Barack Obama | Inauguration | Melissa Etheridge | News | Radio | Rick Warren

Melissa Etheridge Defends Rick Warren on NPR

NPR's Guy Raz spoke with Melissa Etheridge about her embrace of Rick Warren on "All Things Considered" on January 3.

EtheridgeExplained Etheridge: "I believe I understand Obama's choice here. I believe that Barack Obama wants to be the President of the entire United States. Pastor Rick Warren reached out to him, brought him into his church during the campaign, which outraged many members of his church. Yet he reaches across and I think this is Obama reaching back and going, 'I think we can disagree on things, yet we can still all move forward. We need to get past our differences.' And I just want to make sure that as the liberals and progressives and Democrats or whatever you want to call us are moving into this new time with this new president do not say that they, the Evangelicals who say such horrible things about gays, they have to stay over here and we're not going to let them in. That makes us no better than the last administration."

After Raz played her the clip of Warren comparing homosexuality to polygamy and incest, Etheridge said:

"Just because he (compares gays to incest or polygamy) does not mean I have to not speak to him, or don't ever want to be in his company. We had a crazy experience at the Muslim Public Affairs Council conference...We met, we spoke. He's a fine person...He said he was trying to make the definition of marriage not change, not necessarily saying that gays are pedophiles or any of that stuff. One can draw whatever they want from that. This is what he told me."

Plus, Warren's a huge fan of her music.

Listen to the interview AFTER THE JUMP...

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(audio courtesy of Jeremy at Good As You)

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  1. right on, patrick nyc - i've been thinking that sentiment for the past few weeks - does this mean that obama will be reaching out to the KKK to make them feel like their views are valid? why weren't they invited to speak at the inauguration?
    this may seem a bit of a dramatic comparison (i don't think warren intentionally advocates violence on homosexuals), but if you realy THINK about it, the comparison is legit...

    Posted by: john | Jan 5, 2009 12:53:49 PM

  2. Before anyone asks, "how do YOU know what the first thing Rick Warren said to Melissa in their private phone conversation? Were you there?, and someone most certainly will, let me cite my reference:

    "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." - Melissa Etheridge

    A quote taken from a blog post by Ms. Etheridge to December 22, 2008, 5:10 pm.

    Posted by: Zeke | Jan 5, 2009 12:57:55 PM

  3. JEFFROB, I think you're wrong. I believe Obama DOES owe us something. He owes us the change that he promised us. He owes us a place at the table he promised us. He owes us the respect he promised us.

    His cabinet picks, his pick to deliver the invocation at his "unity" inauguration and his most recent anti-marriage equality, anti-civil unions, anti-choice pick for DNC chair tells me that he's more interested in reaching out to those who don't, AND NEVER WILL, support him than he is about considering the concerns and feelings of those who overwhelmingly did.

    Posted by: Zeke | Jan 5, 2009 1:04:01 PM

  4. If Obama wants to be inclusive of all views, which speaker at the inauguration openly supports the right to marry for same-sex couples?

    Posted by: Eric | Jan 5, 2009 1:10:01 PM

  5. At least when Natalie Maines spoke her mind, i could stand and support her and her words.

    Melissa is "Dixie Chickn" herself to irrelevance by supporting this bigot and she doesn't see it.

    Posted by: The Realist | Jan 5, 2009 1:19:56 PM

  6. I'm not going to turn the other cheek. Warren is unapologetic about his homophobic public stance and statements.

    If he was making the same comments about blacks, Asians, Latinos or Women, he'd be shunned. So Why are we even having this conversation?

    Posted by: Grego | Jan 5, 2009 1:46:50 PM

  7. Melissa (aka "Warren has my records, he likes me, he really likes me!) is proving what I always suspected:

    Artists are not very smart people.

    Melissa: bitch please. Just shut up and step aside. You are doing NOTHING to help put the pressure on Obama that we gays are tired of being treated worst than 2nd class citizens.

    Bitch should work on selling more albums instead of pretending to speak for the GLBT community.

    Posted by: FunMe | Jan 5, 2009 3:04:12 PM

  8. Zeke, thanks for your response, and for what it's worth, I also think you're wrong.

    Zeke wrote: "His cabinet picks, etc.... tells me that he's more interested in reaching out to those who don't, AND NEVER WILL, support him than he is about considering the concerns and feelings of those who overwhelmingly did."

    And I would say that reaching out to those who didn't support him is EXACTLY what he should be doing.

