Sunday, December 21, 2008

One More On Rick Warren -- Who Would You Have Liked?

Religious Dispatches asked me to write a piece on Friday evening.

Read it here:

On several list servs and blogs, people have asked who might have been a better choice, and if there even are pro-lgbt and pro-choice evangelicals or African American ministers.

Yes and yes. The Religious Institute clergy network includes both. Rev. Lowery is both.

It also includes outstanding women clergy who didn't make the short list either. Half of our clergy network are women.

So, I've been thinking about who I wished had been selected, who are members of our network or who would have been a signal that evangelical viewpoints are welcome too.

Tell me who YOU might have suggested.

My short list of nationally recognized religious leaders who would be inclusive:

Rev. Bill Sinkford, President of the UUA

Rev. John Thomas, President of the UCC, President-elect Obama's religious home for the past 20 years

Rabbi David Saperstein, Union for Reform Judaism, who did the invocation before the nomination

Sister Joan Chittister, Benedictine nun and author

Bishop Yvette Flunder, founder of the Fellowship Churches

Rev. Tony Campolo, my personal favorite evangelical minister

Rev. Martin Marty, beloved American religious historian who would have crossed across almost all lines

That's just a start...who might you have suggested if asked?


Anonymous said...

Though I'm a Unitarian Universalist, I might have liked to have seen Kathleen Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church USA. Of course, that wouldn't be a choice with the American Episcopalians in schism.

Anonymous said...

So you would have had Obama choose two ministers from the religious left?

Debra W. Haffner said...

Philocrites, how are Martin Marty or Tony Campolo the religious left? And do we really want that label for the UUA, the UCC, and the Reform Jews?

I like the Schori recommendation! Rev. James Forbes just came to mind as well.

Anonymous said...

I don't think there's a way to deny that the UUA, UCC, and Reform Judaism are part of the religious left. No one would perceive a national figure from one of these groups as representing anything but the left-of-center religious world.

Martin Marty and Tony Campolo are ordained academics. Campolo is indisputably seen as a politically progressive Evangelical, like Jim Wallis. Marty is a liberal Protestant.

The point of my question is to wonder whether you think a presidential inauguration should only include representatives of Democratic-aligned or progressive religious traditions.

Robin Edgar said...

I would have suggested the Reverend Doctor Eric Theodore Catman III. ;-)

Regardless of whether or not the UUA wants to be "labeled" as "the religious left" that is the label that it has effectively earned, if not vied for. Need I remind U*Us that The Oregonian newspaper described Unitarian*Universalism as "the church of the far left" when reporting on the 2007 UUA GA in Portland Oregon? Please note the *far left* designation.

Just how nationally recognized is UUA President Bill Sinkford anyway? If American citizens were asked who Bill Sinkford is, how many would be able to answer that he is President of the UUA? Why would President-elect Barack Obama even seriously consider choosing the figurehead of a religious community that has been labeled as a "tiny, declining, fringe religion" by one of the candidates for the next President of the UUA, Rev. Peter Morales, to speak at his inauguration?

Bill Baar said...

A liberal Muslim or a Military Chaplain.