Monday, December 22, 2008

Rick Warren's Invocation Options

Poor Rick Warren. After President-elect Obama selected the evangelical minister to deliver the invocation at his inauguration, gays and liberals kicked up a ruckus. I bet the California megachurchster hasn’t had a moment to think about what he’ll say to America and the world on that cold January day in Washington, D.C.

I’ve taken it upon myself to help. What follows are several possible invocations I’ve whipped up on behalf of the Rev. Warren. He can use whichever one he likes best. I’m not fussy.

First invocation option: We ask God’s blessing on this most historic day. For this is the day that America fulfills its promise of opportunity for all. Lord, we know it has not always been so. Our nation has been guilty of the sins of bigotry and discrimination. Many good men and women have been held back, defeated, prevented from contributing for purely base reasons.

But on this day we all gather to celebrate the historic elevation of one man to a position of rare prominence and importance. He is a man, Lord, who is marked by wisdom and conviction and compassion. We thank you for touching him with greatness.

This man, oh God, is . . . me! I get to give the invocation! I’ve made it to the top! Eat your hearts out, Billy and Franklin Graham! The gig doesn’t belong to your family anymore! Oh, and God, do me a favor and look out for what’s-his-name who’s becoming president.

Second invocation option: As we gather here today, let’s thank God for our country, our leaders, and above all our democracy. In a democracy citizens disagree. We have different opinions, and we’re free to express them.

The man we’re inaugurating today knows that a goodly portion of America’s citizens did not vote for him. But he has pledged from the beginning to be everybody’s president. He has a rare talent for bringing together people of different views to work for common cause. Barack Obama truly is a uniter.

Folks, look at his decision to have me offer the invocation today. Gays are livid because I fought for Prop 8, and a bunch of conservative Christians have bugs up their butts because they think I’m an opportunist. Both sides are pissed. If that’s not uniting people, I don’t know what is.

Third invocation option: God of all people, we humbly ask you to bless the citizens of this nation. We come together today as Americans, each and every one of us. We put aside our differences to celebrate what makes America great, the orderly, peaceful transition of power from one administration to the next. Lord, that transition makes this day the perfect example of true democracy.

My being here today is another darn good example of democracy in action. If you were listening, Lord, you just heard me mention differences. Take a gander at these facts: Homosexuals helped get the new guy elected, and I believe gay marriage is right up there with polygamy and incest, but here I am anyway! I helped lead the fight to take away gays’ civil right to marry, but here I am anyway! I believe that even if homosexuality is biological, gays should just squelch it their entire lives, but here I am anyway! You, and democracy, both work in mysterious ways.

The new president wanted me here to let religious conservatives know his administration won’t ignore them. Gays see me as a slap in the face. I’m a symbol to both sides. Blessed are the symbols, for they shall wine and dine in D.C.

Lord, is this a great country or what? Amen.

Monday, December 8, 2008

It's an Off-the-Wall World

As 2008 winds down, the worldwide wackiness level jumps up.

In Paris, armed robbers made off with $100 million worth of jewelry from a Harry Winston store near the Champs-Élysées. Police said the heist ranks among the biggest jewel thefts in French history.

That wasn't all that made the robbery monumental. Of the four thieves, at least two were men in wigs and women's clothes.

Who knew there was so much money to be made in drag?

Bizarreness is also alive and well across the English Channel in London, where Boy George, the former Culture Club singer, was convicted of falsely imprisoning a male escort.

Boy George, 46, was tried under his real name of George O'Dowd. More appropriate for legal proceedings, I suppose, than Boy George or Middle-Aged George.

Norwegian hustler Audun Carlsen said that, following a naked photo shoot, George handcuffed him to a wall at the singer's apartment and beat him after he got loose. George admitted handcuffing him, but denied assaulting him.

It must've been difficult for those watching the trial to refrain from breaking into "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me."

George's sentencing will be in January, and odds are he'll see jail time. Two years ago he swept streets in New York City after pleading guilty to filing a false police report. On that occasion he'd called the cops with a bogus story of a burglary by a male prostitute in his Manhattan apartment. What the responding officers found was cocaine.

In the London case, George believed the escort had stolen pictures from him. Mixing hookers, drugs and paranoia makes George an un-dull Boy.

Let's turn now to a different kind of court case, and a different brand of bizarre. In India, the Delhi High Court has been hearing arguments about whether to scrap the country's law against homosexual sex, the infamous Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.

The federal government, a big fan of the law, declared in a recent submission to the court that homosexuality is the result of a perverse mind.

Well then.

This claim fits in snugly with similar statements from the government during the legal proceedings. In October the government stated homosexuality is a disease that's responsible for the spread of AIDS in India.

A disease. The result of a perverse mind. How encouraging to hear this up-and-coming world power has such a firm grasp of science.

Now back to Europe for other ridiculous claims, thanks to a man who specializes in them. Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov is Russia's homophobia poster child. For the last three years his administration has banned Pride marches, and he'll always be remembered for calling gay parades "Satanic."

Speaking in early December at an international HIV/AIDS conference in Moscow, Luzhkov pledged to continue putting the kibosh on gay parades. "We have banned and will continue to forbid this propaganda by sexual minorities, as they could turn out to be one of the factors in the spread of HIV infections."

There you have it. Pride parades spread AIDS. Must be something in the paint on the banners.

The mayor added, "Certain homegrown democrats believe that sexual minorities can be a primary indicator and symbol of democracy, but we will forbid the dissemination of these opinions in the future as well."

An autocrat only Stalin could love.

Luzhkov offered another piece of wisdom when he declared, "Certain manufacturers state that condoms are reliable protection against AIDS, but modern science has proven this is untrue."

The assembled HIV/AIDS experts from around the world must've thought the translating mechanism was on the blink. But only the mayor was.