Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 18, 2008

WARREN, REDUX.... After having had a chance to sleep on it, does Barack Obama's decision to invite Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his presidential inauguration look any better? Actually, no. I'm probably even more annoyed about it now than I was yesterday.

That said, I've been curious to see what others have come up with as a defense. I suppose, to borrow Rachel Maddow's phrase, I want someone to "talk me down."

Over at TNR, Damon Linker considers the invitation "shrewd."

Warren is beloved by mainstream evangelicals, who have helped him to sell millions of books extolling a fairly anodyne form of American Protestantism. (Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell he is not.) It is in Obama's interest (and the Democrats') to peel as many moderate evangelicals away from the GOP as he can. Giving Warren such a prominent (but purely symbolic) place in the inauguration is a politically cost-free way of furthering this partisan agenda.

That's not a bad pitch, but I'm not persuaded. Warren's theology is offered in soothing tones, but it's hardly "anodyne" -- Warren's worldview is very conservative on gay rights, reproductive rights, foreign policy, and modern science. He's not exactly of Dobson's ilk, but the difference is one of tenor and emphasis -- they agree on most issues.

The notion of peeling off moderate evangelicals from the GOP is compelling, but is there any evidence to suggest Warren's invocation is going to make a difference in that capacity? Obama did fairly well among moderate evangelicals, especially younger ones, on Election Day, and the courtship could have continued apace with an invocation from a religious leader who actually shares Obama's worldview.

Indeed, I wonder if Linker has this backwards. When Obama advances a progressive agenda on social issues, as he's certain to do, Warren will continue to speak out on the other side -- only now, he'll do so with the added authority that comes with being the president's hand-chosen pastor for the inauguration's invocation. Warren's status will soar, and his criticism of Obama's policies -- or Democrats' in general -- will resonate that much louder.

That's not "cost-free"; it's the opposite.

Linker noted that Warren's role is "purely symbolic," and this much is clearly true. Indeed, John Cole made a compelling case on this, arguing, "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."

Perhaps. If there was any reason at all to think Warren's invocation carried with it policy implications for the Obama administration, it would be far more serious. In fact, I suspect Warren will get a very high-profile role on Jan. 20, but have no meaningful influence at the White House on Jan. 21.

Nevertheless, even if it is symbolism, the Warren choice strikes me as Obama's biggest mistake since the election. He's elevating a conservative religious leader to new heights, giving him stature and credibility, and making his far-right message that much more meaningful when he challenges Obama administration policies in the future.

It's all risk, no reward.

Steve Benen 8:10 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (82)

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I wonder how right-wingers view it. Is Warren betraying the faithful? Endorsing a guy whose voters couldn't even get communion in some churches? I doubt they see him as moving Obama's positions on wedge issues, but are non wedge issues like poverty and Aids important to anyone besides David Kuo?

Posted by: Danp on December 18, 2008 at 8:19 AM | PERMALINK

My take on it is pretty much in line with John Cole's; if this is the extent of Pastor Warren's influence on the Obama administration, fine. And I'm pretty sure there are some in the Religious Reich who aren't happy about Pastor Rick blessing the inauguration of The One.

Posted by: Mustang Bobby on December 18, 2008 at 8:22 AM | PERMALINK

I am also irritated with this choice but, in reading your post, I thought about young Christians that I know and, I have to admit, I can see where this is appealing to them. I'm 39 and an atheist who was raised catholic. I have strong views about the issue of religion and how it can dominate over logic when it comes to public policy. But, the kinds of people who attend "new" churches, where it's more of a "get together" than a service and who don't ever really discuss or tackle issues so much as shrug at disagreement and move on...I can see Warren being a good pick for that group of young Christians. They just don't care as deeply about these issues being dividers as they do about people just getting along.

That's my view though, I'm not presuming to speak for them or advocate this choice. I think it sucks - Obama can do better than this.

Posted by: Mark on December 18, 2008 at 8:26 AM | PERMALINK

Steve - I completely agree. This is a significant mistake. I have always had my misgivings about Obama's relationship to Christianity. He strikes me as somewhat tone deaf as to the fault lines in American Christendom. It's as if he dabbles in religion as a anthropoligist more than a believer. While I frankly prefer that on a personal level, I think he shows a fundamental misunderstanding about the significance and depth of religious feelings. I take significant umbrage with Warren from a religious point of view. Warren's world view has real world consequences and Obama doesn't seem to appreciate that. In my view, the choice of Warren should have political consequences but it won't. The Left is going to continue to support Obama. It has no other alternatives, if it is serious about having a stake in the political process.

Posted by: Scott F. on December 18, 2008 at 8:28 AM | PERMALINK

All risk and no reward? You've got it backwards. What's the risk? Hmm...that this will embolden the dark forces of religious intolerance? They're already pretty bold, and to the extent that they can be made to feel that the White House is not their enemy they are weakened. The reward? See previous sentence.

I'm with John C. on this. Calm down. Lincoln punted on Frederick Douglass a couple of times, but he got there in the end. The President will do well to build up some (free) goodwill which he can later use for noble purposes.

Posted by: Jim Pharo on December 18, 2008 at 8:28 AM | PERMALINK

For it to be "all risk, no reward", it would be necessary for Obama to lose supporters he'd otherwise keep, without gaining any support, or even tolerance, that he couldn't get in any other way. I don't think the phrase means what you think it means: either YOU back Obama in general, or you don't.

Evidently, you don't.

If Obama supporters stop supporting him on issues that count (Iraq, the economy, etc.) because Warren says the invocation on January 20th, what reasonable person would think they were real supporters at all?

Put it this way: if these hypothetical folks won't let Obama slide on this one, how could Obama count on them for support in any real decision in which somebody has to get more, and somebody else, less?

As for support or tolerance that would be otherwise inaccessible to Obama: it'd help to remember just how polarized the electorate continues to be, even as a large plurality has now voted to reject that polarization and its tactics. Some small part of the polarized anti-Obama folks may cut him some slack because he chose Warren to deliver the invocation.

But inviting Warren is much more likely to isolate the larger part of the polarized Right. It may be "meaningful", should Warren and his comrades attack Obama on values issues, but the effect of all this meaming will be far more about unifying Obama's cred with the middle than with empowering his opponents.

