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America's Pastor at the Inauguration
December 17, 2008 6:11 PM   Subscribe

Gay marriage equals incest and pedophilia. Abortion equals the Holocaust. Or so thinks "America's Pastor Rick "Saddleback" Warren, bestselling author of The Purpose-Driven Life, vocal supporter of Proposition 8, and the spiritual leader chosen by President-elect Obama to give the invocation at his inauguration. But hey -- don't call him a homophobe: He even eats dinner with gays.
posted by digaman (269 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
yikes?
posted by peewinkle at 6:14 PM on December 17, 2008


Yeah, it's bullshit. But Obama's always been friends with the guy. Team of Rivals! Or something!
posted by billysumday at 6:15 PM on December 17, 2008


Woebama.
posted by goldfinches at 6:16 PM on December 17, 2008


This is a huge mistake, and an insult to a lot of people who worked damn hard to get Obama elected.

Rick Warren can go to hell.
posted by R. Mutt at 6:17 PM on December 17, 2008 [24 favorites]


You know, you complain and some people'll tell you that this stuff is small potatoes, that Obama will pick the right judges anyway, and they will not be judges that Warren likes, and so you should just let the fundies have their dog and pony show at the inauguration, etc, etc. But for those of us who were paying attention in the 1990s, these "post-partisan" Obama things smell oddly of the good ole triangulation preached by Dick Morris and gladly adopted by Bill Clinton. Ie, fuck the liberals, they have nothing else to go to (well, yes, Nader in 2000, of course, and we all remember how well that went).

But don't say "triangulation", that big fat blu "O" is not a triangle, it's the dawn of a new age of light. And of course Bill Clinton is uncool now -- his campaign sucked at typography.
posted by matteo at 6:23 PM on December 17, 2008 [16 favorites]


Gay marriage equals incest and pedophilia....don't call him a homophobe.

If Rick Warren isn't a homophobe then he must hate children.
posted by DU at 6:26 PM on December 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hypocrite of the Year. Like every other Democrat I'd hoped he wasn't going to be. First Biden's brilliant dual position during the debate, now this.
posted by Tehanu at 6:26 PM on December 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I hope that between now and the inauguration, we find out the story of moral degradation and depravity behind the nickname "Saddleback."
posted by Saxon Kane at 6:30 PM on December 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Best-selling author, social activist and megachurch pastor Rick Warren described the social gospel supported by many of the mainline churches as “Marxism in Christian clothing”.

That takes some serious doublethink.
posted by mek at 6:31 PM on December 17, 2008 [8 favorites]


I'm all for a team of rivals, but who authorized this break in the culture wars?
posted by VulcanMike at 6:34 PM on December 17, 2008


This hurts. I know we had it coming. We all have it coming, how could we not? But it hurts.
posted by theefixedstars at 6:34 PM on December 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


There's no way in hell I'd click the link, but DailyKOS thinks it's 1198 comments'-worth of interesting. Maybe I should have read The Jungle BEFORE the Democratic primaries. *Le sigh*
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:34 PM on December 17, 2008


You know that at times he's going to disappoint you on actual real non-symbolic things, right?
posted by Artw at 6:35 PM on December 17, 2008 [6 favorites]


On the other hand...
If you followed the internal politics of evangelical and fundamentalist leaders, you’d see this for what it is—not an elevation of Warren, but a slap in the face of the old guard leaders like Dobson and LaHaye. They’ve been fighting to see who gets to be the spokesman for the movement, and lately it’s been a tie. Obama just broke it.
And let’s be clear, there is a difference between those groups. Warren may not be progressive on gay rights, but he’s been out front on a number of issues of global justice—traveling from Davos to Damascus, and working hard to get rank-and-file evangelicals invested in "creation care" environmentalism and the fight against global HIV/AIDS.
If he were put in charge of HHS or listened to on gay policies, I’d be pissed. But what Obama is doing here isn’t that. It’s a move that marginalizes the worst on the religious right, elevates a guy who’s more progressive than most religious leaders on a number of issues, and earns him some moderate cred at the outset.
If Obama sells out on the progressive promise in actual policy, I’ll be in the streets protesting with everyone else. But if his "selling out" is having a fairly moderate, popular evangelical give the invocation at the inaugural—when large sections of this country still worry Obama’s a scary evil Mooooslim—then who gives a flying fuck?
posted by jtron at 6:36 PM on December 17, 2008 [87 favorites]


Let the babies have their bottle.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:36 PM on December 17, 2008 [5 favorites]


If he honestly believes that fetuses are people then I don't see how comparing (not equating) widespread abortion to the holocaust is entirely unreasonable.

Anyone who believes that murder is happening frequently and without consequence just down the street from them and who does nothing about it besides some sharp comments and email-forwards is much more suspect in my opinion.
posted by ODiV at 6:36 PM on December 17, 2008 [18 favorites]


To be fair, Rick Warren thought those gays were just a couple of guys who had a really well-kept home (their collection of iconography was simply fantastic). Had he known they were a homosexual couple, he might have brought some holy water instead of wine spritzers.

I'm trying really hard to avoid making a Brokeback Mountain joke referring to Saddleback Church, but that'd be in poor taste. And they have a nice page on their HIV/AIDS Initiative, whatever that is.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:36 PM on December 17, 2008


You know that at times he's going to disappoint you on actual real non-symbolic things, right?

Disappointment is my natural state of being, as regards National politics, so I'm well prepared for the eventuality, myself.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:37 PM on December 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


If you guys wanted a liberal president you should have voted for Kucinich.
posted by 2sheets at 6:38 PM on December 17, 2008 [16 favorites]


The real question is: will he be placed in a Cone of Silence before the event?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:38 PM on December 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is one of the reasons I voted for N. Confidence.
posted by WolfDaddy at 6:39 PM on December 17, 2008


healthcare
Iraq
mortgage crisis
credit lockup
equal rights for gays
economic recession
Afghanistan/Pakistan
budget deficit & national debt
oil dependency

8 of these are first-rank issues that are eating at the long-term prospects of this country and its place in the world; 1 is not. While the phrase "under the bus" comes to mind, to govern effectively Obama's gotta be inclusive.
posted by troy at 6:40 PM on December 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


You know, I say this as a gay guy who donated money against, fought hard, and lost friends over prop 8... but everything that goes on in the world is not about us.
posted by tumbleweedjack at 6:40 PM on December 17, 2008 [41 favorites]


I'm disappointed to hear it, but I'm kind of hoping it's a case of "keep your friends close and your enemies closer." Maybe by inviting Warren to give the invocation at the inauguration, it will lessen some of his power to incite the religious radicals in the future? (But that doesn't stop even more dangerous psychos from filling the void)
posted by amyms at 6:42 PM on December 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hypocrite of the Year. Like every other Democrat I'd hoped he wasn't going to be.

Anyone surprised by this was not an informed voter. I certainly did not expect anything different from Clinton's "third way" politics from Obama. As for Warren, he's far from the worst evangelical. The New Yorker did an interesting profile on him and his church. He reverse tithes (giving 90% of his income back to the church) and while not the biggest social justice proponent, he's got a pretty good charitable ministry going (Saddleback hosted the 2006 Global Summit on AIDS and the church). Remember Pat Robertson, who suggested that someone oughta lob a nuclear bomb into Foggy Bottom? Remember Jerry Falwell who supported the Apartheid regime in South Africa? Warren is the Homer Simpson to these guys' C. Montgomery Burns.
posted by The White Hat at 6:45 PM on December 17, 2008 [6 favorites]


..elevates a guy who’s more progressive than most religious leaders on a number of issues, and earns him some moderate cred at the outset.

I.e. drives a wedge in the fundies. I like this.
posted by DU at 6:46 PM on December 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


From the transcript: "I’m opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that a marriage."

Hopefully this guy's next step will be to vocally support a proposition to retroactively separate Mary and Joseph.
posted by CKmtl at 6:46 PM on December 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm not a huge fan of Rick Warren, and I still heartily believe that Evangelicalism will be dead within a generation, but there are solid signs that Warren is a genuine improvement on his predecessors. There are bits of that interview you linked that I actually kind of like:

Steven Waldman: Which do you think is a greater threat to the American family? Divorce or gay marriage?

Rick Warren: Haha! That’s a no-brainer. Divorce. There’s no doubt about it...

Steven Waldman: So why do we hear so much more, especially from religious conservatives, about gay marriage than about divorce?

Rick Warren: Oh, we always love to talk about others’ sins more than ours. You know, why do we hear more about, you know, drug use than being overweight. Okay, why do we hear more about, you know, anything else besides wasting time? Or gossip? We want to point out… my sins are perfectly acceptable. Your sins are hideous and evil. [laughs]


Yes, he then descends back into a silly point about how Prop 8 was about his 'free speech' (ech... huh?) but this part shows, I think, why he's popular with young evangelicals who are waking up and realizing that the church they were brought up in isn't as spotless and pure as they'd been led to expect, and who are starting to understand that the hypocrisy of their forefathers needs to be expelled. A surprisingly large portion of young evangelicals voted Democrat this time around.
posted by koeselitz at 6:46 PM on December 17, 2008 [15 favorites]


This is worse than Altamont! I'm burning my posters and t-shirts as we speak.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:47 PM on December 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Rick Warren can go to hell.

Yup, but reality check here... he's saying some words for 90 seconds at an inauguration.

It's not like he got a cabinet position, here.
posted by rokusan at 6:51 PM on December 17, 2008 [9 favorites]


On reading more, I have to say that for someone who's evangelical Christian he doesn't seem that bad.

(on preview noticed that koeselitz posted what I was quoting, so I'll cut it out to avoid wasting space)

He later says he doesn't have a problem with partnership rights as long as it's not called marriage. This is much more reasonable than other religious opinions I've heard on the matter. I wouldn't find that an acceptable compromise, but it's somewhere to start the conversation.
posted by ODiV at 6:51 PM on December 17, 2008


I wasn't smiling when I voted for Obama. And the 2nd biggest reason - after his stab in the back on the FISA vote - was his consistently stated policy towards the LGBT community: Queers ride at the back of the bus.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:55 PM on December 17, 2008 [8 favorites]


That's it...I now finally have the motivation remove the Obama sign from my front yard.
posted by sexymofo at 6:55 PM on December 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Look, Obama is to the right of many of his supporters on gay rights. Either this makes him just as bad as Bush in your eyes, or it doesn't. Me, I'll settle for being disappointed about this but still ecstatic that he beat McCain and Palin.
posted by Bookhouse at 6:58 PM on December 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


i'm not a christian-hater. i don't think rick warren is evil incarnate. i appreciate the sentiment behind the gesture towards inclusiveness. i wouldn't even mind if warren was involved in the administration -- so long as he has no final decisionmaking power.

i just really, really, really wish that the inaugural moment could have been unsullied by hatred, misogyny and bigotry. yes, it is but a symbolic moment (which, in my heart of hearts, i'm already soured on, since i also wish that the inaugural moment would be a secular moment) -- it's not like obama picked warren for the SCOTUS. but, damnitall, i wanted to sit, googly-eyed, with tears streaming down my face, as i tuned in to history. as far as i can tell, this inauguration is going to be my generation's moon landing. and now...well, it's already lost its lustre.

perhaps there will be a movement -- i'd love it if people in the audience simply turned their backs when warren speaks.

tumbleweedjack, it's about more than the gay thing. warren's positions on several important issues are breathlessly hate-filled, righteous fearmongering.
posted by CitizenD at 6:58 PM on December 17, 2008 [7 favorites]


ODiV writes "He later says he doesn't have a problem with partnership rights as long as it's not called marriage."

David Duke don't have a problem with "the blacks" expressing opinions about politics, as long as that's not called "voting".
posted by orthogonality at 7:01 PM on December 17, 2008 [12 favorites]


I get the feeling that Obama threads here in years to come are going to start sounding a lot like Apple threads on Slashdot: "Fuck Microsoft and their DRM bullshit!!!" followed at some future point by "Apple had to DRM their stuff to appease the RIAA." Apple's just a company, and Obama's just a politician. And yes, it's hurt me some to see this, but it doesn't mean it ain't so.
posted by theroadahead at 7:01 PM on December 17, 2008 [6 favorites]


If this makes you question your support for the man, then you didn't have much support for him to begin with. No wonder the liberals come across as wishy-washy.
posted by Eekacat at 7:02 PM on December 17, 2008 [6 favorites]


Obama's just a politician.

Even if he weren't "just a politician" he's still not going to agree 100% on every tactical move with every one of his supporters. I'm going to keep my powder dry for an issue of substance.
posted by DU at 7:04 PM on December 17, 2008 [5 favorites]


This is one of the reasons I voted for N. Confidence.

You were able to look into the future and see that there would be a 15 minute nontroversy and that made it OK with you that "Bomb Iran" might win the White House?
posted by DU at 7:05 PM on December 17, 2008 [5 favorites]


I kind of get it. I'm no fan of religion, but it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if evangelicals could be shown that Obama's vision is more consistent with Christian ideals than what their power guys are pushing. Perhaps appealing to the more benevolent side of their (supposed) core beliefs could help put sideshow issues like gay rights into more reasonable perspective. Or not, I guess.
posted by troybob at 7:10 PM on December 17, 2008


It's not like he got a cabinet position, here.

No, that's Robert Gates.
posted by matteo at 7:11 PM on December 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think this is a mistake. I don't like Warren doing the inauguration.

But my guess is that Rick Warren is going to start moving to the left. Not because he's doing the inauguration but because the man, by profession, is a whore and he'll go whichever direction the political winds blow.

I expect that when there's a movement to put something on the ballot to turn around prop 8 he'll soften his stance. If the people running the campaign to overturn prop 8 are smart they'll do some type of sham meeting with him. He'll get more space to back down. He'll use it and he'll talk about Christian growth and then after that election he'll back even further away from his current stance. You don't get to be the leader of a mega church without knowing how to pander to your audience and I think even on the religious right obvious homophobia is becoming unacceptable. Warren's whole gimmick is to differentiate himself from the Pat Robertsons and Fallwells of the big church world and turning around on gay marriage, an issue that the wingnuts must know they've already lost, would be a perfect way to drive that image home.

Of course, what do I know? I could be full of shit.
posted by rdr at 7:14 PM on December 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Or Rick Warren is also a seekrit mooslim.
posted by Artw at 7:14 PM on December 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Perhaps appealing to the more benevolent side of their (supposed) core beliefs . . . .

Yes, Warren's real benevolent.
posted by theroadahead at 7:16 PM on December 17, 2008


This post isn't helping anything. It's all bluster and outrage, designed to paint Warren as some sort of evil foe, while subtly painting Obama as traitor. It's as shrill and narrow minded as a lot of bunk coming from the hardcore right.

In the first link, it's unclear what he's equating homosexuality to: incest/pedophilia or just something outside his definition of marriage. I wish the interviewer has followed up on that point.

In the second link there's this:
During a gathering for Planned Parenthood, Obama declared that the first thing he would do as president would be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, which would abolish all restrictions and limitations on women in the United States to have an abortion prior to fetal viability, whether at the state or federal level, or after the point of viability when the life of the mother is endangered.

Obama has also been known for his opposition to the Supreme Court ruling to uphold the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act and his votes against legislative efforts in the Illinois Senate for three consecutive years (2001-2003) to give legal protections to a baby born alive during an attempted abortion procedure.

During Warren’s interview with Beliefnet, the megachurch pastor confessed that he and Obama “totally disagree” with one another on the issue of abortion.
What's that, he's friends with someone who he totally disagrees with on some issues? We already knew that from the Rev. Wright "issue."

