President Obama hosted hundreds of gay and lesbian leaders in the White House yesterday for a “LGBT Gay Pride Month” reception. I want to comment briefly on three excerpts from the President’s remarks and conclude with some final thoughts at the end.
“There are unjust laws to overturn and unfair practices to stop.Â And though we’ve made progress, there are still fellow citizens, perhaps neighbors or even family members and loved ones, who still hold fast to worn arguments and old attitudes; who fail to see your families like their families.”
The President is not promoting toleration of opposing views on homosexuality. The President wants those who hold a heterosexual norm to be marginalized until their view becomes no longer tenable in our culture. The President envisions a future in which homosexual unions will be treated no differently than heterosexual ones. Obama aims to abolish “unjust laws” that institutionalize such distinctions. For him, social progress means overturning the Judeo-Christian norm of heterosexual monogamy.
“I want you to know that I expect and hope to be judged not by words, not by promises I’ve made, but by the promises that my administration keeps. . . We’ve been in office six months now. I suspect that by the time this administration is over, I think you guys will have pretty good feelings about the Obama administration.”
This is a tip-of-the-hat to homosexual activists who believe Obama has been moving too slowly in advancing the gay-rights agenda. Activists think that Obama should have already ended policies like “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and that he should have already moved forward legislation to abolish the Defense of Marriage Act. Obama reiterates his commitment to address these concerns but that he will do so incrementally. He’s telling them to be patient. He will come through for them in the end.
“That’s the story of the movement for fairness and equality — not just for those who are gay, but for all those in our history who’ve been denied the rights and responsibilities of citizenship; who’ve been told that the full blessings and opportunities of this country were closed to them. It’s the story of progress sought by those who started off with little influence or power; by men and women who brought about change through quiet, personal acts of compassion and courage and sometimes defiance wherever and whenever they could.”
In this statement, the President reflects a view that is becoming more and more entrenched in our cultureâ€”that the fight for gay rights is the moral equivalent of the fight for civil rights for women and minorities in previous generations. The moral upshot of this view is that those who oppose gay-rights must necessarily be placed in the category of bigot.
This post is not mainly a complaint about the President (though I couldn’t be more opposed to his policies on this issue). My main observation is this. I don’t think that most people have fully appreciated the implications of the social change we are now witnessing. The ground is moving beneath our feet. For Christians, this means that we need to be aware that laws will be changing in the coming years, and there will be some new realities to adjust to. We need to be thinking about those in advance so that we can be faithful in the midst of an increasingly hostile culture.