20 January 2009

Anytime You're Ready (Part One)

Rick Warren

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you already know I don't care much for Gay media. All too often, it's profane, stereotypical, frivolous, ageist, classist, misogynist, racially insensitive and altogether irrelevant to the Gay Rights struggle. Too much of what you find in it undermines the struggle! A case in point is the letter/editorial I'm about to share with you. It was printed in the January 2009 edition of CAMP, a monthly publication aimed at LGBT residents of Kansas City. The unenlightened sentiments expressed here by someone signing himself "C. Hunter" are typical of what I've seen in scores of op-eds since December. They’re profoundly embarrassing, and that's the kindest thing I can say about them!

I have been reading Gay blogs, and cannot figure out why everyone has gone ballistic over Barack Obama's invite to the Rev. Rick Warren to give the invocation at the January 20 inauguration. It's a sop thrown to the RW (Right Wing) crowd. Clear and simple. It is totally symbolic.

Yes, but symbolic of what? Had this dude tried to answer that question, he might've begun to understand why people were so upset!

Anyone who thinks Warren is going to influence the Obama administration's policy on queer (sic) issues is feeble-minded. The Right Wing crowd easily mistakes symbolism for reality.

Judging by how this writer and others implicitly trust President Obama to do right by Gay Americans (a trust based on little more than campaign speeches at this point in time), not to mention the shame-based terminology they use to identify LGBT folk, "the Right Wing crowd" sure ain't the only group out there with feeble minds!

Obama is making points with Warren very inexpensively. For Heaven's sake, it's not like Obama appointed him Secretary of Health and Human Services or National Security Adviser!

Oh, no. President Obama just presented Warren to the entire population of the United States as a legitimate Christian leader! He showcased a charlatan preacher who embellishes Scripture so his Right Wing talking points sound more potent! It was an offensive act on more than one level, and it was done at the expense of more than one community. I’d almost rather he had appointed Rick Warren National Security Adviser!

Warren is an ass. He is egotistical, about as far from a humble Christian as one can get!

Never mind his ego and lack of humility. Just say he's about as far from a Christian as you can get! That in itself was reason enough to protest his presence at the inaugural podium.

Yes, he is homophobic, but so is about 60% of the Straight American population . . . the Rev. Jeremiah Wright would have elicited howls of anger from the Gay community, too.

No, he wouldn't have! Jeremiah Wright didn't publicly link Lesbian and Gay relationships with child rape and incest. Jeremiah Wright didn't spearhead the campaign to pass Proposition 8. Any “howls of anger” triggered by an invitation to Rev. Wright would've resulted from his public statements about race, not sexual orientation. For that reason, such an invitation wasn't even in the realm of possibility! President Obama may ignore controversial anti-Gay statements, but a racial controversy? Never! That strikes much too close to home. By the way, a 60% estimate of anti-Gay sentiment in the American populace is much too conservative! Gay as well as Straight people should be included in that figure!

I'm not sure why an invocation of the deity is needed anyway, but it is a requirement of rites of American civil religion.

Say what? "American civil religion?" Since when has religious belief been a requirement of our civil society? Did I miss something in the Constitution? Here's where the dude started scaring me.

And no, I have not lost my mind.

Who was he trying to convince . . . the editors or himself?

I am just trying to keep this in perspective.


I wish the queer (sic) community would not get so upset over gestures that don't mean much.

Gestures like legitimizing preachers who equate Lesbians and Gay men with child rapists? Oh, quite right . . . reasonable people shrug off insignificant stuff like that all the time! Lord deliver me! Have you noticed how often Gay people who take these kinds of wacky positions refer to themselves and their community as "queer"? The likelihood is so strong, you can safely bet money on it!  I’ve said this before: There is a direct link between our desire to rehabilitate cruel insults and our willingness to accommodate bigotry!

Yes, I wish Obama had invited someone less homophobic.