Except for the Left that dislikes Obama for showing class.

Honest, do you ever actually think about your posts after you write 'em? " Reflect on it, and you'll realize that "all risk, no reward" makes no actual sense.

Do you actually believe people are gonna say 'gee, that minister he invited to invoke God at his inauguration has repaid him by disagreeing on gays in the military because of a fundamentalist reading of the Bible that people like us don't accept: wow, what a shmuck Obama was for reaching out to this guy and then acting like a President of ALL the people....'?

Posted by: anon on December 18, 2008 at 8:29 AM | PERMALINK

Rev Wright would have been a better Choice? Rev Jesse Jackson? Rev Al Sharpton? The Religious Right is very intolerant and would be offended if one of their own was not speaking.

Obama shares the religious view of many American blacks. Obama is not a secularist. Religion has an important function in the black community that many secular whites do not understand. If Obama can get Warren and his flock to exert their energy for positive change instead of waging holy war on the Obama administration, everyone will be better off.

Posted by: bakho on December 18, 2008 at 8:30 AM | PERMALINK

Well, note that there will be a bunch of people on the podium at Obama's inauguration-- representing all sorts of things (e.g., Joseph Lowry, and others) and, 'tho I'm no fan of Warren, he represents a non-ignorable strain in American life. The world is what it is, I'd say, and not some other thing.

Posted by: MattF on December 18, 2008 at 8:37 AM | PERMALINK

Remember when Obama had to disinvite his actual pastor from giving an invocation? How is Warren less controversial?

I'm not saying the politics aren't smart, I'm questioning why they're smart.

Posted by: Stealth on December 18, 2008 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

Whatever 'rewards' Obama gets from this are gotten from walking all over gays and lesbians. Yes, we're used to this. Yes, we're used to being used, to being told to stay in the political closet, and yes we have no where else to go. If people can feel good about that, that just makes me all the sadder.

Posted by: Vicki Linton on December 18, 2008 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

I normally agree with you, Steve, but I think you're wrong on this.

There's a power struggle going on within evangelical circles, between old guard Religious Right leaders like Dobson and new -- and yes, more moderate -- figures like Warren. From a progressive perspective, this helps tilt that internal fight to the lesser of two evils.

Yes, Warren -- like most evangelicals -- is prolife and opposed to gay marriage. He's also an outspoken figure in getting evangelicals to work against global poverty, the spread of HIV/AIDS, third world debt relief, and global warming. If this is a way to help bring all those people on board those issues, then it's a good move.

What influence will Warren have the other way? Obama's already told him to his face that he disagrees with him on abortion rights and will fight to protect those. On gay marriage, Obama made it clear in the campaign he's not for that, so what does this change?

Sorry, this is just a return to the circular firing squad of last year's liberalism. Count me the hell out.

Posted by: TR on December 18, 2008 at 8:56 AM | PERMALINK

I think it's a smart move, actually. We elected Obama to bridge the divide between the left and the right. That's why I voted for him, anyway.

I don't believe that his choice signals a shift in his beliefs. I see it as an olive branch to religious conservatives. Which is great -- we need them, too. We've all got to work together to fix the mess we're in.

I'm gay, and I know what Warren represents, but I don't have a problem with him giving the invocation. As long as he doesn't use the opportunity to say something nasty about me and my family and our place in society, I'm cool with it.

Posted by: Cathy Resmer on December 18, 2008 at 8:57 AM | PERMALINK

A couple of ugly truths:

1. The only reason this thing flies at all is because anti-gay and sexually divisive bigotry is still considered "palatable," while racial and ethnic bigotry is not.

No one can imagine a pastor being invited who'd made a career of racist invective, and then compounded it by whining, "But I'm not phobic, I love all the little colored people!"

2. Warren has ALL the earmarks in his behavior that we saw with Haggard, Larry Craig, Bob Allen, David Vitter, Jimmy Swaggart, et al. If this guy isn't found in a bathroom with a wide stance and a hooker in the next year, someone's not doing their job. Paging Jeff Gannon!

Posted by: Susie Bright on December 18, 2008 at 8:58 AM | PERMALINK

Here's the deal: Pat Robertson and James Dobson will attack whatever Obama does, but who cares? Beyond the hard-core faithful, everybody's tuning them out: same old same old from disgruntled preachers.

So there's no risk in letting them continue to be the voices of the Religious Right. Let 'em yammer.

Warren, OTOH, is a relatively fresh voice, hasn't yet been tuned out by anyone, has some pseudo-moderate cred. Giving him this additional cred simply gives people more reason to take him seriously.

Particularly, it gives the mainstream media more reason to take him seriously, to give him a platform on their shows, to quote him in their columns and news stories, when he bashes Obama's initiatives.

Not to mention, just in the past few weeks, Warren's had a string of episodes that demonstrate his lack of intellectual and Biblical honesty, that demonstrate that he's just another conservative preacher whose 'faith' is more in the GOP and in the right-wing cultural agenda than in anything Jesus said or did.

Even if Obama specifically wanted a conservative evangelical to give his invocation, couldn't he have chosen an honest one?

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on December 18, 2008 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

Short answer: Who cares. This is why we lose the political war -- we fixate in symbolic issues that really don't matter in the long run.

Posted by: Dr Lemming on December 18, 2008 at 9:06 AM | PERMALINK

@ Vicki Linton

I doubt anybody here "feels good" about Warren. I also doubt Obama will leave GLBTs in the lurch. He's just consensus building. Warren seems more moderate than his predecessors, calling on Christians to confront poverty, AIDS, and climate change. I see Obama using Warren's clout to help him advance those agendas on the right. If the Republicans are going to be obstructionists in the next congress, Obama will need a voice that can fracture some of that Republican ideological solidarity.
Obama will not, however, acquiesce to Warren's anti-gay agenda nor many of his other stances.

Posted by: palinoscopy on December 18, 2008 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

Perhaps what is needed is for us to try to understand another aspect behind someone like Warren speaking on behalf of Obama; that is, how would a conservative, not just understand it, but what would it really relate to it spiritually?

