My parents raised my brother and me to take people one at a time--don't judge without experience.
Our father had a buddy from the military; a gay man. We all lived in the same neighborhood in Menlo Park, California--a neighborhood where black people were allowed to evoke the American Dream in relative peace. This gay man would visit us and he'd get along better with our mother than he did with dad and his mannerisms were a little disorienting to my brother and me, but our house was a house of inclusion, refuge, and welcome. "Mother C" always had a seat at our table.
In his later years, my brother looked after him when his health declined. The only thing that mattered was that he was a member of that blessed circle of friends our mom and dad cultivated. When "Mother C" passed away, my brother looked after his interests. It's what our parents would have wanted.
There's a controversy now about Senator Barack Obama's campaign's embrace of an anti-gay minister, Reverend Donnie McClurkin. AmericaBlog has extensive coverage of the issue.
It seems to me that Reverend McClurkin's issues aren't with gay people: They're with opportunistic pedophiles. Anyone with a clue knows that the two tendencies--gayness and pedophilia--have nothing in common. Pedophiles are cowards. They don't have the wherewithal to deal with an adult relationship. They don't have the self-confidence it takes to risk rejection and heartbreak and embarassment. Pedophiles are all about power... just like rapists. The violation isn't a sexual act; it's an assertion of power and dominance.
Reverend McClurkin's animus against "gay people" is misplaced. Barack Obama's embrace of Reverend McClurkin--someone who maintains that gay people can be "cured"--is misplaced as well.
If Obama's inclusion of Reverend McClurkin is his "statement" courting the African-American Religious Right, it is a fatally flawed move and should be disavowed. The Right isn't garnering votes these days. It isn't worthy of support, consideration, or respect if we are to judge by its most revered, most credible spokespersons. Rush Limbaugh? Sean Hannity? Ann Coulter? Dick Cheney? Hugh Hewitt? Fox Noise? Michelle Malkin? No. Just, no!
Barack Obama should embrace inclusiveness. He should embrace tolerance and understanding. These are the brave, forward-leaning concepts that resonate with voters. His embrace of Reverend McClurkin's very real and understandable pathologies is a distraction from what is and should be a historic campaign.