Obama is going to have Rick Warren give the invocation at his inauguration, and this has a lot of people upset. A sample:
This selection is clearly not about “change”—it’s about making a high profile decision to give the stage over to a known homophobe; choosing Rick Warren is tantamount to asking any of the professional anti-gay “Christian” set to stand up there. There is no excuse for this; given there are so many leaders of the faith community that are in alignment with equality for all.
I understand this sentiment completely. I really do. In fact, in large part, I agree. I would prefer someone else.
But I also understand that I would much rather have Warren given a few minutes to speak about religion at a time and manner appropriate for religious discussion than I would having Obama give a nod to the religious right by appointing the God squad to Justice, to the FDA, to NASA, and so on. When Rick Warren and folks like him are driving policy in an Obama administration, I will then muster the necessary outrage.
So while not my first choice, not a big deal. Let him speak for a few minutes and be done with them. I will spend the time pouring a drink or going to the bathroom.
*** Update ***
This makes sense:
If you followed the internal politics of evangelical and fundamentalist leaders, you’d see this for what it is—not an elevation of Warren, but a slap in the face of the old guard leaders like Dobson and LaHaye. They’ve been fighting to see who gets to be the spokesman for the movement, and lately it’s been a tie. Obama just broke it.
And let’s be clear, there is a difference between those groups. Warren may not be progressive on gay rights, but he’s been out front on a number of issues of global justice—traveling from Davos to Damascus, and working hard to get rank-and-file evangelicals invested in “creation care” environmentalism and the fight against global HIV/AIDS.
If he were put in charge of HHS or listened to on gay policies, I’d be pissed. But what Obama is doing here isn’t that. It’s a move that marginalizes the worst on the religious right, elevates a guy who’s more progressive than most religious leaders on a number of issues, and earns him some moderate cred at the outset.
If Obama sells out on the progressive promise in actual policy, I’ll be in the streets protesting with everyone else. But if his “selling out” is having a fairly moderate, popular evangelical give the invocation at the inaugural—when large sections of this country still worry Obama’s a scary evil Mooooslim—then who gives a flying fuck?