[Marxism] Melissa Etheridge defends Pastor Rick Warren

Greg McDonald sabocat59 at mac.com
Tue Dec 23 13:11:11 MST 2008

Melissa Etheridge

Oscar and Grammy Award-Winning Singer/Songwriter
Posted December 22, 2008 | 05:10 PM (EST)

The Choice Is Ours Now

This is a message for my brothers and sisters who have fought so long  
and so hard for gay rights and liberty. We have spent a long time  
climbing up this mountain, looking at the impossible, changing a  
thousand year-old paradigm. We have asked for the right to love the  
human of our choice, and to be protected equally under the laws of  
this great country. The road at times has been so bloody, and so  
horrible, and so disheartening. From being blamed for 9/11 and  
Katrina, to hateful crimes committed against us, we are battle weary.  
We watched as our nation took a step in the right direction, against  
all odds and elected Barack Obama as our next leader. Then we were  
jerked back into the last century as we watched our rights taken away  
by prop 8 in California. Still sore and angry we felt another slap in  
the face as the man we helped get elected seemingly invited a gay- 
hater to address the world at his inauguration.

I hadn't heard of Pastor Rick Warren before all of this. When I heard  
the news, in its neat little sound bite form that we are so  
accustomed to, it painted the picture for me. This Pastor Rick must  
surely be one hate spouting, money grabbing, bad hair televangelist  
like all the others. He probably has his own gay little secret  
bathroom stall somewhere, you know. One more hater working up his  
congregation to hate the gays, comparing us to pedophiles and those  
who commit incest, blah blah blah. Same 'ole thing. Would I be  
boycotting the inauguration? Would we be marching again?

Well, I have to tell you my friends, the universe has a sense of  
humor and indeed works in mysterious ways. As I was winding down the  
promotion for my Christmas album I had one more stop last night. I'd  
agreed to play a song I'd written with my friend Salman Ahmed, a Sufi  
Muslim from Pakistan. The song is called "Ring The Bells," and it's a  
call for peace and unity in our world. We were going to perform our  
song for the Muslim Public Affairs Council, a group of Muslim  
Americans that tries to raise awareness in this country, and the  
world, about the majority of good, loving, Muslims. I was honored,  
considering some in the Muslim religion consider singing to be  
against God, while other Muslim countries have harsh penalties, even  
death for homosexuals. I felt it was a very brave gesture for them to  
make. I received a call the day before to inform me of the keynote  
speaker that night... Pastor Rick Warren. I was stunned. My fight or  
flight instinct took over, should I cancel? Then a calm voice inside  
me said, "Are you really about peace or not?"

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.

Brothers and sisters the choice is ours now. We have the world's  
attention. We have the capability to create change, awesome change in  
this world, but before we change minds we must change hearts. Sure,  
there are plenty of hateful people who will always hold on to their  
bigotry like a child to a blanket. But there are also good people out  
there, Christian and otherwise that are beginning to listen. They  
don't hate us, they fear change. Maybe in our anger, as we consider  
marches and boycotts, perhaps we can consider stretching out our  
hands. Maybe instead of marching on his church, we can show up en  
mass and volunteer for one of the many organizations affiliated with  
his church that work for HIV/AIDS causes all around the world.

Maybe if they get to know us, they wont fear us.

I know, call me a dreamer, but I feel a new era is upon us.

I will be attending the inauguration with my family, and with hope in  
my heart. I know we are headed in the direction of marriage equality  
and equal protection for all families.

Happy Holidays my friends and a Happy New Year to you.

Peace on earth, goodwill toward all men and women... and everyone in- 

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