Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Bringing the Good News to Particular Lifestyles

There's a pretty good article (via) at Huffington Post by one Bob Ostertag, arguing that gay marriage is the "wrong issue." To some extent I agree with him -- in fact much of what he's saying is what I've been saying for some time now, so of course he gets attacked in comments by people who carefully misunderstand what he's saying -- but I notice that while he argues (correctly, I believe) that gay people need to "look beyond their cultural ghetto", the only other issue he really talks about is global warming.

And I agree, climate and environment are important issues. But one, he has an unduly positive view of Rick Warren, whose concern about poverty and global AIDS may not mean that he agrees with Ostertag on what should be done about those problems. (Does Warren advocate serious safer-sex education in Africa, or does he think that abstinence is the answer? This is one of the things I plan to look into more while I'm off work for the next couple of weeks, but given Warren's celebration of George W. Bush's "unprecedented contribution" to the struggle against AIDS, I feel fairly sure that he comes down for abstinence rather than education and condoms.)

Ostertag quotes an interview with Warren where he cagily hints that he doesn't oppose civil unions for same-sex couples that would give them equal privileges with straight married couples, but he won't come out and say that he supports them either. That's politically wise of him, since Warren's constituency doesn't want civil unions for queers any more than they want us to marry, and most state measures against same-sex marriage also forbid marriage-equivalents like civil unions or domestic-partner registration even for straight couples. So, Bob, don't get too warm and fuzzy about Warren, okay? He's a bigoted pig, even if he looks like a cuddly bear in a Hawaiian shirt.

Two, Ostertag blames the Christian Right for things that they weren't the only ones to support, and weren't the main engine behind: "For thirty years Evangelical Christians have been the anchor that has pulled this country to the right, giving us first Reaganism and then Bushism. Wars in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc." What about Clintonism, Bushism I, Carterism, and so on all the way back to Trumanism and beyond? Even now, Obama is gearing up for more war in Afghanistan, wants to continue the Cuban blockade, and many of his liberal fans are eager to see him take down Chávez and Ahmadinejad, whom he has falsely denounced as dictators -- just like Bush. Nor, as I've said before, do I really expect Obama to do anything much about global warming; his appointment of Ken Salazar supports my pessimism. Evangelicals (and Mormons and Catholics and Orthodox Jews) are a problem, but not the problem -- the problem is mainstream corporate-friendly Republocrats.

Ostertag concludes, "I am delighted that there is a new generation of evangelicals that thinks the biggest issue isn't homosexuality but global climate change, AIDS, and poverty. And who 'don't believe we should have unequal rights depending on particular lifestyles.' I am so ready to make common cause with them. I couldn't care less about what they think of gay marriage." Don't be too ready, Bob: just because that "new generation of evangelicals" has more than one issue on their plate, it doesn't mean they're ready to make common cause with you. Warren doesn't consider heterosexual marriage, let alone evangelical Christianity, to be a "particular lifestyle" -- haven't you been around long enough to recognize "lifestyle" as code for "militant recruiting homosexuals"?