Friday, December 19, 2008

It's Obama's Choice But It's A Weird One

Barack Obama has made a rather strange choice in the man he chose to deliver the invocation at his upcoming inauguration. He chose Rick Warren -- the pastor of a large right-wing church in California. The choice has caused a firestorm of criticism from Obama's more progressive supporters.

It's easy to understand why homosexuals are upset. Warren and his followers were in the forefront in pushing for the adoption of prop 8 in California in the November election. That was the ballot initiative that denied gays and lesbians the right to marry like all other American citizens. That tells us that Warren only believes in equality for those who agree with him.

The men and women who believe in choice also have a right to be disappointed. Warren is a strong opponent of women having the right to control their own bodies. That's a right that Warren would reserve for men.

And even though he pretends to preach the gospel of the "Prince of Peace", Warren is in actuality a rabid neocon who sees nothing wrong with destroying a nation that disagrees with United States policy as defined by conservatives. After all, any nation that disagrees with right-wing beliefs must by definition be "evil".

Evidently, Obama thinks he can reach out to Warren and his followers and they will respond. I disagree. This guy is a super right-wing nut who despises everything Obama and his supporters believe in. He will jump at the first opportunity to plant a knife firmly in Obama's back.

But this is Obama's inauguration, and he has the right to choose whoever he wants to give the invocation. So, even though I personally have no respect for Warren, this is the last statement I will make about him being chosen for this honor.

This inauguration is a landmark I'm eagerly awaiting, and Warren is not going to ruin it for me -- or Obama.


  1. Hillary would have NEVER had Warren in HER inauguration! Obama takes 3 giant steps back for this choice. What a slap in the face for all of the gay community that supported his campaign.

  2. BUT Here's the difference. You have a party and you invite various people to come to it, including some that you know have controversial views. You figure that you are tolerant of having a variety of topics for conversation and if your guests get into fisticuffs, you can escort them out the door. That would be Warren *ruining it for you*.
    That's different than inviting someone to be your honored guest, and seating him at the head of the table, when you know that his viewpoints are not only diametrically opposed to your friends, but also part of the bigoted world.
    Different examples. You have Jewish friends and you invite Hitler to come speak. (because we can all agree to disagree, right?) Or, you're for equal rights but you invite Phyllis Schlafly not just to attend but to sit by you.
    It's not a matter of inclusion, it's a matter of nonor at an historic event that was supposed to showcase a change in politics and a new beginning. If I wanted racism and bigotry, I would have voted for McCain and I would EXPECT him to have John Hagee up there praying with him or Sarah Palin's witchhunter preacher. I expected better from Obama.
    Yes, it's his inaug, but I think he shattered his whole schtick with this action.

  3. It's not just his stands on gays and women's rights/abortion issues, it's the cheap trick side of religion he represents that is such a slap in the fact of everything decent.

  4. The irony of all this is that Rick Warren has gotten flak over the years from some evangelicals who consider him too liberal, unfairly charging him with being a World Religionist.

    Here's an exchange I had about 10 months ago with a fellow Huckabee supporter who referred to "Rick Warren and others of his ilk" in pretty derrogatory terms.

    I suspect what Barack Obama admires about Rick Warren, among other things, is his work to fight poverty and HIV/AIDS in Africa, as witnessed in this Christianity Today article from 2005.

    What I admire about both Warren and Obama is their determination to "disagree without being disagreeable" (one of my favorite axioms).

    There is no place for Rick Warren in the Obama Administration (nor should anyone expect there to be). But by building bridges rather than burning them, the President-Elect has wisely left doors open to work together with Pastor Rick in the future on those issues where they share a common interest.

    This is what Mike Huckabee refers to as "vertical politics" - working together where possible to lift our nation up, rather than sticking exclusively to "horizontal politics" (Left v. Right) that only serve to bring us all down.


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