In case you have been busy with holidays and whatnot there is a political bruhaha boiling over Pastor Rick Warren and it deserves my two cents. Here it is in a nutshell. Rick Warren is an influencial pastor who wrote "The Purpose Driven Life". He hosted a political forum with Obama and McCain during the campaign season and is well-known for being an evangelical who focuses on things other than Abortion and hating gay people. He has been urging people to solve the climate crises and apply the principles of Christian mercy to the genocide in Darfur.
He also was quite influencial in getting Prop 8 passed in California, and has compared homosexuality to incest and polygamy.
Barack Obama has asked him, as well as another more liberal pastor, to give the opening prayer at his inaugeration ceremony.
At first glance, this feels like a kick in the gut to all of us GLBTA out there (yes, I’m an "A" ally, and if you’re reading this, you should be too). After Prop 8 stripped a whole section of americans of their basic right to share their life with the person they love, we are pretty sick and tired of being a punching bag. Online, the blogs are ripping into Obama for trying to score cheap points by "reaching across the aisle" to this homophobe. Rachel Maddow, a liberal anchor on MSNBC, called it "Obama’s first mistake as president".
Obama has said that he is a fierce supporter of gay rights (he is for civil unions, or "everything but the word" gay marriages) and that he likes to open dialogues with those who his disagrees with. Dan Savage has called this "Bullshit" and asks "Where is David Duke’s (KKK member) invitation? What about the racists? Where is their seat at the table?"
I was beginning to agree, that this was a big mistake. But then I began to notice all these little things that Rick Warren is doing. His churches website used to say "No Gays Allowed in the congragation", now that is gone. Warren has been all over the television talking about gay friends he has, and how he has a signed christmas album of Melissa Ethridge’s music and wishes her family the best. I’m reading about the bags and bags of hatemail Warren’s church is receiving for even associating himself with "the antichrist Obama".
It clicked. This isn’t about Obama scoring points with the media. Obama is golden with the media. It isn’t about taking a dump on his GLBTA supporters. Its about taking that huge swath of evangelical voters and giving them a new role model. These hardcore christians who are devout and engaged in the world around them are going to keep voting, and Obama wants to show them a path that isn’t Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. Rick Warren is one of their own, but he is moving towards the middle. Just to keep his association with Obama he has had to backpedal quite a bit on gay rights.
Yes, Rick Warren is a bigoted idiot, who can’t see that two people who love each other deserve to gain the legal protections he enjoys with his wife. But I think Obama is playing him. I think Obama is pointing the spotlight at him, knowing that it will change Rick Warren for the better.
That’s my two cents.