Obama’s going to see the Pope. I don’t know what expectations the administration has for the visit, but it seems to me to be more symbolic than anything. In an interview prior to his departure, Obama had this to say:
For the gay and lesbian community in this country, I think it’s clear that they feel victimized in fairly powerful ways and they’re often hurt by not just certain teachings of the Catholic Church, but the Christian faith generally. And as a Christian, I’m constantly wrestling with my faith and my solicitude and regard and concern for gays and lesbians.
If he had stopped after the first sentence, I probably wouldn’t have to blog about it. We’re victimized by the Christian faith in general. Yes. Thank you for acknowledging that. It is true, even though a lot of Christians get all defensive when they hear it said.
But then Obama totally loses my respect in a candid way we hadn’t quite seen before. Sure, the “but I believe it’s between a man and a woman” has been heard plenty of times, but the way he responded to this question was further revealing. He is wrestling with his faith. That means that his faith tells him there is something wrong or bad or sinful about gays and lesbians. To some extent, that is what he believes (or at least what he wants social conservatives to think he believes). He’s “wrestling” with his belief, but it still has an impact on him.
I’m kind of relieved to finally get some honesty out of the man. Finally, he admits that his beliefs are not totally swayed. He knows the facts, he knows the reality, but he still believes otherwise. He can talk the talk, but he can’t yet walk the walk.
It’s no wonder we haven’t seen progress. He campaigned effectively in support of gay rights, and had just the right script to win our community’s favor, but I wonder if he actually passionately cares about our efforts and our rights and protections?
At face value of the statement, it’s possible to conclude he doesn’t. He pities us and recognizes our struggle, but he isn’t totally convinced he should help us. That’s a reality check that the gay community shouldn’t let him slide on. His religious beliefs are impeding his ability to ensure the rights of citizens. That’s not okay, and it’s not what we voted for.
If the statement, in true Obama fashion, is designed to appeal to both sides, then I’m still kind of pissed. It’s as if he can’t say anything 100% in support of the gay community; he always has to pander a little to the right. Throw us a freakin’ bone. We’re tired of excuses. We’re tired of double talk. Either support us the way you’ve claimed you would or stop claiming you will.
I voted for a President who was passionate about equality and working on behalf of his convictions of what is right and what is not acceptable. Where is that President?