This is one for the "better late than never" file. Rick Warren. He explains here that he is not homophobic, and yet he thinks that gay marriage is equivalent to a marriage between and adult and a child, a brother and a sister, or a man and multiple women. He claims, incorrectly, that throughout time, all major religions define marriage as between a man and a woman. Um. Helloooooooooo. Ever heard of John Smith, Pastor Rick?
But while the rest of the world was having exasperated conniption fits about Mr. Warren's selection, I was finding it terribly difficult to give a shit. I don't concern myself much with religious folks. I find it impossible to live my life according to the tenets set down by Bronze Age "thinkers", who modified folk tales and peddled delusions of being God's chosen race with an incredible capacity for hatred, slavery, revenge and justice meted out at the end of an axe--or worse yet, as part of a gory, God-of-Abraham-pacifying sacrifice. Neither do I much go for the feelgoodness of New Age "spiritualism". My brain doesn't work that way. So the selection of inaugural woo-meister matters about as much to me as what pattern they put on my toilet paper.
But it matters a great deal to others. And I listened to as many sides as I could. The objections appear to fall in three main camps:
1) Warren is anti-gay and the LBGT community was instrumental in getting Obama elected. The truth in the latter part of that statement can certainly be disputed, but I will give you that the gay community probably did support Obama in large numbers. But look at the alternative they had. I mean, isn't "gay Republican" an oxymoron? He spoke out about his support of Prop 8 in California and the gay community seems to be looking to vilify any and all supporters of that measure. I've made clear my opinions on Prop 8 for anyone interested in refreshing their memories.
2) Warren is against legalized abortion. I'm unclear whether this is in all cases or if he will make exceptions. But let's assume that he is of the Palin ilk and against it in any circumstances. Does this surprise anyone? He's an evangelical. And yet, self-described feminists are up in arms over this. Now, women weren't so single-minded in their political support this election (or in their support of abortion), so Obama is probably good with ignoring that far-left pissed-off feminist demographic. (And before you begin piling on, I don't think that ALL feminists are far-left or pissed off, it's just that that seems to be the sub-group that finds this point MOST offensive. I clearly consider myself a feminist as well.) In this case, it's not Warren in particular that is so offensive as evangelicals in general. And last time I looked, we didn't have feminists protesting evangelical services across the country. I'm feeling pretty weak on this point. Especially since I'm pretty clear on Obama's position on abortion and I can live with it.
3) Warren is against federal support for research using embryonic stem cells, and he doesn't believe in evolution. Dipshit. Dipshit. Dipshit. Oh, did I mention that I think people who claim not to "believe" in evolution are stupid? Well, now I have. So sure, he's a moron, but he's certainly not alone. Once again, an evangelical bent here. Obama has come out saying he supports federal support for stem cell research and he believes in evolution.
I think the thing that pisses the left off the most about Warren is that he is being praised for his work in Africa on AIDS. He believes in human-induced climate change and the need to do something about it. He is not your garden variety evangelical. But still, solidly evangelical.
So I've tried to listen to everyone's beefs and consider them in the context of my own world vision. So, to get to the big question...should Warren be given a national audience on one of the most historic days in our nation's short history?
Hell to the no.
He has worked hard to advance his beliefs. He has done much good in his life. He motivates people to live, according to their beliefs, a better, more meaningful life. He tries, according to his belief, to be a positive force in the universe. But he cannot change the fact that he is a bigot.
A big fat, woo-spouting, white, Christian bigot, and I reject nearly everything upon which he bases his morality.
The question then becomes--should America be expected to tolerate bigotry? It would seem that Obama thinks so. So I have to ask, Mr. Obama, what level of tolerance should I be expected to exhibit?
Do I support those, who, based on religious convictions, harass women seeking abortion services? Do I support them when they start blowing up clinics and murdering physicians? Do I applaud as right-wing nuts hold back research that might lead to a wave of life-saving treatments? How about I run to the defense of the bat-shit crazy evangelical nut case that walked into a New Age business in my community and attempted to set the store owner on FIRE for selling "heretical" icons? Should I welcome evangelical Christians who think that it's okay to prevent people from humane treatment in the courts, our health care system, and in their every day lives, simply because they are different? Do I smile in blissful tolerance when Rick Warren tells me that Prop 8 was going to turn his Sunday sermons into prosecutable hate speech? Do I stand by and say nothing when I hear people slinging epithets at one another on the street? Do I join in so they don't feel so uneducated and alone? Do I lend my support to those who blackball Jews and Communists and nigger-loving honkies? Maybe I should have Mark Fuhrman and O.J. over for a reconciliatory dinner. How do I distinguish between bigotry that is okay, and bigotry that is intolerable? Someone needs to send me a copy of the Bigot Handbook so I can get this all clear in my head.
Rick Warren is not okay because it is not okay to give anyone a national platform on which to stand and wrap himself in a halo of Christian benevolence when he is, in fact, an intolerant, ignorant bigot.
And we got enough big fat steaming piles of bigotry in this country without patting them on the hand and telling them it's alright.
By God (pun intended), it ain't alright.
I vowed not to pick on Obama until he actually took office. Then again, marriage has vows and I broke those, too. Mr. Obama, you are wrong. Rick Warren is a very bad idea. Don't let this pattern continue or you risk my becoming disillusioned with you.