Less? So it's not the presence of heterosexism that's the problem, but the degree of heterosexism? A little bit of hatred is fine? How much is acceptable? 20%? 10%? 5%? With this kind of dumbassery, we'll be back to pre-Stonewall conditions in no time flat!

I personally cannot stand Warren and his ilk. I guess I will not be joining Warren's church.

He guesses? Oh, the agony of conflicted love/hate relationships! He can't stand Bible bigots, yet the prospect of joining their churches holds a strange fascination for him! Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), he never had a choice in this instance. Last I heard, Rick Warren's Saddleback church didn't allow openly Gay people to become members!

. . . I understand why Obama did it. It's a politically prudent decision in the big picture.

Gosh, yes . . . the Rick Warren invitation had Fundamentalists purring like docile pussycats (not)! It sure made all the Jews, Muslims and Buddhists feel included (not)! And just wait 'til you see how Congress rolls over and plays dead for the Obama administration! Be sure to hold your breath while you wait for that to happen, sugar.

(It's) like Jefferson saying in his first inaugural address: "We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists." We are all Americans.

Rick Warren, Joseph Lowery and Barack Obama don’t act like we're all Americans! When they pontificate on legal marriage, it's clear that they think of Lesbians and Gay men as something less than American citizens. By the way, we are not all Republicans . . . not by a long shot!

Warren has every right to express his opinion.

Au contraire! Demonizing a segment of humanity and working actively to eliminate their Constitutional protections didn't constitute expressing an opinion the last time I checked! Why would any self-respecting Gay person defend such behavior? Never mind . . . I answered my own question.

He has the right to speak his opinion and act politically on it.

Adolph Hitler, another charismatic preacher of sorts, acted politically on a similar "opinion" he held about certain German citizens. He did so much to the regret of those folks: Jews, Gypsies, intellectuals, dissidents and Gay people that his political movement gassed, starved and burned to death! Do you think that comparison is unfair? Tell Rick Warren, then, because he made it first! The Reverend has been known to liken his followers to fanatical Hitler Youth!  Apparently, the idea pleases him!

“Anytime You’re Ready” continues with Part Two.

Anytime You're Ready (Part Two)

Rick Warren

You'll never be disappointed underestimating your fellow human beings! Case in point:

I doubt (Warren) will mention Gays (sic) in his invocation because that is not why he was chosen to pray.

I wouldn't touch this comment with my gloves on!  I'm too scared the idiocy might rub off!

The queer (sic) community needs to show him and others like him the error of their ways, not shut them up. I favor the whole "Gay agenda" . . . ending Don't Ask/Don't Tell, enacting Gay marriage, adding the GLBT community to federally-protected classes in civil rights, and so on. But we have to convince the majority in this country that these are good things, that they make for a solid community and improve the lot of all . . . God does not make trash!

Don't know about you, sugar, but I don't feature playing professor to Straight knuckleheads anytime soon! The only thing LGBT folk have to "convince the majority" of is that we won’t tolerate institutionalized heterosexism anymore! If they don't already know why full equality is desirable in a democracy, then they're too damn dumb for us or anybody else to waste time educating!

We'll show the Rick Warrens of this world "the error of their ways" by telling them to STFU, picketing their public appearances, targeting their churches’ tax-exempt status, filing group slander suits, and anything else within legal limits we can do to silence their vicious anti-Gay falsehoods! Hate speech hurts! When you’re hurting, you’re in no mood to schmooze! As for "adding" us to "federally-protected classes", there's no class with more Federal protection than that of American citizen, and contrary to what this joker may think, we're already in it!

