Why I Hope

(Proudly cross-posted at C4O Democrats)

"Marriage isn't a special right. Marriage is a civil right." - Robin Tyler, one of the plaintiffs in the Prop H8 lawsuit currently before the California Supreme Court

Yesterday, something amazing occurred. On a beautiful and sunny Sunday in Southern California, people came to speak up, speak out, come out, and make a difference. And on what was supposed to be a normal Sunday at Saddleback Church, they witnessed today's civil rights movement in full force.

Golly gee whiz, what a mistake it was to tell a concerned citizen that she wasn't allowed to come into church!

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The Homosexual Agenda Post-Warren

(Proudly cross-posted at C4O Democrats)

There's been plenty of angst lately among progressives regarding how Barack Obama will advance civil rights as President. In particular, the discussion on LGBT rights has been heated since Obama selected known homophobe Rick Warren to speak at the Inauguration. And recently, the discussion has become more complicated with the revelation that Barack Obama may have flip-flopped on marriage equality.

Now I'd rather not dwell upon what Obama should have done in these past decisions. Instead, I want for us to talk about what we must do now to make sure "the homosexual agenda" is advanced on the state and national levels once Obama is inaugurated. We can't dwell upon the past, so we must start planning now to win in the future.

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Yep, I'm Outraged - UPDATED

I hear that Rick Warren is a nice guy in person. He offered refreshments to the Prop 8 protesters. He actively encourages members of his Saddleback Church to work with those suffering from AIDS in a hands-on fashion. I understand he is warm and very personable.

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So Much For Tolerance, Respect And Inclusion, I Guess

Yesterday Barack Obama responded to the controversy surrounding his choice of Rick Warren to give the invocation at the inauguration:

Obama replied, "let me start by talking about my own views. I think that it is no secret that I am a fierce advocate for equality for gay and lesbian Americans. It is something that I have been consistent on, and something that I contend -- intend to continue to be consistent on during my presidency.

What I've also said is that it is important for America to come together, even though we may have disagreements on certain social issues. And I would note that a couple of years ago, I was invited to Rick Warren's church to speak, despite his awareness that I held views that were entirely contrary to his when it came to gay and lesbian rights, when it came to issues like abortion. Nevertheless, I had an opportunity to speak. And that dialogue, I think, is part of what my campaign's been all about; that we're not going to agree on every single issue, but what we have to do is to be able to create an atmosphere when we -- where we can disagree without being disagreeable and then focus on those things that we hold in common as Americans.

"So Rick Warren has been invited to speak. Dr. Joseph Lowery, who has deeply contrasting views to Rick Warren on a whole host of issues, is also speaking. During the course of the entire inaugural festivities, there are going to be a wide range of viewpoints that are presented. And that's how it should be, because that's what America's about. That's part of the magic of this country, is that we are diverse and noisy and opinionated. And so, you know, that's the spirit in which, you know, we have put together what I think will be a terrific inauguration. And that's, hopefully, going to be a spirit that carries over into my administration."

While he took the opportunity to make a strong statement of support for the LGBT community, Barack was clearly scolding the left, calling on us to be as inclusive and accepting of those whose views differ from our own as he is being.

Too bad he doesn't hold Rick Warren to the same standard.

John Aravosis finds this little tidbit from the Saddleback Church's website:

Because membership in a church is an outgrowth of accepting the Lordship and leadership of Jesus in one's life, someone unwilling to repent of their homosexual lifestyle would not be accepted at a member at Saddleback Church. That does not mean they cannot attend church, we hope they do! God's Word has the power to change our lives.

I'm sorry, why is Rick Warren accepted as anything but a hatemonger again?

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The Crock Of Silence

Look, it's no shock that John McCain had been given a heads up about the questions he'd be asked by Rick Warren during Saturday night's forum at Saddleback church. The way McCain sort of stared into space pretending to really be thinking about his answers... please, he's not that good an actor. And sure enough yesterday on CNN Rick Warren admitted there was no cone of silence at all.

From Nate Silver:

Warren was just interviewed by CNN's Rick Sanchez, and apparently told him that McCain was not in the church during the first half-hour of Obama's segment. (I did not see the segment myself, nor does a transcript or video yet seem to be available). Sanchez has now suggested that Warren implied to him that he (Warren) thought McCain was in the "cone of silence" when he told the audience as much, but later learned that McCain was not.

Which was confirmed by McCain advisor Rick Davis in a diversionary tactic memo to NBC News complaining about biased reporting by Andrea Mitchell:

The fact is that during Senator Obama's segment at Saddleback last night, Senator McCain was in a motorcade to the event and then held in a green room with no broadcast feed.

Which is also now being reported by The New York Times.

The thing is, as Nate Silver points out, McCain's being in a motorcade and then in a green room hardly precludes him from having access to the questions, whether it be via cellphone, radio, close captioned TV feed, etc. But the McCain campaign would simply have us take John McCain at his word since, well, he doesn't like to talk about this much, but, you see...

"The insinuation from the Obama campaign that John McCain, a former prisoner of war, cheated is outrageous," Ms. Wallace said.

This may be the most we're going to get out of camp McCain unless Rick Warren makes some news on Larry King tonight. But in the meantime, Tom Tomorrow catches William Kristol once again trying to remove foot from mouth in his column about the cone of silence.

Update [2008-8-18 11:28:2 by Todd Beeton]:More from Rachel Sklar at HuffPo:

The issue, of course, isn't whether or not he cheated, but whether he could have cheated. The cone of silence was meant to ensure that the second candidate had no possible advantage over the first. It is a time-honored tradition, from its coinage on TV show Get Smart to a reference on Everybody Loves Raymond to numerous game shows through history.

McCain spokeswoman Nicolle Wallace, told the NYT that McCain had not heard the broadcast while in the motorcade, nor had he any of the questions. That neatly accounts for just one way McCain might have learned the content of the questions; the event was being broadcast live, and presumably his aides have Blackberries. Coaching could have taken place without McCain hearing anything directly from the broadcast at all.

This is not meant to make the claim that McCain received information relating to Warren's questions to Obama, just that he could have done, since the constraints of the cone of silence were not in effect. Those constraints were pointedly put in place by Pastor Warren to provide an excplicit safeguard of fairness, and it was reported to the audience as such. The fact that such a safeguard might not have been universally applied is a relevant fact...

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