“By the historical standards of presidential hubris, Barack Obama’s disingenuous defense of his tone-deaf invitation to Rick Warren is a relatively tiny infraction,” writes N.Y. Times columnist Frank RIch in his usual Sunday column. “It’s no Bay of Pigs. But it does add an asterisk to the joyous inaugural of our first black president. It’s bizarre that Obama, of all people, would allow himself to be on the wrong side of this history.
“Since he’s not about to rescind the invitation, what happens next? For perspective, I asked Timothy McCarthy, a historian who teaches at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and an unabashed Obama enthusiast who served on his campaign’s National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Leadership Council. He responded via e-mail on Christmas Eve.
“After noting that Warren’s role at the inauguration is, in the end, symbolic, McCarthy concluded that ‘it’s now time to move from symbol to substance.’ This means Warren should ‘recant his previous statements about gays and lesbians, and start acting like a Christian.’
“McCarthy added that it’s also time ‘for President-elect Obama to start acting on the promises he made to the LGBT community during his campaign so that he doesn’t go down in history as another Bill Clinton, a sweet-talking swindler who would throw us under the bus for the sake of political expediency.’ And ‘for LGBT folks to choose their battles wisely, to judge Obama on the content of his policy-making, not on the character of his ministers.”
“Amen. Here’s to humility and equanimity everywhere in America, starting at the top, as we negotiate the fierce rapids of change awaiting us in the New Year.”