As I came to the end of his letter, I began to question the motives of "C. Hunter." Was there a method to his madness? Could this correspondence have been sent to CAMP's editors by a stealth Right Wing propagandist? If so, he’s not very skilled at covering his tracks! Anybody who borrows the inflammatory religious Right Wing term "Gay agenda" to describe equality goals has got to be a heterosexist sympathizer. What's more, anybody who says "God does not make trash" but at the same time calls Gay people "queer" is talking trash out of both sides of his mouth! This is how "C. Hunter" closed out his disturbing commentary:

In short, the Warren invocation crisis is a tempest in a teapot. Let's get angry about stuff that matters: The economy. Don't Ask/Don't Tell. The violent, vicious homophobia that killed Matthew Shepard. Torture. The gutting of America's reputation. Fiscal responsibility. Marriage rights. Racism that still runs deep. Wars that don't make sense. Don't get angry about inviting a nitwit reverend . . . to say a two-minute prayer that will be forgotten in a matter of days.

How many days did it take "C. Hunter" to forget that malicious rhetoric like Rick Warren's feeds into the creation of unjust policies like DADT? That it sparks the murderous violence that robbed Matthew Shepard of his young life? That it justifies the torture called "ex-Gay therapy" which thousands of LesBiGay Christians are pressured to undergo? That it fuels the bigotry that makes millions of Americans mob their polling places in support of Proposition 8-style marriage and adoption bans? Not to mention the way it helps direct our tax money into social services run by anti-Gay religious organizations, or the role it recently played in making our United Nations Ambassador oppose a worldwide resolution to decriminalize Gay identity!

Tempest in a teapot, my Black Gay Christian ass! Talk about gross understatement! Religious hate speech is the swollen nipple that all anti-Gay expression takes nourishment from. The connection couldn't be more direct, or more obvious. Anybody who's too blind or too stupid to see the extent of harm it does has no business calling anybody else a nitwit!

Opening another local Gay publication called The Liberty Press, I found an editorial that was just as bad as this letter. On pages 6 and 7 of the January 2009 edition, columnist Sheryl LeSage mounted a convoluted defense of the Warren pick:

Yes, (Rick Warren) has said that we are proof that evolution is not real. He has likened our relationships to pedophilia. He says our right to marry is not even debatable. But he is a major voice of the younger Evangelicals. Choosing him to speak at the inauguration may be a signal to those folks that they are welcome in the Big Tent. If this is a way to defuse the old, tired rhetoric of the Culture Wars . . . then I'm for calling a wary truce.

So the Obama administration makes Evangelicals feel welcome at the expense of our respectability, but that's OK? What about Christian parents who believe Rick Warren's slander and start persecuting their LGBT kids? What about the corrosive effect a celebrity preacher's lies can have on our work relationships, our friendships, our families? What about the beatings, murders and suicides inspired by such despicable talk? Do we characterize that as "collateral damage", like Iraq War defenders characterize the deaths of innocent civilians?

It’s chilling, the way Ms. LeSage casually dismisses the demonization of Gay identity! Does this clueless woman understand what a vile thing pedophilia is? Does she understand what it means to be equated with a pedophile? Where's her sense of horror? I know where mine is. I feel it when I read her words and those of "C. Hunter"! People who express such bizarre opinions are monsters in my eyes: Self-hating, bigotry-accommodating, oppression-loving monsters who blindly hurt themselves and their own kind!

You just can't overestimate the internalized shame of LGBT folk! Every time you think you've seen it at its worst, it sinks to a new low. Comedienne Lily Tomlin knew what she was talking about when, some years ago, she quipped: "No matter how cynical you get, it's impossible to keep up!"

Who knew we'd be debating each other over a bigot's "right" to call us human vermin? Who knew, with all the violence that's regularly visited upon our persons, that we'd have less of a self-preservation instinct than Jews in Nazi Germany? Who knew veterans of '60s protest marches had valid reason to question whether Gay Rights is a true Civil Rights struggle? When they read "progressive" opinions like those of "C. Hunter", Sheryl LeSage, Alan Cumming, Chris Crain, Dale Carpenter, James Kirchick, Melissa Etheridge and so many others, why wouldn't they question it? Anybody in his right mind would!

