Just finished the chapter on faith in Barack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream and found it to be the best so far. Here, he presents a largely sympathetic portrait of the rise of social conservatives, reserving most of his criticism for Alan Keyes, his self-righteous 2004 rival for Illinois’ US Senate seat.
He even faulted one of his core constituencies (“academics, journalists, and purveyors of popular culture”) for failing to appreciate “the continuing role that all manner of religious expression played in communities across the country.”
That appreciation might upset some of his secular supporters in those constituencies as well as in the gay community. Â As I read further in the chapter, I wondered ifÂ gay activists would call him heterosexist for his failure to embrace equality in his book (even though he has in his rhetoric):
I believe that American society can choose to carve out a special place for the union of a man and a woman as the unit of child rearing most common to every culture. I am not willing to have the state deny American citizens a civil union that confers equivalent rights on such basic matters as hospital visitation or health insurance coverage simply because the people they love are of the same sex . . . .
Emphasis added. Â Equivalent not equal?
Will the heads of gay organizations call him to account for this language? Have they?
Also note that while he says later that he opposes same-sex marriage, he is quite mealy-mouthed in defining that “special place” carved out for traditional marriage. On gay marriage, he seems to want to have it both ways. As I’ve previously observed.
But, have his gay supporters taken note? Â Or do they care so long as he is the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee?