Friday, December 19, 2008

Change I'm Having Trouble Believing In

The Rick Warren inaugural invitation is a real slap at those who supported Obama as a principled yet pragmatic leader. Certainly, his willingness to put people in his cabinet who may have divergent opinions has showed that pragmatic side. However, inaugurations carry powerful symbols that can't be ignored. Rick Warren's lack of respect for homosexuals and non-believers should disqualify him from giving him such a forum.

So what is the change we were supposed to believe in? Was it merely competent government? Or was it a fundamental change in direction and change in the ways things are to be done. More than anything, will Obama use the bully-pulpit to speak out against intolerance? Or will he continue to give a forum to those who wish to use the apparatus of the state to harm those they demonize?

We'll all survive a prayer from this wingnut. Since there is no God, I'm pretty sure whatever Rick Warren says in his prayer will not be given any divine traction. But enabling intolerance isn't respecting a diversity of opinion. Some opinions aren't worthy of respect. Do I respect the way muslims treat women? No. Do I respect the way Mormons treated people of African descent for the majority of their history? No I don't. And I don't respect many of the viewpoints of Rick Warren and am troubled that this man will have a prominent seat at an inaugural that was supposed to represent a change in direction for our country.


Anonymous said...

For the record, if I were to ever become president, I would have my good friend, the man who married my wife and I, an openly gay Episcopalian priest, give the invocation. I am not Episcopalian, by the way.

Obi, since there is no God, and since Obama is a self described Christian, doesn't that make Obama irrational and just plain stupid for believing in such a fairy tale?

As for opinions I have no respect for, how about anyone who has ever voted in favor of our current farm subsidy programs which are a cheap naked pander to ADM (HQ in Illinois, not coincidently) and have cost this planet dearly. Who voted for them? Obama. Who voted against them? McCain. If you thought you were getting change, you didn't do your homework.

just-commenting said...

I think that whomever he chooses is to some extent a no-win situation. The Gay community would probably settle for no one less than Rev Robinson or someone else who is no more unifying than Warren.

I think Warren (who would definitely not be my choice) can be inflammatory and bigoted, and I do not know what Obama was thinking, but he does seem to be saying that he will not be pushed into pandering to either extreme of the spectrum, whether it be political, philosphical, or religious. If he was making a statement, it seems to be that he is willing to listen to both extremes, whether he agrees with them or not.

If that is so, it is a real change to have a leader who allows expression of opinions that do not agree with what he is thinking at the moment.

The Gay community is no longer just asking for civil rights and equal treatment under the law. They are now insisting that no one be allowed to even have a personal opinion that their behavior is immoral.

I was hoping that we are moving beyond a time when we try to dictate what people THINK. I hope that Rev Warren behaves himself and think that a public function such as the inauguration would be a very inappropriate place to express his opinions. But whether I agree with him or not (and I generally do not), I think that it is wrong for anyone to tell him how he must think, just as it is wrong to tell people in the Gay community how they should think.

derekstaff said...

If there has to be a prayer at an official state function (a proposition I oppose; keep church and state separated!), then I wish Obama had chosen Jim Wallis, Rabbi Michael Lerner, or any number of other religious leaders with no connection to the religious right. It is one thing to try to bridge divides, another entirely to try "change" which looks exactly like what we've dealt with for years on the Right.