Anytime we're ready, we can start having a Gay Rights movement that declares zero tolerance for any kind of anti-Gay expression. Anytime we're ready, we can start demanding respect as fully entitled human beings. Anytime we're ready, we can start acting like people worthy of a champion like the late Coretta Scott King (see my previous essay, "Echoes From A Birmingham Jail", Parts One and Two). As long as we make excuses for heterosexist hatemongers, adopt the wicked insults they impose on us, "counsel" one another on which Constitutional rights are desirable or not, and rank LGBT equality lower than any other national goal, then I'll know we're not ready!

"Anytime You're Ready" continues with Part Three.

Anytime You're Ready (Part Three)

Rick Warren

You've just read messages from people who are not ready for liberation. Now I want you to read a piece of writing by someone who is ready! While discussing the forthcoming inaugural prayers of Rick Warren and Gene Robinson (the celebrated openly Gay bishop that President Obama invited in order to "balance" his Bible contingent), I asked my friend Jerry Maneker what invocation he would give in either man's place. His reply intrigued me, so I challenged him to write that invocation.

What he came up with, first seen last week on the front page of his Christian LGBT Rights blog, would never survive the inaugural committee's vetting! It's too long for an inaugural prayer. It's not a patriotic God-and-country speech that evokes the American flag glowing in rockets' red glare. It's not a giddy celebration of Barack Obama's ascent to the presidency. It's not a unifying statement by any stretch of the imagination. I daresay it's the kind of oration that could get him banned for life from Presidential functions! It might even trigger an FBI investigation (how's about that, Jer? A government dossier with your name on it)! For sure, it's the last thing most people would want to hear at the installation of America's first Black head of state.

In my opinion, it's also the finest thing Jerry has written to date! He does not, as Bishop Gene Robinson did, offer a punches-pulled, middle-of-the-road, interfaith blessing. This is an uncompromisingly Christian prayer, and truth be told, it's not a blessing at all. It's an indictment!

Jerry, himself a Reform Catholic priest, takes laserpoint aim at the institution that spawned him, the organized Christian church, lambasting it for inconsistent adherence to the Savior’s Gospel. His incendiary words bring to mind Jesus Christ rebuking the Pharisees! It's a warning to captains of a lurching ship that their vehicle must right itself. It's a denunciation of those who value symbolism over substance. It's a clarion call for social justice, and quite frankly, it’s beautiful! Here are its main points, slightly edited for style:

The Church, made up of the Ecclesia, "the called-out ones," called . . . to be agents of God's Grace in the world, has all too often gotten it wrong when it comes to its rhetoric and treatment of assorted minority groups, those discounted by the larger society . . . and many professing Christians are continuing to make the same un-Godly mistake.

Breaking God’s commandment to love one another equally . . . if any mistake can be called un-Godly, it’s that one!

The Church, as Jesus initiated it, was never meant to be enmeshed with the larger society, but was, in fact, called to be counter-cultural, to preach and live out the only Gospel that is to be found in Christianity: The Gospel of Grace (God's unmerited favor to all of us), Faith (trusting God over and above seen circumstances), Love toward all people, Peace, Reconciliation, and Inclusiveness of all of God's children. There is no other Gospel!

Are you listening, Rick Warren? Shouldn't you rethink your church’s ban on openly Gay members? Not to imply that any of us should consider joining his bloated congregation; but doctrinally, he can’t justify denying us that option!

Since most of the institutional Church (has) enmeshed itself with the secular social, economic, and political forces within society, we can see that the larger culture has affected the Church far more than the Church has affected the larger culture. Indeed, the Church has all too often taken on the values and prejudices of that larger culture, and the results have sullied the Church, Christianity (and) the mission and work of Jesus . . . (it) has done inestimable damage to assorted disenfranchised and marginalized people.

I mean to tell you, sugar!

