Here's a shock: Conservative Evangelicals aren't thrilled with President Obama's GLBT Pride Month proclamation. More below from the Baptist Press:
President Obama Monday named June as "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month" issuing a proclamation that goes even further than those of former President Clinton in its pro-homosexuality slant.
Clinton was the last president to issue such a proclamation, first doing so in 1999 and then in 2000 before he left office. Obama's 572-word proclamation calls for ending the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy -- which was put in place under Clinton -- and also includes the phrase "transgender" for a first time. Clinton's proclamations never referenced transgenderism, a category that includes cross-dressers and people undergoing sex change operations. Another first: Obama's proclamation reiterates his support for same-sex civil union laws.
President George W. Bush never issued a proclamation commemorating Gay Pride Month. Clinton's proclamations differed from Obama's in calling June "Gay and Lesbian Pride Month," leaving out "bisexual" and "transgender."
"The LGBT rights movement has achieved great progress, but there is more work to be done," Obama's proclamation reads. "During LGBT Pride Month, I call upon the LGBT community, the Congress, and the American people to work together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month."
The proclamation is posted on the White House website but is difficult to find and as of Tuesday afternoon was not listed under the website's category of proclamations -- a fact that some homosexual activists were criticizing. (The link is available at the end of this story.)
Evangelicals voiced strong disagreement with Obama's proclamation, much like they did in 1999 when Clinton issued his proclamation and Southern Baptist Convention messengers responded by passing a resolution rebuking Clinton for doing so.
"For a president who pledged to bring us together, Mr. Obama persists in doing the exact opposite on all things homosexual," Bob Stith, the Southern Baptist national strategist for gender issues and representative of the denomination's Task Force on Ministry to Homosexuals, told Baptist Press. "This issue for most evangelical Christians is not bias or prejudice. It is simply maintaining the freedom to speak the truth about Scripture. It is one thing to be loving and tolerant. It is something else altogether to encourage pride in what God clearly says is sin.
"The bottom line," Stith added, "is that if God defines something as sin, we do no one any favors by attempting to blur those lines. Nor will we be doing future generations any favors by obliterating barriers God has put up for our protection. On several occasions the Bible uses the phrase 'every man did that which was right in his own eyes.' In every case it turned out badly."
Here's the key question: Can the Obama administration satisfy the gay community's policy agenda and yet still reach out to conservative Evangelicals? They are trying to do both but it's a tough road to navigate.