Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Brief Case for Rick Warren

First of all, to all of you getting angry over Barack Obama's decision to have anti-gay, anti-abortion minister Rick Warren give his inaugural address: get over it. It doesn't matter. It is the political equivalent of the Deanscream circa 2000.

Second of all, rather than be disappointed in Barack Obama, I'm actually really glad he chose him. Here are my reasons:

1) We are allowed to disagree. Rhetoric of difference has defined us for eight years -- it's time to end it.

2) The man, for all his thoughts on stem cells and gay rights and abortion, has one thing right: evangelicals should focus on more than just social issues like the above mentioned three. Warren has long been an advocate for issues like poverty and climate change and the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

3) I truly believe he's a good man who believes in his cause -- after all, he donates back 90% of his salary. This is not a man after the limelight. We've heard about him a couple of times, but, really, he shies away from the light as often as he takes it so that he can do the work he believes is right. That, in the age of televangelism, is admirable. Let's be honest, how many of you really thought much about Rick Warren before this election season? And be honest. I only barely knew his name, and I am informed.

4) Obama is reaching out. He's telling the world, "I welcome all view points, not just those that agree with me." I think that's admirable.

5) As the Washington Post points out, this says just as much about the direction of evangelism in this country as it does about Barack Obama... that a preacher, who is known for being against Obama on just about every single major social issue, is willing and happy to support his inauguration. Rick Warren is saying this: get over it, there are more important issues.

I am a progressive, and I have no problem with Rick Warren. I'm not even going to put you "on notice," as some local bloggers have.

I'm ok with this. Because, in the end, I believe you'll do right for me.

And really, it doesn't matter.


Michael said...

Having discussions with people of different viewpoints is always a good thing. However, to me this feels like bestowing an honor on a bigot.

It doesn't discount Rick Warren's good deeds to say he also traffics in hate. Have you really listened to what he's said about gays?

By extension of your argument, should we also give a pulpit to white supremacists at the inauguration? I'm sure they do good things, too, after all.

Barry Floore said...

I think that's an extremist argument. GRANTED, Mr. Warren is vitriolically (is that a word?) anti-gay...

...but I follow Fireman Bob's (old In Living Color character of Jim Carrey's) theory of heaven.

When you get to the pearly gates, there's a giant pile of coins. For every good act you do, a coin goes in one pile. For every bad act you do, a coin goes in the other pile. The larger pile determines your fate.

But I stick to my original statement: in the end, it doesn't matter. It's not like he's determining policy or anything.

We have a lesbian in close advisement -- Office of Environmental Quality? -- a GAY MAN being considered for the Secretary of the Navy... he's gotten 3 latinos on his cabinet... etc.

This is a blip. And it doesn't matter.

Cincinnati NAMjA said...

This is the reasoning I was looking for.

Michael said...

Is it the most important thing? No. Will we be better off with Obama than we've been for the last eight years? Yes. Is Rick Warren the worst person in the world? No. On those things we agree.

I'll continue to disagree that this choice is insignificant. There are hundreds of other prominent religious people who could have been chosen who AREN'T one of the most vocal and active proponents of Prop 8, and who are not virulently anti-gay.

This inauguration is historic. For me, it's not OK that it will feature a man who compared same sex marriage to incest and pedophilia.