So no, I'm not going to get worked up about Warren doing the invocation at Obama's inauguration or even that a religious ceremony is occurring at government event. Rick Warren is wrong the homosexuality issue and I'm sure he's wrong about a lot of things, but you'll have to forgive me for not hating him or Obama and wanting to tear either down.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:18 PM on December 17, 2008 [29 favorites]


From the Nation article I linked above:

Beneath the sheep's clothing lurks a culture warrior wolf. After the Saddleback forum, he told the Wall Street Journal that the only difference between him and James Dobson was that of "tone."
posted by theroadahead at 7:18 PM on December 17, 2008


orthogonality: David Duke don't have a problem with "the blacks" expressing opinions about politics, as long as that's not called "voting".

It's this sort of moral absolutism that leads to precisely the sort of things we find most disdainful in Rick Warren. I don't mind a world of compromises, of gay people who are allowed to have civil unions and call it whatever they like and where Christians can only call their unions marriages in churches, not in courthouses. And I don't think stamping out everybody who thinks a little differently from me is really going to be the way to bring that about.

Here's a quotation from one of the links that illustrates perhaps the best thing about Rick Warren:

Rick Warren: “In fact, in the first place, I’m a pastor, and people might misunderstand. I don’t deal with policy issues with Barack Obama or President Clinton or John McCain. I just don’t. That’s not my role. My role is to pastor these guys.

Very few people seem to be realizing how monumental a change this is from the last generation. The culture warriors fought a hard battle for decades to secure as much temporal power as possible in order to push an agenda. They didn't apologize for this; they bent the non-profit line as much as they could, they waged guerrilla warfare on the streets with mailing campaigns and vote mobilizations and tacit-but-obvious endorsements.

For the first time in my lifetime, the most powerful evangelical on the planet says he won't give advice to politicians on policy issues. He sees a real difference between 'spiritual leader and guide' and 'political pundit,' and he actively eschews the latter. What these articles miss, what's lost in the tenor of the post, is that Rick Warren doesn't seek out situations where he can spout his opinion on these issues; he's never written a book on abortion or gay marriage. His comments on Prop 8 were the farthest he's gone, and while they disappoint me, we still see him giving his little disclaimer constantly: 'look, I'm not a policy wonk, and it's not my job to try to sway things unduly.' He sees his role as a citizen and his role as a pastor as separate.

In short, he's not fighting the culture war. He made a conscious decision not to. That's why I think, for the first time, it's a little beside the point to talk about how "secretly" he's anti-abortion and ant-gay-rights, though he doesn't talk about those things much. Yes, we're used to generations of religious leaders who spoke out of both sides of their mouths, who pretended to one thing and then loudly shouted another like a horde of Yasir Arafats, and we're used to generations of politicians who did the very same. But Rick Warren is actually different in a fundamental way: he has these opinions, and he won't hide them, but he has a sense of propriety about what should be said and how he should say it, and he has the forethought to know that the hot-button issues that are so divisive actually aren't the issues central to the faith. I still think evangelicalism is on its way out; however, I think Rick Warren is one of the signs that evangelicals themselves are getting a little weary of the song and dance.
posted by koeselitz at 7:19 PM on December 17, 2008 [22 favorites]


theroadahead, quoting The Nation: Beneath the sheep's clothing lurks a culture warrior wolf. After the Saddleback forum, he told the Wall Street Journal that the only difference between him and James Dobson was that of "tone."

This is taking a comment entirely out of context. Rick Warren believes he and Dobson are both Christians (a belief I don't happen to share); but the issue of tone is precisely the issue that's important here.
posted by koeselitz at 7:22 PM on December 17, 2008


ATTENTION LUNATIC ATHEISTS!
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:23 PM on December 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Monongah, West Virginia." Wow, what a fun thing to say.

MONONGAH.
posted by koeselitz at 7:25 PM on December 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


I have about as much patience for Democrats who are hissy-fitting about pre-administration announcements as I did for (mostly the same) Democrats who spent weeks moping and groaning and freaking out when he took a dip in the polls after the Palin nomination. Get a fucking grip. I guess this is the sort of fair-weather support a candidate can look forward to when he courts a base lacking its own fervent unshakeable faith, but sheesh. You're like the girlfriend who ALWAYS thinks she's on the verge of getting broken up with.
posted by hermitosis at 7:25 PM on December 17, 2008 [23 favorites]


I'd have personally been much happier with Jim Wallis, but this is actually pretty smart politics. Warren represents a (relatively) moderate wing of the evangelical movement, and if Obama can peel them off and away from the GOP, there will never be another Republican president.

Or did you think that when he promised to reach out to people he didn't agree with, he was only talking about Ahmadinejad? It works both ways. "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."

Far better to engage with moderate evangelicals and make common cause with them on the environment, torture, AIDS, Darfur, and half a dozen other issues than to shun them and feed their persecution complex. And, yes, they're moving leftward on gay rights. They're glacially slow, but they're getting there. Many evangelicals, even fairly conservative ones, now support civil unions with full rights, as long as it's not called marriage. That's not an ideal position, but it's light years from Jerry Falwell and James Dobson.
posted by EarBucket at 7:28 PM on December 17, 2008 [39 favorites]


BOHICA
posted by McGuillicuddy at 7:31 PM on December 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


EarBucket: Warren represents a (relatively) moderate wing of the evangelical movement, and if Obama can peel them off and away from the GOP, there will never be another Republican president.

Another important point that's being missed. I don't think that those democrats who are complaining have any idea what impact it'll have on the evangelicals for their biggest leader to be seen as a friend to a democratic president. There was a time not ten years ago when being a democrat could get you glared at in many churches; now, well, things are changing a bit, aren't they?
posted by koeselitz at 7:33 PM on December 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


He reverse tithes (giving 90% of his income back to the church)

Which church — let me guess — pays for his housing, transportation, etc.? Nice tax dodge.

Anyway, we would never have had any of these problems with Lizard People.
posted by enn at 7:36 PM on December 17, 2008 [5 favorites]


I get the feeling that Obama threads here in years to come are going to start sounding a lot like Apple threads on Slashdot . . . .

I'm not too big to admit when I'm wrong.
posted by theroadahead at 7:37 PM on December 17, 2008


We all have to live in this country together and we all have to give a little. I think that giving religious conservatives the invocation is like giving the cousin you don't like the gross Halloween candy. You are sharing without giving up anything you care about.
posted by Foam Pants at 7:38 PM on December 17, 2008 [8 favorites]


Itzhak Perlman and Yo-Yo Ma, though...now that's a pretty good gig. I've been to a couple of festivals in my time, and my advice would be to show up after Aretha Franklin, sometime during the John Paul Stevens Project. That way you will totally skip Rick Warren (he has completely forsaken the funk) but you can still catch the awesome string players before heading out to the parking lot to down a couple of beers and smoke a doobie during John Roberts (I hear the drum solo goes on forever). Make it back to your seats in time to watch the headliner and then bail during the spoken word.
posted by malocchio at 7:38 PM on December 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yes, malocchio. In thirty years we'll all be telling our children how we were at the inauguration that year, it's just that we took so much acid that all we remember is the mud pits and the chill-out tent where Wavy Gravy was smoking people up.
posted by koeselitz at 7:42 PM on December 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


A final thought: Dennis Kucinich - the Linux of American politics.
posted by theroadahead at 7:42 PM on December 17, 2008 [13 favorites]


Worth noting that Clinton had Billy Graham give both an invocation and benediction at his 1993 inauguration:

Clinton's inauguration was no less religious than that of his immediate predecessors. He began the day at an early morning prayer service at an A.M.E. Church, laid his hand on the Bible as he took the oath, quoted scripture in his inaugural address, and invited Graham to deliver the invocation and benediction. The American religious-political symbols of Bible, oath, prayer, benediction, and evangelist, all of them together suggesting the theme of America as a holy, (Judeo?) Christian nation, were present.

Here's the American Atheist press release at the time. Clinton also had an "Interfaith Prayer Service" that featured a bunch of religious figures, of whom many, I'd guess (and it's only a guess) were just as antigay as that asshole Rick Warren. I'm not saying this means Obama's not being an indefensible jerk to his queer constituency, but I am used to it, and certainly didn't expect him to take any chances on this issue for me - especially given his mealy-mouthed support for gay rights during the campaign. Yeah, this is bullshit, but it's just the same old bullshit, you know? It's exactly what I expect from Obama.

I won't mind if he delivers on health insurance. I will very much mind if he doesn't. That's really all I'm allowing myself to expect from an Obama presidency. I suggest other folks do the same; you'll be much happier.
posted by mediareport at 7:43 PM on December 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


That's it...I now finally have the motivation remove the Obama sign from my front yard.

My wife's "Yes We Did" posters arrived yesterday. I commented, "It's far from clear yet exactly what we've done."
posted by Joe Beese at 7:43 PM on December 17, 2008


That's not entirely fair - netbooks are making linux increasingly relevant.
posted by Artw at 7:48 PM on December 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's silly enough the amount of criticism Obama is getting before he even takes office, but really, how much does one guy need to accomplish before people stop second-guessing every decision he makes? It's like how that psychic chick on Medium solves like every single murder case to come her way, and yet any time she has some new dream or vision they treat her like she's an ultimate fuck-up.
posted by troybob at 7:48 PM on December 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


You know something? I want him to take care of the two wars abroad. I want strong leadership on the economy. I want health care. I want the things he promised.

And anyone who has read any of the other gay marriage threads knows how strongly I feel about that subject. But I don't care how Obama feels about it, because this is not the sort of thing that should be in the hands of the executive branch. It's a civil right that should be addressed the way other civil rights issues are addressed, in the courts by so-called "activist judges" who look at the constitution and see that they can not constitutionally deny gays and lesbians the right to marry.

Obama should be better about this. There will be a lot of things he should be better on, and he'll fall down on. Let him fall down on things he shouldn't really be making decisions on and do right on the things he should.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:49 PM on December 17, 2008 [7 favorites]


We all have to live in this country together and we all have to give a little.

Tacitly accepting sub-human legal status is not "giving a little".

No one is going to treat you with respect until you demand it.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:54 PM on December 17, 2008 [6 favorites]


This seems like good politics to me.

I wish our existing lefty coalitions had been strong enough to tip the scales on prop 8, but they weren't. While we might have pulled off a narrow victory with more money or better organization, there just weren't enough of us for a decisive win. It's a stalemate that won't break in our favor in the current social climate. It has nothing to do with the strength of our principles and everything to do with cold, hard demographics.

New coalitions must be formed, and that means courting moderate evangelicals.
posted by ducky l'orange at 7:58 PM on December 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's called being centrist. Grow up.
posted by aerotive at 7:59 PM on December 17, 2008


Netbooks for some, tiny American Flags for others.
posted by theroadahead at 7:59 PM on December 17, 2008 [5 favorites]


Maybe I'll replace "good" with "smart". Or maybe "cunning."
posted by ducky l'orange at 8:00 PM on December 17, 2008


No one is going to treat you with respect until you demand it.

I suspect it's more like "No one is going to get gay marriage until a bunch of people drop dead of old age. "
posted by Artw at 8:00 PM on December 17, 2008 [8 favorites]


It's called being centrist. Grow up.

I can handle the obvious centrism, but don't tell people who don't have full equality under the law to "grow up" when they start demanding of their leaders the same rights others already have.

In other words: Grow the fuck up yourself.
posted by mediareport at 8:01 PM on December 17, 2008 [20 favorites]


For those who think that this is a brilliant tactical step should probably consider that whatever political benefit that having Rick Warren do the invocation is far more intangible and abstract than the political fallout of having an angry and Prop 8-energized LGBT community protesting the inaugural.

Especially at a time when the press is just BEGGING for a Dems-factionalism story.

So yeah, insulting AND stupid.
posted by Weebot at 8:05 PM on December 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


If I'm reading their intentions correctly, I think "an angry and Prop 8-energized LGBT community protesting the inaugural" is probably just peachy with Team Change, "especially at a time when the press is just BEGGING for a Dems-factionalism story"

But I do agree about the insulting part.
posted by halcyon_daze at 8:12 PM on December 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Here's a quotation from one of the links that illustrates perhaps the best thing about Rick Warren:

Rick Warren: “In fact, in the first place, I’m a pastor, and people might misunderstand. I don’t deal with policy issues with Barack Obama or President Clinton or John McCain. I just don’t. That’s not my role. My role is to pastor these guys."

[...]

For the first time in my lifetime, the most powerful evangelical on the planet says he won't give advice to politicians on policy issues.


What the hell? Here's the text that immediately precedes that quote:
One question Waldman asked Warren was why he talked to Obama about his abortion position but not President Bush about his position on torture, which Warren said he is “totally against.”

“Never got the chance. I just didn’t,” Warren responded.
So he's saying he "won't give advice on policy issues" even though he took Obama to task over abortion (which sure as hell sounds like a policy issue to me) while giving Bush a complete fucking pass on authorizing torture because, you know, he never got around to it. And this is the best thing about Rick Warren?
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 8:19 PM on December 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


I know everyone's supposed to be outraged about this today, and I'm a liberal atheist and everything, but I just wanted to mention for balance that Rick Warren is surprisingly liberal on poverty. And he should at least be given some credit for being at least a few shades less awful than Falwell, Robertson and the rest.
posted by Kirklander at 8:22 PM on December 17, 2008 [4 favorites]


Politics is a filthy fucking business.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:24 PM on December 17, 2008 [7 favorites]


Apple's just a company, and Obama's just a politician. And yes, it's hurt me some to see this, but it doesn't mean it ain't so.

Your favorite politician sucks.

In other news, Obama is Skrull.

Oh, how it HURTS me to lay out the shining truth for those still awash in the sweet sweet Purell excreted from Obama's armpits ...
posted by macross city flaneur at 8:24 PM on December 17, 2008


"No one is going to get gay marriage until a bunch of people drop dead of old age. "

Sadly, you're probably right.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:26 PM on December 17, 2008


He reverse tithes (giving 90% of his income back to the church)
Which church — let me guess — pays for his housing, transportation, etc.? Nice tax dodge.


Please explain how this avoids taxes. It looks like it pointlessly incurs taxes, to me.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 8:50 PM on December 17, 2008


I'd have personally been much happier with Jim Wallis, but this is actually pretty smart politics. Warren represents a (relatively) moderate wing of the evangelical movement, and if Obama can peel them off and away from the GOP, there will never be another Republican president.

I think that trying to peel away evangelicals will always be a fool's errand for the Democrats. Their efforts would be much more productively spent on Catholics, who are much more numerous, and much more ideologically compatible. I like to imagine American Catholics basically fulfilling the role of the men of the mountain in The Return of the King: an enormous, awe-inspiring army that once was aligned with the forces of good (Al Smith through JFK), but has lain dormant for many years, and will one day rise again to smash the armies of Mordor forever. Obama won Catholics by 8 points this year, I believe, but if the abortion and gay marriage issues can ever be decisively put to rest, I think Democrats could win them two to one.
posted by gsteff at 8:53 PM on December 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I haven't been keeping up, is Rick Warren officially on the enemies list then?

I'd venture a guess that Obama is building a strong, necessarily diverse, coalition of supporters to help him lead the country to more centrism and less polarization - and help him and other democrats get elected some more additional times, future-wise - something the world desperately needs right now.
posted by scheptech at 8:59 PM on December 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's this sort of moral absolutism that leads to precisely the sort of things we find most disdainful in Rick Warren.

Let me be clear on this: denying people equal status under the law is always wrong. It is easy to be patronizingly calculated when it's not your ass dealing with the fallout.

I don't mind a world of compromises, of gay people who are allowed to have civil unions and call it whatever they like and where Christians can only call their unions marriages in churches, not in courthouses.


