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]

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  1. What The Milkman said. Way to go, buddy.

    Posted by: CCasey | Dec 23, 2008 10:59:08 AM

  2. Uff da. Thanks CCasey. This business has got my blood a-boilin'.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Dec 23, 2008 11:14:44 AM

  3. RUDY & NIC (Lord, what a combination!):

    Thanks for speaking with reason, maturity and a sophistication about national politics--understanding the dilemma of the Democratic Party trying to position itself as truly the "party in power". Americans don't like Liberals or Leftists. A bad war and a economic disaster brought Liberal Democrats to power. But now those Liberal Democrats are trying to find subtle strategies to exert their power. Reassuring the Fundamentalists & Conservatives (reasonable Conservatives) is a strategy. I don't like, but I'll live with it for now.

    As others have said, this is not the point to loose hope in Obama and the Democrats.

    Those who say, "this is just harbinger of things to come." Y'all are full of anti-Obama shit.

    DJ, I felt the way you do now last week when this "Warren hysteria" broke out. Now, I say let them rant and let Obama hear them.

    Black people ranted in 1993 when Bill Clinton withdrew the name of Lani Gruenier (did I spell her name right? no) to be head of the Civil Rights Commission. We accused him of giving into the racists. Then we calmed down and accepted Bill Clinton as the best choice we could have made at the time.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Dec 23, 2008 11:37:13 AM

  4. You got this exactly right! Boy, do we need better leaders than the simple-minded narcissim of celebrities. It is such a dead end for LGBT progress.

    Posted by: Tim Miller | Dec 23, 2008 11:37:57 AM

  5. I assuming that the Milkman and all the others who are calling for Obama to de-pick Warren did not vote for Obama. Because if you supported and voted for Obama, surprise...he is doing exactly what he promised to do. Bring opposing voices together. If you can't handle living in a country with a bigot like Warren, then go move somewhere else where everyone is nice to you and brings you cookies on a plate.

    I am a gay athiest who voted for Obama and I am proud of him for bringing so many different viewpoints to the table to work this shit out. No more divisiveness of the Bush-Clinton era. Time to leave that behind.

    Seriously, the gay community is going to jump the shark on this one and soon we will be a ridiculous minority group of whiners bringing down the left...just like how the religious right was a ridiculous drag on the right.

    Posted by: henry | Dec 23, 2008 11:42:58 AM

  6. #

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


    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.

    Casey, Im not sure how old you are but, had we taken your suggestion in the 70' and 80's, we would still be fighting for the right to have legal sex while under quarantine.

    Activist groups like ACT UP and QueerNation fought for every Civil Right and HIV/AIDS legislation we have today, because we did not lay low in hopes of compromising those rights.

    Entitled? Your are fucking right. Spoiled? Hardly.

    Posted by: The Realist | Dec 23, 2008 11:45:53 AM

  7. Is Rick Warren a female to male transexual? That is the only way this makes any sense.
    It's still 28 days until this INCLUSIVE event happens-that's a LONG time to be on the defensive Obama,Biden,Warren,etc.,etc....good luck!

    Posted by: SFshawn | Dec 23, 2008 11:49:10 AM

  8. Casey, if i missquoted you i am very sorry. If it was cameron is should have addressed, then it is cameron. Andy! we need better seperation. OK, i said it. Continue

    Posted by: The Realist | Dec 23, 2008 11:51:06 AM

  9. The one and only thing that Rick Warren really is all about is sales. That's it. I don't believe he believes a word he says. He's just in it to make money for Rick Warren.

    It is so sad that Etheridge fell for his line. Hey, the woman's a talented singer/songwriter, not Einstein. But I'm just completely embarrassed for her.

    Warren must be laughing his ass off over this today.

    Posted by: ohplease | Dec 23, 2008 12:06:02 PM

  10. Derrick: oh no you didn't bring up Lani. LOL! (She rocked ruff n stuff with her Afro puffs!) I actually had dinner with Lani before she was nominated and was so NOT a fan. But, she was very smart and her academic writings weren't that radical.

    As for the other stuff on here, I can see the perspective of almost everyone who posted. However, I don't think Rick Warren is WWIII. DOMA, Don't ask don't tell, Round 2 of Prop 8 are more important and I want to husband my energy for those fights.

    Posted by: Brandon | Dec 23, 2008 12:11:22 PM

  11. Henry,

    I voted for, campaigned for, and donated money to Mr. Obama. My reasons for doing so were not because he was perfect... his opposition to marriage equality continues to be a sticking point for me. My support was based on my true desire for a new generation of more progressive leadership.

    If Obama wants to have dialogue and debate with bigots like the Warrens, then more power to him. I have never called for Obama to rescind his invitation to Mr. Warren. My beef is that the invitation should never have been issued in the first place.

    I'd be happy to move to a place where GLBT people were treated as fully equal citizens. But as that's not an option for me, I intend to continue fighting to make our country a fair and equitable place for people like me to live and prosper.

    And yes... Obama always said he would bring people together to "work this shit out". But exactly how are we to work anything out through this prominent (if symbolic) bully pulpit invitation? Are you under the delusion that simply talking it out with the Warrens and their ilk will somehow make them see the insanity of their bigotry and cause a paradigm-shattering change of heart? Exactly how does my full-throated demand for equality equate to "whining", and threaten to "bring down the left"? If the left, in its current incarnation, is so fragile that the GLBT community can bring it to its knees, then perhaps it's high time that it happened.