Given the highly sectarian thinking religious conservatives have, I beleive they would pause for a moment and honor the words from Warren getting to God's ears, that Warren's words can actually make the journey, unlike a "liberal" "Godless" prayer. God will listen to Warren...and, perhaps, God might even assist Obama, may be their thought.

If this is so, this might put them in an awkward state for the moment.

In a sense, it's like breaking bread with your former foe and asking him to bless the meal that "his" God would hopefully listen and oversee the course of direction to come.

But you can't just do this once, it needs repetition.

My thinking is this is just the beginning, much more of these "appearances" need consistency to really work and create any kind of a "requested" right-wing blessing for this administration.

Posted by: Douglas on December 18, 2008 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

Republicans go too far pandering to their base, but Obama goes to far dissing his. Neither approach is smart.
Obama should not take the support of liberals for granted. After all they abandoned the Clintons in droves and Obama is at least as centrist as they are. So why insult the left (again) for a possible small gain in approval of the right? Surely there are other ministers who would be less controversial. Pandering to the evangelicals is not worth antagonizing your base.

Posted by: BernieO on December 18, 2008 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

Would anybody disagree that the culture warriors out there (those whose main issues are guns, gays, god and abortion) will be the most difficult for Obama to win over, if ever at all? These people aren't exactly known for being reasonable. This gesture, empty or not, isn't going to do anything to sway the sheep into voting for or supporting Obama. Educate their children, provide a sensible medical system, keep poisons out of their food and water, etc, etc. Those are effective ways of winning someone over, not inviting one of their popes to the inauguration so that the mutual ring-kissing can be filmed from a million angles.

Given their short memory and the usefulness of their passion to their leaders, the religious right won't shift left in the slightest, despite the fact that someone of them are starting to recycle. Understand that the culture wars are not meant to be won. The wind and heat they create keep the pews full and the collection baskets fuller.

Posted by: Badass4Peace on December 18, 2008 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

If there was any indication that Warren would have Obama's ear on policy matters (i.e., that he could SWAY Obama's opinion), I would be right there with you and others. As a staunch opponent of Prop 8, I'm just not exercised about Warren giving the invocation. It's the invocation. Not a Presidential Committee to Consider the Repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell or DOMA. That would be a big deal. And I don't think Warren's presence gives any more credence or weight to his arguments against Obama's position. That fact was demonstrated at the Forum held during the general election.

It's the invocation. Just keep repeating that over and over again.

Posted by: KJ on December 18, 2008 at 9:22 AM | PERMALINK

Even if Obama specifically wanted a conservative evangelical to give his invocation, couldn't he have chosen an honest one?

Can you think of one? I can't. And, given the church that he's been attending for the last 20 years in Chicago he probably did like the idea of an evangelical (as opposed to mainstream/traditional Protestant) giving one of the prayers at his inauguration.

I find Rick Warren's worldview mainly repugnant, and, frankly, I gave more $$$ to the anti-Prop 8 campaign than I did to Obama this election season--although I don't live in CA--because I thought they needed it more. But in a year, what will it matter who gave the invocation? This inauguration is going to be filled with much better speechs and more important images than a pudgy white guy talking with his eyes closed for a couple of minutes.

Posted by: Michigoose on December 18, 2008 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

I'm totally disgusted that Obama will help give Rick Warren credibility(this is like dems going on Fox News) but at the same time I am in awe of his political abilities. This is shrewd politically even if it does sort of pop the balloon of excitement that many liberals feel over Obama's election. I guess like it or not, this is the country we live in and if you want to govern effectively it is important to try to build a coalition that includes some evangelicals.

This may help to drive a wedge into the fundamentalist coalition as much or more than it drives one into the democratic coalition.

I understand all that but I am still disappointed. I was thinking of trying to go to the inauguration but have no interest now. all of the joy has gone out of it for me.

Posted by: raindog on December 18, 2008 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

This is real simple. Unlike Bush, Obama does not want to be hyper-partisan from Day One. He wants to let the Right know that he'll listen them. Warren is a good move to indicate this because it won't actually show weakness on any kind of policy agenda.

Posted by: mmy on December 18, 2008 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

For people who think that inviting Warren is all about Obama dealing with political realities in his quest to bring together the largest possible coalition behind his core goals, try to get your head around the fact that Obama also has to deal with the political reality that a choice like this is seen very negatively by most gays and lesbians. That's the political reality. Obama needs to deal with that too.

Obama is all about symbolism. That is a lot of what he has brought that is creating an atmosphere that will enable change. The Warren choice is symbolic and therefore important.

Its a done deal. Obama needs to find a way to bridge this new breach he has created with gays and lesbians now.

I'm certainly willing to give him every chance to do that. I hope I am not waiting in vain.

Posted by: Vicki Linton on December 18, 2008 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

Earlier this month, Mr. Obama "saluted" President Bush as he was awarded the "International Medal of PEACE" by Mr. Warren.


See the second video on the Raw Story page for Obama's remarks.

Posted by: OneWorlder on December 18, 2008 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

Warren will be more constrained in his ability to criticize Obama, not less, and is an ally on some subjects. I see a difference between crushing your foes and convincing them. The online base prefers the former and Obama is attempting the latter. If he pulls it off the GOP will be in the wilderness for decades (where they belong.)

Posted by: Marc on December 18, 2008 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

I used to respect Warren before the Cone of Silence debate. Now I think he should be embarrassed for lying to his congregation and is no longer worthy of respect. As a non-religious person though, I could care less who gives the invocation so this story is meaningless to me. Yes, I understand why the GBLT community is upset, but I doubt there are many possible substitutes who would be better on equal rights issues. Members of religions almost inevitably think they're better than non-members and usually have other groups that they consider abnormally evil. It's a major part of the appeal.

Posted by: Shalimar on December 18, 2008 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

I am an evangelical Christian and a Democrat. I think there are two ways to explain why Barak Obama would see Rick Warren as a good choice. The first is that he is the most respected religious figure of this country besides Billy Graham. Being that a lot of you are secular or of a less evangelical background I can appreciate that you don't realize this.