We have seen this tragedy played out (in) the treatment of women, the treatment of (American and European) slaves, the treatment of Black people in South Africa, the treatment of African Americans in the US, and the treatment of God's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and (Transsexual) children.

Let’s not forget about the vicious Bible-based persecution of both Jews and Palestinians, either!

Rather than be the arm of Jesus in teaching, practicing, and enjoining the secular forces within society to embody love and include everyone as equals, the Church and its functionaries have all too often adopted and encouraged hateful and exclusionary prejudices . . . indeed, all too many churches and clergy have even encouraged and provided religious justifications for hateful prejudices and hateful acts of discrimination, to the point where those clergy and their many followers have fomented and, indeed, encouraged the oppression that has (brought) untold shame upon the very Person of Christ, as well as shame on His Church . . . (they) have caused untold sufferings and even deaths to their targets of oppression and persecution.

For anybody who’s still puzzled why Rick Warren’s presence at a President’s inaugural would cheese off LGBT folk, this, in a nutshell, is why! Suffering and death is exactly what his kind of vilification leads to! When a self-professed man of God says such evil things, it has far greater impact than if anyone else had said them.

By aligning itself with reactionary social, economic, and political forces within society, the Church has ceased to be an instrument of God's Grace in the world, and has (lost) sight of the fact that every time Jesus dealt with the religious and political leaders of His time, it turned out badly for Him, as it did for all other leaders of the fledgling Church.

Public denunciation, police brutality, humiliation, torture, execution . . . it certainly did turn out badly for him. And Rick Warren had the colossal chutzpah to call his critics "Christophobic"?  All he’s had to endure is scattered protests from a despised and disorganized minority. Dude can’t even imagine the intensity of suffering visited upon our Savior!

You see, the Church has always been meant to be set apart from the values of the world. Indeed, it has been called upon to confront those values that in any way sully the name of God, sully the Gospel message of love, and that in any way oppress any of God's children . . .

Are you listening, Joseph Lowery? It isn't just about equal rights for racial minorities!

It does Jesus, the Church, and Christianity itself a grave injustice to in any way cozy up to those who discriminate and seek to disenfranchise any of God's children. Once the Church aligns itself in any way with prejudice and oppression, whether in "religious" or secular society, it is no longer the "Church," as it fails to in any way represent Jesus. To the degree that the Church enmeshes itself with oppressive secular and/or "religious" powers, it's to that degree that it not only loses its moral compass, loses its credibility, loses its reason for being, but also ceases to be the Church, (and) becomes a mere handmaiden to oppressive forces within secular society . . . the Church itself becomes an instrument of oppression that the world would be far better off without.

What’s that I heard just now? I could swear it was echoes from a Birmingham jail.

The early Church was horribly persecuted by oppressive political and "religious" forces, and that's the way it was always meant to be! To have a "peaceful" Church, to have a self-satisfied, smug, discriminatory bunch of people who call themselves "Christians," is not what Jesus had in mind, and is not what Jesus's Church has ever been.

Go ahead on, Jerry! Bear down!

And to the degree that the Church partakes . . . in the discrimination against God's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and (Transsexual) children, or in the discrimination against any other group of people for that matter, it ceases to be the Church, as it has ceased in any way to represent Jesus.

This statement applies to Conservative "Christian" churches like those in Atlanta, Georgia, which are hostile territory for LGBT faithful, and whose clergy recently spit on the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. by inviting Rick Warren to stand in the same Ebenezer Baptist Church pulpit that he preached from. The occasion? Dr. King’s 80th birthday celebration. Bible bigots have no shame whatsoever!

To the degree we don't stand up for those who are perversely viewed as "outsiders," targets of oppression, it's to that degree that we cease to be a Church or Christians, and become actors playing a part that the culture defines for us as being appropriate for "Christians" to play. All those who profess to be Christians must understand the basic Gospel message that Jesus and the Apostles left us, and that is that we are to love one another unconditionally, and never judge, condemn, or discriminate against other people.

