The LGBT community has been quite vocal and vitriolic recently. They’ve vehemently complained about California’s electorate passing Proposition 8, boycotting businesses who’s employees donated to the Prop 8 cause, and even going so far in a few cases as to assault people, and to attack and vandalize churches nationwide. The gays have ranted at President-elect Obama for his choice of Pastor Rick Warren, a proponent of traditional marriage and Prop 8, to perform the Invocation at Obama Inauguration. LGBT community has been particularly loud in their complaint that Obama has failed somehow to choose an openly queer person for his Cabinet.
Oscar and Grammy Award-Winning Singer/Songwriter, staunch Gay Rights activist, and openly lesbian Melissa Etheridge has been quite involved with the struggle of Gays v. California. She had previously went so far as to threaten to refuse to pay her California state income tax in response to Prop 8’s passage. Mrs. Etheridge has to some extent been the darling of the LGBT Community to date.
But Melissa Etheridge has seemingly strayed from the currently hyper-polarized agenda of the LGBT community. Unlike many other gays and lesbians she has failed to brand President-elect Obama as a homophobe and has even went so far as to invite Pastor Rick Warren into her home in order to talk with him about same-sex marriage and gay rights in general. Her opinions of Warren and her views on how gays should move forward in response to his selection to perform the Invocation may well be seen as heretical by her own people.
From the Huffignton Post of the unlikely all places:
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.
— Melissa Etheridge
HuffPo, The Choice Is Ours Now
Melissa Etheridge is a brave woman. It takes great courage to speak reason and rational behavior in the face of anger, hate, and intolerance. One has to wonder what price she will be forced to pay for looking beyond indignation, what punishment, if any, the LGBT community will enact upon her for breaking ranks with them on this issue.
In the current wildly intolerant climate of the Gay Rights movement will Melissa Etheridge be labeled as some sort of “Gay Uncle Tom” for not unilaterally denouncing both Obama and Warren? Will Gays now boycott Etheridge’s music and ostracize her and her family?