The second reason is that Barak Obama is trying to unite this country. That is why he is appointing Republicans to important cabinet posts. And a reason in particular to choose an evangelical is that some evangelical communities feel as though Democratic politicians dislike them and intend to do them harm. Barak Obama is including the most famous evangelical of his generation in the political process is extremely important for uniting this country.

As for the idea that this is an insult to homosexuals, the President-elect is surrounding himself with people that have different opinions than him and I think that is part of a strategy for uniting the country. I can appreciate that some of you are feeling that uniting the country doesn't seem worth the cost especially if we remain divided anyway.

Posted by: Ed on December 18, 2008 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

One thing that everyone is forgetting as they focus on Warren's repugnant views on womens' rights and GLBT rights is that within the last few days he gave his approval to Sean Hanity's call for the assassination of a foreign leader.

Having him speak at the White House on inauguration day legitimizes that obscene plan.

How easy will it be for Barack to sit down with the leaders of Iran, a country ruled by religion, after they have seen a leader of another religion who called for the assassination of one of their leaders preform a religious ceremony welcoming Obama into office?

The future of the world is too important a thing to stake on convincing a handful of bigoted evangelicals that you're 'one of them.'


Posted by: doubtful on December 18, 2008 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder how right-wingers view it.

FWIW, the Freepers (as usual) are frothing at the mouth. Warren accepting a formal gig at the inauguration = traitor to the conservative movement. If their opinion is representative, then the other wingnuts have kicked Warren to the curb for this apostacy.

I suspect that if Chief Justice Roberts swears in Obama, then they'll be calling for his impeachment the next day.

Posted by: artsmith on December 18, 2008 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

Agree. Horrible mistake. Maybe naive? Why do we have to have a religious official involved at all? The whole God and Politics makes me tired. Purely symbolic? Bad symbol. So much posturing and my God can beat up your God in religion today. Don't like Warren and his beliefs and messages and think this move will harm Obama's credibility on the separation of Church and State front.

Posted by: lisaintexas on December 18, 2008 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

Obama has learned a good lesson from the Republicans: one must always pander to the base.

Unfortunately, he is thoroughly confused about which base: your own or the opposition's.

I think we are going to see more and more of this usual Democratic leaders' snubbing of those who support them. It already started after the 2006 Congressional victory.

Posted by: gregor on December 18, 2008 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

Um, I thought Warren was invited by the Joint Inaugural Committee of the House and Senate? This is not the same as the Obama Presidential Inaugural Committee, as far as I can tell....

Posted by: Heathcliff on December 18, 2008 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

Let's not forget that the Republicans have been running around painting liberals as intolerant of religion, especially Christianity, playing their usual game of fueling resentment in order to drive ignorant chowderheads into their corner. This sends a strong message that the charge is bullshit.

If our side wants a sustainable majority in a country that is 86 percent Christian we have to counter right-wing propaganda.

As an atheist I forgive them. Now please excuse me while I run out to pour kerosine on my neighbor's nativity scene.

Posted by: Hieronymus Braintree on December 18, 2008 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

This isn't a play for evangelicals. It's a play for independents and moderates who are invested in seeing their president reach out to those on the other side. This is about solidifying public support for a presidency that has proposed bold initiatives on energy, healthcare, and infrastructure spending. Those initiatives are going to be attacked relentlessly from the right. I agree it builds up Warren's media soap-box, but think it is probably worth the risk. The media is already reporting how the "left" is up in arms over Obama doing this. Mission accomplished. Moderates and independents have been reassured that Obama is willing to go against his "base".

Posted by: Colin on December 18, 2008 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

I have no opinion on the Warren slelection. I do have an opinion about the possibility of peeling off evangelical voters: it's very possible and very doable without compromising our values for several reasons.

1. Young evangelicals are more concerned about issues such as health care and less about the wedge issues. They might share their parents values but not their fervor.

2. Social conservatives in general are moderate to liberal on economic or class war issues. In tiimes of economic stress they are morelylikely to vote their pocket books than their church.

3. Secular liberals are not equally responsible for the polarization of our society on wedge issues but we have some responisbility: by writing off evangelicals we have conceded them to the right. That's a mistake given that many of them are open to liberal positions on a range of issues and are even open to liberal views on abortion or gay rights if those issues are discussed as moral rather than legal issues,

The leaders of the religious right tend to be horrible people, but my experience with rank and file evangelicals is that they are very nice, vbvery approachable, very open to and acdepting of my liberal secular views if I frame things in moral terms. The Republicans whjile demoniZing us to them have also demonized them to us: don't buy it.

Posted by: wonkie on December 18, 2008 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

When is Obama going to enlarge his tent to include the white power faction of the conservatives? When is he going to enlarge the tent to include the nazis sympathizers and the anti-semites? Oh, I am sorry. I didn't realize it was only the gays and pro-choice people who were irrelevant.

I expect to be treated badly by bigoted Rethugs. I resent being insulted by a party which I support. Don't tell me it is simply an ineffectual prayer. It is a slap in my face.

Posted by: candideinnc on December 18, 2008 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

What continues to bother me about this is the lack of imagination and research in the choice, of choosing a fairly mediocre celebrity like Warren to the role. It just seems sort of lazy, when he could have chosen an unknown (like Rev. Ollie Rencher of St. Peter's in Oxford, MS; surely there are others who appeal to both liberals and conservatives.) I doubt that any of Warren's fans will modify their perceptions of Obama.

Posted by: mmiddle on December 18, 2008 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe it is part of "change." Maybe it is an attempt to begin a new way of dealing with each other.

Posted by: stuart on December 18, 2008 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

Short answer: Who cares. This is why we lose the political war -- we fixate in symbolic issues that really don't matter in the long run.


Keep whining and crying about this non-issue and other trivial bullshit, and we'll once again be two years and out with a simultaneous Democratic Congress and president, just like in '93-'95. The Repubs will take advantage of our vacillation, block every Democratic initiative, and and blame us for our inability to get anything done. Then they'll take over in 2010. Why? Same reason every time.

The circular firing squad.

Will Rogers was right. The Dems are the most disorganized bunch of rabble since the Keystone Cops. I had hoped that Obama's focused and diciplined campaign would inspire our party to emulate such impressive cohesion.

