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Comments

Paul Crowley

I'm inclined to agree with Andrew Tanenbaum: he is wise to toss the religious right the occasional bone, and I'd much rather he gave them symbolic stuff than substantive stuff.

Sebatinsky

Another good article on the subject that restates a couple of your points and raises a couple of others:
http://www.openthefuture.com/2008/12/overton_warren_and_re-making_t.html

Ebonmuse

This would be the same Rick Warren who said that an atheist could never be qualified to be president, isn't it? Why, I do believe it is!

I'm furious, and I can't imagine what on earth Obama is thinking with this. Does he suppose it will give him political cover as a "moderate"? Is he not concerned that this is a tremendous insult to the progressives who worked for him and put him into office? All he's achieving is angering his most dedicated supporters for the sake of throwing a few bones to Christian evangelicals (who will probably react by thinking, "Huh, maybe he's not the Antichrist after all," and then vote for the Republican anyway).

Julie

There is no excuse for this IMHO. I can't imagine why they thought this is a good idea. Sure you want to open dialogue with all sorts of people but NOT, as you say, at the INAUGURATION. That's a slap in the face and not change in any way, shape or form.

Still it's kinda cool in that I can go back to being glad to be Canadian, I was having a lot of trouble with jealousy of late.

Tim Walters

I'm pissed off, but this defense has at least some plausibility:

http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2008/12/wedge.html

I *hope* it's right. Don't really know.

Jon Berger

I'm inclined to agree. This is a really inexplicable misstep from an organization which up to now was notable for its lack of missteps, and it just makes no sense whatsoever.

Also, the necessity of being outraged over the choice of who gives the religious invocation at the inaugural, rather than being outraged that there should even be a religious invocation at the inaugural, must be making your head explode a little bit. I sympathize.

Cliff O'Neill

I couldn't agree more.

Jon Berger

Oh, by the way, if it makes you feel any better (doubtful), apparently Warren is getting exactly as much flak from the fundies over this as Obama is from the LGBT's. You know, for lending the considerable influence and gravitas of his exalted position to the travesty that is the inauguration of Obama the Baby Killer. How dare he support something of which God and Baby Jesus so clearly disapprove, that sort of thing. I don't have the links handy, but there were some over on Huffington Post to some right-wing blogs that were just chock-full of anti-Warren hate postings, all in caps with scads of appalling spelling.

So it's possible that this really could be a move that brings the warring factions together -- over the point that Warren is a piece of scum. Nice that we can all agree on something. I'm being a little bit flip about this, but it's really somewhat comforting that Warren appears to have nearly as much to lose as Obama here.

Eclectic

I'm disappointed, but I'm hoping it's a shrewd political move on Obama's part. He's inviting Warren in, greeting him like a friend, and giving him no policy authority whatsoever.

Obviously, he can't outright SAY it, but unless we want to expel all the fundamentalists from the U.S., he's their president too, and giving them some recognition doesn't seem like a bad thing. And ultimately Warren is "a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing."

Maybe I'm too optimistic, but I can hope. What matters is what he does AFTER inauguration. As I've said, there are so many aspirations piled on Obama's head, he's going to disappoint some bitterly.

I'll settle for competence and obeying the constitution. Obama appears to be aiming higher, which I'll take as a bonus.

Elin

This whole Rick Warren thing is unbelievable. I agree with you 100%, Greta. Rick Warren would not have any place at this inauguration even if we HADN'T all just lived through 8 years of right=wing Christian rule. And what's really infuriating is how the mainstream media/community seems to think we, the LGBT and LGBT-positive community, are making way too big of a deal out of this.

I was planning on hosting an Inauguration party on January 20; now I'm really not so sure. Maybe we'll just have to turn the TV off while Warren is speaking. Ptooey.

absent sway

Greta, you've stated the case against his involvement in the inauguration well; I had previously not recognized the extent of how controversial this can be seen as. I'm no Warren fan, not even much when I was in the Christian camp but I remember thinking of him as one of the more progressive evangelical pastors at the time (this was several years ago), shocking as that might sound in this kind of forum. I do tend to think of it as a shrewd political move according Warren with no real power but the symbolism of it could well backfire.

Buck Fuddy

Why did he have to do this just when I was starting to feel good about voting for him?

I was prepared to vote for any candidate the Democrats put forth, so my choice was never really in doubt, but as I listened to Obama, I started to feel that maybe my reservations about him were unwarranted. At I even started to feel inspired by him. Maybe he really would be a great president. Maybe he really is a person capable of leading the nation forward rather than merely governing.

And then he goes and does this.

I feel betrayed.

I believe in including people whose beliefs are different from mine, even if their beliefs are ridiculous, and even if they use those ridiculous beliefs to determine how they conduct their lives. But when they start to argue that their ridiculous, irrational, religious beliefs should be respected as principles on which to base public policy in a state explicitly defined as secular by its constitution, I simply can't tolerate that.

Why can't we allow them to bring these principles into the debate? Simple. When you open the door to irrational beliefs, there is no debate. How can you counter an assertion that someone believes simply because they believe it is right to believe it?

Are religious beliefs really irrational? Categorically. Honestly, can anyone summarize the basic tenets of any major religion in a way that isn't utterly absurd?

Here's how I understand the basic claims of Christianity--please feel free to correct me if I am misinformed in any of the details:
=====
There is an invisible god who lives in space and created everything in the universe out of nothing. We know that this god exists because complexity can only be created by deliberate, thinking entities. Never mind that this god, who is a complex, deliberate, thinking entity, did not require a more complex entity to create him. He's a special case. Please accept this on faith despite the glaring inconsistency.

One day this space god decided to come down to earth and make a human woman--a virgin, no less--pregnant with his son, who was really him, so we could kill him, although he didn't really die, so he could forgive us for all our bad behavior, but only on the condition that we believe this whole story without any doubt or reservation.

It doesn't even really matter how bad your behavior is. If you're a lying, cheating, stealing, murdering fornicator, you're okay if you believe the story, but if you're a kind, honest, loving, generous skeptic, you're damned to an eternity of excruciating torture. Why? Because the space god loves us!
=====

Forgive me if I can't take seriously any claims that it is impossible to be an ethical person without accepting this or any of the other equally absurd and mutually exclusive fairy tales touted as ultimate truth by their respective adherents. They have every right to believe in this nonsense, just as I have every right to believe that they are, at least in this particular instance, completely out of their fucking minds, but they have no right to allow this peculiar lapse in their rational judgment to affect the life or liberty of anybody else, and there is no point in even discussing it.

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