The congressional committee putting together the inauguration earlier this afternoon announced that the program for President-elect Barack Obama's inaugural would include an invocation by Rick Warren, the celebrity preacher at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif.
People for the American Way, one of the best known liberal advocacy groups in the nation's capital, is letting it be known it's not happy with this choice.
An excerpt of a PFAW statement attributed to Kathryn Kolbert, the group's president:
It is a grave disappointment to learn that pastor Rick Warren will give the invocation at the inauguration of Barack Obama.
Pastor Warren, while enjoying a reputation as a moderate based on his affable personality and his church's engagement on issues like AIDS in Africa, has said that the real difference between James Dobson and himself is one of tone rather than substance. He has recently compared marriage by loving and committed same-sex couples to incest and pedophilia. He has repeated the Religious Right's big lie that supporters of equality for gay Americans are out to silence pastors. He has called Christians who advance a social gospel Marxists. He is adamantly opposed to women having a legal right to choose an abortion...
I tend to agree with these commenters, off the top:
Yeah I get it. But at the same time there are other evangelicals that are less harsh than this guy.
For those of us who already feel kicked in the head by prop 8 and those, like Rick Warren and his ilk who believe in legal discrimination, it really hurts to see this guy share the stage with our new President.
Posted by: todd | December 17, 2008 6:16 PM
Why in the name of, well ... God, would Obama choose someone whose outspoken beliefs are substantively no different from the James Dobson's of the world? There's a thriving progressive religious community in every faith, and many believe the religious left is ascendant...
...Including the evangelical Christian left. I mean, yeah, why not Mel White? Or if that's too outre, what about Jim Wallis?
ETA: So apparently he didn't make the pick, it was the inaugural commission.
ETA again: or, not. well, unsurprisingly,
WASHINGTON – President-elect Barack Obama on Thursday defended his choice of a popular evangelical minister to deliver the invocation at his inauguration, rejecting criticism that it slights gays. The selection of Pastor Rick Warren brought objections from gay rights advocates, who strongly supported Obama during the election campaign. The advocates are angry over Warren's backing of a California ballot initiative banning gay marriage. That measure was approved by voters last month.
But Obama told reporters in Chicago that America needs to "come together," even when there's disagreement on social issues.
"That dialogue is part of what my campaign is all about," he said.
Obama also said he's known to be a "fierce advocate for equality" for gays and lesbians, and will remain so.
Yes, well. Time will tell, won't it. I'm not personally gonna write him off totally over a symbolic gesture that's essentially a quid pro quo* but, you know, money talks, bullshit etc. And yes, need it be said, I'm turned off. Again. Still. Somewhere in between. Whatever.
Clinton was and is no doubt in his heart as fierce an advocate (i.e. he's yer basic social liberal, really believes social discrimination including Teh Gay) as any number of other bleeding hearts; but when push came to shove he fucked us over as well. (Signed DOMA, "Don't Ask Don't Tell"). Could it have been worse? Has it been? Might it be again/still? Sure; and that plus yep there are other issues is why I voted for him i.e. the mainstream Democrat who seems at least halfway competent, and barring extraordinary circumstances (which I reserve the right to redefine at any point) probably would/will do again, despite it all. Shit's too important.
(And yes, that goes for reproductive rights as well; Warren's pro-life, Obama's put his money where his mouth is when it came to policy in the past, which I put before his noises about "safe legal and rare" and lack of insistence on when life begins and so forth. But again: he'll have his chance to prove NARAL's 100% rating on a national level soon enough, policy wise).
But ultimately, you know, he's only gonna stretch as far as he thinks he can reasonably do without fucking over his own career. And yes, before anyone squawks, that went for Hillary too; and it goes for just about every mainstream Democrat with the exception of Frank, who's got his own full baggage of bullshit. Guess why.
So now what? Do we all go, right that's it, I won't be satisfied until we get a queer person in the WH and/or 30% in government, no matter how giant a chode they might be otherwise? Find a suitable mascot/acronym for the disaffected, maybe? Emus are nice, there must be a good acronym that goes with "EMU". No, wait! I have it! GOOSE! Gays Outraged Over Straight Enablers. Catchy, innit? Oh yeah, feel the power, baby. ROAR, I mean HONK.
(Actually, that's more or less what MILK is about, but y'know, for reals. Then again, nowadays, well, in many ways things are different; in others...not s'much, but hrrm. Much as I was going "hell yeah!" for historical Milk, I am thinking that a party of Barney Franks, Andrew Sullivans and Bruce Bawers, with inclusiveness even unto the Log Cabiners and rabidly transphobic "lesbian feminists" and the everyone else who enable them, is not what I had in mind either. Not that it matters since, oh wait! Teh Gay doesn't even have enough clout to make that a possibility in the first place!...
