Although Rick Warren takes his Christian beliefs seriously, he has always come across as a centrist politically. In other words, he can fairly be called “religious,” but he’s not really a member of the “religious right.”
Since that’s the case and since Barack Obama has spent much of his adult life surrounded by ultra-left wing, pseudo-Christian wackadoodles like Jeremiah Wright and Michael Pfleger, Warren seems to be a sensible choice to do his inaugural invocation.
However, Obama’s selection of Warren is flipping out the left side of the blogosphere, which is generally appalled by people who hold mainstream Christian beliefs.
Enjoy the reaction, folks!
“Throughout the campaign, there were a few times when I was irritated with the Obama campaign, but I have never been so angry with Obama and his staff. By choosing homophobe Rick Warren, who helped pass Prop 8 in California, to do the invocation at the inauguration, Barack Obama just said to LGBT Americans that we’re not part of that event. Thanks.” — AMERICAblog
“Wanker of the Day: Barack Obama.” — Atrios
“What kind of insult is it to all those people who just had their rights swiped out from under them in California for you to give one of the supporters of that theft such an important public platform? Do you even realize what a total dick move you’re making? Anyone who rewards that kind of raw bigotry and theocracy has got to be either 100% conscious of his actions or completely in the dark: which is it?
Mr. Obama, if this is what we can expect from your administration, I am sorely disappointed. I come on!” — Brendan Calling
“What a spit in the eye to the GBLT community in particular, and to anyone who supports equality, dignity and justice under the law.” — Daily Kos
“So many pro-choicers, gay activists, and progressive Christians worked their asses off to elect Obama, which makes Obama’s decision to give Warren a platform at the inauguration a real f*ck-you.” — Feministing
“President-elect Obama chose eliminationist hate preacher Rick Warren to give the invocation at Obama’s Inaguration. With this choice, Obama sends three destructive messages. Number one: In Obama’s America, equal rights and reproductive freedom aren’t for everyone. Number two: President-elect Obama likes sharing the national stage with hate. Number three: While Obama enjoys his equality before the law, LGBT Americans can go to Hell. Literally. Gee. Is this change we can believe in?” — Firedoglake
“I’ve been willing to swallow a lot of distaste for some of Obama’s choices in the transition phase, but this is really going too far. The Inauguration Committee just announced that Rick Warren, charlatan pastor of Saddleback Church, who lied his face off about the so-called cone of silence during the presidential debate he hosted, is going to deliver the invocation.
…I’ve left aside that they shouldn’t really even have a religious invocation at the inaugural because it’s become a tradition now. But my friend Capt. Fogg left an excellent comment that I urge to read in full. The main point being, “Religious rituals have no place at all in government. It’s the law. Belief in God or gods is not part of public policy: that’s the law, and if no religious test may be imposed for office, which is the law, why then are we asking a president to demonstrate his private religiosity in public, as part of his inauguration?” — The Impolitic
You’d think a guy who wanted to be a president for all Americans, someone who wanted to be inclusive and eschew partisanship, would at least have the decency to choose someone who wasn’t already a famous, political, controversial, pseudo-moderate right-wing creep to give the invocation at the inauguration, wouldn’t you? Someone who wasn’t a pants-on-fire bigot? Maybe someone who had read the Gospels closely enough not to…
His public support for California’s Proposition 8 – the measure that successfully passed and called for outlawing gay marriage in the state – sparked the ire of many gay rights proponents, who seized on a comment in an October newsletter to his congregation: “This is not a political issue – it is a moral issue that God has spoken clearly about.” — The Sideshow
“Shrewd politics, but if anyone is under any illusion that Obama is interested in advancing gay equality, they should probably sober up now. He won’t be as bad as the Clintons (who, among leading Democrats, could?), but pandering to Christianists at his inauguration is a depressing omen.” — Andrew Sullivan
“Right Wing Watch is reporting that President-Elect Obama has chosen Pastor Rick Warren, author, leader of the Saddleback Church, and arch anti-gay and anti-atheist bigot, to deliver the invocation at his Inauguration.
…This is more than a serious faux pas; this is an insult to all the queers and non-believers who worked their *sses off to elect Obama-Biden. We need to let the President-Elect know that parading a homophobic bigot at his big parade rains on ours.” — Mike Tidmus
PS: Although I do believe Warren is a good choice to do Obama’s inaugural invocation, I don’t think his selection is a telling omen about Barack’s governing philosophy. Same goes for the supposedly “centrist” advisers Obama’s selecting. If you’re going to veer way off to the left, making some largely symbolic and inconsequential gestures towards the middle to provide cover makes a lot of sense.
PS #2: If you’re surprised by all the liberal criticism of Obama over this issue after the Left’s subservient attitude towards him previously, you wouldn’t be if you had read a column I wrote back in September of 2007 called “Explaining Liberal Thinking In A Single Column.” Here’s an excerpt,
“…This same thinking leads to very little criticism of liberals by other liberals. Liberals will ferociously defend and even happily echo the lies of other liberals. Liberal feminists will defend Bill Clinton and Ted Kennedy. Liberals who pride themselves on being tolerant of other races will support Robert Byrd. Why? Because even if they’re wrong, they’re still fellow liberals — which must mean they’re nice people. What this leads to is an attitude that can be summed up like so: “The only things that a liberal can do wrong is to be insufficiently liberal, to question an important plank of the liberal agenda, or to do something politically that aids conservatives.”