Sunday, December 21, 2008

Rick Warren II

You're either with us or against us.

Remember that? Wasn't that type of rigid "thinking" part of what we wanted to change from? The whole didactic "us vs. them" mentality that has made our politics poisonous and our government ineffective?

One of the comments I read was from a fellow traveller who whined, "After working so hard to get Obama elected, this is how he repays us?"

Actually, I would hope we wouldn't settle for a pro-gay preacher to say a prayer as "repayment." That's an awfully small reward. I'd hope instead for pro-gay policies, which Obama says he is in favor of and which I think we need to follow through with him to give him support and pressure to make it happen. If I thought all I was going to get from an Obama administration was symbolic gestures to make our community feel good, why, I would have voted for Hillary.

Obama said throughout the election (and I heard him say it several times throughout Nevada, personally) that he wasn't always going to tell us what we want to hear. Guess what? He's delivering on that promise. He's telling us that he is going to deal with all Americans, and that includes the mainstream who are opposed to gay marriage, many of whom, like my own family, believes it is a sin.

It also means he's going to deal with -- and work with -- us. If Obama were playing ideological identity politics, banishing from his administration or state events those who didn't meet a checklist of ideological purity that fit the politics of the moment, we might feel better. Today.

But while we might fit on the list today, politics can change and we might not fit tomorrow.

This is what the big tent feels like. It's full of things that we admire, things that fascinate us and things we fear. And if you're going to have a big tent, there's bound to be a few clowns.

Rick Warren is a clown and this controversy is a circus. Let it go -- there are serious things we need to focus on, like repealing DOMA and DADT.

Policies are what is important, not prayers.

5 comments:

Davidlee said...

Scott

do you think Obama would have let it go if a President in the 50's or 60's appointed a man to give the moral compass for the nation and the world at what may be one of the only statements he can make on such a large level on faith but this at what is probably going to be the most watched and honored event the world has ever seen...

do you think Obama himself wouldn't fight the president he fought bigotry (perhaps more voraciously than most) to get elected...
if that preacher that he chose picked one of those who has the common belief and who had actively and aggressively preached the idea that Obama's mother and interracial fraternization was on par (as was popular to believe back then) with Pedophilia and bestiality...

do you think Obama would sit one day and agree that that president was just reaching across the aisle when the first forced choice he had to make was to acquiesce to the racism that was prevalent at the time in the spirit of "inclusion"

as Obama's mother lived in a neighborhood that may have strongly bought into that idea that she was on par with a pedophile...

a neighborhood she had to walk home daily in... maybe at night.

this is not small and no...it is not intolerance to say...a man who calls other people ...good Americans who love each other... unnatural...pedophiles and links them to bestiality...should have any place near that national and solemn event.

People should be upset...because it is a sign that Obama will compromise on an issue ...that if others compromised on the base of interracial relationships...he may not be becoming President.

It is hypocrisy at the highest level...

and if he needs to know anything...he needs to know that is not going to fly.

Davidlee said...

I did mean thecommon beleif they held in the 50's and 60's... that interracial relationships were on par with all the things Warren is now saying about homosxuals...

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Scott said...

Most likely the preachers who spoke at inaugurals in 50s or 60s DID think interacial marriage was sinful. They surely must have thought and preached that premarital sex was sinful, so Obama's parents were likely doubly condemed.

Warren's religious beleifs lead him to declare homosexuality and gay marriage sinful. That's his right. And Obama has declared he does not share this view. I don't think we gays win anything by demanding someone be excluded from the inaugural because of what he or she beleives. We can and should oppose them on the policy front. But prevent him from saying a prayer?

These blessings don't have the import you give to them. Who gave the invocation at Clinton's inaugural? What did he or she say? How did it shape the outcome of the Clinton Administration?

There is a double standard here and it seems to me to be this one: We supported Obama and were willing to overlook the fact that his pastor claimed white people invented AIDS to kill black people. We beleived Obama that Rev. Wright didn't inform his views on that topic. Why are we so unwilling to accept Obama's denunciation of Warren's view of sinful homosexuality? His relationship with Warren is far less substantial than his one with Wright. And on the subject of gay marriage Warren and Obama do agree: one man, one woman. We knew Obama's position on this (sadly) before the election. His reaching out to Warren doesn't surprise me, especially given Warren's work in other areas (aid to Africa, which is important to the President-elect)and that fact that Warren's views on homosexuality are (also sadly)part of the Christian mainstream.

It also doesn't surprise me as I re-read Obama's speech on race.

He said:

"I chose to run for president at this moment in history because I beleive deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together."

That's Obama's overriding goal. To achieve it he cannot afford to be governed by what he, we or anyone might consider moral purity. Common ground must be found even between fierce foes. This point becomes clearer as Obama talks about black rage -- which he thinks is justified. Nevertheless:

"The anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems...and prevents the African-American community from forging alliances it needs to bring about real change."

Another part of Obama's race speech also offers insight into how he might see Warren. Referring to the most divisive and and outrageous comments of Wright, Obama reflects:

"But the truth is, that isn't all I know of the man. The man I met more than 20 years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another..."

You get the point. Obama is not the type of person who rejects someone completely if he finds one thing he is vehemently opposed to in a person. Human beings are complex animals and Obama recognizes this. That's a welcome releif from the us vs. them mentality that has been disasterous for our country.

Again, I do agree that we can't give the Obama Administration the benefit of the doubt on following through on policy. I'm more alarmed by Emanual Rahm's lowering expectations on DADT. That's directly relating to policy, and its far more important than whatever prayer Rick Warren will say on Jan. 20.

Stephanie said...

Scott,
Obama is not President yet, that will happen on January 20. For me, that day can't come sooner. But, I don't understand why you would condemn his message of change because of a simple choice of minister to pray for the success of his administration? Do you fear he'll pray for all homosexuals to endure an evil century of tribulations? I don't understand how this will affect the change agenda. The man is just saying a prayer taking maybe a minute. And, there aren't millions of accessible or well-known preachers who support homosexuality. An administration can't please every demographic. The Change agenda focused on strengthening middle class americans irrespective of sexuality, race, or religion. I thought that is why we as Americans came together, to support a nation that looks pass race, sexuality, and religion and unites to help each other live the American Dream.