    Yeah, I'm a complainer. It just sticks in my craw when my rights are shat upon. But heck... if you have those magic words that will somehow convince Mr. Warren and his ilk to see the error of their ways, then I will get in my car, pick you up, and drive you to the White House myself. What, exactly, would that heretofore un-heard argument be?

    I'm not interested in "coming together" if that means giving up my fight for equality.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Dec 23, 2008 12:17:05 PM

  12. NIC

    "...Obama can not unring the bell..."

    Sadly, EXACTLY right. The repubs would scream "weak" . What is done is done and can not be undone.

    Ethridge's forgiveness and embracing of Warren so quickly and sooooo easily while not so easily nor quickly forgiving / embracing Hillary due to Bill's support of DOMA and DADT is hypocritical.

    As you and others know, I did not support Hillary in the primary....BUT I could, did, and do embrace Hillary and Bill easily and quickly in spite of the past due to their actions outside of DOMA and DADT. Hillary made robo calls against prop 8 (whether enough or not according to others is a different subject) etc.

    For Ethridge to embrace Warren so easily yet not to have embraced Hilalry as a fellow dem just makes me sick sick SICK to my stomach and pissed at Ethridge.


    Derrick, Rudy, etc yeah last week I was utterly hurt and furious to, but Obama was and is the best choice over mccain/ palin.

    What is done is done and can not be undone. Obama will deliver.

    What hope do we have outside of the dems? The repubs are a non starter. Will their party even survive as a national party or go the way of the wigs. If they don't give up their stance on abortion (ALL anti-choice initatives nationally FAILED by a larger margin than prop 8 passed by)and realize that laissez faire , de-regulation, so-called free markets, and support for the wealthy over the middle class and poor is a dead ender then they surely will end up ceasing to exist as a viable national party.

    Posted by: Jimmyboyo | Dec 23, 2008 12:21:01 PM

  13. PS

    Yeah it is obvious that Warren is a snake oil salesman opportunist. When it was beneficial to his ambitions he hated us big time, now it appears that to be on the world stage he is willing to backtrack.

    Posted by: Jimmyboyo | Dec 23, 2008 12:23:43 PM

  14. Melissa Etheridge misses the point. First I would have to say where the hell has she been: “I hadn't heard of Pastor Rick Warren before all of this.” Secondly she thinks Warren is not a “gay-hater” because he has bought her albums. Big deal. That is like saying a rapist isn’t really a rapist because he mentioned love or bought a condom. Is she that naive? Or am I that dumb? If we follow her logic then gays are relegated to only be florists, hairdressers, interior designers, and entertainers.

    She talks about how Warren regrets his choice of words but this is the standard “MO” for these right wing nut bags. They spew hateful remarks and when the heat is turned on they either proclaim it was taken out of context or that they misspoke. No. The truth comes out first and the lies try to cover-up the truth. Pastor Warren truly hates gays. In my heart I believe this. And if you think that he doesn’t because he is helping Africa with their AIDS crisis I want to remind you that AIDS in Africa is primarily a straight disease. Why not work with gay AIDS victims here in this country. Thousands need support, love, and medical care – especially when state’s are cutting budgets. Yet Warren offers nothing. And if you are gay, you can’t seek spiritual guidance and membership in his church because you are banned from joining if you are a “practicing” homosexual. He likens homosexuality to incest, pedophilia, and bestiality. He lied during Prop 8 by saying free speech of pastor’s will be taken away if it passes. That teachers will indoctrinate our young, impressionable children. He’s not a gay hater is he Melissa? Melissa, appeasement no longer works. It's time our voices are heard loudly and clearly. Stand with us.

    Posted by: Paul B. | Dec 23, 2008 1:01:42 PM

  15. "Tolerance, people. Tolerance"

    I think we have been very tolerant for decades. If you look at history you will see the only things we have ever accomplished have been through activism (Stonewall, Act UP).

    Our vocal resistance to Warren is essential and I am sorry to see so many apologists here.

    Self loathing is a terrible thing when it blinds you from your own oppression.

    Posted by: Nickp | Dec 23, 2008 1:14:04 PM

  16. DERRICK F.P. and JIMMYBOYO, thanx. cooler heads will always prevail. after all, who wouldathunk that Mr. RUDY and i would find common ground. but when i think about it, he and i share many ideas. peace, RUDY.

    there is something transcendent that most of us queers share: indomitability. defeat after defeat, we pick ourselves up and continue the good fight. if it is 2 steps forward and 1 step back, we can work with that.

    Posted by: nic | Dec 23, 2008 2:55:15 PM

  17. "He bought my records. He likes me, he really likes me! So let's forget about all the horrible things he said about gays or even the fact that his 'small groups' specifically deny gays from being in his church".

    Melissa: bitch please!

    Why is it that "celebrities" can be so shallow at times and so easily bought?

    Obama's decision to have a homophobe say a prayer in his inauguration was simply callous and insensitive.

    This warren fat cow homophobe needs to be removed. Any gay who doesn't seem to get it that having someone who hates you speak at the inauguration, needs to wake up and reject those who hate you.

    Posted by: FunMe | Dec 23, 2008 3:33:12 PM

  18. How do we find Melissa's home, office, or record company address? We should start a campaign of flooding her with broken copies of her CD's to reflect our broken faith in her as a representative of the LGBT community! Anyone else in?

    Posted by: ChrisDC | Dec 23, 2008 5:17:49 PM

  19. "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."

    Sorry, but I'm majprly Black and very politically aware and informed and I have to disagree with you on this one. While, for sure, some whites are using this as a way to express some hidden racism, I think, on this issue, Obama made a stupid move and is paying the political price for it.

    Posted by: Derek Washington | Dec 27, 2008 11:03:33 PM

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