And at one time, people didn't mind having "whites only" signs over drinking fountains. I don't think that is a compromise. I think it's a copout.

For the first time in my lifetime, the most powerful evangelical on the planet says he won't give advice to politicians on policy issues.

If he is commenting at all on gay marriage, he is advising on a policy issue.

State that gays are teh evil or an abomination before god. Whatever. It doesn't affect law.

Stating that a some people should be summarily denied equal access to health care, adoption, power of attorney, and a myriad of things that go with marriage is very much a policy issue. Creating a new legal definition (i.e.- civil unions) is very much creating policy. Stating that yet another person should have to deal with being treated as a second-class citizen to reach out to those who keep them oppressed is just plain fucked-up.

In short, he's not fighting the culture war.

This is not about culture. It's about equal rights. For everybody.
posted by quintessencesluglord at 9:10 PM on December 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


meat!
posted by Hands of Manos at 9:10 PM on December 17, 2008


Warren is a white evangelical Christian who would never, ever, not in a million years entreat God to damn America. Can you...see how...possibly...a thing like this benefits Obama? With, y'know...certain people? Because yes. Yes, I can. This may not be an act of fearless integrity, but it's a hell of a sharp political move. Obama is very, very good at those; why do you think you supported him? How do you think he managed to beat Clinton for the nomination and beat McCain in a landslide? Look, he's got you -- he's had you before you even knew he was running -- and even if something like this pisses you off, he's not gonna lose you, and you both know it -- and he needs to throw some bones to the skeptics now. Mind you, I'm not saying Obama doesn't genuinely want Warren there; I don't know, but I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. But the facts remain that (a) having Warren there is smart politics, and (b) even if Obama totally wanted Warren there, if it weren't smart politics, he wouldn't be. Dude's not the messiah, folks. Sorry if that's what you thought you were getting. I'm pretty good with what we've got, though, so far (we'll be in a better position to judge, I think, once he's actually...uh...y'know...the president).
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:14 PM on December 17, 2008 [4 favorites]


halcyon_daze: The Obama folks would not be excited about giving up another press cycle after having all their good transition press overshadowed by Blagojevich. Why would they want to sully the only event where the ecstatic press of a historic proportion is practically guaranteed?

It doesn't net Obama anything either. They get a chance to cozy up to a hostile demographic, but this is an incredibly clumsy way to do it and there is no guarantee that they'll reciprocate politically. They could be trying to please some on-the-fence "moderates", but they, by and large, already have a very positive image of Obama according to the approval numbers.

And all the while they're alienating a newly energized and very vocal constituency while at the same time handing over a lot of political leverage to them.

This is a mess politically, and Team Obama does NOT do messy. Anyone who thinks that this is a smart maneuver to convert the moderate evangelicals are being too clever by half.
posted by Weebot at 9:15 PM on December 17, 2008


Combustible Edison Lighthouse writes
One question Waldman asked Warren was why he talked to Obama about his abortion position but not President Bush about his position on torture, which Warren said he is “totally against.

“Never got the chance. I just didn’t,” Warren responded.
"So he's saying he 'won't give advice on policy issues' even though he took Obama to task over abortion (which sure as hell sounds like a policy issue to me) while giving Bush a complete fucking pass on authorizing torture because, you know, he never got around to it. And this is the
best thing about Rick Warren?"

To be completely fair, when the rabbis came to Jesus with the woman charged with adultery, Jesus really meant to tell them "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her", but He didn't quite get around to it.

And then when Jesus heard that the Sanhedrin was getting upset, He like totally meant to give the Sermon on the Mount, but, you know....

And so when Pilate asked Him, "Art thou the King of the Jews?", Jesus was all like "Never got the chance."
posted by orthogonality at 9:24 PM on December 17, 2008 [5 favorites]


We all have to live in this country together and we all have to give a little.

I'm sorry but, considering the past eight years, if not now then when exactly would it be okay to not have an evangelical with a narrow interpretation of the bible speak for the spiritual beliefs of all of us Americans?

I also believe this is sort of small potatoes and I'm not going to get too wound up about it, but it's clearly disappointing. I'm guessing his choice was a political one but (in my opinion) a miscalculated one. Now is the moment that people are buying into the idea of change and a more inclusive religious figure would have been important symbolically.

I am also really disappointed when I hear people say that gay people just need to wait a little longer, that now is not the time, you just need to sacrifice a bit longer for the good of the rest of our liberal agenda. You don't compromise on a human rights issue.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:27 PM on December 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


.... and in a year or so he will be found in a motel room with an underage male prostitute, stinking of amyl and high on meth with an apple in his mouth.

That's how these things generally play out.
posted by mattoxic at 9:28 PM on December 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


.... and in a year or so he will be found in a motel room with an underage male prostitute, stinking of amyl and high on meth with an apple in his mouth.

Hm. Well there is that.

Because of course he'll be identified in the press as "Rick Warren, Barack Obama's close friend..."

I may need to retract my previous nonplussedness, here.
posted by rokusan at 9:37 PM on December 17, 2008


In other news, Obama is Skrull.

How did he slip past our detection? Somebody get Reed Richards!
posted by schroedinger at 9:42 PM on December 17, 2008


Privileged people telling the oppressed to "grow up" or "compromise" would be hilarious if it weren't so goddamn infuriating.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:43 PM on December 17, 2008 [5 favorites]


It's a symbolic thing, but why would you choose someone so controversial to give the invocation. There are tons of religious people who would have offended no one. Why would the president who campaigned on being non-divisive choose someone who is not only divisive, but someone who offends many of your strongest supporters during what should be a celebration? How would the right feel if he invited Rev Wright to do the invocation?
If he were put in charge of HHS or listened to on gay policies, I’d be pissed. But what Obama is doing here isn’t that. It’s a move that marginalizes the worst on the religious right, elevates a guy who’s more progressive than most religious leaders on a number of issues, and earns him some moderate cred at the outset.

If Obama is seriously trying to get involved in Evangelical politics that's still bullshit. The separation of church and state is supposed to go both ways, it's also supposed to protect churches from being interfered with by the government.
It's silly enough the amount of criticism Obama is getting before he even takes office, but really, how much does one guy need to accomplish before people stop second-guessing every decision he makes? It's like how that psychic chick on Mediumsolves like every single murder case to come her way, and yet any time she has some new dream or vision they treat her like she's an ultimate fuck-up.
Actually, we should never stop second-guessing our government, as opposed to treating them as if they had magical prognostication powers.
And all the while they're alienating a newly energized and very vocal constituency while at the same time handing over a lot of political leverage to them.

This is a mess politically, and Team Obama does NOT do messy. Anyone who thinks that this is a smart maneuver to convert the moderate evangelicals are being too clever by half.
You may be right, or not. But it's important to remember that Obama has always believed it was possible to reach out to conservative evangelicals. He talked about it all the time, up until the election when they all decided to believe he was a secret Muslim.
posted by delmoi at 9:43 PM on December 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Eekacat: I might agree that you are right in a certain respect with this claim.

It seems to me that people have been looking at Obama's relationship with Warren tonight and his role in the inauguration as an indication that Warren will bring Obama down from the moral and political pedastal we've placed him on and that it foreshadows future failures on his part to live up to what we may have thought he was as a leader. Though I understand the frustration, anger, and caution in of comments I've read tonight on here and elsewhere, I, personally, can't immediately get on board with the skeptical sentiment. It seems that if I were to make that move, given my knowledge, it might suggest an assumption that it's Warren who is the stronger of the two men, both morally and politically speaking, capable of serving as a clear indicator of imminent disappointment and betrayal from Obama. And that is not my intuition at all.

From what I know and have seen of Obama in the past year, and what I continue to search for in his work, history, and interactions as a politician and more importantly as a person, grounds my current faith and trust in the depth, strength, rationality, and humanity of his convictions. His moral and political views and beliefs are the sort that can influence the views and convictions that people like Rev. Warren espouse, not only in their content but also in their reflective, rational, and empathic foundations, if only in slight and merely appreciative or noted ways at first. We've seen Warren offer Obama (and McCain of course) a venue to uncritically and comfortably present their views on faith and other moral issues without retort or opposition. And in this arena I saw Obama offer to a skeptical community, sitting next to their leader, his arguments and reasons for his beliefs on leadership and abortion, fairness, gay rights, and his own moral failings, not to mention his own sophisticated yet subtle reverence for religion and faith in his life. It isn't clear to me that their relationship is a threat to the foundations of such views. I would suspect the relationship between these two men as more of a threat or a challenge to the sort of morally repugnant views held by Warren and the like.

The issue of gay rights, particularly the right to marry, is at the forefront of this debate it seems, but it shouldn't exhaust the range of similar issues that Obama is equipped to challenge in what could be a strong way. And even if there is no real political sway or explicit political opposition between these two men on the relevant issues here, the shared convictions that they do have may offer the promise of growing and respected interactions between warring factions that can motivate more and better progress that many here want to see regarding civil and human rights and liberties.

The change I believed a lot of people wanted and what I want from Obama and his administration is not merely the transformation of current policies and legistation to each of our ideals, but more important and beneficial changes to how citizens and the government can more effectively and securely make progress toward sharing the best ideals and values that we can. And that to me seems like it might require, not really compromise, but engagement with and receptiveness to the consideration of opposition views in a much more open and respectful manner between sides, facilitated by as much knowledge and well-reasoned argumentation, with a view toward honing the views on either side.

The change and progress we want and need in this country is going to take time and maybe humility, on our parts and on the parts of our leaders, to consider that no matter how firm our convictions and personal ideals are, they are not above refinement or honing. And the only way that maybe the best political progress can be made is for all sides and persons to appreciate that first and continuously. I think that only in that type of environment will things progress in the right kind of way, less polemical debate with the care and thoughtfulness that everyone the country deserves. Not a single one of us will be satisfied with every decision or consequence of this administration or any administration for that matter, let alone one political leader, and they never could because we simply can't each be satisfied given the vast ranging, maybe subtle, but politically significant differences between each of us. Then we become stagnant as a whole nation, oscillating between times when tiny moves are made for a few, and then times when they will fall back on something else and some more slight progress can be made for another few. I doubt that good progress can come from each holding his or her ideals too tightly or by getting angered too quickly at something that is not obviously to all what it is being reported as by some.

Of course Obama will disappoint his supporters at times and people will feel betrayed. But if you voted for Obama and you really believe of him that he will not do what he can to promote the good of the country and its citizens, I don't know why you would have cast that vote. If Obama does do everything that he can to promote good for this country or if you think he will, his efforts won't be best supported or facilitated by instant anger or disappointment at something like this. He is only human, but goddamnit, he is one of the most remarkable, empathic, attentive, brilliant, and honest human beings I have ever witnessed, one I never want to stop learning about and understanding, the closest to a public and personal moral leader, icon, and teacher that I've yet encountered. He will either meet or exceed expectations, or be a disastrous and shameful failure.

(sorry for the length of the post. I'm really tired right now but passionate about keeping myself from becoming easily jaded, angered, or from failing to understand all of what could be going on, both good and bad, now and in the future regarding Obama and politics generally. I feel obligated to make a real attempt anyway.)
posted by inconsequentialist at 9:44 PM on December 17, 2008 [6 favorites]


There are tons of religious people who would have offended no one.

* blink *

Who?
posted by scheptech at 9:46 PM on December 17, 2008


It doesn't net Obama anything either. They get a chance to cozy up to a hostile demographic, but this is an incredibly clumsy way to do it and there is no guarantee that they'll reciprocate politically.

Not making people feel like they are shut out because their guy didn't win (which is pretty much how I've felt the last eight years) is not the same as 'cozying up.' Even if it doesn't calculate politically, I think Obama looks all the better for including people who, if the election had turned out differently, would not have done the same for him. I think Obama can help himself a lot if he tries to steer us away from the divisive politics of the past few decades.

My thing is that I think a lot of people who lean Republican actually do so against their own interests and values; I'd rather Obama take up the challenge of inviting them in to prove that as opposed to ignoring them.
posted by troybob at 9:50 PM on December 17, 2008 [5 favorites]


But if you voted for Obama and you really believe of him that he will not do what he can to promote the good of the country and its citizens, I don't know why you would have cast that vote.

Remember that other guy that was running? I'm not happy with any of this, but at least it's not McCain moving in in January.
posted by theroadahead at 9:52 PM on December 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


One last thing. Obama has invited, civil rights leader, Rev. Joseph Lowery, to give the benediction. I'm sure there are those out there who are not happy about that pick as well. The balance he's set up between the two pastors here is interesting and also worth noting.
posted by inconsequentialist at 9:55 PM on December 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


Warren and pretty much all evangelicals believe that a child becomes a person with a soul at the moment of conception. Killing a person is murder. Therefore in his world view abortions are indeed a holocaust.

I don't believe he's right about souls. I don't believe in souls. I don't believe in anything magical. However if I did believe that abortion was murder then I would completely agree that a woman's choice to reproduce is irrelevant. The right of not wanting to reproduce is trumped by the right not to be killed.

I also think Warren is dead wrong on marriage but I understand his argument.

i.e.: If we as a society decide that marriage will be defined by the state instead of by "God's Law" then by logical extension at some point in the future we as the state could define it as anything we wanted. Imagine if somehow NAMBLA gained a democratic plurality that could even mean children!

This of course is bullshit, the state already defines marriage and extending it to same-sex is merely progression of basic human rights. Old people passed Prop 8. Old people die. It will be overturned eventually.

So here we have a pastor who is trying to steer his flock (such an apt word that) in a positive direction but who is deeply wrong on two issues (at least). Should he be a pariah? If he says a prayer at the inauguration does this mean Obama is now George Bush III? Are all his followers to be disenfranchised because they voted for the other guy?

For the last 4+ years Obama has been talking and talking and talking about how the biggest problem this country has is that there is no middle ground anymore. That there are only ever two choices. Either you believe that the rich should never pay a penny in taxes or you believe in socialism. You believe that abortion clinics should be bombed or you believe that abortion clinics should be as common as McDonalds and twice as cheap. Obama wants to find the middle ground. He wants to talk to the opposition. He believes that just because he thinks one thing that doesn't mean he's right. Everyone deserves a voice.

Barack Obama is not the liberal President. He is not the Democrat President.

He is the President of the United States and he's going to act like it.
posted by Bonzai at 9:59 PM on December 17, 2008 [16 favorites]


They get a chance to cozy up to a hostile demographic

Koeselitz already touched on this, but the demographic you're talking about is dying. The Moral Majority is no more. The Christian Coalition is splintering. Evangelicals are a minority in America, their numbers are dwindling, and just last week, Richard Cizik - lobbyist for the largest evangelical umbrella organization in the country, the National Association of Evangelical, resigned after vowing support for gay civil unions in an interview with NPR. Warren, for as much as I despise the guy, doesn't seem to rank gay marriage on a list or priorities, either.

So here's what you can do - you can shriek and pull your hair out because Barack Obama let a moderate evangelical address a crowd at his inauguration for a couple minutes, write this off as a great insult to everyone who voted for him and who fought Prop 8 and fights for civil rights, or you can recognize that the Talibaptists are dinosaurs in a snowstorm, that this is a pretty much meaningless gesture however unfortunate, and wait for Obama to be president and see what he actually does.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:00 PM on December 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's days like this that I wish I had voted for that Democrat McCain.
posted by b1tr0t at 10:00 PM on December 17, 2008


theroadahead: So then it might seem that you win now just because Obama is in office and might not be inclined to feel great disappointment or betrayal if you didn't really vote for him in the first place. There might be those that think that voted against McCain but see Obama's actions as worse than what McCain might have done. There's a bit of speculative trouble with that kind of worry of course. You may never be sure that Obama does worse than McCain would have. We're probably much more sure of when our expectations about a person's potential have not been met when a vote for them is not in part a vote against the other candidate.
posted by inconsequentialist at 10:02 PM on December 17, 2008


The one thing you would know about McCain is that whatever he does, he doesn't mean it.

