Much discussion has ensued on Obama's choice of Rick Warren to deliver the Invocation at the Inauguration. I have read many opinions on this subject over that last few days, many thoughtful, some just a wee bit crazy. Some have already declared Obama a traitor to the progressive movement that voted him into office, others proclaim it is much ado about nothing. I am in neither camp. I am however, very disappointed in this choice.
Rick Warren is not just an anti-gay evangelical, he and his church members have a long list of folks they have disdain for: divorced folks, heterosexuals who are "living in sin", the Jewish people and those who are pro-choice, to name a few. His is definitely not a "big tent". He also worked tirelessly for the Passage of Prop 8, a campaign to deprive GLBTQ people of their civil rights, that succeeded largely because the campaign was waged on the airwaves, the public inundated with waves of ads that contained half truths and outright lies. Not a shining moment for a man who states that he loves everyone.
There are many evangelicals who would have been better choices, those who largely share Warrens theological viewpoint, but do it in a vastly more respectful and thoughtful way. Folks who would not declare that Jewish folks aren't going to heaven or compare homosexuality to alcoholism. Jim Wallis comes immediately to mind.
I will not dismiss President-elect Obama because of his choice of Warren and I remain deeply hopeful about his presidency. I disagree with his decision, but I will not let it lead me into a valley of despair. It will serve to remind me that idolatry and hero worship are dangerous things.
I wholeheartedly agree with Obama that all sides of various political issues need to be expressed and discussed in a public forum, and addressed by the President. I am looking forward to finally having someone in that office who is the President of everyone in the United States, not just those with whom he agrees. I hope and pray that he will continue to support civilized dialog among those who feel that when we disagree we need not be disagreeable. But he would do well to remember that conversations are difficult with people who profess to hold the one and only "answer key" to life.
However, this issue is different, because at question here are my basic civil rights. In my opinion civil rights should not be a matter of discourse at all, especially by those such as Rick Warren, who are in possession of their full rights as citizens.
I am today a bit sadder, but alas wiser. Most importantly, I still have hope.
Wisdom and Blessings on us all,