Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Speechless: Rev. Rick Warren asked to do invocation at Obama inauguration

I'm speechless.

I've just received an email from People for the American Way that Rev. Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church, an evangelical megachurch pastor who urged his congregants to support Prop 8 and is fervently anti-choice, has been asked to do the invocation at the Obama inauguration.

There are thousands of well known brilliant progressive religious leaders, including women, people of color, and those whose theology is embracing, that could have been invited to do this. My initial feeling is one of betrayal. For every pro-choice voter and every LGBT voter who worked tirelessly for this election, I think we deserve an explanation...and an assurance that we can count on this new administration to stand with us -- as we stood with them.

My heart feels a little broken for this moment.

17 comments:

Nancy Hardesty said...

This is probably a well-intentioned gesture of inclusivity on Barak Obama's part, but with you I am extremely dismayed at this choice. While Rick Warren is a bit progressive on some issues, he is still not on board with most of those that define my life.

On the other hand, in the larger scheme of things, this is a small public gesture. It is not a cabinet appointment or a policy-makng post. Thank, God for that.

Joan said...

Thank you for alerting us to this -- I too am heartsick. I have sent the link to your statement to the Obama campaign group here in Maryland, with the fervent plea that they do whatever they can to communicate this to those planning the Inauguration.

Anonymous said...

In the bigger scheme of his administration, the person who gives the inaugural invocation is not really significant. More important is who he cooses to advise him which he has done a great job with. I don't feel it is a batrayal. I feel it is yet another example of Mr. Obama reaching across the table to dialogue with people of all beliefs. Do I feel a little sad? Yes, I do. But I don't see it as a failing or a betrayal to those of us who supported him and still do.

Cynthia Landrum said...

How sad and confusing.

Angela in Ohio said...

I tend to agree that its just a small gesture. Is this supposed to counter-balance the whole Rev.Wright stuff?

Back In The Day, Boy! said...

I found your site through your comment at Am Prospect. I copied the quote at the end from an earlier post of yours. Because of the facts you list, I really don't feel we have any need to fear Rick Warren's appearance at the inaugural. Check out the WSJ's Washington Wire blog for a complete list of inaugeration participants.

It is refreshing to have a polititian who is as inclusive as Obama seems to be. Can he sucessfully bring together people like R.Warren and J.Lowery? Is Obama THE politician who will finally find a way to bridge the gap between pro-choice and anti-abortion folk?

I'm an aging DFH, and I feel Obama is the partial fulfillment of the reformist aspect of the Sixies. I am just thankful I have an opportunity to live for a time under an administration that will not be doing hateful things in my name. I'm giving him every benefit of the doubt.

"[A] majority of Americans support legal abortion, a majority support either marriage or civil unions for same-sex couples, and a majority elected a pro-choice, pro-sexuality education, pro-family planning President."

Joel Monka said...

I'm surprised at your surprise. What made you think he was a champion of the LGBT community? His stand on gay marriage and gay rights is exactly identical to Sarah Palin's- that was even agreed to by Joe Biden in the debate. Why act shocked that a devout Christian, who belonged to a megachurch that didn't support marriage equality, would ask a like-minded pastor to do the invocation?

Bill Baar said...

Obama's spiritual mentor the Rev Meeks should have tipped you off here...

...there is plenty you don't know about our new Prez.

Welcome to the real world.

Bill Baar said...

Joel...his stand on Gays far worse than Palin's. Obama's friend the Rev and Illinois State Senator Meeks was violently homophobic... his church what have boys on halloween in a haunted hause depicted as gays burning in hell...

You get far more acceptance from Evangelicals like Palin who follow a condem the sin, accept the sinner line...

And then of course we have Obama's friendship with Farrahkan who speaks very violently about gays...

It's not like the warnings weren't out there. Wait till Obama brings some of these NOI types into secondary appointments.

Anonymous said...

did Rick Warren even vote for Obama???

Rick Howe said...

Oops! I just read the paragraph below by Kathryn Kolbert. This choice of Warren is worse than I originally though.

"Pastor Warren, while enjoying a reputation as a moderate based on his affable personality and his church’s engagement on issues like AIDS in Africa, has said that the real difference between James Dobson and himself is one of tone rather than substance. He has recently compared marriage by loving and committed same-sex couples to incest and pedophilia. He has repeated the Religious Right’s big lie that supporters of equality for gay Americans are out to silence pastors. He has called Christians who advance a social gospel Marxists. He is adamantly opposed to women having a legal right to choose an abortion."

