WBEZ | Luis Leon http://www.wbez.org/tags/luis-leon Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Obama chooses gay affirming Latino priest for inauguration http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-01/obama-chooses-gay-affirming-latino-priest-inauguration-104992 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/130115_obama_luis_leon_ap_605_0.jpg" style="height: 163px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="President Barack Obama and Luis León. (AP/File)" />President Barack Obama finally got it right: He picked another Cuban to participate in the inauguration, a <a href="http://miamiherald.typepad.com/gaysouthflorida/2013/01/gay-affirming-cuban-born-pastor-luis-leon-to-give-benediction-at-president-obamas-2nd-inaugural.html">gay-affirming Episcopal priest</a> named Luis León. Miami has never loved Barack as much as it does these days, with two locals sharing the inaugural spotlight: León and poet Richard Blanco, the son of Cuban exiles and the first openly gay man to participate in these festivities.</div><p>But León won&rsquo;t be making history, like Blanco, as the first Latino to give the blessing this time. That&rsquo;s because he was the first Latino to give the blessing in 2005, for President George W. Bush.<br /><br />That&rsquo;s right: In his inauguration for a second term, after a campaign in which Bush explicitly and outrageously supported a constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage, Bush -- the evangelical and right wing fave -- reached out to León, whose church has <a href="http://southern4life.blogspot.com/2013/01/rev-luis-leon-will-give-president.html#ixzz2IG5E5DR5">gay, non-celibate priests</a>, once had a gay bishop, blesses same sex unions and ordains trans priests.<br /><br />And León didn&rsquo;t mess around when he stood before Bush. Check out the coverage from <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,144922,00.html#ixzz2IG6UhoRD">Fox</a> of the inauguration:<br /><br />&ldquo;Rev. Luis Leon gave a sweeping inaugural sermon, discussing post-Sept. 11 fears and the general &lsquo;goodness&rsquo; of people. Leon said his and his wife&#39;s friendship with Bush had grown over the last four years.<br /><br />&ldquo;Invoking the famed John Winthrop phrase used by the late President Reagan about &lsquo;a city on the hill,&rsquo; Leon said he hoped the nation could again claim the sense of community that those words inspired.<br /><br />&ldquo;&lsquo;I hope we can become better people,&rsquo; Leon said. As a servant of God, he told the president, he hoped he could invite everyone to be good people, better people, whether black, brown, rich, poor, gay or straight.<br /><br />&quot;&lsquo;We are one,&rsquo; the reverend said, adding that he prayed for the president to help the nation overcome fear brought on by terrorism.<br /><br />&quot;&lsquo;Do not let our fear overcome our faithfulness,&rsquo; he urged.&rdquo;<br /><br />I&rsquo;m heartened when I read this, and heartened to know that Obama selected such a person, but I&rsquo;m also unsettled. León seems to have gone mostly under the radar in 2005 -- there&rsquo;s barely a mention that he&rsquo;s the first Latino to give the benediction for a presidential inauguration.<br /><br />But what does it say that Bush invited such a figure to his ceremony? What does it say that, when it&rsquo;s all over, Bush basically forgot that his whole campaign depended on using queers as boogeymen and turns to a man whose life&rsquo;s work is inclusivity?<br /><br />Like <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-01/how-did-jim-giglio-get-picked-first-place-104880">I said before</a> when I wrote about the Obama&rsquo;s original selection, the evangelical anti-gay Rev. Louie Giglio, I get the president&rsquo;s need to reach out.<br /><br />But I also confess that, this time, I was glad Obama didn&rsquo;t reach too far outside his core base. I&rsquo;m glad he stopped trying to be all things to all people. Honestly, it wasn&#39;t working for him. I&#39;m glad he just said, screw it -- I&rsquo;m gonna have my gay poet, my gay loving Latino minister, my Puerto Rican Supreme Court Justice who prob loves gays, and drag queen fave Beyoncé&rsquo;s gonna come back for round two.<br /><br />Honest to God, this is gonna be the queerest inaugural ever.<br /><br />Well, <a href="http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Has_there_ever_been_a_gay_US_president">except</a> maybe James Buchanan&rsquo;s.</p></p> Thu, 17 Jan 2013 13:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-01/obama-chooses-gay-affirming-latino-priest-inauguration-104992