Friday, December 19, 2008

Is Rick Warren Abandoning His Principles?

My fellow progressive bloggers are having a conniption fit (that's four links - I could provide a few dozen more) about Obama's choice of conservative pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration. In a nutshell, they accuse Obama of selling out his core beliefs by daring to invite Rick Warren. The various statements attributed to Rick Warren have been dragged out and rephrased so as to make the man appear to be the world's most vicious homophobe, and then my incredulous leftwing friends indignantly ponder which of those statements Obama is adopting as his core beliefs.

Why isn't the shoe on the other foot?

Why is it disgraceful for Obama to invite Warren to speak, but not disgraceful for Warren to accept? If Warren is such a raging, monstrous homophobe to his very core, then why is he stepping onto the inauguration stage of a progressive, gay-friendly new President? Isn't the day going to be much more about Obama, and people unifying behind him, than it will be about the guy giving the invocation? Why is it that some on the left are soooo fearful that a prayer offered by someone who might disagree with them on a few issues will conquer all their hopes and beliefs, converting the entire day into a celebration of homophobia rather than of Obama and our grand new future?

Hilariously, some of us are complaining that Obama is "legitimizing" Rick Warren by inviting him to speak. Umm, yeah, the right wing conservatives have been waiting with bated breath for Obama to choose their next leader, and progressives are going to put "The Purpose Driven Life" on their nightstand right next to "Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot". (Those with a memory may recall that Warren was the object of a mirror image of the current hand-wringing furor when he invited Senator Obama to speak at his Saddleback Church in 2006.)

Personally, I fully expected that anyone chosen by Obama to offer a religious invocation at his inauguration would have a few beliefs that differ from mine, on a theological, political, and policy level. I can listen to that person offer a prayer, and not feel like either one of us is abandoning his or her principles.

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Blogger I Travel for JOOLS said...

You know, I am beginning to think he might be a great President. I may have been wrong about him. And I want you to know that we who believe are willing to listen, are willing to hear those who we may have opposed, for the betterment of our nation, for the betterment of mankind. We are all God's children. Sometimes he has to shake us up to make us listen.

I can assure you after all the years I have had on this earth myself, we all will be surprised where that path will lead us. It's really kind of interesting. The path will change. We will change.

Last night my family could have died...all of them I hold close...a fire in an outbuilding not 50 feet from a 1000 gallon propane tank and their house. My daughter woke up at 3:00 a.m. hearing popping sounds. Fire. All are safe. The fire dept in this rural area arrived in minutes after the 911 call. Burned the outbuilding to the ground and melted the siding on the house but everyone is safe and the interior of the house is ok.

Today, I am thankful. It will change me forever. I could have lost my children and my grandchildren. But, I didn't. The path...once again...

12/19/2008 7:58 AM  
Blogger I Travel for JOOLS said...

Correction - it wasn't 50 feet away, more like 15 feet away.

12/19/2008 8:01 AM  
Anonymous GMC70 said...

"I can listen to that person offer a prayer, and not feel like either one of us is abandoning his or her principles."

We don't agree on a great deal, Dan, but this is one of them. It's an invocation. I need not agree with everything - or even very much - from a person to respect him or her, and I can listen to an invocation without feeling my principles, or his, are compromised.

Criminee, folks, it's just politics. Get a life.

12/19/2008 8:32 AM  
Blogger les said...

Well said. I will say, much of the complaining is coming from a group that has been pretty viciously marginalized and that worked hard for Obama; Warren's views are generally antediluvian, but he has been especially harsh on gays--disappointment is, I think, misplaced but understandable. I admire and am hopeful about Obama's ability to deal with those who don't agree on fundamental (hah!) issues; it's change I believe in.

12/19/2008 9:07 AM  
Blogger the front porch: said...

THANK YOU, Dan. I spent a good chunk of the day yesterday looking for just one progressive blogger or writer that wasn't flipping shit over Warren. I finally gave up and blogged about it myself, but I'm glad to find someone else not screaming that the sky is falling.

12/19/2008 9:54 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

12/19/2008 10:00 AM  
Blogger les said...

You know, the screamers get a lot of attention--but I'm finding a lot of progressive types with you, Dan.

Here's one--

And if you can take a bit of strong language, The Editors at the Poor Man Institute for Freedom, Democracy and a Pony put it well.

12/19/2008 10:09 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

Well, the only way to be truly non-partisan and inclusive is to include people who have all kinds of views. When I see screaming and yelling from one particular activist angle (pick your party) it just reminds me that many people want "inclusiveness and joining together" only if it means lining up with their particular views.

Unfortunately, all this did was reinforce both sides of that divide. Thankfully there are some reasoned voices on the left and hopefully those voices can start to get louder.

12/19/2008 11:46 AM  
Anonymous DKC said...

Obama's going to need all kinds of prayers he's inheriting a giant mess.

12/19/2008 2:48 PM  
Anonymous PotshotPolitics said...

I think the point for the more rational objectors is that this would have been a wonderful opportunity to present a different kind of "freedom of religion". Rev Lowery giving the benediction is terrific and I wish his views were given more attention. But Obama could have chosen a rabbi or woman or anyone except a right wing fundamentalist. I consider it a mistake, but not the betraying tragedy that many in the gay community do.

12/19/2008 3:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is an invocation needed? Sep. of church and state!!!

12/19/2008 7:17 PM  
Blogger craig said...

Good post Dan.

12/19/2008 11:04 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Travel -

Wonderful post - I'm happy your loved ones are safe and sound. It's horrible that they faced such a danger, and it sounds like you're responding to it in the perfect way.

12/20/2008 9:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All this shows is that both Obama and Warren are opportunists.

Nothing has changed.

Nothing to get excited about.

James Christensen

12/20/2008 11:56 AM  

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