With Obama, you can never be sure.
posted by b1tr0t at 10:18 PM on December 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Actually, we should never stop second-guessing our government

Campbell Brown trotted this out the other day when Obama quite correctly smacked down a reporter for trying to milk Blago for another 48 hour news cycle, as if the press's transparent scandal-mongering were somehow a principled stand for the first amendment. Please.

I am so damn tired of this lame catch-all excuse coming from people with a) no sense of proportion and b) no sense of the real strategic weight of these things.

Every time somebody feels like whining about insubstantial drivel now, they are "keeping government in check," whatever their own angle might be. I am completely 100% behind gay marriage, but howling about Rick Warren is not tantamount to defending your human rights, people.

Look at John Stewart. He had Huckabee on the other night and had a civil argument with the guy about the gay marriage issue. That's how to change people's minds on this stuff. The fact that Stewart had Huckabee on the show did not make him a panderer or a sell-out. It made him a civil adult with a willingness to engage those he disagrees with.
posted by macross city flaneur at 10:24 PM on December 17, 2008 [13 favorites]


No book—indeed, no phenomenon—mirrors the Christianity of the middle Bush years better than "The Purpose-Driven Life" by Rick Warren, the pastor of California's Saddleback Church. Since 2002 it has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, making it the bestselling nonfiction hardcover book in history. At first glance it looks like "What Color Is Your Parachute?" for the 21st century. It's constructed like a self-help book, too: each chapter is a "unit," with quotations to contemplate and questions to ask yourself as you're falling asleep. The writing is easy-breezy, filled with slogans and exclamation points. But the message is uniform and Christ-centered: if you give your life to God, God will show you the meaning of your life.
posted by orthogonality at 10:32 PM on December 17, 2008


CEL: Warren might have been referring to the Faith Forum that he had with both Obama and McCain late in the summer. He asked each one or two questions about their views on abortion. One was about when life began. McCain instantly and with blank eyes said, "Conception." The crowd liked this. Obama's answer included that part where he said that it was above his pay grade that came up in other context later in the campaign. His full answer was very thoughtful and highlighted to viewers that the importance of the question is complex in ways that are challenging and involves empirical, rational, medical, and scientific elements beyond the scope of most politician's expertise.

Obama also answered to a question about preventing abortions that he encourages preventing the most abortions that we should, pointing out also that the Bush admin hadn't made much movement on that front. Warren seemed to really respond positively to his responses, but not critically. So i don't know if it would be fair to say that he took him to task in a confrontational sense, though he gave both candidates questions concerning those issues. There was a stark distinction between McCain's terse answers and lack of elaboration or feeling and Obama's much more reflective and considered views that he had thought about for a while even if McCain gave the expected "right" answers.
posted by inconsequentialist at 10:34 PM on December 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Campbell Brown trotted this out the other day when Obama quite correctly smacked down a reporter for trying to milk Blago for another 48 hour news cycle, as if the press's transparent scandal-mongering were somehow a principled stand for the first amendment. Please.

What? Because some dumbass asked an asinine question, we shouldn't question the government at all? How does that even begin to make sense.

Look at John Stewart. He had Huckabee on the other night and had a civil argument with the guy about the gay marriage issue. That's how to change people's minds on this stuff. The fact that Stewart had Huckabee on the show did not make him a panderer or a sell-out. It made him a civil adult with a willingness to engage those he disagrees with.

Obama isn't having a "civil debate" with Warren, he's inviting him to give the invocation at his inauguration. I don't have a problem with outreach, but there is a time and place for everything. Reaching out to the other side doesn't mean you have to kick your side in the teeth.
posted by delmoi at 10:40 PM on December 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


The national Democratic position on gay marriage has always seemed similar to the national Republican position on abortion. Lip service and no action.

I'm not saying there aren't some people who would have acted on these issues. But they aren't the people who get past the primaries. Huckabee vs Kucinich would have been that debate, Obama isn't going to do much for gay rights, and McCain wouldn't have outlawed abortion. I still supported Obama, voted for Obama, gave money to Obama, but I never figured him for anything other than center-center-left. I'm just hoping he's liberal enough to come to the aid of the unions who have been taking such a beating in the public eye lately. (I've been hearing the "new Holocaust" line at church occasionally too, and I don't know what to think about it).

I understand the pro-life positions on these issues. What I've never understood is the tolerance of such complete lack of action from the people the religious right supports. Many people I know (I'm in Alabama, which might somehow be a factor in this), say that Obama's election is tragic and horrible and anti-life. Why haven't they been protesting against Bush for not doing, as far as I can see, anything for them?
posted by SomeOneElse at 10:42 PM on December 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Rick Warren is not very smart. He just isn't. He believes a lot of stuff that isn't true because it feels better than uncertainty. He peddles books full of nonsense. He takes advantage of ingroup/outgroup strategy and provides "purpose" to his followers via simple, unquestionable authority. He has a lot of followers. They aren't very smart either. They just aren't. They believe a lot of stuff that isn't true because it feels better than uncertainty. They buy his books. The enjoy the enhanced self-esteem that comes with ingroup/outgroup politics, and the feeling of "purpose" that comes from following unquestionable dicta.

Barack Obama does not have anything to do with the above. Anyone who says he does is being disingenuous.

But the folks above have been around since the very beginning, they are a substantial portion of the population and and at this point it's safe to say they are never going away. There is no way - no way whatsoever - that Obama will be able to execute his historically ambitious plans without them. If inviting their spokesman to utter some nonsense at the inauguration allows Obama to do what he needs to do - what we all need him to do - then so be it.
posted by ivanosky at 10:45 PM on December 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Here's a recent video of an interview with Warren by Campbell Brown on Obama's victory.

Warren on PE Obama

If you haven't seen the forum he had with Obama and McCain, here are the clips with Obama. They are interesting if you want to hear his answers and just watch the two of them interact. The McCain clips can be found on the CNN website.

Obama 1

Obama 2
posted by inconsequentialist at 10:50 PM on December 17, 2008


Huckabee vs Kucinich would have been that debate, Obama isn't going to do much for gay rights, and McCain wouldn't have outlawed abortion.

McCain said he was going to appoint judges who disagreed with Row v Wade.
posted by delmoi at 10:55 PM on December 17, 2008



Look at John Stewart. He had Huckabee on the other night and had a civil argument with the guy about the gay marriage issue. That's how to change people's minds on this stuff. The fact that Stewart had Huckabee on the show did not make him a panderer or a sell-out. It made him a civil adult with a willingness to engage those he disagrees with.


I see what you're saying, but the invocation to the inauguration is *not* a civil discussion about changing minds. Choosing a guy like Warren feels like a symbolic bone that he's throwing to a particular demographic, a demographic that doesn't, actually, represent the majority of Americans' spiritual beliefs and has been *way* over represented in the political process in recent years. I'm just a bit mystified why they are doing this. Perhaps Warren himself agreed to say something conciliatory in the invocation? Perhaps he is promising some kind of political support to Obama?

Yes, adults listen to each other and lead by building consensus, but I'm concerned that in my lifetime, the time to build bridges and be conciliatory is always when the Democrats are in power. When Republicans ignore divergent views, they're seen as "principled" and "not leading by focus group." Perhaps it's because the Democrats are less petty and more mature, but perhaps it's because they don't have the backbone to stand firm on their core beliefs. Like I said before, I don't think this one decision is that big of a deal, but it's worth keeping an eye on shit like this.

On preview, what delmoi said.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:01 PM on December 17, 2008


What? Because some dumbass asked an asinine question, we shouldn't question the government at all? How does that even begin to make sense.

I was making a comparison. Please consider again what you have in common with the reporter you characterized as a "dumbass" vis a vis a) proportion b) lack of circumspection about one's own self-interest and c) using "keeping government in check" as a catch-all excuse for complaining about something insubstantial.

No one is saying you shouldn't question the government. I am saying you should pick your battles better, and understand what strategic reasons your president-elect might have for making a move that is, in fact, designed to benefit your progressive positions in the future.

By being strategically aware and not yelping every time Obama fails to reassure you that he's on your side, you are helping your own cause.

Obama isn't having a "civil debate" with Warren, he's inviting him to give the invocation at his inauguration. I don't have a problem with outreach, but there is a time and place for everything. Reaching out to the other side doesn't mean you have to kick your side in the teeth.

Having him give the invocation is a show of respect. This is politics, so it's about the debate, but it's also about the positioning before the debate - debates that will most assuredly arrive as soon as it comes time to appoint Supreme Court justices or pass legislation granting more rights to gay couples. Obama is showing that he's smarter than the people screaming right now about Prop-8 by positioning himself as willing to listen to evangelicals. When it comes time to debate, it will be easier to make the medicine go down that way. The whole point of this strategically is that having a man give a prayer is not a "kick in the teeth". It's a gesture. It's symbolic, not substantive. When the chips are down, there precisely won't be any teeth-kicking. This is how politics works.

This is what I meant when I said earlier that certain people don't understand the strategic weight of things.

Please, let Obama help you by being smart enough to get out of his way and let him use his formidable political skills on your behalf.
posted by macross city flaneur at 11:01 PM on December 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


McCain said he was going to appoint judges who disagreed with Row v Wade.

"I didn't pull the trigger! I just gave that homicidal lunatic a gun and told him the man I'm accused of murdering raped his mother!"
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:02 PM on December 17, 2008


1. I not only don't regret voting for Obama, I did three months of full-time volunteer work (and I'm broke) to help get him elected. I don't regret a second of that effort, and will continue to support and defend him.

2. I'm a married gay man whose marriage is directly threatened by Prop. 8. I suspect that those who are so eager to declare gay marriage a sort of "luxury" civil right and B-grade issue are not facing the dissolution of their own marriages right here, right now. If you're straight and married yourself, imagine if suddenly the Mormons invested $25 million dollars in ensuring that your own marriage was declared illegal. And if you're not, think about how you would feel about it if Prop. 8 and other laws like it were about writing a clause into the constitution of your state that declared marriages between blacks or Jews invalid.

3. I had and have no illusions about Obama being a real politician in the real world. I think, in general, that his Team of RivalsTM inclusiveness is smart politics. It's certainly just what we need after Bush's cronyism and loyalty tests.

4. Because of the passage of Prop. 8 on the night of Obama's election, what so disappoints me about this is that it's simply one of the very few truly tone-deaf things that Obama has done. It's not "Christian fascism" or whatever -- it's simply profoundly out of touch, graceless, dull-headed, unnecessary, clueless, even slightly cruel. That makes me wonder if I was too generous with Obama in imagining that his "I think marriage between a man and a woman" statements were just realpolitik, and that once he was elected he would do the right thing. Now I have to wonder if he's perhaps truly blind to the plight of gay people in this country at this historical moment, or even has some kind of problem with them -- which would be as encouraging as discovering that he doesn't care about women's rights or healthcare after all.

5. Rick Warren's statements about "redefining a 5000 year tradition" are an out and out steaming pile of rancid, disgusting, hoked-up bullshit propaganda about the true evolution of the institution of marriage over time. If Warren started raving that the Earth is flat, or that the Holocaust never happened, or that global warming is a hoax, I'd feel the same way. If this is "progressive" fundamentalism, it seems to be as infected with convenient hokum as the other kind. I didn't think Obama was about elevating loud liars to the status of national spokesmen and guardians of the American soul. That's another reason why I'm upset about this -- it marks a break with a commitment to fact-based leadership, public truth-telling, and dealing with reality.
posted by digaman at 11:08 PM on December 17, 2008 [15 favorites]


Yes, adults listen to each other and lead by building consensus, but I'm concerned that in my lifetime, the time to build bridges and be conciliatory is always when the Democrats are in power. When Republicans ignore divergent views, they're seen as "principled" and "not leading by focus group." Perhaps it's because the Democrats are less petty and more mature, but perhaps it's because they don't have the backbone to stand firm on their core beliefs. Like I said before, I don't think this one decision is that big of a deal, but it's worth keeping an eye on shit like this.

This is something I've noticed. The Republicans who preach compromise and reaching across the aisle are on the fringes, while the Democrats who preach compromise and reaching across the aisle are the power bloc. It's no wonder the Republicans are so powerful, even in defeat; their enemies do not even realize that there is an adversarial relationship going on. It is as if the largest faction of mice preaches cooperation with the cats so that everyone can be happy.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:11 PM on December 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Choosing a guy like Warren feels like a symbolic bone that he's throwing to a particular demographic, a demographic that doesn't, actually, represent the majority of Americans' spiritual beliefs and has been *way* over represented in the political process in recent years.

It's precisely symbolic, and that's why it's smart. I am sympathetic to your feelings that they're over-represented in the political process, but they basically set the social policy agenda of the Republican party. Obama is wise to make them feel he's not their enemy.

Perhaps Warren himself agreed to say something conciliatory in the invocation? Perhaps he is promising some kind of political support to Obama?

I would say the former is much more likely than the latter. You don't need to conjure some deeper conspiracy to see why this arrangement benefits both of them.

I'm concerned that in my lifetime, the time to build bridges and be conciliatory is always when the Democrats are in power. When Republicans ignore divergent views, they're seen as "principled" and "not leading by focus group."

This is a solid point about the way Republicans and Democrats are seen differently when they refuse to compromise. However, I also think it's valuable to recognize that neither party has been able to enact very much of their agenda over the last two decades. Hence "gridlock". The major exceptions to this have all been "emergency"-driven. Hence Naomi Klein's "Disaster Capitalism".

Compromise in Washington - namely doing the actual hard work of legislating - is a lost art really since the middle of the Reagan years. We should welcome Obama's efforts to bring it back to Washington. He really really does want to get things done.
posted by macross city flaneur at 11:13 PM on December 17, 2008


This is a solid point about the way Republicans and Democrats are seen differently when they refuse to compromise.

Seeing it phrased this way makes me wonder if there's a connection or parallel between this and how men and women are seen differently when they refuse to compromise, particularly given the conservative habit of stereotyping liberals as effeminate.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:18 PM on December 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Obama isn't even president yet, and I'm already sick of liberal activists whining about how he's not liberal enough.
posted by empath at 11:31 PM on December 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm sure you'd feel the same way if your marriage was on the line, empath.
posted by digaman at 11:38 PM on December 17, 2008


Interesting how little you have to do to be an "activist" now.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:38 PM on December 17, 2008


Obama isn't even president yet, and I'm already sick of liberal activists whining about how he's not liberal enough.

Interestingly, I'm already sick if kool-aide drinkers who seem to freak out at any criticism of their hero.
posted by delmoi at 11:48 PM on December 17, 2008


This thread contains some perfect demonstrations of what's wrong in liberal/Democrat gay rights politics today. Specifically, center-left people do not realize that the Democratic party has a center-right position on gay marriage. The Democratic Party believes that marriage is between a man and woman. The only thing they don't believe is that it should be defined in the constitution. If I met a person on the street who believed the same thing, I would assume that most of the rest of my beliefs probably aren't the same as his.

Many of the people who are supporting Obama's move say that they are saving their ire for something "important." I don't think anyone is under the illusion that this is as important as a cabinet appointment, don't bother with that straw man, but that doesn't mean that this isn't a clear indication that Obama believes he can reach across the aisle while elbowing gay Americans. Obama isn't going to hold a press conference tomorrow and say, "Oh don't worry, he's just my friend, I don't agree" -- because he DOES agree. There's a lot of wink-wink-nudge-nudge in the Democratic Party, but Obama, Biden, and most major Democratic figures are on the record as being opposed to gay marraige.

