Friday, June 12, 2009

How Can We Sing the Lord's Song in a Strange Land? Obama Administration Defends DOMA

Well, I have to say, I felt this coming (and here and here). Obama's body-language in his recent interview with Brian Williams, in which Williams asked him about gay marriage, suggested to me that the president was extremely uncomfortable with the question, even as he stated that gays have a friend in the White House.

In fact, I'll go out on a limb and say that what I read in the interview was shameful mendacity--the mendacity of a man knowing he was not telling the truth, and with sufficient conscience to be ashamed that he was about to lie. The way in which he looked down before formulating his careful, halting response, and the curtain that went down over his eyes as he looked back up, spoke to me, loud and clear, about what he knew was coming down the pike even as he informed Mr. Williams that he stands in solidarity with gay citizens.

Interestingly enough, every site I've tried to go to today to link that video to this posting tells me the video has been removed from the site . . . .

Because I felt this sharp knife of betrayal coming, I decided to write about my garden today, about the tiny bit of heaven that seems to be the only one allotted to the likes of me on earth.

When people who claim to represent good do such evil, evil that thwarts one's own chances for a humane life, and when they tout the golden rule even as they knife one in the back, one is confronted with horrible choices: either one fights and fights until one's worn to a frazzle; or one turns inward and cultivates one's own garden.

I feel compelled to do both, on and off. I don't know how to preserve any self-respect if I don't fight. At the same time, life is made for more than fighting, and there are days when the fight seems too much. Then, I need to retreat to the garden--if only for a period of time--to regain a sense that the fight's worth picking up again.

And I'll say again that if a door opened to Steve and me for a more humane life in a land less savage as we reach old age, we'd be there in a heartbeat. This is just not a place, this nation with the soul of a church, that intends to make any kind of life possible for gay and lesbian people, though it will gladly avail itself of our talents and take our resources before it kicks us to the curb.

I've spent the last day watching an internet broadcast of a statewide conference of one of our mainline churches that pretends to have an open mind and an open heart, and I can say with complete confidence that, as political leaders dedicated to "hope" and "change" pummel the wretched of the earth, the mainline, evangelical, and Catholic churches will offer no shelter. They're too involved in putting on a self-congratulatory dog-and-pony show. And they're too implicated in the lies, betrayals, and hypocrisy that keeps bringing us false promises of hope followed by swift, lethal knives in the back.

And these folks represent the best that the churches have to offer, these folks with smiling faces and false hearts full of foul prejudice. In my part of the country, this "open minds and open hearts" church attracts folks fleeing the harsh and overt repression of evangelical churches, and even draws some gay folks--though they're expected to keep their mouths shut about who they are, as they sit beside "normal" people in church and sing hymns about how God makes everyone in the world, cherishes everyone in the world, and calls everyone together in love.

Watching the statewide conference of this church put on its show, and knowing some of the backstories that I know about this church--the people whose humanity has been trampled on by this church in this state, the ones recently fired by one of its institutions in a purge that was all about destroying critics--made me sick at my stomach, so that I had eventually had to turn off the broadcast in order to avoid throwing up.

Well, at least we now know what our president means by doing unto others as he hopes to have done to himself, particularly when his administration chose to release this vile homophobic argument on the anniversary of Loving v. Virginia . . . .