Is this the message being preached at your church? If it isn’t, then don’t waste any time: Make like a tree and just leave, sugar!

“Anytime You’re Ready” concludes with Part Four.

Anytime You're Ready (Part Four)

Rick Warren

Rev. Jerry Maneker's hypothetical inauguration speech concludes:

There is no other Gospel to be found in Christianity! Most of us learned this hard truth during the Civil Rights era for African Americans, and although the remnants of that era are still with us . . . we have come a long way regarding the acquisition of full and equal civil and sacramental rights for African Americans. And just as virtually all the White churches tragically played the villain during this struggle, much as White churches did with the gross sin of apartheid in South Africa, most have now come to see how wrong they were by fomenting, encouraging, and justifying the oppression of their Black sisters and brothers.

Better late than never, I suppose . . . I suppose.

Now, all of the churches, all professing Christians, and all people who view themselves as decent people, are faced with another similar choice: Do they play the role equivalent to the White Supremacists who felt that Black people, by virtue of their skin color, were inferior to White people (and claim) that Straight people, by virtue of their emotional/sexual orientation, are superior to Gay people? Haven't we learned our lessons by now?

Jesus Christ said human beings were hard-hearted (Matthew 19:8)! Thousands of years have passed since He said so, but we're as hateful now as we ever were!

It is up to all of us, Christians and non-Christians alike, to live out the Law of Love toward all of our brothers and sisters . . . knowing full well that God created each and every one of us in God's image.

True, but God is an entity of blended gender (read the first chapter of Genesis if you doubt me), and some of us resemble His image more closely than others do. Let’s recognize Transgender identity as the blessing that it is!

And we now, at the time of this new political era in the United States, face a cold turkey choice: Are we going to keep viewing and calling ourselves decent, upright, and good people, (yet) still advocate and/or practice discrimination against Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and (Transsexual) people, or any other group . . . or are we going to be decent and Godly people, be we Christians or not, and embrace all of God's children?

Inquiring minds want to know!

The choice is ours to make . . . our choice as to how we treat each other, and whether or not we demand and realize the acquisition of full and equal Civil Rights for all citizens of the United States, will define who we truly are as human beings, will define the very future of our Democratic republic, and will define the very legacy that we and this new Presidential Administration will leave to future generations.

Can you imagine the discomfited looks on the faces of most inaugural attendees as they listened to this prayer? I doubt Jerry could even get halfway through it before a security detail put the kibosh on him! Later, there’d be a gigantic uproar in the media, with Conservative pundits leading the attack. Right behind them would be the so-called Liberal pundits, mouthing conventional political wisdom. Few would have anything positive to say, least of all our vaunted Gay leadership!

HRC, NGLTF and GLAAD would rip Jerry a new A-hole for embarrassing the President, tarnishing his moment of glory, forcing Christian doctrine and Gay Rights down his throat, and setting back the equality movement. Then they’d tout their current strategy, which is to abandon overt Gay activism and chase after broad consensus “Big Tent” goals. They’d never admit that Jerry was doing exactly what they ought to be doing: Crashing the oppressor’s party, upsetting the complacent guests, challenging the discriminatory status quo, and calling attention to uncomfortable truths in ways too direct to ignore!

It was always a safe bet that the prayers Rick Warren and Joseph Lowery said at Obama’s inauguration ceremony would be nothing like Jerry’s. Sure enough, they weren’t! Neither even approached the intensity of Jesus Christ’s righteous anger at injustice. Warren’s heavily ornamented blessing was nothing special, except for his damn nerve when he dared to babble about “justice for all”, a concept he obviously can’t even comprehend! Lowery’s benediction began impressively enough, wrapped in sonorous Black Baptist cadences, but then it took a sharp left turn into buffoonery, incorporating a racially divisive Rap passage that needlessly alienated Obama’s White supporters.