If you want to wait to be upset about something important, then find yourself a good seat and some snacks. Obama will not make any attempt to legalize gay marriage in the next eight years and that's pretty much the only "important" issue in gay rights right now. If it's not important to you, then gay rights aren't important to you.
posted by eateneye at 11:49 PM on December 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Point I forgot to mention: since Obama agrees with Warren that marriage is between a man and a woman, he is not really reaching that far across the aisle. If he said it was okay for gay people to be married, he would also have to reach across an aisle.
posted by eateneye at 11:58 PM on December 17, 2008


This is a very savvy political move and Obama is a savvy politician. He still has to convince a surprising number of Americans that he isn't a commie Muslim terrorist.

Just because you don't agree with every position of the person who's speaking for 90 seconds at the inauguration doesn't mean that there aren't a lot of people on the right who won't have their feelings about Obama softened because of it.

It's not all about you. He's trying to get bipartisan support from the American people, and so compromises have to be made.
posted by MythMaker at 12:09 AM on December 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


eateneye: Obama will not make any attempt to legalize gay marriage in the next eight years and that's pretty much the only "important" issue in gay rights right now. If it's not important to you, then gay rights aren't important to you.

translation: I'm right and you're wrong and if you don't agree you're a turdmonger. neener neener neener

Apparently the right to military service, blood donation, and civil unions either aren't gay rights, or aren't important to people. So saith the almighty eateneye.
posted by jock@law at 12:25 AM on December 18, 2008


I was making a comparison. Please consider again what you have in common with the reporter you characterized as a "dumbass" vis a vis a) proportion b) lack of circumspection about one's own self-interest and c) using "keeping government in check" as a catch-all excuse for complaining about something insubstantial.

What do I have in common with her? I'm not questioning Obama, I'm criticism him. I'm sure it could be smart politics, but I think it's rude.

Since you're not paying much attention, let's review:
Troybob wrote this:
It's silly enough the amount of criticism Obama is getting before he even takes office, but really, how much does one guy need to accomplish before people stop second-guessing every decision he makes? It's like how that psychic chick on Medium solves like every single murder case to come her way, and yet any time she has some new dream or vision they treat her like she's an ultimate fuck-up.
To which I responded:
Actually, we should never stop second-guessing our government, as opposed to treating them as if they had magical prognostication powers.


The problem I saw with the comment was that there would be some hypothetical point in the future at which point we should stop "second guessing" Obama. My view is that we should never stop second-guessing our government.

To make it even simpler for you: I was replying to another comment about criticism and questioning in general. The specific statement you're complaining about is about whether we should question or second guess Obama at all not whether or not we should question or second guess this choice.
No one is saying you shouldn't question the government. I am saying you should pick your battles better, and understand what strategic reasons your president-elect might have for making a move that is, in fact, designed to benefit your progressive positions in the future.
Obama has said again and again that he opposes same sex marriages, specifically because of his own religious convictions. Are we supposed to believe that he's somehow secretly for 'em? Seems bizarre.

I don't doubt that Obama has many progressive positions. However, on this particular front gay people are going to have to put up a fight.
It's a gesture. It's symbolic, not substantive. When the chips are down, there precisely won't be any teeth-kicking. This is how politics works.
Yes, it's a gesture. It's a big fat middle finger to gay marriage advocates. Either symbolism is important, or it's not. If prop-8 had failed, it probably wouldn't be a big deal at all, but picking Warren just a few months after that election is pooring salt on people's wounds, in a totally unnecessary way.

I consider myself mostly an Obama supporter, but it I find the idea that we should "just trust him" and "let him do his thing" repellant. Sure, the right-wing never criticized bush, and look what it got them.

Finally, I'm confused about how exactly all this criticism is a bad thing. If he really wants to triangulate off "the Liberals" then criticism of him by us would be helpful.

The way some of you talking it's as if as if his poor little feelings will be hurt if he's criticized on random Blogs and comment threads and therefore will be to blue to enact any of his legislation. Frankly, I think you guys are the ones who need to grow up. Or at least grow a pair.
posted by delmoi at 12:27 AM on December 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


linton also had an "Interfaith Prayer Service" that featured a bunch of religious figures, of whom many, I'd guess (and it's only a guess) were just as antigay as that asshole Rick Warren.

And what substantive gay rights issues did Clinton address? Oh, right, driving gays out of the US military and signing the DOMA.

So if your point was, "Fuck you faggots, give us money, give us votes, and we'll fuck you over at every chance", consider it made.

Please, let Obama help you by being smart enough to get out of his way and let him use his formidable political skills on your behalf.

Perhaps next you can move on to telling women how to not worry their pretty little heads about sexism and let the big, nice, clever president solve all their problems for them.

We all have to live in this country together and we all have to give a little.

Ask some European Jews how splendidly that strategy ended up working out for them.
posted by rodgerd at 12:34 AM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I have a few that I'd like to ask for the sake of my own clarity and understanding about people's various concerns about Obama's views on gay rights and gay marriage. Both he and Biden have made many statements about various views on these issues, some slighty different from one another. Here is what they have on change.gov now as their more recent, yet maybe not fully developed, civil and LGBT rights policies and proposals.

Civil Rights Agenda


1.This first question is the one that I am most interested in receiving answers to.
What are the main or most important goals, consequences, or results that supporters of gay marriage want to see come to pass via some kind of legislation? In other words, regarding gay marriage, what would be the ideal outcome?

2. What concerns do you have about Obama's proposals or views on the issue of gay marriage? More specifically maybe, what policy proposals do you disagree with and why?

(If possible, please point or link to some policy he's written, discussed, debated, etc. for a larger context, identifying which specific parts of the policies, if not the entire proposal, are objectionable and/or how they are so with respect to the goals listed as answers to 1.)

3.Relatedly, what are the concerns about Obama's promotion of whatever legislation he may decide on while in office? IOW, is there reason to think that he will not work hard to pass proposed gay marriage legislation if it were developed?

4. Lastly, other than the issue of gay marriage, what, if any, are the concerns about Obama's commitment to promoting work on other issues regarding LGTB rights? Is the concern more about his stance on gay marriage in particular, and less so with related but different gay rights like adoption or military service?

Any input is much appreciated.
posted by inconsequentialist at 12:35 AM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I consider myself mostly an Obama supporter, but it I find the idea that we should "just trust him" and "let him do his thing" repellant. Sure, the right-wing never criticized bush, and look what it got them.

I very much agree, though it's an opinion I've realized more recently. I voted for Obama - I supported his candidacy. He doesn't get a blank check from me IRT the presidency. I'm pretty disappointed in the way he, Biden, and seemingly more and more Democrats are willing to brush LGBT individuals off whenever they become an inconvenience. This one instance doesn't kill me, but it is part of an extremely worrying trend that ought to be reversed now.

I'm not a one-issue voter, but this is an issue that bothers me. I have great hopes for Obama, but I'm not keeping some tally card in my wallet - okay, that pisses me off, but it's outweighed by these three other things so he's still good in my book, yippee, what other thing? oh that, nevermind, he's wonderful.

I figuratively did that for the election, but I think we owe it to ourselves to hold higher standards for him now that he is elected. Surely, in this historic moment, he could have spared a little more thought to his fellow citizens whose civil rights are in a pretty fucked up place right now. It's true no one issue trumps all others, but the issue of equal rights should come above a lot of them.

I would be less troubled if this tendency for democratic politicians to gloss over gay rights in favor of anything else were not so common as to be the rule. An exception I could shrug off, but this is no exception.

I do not wish to be being painted as some sort of dogmatic who can't see the forest for the trees simply because I am uncomfortable with a political decision.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 1:01 AM on December 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


delmoi: I think that we should refrain from trusting someone like Obama blindly or that we should let him do his thing no matter what. But we also should not form an intense distrust toward both him and actions when we take our first glance at the situation. Healthy distrust along the way along with a healthy sense of caution or watchfulness and attention to what is happening and why could be tempered with restraint before making accusations based on some deliberative thought on the matter. People can't just follow blindly but they also can't be overcome by what appears bad.

Obama is probably not worried about our criticisms right now and I don't get the sense that people here think that he will be offended by criticisms that are made. Many people here think that there is not a real reason to criticize Obama for the Warren thing. There are probably lots of reasons to criticize Warren. But criticisms felt toward Warren don't necessarily implicate things about Obama's views, agendas, and what he wants to do in office. So if people claim that Obama has failed in some way that disappoints his supporters, the support is not too clear. What he did was ask his friend who holds different views than he does on gay marriage to give the invocation.

People might be concerned because he chose someone to do something that just happens to have different views than me on an important issue. But I've had a hard time seeing why the request to Warren in and of itself, regardless of their views, is something that he shouldn't have done period, or to fill a promise he has made. If people think he shouldn't asked Warren because of view differences, the problem if any is likely speculative and maybe trivial.

I'm not sure if people that that because he asked him that he was showing an acceptance of views that he has said he disagrees with or that he was amenable to those views. I don't see any good reasons we have to believe that is or would be the case. We don't, I think, have reason to believe that the Warren invocation represents a change in Obama's policies or views or that he was giving his views a platform in his appearance. I don't think Obama made any promises to discard and remove himself from anyone who opposed his views and policies, especially in the context of this very small and formal invocational event. I just don't see reasons why this Warren decision indicates a change in him and his political goals. So, the Warren issue alone seems something not to get angry over.

People might be the most upset and having a renewed concern that Obama will not try to legalize gay marriage. This worry doesn't just come from Warren. It's something people have been worried about for a while. And since i don't yet see very good reasons that the Warren pick will either change or determine Obama's view(s) on the gay marriage, nor that his presence indicates a coming together on these issues. Be angry with Warren because he has immoral and unjust views. May be angry with Obama because there is already some problem with his policies regarding gay marriage. I think the gun is jumped when the anger is directed at Obama because of the Warren pick, the criticisms make less sense in this context.

I suppose one other question I have is what makes people angry about the Warren pick other than the fact that Obama chose a clergyman to give an invocation but with whom he also disagreed on things. Criticize and look out for bad judgments made by your leaders, but try to locate good reasons for the issues that really deserve anger.
posted by inconsequentialist at 1:32 AM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ya know, I remember a heavy dose of handwringing by lefty intellectuals (see Judith Butler's essay, for example) about how progressives would lose their critical stance toward politics and just give Obama a carte blanche on anything just because they admire him. Not so much, eh?

p.s. I did a round-up of her essay and a bunch of reactions to it on my blog, after the elections.
posted by LMGM at 2:09 AM on December 18, 2008


Surely this will...
(what, too soon?)
posted by klarck at 2:53 AM on December 18, 2008


The truth is, "Equal protection under the law" is the law of the land. The truth is, Obama knows this, and knows it well. That's the truth. I think that Obama also knows, and believes, that his beliefs are far less important than the Constitution. Goodness gracious, who opened the windows? I smell fresh air, and it's cold outside!

I'm impressed by Mr. President-elect Obama. I'm not a part of the 'obamania' thing. I live abroad and am not exposed to the vectors of that condition. Since the events of December 2000, I've been doing a lot of learning. I'm far more politically wise than I was 8 years ago! No way in hell am I ever going to consider any politician as being above criticism! Sadly, Barak Obama is just another politician. A species of life that is, of its nature, subject to deep questioning, and should always be assumed dangerous. And whatever happens, there is always the chance that their short comings may not come to life for years after they have retired (It was, after all, Clinton that signed the law deregulating the financial institutions, for which we owe the current crisis).

I appreciate very much the differing views expressed here on this matter. Keep it up, folks! This is a fabulous example of Metafilter, at its best. Personally, I'm not remotely upset by this bit of news. But my marriage isn't under the gun, either. In fact, I'm only marginally 'married', seeing as the actual contract is Lebenspartnershaft. How it is viewed varies from one country to another. In America, most states wouldn't consider it as having any meaning. In some countries, it's considered the same as marriage.

But if I wanted to move back to the States with my spouse, my spouse would have to gain a visa on his own merits. The federal policy thus far is that queers don't get the same immigration rights as real people (oh, I'm sure someone would insist that we do have the equal right to immigrate with an opposite-sex lawfully-wedded spouse, same as everyone else). But gee, maybe that will change with the new administration! Maybe not. If Obama is true to his words, it will be changed. A simple little test that doesn't involve 'marriage'.

I will say, however, the notion that gay marriage is a major issue just now is something I find absurd. Hello? Are the United States, and all 50 of them, going to continue as a viable union? Are we going to manage to resurrect a viable economy? Even with climate change and petroleum dependency demanding our attention, when we're already on skid row, financially? Can we manage to deal with these things without setting off global war?

But I'm no fool or idiot. The gay marriage issue should go away, the best way possible: get the church out of the issue and grant the equal protection that is our due. Put the issue behind us, it's far too trivial to be allowed air time, and far too basic to set aside. So, to all you Evangelicals out there: Would you prefer to go down in starvation and poverty, or allow the queers to marry?

Oh, and someone up thread said that "separation of church and state" work both ways, meaning, it also means the government can't dictate to churches. Sorry, but that is the primary intent of the clause. It is a limitation on the actions of government, not on churches.
posted by Goofyy at 3:01 AM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


That will be the last time I vote for any national level political office - I said that with Bill Clinton, too, but maybe I have learned my lesson now. We pushed to get Clinton, Gore, Kerry and Obama in to stave off the Republican threat - of the two "successes" in that list we have Clinton (thanks for the Omnibus Anti-Terrorism law which paved the road to PATRIOT, oh and thanks for welfare "reform," and, I almost forgot, thanks for an embargo that killed 10s of thousands of Iraqi children and bombing raids that averaged 1 sortie a week in Iraq from the end of the first Gulf War (For Oil) to the end of his administration) and now Obama with his warmonger Sec of State and homophobic buddies (we should remember he openly opposed gay marriage, like the rest of the spineless demopublicans, except Kucinich of course). I'm an anarchist, I should know better, yet I go to the polls time and again, weakened by horror stories of rapacious Republican attacks on our rights, to vote for Republican-lite, the other half of the one big business party that has run this country for a century. Our rights end up in the same shit hole, sacrificed to business, church, and state under a Demo administration, they are just a little more subtle and gradual about it. There is no lesser of two evils - there is only evil, that simple - so unless they raise Eugene V Debs or Utah Phillips from the grave, this is the last time I am voting for a presidential candidate!
posted by Durruti at 4:42 AM on December 18, 2008


Reaching out to the other side doesn't mean you have to kick your side in the teeth.

I keep hearing that often-quoted line from Mr. Carville: "If you see your opponent drowning, throw the son-of-a-bitch an an anchor."

At some point, we're going to need to see an anchor. Otherwise, Obama advisors can reach across the aisle in 2012 and ask former McCain staffers how it feels when base voters stay home.
posted by gimonca at 5:43 AM on December 18, 2008


That will be the last time I vote for any national level political office...There is no lesser of two evils - there is only evil, that simple

Oh, come on. The next national election isn't for another 23 months. Take a deep breath and make your decision after he's had at least a few days in office. Using the choice of pastor at the inauguration as your final straw is absurd.
posted by mediareport at 5:45 AM on December 18, 2008 [8 favorites]


But hey -- don't call him a homophobe: He even eats dinner with gays.
Given how vocal he is about not being gay, I bet that's not all he does with gays.
posted by Flunkie at 6:01 AM on December 18, 2008


Hypocrite of the Year.

