to announce his change of heart, but I haven't heard him say it...have you?

    And to Rad: If Obama wants to change Warren's mind, great! I'm all for open communication and listening to views that differ from mine. So absolutely invite him to the table and talk...over dinner or at home or at the office. But NOT by giving him a prominent position at your inauguration!

    You say gays should be tolerant. Why do WE have to continue being tolerant??? Enough is enough! Why don't you insist that THEY be respectful of OUR RIGHTS!? Of us as HUMANS! You probably would have told Rosa Parks to get her ass up and go to the back of the bus and be glad she wasn't out working in the field!

    Finally, it isn't enough to say, "well, we could be much worse off with the other guy." Maybe so, but that's why we didn't VOTE for the other guy! We voted for the guy who promised inclusion and change. The guy who promised to heal and unite. Now, before he's even in the White House, he makes a decision that hurts, excludes and divides. And you don't think we should be pissed off??

    Posted by: Sam | Dec 23, 2008 10:39:52 AM

  18. Rick Warren is spineless. When it served his agenda to compare us to child molestors and incestors he gladly did so on national television. When it threatened to cost him a place on a national stage, he has tried to un-say it. It is no more a "coming around" than any other figure who gets caught by his own bigotry. He just got busted. And note to Melissa Etheridge; Sammy Davis Jr. and Leberace had many fans who loved their music and persona, and actively hated gays and blacks. I'm willing to see Obama get beyond this, but as a fundraising, flagwaving, bumper-stickered fan, I'm done.

    Posted by: Patrick Lehman | Dec 23, 2008 10:40:37 AM

  19. "I see this as more of a bunch of white Racist homos,who are using this as an excuse to express their racism for someone of color and happens to be "the new man in charge".

    Right. Disagreeing with Mr. Obama and standing up for my equal humanity is racism. Sorry, I forgot.

    If that's how we GLBT people think of this debate, then we're sunk indeed. There's plenty of racism among our tribe, but this isn't it.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Dec 23, 2008 10:47:17 AM

  20. DJ, don't be an idiot. No one has called Obama a bigot; the bigot is Rick Warren (note: the white guy), and Obama is misguided for having given him a platform.

    How you can make this a racist issue is beyond me.

    Posted by: CCasey | Dec 23, 2008 10:47:58 AM

  21. The LGBT Community really needs to learn which battles to fight. Frankly, this barely blips on the priority radar. Acting like entitled, spoiled divas isn't going to help the cause.

    Posted by: Cameron | Dec 23, 2008 10:48:25 AM

  22. Melissa Etheridge and those like her betray the GLBT community, we need to dump her.

    Posted by: Bojo | Dec 23, 2008 10:50:36 AM

  23. Why do people keep going to the "racist" thing?? This isn't about racism. A bad decision is a bad decision, regardless of race! And Obama's pick of Warren was a bad decision! It would be the same if Obama was white, yellow, pink or green. We're not holding him accountable because he's black; we're holding him accountable because he's our PRESIDENT! We CAN be critical of his decisions without it meaning we're racist!

    Maybe those crying racism are the ones who have the issue.

    Posted by: Sam | Dec 23, 2008 10:53:13 AM

  24. Cameron makes a point. I might be spoiled. I'm most certainly a diva. But the only thing I'm entitled to is equal human and civil rights. And if I have to squawk and bitch and moan and protest and write letters and send emails and call my political representatives and give money to activist organizations and comment on Towleroad, then that's what I'm going to do.

    Honey I don't know about you, but I've had it up to here with lying down and taking this kind of bullshit abuse from those who claim to "love" me. I'm done. And the battles that need fighting are the ones that piss us off and highlight our second class citizenship. That includes this one, as well as what will likely be bigger and nastier fights to come.

    Roll over and take it if you want to be agreeable. I for one will choose to fight.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Dec 23, 2008 10:56:14 AM

  25. Cameron - If demanding respect and equal rights makes me an entitled, spoiled diva...I'll gladly wear the crown!

    Posted by: Sam | Dec 23, 2008 10:58:59 AM

  26. 1 2 »

Post a comment


« «As Obama Bakes, Rick Warren Controversy Simmers« «