Thursday, January 01, 2009


A measured, hopeful take on the Rev. Rick Warren and the Obama inauguration

By Robin Meyers, senior minister of Mayflower Congregational UCC Church, Oklahoma City.

(Author of "Why the Christian Right is Wrong.")


How many times in the Bible did Jesus piss off the puritanicals by including the wrong people within his association. Even his cabinet members (aka disciples) call his hand on it so very often. Obama can do no worse that follow that example.
"United we stand, devided we fall,"
is as true today as two centuries ago.
Then there's the whole co-opting thing. Cynical or not, there's value in that.
OK, I read your pastor's position, and it has merit. It has theological and political and social merit.

I happen to believe, however, that while Obama demonstrated courage - perhaps - he also demonstrated a tin ear to the reality that there are other Christian voices in America. There are other religious voices in America. By choosing Rick Warren, Obama is giving an imprimatur to the most narrow, bigoted (there really is no other word) type of fundamentalist Christianity. While not enough attention has been paid to Ralph Abernathy and his role, I think that is precisely because the juxtaposition of Warren and Abernathy make the former choice look not just bad, but horrible.

I will indeed pray for Rick Warren. I will pray that he understand why liberals, both sacred and secular, are outraged at his place on the podium at the Capitol. Was Warren's hatred and ignorance directed at African-Americans, there is no question but he would be shunned. That we as a people can see the kind of hatred he spews towards our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters as matters of difference of opinion, with which we can live and discuss in a civil manner, shows how far we have to go.
Yes, but Rick Warren is a moderate, totally -- another indication of how far we have to go. He's no fundamentalist, not in the sense of the fundies you know in blodland. Seems to be an everyday garden-variety evangelical to me.
Rick Warren is no moderate. It is not "moderate" to equate being gay with being a pedophile. It is not moderate to insist that the American government should kill the head of the government of another sovereign nation-state. It is not moderate to claim that the American government exists to end evil.

We'll just have to agree to disagree on this point, good buddy.
Well, we agree on where Warren is relative to outselves. What I'm saying is he is squarely under the bell when it comes to the distribution of evangelicals. They are that far right. But he's no Don Wildmon.

(For reference purposes, I see James Dobson as to the right of the center of the bell, but not in the right tail, and Jim Whatshis (Sojourners) as to the left of the center of the bell, but not in the left tail.
It's a big continuum. Rick Warren appears to be somewhat more moderate than Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell (gays caused 9/11) or Lou Sheldon (put HIV+ folks in "cities of refuge"). I think his gay=pedophilia BS is pretty much right down the line typical for anyone on the right (far right or moderate right.)
what i don't get is that supposedly it is terrible for liberals to simply say that they don't like rick warren, and that he doesn't speak for them...but also that the conservative theologians are given the national spot-light at a national event, and they still complain about how they have "no voice' in America, and are being ground under. What more do they want? loudspeakers blaring scripture and invectives agains homosexuality in every public square?

I'd rather not have a hate-monger speaking at a public function, but it's his country too. Let him have his say, the homophobes are losing ground daily in the battlegrounds that matter, in that every day people hear the message he gives, and every day more people see it for what it is. The more he talks, the more he will hurt his cause...and it goes over the top to have them say 'oh look at that, the liberals have objections. See how we've been silenced!!!" it just brings the bs into sharp relief.

I never forget, that it was listening to conservatives for years and years that turned me liberal. :-)
I was going to say something, but I think I've made my point. While it is far too late in the game now to change things, it would be far preferable that Rick Warren watch the inauguration on TV from LA than stand on the platform and pray. I know God loves him, and all the birdies in the trees, too. That isn't what this is about. It would be nice if someone, somewhere, acknowledged the fact that not all Christians are "evangelicals", that not all evangelical Christians are either bigoted ignoramuses like Warren, or self-promoting media whores like Jim Wallis. Personally, a nice Rabbi or Imam would have sent quite the message; maybe both together in light of what's happening in the Gaza strip.

That would really piss off the right wing. Getting a rabbit and an Imam to pray together. Hoo-boy and boy-howdy.
Maybe the God Squad guys: Rabbi Marc Gellman and Monsignor Tom Hartman.
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