The wrong side of history looks like.
It's been a couple of days, and I continue to think that President Obama's second inauguration speech was as inspirational as the first, although in different ways.
The first was inspirational in large part because it actually happened, and we still had that element this year. You couldn't watch the television coverage without seeing interviews of black people who just had to be there because they never imagined that in their lifetime they would be watching the inauguration of a president who looked like them. It's impossible to overstate the power.
Still, to me, the most inspiring part of the speech, the part that really demonstrated how far we and the president have come, was when he spoke of the heroes of Seneca Falls, Selma, and Stonewall in the same sentence, and with the same honor.
Again, even after all the changes we've seen in recent decades, for the president to publicly recognize that the struggle for women's rights, for civil rights for racial minorities, and for equal rights for gays and lesbians are the same struggle, and it is a struggle that we all share and must honor is a huge step. In years to come, this will be what people remember of the speech.
And here's where the wrong side of history comes in. A sidelight of this story is that President Obama had originally invited a minister named Louie Giglio to give the benediction only to have it come out that Giglio had written about the evils of homosexuality and gay marriage, saying thatlegalizing gay marriage would risk "absolutely undermining the whole order of our society", and asked his listeners to "lovingly but firmly respond to the aggressive agenda" of gay activists.
After some negative reactions to his selection, recalling the choice of Rick Warren to speak at the 2009 inauguration, Giglio withdrew from the ceremony.
Oh, you should have heard the right-wing Christians scream! Or should I say whine?
A post in the online publication "Christian Post" refers to the withdrawal as the result of the power of "Tolerance Tyrants," and an evangelical blogger who apparently took an OD of his umbrage-enhancing substances (doesn't anyone screen these guys?) said, apparently without a hint of irony,
"January 21, 2013 may go down in history, as the day Americans lost their most important freedom—their freedom of conscience."
As I say, this is the sound of people witnessing their power over mainstream society slipping away.
Monday's events showed where American society is going. The struggle isn't over, not by any means, but we can look forward to the time when the anti-gay forces will be sitting around with the "South's gonna rise again" crowd.
And they won't be missed.