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Lowery delivers - The Life and Thoughts of Zach

Jan. 21st, 2009

01:59 pm - Lowery delivers

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I said it briefly on twitter but I posted in more detail on Dec 19, 2008 in another forum:

The inauguration opens with a conservative anti-gay preacher. This is a preacher who happens to also be one of the few conservative evangelicals advocating for Christians to address world poverty and social injustice. He also happens to have invited Obama to speak at an evangelical conference against objections about Obama's pro-choice stance). This preacher will be speaking while Bush is still technically president (Obama not inaugurated yet).

The inauguration closes with a radical pro-gay civil rights preacher. Not only was this man in the absolute thick of the Civil Rights movement but he is also an advocate of same-sex marriagecivil unions(see comments) and the inclusion of GLBT people in all aspects of church life. This preacher will be speaking after Obama has officially begun his presidency.

The symbolism here is powerful. Obama chose to make the conservative the opening act, and gave the last word to the radical civil rights leader.

Today:

Conservative Preacher Opens with Support for Environmentalism, Separation of Church and State, and Global Justice

Help us, oh God, to remember that we are Americans,
united not by race, or religion, or blood,
but to our commitment to freedom and justice for all
...
When we fail to treat our fellow human beings
and all the Earth with the respect that they deserve:
Forgive us.
Rick Warren, Inaugural Invocation - Jan 20, 2009

Civil Rights Preacher Closes with Support for Gay Rights

Lord, in the complex arena of human relations,
let us make choices on the side of love, not hate
on the side of inclusion, not exclusion
tolerance, not intolerance
Joseph Lowery, Inaugural Benediction - Jan 20, 2009

Current Location: Sandy Bay, Tasmania, VIC

Comments:

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From:khudirambose
Date:January 21st, 2009 03:59 am (UTC)
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I've heard people describe Lowery as a gay rights supporter before, but I've never actually heard him speak about such issues. Have there been prominent speeches or op-ed columns somewhere??
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From:zarfmouse
Date:January 21st, 2009 04:23 am (UTC)
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Dr. Lowery wondered out loud, "How could the church, because of a person's sexual orientation, deny ministry to those whom God has called?" He then suggested that he would prefer to err on the side of inclusion rather than exclusion.
- The Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, Former President of SCLC Signs the United Methodists of Color for a Fully Inclusive Church Statement

This blog by a gay audience member about a lecture by Lowery in 2007 links to an MP3 of that speech in which he speaks about gay rights among other issues.

When I did my research on Lowery in December I didn't find anything definitive on his stance regarding marriage vs. civil unions. He hadn't seemed to really say anything about that topic, just always offering uniform support for a broad and inclusive definition of gay rights. However, he seems to have recently stated that, like Obama, he supports gay civil unions but not neccessarily gay marriage.

"I differ with [Rick Warren] sharply on his position on this issue," Lowery told MSNBC's David Shuster. "I don't think we ought to put into law any discriminatory action against people because of race, ethnicity or sexual orientation. I oppose that. But that doesn't stop me from being on a program with him."

"I've never said I support gay marriage," he added. "I support gay rights, and I support civil unions. Like a whole lot of people, I have some difficulty with the term 'gay marriage' because...deeply rooted in my heart and mind, marriage is associated with 'man and woman.' So I have a little cultural shock with that, but I certainly support civil unions, and that gay partners ought to have all the rights that any other citizens have in this country."
- Obama's inaugural benediction pastor Lowery clarifies stance on gay marriage



Edited at 2009-01-21 04:25 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]
From:zarfmouse
Date:January 21st, 2009 04:31 am (UTC)
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When you talk about the law discriminating, the law granting a privilege here, and a right here and denying it there, that's a civil rights issue. And I can't take that away from anybody.
- Lowery on ABC News in 2004 (this is the statement that many bloggers in December cited as evidence of his support for gay marriage)
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From:khudirambose
Date:January 21st, 2009 04:52 am (UTC)
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Well, I guess that's better than Rick Warren.

Still not quite a little Keith Olbermann out there speaking out for us. But better than Rick Warren, sure.
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From:increvable
Date:January 21st, 2009 04:31 am (UTC)
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Insofar as it is possible to pwn someone with prayer, Warren got pwned.
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From:erikforperson
Date:January 21st, 2009 07:36 am (UTC)
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I appreciate this post. I thought the progressive outrage over Warren was so ridiculously overwrought, and I think you have summed up well why it was not something folks on the left should have been so concerned about.

(And at the end of the day, it's just an invocation. It's not as if either of these figures will be setting policy on any level.)
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From:kayoteelsewhere
Date:January 24th, 2009 07:50 pm (UTC)
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I though the outrage over Warren was way beyond anything sensible. However, I've since decided he was a poor choice because I thought he did a lousy job!

He was heavily Christian (take that, Jews, Muslims, everyone else), he rambled, he made me yawn, and seemed to take forever to get into the invocation. Quit speeching and invoke already!

I really liked the benediction, though. It kept my attention, was inclusive, made me laugh, ended everything on a high, positive note. He was an excellent choice!
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From:arun251
Date:January 21st, 2009 05:05 pm (UTC)
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...work for that day when nations shall not lift up sword against nation, when tanks will be beaten into tractors...
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