[Marxism] Melissa Etheridge defends Pastor Rick Warren
sabocat59 at mac.com
Tue Dec 23 13:11:11 MST 2008
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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