    It seems that the "change" a lot of us got excited about during the election isn't change at all, it's just the Exact Opposite of George Bush. That's not change.

    REAL change is the gay community and the evangelical community working together to build solutions we can all support. Pro-life leaders and pro-choice leaders actually working together. Not just switching who has the microphone for the next 4 or 8 years. REAL change is actually bringing every one to the table. Not just saying it, but actually doing it. That's what Obama's doing, and as far as I can tell, he's keeping his promise.

    Posted by: JeffRob | Jan 5, 2009 6:01:43 PM

  9. I think real "Change" would not be having any prayer at all at a presidential inauguration!

    When did this tradition begin? Muslims, jews, and atheists should be just as incensed.

    Posted by: Jesse Archer | Jan 5, 2009 6:28:39 PM

  10. Disrepecting the gay community to snuggle up to the fundamentalists doesn't sound like change at all to me. It sounds like the same old crap that we've always gotten from our federal government no matter who was at the helm.

    If what you say is true then where are the anti-Semites and the racists at his inauguration. There are certainly as many racist in this country as there are homophobes (even if they are a bit more covert these days). Do they not deserve a seat at the "unity" table?

    Posted by: Zeke | Jan 5, 2009 6:43:45 PM

  11. When do we get off the endless hamster wheel of hate? Intolerance of intolerance is still intolerance. Just asking.

    Posted by: Pareidolius | Jan 5, 2009 6:52:09 PM

  12. I guess this comes down to simple opinion on the matter of equating our struggle for marriage equality with the civil rights struggles of racial and religious minorities in the US.

    I don't now look at pictures of the beautiful, intimate, non-legally-binding wedding ceremony my husband and I had in June in DC and think "Rosa Parks arrested on the bus", "Fire hoses on children in Birmingham", or "Auschwitz", because my husband and I are not recognized by the state.

    Do you?

    Just because we've all decided we should have Full Marriage Equality Now does NOT mean everyone who does not instantly agree with us is automatically evil and The Enemy. If that's how you feel, you shouldn't have voted for Obama, you shouldn't be a Democrat, in fact you should probably move to Finland.

    Posted by: JeffRob | Jan 5, 2009 7:07:41 PM

  13. Warren won M.E. over
    with 5 magic words...

    1) You've

    Posted by: my2cents | Jan 5, 2009 7:43:05 PM

  14. I totally with JEFFROB. To be perfectly honest I don't think Obama owes the gay community anything considering that less gays voted for him than John Kerry who's stance was pretty much identical to gay marriage as Obama's.
    Being black myself I do see a difference between the Civil Rights movement and the gays rights movement. Especially since the gay community has a tenancy to ignore it's members of color. But that's another story.

    I am incredibly proud of Melissa for speaking out because she had to know that she would be slammed for it. I'm pretty sure that she would rather not have Warren speak at the inauguration but she's aware of the fact that the people who lost need something right now and for the moment Rick is it. Normally I would be more polite but now I'm just gonna say deal with it.

    Posted by: Pekemo | Jan 5, 2009 8:01:09 PM

  15. Ummm ... can we say SELL-OUT??? I'll do the opposite and never listen to her music again.

    Posted by: Roman | Jan 5, 2009 9:12:41 PM

  16. PEKEMO, I don't get what you're trying to say.
    First of all the gay rights are civil rights in itself.
    How do you know that the gay community ignores "it's members of colour"? What's your evidence?
    Because they don't show them on DNA mag covers as often as white gays?

    Tell me that other story, I'd like to here it.

    You are trying to counterbalance one minority's problems ond struggles with another minority's problems and struggles.

    Let's do that with black and jews, and you'll lose.
    Now does that make the blacks' problems and struggles less important?
    I don't think so.

    And I can only agree, someone who does not feel offended by Warren's comparison to bestiality and pedophilia should not speak for the gay community.
    I doubt black people would let this pass unprotested.

    And the fact that a priest is holding the speech is by itself wrong to my mind, because this is not an event where religion should be active to that stage.

    I find it quite funny how minorities in general like to pick on other minorities and deny them their rights when they get the opportunity.

    One last thing, I'm happy I couldn't vote for Obama because I live in the E.U. for the following reasons:
    1. He is nothing but a fancy-talker.
    2. He already disappointed me and made me feel 2nd class without even being in office yet.
    I don't expect anything from this man at all.

