After eloquently explaining the struggle for equal rights and her preconceptions of Pastor Rick, Etheridge describes her phone conversation with Warren:
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.
She goes on to say that maybe instead of marching on his church
we can show up en mass [sic] 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 won’t fear us.
Well, okay…not to nit pick, but his church doesn’t believe in condoms or family planning for HIV/AIDS prevention, and works hard in Africa to proselytize his message of Jesus and abstinence, using HIV outreach as an evangelical tool. His church believes that gays who are actively practicing homosexuality are not welcome as members. And Warren says gays should suppress their urges the same way other people suppress anger or shyness.
Melissa, Warren and his ilk aren’t "afraid" of gays: They think gays are sinners who are convertible to their belief system, which includes no gay sex and straight sex only in marriage.
If you can get Warren to believe that civil marriage equality does not mean a religious marriage..right on. If you can get him to expand his vision to have marriage be more than just a religious concept, that would be awesome. And, btw, he’s wrong about 5,000 years of marriage being solely between one man and one woman. There are plural marriages still in Islam, as there have been for 1500 years, as well as in the past history of the Mormon church and in current Mormon sects which allow for polygamy…
Many pray daily that closed minds like Warren’s are opened, that the scales will fall from the eyes of Pastor Rick and his ilk. But thinking that "they" are afraid is a wrong move. This type of Christian think they are right, and that (their) God is on their side. And there’s too much at stake in terms of worldly power and wealth to make a sudden sea change. But I do share Melissa’s view that:
…we are headed in the direction of marriage equality and equal protection for all families.
I just don’t share her views that Rick Warren could be a vehicle for that. But hey, if he gets Divine Revelation and sees the light–halla-freakin’-lujah!