But instead of hanging together for the next two years concentrating on fixing the economy, ending the war and reversing the damage Bush has caused, we're going to whine about invocations and whether Caroline Kennedy should be in the Senate and whether the "progressive left" has enough representation in the cabinet. How anyone actually believed Obama was going to be their "progressive"* savior is beyond me.

*And knock it off with "progressive" already. Either you're a liberal, or you're not. People only use the term because they're terrified some Republican somewhere will be offended and be mean to them if they use the evil L-word.

Posted by: Screamin' Demon on December 18, 2008 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

ok two things
1) it's the freakin invocation it's not exactly going to affect policy.
2) Lots of us voted for Obama because he promised a different kind of politics, to build bridges and all that. That is precisely what he is doing. This involves, oddly enough, reaching out in some way to people who you may disagree with. As reaching out goes this is pretty minor and people are having a fit?
Seriously, let the man pray for a couple minutes and then let's get on with ufu^*(&ing things.

Posted by: paleoprof on December 18, 2008 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

By making Warren a big deal, you are elevating him.

Otherwise, he is just a preacher. Crazy Preachers are not new. Don't give him undue credit.

Obama will be President of all the United States. Unlike Bush who only tried to please 50% + 0.1 of the voters.

This is not a big deal.

Posted by: TCG on December 18, 2008 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

Fine, let him speak. And no complaints if he's booed off the stage.

Posted by: npr on December 18, 2008 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

I just had a guy work on my computers who is a huge Rush Limbaugh fan, and told me so. Should I have asked him to leave? Should everyone I connect with share every one of my opinions on things?

You can't have it both ways, people. You can't be the party of inclusion, understanding and change and then get pissed off because a pastor giving a prayer doesn't feel the way you do about some important stuff.

Obama didn't put Warren in charge of AIDS research or Planned Parenthood. He asked a member of the other side to recite a prayer at the Inauguration. Did you get this apoplectic when Clinton, a white man, asked Maya Angelou, a black woman, to recite a poem at his inauguration? Do you really think that by giving an invocation, Warren is going to somehow change Obama's agenda? If so, then, like Warren, you probably believe that prayer can cure homosexuality.

If there's one thing that liberals are supposed to be, it's accepting of others' worldviews. How many times did we scream at trolls that Obama was the only candidate capable of reaching across the aisle? Did he put a neo-con in charge of the military? Did he put an oil executive in charge of the environment? No! He put a popular, conservative pastor in charge of a freakin' prayer. He's not going to pray that homosexuals turn straight on January 20th. Instead, there's a good chance that Warren will learn something from all this. Perhaps he and a whole lot of other close-minded religious zealots, will learn to back off all the hateful conservative Christian rhetoric and think about the nation as a whole for a change.

I think it is precisely the right move. It invites evangelicals of every stripe to reconsider the intolerant stance they've nursed for so long.

Perhaps we've spent so long being appalled by every fart and titter from GWB that we can't allow our new CIC to make his own decisions. Stop looking for insults from a man who's just doing what you hired him to do.

It's a prayer.

Posted by: chrenson on December 18, 2008 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

Interesting. Nobody is saying that perhaps because Warren accepted the opportunity to give Obama's invocation speech, he is selling out to the evil anti-life, pro-homosexual, labor-loving agenda. Granted, Warren has made his opinions quite clear on multiple occasions in the mainstream media. But SO HAS OBAMA.

From the point of view of "giving Warren more of a megaphone", remember that the vast majority of Americans don't follow the issues as closely as you or myself do. Warren may say all sorts of stupid things on Fox News, but since when are you worried about the Fox News audience? By definition, they are pretty much lost.

Posted by: Scott K on December 18, 2008 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Seems like the point has been missed. There are a lot of people who did a lot of work for Obama and this is not only insulting, it's disgraceful for a man swinging the word 'change' around.

One of my favorite King quotes is "History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."

This is beyond appalling silence.

Posted by: ScottW on December 18, 2008 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

"And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too."

Posted by: EarBucket on December 18, 2008 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not shocked; Obama made it very clear during the campaign that gays were his favorite Sister Souljah, to kick to demonstrate that he wasn't "hostage to the left". One more kick to kiss up to the gay-hating evangelicals does not surprise me.

And yes, it's just as immoral as having an invocation by a pastor who has been campaigning against interracial marriage but blithering about how he's visited the colored people's homes and patted their children.

But unlike that, Obama knows he can count on plenty of Democrats to kick right along with him, and tell gay-friendly supporters that they should be grateful for it. After all, they just get spat on by Obama, while the Republicans want to lock them up.

As for the cost? Well, about 40 percent of my donations this political cycle went to Obama, and 40 percent to No on 8. Next cycle, he can get his money from the evangelicals he loves so much.

Posted by: tavella on December 18, 2008 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

A bank shot?

Perhaps Obama has reasoned that the xtian right will go bonkers over Warren's association with him, thus marginalizing Warren with his own constituency and neutralizing him as a political force.

Ah, probably not.

Posted by: rege on December 18, 2008 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Obama is doing the right thing. As objectionable as Rick Warrens views on sexual morality may be to some, he is willing to compromise politically on those to support issues on which we have common ground. Evangelicals like him have long done the opposite, voting against their other interests on economic, labor, environmental, and healthcare issues, with a mind to standing their ground on God, Gays, and Guns.

Should we be going out of our way to show those who are compromising in our favor that they're not welcome? It will be easier to get people like Rick Warren to moderate their more strident views when we are their friends and allies, than when we are their enemies and rivals.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty on December 18, 2008 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

There are other platforms for this type of reaching out.

Your inaugural invocation is not the proper place for such an effort, unless you actually embrace most of what Warren stands for.

It's a form over substance approach to the point of obsession.

We've just experienced 8 years of obsessive unquestioned dedication to core principles to the exclusion of reality.

Did we just start another 8 of the same?

Posted by: None on December 18, 2008 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

For it to be "all risk, no reward", it would be necessary for Obama to lose supporters he'd otherwise keep, without gaining any support, or even tolerance, that he couldn't get in any other way.

Obama is losing support from those of us who found Warren's remarks about homosexuality and gay marriage to be incredibly offensive. And that's leaving aside his calling for the leaders of other countries to be murdered, saying that women shouldn't be allowed to make their own healthcare decisions, etc. etc. etc.

