Kathleen Hannan | Indy Week

Kathleen Hannan 
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Re: “Inclusively exclusive

When I first heard about Obama's invitation to Rick Warren I felt upset and confused. Still, it didn't make sense to me that Obama would choose Warren and not also choose a strong supporter of GBLT rights. After writing to Obama, as I know many GLBT people did, to urge him to invite a prominent Gay or Lesbian spiritual leader to pray at the inauguration, I went on line, searching to discover who else Obama had already invited.

I was delighted to find out that Dr. Joseph Lowery, a prominent Black minister who has been a strong supporter of GBLT rights, will giving the benediction at the inauguration.

Thanks to the miracle of the internet, I was able to then watch Joseph Lowry deliver his moving, humorous, powerful poem/memorial speech at Coretta Scott King's funeral service. Standing directly in front of the seated G.W. Bush, Lowry didn't hesitate to speak of the way that military spending robs our children of health and education, and of the non-existent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He also was the first at that service to mention the fact that Corretta Scott King "frowned on homophobia." He did all this with humor and strength, and as I searched the web further, I discovered that has a long history of vocal support for GBLT rights. (He, like lots of other people, prefers working for civil unions to working for the words "gay marriage". Personally I have no problem with this. Just give me all the rights that straight people have. I don't really care what you call those rights.) I am thrilled that Lowry will be praying on Tuesday at the Inauguration. After finding out that Lowry had been invited, my thinking is that Warren could actually have been chosen to balance out the power and radicalism of Lowry's presence.

And now I've heard that Gene Robinson, the first out gay Episcopal Bishop, will be praying at the beginning of the kick of Inaugural concert on Sunday. My guess is that he was chosen after his strong protest of Warren's presence on the program, as well as all the emails which poured in from the GBLT community. Which to me is as it should be. What an amazing thing after these past 8 years! A president who actually responds to criticism from the people who supported him.

One more thing about Obama's idea of having everyone at the table. A book that blew my mind in this regard is Osha Gray Davidson's Best of Enemies: Race and Redemption in the New South, the history of racial relations in Durham told through the lens of the lives of Durham civil rights activist Ann Atwater and Ku Klux Klan leader C.P. Ellis, and ending with the remarkable fact that they became lifelong friends. After years of being bitter opponents in the civil rights struggle, when the decision to integrate the schools had finally arrived, C.P. Ellis and Ann Atwater were both members of the Durham school integration committee. Many in Ellis's community pretty much disowned him for being willing to sit on a committee that was designed to ease the process of integration. His reason for being on the committee was that school integration was obviously going to happen anyway, and if he didn't sit on the committee, there would be no one there to represent the children from his community. The result of his being on the committee and getting to know Ann Atwater directly, was that his whole world view shifted.

Those of us who voted for Obama can certainly remember how easy it is to feel completely disenfranchised when our candidate has lost the election. How would we have felt if Bush had invited a prominent left wing minister like Lowry to speak at his inauguration? To me, Obama's move to invite Warren is a radical act that I hope might bear the kind of fruit that this country needs. He is modeling something that we can all learn from; the possiblity of dialogue between "enemies".

By the way, I just checked on line and saw that Muslim, Jewish, Catholic speakers are also included the plan for the day. I didn't see any mention of a spiritual leader from the Native American, Buddhist or Neo Pagan community. Maybe in Obama's second term!

Posted by Kathleen Hannan on 01/15/2009 at 11:29 AM

Re: “The two faces of Bo Lozoff

I do not know Bo Lozoff personally, and have no information about anything that happened at Human Kindness Foundation. What I feel after reading all the correspondence surrounding the article about Bo is humility about how easy it is for us humans, myself included, to look (in vain)outside ourselves for the source of our suffering. I have been using an inquiry process called The Work of Byron Katie for the past five and a half years. Time and again this process has brought me to a clear place inside where all my stories of abuse/victimhood make absolutely no sense at all, and in fact are turned on their heads. In the words of Rumi, "Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field, I'll meet you there." In my experience 100% of my suffering is caused by believing my thoughts, specifically my projected judgements, and Katie's "work" brings me to Rumi's "field", an open mind, over and over again. Although at first glance her 4 questions and a turnaround appear to be a mental exercise, those who use the process know that it brings us to "Who would I be without that thought?", the stillness and peace of our hearts. I know that all the people writing in this blog, including Bo and the author of the article and those who had things to say about Bo's actions, are doing their very best in our world to act in love and truth, and I wish you all the best in returning to the peace that is inside all of us all of the time. I mention the Katie work as one possible tool you might check out on your journey. Love, Kathleen Hannan

Posted by Kathleen Hannan on 09/01/2008 at 8:24 PM

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