Wait a minute. Remember how we were so freakin' fed up for the last 8 awful years with that closed-minded jerk of a hard-liner who would only talk to people who were already completely in line with his own narrow views? Well, look; things are different now.
posted by aught at 6:22 AM on December 18, 2008 [6 favorites]


Rick Warren's hideousness notwithstanding, the elephant in the living room is that before one of our government's most important ceremonies, a group of adults will invoke and thank an imaginary omniscient father figure.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 6:26 AM on December 18, 2008 [8 favorites]


However, I also think it's valuable to recognize that neither party has been able to enact very much of their agenda over the last two decades. Hence "gridlock".

I often hear this claim but I'm not sure I understand it. Over the last eight years, what major agenda items did the Republicans not enact due to the democrats? I know of social security privatization, was there more? It seems that from the patriot act, Iraq war, FISA, supreme court nominations, etc, democrats made sure that the Republican agenda was enacted.
posted by Staggering Jack at 6:41 AM on December 18, 2008


Ask some European Jews how splendidly that strategy ended up working out for them.

Yes. Obama is just like Hitler. Well done.
posted by EarBucket at 6:47 AM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


inconsequentialist: I'm having a little trouble parsing your comment directed to me (probably due to me just waking up), so I'll just say this: I voted for Obama in part to assure that McCain didn't win. Kucinich was the candidate I identified with, and have always been a little leery of the Big O cult. It's not that I don't think Obama is a decent man (I do), but I recognize that he is a successful politician. Which means that while I'm not surprised at this (because he's a politician), I am disappointed (because he's a decent man).

My first comment here ever was after Obama's victory speech. . . . you've gotta watch the bastards every minute is a sentiment that I still hold.
posted by theroadahead at 7:04 AM on December 18, 2008


WITH -33 DAYS IN OFFICE WE CAN ALREADY SEE OBAMA IS A FAILURE I WISH WE HAD MCCAIN AND PALIN IN THERE THEN THE GAYS WOULD GET EVERYTHING AND THE WAR WOULD BE A SUCCESS IMAGINE NO RELIGION GOOGLE DR RON PAUL

(Get a fuckin' grip, guys.)
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:07 AM on December 18, 2008 [11 favorites]


Normally the people that say separate church from state are the ones that don't support church views. The only people who should be able to say this are people that go to church. That being said I think church views should not have such a strong impact on how we run our country. With all of the other crap we got going on why should we care if two people who love each other get married. I can go to Vegas tonight and get married to a girl that I don't even love but two dudes or two girls who actually love each other can't? 1 < 1? That is wrong anyway you look at it. 1 = 1 is a lot better. Anyways back to the topic at hand, if you ask me this political move is purely political. Obama is trying to reach out to the religious base. He is just trying to give everyone a piece of pie. What everyone needs to realize is this, you cannot please everyone 100% of the time. The president cannot fully support your views and issues and ignore the rest of the population. He can, however, get everyone into a gray area where they can't complain. It's called having your cake and not eating it. It happens a lot in government and politics. Get use to it and if you can't then give the good people at metafilter 5 bucks and complain.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 7:09 AM on December 18, 2008


That being said I think church views should not have such a strong impact on how we run our country.

You're right, the church says feed the hungry and help the sick, so we should totally avoid that!

My point is here is that people should be careful about making such general statements because there at many teachings of religion that dovetail nicely with a good society. The devil is in the details.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:18 AM on December 18, 2008


45.7% of the population did not vote for Obama this year (76.9% if you include non-voters).

A lot of these people have heard that Obama is a Muslim terrorist-loving liberal. They're going to turn on their TV's on January 20, and the first thing they're going to see is their buddy, Rick Warren, talking about Jesus and telling them that this guy Obama's all right.

If you can't see how that's valuable, then I don't know what to say. Yeah, Rick Warren doesn't support gay marriage. Neither does Barack Obama. Neither do a majority of people in one of the most liberal states in America. We all know it's going to happen, and if it has to be called "civil unions" at first, so be it. But having Warren give an invocation doesn't do a thing to substantiatively slow that progress.

Besides, you guys are all missing the real news here: Barack Obama is going to have a theme song… written by frickin' John Williams!
posted by designbot at 7:34 AM on December 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


It's funny how the imperative to be inclusive and reach out to all of America apparently doesn't include an imperative against symbolically saying "Fuck you homos."

I also have a feeling that a few years in the Obama presidency is going to turn out to be more or less the same old bullshit but I'll be able to come on here and read about how the bullshit is actually just awesomely excellent politics, we have to put up with the bullshit to get to the good stuff, and that Change is coming real soon now.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 7:50 AM on December 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Normally the people that say separate church from state are the ones that don't support church views.
The phrase "wall of separation between church and state" was originally used by Thomas Jefferson, to (praisingly) describe the First Amendment.

His use of that phrase was in response to a letter that he had received from a group of citizens who were concerned that, although the federal Constitution guaranteed such separation, the constitution of their state did not.

The citizens who were concerned about the lack of such a separation were the Danbury Baptists Association.
The only people who should be able to say this are people that go to church.
Who are you to say what I cannot say?
posted by Flunkie at 7:57 AM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wait a minute. Remember how we were so freakin' fed up for the last 8 awful years with that closed-minded jerk of a hard-liner who would only talk to people who were already completely in line with his own narrow views? Well, look; things are different now.

Equality is not a narrow view. Bigotry is. The problem is not that he's inviting a conservative Christian to speak, it's that he chose one who openly equates gay marriage with pedophilia and women who have abortions with Nazis. There were many options here, and he picked the one soothes people with narrow views and alienates those of us who continue to be the doormat of politics. Things are not different. These guys have always had a place at the table, and we haven't. This is the problem.
posted by Tehanu at 8:00 AM on December 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


Obama Camp Releases Talking Points on Rick Warren Selection
This will be the most open, accessible, and inclusive Inauguration in American history.

In keeping with the spirit of unity and common purpose this Inauguration will reflect, the President-elect and Vice President-elect have chosen some of the world's most gifted artists and people with broad appeal to participate in the inaugural ceremonies.

Pastor Rick Warren has a long history of activism on behalf of the disadvantaged and the downtrodden. He's devoted his life to performing good works for the poor and leads the evangelical movement in addressing the global HIV/AIDS crisis. In fact, the President-elect recently addressed Rick Warren's Saddleback Civil Forum on Global Health to salute Warren's leadership in the struggle against HIV/AIDS and pledge his support to the effort in the years ahead.

The President-elect disagrees with Pastor Warren on issues that affect the LGBT community. They disagree on other issues as well. But what's important is that they agree on many issues vital to the pursuit of social justice, including poverty relief and moving toward a sustainable planet; and they share a commitment to renewing America's promise by expanding opportunity at home and restoring our moral leadership abroad.

As he's said again and again, the President-elect is committed to bringing together all sides of the faith discussion in search of common ground. That's the only way we'll be able to unite this country with the resolve and common purpose necessary to solve the challenges we face.

The Inauguration will also involve Reverend Joseph Lowery, who will be delivering the official benediction at the Inauguration. Reverend Lowery is a giant of the civil rights movement who boasts a proudly progressive record on LGBT issues. He has been a leader in the struggle for civil rights for all Americans, gay or straight.

And for the very first time, there will be a group representing the interests of LGBT Americans participating in the Inaugural Parade.
posted by ericb at 8:00 AM on December 18, 2008 [9 favorites]


Rick Warren Giving Obama's Invocation: Pro-Lifers Hate Idea Too.
posted by ericb at 8:07 AM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


And for the very first time, there will be a group representing the interests of LGBT Americans participating in the Inaugural Parade.

In the back?
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:09 AM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Rick Warren Giving Obama's Invocation: Pro-Lifers Hate Idea Too.
posted by ericb at 8:07 AM on December 18 [+] [!]


From that article:

"We have lost 50 million babies, and most won't say a word. Reminds me of Nazi Germany or our slavery days. Very few spoke out. It was more comfortable to keep quiet."

Godwin works both ways, it seems...
posted by Pantengliopoli at 8:11 AM on December 18, 2008


Needless to say, the topic is a hot one on the discussion page over at the Obama/Biden Change.gov website.
posted by ericb at 8:12 AM on December 18, 2008


Obama Gets The Symbols, Bungles The Politics
“The furious reaction of partisans to Obama's selection of Rick Warren to give the inaugural invocation is instructive. The left's bone to pick is that by giving Warren such a prominent inaugural post, Obama is signalling that Warren's views are at least minimally acceptable and legitimately part of the discourse in Changed America. The right's bone to pick is the idea that a pro-life leader would bless the inauguration of man who supports abortion rights. (Interesting that pro-choicers have no objection, per se, and that anti-gay marriage types have no objection, per se.)

In his short political career, Obama has deftly manipulated political symbols to his advantage, but he's never been one to pay homage to one of the most sacred regulations of identity politics, which is that one must take care of one's own kind before turning outward. His mind operates differently. Obama does believe, as many of his supporters do, that there are uncrossable demarcation lines between the reasonable and the profane. But he doesn't believe that Warren, someone he admires for reaching outside his (Warren's) comfort zone on AIDS, is all that different from himself. Obama is simultaneously capable of admiring Warren while disdaining Warren's oogedy boogedy appraoch to gay relationships and his uninformed response to torture. Warren's views might be hurtful to gays; Obama does not think they are harmful.

That said, his team bungled this a bit. Reaching out to gay groups to give them a heads up might have softened the edge of their reaction and given them internal confidence that they were valued members of Obama's coalition. Dropping the list (like it's hot), without pre-notice, must have seemed like a sharp slap in the face. The LGBT community is still very raw about Proposition 8, and one would assume that at least someone in Obama's inner circle would be aware of this.

On the other hand, the coverage of gay community outrage accomplishes something tangible: isn't this the first time that Warren's been tagged as something other than a moderate, get-along cleric?”
posted by ericb at 8:30 AM on December 18, 2008


Anyone surprised by this was not an informed voter. I certainly did not expect anything different from Clinton's "third way" politics from Obama. As for Warren, he's far from the worst evangelical.

Yeah, Obama's been signaling that he's going to be a moderate in a lot of ways. But he's also been more open about supporting gay rights than any other Democratic nominee. He deliberately worked it into his speeches and has signaled support for civil unions and ending Don't Ask Don't Tell. His stance on gay marriage has been disappointing, since it's been the usual Democratic party line. But otherwise he's been more supportive of gay rights than is typical for a Democratic nominee. Warren's invitation is a worrisome signal for policy to come and a real insult in the aftermath of Prop 8 for those of us who helped Obama win and watched Prop 8 pass on the same night.

There's a deliberate campaign about Democratic presidential candidates in gay media. The Kerry campaign was more openly courting gay voters with ads pointing out the Democrats' support of gay issues. Obama's campaign chose to not court special interest groups so specifically, but there were more subtle things here and there, like an interview with a gay associate or aide (I forget which) in the Advocate. It was all meant to paint Obama as someone comfortable with gays and supportive of the community even though some things he was saying were not what most of us wanted to hear. I'm still hoping his policies are progressive on gay rights, but this is an unsettling choice. This is a guy who not just supported Prop 8, but was a leading advocate who deliberately misrepresented Obama's stance on the issue in the days leading up to the election. This is a guy who played an important role in Prop 8's passage in a very underhanded way.
posted by Tehanu at 8:33 AM on December 18, 2008


Warren's invitation is a worrisome signal for policy to come and a real insult in the aftermath of Prop 8 for those of us who helped Obama win and watched Prop 8 pass on the same night....this is an unsettling choice.

Among others, Andrew Sullivan agrees:
“Shrewd politics, but if anyone is under any illusion that Obama is interested in advancing gay equality, they should probably sober up now. He won't be as bad as the Clintons (who, among leading Democrats, could?), but pandering to Christianists at his inauguration is a depressing omen. More evidence that a civil rights movement needs to realize that no politician can deliver for us what we have to deliver on our own.”
posted by ericb at 8:38 AM on December 18, 2008


theroadahead: Yeah, man I don't eve know either right now since I just got up. I reread the comment last night and realized I hadn't said what I wanted to clearly. Then I just focused on the fact that most of us hate McCain and that was a good thought.
posted by inconsequentialist at 8:43 AM on December 18, 2008


Obama at his press conference this morning:
"[I]t’s important for America to come together, even though we may have disagreements on certain social issues. And I would note that a couple of years ago, I was invited to Rick Warren’s church to speak, despite his awareness that I held views that entirely contrary to his when it came to gay and lesbian rights, when it came to issues like abortion.

...[W]hat we have to do is be able to create an atmosphere where we can disagree without being disagreeable and then focus on those things that we hold in common as Americans."
Video.
posted by ericb at 8:44 AM on December 18, 2008


ericb: I just knew that shit would happen. This whole debacle is getting quite hilarious on both sides.

My pick would have always been Mr. Rogers. I think pretty much everyone could have gotten down with that.
posted by inconsequentialist at 8:46 AM on December 18, 2008


The only people who should be able to say this are people that go to church.

Who are you to say what I cannot say?
posted by Flunkie at 7:57 AM on December 18 [+] [!]

I'm not saying you can or cannot say what you want, (go ahead). Maybe I could have worded it more PC but I didn't. Maybe it sounds better this way; when a religious person says separate church from state it should hold more water due to the fact that they are putting aside their beliefs for the greater good of society.

(now to hit the bee hive with a bat!) I can also say what I want! Quit taking everything you read on metafilter as a personal attack to your freedoms of free speech. Say what you will, do as you will. In fact I am more than willing to put my religious beliefs aside and Separate them from our state so you can continue to do just that. All I ask in return is that when I say something pro-religion, pro-law, pro-guns, pro-mutate zombie apocalypse that the non-religious types, the non-law enforcement types, the non-Charlton Heston types, and the mutate zombies types don't take what I say as some personal "I directed it at you and plan to restrict your freedoms" type of message.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 8:46 AM on December 18, 2008


Oooh, we get to walk in his parade. How magnanimous of him! Should we wear face masks or anything -- you know, just in case?

Get a fuckin' grip, guys.

I've got a fucking grip -- on my marriage license, which may soon be transubstantiated into a piece of Mormon toilet paper.

How would you feel if Obama had invited a rabbi to give the invocation who had publicly advocated the return of school segregation, because a burning bush told him that schwartzes are not quite human, and that their big fat Negroid lips besmirch the water fountains from which they drink?

Think that's hyperbole? One of the problems with the current "discourse" about gay marriage is that the issue is talked about as if all there is at stake is a bunch of fags and dykes dressing up in gowns and tuxedos (respectively) and swishing off to Cabo for faux honeymoons.

Let me make it clearer: these bans on gay marriage are responsible for more anti-gay violence, more suicides among gay teens, and more AIDS. Marriage is a social good that encourages the formation of lasting and durable relationships, which is precisely why folks like Rick Warren are so concerned about "defending" it from gay people who desperately want to uphold that tradition. Marriage is a matter of life and death, and in matters of life and death, nothing is more important that having a lasting and durable relationship in one's own life.

Imagine what the state of male/female relationships would be if all men and women had to look forward to was a life of hooking up with random sex partners on the Internet. Imagine how many more suicides there would be during the current depression if people who just got laid off had no one at home to help them, support them, and encourage them to get through. Imagine how much more terrifying the specter of aging and illness would be for you if you knew that your partner could be prevented from visiting you in the hospital if your in-laws didn't approve of you. Imagine how much more chaotic and perilous the process of dying would seem to be if the brother you never liked or the nephew you never met could step in and claim that an inheritance you willed to the love of your life was rightfully theirs instead. Imagine how many more sexually transmitted diseases there would be if straight people were told that durable and lasting relationships were not meant for people like them.