Rick Howe

LiberalDem said...

"Pastor Warren, while enjoying a reputation as a moderate based on his affable personality and his church’s engagement on issues like AIDS in Africa, has said that the real difference between James Dobson and himself is one of tone rather than substance. He has recently compared marriage by loving and committed same-sex couples to incest and pedophilia. He has repeated the Religious Right’s big lie that supporters of equality for gay Americans are out to silence pastors. He has called Christians who advance a social gospel Marxists. He is adamantly opposed to women having a legal right to choose an abortion."

This gets to the heart of the matter. Warren would cheerfully consign gay people to hell, and women to back-alley abortions. How can he possibly be considered suitable?

Anonymous said...

I am concerned by how quickly some commenters have been to dismiss Warren's participation in Obama's administration as insignificant. If Rev. Jeremiah Wright had been selected, do any of us believe that conservatives would written it off as a small gesture?

Rick Howe said...

I hope I am not pursuing this issue beyond usefulness, but it certainly has lit up the blogosphere.

I found the following insight at the Washington Monthly site.

"Obama isn't validating Warren by extending this invitation, Warren is validating Obama by accepting it. And since Warren has millions of evangelical supporters, his 'endorsement' will benefit Obama more in the long run."

Rick Howe

Wayne said...

I share your feelings 100% Debra, and as a gay man I deeply appreciate your thinking and reactions. It is reassuring to know that it is not just gay people who are feeling hurt, betrayed and angry about this invitation. Wayne

gambrell said...

Read for yourself what Saddleback Church has to say on the matter of gays and lesbians. It's not nice. It's not acceptable.

http://www.saddlebackfamily.com/membership/group_finder/faqs_smallgroup.asp?id=7509#q_49

What does the Bible say about homosexuality?
 The Bible very clearly says that homosexuality is a sin.

"Homosexuality is absolutely forbidden, for it is an enormous sin." (Lev. 18:22 TLB)



"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." (1 Cor 6:9-11 NIV)



While all sin is destructive, Romans 6 warns us of the great dangers in sexual sin when it says, "Run away from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body." (1 Cor 6:18 NLT) This includes not only homosexuality, but all sexual immorality: adultery, sex without marriage, pornography. We must not act as if homosexuality is the only serious sexual sin, and we must not act as if homosexuality is not a serious sexual sin.



I've heard it asked, "Isn't being homosexual something that a person is physically born with?" First of all, there are absolutely no facts to support this claim. From time to time studies have been reported in the news that seemed to indicate this, but every one of these studies has proven to be wrong. Secondly, even if some physical difference were discovered, it would be no excuse for sin. We know that some people can develop a stronger physical addiction to alcohol than others, but that's obviously no excuse for living an alcoholic lifestyle.



Finally, a word about being judgmental. It's not judgmental to say that what the Bible calls a sin is a sin, that's just telling the truth. Not being willing to talk to someone caught up in sin, or not believing that they can be forgiven, or thinking that you are not just as much in need of Jesus as they are ... that's being judgmental.



Because membership in a church is an outgrowth of accepting the Lordship and leadership of Jesus in one’s life, someone unwilling to repent of their homosexual lifestyle would not be accepted at a member at Saddleback Church. That does not mean they cannot attend church – we hope they do! God’s Word has the power to change our lives.



In equal desire to follow Jesus, we also would not accept a couple into membership at Saddleback who were not willing to repent of the sexual sin of living together before marriage. That does not mean this couple cannot attend church – we hope they do! God’s Word has the power to change our lives.

Debra W. Haffner said...

I think this may be the most comments one of my blogs has gotten. Interesting observation, Rick Howe...I hope that that might be true. Thank you, Gambrell, for the link to Saddleback on these issues. I passed it on. Just imagine if they only let people who cared for the poor, the orphan, and the widow into membership.

One comment I received offline has stayed with me and made me once again think that homophobia is the last accepted bastion of bigotry...could one imagine that an anti-semitic or anti-israel minister would have been selected? one who is racist? Why is it then that someone who denigrates women's moral agency and lesbians and gay men, comparing them to pedophiles and persons who commit incest, could be?

And finally, Wayne, of course. But I support full incusion not because I want to stand with you for YOUR rights (although of course I do) BUT because I understand that sexual and gender diversity is a blessing and that my sexual rights are not secured if other consenting adults are not.