    Posted by: Peter | Jan 5, 2009 9:17:36 PM

  17. Peter, if you live in the E.U then what does it matter to you?

    Secondly, I don't need proof to know that the gay community ignores it's members of color because I've experienced it personally as well as many other gays of color that I know. It's ingrained in gay culture. Tell me, do the words "Rice Queen" or "Potato Queen" mean anything to you? Ask Irene Monroe or any other prominant gay person of color and ask them if the Gay Rights Movement and The Civil Rights Movement are the same thing.

    The Gay Rights Movement and The Civil Rights Movement are completely seperate and just so happen to have similarities.

    And another thing, did you miss the part where I stated that I'm black? I think I'd more knowledge on the subject that do, assuming you're not black yourself. It's fine to say that a Equality Movement was based on example from another movement. But to attempt to hijack a movement for your own isn't.

    And for that list of your's let me break it down for you.
    1) Obama is far more than a fancy talker or else he wouldn't be where is he is now.

    2) The fact that you were able to feel so defeated by a person that holds no political office or policy-making power, by a person who's only giving a FUCKING SPEECH is severly pathetic and more of a reflection on you than Obama
    and again, you being in the EU means that you basically have no stake in the inauguration so your entire opinion is kinda moot. But you are more than welcome to it.

    Posted by: Pekemo | Jan 6, 2009 12:24:36 AM

  18. ``I don't now look at pictures of the... non-legally-binding wedding ceremony... and think "Rosa Parks...", "Fire hoses on children in Birmingham", or "Auschwitz", because my husband and I are not recognized by the state.
    Do you?``

    No, JeffRob, I don`t look at your non-legally-binding wedding ceremony and think those other things so much as I think of Mrs. Loving and the marriage the state denied her and her husband because of who they were (in their case regarding their color}.
    As for the horrors of Auschwitz, the hundreds of thousands of who died in the concentration camps is every bit as horrific for those who were branded with pink triangles and for those who were branded with stars of David. And the fact that blacks were not decimated in such numbers at that same place and time does not IN ANY WAY negate the fact that blacks deserve human rights as much, no more and certainly no less, as those who died in Europe in the 194Os. Civil rights is NOT a contest pitting minority groups against each other.
    Every truly civil rights leader has recognized our common humanity and has supported the rights of others as much as their own.

    Posted by: GregV | Jan 6, 2009 12:38:25 AM

  19. She's playing the long game and most of you are playing the short one.

    She understands that not everyone lives in NYC or LA. She understands that biting your tongue now will mean more to the advancement of gay rights then more frantic screaming about homophobia. Prop 8 passed because of the the kind of short-sightedness on display in these comments.

    How many of you even know (or care) about Rev. Lowery?

    Posted by: UnionStayshyn | Jan 6, 2009 2:05:08 AM

  20. UNIONSTAYSHN says it best!

    Posted by: Pekemo | Jan 6, 2009 2:42:53 AM

  21. PEKEMO:

    It matters to me because my homosexuality is not ending at specific geographic borders.
    Just because it is happening in another country does not mean I don't care and it definately does not mean I don't have the right to have an opinion.

    Let me get you at your ethnic roots:
    Is female genital mutilation something you have an opinion about and do you want it to stop because it's cruel?
    Or do you just don't care because you live in another country?
    That's why it is called WORLD wide web, not state wide web.

    Let's look at Russia.
    They can't even hold the CSD events, because the russian gouvernment doesn't want them to "promote the gay lifestyle"
    Is that not interesting to you? If that's the case than I feel sorry for you because you don't seem like someone who is interested in anything but himself.

    On the topic of Gay Rights and Civil Rights movements I'd have to say that I don't know if you only attribute it (Civil Rights) to the struggles of the black people.
    I personally always thought that it is alwas a civil rights movement if any group of people fight for their rights regardless of their sexuality and ethnicity.

    No, I did not miss the part where you state you are black, however I missed the part where you say you were gay.
    You assume right, I don't happen to be black.
    That's why I asked you to tell me where I can find proof for the discrimination of especially black men by the gay community.
    Unfortunately you didn't.
    But tell me, is it any different than the discrimination of fat gay men?

    Now, to the rice queen terms.
    No, I didn't know about that, thanks for bringing that to my attention.
    Not a day goes bye without fidning out something new.
    Okay, here's the thing: Why do you give a shit about the preferences of another gay male if you are not interested in them?

