Friday, December 19, 2008

Sold Out

In response to the Rick Warren selection, here was my letter to President-Elect Obama (posted retroactively to sheepishly catch up my woefully behind blog).

To US President-Elect Obama,

It seems I've been sold out.

What I so strongly and overtly supported in this Campaign for Change was competent, transparent governance, a restoration of our constitution, cooperation on critical international issues and the vital need to move beyond ideology in how we run our country. Yet in the selection of Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at this historic inaugural ceremony, you voluntarily promote one of the most dramatic examples of "the politics of division" which you so forthrightly campaigned against. His overt support for California's proposition 8 reveals his ignorance of the exemplary morality of committed same-sex couples and is a direct threat to the separation of church and state.

As a full-time volunteer on your campaign in a swing state for 3 months and as an out lesbian, I am deeply disappointed by this decision.

And now I find myself needing to clarify the fundamental argument here to you and the members of your staff and upcoming administration. I am about to defend my own morality (sigh). Homosexuality is not a choice and it is *as moral as* heterosexuality. Denying my homosexuality and subjecting my family and community to all of the sociological and psychological fallout of such a denial, now that's immoral. I don't deny anyone's right to think me immoral and worship in a church that agrees, but they cannot lawfully deny me my civil rights. "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" must apply to to all citizens.

Your message to me is that civil rights matter but not mine. Unity matters, but unity doesn't include me. We must educate and promote fidelity to the constitution, except when political bases can be expanded (for it is only political calculation, a cynical interest-groups-trade-offs analysis, that seems to explain your decision). Your defense has been a repeat of the "we need not agree on everything" argument. But this isn't working across partly lines of representatives, you have actively selected Pastor Warren to open the spiritual tone of your administration. Such explicit action discredits the very themes that motivated me to serve in your campaign.

Here's how you make amends: 1) see to it that Pastor Warren's remarks are thoroughly screened and confined; 2) in contrast, encourage Rev Dr. Joseph Lowery to explicitly clarify the moral argument for gay, lesbian and transgender rights in his benediction and, most importantly 3) use the first 6 months in office to aggressively push for equal treatment under the law for our country's hard working, law-abiding, gay, lesbian, transgendered citizens. Finally, if so moved, you might remember that part about promising to admit your mistakes.


Kristin Barker
Washington DC resident, full-time volunteer in the 2008 New Mexico Campaign for Change.

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At 10:42 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

After seeing this letter, some questioned whether I regretted my service to the campaign. Absolutely not. He's still my guy and, moreover, I consider it an obligation of my citizenship to be clear (and constructive) when I believe he is mistaken.