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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Prop 8, Rick Warren, and the Irony of Intolerance

Many proponents of gay marriage will often say that opponents are simply intolerant of that lifestyle. I would argue furiously against such a characterization, however that is another story. What is ironic is the totally intolerant behavior that opponents of proposition 8 have shown to anyone that supported it. (H/T to Michelle Malkin) Look at what has happened to El Coyote Restaurant after it was discovered that one of its employees contributed to Prop 8.

The mainstream media have so far failed to get across the intensity of the ordeal that supporters of Prop 8 may now be subject to--something I realized on coming across this extraordinary blog account of a meeting at the legendary restaurant El Coyote in Hollywood, not far from where I grew up in Laurel Canyon. The meeting was between the elderly Mormon owner, who donated $100 to support Prop 8, and Prop 8 opponents, who are threatening a boycott, and it is as soul- grinding as something out of Soviet show trial history. as "the blog of ex-Mormon, reformed porn star and Hollywood fitness trainer Sam Page"--reports:
In a dramatic, closed door meeting, the owner of a renowned Mexican eatery in Hollywood expressed regret in her decision to donate $100 to the “Yes on Prop 8″ campaign, but her remarks before a group of about 60 members of Los Angeles’ LGBT community fell short of an outright personal apology.

Just the spectacle of an American citizen expressing regret for her political conviction to avert economic harm is gruesome already. But it goes on:

“I’m sick of heart that I’ve offended anyone in the gay community,” said Marjorie Christoffersen, co-owner of El Coyote Mexican Cafe for 17 years. “I have had, and do have family, friends, and people I work with of course who are gay…and you are treasured people to me.”

The tall, frail Christoffersen stood in the center of the group. She appeared to be shaking during her prepared remarks which lasted about 3 minutes. Two young female family members flanked her to prevent her from fainting, according to a restaurant employee. At several points during her speech, Christoffersen simply became too emotional to continue.

Here's what happened to Scott Eckern, a theater manager that gave financiall to Prop 8.

Eckern gave $1,000 in support of Proposition 8, a donation that sparked criticism from theater workers and the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

"We have released a statement that Scott resigned," said Chris McSwain, community affairs director for the theater company.

He declined to comment further.According to the statement, the theater company's board of directors received notice today from executive producer Richard Lewis saying that Eckern has resigned.

In covering a Chicago area anti Prop 8 rally, the organizers made their intention known that the following week they would picket a theater owner that had given money to prop 8.

This now brings me to the case of Rick Warren's selection to give the invocation at Obama's inauguration. Opponents of Prop 8 are up in arms demanding that Obama take back the invitation because of Warren's support of Prop 8. Warren has already been labeled with the label homophobe. Given Warren's profile, this is a rather ironic label.

Unlike many of the activists, politicians, and media personalities on the social right who supported Proposition 8, Rick Warren is an actual church leader, with a unique and vibrant following at Saddleback and nationwide. A friendly, jovial presence who’s very in touch with the conversation of the times, he has been a leading voice supporting the idea that Christians should view politics through more than just the lens of hot-button issues like abortion and marriage.

One of the kings of the skim latte Christianity otherwise called the seeker-church movement, Warren is a major advocate for inclusion and openness among evangelicals, and hasn’t been shy about breaking with other center-right faith leaders on political issues. He’s made global warming a significant issue for his church and is a signer of the Evangelical Climate Change initiative, and he fully supported moderate court appointee Harriet Miers when most social conservatives were attacking her full bore. He’s also called on evangelicals to learn from the example of mainline churches when it comes to arguing for public morality (or government expansion) on issues like poverty, racism, and social and economic justice, founding an international church initiative (P.E.A.C.E.) supported by the likes of U2’s Bono.

Warren’s basic views on salvation and faith - such as believing that you have to accept Jesus Christ as your savior to enter heaven - are hardly out of the mainstream of Christianity. His “Purpose Driven Life” message appeals to center-right and center-left churchgoing Christians who increasingly care just as much about the plight of the poor and the diseased as they do about the unborn. Warren in many respects embodies the new mainline church, espousing a welcoming faith that urges its members to go out and do for the betterment of their neighbors, not just proselytize. His flock should be the first target of a Democratic Party eager to expand into the ranks of the faithful.