    Unless the rice queens act like the KKK, which my quick and short googling didn't point to.
    If someone is more attracted to the caucasian male type, than that's fine for me.
    If someone says he feels more attracted to black men than that's fine for me.
    What someone else does in bedroom is what someone ELSE does in bedroom and therefore does not matter to me.

    I didn't attempt to hijack any rights movement.
    I just tried to point out to you that you can't counterbalance the
    violence that was put unto someon else.
    Talking about the gay treshold...

    Now to the list
    1) I don't see that right now but I will find out pretty soon.
    2) Why do you assume I feel defeated?
    Maybe you were trying to exaggerate as a matter of style here.

    I feel that Obama should only let someone hold the speech at this event who doesn't compare any of his voting demographic groups with pedophilia or bestiality.
    Be it jews, single moms or the gays. PERIOD.

    Yes I come from the E.U. and therefore don't have a say in Obama's politics.
    However, keep in mind that this election was followed worldwide and if Mr Obama came to my country to hold a speech than I do feel I get to comment on his behaviour.

    I'd like to thank you for being such a heartful open minded person who unfortunately fails at thinking any further than outside his own body, let alone county.

    Posted by: Peter | Jan 6, 2009 7:58:46 AM

  22. "That's why I asked you to tell me where I can find proof for the discrimination of especially black men by the gay community.
    Unfortunately you didn't."


    I think the argument that many Black American Gays make is that there is blatant racial discrimination in the Ameican White Gay community--historically by white gay bar owners/management. Many of us thought that there would be much LESS racial animosity within the "gay world" worldwide. By the time we reach our thirties/forties, we sort of shrug our shoulders and say, "well, aint much difference between straights and gays on the issue of race".

    Still, some struggles we gays share in common, and it's best to work on those things that should unite us (anti-gay violence, HIV prevention, appointing pro-gay civil rights federal judges, etc.)

    On a personal level, the racial tensions over Proposition 8, Rick Warren's invocation, and using the race issue to try to shame our new president by disillusioned white gays have had disillusioning affect on me. Over the last few weeks I've felt very weary reading the gay blogs--not just Towleroad, but also there is some anti-Barack sentiment on predominately black gay blogs also...too much for this Democrat.

    There is absolutely no comparison to what a Barack Obama presidency will do for civil rights for gays and what a conservative Republican administration would do.
    The recent rantings by gay men on the issue of the new president's commitment to gay civil rights--putting Barack Obama and the Democrats in the same category as conservative Christians and Republicans-- is childish, bordering on hysteria and paranoiac temper tantrums. I can't even take seriously most of the anti-Barack comments by gay men over the last 3 weeks.

    Evangelical Christians still believe that homosexuality is a choice, not an orientation. To make the comparison between Rick Warren's appearance at the inauguation and inviting a member of the KKK or Nazi Party doesn't make sense to many Americans, but it is a tactic that many white gays (and some black ones) feel they have a right to use. To many black gays it is annoying, and a continuation of gay men being morally outraged over anti-gay discrimination when they themselves have been participants in anti-black discrimination. They aint got the moral authority.

    You should criticize a homphobic black person over his backward, ignorant, anti-gay, behavior; but don't bring his color into the discussion. Hell, you didn't respect him due to his skin color long before he opened his anti-gay mouth. There are white gays who would automatically disrespect Bishop Desmond Tutu or Reverend Joseph Lowery upon sight--till someone explains to them, "by the way, those blacks are pro-gay".

    "Are you sure? They look awfully black to me" says the the anti-black white gay.

    Exaggeration? Yeah, well, so are many of the anti-Barack comments over the last few weeks.

    When white gays use the issue of race to counter-attack a black homophobe it's telling black gays, "it shouldn't matter to you because you're gay, your blackness is your problem."

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jan 6, 2009 12:54:31 PM

  23. I heard Melissa called Warren because she wants to watch her girlfriend blow him. I also heard the Obama team says it would be good for the country because it demonstrates very clearly that the lesbian community is getting over it's distaste for Evangelical Christian sperm. I don't know what to say other than I feel a bit queasy about the whole thing.

    Posted by: truth_be_told | Jan 11, 2009 2:58:15 AM

  24. I heard Melissa called Warren because she wants to watch her girlfriend blow him. I also heard the Obama team says it would be good for the country because it demonstrates very clearly that the lesbian community is getting over it's distaste for Evangelical Christian sperm. I don't know what to say other than I feel a bit queasy about the whole thing.

    Posted by: truth_be_told | Jan 11, 2009 3:00:16 AM

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