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February 3, 2009

Diverse Group Tapped for Faith-Based Office Council

The Obama administration will announce a diverse advisory council and details about the new White House Office for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships on Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

AP reporter Eric Gorski's source says that representation from the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community is also anticipated.

Here's on the list so far, according to the source:

-The Rev. Joel Hunter, an Orlando, Fla.-area evangelical megachurch pastor who was consulted by the Obama campaign and prayed privately with Obama over the phone the night he was elected.

-Bishop Vashti McKenzie, the first female bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

-The Rev. Frank Page of Taylors, S.C., the most recent past president of the conservative Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Protestant denomination.

-Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Washington-based Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, a public policy arm of Judaism's liberal Reform branch.

-Judith Vredenburgh, president and chief executive officer of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America.

The new office will be announced the same day Obama is expected to appear at the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.


I wish the President could find an influential "white conservative evangelical" who actually supports civil rights and human dignity. As that great civil rights strategist, Bayard Rustin, pointed out, civil rights isn't only just about black and white...and "white conservative evangelicals," in general, opposed that as well, back in the day.

CT, for instance, was officially against racism. However, CT gave equal time to segregationists in one issue, fretted about the erosion of "state's rights, the political theory of white privilege, rarely approved of any action besides personal prayer to move equality along...and it certainly didn't approve of Rustin's great friend and colleague, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., until well after the King assassination.

Surely there must be a "white conservative evangelical" out there somewhere who supports civil rights.

How inclusive should one be with people who are exclusive? Rev. Page, especially, is an appalling and galling choice. He's shamelessly recycling lightly reworked racist arguments and "Massive Resistance" tactics to whip up hate towards a different community than the Black community...and therefore proving Rustin right, I guess. The scapegoat for his kind of condescending malevolence has changed from when I was a kid, but not much of anything else.

However, his new enemy is a worldwide community now, and supported by not only people who value human dignity, but also the mainstream scientific community, after sixty years or so of sociological and psychological research drove that consensus home.

However, as a dismissive United Methodist minister once asked me..."How much money do sociologists make?" Well, at least as much as an assistant minister, I'm guessing.

At least it's an "advisory" board. Rev. Page won't be an actual administrator and nobody has to actually do as he advises. And, he's not a monster, just all too human. I'm sure there are some things on which we substantively agree.

I don't know of Bishop McKenzie's positions on marriage equality and hate crimes legislation...being a Black woman doesn't mean that one is free of petty bigotries. That a quick internet search, at least, didn't come up with something eyebrow raising is a good sign, I hope.

There are vague, untethered promises floating around of a forthcoming adviser or two who goes with Rustin's observation on civil rights.

By the way, "homosexuality" is an old, weak theory. Pioneering once, to be sure, but now pretty much sociology/psychology history. If it's not strong on "identity," it's not of much use anymore.

"Homosexual" is coined from a dead European language (actually, its Latin and Greek hybrid to be precise). People don't usually take to being labeled by outsiders, of likely dubious intent, with an obsolete science word coined from dead European languages.

People aren't Drosophila and don't expect to be treated as such. The only scientific label that is "Homo Sapiens Sapiens." There aren't any "Homosexuals," pretty much for the same reason that there aren't any "Negros" (except when pronounced in the living languages of Spanish and Portuguese by consensus of their community.)

Why would moral people listen to people who would label their neighbors like lab specimens? Disgusting.

I expect to be disappointed by many of Pres,. Obama's administrative decisions. I am shocked,appalled, saddened and confused that he obviously plans to perpetuate the violation of the constitutionally-=based precept of separation of church and state by extending GWB's flagrantly anti-democratic faith-based initiatives program. It undermines the pure missionary zeal of our finest churches and opens the way to government meddling in religious affairs. I pray for our President and our Nation that we may yet survive this anti-freedom kowtowing to the radical religiousright by canceling the Executive proclamation that created the political-religion initiative and regain a measure of true Christian missionary zeal to advance the Kingdom of God on earth. Jesus said "Render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar's and unto God what is God's." He admonished against the intermingling of these two disciplines that will soon enough undermine the work of the churches in our society.

I don't think the Faith Based office is unconstitutional, myself, and that's for the Supreme Court to decide, not me. But, if a faith based group takes money for "good works," it will have strings attached. Money usually has strings attached, so it's not like this is novel.

If a group, faith based or not, wants to segregate, exclude, preach intolerance, shun their 'minority' neighbors, and advocate the 'soft' ethnic cleansing depravity of ex-gay fantasies; that's not what America is about anymore...and we're talking about American money. If one wants to do that, get a time machine and go back to the bad old days of my youth.

The anti-homosexualists may be good Christians, at least in their own minds, but they're not good Americans. If one is working against the highest American values of 'We the People,' of equality under the law, of equal rights instead of privileges determined by the privileged, why should one expect America to fund one's organizations?

If one thinks one is right anyway, then do it on one's own dime.

It seems to me that homosexuals are the ones who HATE. They want protected status for their sexualbehavior. The reality of their life style shows the lenght they will go denying their conscious until it is destroyed by their will Romans 1 paint a very clear picture of what God thinks of sin.
Unless the CHURCH gets back to living, teaching and preaching, grace, righteousness, holiness and following Christ Jesus in word and deed we will continue to see this nation and the world blindly walk into destruction. Jesus prayed THY KINGDOM come THY WILL done on earth as it is in Heaven. I pray continually that the Lord wake up HIS church so she can be what she is called to be. As the church goes so goes a nation. So much for mans wisdom - doing what is right his own eyes. I say to all those who reject TRUTH (Jesus) hows your life working out for you. There is a better way. Read His word and follow it. Ask HIM to reveal himself to you, He so wants the best for you here and all of eternity. Government is not our source, the Lord Jesus Christ is our sourece