Newsweek blogger Andrew Sullivan's article on "The First Gay President" — complete with an Obama as a gay saint cover — will delight America's estimated 4 million gay people and their advocates.
But Newsweek's cover will probably have the opposite of the desired effect on voters and may even hurt the cause of gay marriage in America.
Newsweek may have hoped that some voters now think of Obama as Christ-like, especially as America has become so secularized that it's easy to find groups of young children who can't recognize Jesus Christ, but who know Ronald McDonald instantly. The cover is sure to delight those who think Gay Jesus t-shirts are hilarious.
Gay advocates routinely state that most people in America favor gay marriage, but 47% is not "most" and gay marriage has to date, only been successful in legislative and court processes, not up and down public votes. I favor gay marriage and have for some time, but I know it's essential to discuss it respectfully with other Christians to have an open and positive exchange. I would never discuss it in the arrogant, morally-superior tone taken by many advocates.
Nor would I have made the mistake Newsweek made by putting a symbol of Christ's sainthood over the president's head. Newsweek's gay halo cover is all over the internet already, and will be in grocery stores across America on Tuesday. Newsweek's editorial staff seems unable to comprehend the large number of Christians they will push away from Obama with their doubly-offensive combination of the rainbow/gay halo and its placement over the head of the president, a contemporary elected official. It will only be worse for the president if he is forced to make some type of statement about the rainbow halo, and if Romney responds respectfully and straightforwardly, he can easily gain votes from this incredible misstep. The irreligious will not comprehend that it's hardly "radical fundamentalist Christianity" to be repelled by a halo of any type, much less a rainbow halo, being put over any political figure's head.
As a young person I know put it: why not put a gay flag or the rainbow behind him? Why a halo? "The president isn't Jesus," she said.