That's where gay people are right now. And what really stings is that the arguments of people like Rick Warren aren't just a matter of personal opinion -- they're based on one damaging lie after another. The lie that the final arbiter of civil marriage should be the church. The lie that amending the constitution to ban the pursuit of happiness for a stigmatized group is a matter of free speech. (Hello, "the tyranny of the majority.") The lie that gay people comprise only "2 percent of the population," as Warren declared, which is a minimal estimate at best. OIC -- so when should we start caring about the humanity of a minority? Only when they're 30 percent of the population? 20? Is 10 enough? What about 7? 4? Would it be OK to craft state amendments to ban the reproductive rights of the legally deaf, who are only something like .8 percent of the population, so they don't pass on their genetic defects or whatever to their kids?

Guess what? At last estimate, mixed-race individuals comprise 2 percent of the US population. Would Obama's determination to be inclusive have included inviting a preacher who successfully campaigned for a bill that invalidated Obama's marriage license to Michelle, because mixed-race individuals must not be allowed to marry pure blacks? Is Warren the only popular religious figure in this country?
posted by digaman at 8:47 AM on December 18, 2008 [13 favorites]


Oooh, we get to walk in his parade. How magnanimous of him!

And toot our horns, blow our flutes and bang our drums! Oh my, look, a gay marching band!
posted by ericb at 8:51 AM on December 18, 2008


I do hope they don't compromise the morale and unit cohesion of the parade as a whole.
posted by Tehanu at 8:54 AM on December 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


(now to hit the bee hive with a bat!) I can also say what I want!
Unlike you, I never said that you couldn't.
posted by Flunkie at 8:56 AM on December 18, 2008


Don't forget to mourn for Amendment 2 that passed here in Florida too. It didn't concern marriage explicitly, but its passing has precluded same sex couples and many others from having the rights they deserve. However, that Friday here in Gainesville, some local community board just got together and decided it was a horribly shitty law and kind of repealed it.
posted by inconsequentialist at 8:57 AM on December 18, 2008


I've got a fucking grip -- on my marriage license, which may soon be transubstantiated into a piece of Mormon toilet paper.

Digaman, I know it is hard to believe, but I agree with you and empathize with you. I think that equal rights for LGBT individuals are extremely critical, and our resistance to them is a shameful mark on the American people.

But I also still know that the perfect is the enemy of the good, and that our other options vis-a-vis the executive were either a) grim as hell and way worse than Obama or b) totally impossible.

I honestly think that progressives need to keep fighting this fight, and that the outcry about Warren is justified. I do. And despite my earlier comments, I'm glad that people are letting Obama know that gays and lesbians count, and their rights should not be ignored. But in the big scheme of things I know that nothing will change until enough old people die and enough young people turn 18.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:02 AM on December 18, 2008


I don't think anyone disputes how important the right of everyone to marry is, and you have every cause to be upset about Warren being asked to give an inaugural address. I think it's good that Obama is taken to task for this selection, too. I'd ask though that we pull back the zoom on this and look at not only how piddling an event like this is, but more importantly, Obama's reasons for asking Warren to speak, and Obama's platform on gay and lesbian rights. I'd hate to think that we can't recognize this as a perhaps ill-conceived decision that Obama should be criticized for without thinking this means a reversal of gay and lesbian civil rights. And Andrew Sullivan has zero credibility to me since that entire "Palin's secret baby" speculation.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:04 AM on December 18, 2008


As a California voter I voted yes (I did) for Obama and No on 8. I believe that if two (not three or more) consenting adults (not minors or domesticated animals) should be allowed to enter into a life long contract with all the rights and responsibilities that goes along with that contract. I just don't understand the obsession over the word "marriage".

Marriage is a religious thing and should be removed entirely from our civil laws. If there were a legal contract than entitled any couple to rights of inheritance, next of kin, immigration etc wouldn't that be best?

After this civil contract is enacted this same couple can go to their chosen spiritual community and declare this union and have it "blessed" by the community. Or not. As someone above said, you can get "married" to a stranger at 3am while drunk out of your mind in Vegas. You can get a legal divorce but still be married in the eyes of the Catholic church.

Let's separate church and state.
posted by whatever at 9:25 AM on December 18, 2008


----
Campbell Brown trotted this out the other day when Obama quite correctly smacked down a reporter for trying to milk Blago for another 48 hour news cycle, as if the press's transparent scandal-mongering were somehow a principled stand for the first amendment.
----

Campbell Brown....of wait...she's the one who was working at the White House during the run up to the Iraq War and later married the war's chief PR guy and converted to judaism?

I always wondered why the "MSM" didn't call bullshit on that guy every day. Later, I found out.

BTW, my problem with Rick Warren is just that he's stupid. [self-linked argument I made last night after reading the first of this thread]
posted by wah at 9:41 AM on December 18, 2008


Let's separate church and state.

We did. It's just that there are people who think we didn't and are ignoring it.
posted by Tehanu at 9:43 AM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hmmm, this was a much shorter conversation when I read it last night....d'oh.
posted by wah at 9:49 AM on December 18, 2008


It's funny how the imperative to be inclusive and reach out to all of America apparently doesn't include an imperative against symbolically saying "Fuck you homos."

Maybe it's not all about us all the time? I'm queer and feminist and agnostic and yearn for gay marriage to be both legal and accepted. But the idea that the President only represents the interests of those who voted for him exhausts me. I'm uneasy about giving Rick Warren such a prominent spotlight. I don't like his friends. He and I are not of the same religion; I think that his religion is dead wrong on the status of gays, women, and non-Christians. But Warren is hugely influential to a lot of regular Christan folks, both Republican and Democrat, so I'll reserve some of my scorn until after we hear what the man says.

This seems to me to be an obvious, if unsubtle, gesture of reconciliation. An attempt to diffuse the idea that American politics must always be some sort of cage match of us vs. them. A plea to those who voted Republican to consider the idea of Obama as President, rather than simply The Opponent.
posted by desuetude at 10:02 AM on December 18, 2008 [7 favorites]


The last time I commented on this, I was accused of being a wet blanket in the face of an impending avalanche of hope and change when I found his support on key issues to be a bit equivocal.

This is exactly the sort of thing that I feared and expected from Obama. Not that he'd turn around and support deliberately anti-gay measures, but that post-election gay rights would be shoved to the back burner in the name of bipartisan compromise. We've already seen an announcement from the transition team that we are not going to see action on DADT before midterm. DADT is a much less controversial issue than either domestic partnerships or marriage equality, and ENDA has about the same levels of support.

Compromise sounds well and good, until you look at exactly what is being compromised. Either you hold that LGBT people are full legal persons entitled to the same rights, liberties and privileges as straights, or you don't. At the end of the day, pushing gay rights forward means that social conservatives don't get what they want. Trying to compromise on this point is as bankrupt as compromising over the rights of GITMO detainess.

Not giving Warren a honored spot on the program certainly does not silence or ostracize him. At the end of the day, he still has a multi-million dollar book franchise and plenty of opportunities to be the talking head on television.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:08 AM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thank God Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks weren't daunted by a chorus of voices telling them that the grand experiment of American democracy "isn't just about you." It's about you, and you, and you, and you, and if any "you's" get left out, we are all diminished. It's about what Harvey Milk called "the us's," and he died in an effort to gain the rights for gay people that people like Rick Warren are fervently committed to obliterating with his purpose-driven lies.
posted by digaman at 10:31 AM on December 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


I think a lot of the outrage on this comes down to Prop 8. If prop 8 had failed, it wouldn't be a big deal. But 18,000 (or whatever) gay families in California are going to have their marriages broken up. This is about real material harm that's happened in part because of this guy. Just three months before he's invited to speak at the inauguration. It's not about a difference of opinion, this person's actions have caused a real-world problem thousands of people, most of whom probably supported Obama.
posted by delmoi at 10:32 AM on December 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


Compromise sounds well and good, until you look at exactly what is being compromised.

Can you tell me where and when Obama announced that his gay and lesbian rights platform is now being scaled back, trimmed, or pared down in any way?

Thank God Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks weren't daunted by a chorus of voices telling them that the grand experiment of American democracy "isn't just about you."

I don't think anyone is asking anyone to just shut up and take it. I find it interesting that the only people ready to believe Warren uttering a few sentences at the inauguration means the end of civil rights for homosexuals are the people who claim to be fighting for those rights. I'm personally not ready to hand that much power to the likes of Warren. Instead of taking this move as a foregone conclusion that Obama has abandoned his gay civil rights platform, we could maybe - I don't know - wait for him to actually live in the White House?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:40 AM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


instead of taking this move as a foregone conclusion that Obama has abandoned his gay civil rights platform

Another straw man bites the dust.
posted by digaman at 10:52 AM on December 18, 2008


Another straw man bites the dust.

See Kirk's comment, won't you? Or Andrew Sullivan's? Both seem to be taking it as a given that gay civil rights in the Obama administration will be tossed in the dustbin, because of this.

I get your upset. And as I said, Obama deserves to hear how we feel about this. I just don't think this is the death knell of gay civil rights.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:58 AM on December 18, 2008


It is not that gay civil rights will be tossed in the dustbin "because of this," instead, the choice is indicative of this upcoming administration's willingness to relegate minority group to the back of the bus for the sake of being "inclusive" of those who preach intolerance.
posted by Durruti at 11:15 AM on December 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


It is not that gay civil rights will be tossed in the dustbin "because of this," instead, the choice is indicative of this upcoming administration's willingness to relegate minority group to the back of the bus for the sake of being "inclusive" of those who preach intolerance.

Again, has his platform changed? Has he announced any scale-backs in his plans? No? Then I'd say this unfortunate invitation to speak is being used as the sole evidence for all this talk of gay civil rights taking a back seat now.

I expect a lot of us are going to let the team know how we feel, and will hopefully also be vigilant that they stand by their platform on this issue. I also don't like this invitation to speak. I despise Warren. I just don't see it as a giant crystal ball. The proof, for me, will be in how he actually acts as a resident of the White House.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:23 AM on December 18, 2008


"The proof, for me, will be in how he actually acts as a resident of the White House."

And by "he" I mean Obama, of course. Too many pronouns, sorry.</small?

posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:29 AM on December 18, 2008


Martin Luther King, Jr:
Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, "Love your enemies." It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. That's why Jesus says, "Love your enemies." Because if you hate your enemies, you have no way to redeem and to transform your enemies. But if you love your enemies, you will discover that at the very root of love is the power of redemption. You just keep loving people and keep loving them, even though they're mistreating you. Here's the person who is a neighbor, and this person is doing something wrong to you and all of that. Just keep being friendly to that person. Keep loving them. Don't do anything to embarrass them. Just keep loving them, and they can't stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with bitterness because they're mad because you love them like that. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they'll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That's love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There's something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies.

I think of one of the best examples of this. We all remember the great president of this United States, Abraham Lincoln—these United States rather. You remember when Abraham Lincoln was running for president of the United States, there was a man who ran all around the country talking about Lincoln. He said a lot of bad things about Lincoln, a lot of unkind things. And sometimes he would get to the point that he would even talk about his looks, saying, "You don't want a tall, lanky, ignorant man like this as the president of the United States." He went on and on and on and went around with that type of attitude and wrote about it. Finally, one day Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States. And if you read the great biography of Lincoln, if you read the great works about him, you will discover that as every president comes to the point, he came to the point of having to choose a Cabinet. And then came the time for him to choose a Secretary of War. He looked across the nation, and decided to choose a man by the name of Mr. Stanton. And when Abraham Lincoln stood around his advisors and mentioned this fact, they said to him: "Mr. Lincoln, are you a fool? Do you know what Mr. Stanton has been saying about you? Do you know what he has done, tried to do to you? Do you know that he has tried to defeat you on every hand? Do you know that, Mr. Lincoln? Did you read all of those derogatory statements that he made about you?" Abraham Lincoln stood before the advisors around him and said: "Oh yes, I know about it; I read about it; I've heard him myself. But after looking over the country, I find that he is the best man for the job."

Mr. Stanton did become Secretary of War, and a few months later, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. And if you go to Washington, you will discover that one of the greatest words or statements ever made by, about Abraham Lincoln was made about this man Stanton. And as Abraham Lincoln came to the end of his life, Stanton stood up and said: "Now he belongs to the ages." And he made a beautiful statement concerning the character and the stature of this man. If Abraham Lincoln had hated Stanton, if Abraham Lincoln had answered everything Stanton said, Abraham Lincoln would have not transformed and redeemed Stanton. Stanton would have gone to his grave hating Lincoln, and Lincoln would have gone to his grave hating Stanton. But through the power of love Abraham Lincoln was able to redeem Stanton.
posted by designbot at 11:34 AM on December 18, 2008 [6 favorites]


Harvey Milk: Now he belongs to the ages. While Rick Warren is one of the most successful authors in America. Go figure.
posted by digaman at 11:46 AM on December 18, 2008


But Marisa, I think the point is this: There are a metric buttload of ministers in this country. You can't throw a rock without hitting one. (Although when you *do* throw rocks, people get cranky.)

He could have chosen the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, the presiding Bishop of the Episcopalian church. She knows a little something about the fallout from creating real change, and she's a brilliant speaker and theologian.

I understand the arguments that Obama isn't in office, this isn't a policy decision, yadda yadda, but the fact is that it is an incredibly symbolic decision. He chose, out of thousands and thousands of possible candidates, a self promoting agent of intolerance.

This is not hope. This is not change. This is the same old political machine it's ever been. I am disappointed. I feel as though if Obama couldn't be bothered to find a hopeful nonpartisan to put in the spotlight, rather instead choosing to embrace narrow minded bigots under the guise of inclusiveness.

I feel that it was a poor decision which probably reflects the man behind the curtain.
posted by dejah420 at 12:01 PM on December 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Someone earlier noted that they were not disappointed, because they were not surprised. Hope and Change are not represented by choosing someone to placate homophobes instead of the, literally, thousands of prominent, deserving religious leaders out there. Hope and Change are not backing off on closing Gitmo immediately - Hope and Change are not using people as transition national security advisers who in their recent past cooked up fake intelligence to get us into this shit hole in Iraq - I can't predict the future, but I can be realistic. I tried to curb my cynicism coming into this new administration, but things are becoming all too clear.....
posted by Durruti at 12:16 PM on December 18, 2008


“Barack Obama is going to have a theme song… written by frickin' John Williams!”

You know who else had a theme song written by John Williams?

“But hey -- don't call him a homophobe: He even eats dinner with gays.”

Y’know, I’ve always felt uncomfortable with the term ‘homophobe’ as a derogatory term. In that it seems to attach something shameful to a mental disorder. We don’t stigmatize acrophobes or claustrophobes.
If someone is genuinely irrationally afraid of any class of person as the result of a mental disorder, I don’t think that should be held against them.
They can’t help it.

So, no, I strongly doubt this man is a homophobe.
He is - willfully - an intolerant bigot.

“Things are not different. These guys have always had a place at the table, and we haven't. This is the problem.”

I can’t argue passion man. I think, given the state of the economy, jobs, etc. etc. - a lot of things are going to be on the back burner.
Doesn’t make it right, but Brecht is solid in observing “Food first, politics later.”

That aside, I tend to favor the wait and see approach. And I favor engagement of one’s enemies (as said above - plus I’ll add Biko).
But I would also have to invalidate my position as having a relevent bearing.

This is not to say I’m neutral. I’m certainly interested, it’s a human rights issue. But I won’t support or defend Obama’s decision here. In part because I don’t much care who invokes what, where. But mostly because it’s not a substantive change.

