Thursday, December 18, 2008

Obama chooses bigot to preside over inauguration

... and so what?  Rick Warren, creator of the Purpose Driven Life franchise, has been chosen by President-elect Barack Obama to give the invocation at the upcoming inauguration event.

I appreciate Obama's principle of inclusivity but disagree with the act.  The inauguration is a national event and to bring such an agent of intolerance onto the foremost stage to the world is a clear mistake.  Talk to Rick Warren, pray for Rick Warren, reason with Rick Warren, praise Rick Warren for his positive acts in the fight againse AIDS in Africa, but please do not put him on the Inaugural podium.

I've read Warren's keystone book about Christianity's place in a person life and while I found it fatuous and pointless, I understand the positive impact this work has had on many peoples' lives, but that does not change the social stances that Mr. Warren has taken.  It's Warren's parochial social views with which I take issue.  He has compared homosexuality to pedophilia and incest; he has taken a stand against stem cell research and a woman's reproductive rights; he has been an apologist for Bush's torture policies and has called for the assassination of a democratically elected world leader; and these should not be condoned by President Obama who has been supported by people whose lives are deeply and directly affected by these issues.

Marc Ambinder makes the point that Obama is acting from a different paradigm whereby we listen to all points of view and do not punish those who differ by excluding them from the process.

In his short political career, Obama has deftly manipulated political symbols to his advantage, but he's never been one to pay homage to one of the most sacred regulations of identity politics, which is that one must take care of one's own kind before turning outward.  His mind operates differently. Obama does believe, as many of his supporters do, that there are uncrossable demarcation lines between the reasonable and the profane. But he doesn't believe that Warren, someone he admires for reaching outside his (Warren's) comfort zone on AIDS, is all that different from himself.  Obama is simultaneously capable of admiring Warren while disdaining Warren's oogedy boogedy appraoch to gay relationships and his uninformed response to torture. Warren's views might be hurtful to gays; Obama does not think they are harmful. 

Couldn't disagree more.  Perhaps Mr. Obama can invite him to his home or his church, but please leave such small-minded bigots out of my nation's inauguration celebration.


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