If Obama thinks he's going to be able to peel off enough evangelicals to make up for all of the votes he's lost with this move, he's deluded. I'm not gay, and I'm PISSED about this decision being made right after Warren was back on TV talking about how he doesn't hate gay people, he just doesn't think they should have the same rights as everyone else.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on December 18, 2008 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

I know some folks don't like to hear this, but evangelical Christians aren't going anywhere. They're going to remain a potent force in American politics for the forseeable future, which means it's in everyone's best interests if the religious, social and political leaders of America's evangelicals are as reasonable and well-intentioned as possible. That doesn't mean leaders who are pro-gay and pro-choice because that's never going to happen. It means leaders who speak in less hateful terms on those issues and, especially, don't allow a fetish for those issues to completely dominate evangelical politics.


Posted by: MBunge on December 18, 2008 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

Earlier this month, Mr. Obama "saluted" President Bush as he was awarded the "International Medal of PEACE" by Mr. Warren.

For what it's worth, this was in recognition of his program to fight AIDS and other diseases in Africa. He's a shitty person and a shitty president, but he's actually done a lot of good on this one thing. I watched Obama's remarks, and I can't find a single objectionable thing in them.

Posted by: EarBucket on December 18, 2008 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

Mark near the top is right about the average under-30 person in a white-bread megachurch like Saddleback. (Saddleback Mountain, anybody?)

But, the average 45- to 50-year-old who has teenagers at a place like Warren's church, and puts a lot more dinero in the offering plate than a twentysomething, I think has a more traditionalist view of religion.

I suspect there's division here. Some may see it as Warren's stealth mission to keep softening Obama up, while others worry about him going over to the dark side, or just letting power go to his head.

So, we have two open questions — which of the two is the bigger hypocrite, and which is the bigger toady?

As for DADT, that sound you just heard was the wheels of Obama's bus running over it.

Have another glass of Kool-Aid, Mr. Benen.

As for monetary splits, re Tavella, mine was 40 percent Prop. 8 and 40 percent GREEN. Y'all are welcome to follow my lead.

So, there's two other

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on December 18, 2008 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

lisaintexas, I agree with you completely. I'm planning on going to the inauguration, but I hadn't banked on this being a religious ceremony. I always hear that god is watching at all times, so why does he need to send a representative? How about the non-Christians in the crowd? I'll tell you right now, I'm not faking it.

Also, in regards to the issue of "bridging divides," how can you possibly do that if you invite a strongly divisive pastor who rails against the beliefs and lifestyles of most of the people who got you elected?

He should have just picked Jim Wallis or someone like that.

Posted by: dc99 on December 18, 2008 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

As usual, a brilliant political move by Obama. Gets nods of approval from the Evangelical religious sector while only sacrificing a symbolic gesture.

Posted by: Luther on December 18, 2008 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

Who cares who prays over the inauguration? As long as he doesn't pray for God to strike down the homosexuals or to save the babies, and just makes a generic plea for the administration and the country, why not? If Obama can make some inroads with the Bible-thumpers with such an innocuous measure, power to him.

Posted by: Terry Weldon on December 18, 2008 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

Ask yourself this: Is there anything that Warren is likely to say during a two-minute prayer on national television that is going to change the mind of any pro-gay rights or pro-abortion rights believers out there? Is there any chance that an anti-gay marriage or anti-abortion zealot might soften their views ever so slightly because one of their own is speaking at the inauguration?

In my view the latter is far more likely than the former. If Obama were to get a gay rights activist preacher to give the invocation, then you'd have every moderate conservative in the country leaning just a little harder right.

Good lord, folks! You voted for Obama because he said we should be talking with our enemies, not shooting at them. You thought it was OK for him to suggest sitting down with Iran's leaders rather than shutting them out. What are their views on abortion and homosexuality?

It's a bold move, just like we asked for. When we said he wasn't attacking McCain enough, we learned that Obama knew what he is doing.

Move aside and let the man go through.

Posted by: chrenson on December 18, 2008 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

There are millions of us (and not all gay) who believed in Obama from the beginning and worked our asses off for him. We didn't do it to have some goddamned Southern Baptist fatheaded sonofabitch fascist stand there with his bullshit shiteating grin on his face as he "invokes" a God who - according to him - thinks we are all sinners and in so doing turns everything Obama is supposed to stand for on its head.

There's such a thing as too much "inclusiveness" and this is it. Rick Warren is nothing more than the enemy with a smile on its face.

How much more disrespect do those of us who worked for this guy have to take now that he's in office? It's things like this that make a person begin to wonder what the hell we worked for.

Posted by: TCinLA on December 18, 2008 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

"If Obama thinks he's going to be able to peel off enough evangelicals to make up for all of the votes he's lost with this move..."

This is why you guys make so little sense. You literally have NO clue.

1) Just how did Obama lose ANY votes by inviting Warren to deliver the invocation? He's not up for re-election for four years, If anybody decides to vote against Obama literally before he's inaugurated because of who he invites to say a prayer at the inauguration, well: like I said, that support isn't worth keeping.

This is what you demand over a ceremony? Christ, what would you want if this was a REAL decision, involving money or (God forbid) the lives of Americans?

Put it another way: if you're willing to make a big deal out of this, and EVEN IF you managed to embarrass Obama into yanking the invitation: think that'd help you (or him) any for the really tough decisions in the next four years, starting in January?

2) As noted by several commentators, the only sensible political interpretation of this directly contradicts Benen's literally ignorant notion of "all risk, no reward": moderates and independents will understandably see this as a classy gesture toward folks who don't agree with Obama or Democrats on most social issues, because they like Obama's rejection of the polarized and alienating tactics that have come to dominate politics, constantly seeking to use wedge issues to divide us.

Sorta like the way you're reacting to Warren.

3) Should Warren, et al, decide to use the visibility of the invocation (unlikely) or the tie to Obama the invocation gives him after, for leverage to attack Obama or Democrats on social issues, see #2.

