There is much weeping and wailing on the Left today, because Rev. Rick Warren, God Nazi and pastor of the fundie Saddleback Church, will give the invocation at the inaugural.
â€œYour invitation to Reverend Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at your inauguration is a genuine blow to LGBT Americans,â€ the president of Human Rights Campaign, Joe Solomonese, wrote Obama Wednesday. â€œ[W]e feel a deep level of disrespect when one of architects and promoters of an anti-gay agenda is given the prominence and the pulpit of your historic nomination.â€
Warren isn’t just a walking insult to LGBT Americans; he’s a walking insult to our species, especially women. What Warren represents makes my skin crawl. His presence in the inaugural program is particularly galling to religious liberals, who have been vilified and marginalized for years by the so-called “Christian” Right. And then to have religion represented by this creep at the inauguration … . well, yes, people are angry. This is certainly understandable.
On the other hand, one could see the Warren invocation as a fairly meaningless conciliatory gesture that (I assume) is meant to signal Americans that Obama intends to be the POTUS of all Americans, not just the ones who support him, as was the case with G.W. Bush. Warren’s presence on the inaugural program is hardly a signal that Warren is going to be given a cabinet position.
I do not think, as some have assumed, that Obama is trying to pick up rightie religious voters in future elections. If he is, then he’s stupid, but I don’t think Obama is that stupid. Certainly Warren and his followers will not stop being opponents of everything beneficial and humane in government policy. However, Warren’s participation in the program may send a signal to not-crazy Christians that, see, we aren’t opposing the religious Right’s agenda because we want to destroy them. We tolerate them, more than they tolerate us. We just disagree with them. It’s not personal. This is not a bad signal to send. If nothing else, it shows that Obama is bigger than they are.
Overlooked in the anger over the choice of Warren is the choice of the Reverend Dr. Joseph E. Lowery to give the benediction.
On the third hand, if I had one, I think that if there is going to be prayer and other religious expression at what is a government function, religions other than Christianity ought to be represented. Otherwise, the program appears to be a form of religious establishment.
Update: Read Pastor Dan’s take. Pastor Dan believes the choice of Warren was strictly personal on Obama’s part, not part of some political calculation. I am inclined to agree with that. Also,
One of the reasons “Wrightgate” didn’t take off is that Americans don’t like folks coming between them and their pastors. The dynamic is going to be the same with Warren, except that it’ll have the added benefit of fueling the “liberals hate God” line of crap. I can almost guarantee you that Bill O’Reilly has his storylines already written: the nutroots can’t stand religion because they don’t like poor little Ricky Warren. As if that weren’t bad enough, because it’s a personal choice, Obama is more than likely going to get his back up about it. Standard disclaimers apply: I’m not telling anyone not to protest this, just understand what you’re getting into, blah blah blah…
On the other hand,
On a strictly professional level, this is a goddamn embarrassment.