And of course loving the drearily predictable squawking from PUMA-land about neener neener, serves us right, should've gone with Hillary or ffs PALIN, because of course they're both -sooo- much better, not exactly the fucking same or much worse when it comes to Teh Gay, respectively. I mean! They're -women-! So what if they're straight! They MUST be more sympathetic to Teh Gay than a (straight) black male! And it's not like you can ever expect a representational Presidential candidate of your very own, or at least any time in the next zillion years even though that's exactly what we're bitching about ourselves being shafted over in the first place. Where's your loyalty? Where's...)
But, yeah, ritual snipe at Those Who Continue To Fail On An Epic Scale aside, there was a reason I sent money to the anti-Prop 8 campaign and none to the Democrats or the Obama campaign this year.
*Going through the google hits, btw, this does shed a bit of light, although I really think courting World Nads Daily types is a fool's errand, you know...
Rick Warren, the best selling author of "The Purpose Driven Life" and senior teaching pastor at Saddleback Church in California, has invited Sen. Barack Obama to speak to the congregation of the faithful on Dec. 1, 2006. In doing so, he has joined himself with one of the smoothest politicians of our times, and also one whose wickedness in worldview contradicts nearly every tenet of the Christian faith that Warren professes.
So the question is "why?"
Why would Warren marry the moral equivalency of his pulpit – a sacred place of honor in evangelical tradition – to the inhumane, sick and sinister evil that Obama has worked for as a legislator?
According to press reports, it is because of a mutual respect that each feels towards the other over the HIV/AIDS pandemic on the African continent. That rationale, however, is not only dishonest, but is not even logical given the two distinct positions that the men come to on the matter. Because of this supposed shared concern, Warren is ready to turn over the spiritual mantle to a man who represents the views of Satan at worst or progressive anti-God liberals at best in most of his public positions on the greatest moral tests of our time.
Warren's stand on the matter in this instance is what is in doubt – not Obama's!
Barack Obama has a long history of defying the intended morality of Scripture. As a state legislator, he actively worked to preserve availability of abortion in all nine months of pregnancy. He opposed parental notification. He opposed any and all bans on partial-birth abortion (an act that includes delivery of the baby up to the head, the crushing of the baby's brain, the suctioning of the brain matter, and then completed delivery of the child's deflated cranium). In his run for the U.S. Senate, Obama even asked his wife to pen a letter to Illinois voters that reassured them of his commitment to fighting for the right to butcher children in the womb.
Barack Obama has long supported the advance of the radical homosexual activist lobby in its pursuit to destroy traditional marriage. He supported the creation of "special rights" for people who engage in homosexuality for the sole purpose of putting them at the front of the line on issues of employment, housing and litigation. He has also solidly backed the advancement of all "hate crimes" legislation, which ultimately may be used to silence clergy who believe according to their own convictions that homosexual behavior is wrong and preach so from biblical texts. Obama has a perfect voting record against the defense of marriage.
What's that one ancient wheeze my grandmother used to tell? Marriage broker in Chelm goes to a poor family and says, Listen, I have the perfect girl for your son. She's beautiful, she's intelligent, she's rich, she's cultured and talented, speaks several languages, wonderful personality, everyone who knows her loves her.
So the family is all excited. Who? Who??
The shadchen says, Marie of Romania.
Outrage. Horror. Marie of Romania?! A shiksa! Unthinkable.
No, no, says the broker, just hear me out, hear me out. So it's one tiny flaw. Look at all her other amazing qualities! Besides, I have it on good authority that she's willing to convert.
Doubt. But, isn't she already married? Handwave. Listen, you know how these things are. He's not so healthy. She's not happy. I can't tell you everything I know, but...It shouldn't be a problem.
Hours later, the broker's convinced the family that, alright, Marie of Romania is O.K. by them, they suppose, if that's really the best he can do.
Broker goes outside, takes a deep breath, wipes his forehead. Okay, he says out loud to himself, that's -half- the battle...
This creaky old yarn has been brought to you by Traditional Family Values (tm). I mean, -thank G-d- that the institution of marriage hasn't changed at all over the years and cultures, eh?
ETA again, again: This. The OP, that is, all of it; and also too this, from the comments:
Sigh. If only we’d gone with the spouse of the man who signed DOMA into law. She’s chummy with Billy Graham, who could probably have been wheeled to her inauguration.
Innit though. Yeah, six of one.