There's an old piece of political wisdom: ALWAYS concede on principle. When there is a pile of marbles to divide on the table between us, and you insist before we begin to negotiate we must agree on the principle of equal distribution of all marbles according to race, gender, sexual orientation and without regard to national origin, in fact we need to study the massive failures of historical distribution of marbles before we can even begin to redress 400 years of marble deprivation, I will heartily agree with you, stand by you in your inspiring devotion to principle, I will carefully purge my speech of any language that reflects disrespect to marble-deprived people or MDPs as I will agree to call them, with all my soul I will support your chairing a Commission to Study Marble Inequality... and while you are chairing that Commission, watching my language and writing that important report, I will also take all the damn marbles.

So, I remain curious: DO you guys actually think about what you say? Or is it all about expressing your Selves?

Posted by: anon on December 18, 2008 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

Chicken little is alive and well. If Mr.Obama Had cojones he would invite the good reverend"Jeremiah A.Wright Jr".Christians have many faces. It is seldom that I care what they think.

Posted by: EC sedgwick on December 18, 2008 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

I posted on the thread yesterday that I was livid with the choice of Warren as the Invocator for the Inauguration. I live in OC, just a few miles from Saddleback Church and know a few people who have gone there or do go there. I spoke with my minister last night about this issue and she assured me that this is a positive move on Obama's part. In reaching out to someone who is opposed to some of his most critical social positions, Obama is demonstrating his openness to all points of view. I am a Religious Scientist, student of the Science of Mind by Ernest Holmes. Our philosophy is inclusive of all spiritual/religious traditions. It is not always easy to accept others' points of view when they seem to totally contradict one's own. So, in saying this, I 'change' my prior opinion, trusting that Obama knows what he is doing. He has been very adept, so far, in spreading the responsibilities among a wide range of people and positions. Dealing with radical change is not easy and will cause many of us to question it, since it does not fit with traditional beliefs. That is the core issue: what beliefs are being challenged and how are they working for us?

Some of us can be patient and some won't. I am willing to be patient and trust in the direction we are moving.

I am committed to Oneness through Justice and Transformation
st john

Posted by: st john on December 18, 2008 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

...his calling for the leaders of other countries to be murdered... -Mnemosyne

Glad there is at least one other person on this comment thread that gets this.

No one, no one, who advocates the assassination of a foreign leader should ever be given legitimization by being included in government function in any capacity.

As usual, a brilliant political move by Obama. -Luther

Yeah, we'll see how willing Iran is to negotiate with us after the pastor who thinks one of their leaders should be assassinated (how Christian of him) is the one who is welcoming Obama into office. Brilliant.

Peeling off evangelical votes is not worth further endangering the situation in the Middle East.

This is campaigning, not governing. Obama, unlike Bush, knows the difference, and that, frankly, makes it worse.

Posted by: doubtful on December 18, 2008 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

Wow! A complete flip. When Obama said he was willing to meet with foreign bad guys the Republicans said this would give them a platform and elevate their status.

Anyone remember that? How many non-republicans argued that we have to talk to the enemy?

Yes Rick Warren is not likely to change any of his views, but if he is open to engaging with Obama on important issues, should his views on other matters disqualify him?

Posted by: tomj on December 18, 2008 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

For those of you who can't see past some issues and think this is about Obama just 'reaching out,' allow me to refresh your memory.

"Well, actually, the Bible says that evil cannot be negotiated with. It has to just be stopped.... In fact, that is the legitimate role of government. The Bible says that God puts government on earth to punish evildoers. Not good-doers. Evildoers."

He literally used the Bible to justify Hannity's call for the assassination of a foreign leader.

How can we honestly even remotely consider legitimizing this by giving him even a minor role in a government ceremony whose purpose is to welcome in a new president and a new way of thinking?


Posted by: doubtful on December 18, 2008 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK
That's not a bad pitch, but I'm not persuaded. Warren's theology is offered in soothing tones, but it's hardly "anodyne" -- Warren's worldview is very conservative on gay rights, reproductive rights, foreign policy, and modern science.

I don't recall any announcement that Obama was hiring him for a decision-making policy position in any of those areas.

In fact, I don't recall any announcement that Obamas was bringing him on in any policy role, decision-making or advisory.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 18, 2008 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

I view this a a political choice and a very cynical one on Obama's part. He has his eye on next election, it seems tome.

Posted by: CDW on December 18, 2008 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

So, Obama is a triangulator in the mold of Bill Clinton.

I am shocked, just shocked to hear this....

Looks like too many of you actually believed the Obama was telling the truth during the election...

Change we can believe in?

Yeah, right....

Posted by: Hank Essay on December 18, 2008 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

IMHO, Obama isn't kowtowing to Warren--he's coopting him.

That the freepi are having aneurysms over this speaks volumes. It's driving a big wedge into a chunk of the rightwing base. (Let's not let that happen to us!)

Warren is/was very popular with the religious rightwingers--but by appearing on the platform with Obama, it would seem that he has now been neutered. Nicely done.

Posted by: thalarctos on December 18, 2008 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Since it's not a policy position, I'm sure you all would be fine with having David Duke give the invocation and including the KKK in the inaugural parade. After all, Obama is the president of all Americans, right?

I'm not opposed to this choice because I disagree with Warren on the issues of same-sex marriage and abortion. I'm opposed to it because he used hateful, bigoted rhetoric to compate lesbian and gay people to rapists and pedophiles. That kind of hatred should be given no role in the inauguration, not even a symbolic one.

Posted by: woland on December 18, 2008 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

politically cost-free way of furthering this partisan agenda

Yeah! Fuck the gays!

Posted by: Mao on December 18, 2008 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Ours is a polarized, hated-filled world. As Wright and Falwell and Jackson and Sharpton and so many others have shown, just about every popular clergyman in this country has said something stupid, controversial or regrettable. "That's what Christianity is all about, Charlie Brown."

Going ape shit over this decision and using it as an opportunity to call Warren names or compare him to a Klansman or Nazi makes you sound just like the people you're complaining about.

Also, no one has shown how, by choosing Warren, Obama has contradicted himself in any way. Did he ever say that people with opposing, even repugnant, points of view will have no say in his administration? Did he promise to freeze religion out of government? No.