Bishop Gene Robinson’s prayer was so non-alienating as to be tepid, but it may have been the worst of the bunch! Most of it pleaded for patience with the status quo. Adding insult to injury, it wasn't even Christian in orientation! Days before blessing the pre-inaugural concert at the Lincoln Memorial, Robinson made it clear that he wouldn’t invoke the Christ’s name. He feared an "aggressively Christian" presentation would offend Americans of other faiths. "I want this to be a prayer to the god of our many understandings, and a prayer that all people of faith can join me in," he said. That's how he chose to reward the Savior who guided him through his controversial installation ceremony and subsequent treatment for alcohol addiction!  For shame!

The Bishop’s reward for bending over backwards to be inoffensive was omission of his devotional segment from the concert telecast! Later, it was revealed that President Obama’s staff had arranged for it to be pre-empted!  Served Bishop Robinson just right . . . hopefully, the Rev. Sharon Watkins’ post-inaugural blessing will acknowledge Jesus Christ, as well as reflect a Christian impatience with hypocrisy that her male colleagues don't seem to feel.

Wayward servants like the Reverends Warren, Lowery and Robinson are of little value to the Lord! God has no use for celebrity Dominionists who rush to take advantage of high-profile photo opportunities. He has no need for faded Civil Rights icons who compromise equality principles in order to share in a moment of glory. He has no time for idolatrous preachers who pray to whatever deity seems appropriate at any given time! He wants disciples who glorify His name, follow His Law and spread His Gospel whenever and wherever they get a chance, regardless of consequences. That’s precisely what Jerry Maneker would do, and that’s precisely why no President-elect will ever invite him to pray at an installation ceremony! Most politicians, President Obama included, only want the appearance of Christianity, and not the substance.

Many LGBT folk seem to value appearance over substance, too! They're satisfied with token mention in political speeches. They're satisfied with token representation at inaugural events. They're satisfied with token appointments to the Executive Branch. They're satisfied with a President that's (allegedly) "Gay-friendly" but not Gay Rights-affirming!

Worst of all, they're satisfied with a Gay Rights movement that lacks urgency! They’ll tell you that they want liberation, but they don’t much care if or when it comes! They’ll list you a hundred reasons why this isn’t “the right time” for full equality. I will never understand this attitude! How can slaves with their minds fixed on liberation rationalize remaining chained? How can they accommodate the overseer's brutal lash on their naked flesh? And how can they welcome the taste of his degrading epithets on their own tongues?

If you want something later instead of right now, you certainly can’t want it very bad! If you’re talking about something like social justice, you’ll never get it if you’re content to wait. Jerry Maneker isn’t content to wait! He doesn’t want justice for LGBT Americans later. Nor does he want Christians to start acting like Christians later. He wants authentic democracy and authentic faith right now and not later! Jerry insists on it! Authenticity is important to him; he doesn’t feature empty symbolism. And sugar, neither do I!

When a majority of voters finally decide they want authenticity, then we’ll see an end to the Democrat and Republican Parties' power monopoly, and leaders will be elected on hard issues rather than on personal charisma! When a majority of taxpayers finally decide they want authenticity, then our public schools, civic services and national infrastructure will receive the attention they now go begging for, and no legislative body will dare allocate funds without complete transparency and 100% accountability!

When a majority of Christians finally decide they want authenticity, then we’ll see a return to pure doctrine that transcends political ideology, and undependable Gospel messengers like Gene Robinson, Joseph Lowery and Rick Warren will decrease in number. When a majority of LGBT folk finally decide they want authenticity, then we’ll see a proud 21st century Civil Rights struggle that lives up to its 20th century namesake, and our liberation will finally be in sight!

Do enough of us want authenticity yet? I don’t think so, but I’d love to be proven wrong. So prove me wrong . . . anytime you’re ready!

Read Jerry Maneker’s complete hypothetical invocation, Gene Robinson's complete pre-inaugural prayer and Jerry's criticism of Gene Robinson's prayer.