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Rick Warren Not Right, Barack Obama Not Wrong

December 18, 2008

Given my political leanings and views it would seem hard for me tonight to be in the middle concerning the hot topic of Rick Warren.  Yet here in the middle I stand.

Readers know I am usually staked out on one side of the issue or the other, and hold a rather firm position.   However, tonight I am in the middle of the fight and can see both ends of the divide.  This is a new place to view the world.

By now everyone knows that Rick Warren will provide the invocation at Barack Obama’s inaugural next month.  Not only is this a very important tone setting message, but a platform from which views can be transmitted to an extremely large segment of the nation.  Rick Warren has attempted, and in some ways succeeded in making himself a more moderate voice of modern Christian thinking.  As an example some have applauded him for placing poverty back into the forefront of what the churches should be focused on. (I find it hard to understand how it could not be at the center of priorities given the Bible, and the many messages about that topic.)

But there is a side to Rick Warren that has troubled and angered many.  That is his antipathy towards gay people, based on his own words and actions.  There is only one group in the nation that still finds itself deemed acceptable by far too many Americans to be dealt with in this fashion.  If Warren had made the same comments about Jews, Catholics, or people who drive foreign cars, as he did about gay people, he would never have been allowed to speak at the Inaugural. 

So while I strongly oppose the views of Rick Warren on the topic of gay people and civil rights, I am less upset about his role at the Inaugural than many are tonight across this land.

The reason is that Barack Obama set a different tone in the political campaign, and promised that the nation would have a different conversation under his leadership.  That is one of the reasons I supported him for President. 

Rick Warren, while wrong and dogmatic over gay people, must be placed among those conservatives  who have  over-all intelligence.  After the last eight years that is not a small thing to be grateful for.  I think on many larger issues (other than civil rights) Rick Warren may not be a bad ally to have.

I also feel that Barack Obama, despite the political statements that he had to say to stop the GOP conservative attack dogs in the campaign, understands the needs of gay Americans.  I think in his heart Obama knows that gay marriage is a proper and just policy.  I think Obama will work to overturn ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’, and will advance other issues that are important to many millions in the nation tonight.

But it is important to know that Barack Obama sees the larger picture, and understands only a strong and credible President can move the country.  Leadership requires pragmatic decisions which often make short-sighted people all nervous.  The aim of effective governance is the long-term consequences.

So yes, Rick Warren is going to be a speaker at the Inaugural, and some goodwill can be expected to be passed around.  Barack Obama will need those type of across-the-aisle interactions if he is to succeed at the larger goals of his agenda.  Am I implying that Rick Warren is being used?  I guess I am to a degree, but also hope he wants his country to get beyond the current hole it now is in.  And I suspect he wants a larger role for himself in the nation, and is working on that now. 

In the end I have faith that Barack Obama will be the type of President he said he would be.  I have faith that in four years gay Americans will have more rights.  Faith is not often a term used in politics any more.  Just call me old-fashioned.

  1. tomjerkweed permalink
    January 16, 2009 4:56 PM

    What I don’t understand is that advocates of same sex marriage have insisted, including you that they would never interfere and will do nothing to interfere to force unwilling churches to perform gay wedding ceremonies. Yet, I feel Pastor Warren’s role in Obama’s inauguration reveals the underlying intolerance in the gay agenda. The politically correct want Warren booted from giving the invocation because he opposes gay marriages, subjecting him to the same angry attack that will ultimately come to any Pastor, Reverend or Clergyman who says “no” to a gay wedding ceremony.

  2. tomjerkweed permalink
    December 26, 2008 11:14 AM

    Question for John Bisceglia. Would Reverend Jeremiah Wright be more of your cup of tea to speak at the inaugural? He’s okay I suppose – someone that G.D.’s America and white folk. I am sure he is a great guy in other respects as well.

  3. tomjerkweed permalink
    December 24, 2008 3:14 PM

    It looks Barack is starting to sell all of the extreme lefties down the river….

    Or maybe Rick Warren is really a “Latter-Day” Billy Graham..

    Wouldn’t that be cool…

    Merry Christmas.

  4. Solly permalink
    December 22, 2008 9:32 AM

    What? Was John Hagee not available? Then Obama could have reached even farther out to encourage dialogue and promoted both homophobia and anti-Catholicism

  5. December 20, 2008 3:33 PM

    Inviting Rick Warren to speak at the Presidential inauguration is tantamount to inviting O.J. Simpson to speak at a women’s shelter.

    Evan Wolfson guesstimates we will have Federal Marriage Equality in about 30 years (which would almost certainly require equality in employment and the military also).

    So we need to either EMBRACE the fact that most of us over 40 will NOT see Full Federal Equality in our lifetime and remain “patient” as our civil rights crawl to the finish line…- OR – We could begin to TREAT the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT as it treats US.

    Two American Myths:

    * Equal Protection Under the Law (except for gays)
    * Separation of Church & State (except when the law applies to gays or a woman’s womb)

    When Obama invited this “christian” to his speak at his inauguration, he invited a man who believes the Q-community are INFERIOR; “less than”. Let’s quit sugar-coating these turds! Being asked to “respect other’s opinions” doesn’t fly when those “opinions” are harmful lies about an entire segment of the population. Those “opinions” are tantamount to the extremely offensive beliefs and ideas our country once had about “negros” and “wives”, words and ideas that would NEVER FLY TODAY at an inauguration. Words and ideas that would incite riots today.

  6. House permalink
    December 18, 2008 10:03 PM

    I appreciate your middle of the road view, and tend to agree with it on this issue. Obama ran his campaign on bringing this country together. All sides on all issues. And I think that’s the best way to unite our country. I see nothing wrong with the man speaking, but I would see something wrong with him playing a big role in Obama’s ear. Good post.

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