It’s worth noting that Warren has been a huge supporter of funding for the AIDS crisis in Africa, and invited Obama - who he has called “an amazing man” and said talked of his potential to be a great President because he is a man of “good character” - to speak to an AIDS conference at his church, much to the chagrin of those on the right, several of whom criticized him for the invitation.

The amount of good that Warren has done in this world is more than all of the good all of his Prop 8 opponents have contributed combined. Warren has been wildly successful as both a preacher, author, and philanthropist. There are few more qualified to give this invocation than Warren. Given many of Warren's stances, Obama's choice is also in line with his promise to reach out. Yet, none of this is good enough for proponents of gay marriage.

If you contributed to the passage of Proposition 8 in any way shape or form, then the only thing you are worthy of is public derision and abuse. Such intolerance is both ironic and totally hypocritical from a group that claims that it is the other side that is intolerant.


Anonymous said...

Yes, I see that prop 8 detractors have passed a law against treating religious people like full human beings. What hypocrites!

Oh wait, that's what the pro-8 people did, not the anti-8 people. Stop complaining about intolerance when you started it, douche.

Beo said...

The proponents of gay marriage are not the ones trying to take anything away from anyone

those against it are.

and there lies the difference.

Anonymous said...

I think its fitting that people that are against prop 8 are taking actions because at this day and age there should be no tolerance for discrimination of such great magnitude.

mike volpe said...

First, these arguments are better made in response to this piece...

Second, I don't believe that the melodrama helps your case. No one is taking human rights away. Marriage is NOT a human right. Certainly, gay marriage is not a human right.

Third, it appears that you all think that since you think you are right, the ends justify the means. That's nonsense. If you really were right, you wouldn't need to treat the other side with such intolerance. That you need to turn this into a matter of the other side being bigotted or homophobic shows in fact that your argument is weak. Your argument always seems to boil down to the other side acting tyrannical, and ironically enough, your own response to the defeat of prop 8 has been tyrannical.

Anonymous said...

OK, A: learn to write clearly. "proponent" means supporter, not opponent. Thus your sentence, "What is ironic is the totally intolerant behavior that proponents of proposition 8 have shown to anyone that supported it" is nonsensical - the "proponents" ARE the ones who supported it.
B: This is not an example of irony. Or hipocrisy. see the first comment.
Your Middle School English Teacher.

Anonymous said...

People who perpetrate despicable acts should not be left alone. Do you really think it just that the people who were discriminated against and hurt by Marjorie Christoffersen's actions should help make her rich by patronizing her restaurant when she is only sorry about money being lost, not that she actually did anything wrong? She did not admit or apologize about her mistakes. She has not made amends and she never will by her own volition. If she were to die a pauper's death because of the boycott she would have only herself to blame. That apology without conviction is mere evidence of her ignorance and cowardice and should not convince any of the boycotters to give in.

Besides your ludicrous assertion that immoral actions should have no consequences, the arguments against gay marriage are irrational and stem only from willful ignorance. There is information readily available everywhere that debunks the non-arguments Prop 8 supporters have used to justify their complicity in the worst kind of discrimination alive today. The simple fact that you use the homophobic terminology 'lifestyle' indicates that you too probably have no understanding of human sexuality.

You abuse other people and then blame them for not playing nice even though they do nothing morally untoward? With no modicum of rationality in your logic it's difficult to imagine that you are a sane thinking person who is not simply trolling the world. I despise people like you and hope dearly that you never have kids to pass on your ignorant ways.

mike volpe said...

All right, mistakes are easily fixed.

As to the other comment, by despicable act, you mean giving a few hundred Dollars to a ballot initiative that you happen to disagree with.

The melodrama is in my opinion counter productive. Most people don't think that someone is despicable, a bigot, or a homophobe simply because they oppose gay marriage. They don't think that opposing gay marriage is "immoral behavior". The assertion that opposition to gay marriage is in effect homophobic and immoral is the cheapest and most debased way to debate.

Anonymous said...

"B: This is not an example of irony. Or hipocrisy. see the first comment.
Your Middle School English Teacher."

So, you consider yourself an English teacher.

I suppose middle school students haven't yet learned to spell well.

[Its "hypocrisy", not "hipocrisy."]

...and neither have you.