And as for "Fuck the gays!", the only way gay rights and legalized gay marriage will ever be achieved in this country is in the same way every other civil rights issue has been approached, if not resolved. Through legitimate public discourse, demonstrations, mutual respect for differing opinions, and slowly waking the close-minded to the fact that they are practicing discrimination.

As an atheist, I really don't care for the practice of invocations at government functions anyway. But, if putting one of their own on the inaugural platform moves the ball even slightly toward real progress, then I'm prepared to stand there and take it.

Posted by: chrenson on December 18, 2008 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

I disagree on the "no reward" point. I'm hearing several reports of right-wingers who are as pissed at Warren as progressives are pissed at Obama. Considering how monolithic the religious right coalition has been for a couple of decades, anything that gets them fighting with each other is a good thing.

Posted by: Chris Andersen on December 18, 2008 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

Well here it is, the jokes on you. Obama is nothing more than Bush lite, I thought all along that if he got elected he would back down on most if not all of his platform. So far, so good. He's backing up faster than the speeding bullet he was supposed to be. Before this is over I expect Bill to be calling the shots from a private den in the White House.

Posted by: Laughing on December 18, 2008 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe Obama is a closet social conservative who dislikes GLTB's. Why else ask Warren to the inaguration. And remember his Pastor Wright isnt very friendly to the alternative lifesyle community. See a theme here? I recall 'dont ask dont tell' after protestations Bill would go the whole distance. One more sellout?

Posted by: Cool colorado on December 18, 2008 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

You guys really don't understand American Protestant Christianity, do you?

First, Evangelical opinion about how to approach the role of religious thought in public life is not monolithic, no matter what your own hate-mongers want you to believe; and Evangelical attitudes toward Pastor Warren are very mixed. Lots of people like his inspirational book about a purposeful, God-centered life (obviously, since it has sold millions). But most Fundamentalist Baptists hate Rick Warren as a compromiser. The apocalyptic-fear people who actually do think Obama is the prophesied antichrist from Scripture will probably start saying now that Warren is the False Prophet [the antichrist's mouthpiece] described in the book of Revelation.

There is a strong, growing philosophical opposition to shallow, pragmatic McChurch approach that Warren used to grow Saddleback, and the criticism comes from all sorts of directions -- Calvinistic evangelicals on the right, emergent-church types on the left. Warren's agreeing to do this isn't going to win him too many fans among most conservative Evangelicals. Liberals like Tony Campolo might applaud, but Tony Camplo barely even qualifies as an Evangelical.

Then there's guys like me -- conservative Protestant pastors who see Obama as a humanist (philosophically) and a shrewd political pragmatist (politically) who was less professionally qualified for the Presidency than Sarah Palin. And who see the Obama fans as cultish and gullible. Obama was happy to use you, in order to win the Presidency, the same way Richard Nixon was happy to use Republican conservatives for the same purpose. But he's going to be a re-tread of the Clinton years (minus the infidelity, I think, for which I tip my hat to him), and this could very likely lead to some strongly conservative GOP candidate in 2012 -- not another elderly, semi-liberal scold.

If the GOP had run an actual conservative this year, you-all could rightly claim that conservatism lost. But the GOP primary was a slate of feebs, and in the end it ran another Bob Dole; a quasi-Democrat senator with no a coherent governing philosophy, no executive experience, a past record of ridiculing and criticizing the very constituency that he wanted to support him, and almost zero public speaking skills. Any energy he generated in his own campaign was brought to it by Sarah Palin, who almost singlehandedly carried that campaign, as far as "energizing the base" went.

nd yet, even as bad a candidate as McCain was -- a wishy-washy moderate losing to a liberal -- he still only lost by 4-5 percentage points. You might want to keep that in mind.

Posted by: Jack Brooks on December 18, 2008 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

Rick Warren and the members of Saddleback Church help people. I've not seen the gay community willing to step up and match Warren and the people of Saddleback. Where's the "gay philanthropy"?

How about you all stop attacking and start working? Obama, to his credit, is building a team of workers - not observers. It's easy to criticize - but not easy to lead or work. Get off your keyboards and do something good.

Instead of whining all the time, why don't the gays do something constructive like build a hospital or community center? This group hounds the world with their message of "tolerance" (what a joke). How about doing something good for society? Sure the gays can cook, act, and decorate - but how about mixing in some volunteering? Don't give me this nonsense about being "good people" blah, blah, blah... if you want to win the hearts and minds of America - do something worthy that helps people. Something big, as a group.

Say what you like about Christians, but they deliver when it comes to helping others - as evidenced by hospitals, shelters, and schools.

The gays have done nothing but complain and make everyone crazy with their shrill nonsense. It makes you wonder if the gays are capable of helping others?

Posted by: Billy S. Paper on December 18, 2008 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

Jack: The reason McCain lost was because he decided to court conservative Christians and thus alienated moderate and/or liberal Republicans. It was not mod/lib Republicans who voted for him. By choosing Sarah Palin he turned his back on his own principles in hopes of winning the religious right wing.

Billy: Perhaps if you met a gay person you'd see that they are just as philanthropic, and often just as "Christian" as everybody else. Usually more so.

Posted by: chrenson on December 19, 2008 at 7:08 AM | PERMALINK

I think what he says in the invocation will be more important to people than who says it.

If he includes divisive phrases, then I'll condemn him and the choice to invite him.

It's just like the complaints about Obama's cabinet choices. A bit premature. Let them act, and then judge them. Please.


Posted by: Kleven-Stein on December 19, 2008 at 8:33 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, and meanwhile, he's also getting headlines like this:

"Organized labor 'thrilled' with Obama's pick for labor secretary".

Count your blessings, people.

Posted by: Kleven-Stein on December 19, 2008 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

Kleven: I've met plenty of gay people and as individuals they are like everyone else. Some are great people, some are slugs. You need to understand that gay people are not "ordained" super humans. They are full of flaws like everyone else. The militant gay leadership does not serve their assumed members well by complaining and whining. Gay leaders could actually help society by serving others and not supporting a message that there something "wrong" with the non-gay world. The hypocrisy in that message would be humorous if it weren't so annoying.

Posted by: Billy S. Paper on December 20, 2008 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK



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