I can say it doesn’t directly impact policy.
But I can’t speak on what value it has symbolically and such a thing being more critical and subject to scrutiny for other folks than for me - I have to accept other people at their word on this and cede those matters as to what is acceptable representation for them.
In short - I have to plead ignorance. Not as a cop out. But in recognition that I’m not walking in your shoes.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:18 PM on December 18, 2008


I admit I'm disappointed by this choice as well. Very disappointed. However, this is how I predict this will all go down:

1. The wind gets knocked out of us upon hearing the news.
2. Mass discussion, disenchantment, and complaint (current phase).
3. Reluctant acceptance
4. January 20th: a white man will deliver a touching and inspirational speech welcoming the first black man into the presidency.
5. Liberals will feel misty at the words and symbolism despite their disagreement with the white man's personal beliefs
6. Conservatives will feel misty at the words and symbolism despite their disagreement with the black man's personal beliefs
7. An historical moment gets to be shared by everyone

In other words, the deliverer may not be what liberals wanted, but I'm confident the delivery will be.

Besides, imagine the symbolism of a man whose demographic (white, conservative, evangelical fundamentalist) just a few decades ago out of bigotry, fear of social excommunication, fear of physical violence against him, and even fear of his God wouldn't even drink from the same fountain as a black man. Now he is going to be delivering a speech accepting one into his country's highest office. That's something I'm sure even Dr. King would have to admit is an astounding symbol of social progress.

Just my $0.02 for people looking for a silver lining :)
posted by TimeTravelSpeed at 12:20 PM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is not hope. This is not change. This is the same old political machine it's ever been.

Again, the choice was disappointing. But his gay civil rights platform remains the same. Hopefully instead of just now assuming this means the end of gay civil rights in America we'll be vigilant and vocal. He does have that whole system of transparency and inclusion going on, you know.

News flash: the man is going to make mistakes. He's going to make bad decisions. You're going to count something like this as evidence that "Obama = same old political machine"? I'd recommend paying attention to the rest of his platform and policies. People are fallible, but fortunately we got the best man for the job this time around.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:26 PM on December 18, 2008


But through the power of love Abraham Lincoln was able to redeem Stanton.
In 2008, we just wait for the old people to die.
posted by WolfDaddy at 12:28 PM on December 18, 2008


"President-elect Barack Obama will not move for months, and perhaps not until 2010, to ask Congress to end the military's decades-old ban on open homosexuals in the ranks, two people who have advised the Obama transition team on this issue say."

Marissa: I find it interesting that the only people ready to believe Warren uttering a few sentences at the inauguration means the end of civil rights for homosexuals are the people who claim to be fighting for those rights.

Well, I'm not saying it's the end of civil rights for LGBTs, the "death knell" or "dustbin" or any such hyperbole.

What I have said is that Obama's gay rights platform appears to be a compromise by him, in contrast to his repeated, consistent and apparently heart-felt desire to bring cultural conservative evangelicals into his big tent. While I certainly think the Obama administration is going to be better than Bush or Clinton, (it already is in some respects) I don't think he's going to stick his neck out on the tough and difficult issues.

In earlier conversations, I've laid out some scenarios on how this might actually look like in practice. We might see a repeal of DADT that allows LGBTs to legally serve, but still leaves them vulnerable to de facto discrimination. We might see a compromise ENDA which has substantial loopholes to permit some forms of discrimination. If conservatives raise same-sex marriage as a litmus test for judicial appointments, and I think they might, I suspect that Obama will nominate justices who are open to conservative arguments regarding the definition of "marriage" while protecting the legality of almost-but-not-quite-equal civil unions.

Then I'd say this unfortunate invitation to speak is being used as the sole evidence for all this talk of gay civil rights taking a back seat now.

This isn't the sole evidence. It's an additional data point in a chain that goes back to his 2004 DNC speech--and probably before. Obama has been far more consistent in his political fellowship with anti-gay evangelicals such as Warren and McClurken than he has been an advocate of gay rights. We've known for over a year that there is a conflict between Obama's platform statements and his open support of anti-gay political evangelical ministries.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:31 PM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


TimeTravelSpeed, you forgot #8 - Everything will go on as if nothing happened. The same old Reagan/Bush/Clinton/BushJr. big party politics will run over the weak, feed the powerful and plunder the planet.....acceptance of bigotry is promotion of bigotry, you just can't escape that.
posted by Durruti at 12:35 PM on December 18, 2008


I can’t argue passion man. I think, given the state of the economy, jobs, etc. etc. - a lot of things are going to be on the back burner.

Doesn’t make it right, but Brecht is solid in observing “Food first, politics later.”


That's easy to say when being gay is not one of the reasons you can be denied a job or fired or evicted, doesn't affect who in your family is covered on health insurance policies, and isn't a serious stumbling block for inviting a child to share your home, table, and loving support when you've got the resources and the desire to parent. This is not just about abstract ideas of equality. It's about the couple I know who pretends to be roommates to not get evicted, because it's totally legal to kick them out for it and housing options are limited in their small conservative town. It's about losing custody of your biological children just because you're gay. It's about the teenagers who realize they're gay and whose families respond by kicking them out. It's about the shelters that are dangerous for them, and the schools that are too. It's about 25-40% of homeless teenagers in this country being on the street because they are gay and are no longer welcome in the homes of their parents. A dismissal of this as mere politics is the heart of the problem. Who do you think hurts most when times get tough in general? It's the people whose rights and privileges are at a low baseline to begin with.
posted by Tehanu at 12:38 PM on December 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Kirk, he's going to end the ban on gays in the military, and you're complaining that he's not going to do it right now? Astounding. You do know there's two wars and a financial crisis going on, don't you? Honestly. I'm not saying it isn't extremely important but it seems like you're really trying too hard.

The same old Reagan/Bush/Clinton/BushJr. big party politics will run over the weak, feed the powerful and plunder the planet.

Yes, Obama = George W Bush. What a nuanced analysis.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:42 PM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


All I know is that I just ran into a friend that moved to D.C. and he offered me floor space around the 20th. Woot!
posted by wah at 12:51 PM on December 18, 2008


Anyway, I hope I don't give the impression that I'm alright with Warren of all people making the address. I understand it, yes, but I'm not happy with it. And I'm glad there are people speaking up about it. Hopefully these same people will be breathing down Obama's neck to make the change he's promised. His team's ideas with regards to transparency and inclusion lead me to think they invite such neck-breathing-downing.

That said, it shouldn't be solely the responsibility of the electorate to keep politicians true to their platforms; politicians should be true to their platforms, period. Obama's platform with regards to gay civil rights isn't as progressive as it could or should be, but it is more progressive than we've seen, and he seems to invite the electorate's influence to his platform in general, which would lead me to think his gay civil rights platform could be made even more progressive. That makes me happy. I can't remember the last time I've seen that in a president.

I'm ready to accept he'll make more and perhaps bigger mistakes than this. I'm also willing to accept that everyone has a different list of priorities. With our involvement and his integrity, hopefully the mistakes will be kept to a minimum, and everyone on the list will get their turn. It's an exciting time to be alive.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:08 PM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Marisa: News flash: the man is going to make mistakes. He's going to make bad decisions. You're going to count something like this as evidence that "Obama = same old political machine"? I'd recommend paying attention to the rest of his platform and policies. People are fallible, but fortunately we got the best man for the job this time around.

$1 and a platform statement will get you a bad cup of coffee these days. One's political bedfellows should be as important a consideration as the rhetorical promises he makes in order to get elected. It was pretty obvious the direction that Bush's presidency was going to take when he gave convicted Iran-Contra liar Elliot Abrams the Orwellian title of "Human Rights Czar." But I don't think that this is a "mistake" since this isn't the first time Obama has embraced a popular anti-gay evangelical minister and this isn't the first time he's been criticized for it.

Of course, given the lack of nuance in this discussion, suggesting that one's political bedfellows can be windows into one's politics is going to be read as Obama=Bush. I'm not suggesting any such twaddle. I'm only suggesting that Obama's repeated embrace of anti-gay evangelism is reasonable grounds for skepticism regarding his gay rights leadership, and I'm not about to put my faith in his "platform."

Kirk, he's going to end the ban on gays in the military, and you're complaining that he's not going to do it right now? Astounding. You do know there's two wars and a financial crisis going on, don't you? Honestly. I'm not saying it isn't extremely important but it seems like you're really trying too hard.

Except that the reasons for not pursuing a solution on DADT don't appear to have anything to do with two wars and a financial crisis. In particular, DADT has interfered with our ability to fight those wars, and it's not as if congress is forced to consider only one issue in a legislative session.

The rationale for not pressing forward on DADT seems to be to build a consensus, which, silly me, I thought the entire point of having a transition team and making your own appointments at the top of the command chain was to start the administration with a consensus. In terms of both popular support and support within the military, DADT seems to be the safest issue to move forward. Waiting until 2010 before taking the issue to congress likely means no legislative action until after midterm elections. So we are talking about 2011 before things get moving.

And I'm glad there are people speaking up about it. Hopefully these same people will be breathing down Obama's neck to make the change he's promised.

Certainly, and breathing down Obama's neck is exactly what we are doing when we point out that this isn't the first time he's gotten buddy-buddy with anti-gay evangelism, or that he so far has not delivered on his rhetorical claims to be a "fierce advocate for equality for gay and lesbian Americans" (as claimed in today's press conference). I don't see what your objection is here in this discussion.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:45 PM on December 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


Tehanu, I wish I could favorite your comment a million times.

I don't even know where to begin with this conversation. It's really sad to me that even among queer and pro-queer communities so many people agree with eataneye that marriage is the only important issue. Excuse me? Some of us live in states where it's still perfectly legal for an employer to fire someone for being gay or bi or unconventionally gendered.

I'm sure Rick Warren is pretty concerned about that. But then again I probably shouldn't worry because it's not one of the eight issues that's important for the whole country. (And I'm not even going to start on about nationalism and realizing that borders are artificial divisions and that we're all in this together, on this fragile, one-of-a-kind planet.) I guess I should have learned by now that queer people are less important. I'll have to "grow up", it seems.

And while we're quoting Martin Luther King Jr., here's some more of his words:


Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly...

...We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have never yet engaged in a direct action movement that was "well timed," according to the timetable of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the words [sic]"Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with a piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see with the distinguished jurist of yesterday that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."...

And, from another speech:

Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken -- the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investment.

I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered...

...True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: "This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: "This is not just."...

Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter -- but beautiful -- struggle for a new world. This is the callling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message, of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.


Martin Luther King Jr. was a lot more radical than the way he's often portrayed. I wonder what he would say, if he were speaking at Obama's Inauguration?
posted by overglow at 1:56 PM on December 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Q: Good morning, sir. I have a question about Pastor Rick Warren. He holds a number of social views that are at odds with your own views and with those of some of your very strong supporters.

Obama: Right.

Q: I'm wondering what went into your decision to choose him for this prominent role as you embark on your own presidency; at a time when you're dotting every "i" and crossing every "t," it does send some important signals.

Obama: Well, let me start by talking about my own views. I think that it is no secret that I am fierce advocate for equality for gay and lesbian Americans. It is something that I have been consistent on and something that I intend to continue to be consistent on during my presidency.

What I've also said is that it is important for America to come together even though we may have disagreements on certain social issues.

And I would note that a couple of years ago I was invited to Rick Warren's church to speak, despite his awareness that I held views that were entirely contrary to his when it came to gay and lesbian rights, when it came to issues like abortion.

Nevertheless, I had an opportunity to speak, and that dialogue, I think, is part of what my campaign's been all about, that we're not going to agree on every single issue. But what we have to do is to be able to create an atmosphere when we—where we can disagree without being disagreeable, and then focus on those things that we hold in common as Americans. So, Rick Warren has been invited to speak, Dr. Joseph Lowery, who has deeply contrasting views to Rick Warren about a whole host of issues, is also speaking.

During the course of the entire inaugural festivities, there are going to be a wide range of viewpoints that are presented. And that's how it should be, because that's what America's about—that's part of the magic of this country, is that we are diverse and noisy and opinionated and, so, you know, that's the spirit in which, you know, we have put together what I think we be a terrific inauguration, and that's hopefully going to be a spirit that carries over into my administration.
Really this is the sort of thing which convinces me that while Obama has good intentions, he doesn't really get it in ways that prevent him from being the "fierce advocate for equality" that he claims to be. It's like insisting that we need to give equal time to the KKK or the Creativity movement in order to have a discussion about race.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:17 PM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Every time I see advocates for gay rights go on TV and talk about the personal harm and distress that has been visited on them by the unfair marriage laws in this country, I see people at a loss for words. I see sympathy. Every time I see advocates for gay rights talk about their inability to fulfill their genuine love for their partners, I see people at a loss for words. I see people shamed into taking the love of people different than themselves seriously.

Holding your political leaders' feet to the fire is all part of acting on what you believe. By all means put pressure on Obama, but know this: if you think brandishing your outrage before the American people is going to advance the gay marriage agenda one iota, you are sorely mistaken.

The perception that gays are angry about this and demanding their rights will simply create backlash and entrench moderates who might otherwise be sympathetic. And any appearance of a wedge between gays and Obama will be immediately pounced upon by Rove and co. No one wants to see Obama forced to publicly perform trials to prove his allegiance to the gay marriage agenda more than Karl Rove.

So by all means, indulge your anger. It's such a stupid blunder, it may accomplish not only the utter destruction of your own agenda, but the rest of the democratic party's agenda too.

But hey, at least you'll have assuaged your feelings of hurt.

This is why democrats lose. There's nothing they love more than shooting themselves in the head.
posted by macross city flaneur at 2:25 PM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


“That's easy to say when being gay is not one of the reasons you can be denied a job or fired or evicted, doesn't affect who in your family is covered on health insurance policies, and isn't a serious stumbling block for inviting a child to share your home, table, and loving support when you've got the resources and the desire to parent.” - Tehanu

No, it’s easy to be a snarky jagoff looking for an argument and ignoring what someone writes because your identity is predicated on victim identification and passive aggression and wearing a chip on your fucking shoulder all the time such that it stops any real communication.

Treating folks as equals and listening to and respecting their arguments apparently - pretty tough.

Re-read what I wrote. My observation completely encompasses what you’re saying.
I’m *not* in fact going through any of that so I had to say I cede the matter.
Jesus fucking christ. Fuck me if I want to be on your side.

Like you can’t be an asshole because you’re oppressed? Excuse me for treating you like an equal and indicating my ignorance of the experience and desire to listen.
Don’t fucking lecture me about tough times and dismissal as ‘just politics.’ I’ve defended people from being exterminated and watched as it all got beached when the shit hit the fan.
And excuse the hell out of me for reaching across the ideological lines and extending a hand and saying “hey, I don’t know what you’re going through, so I’ll respect your passion and I’ll take your word on the issue.”

Thanks for showing me what you think that effort is worth.

Waste of my time and effort to comment in the first place really, but even more of a waste to try and read and even get involved.
There’s no way to understand this, everyone is an outsider and anyone with a different perspective, advice, or even an observation as simple and otherwise innocuous as mine is an enemy. (Do you even know who Berthold Brecht is? What he wrote about? The Threepenny Opera ring any bells? Hypocracy of conventional morality? Anyone? Bueller? Did you give the slightest bit of thought that perhaps the allusion carried with it a metaphor beyond the facile way you used it in retort? Or must be because I’m not homosexual I can’t have deep thoughts, feelings, or empathy for human suffering? Of course, there’s no way I could ever have or have had gay friends or observed decent men and women of integrity and valuable officers get shit on in the military simply because of their sexual orientation. I have no background, no prior comments, nothing I say need be read or cogitated because nothing else matters does it?)

Don’t want me in your cause? Don't want an ally? Don’t want my sympathy? Fine. But don’t hand me this “I’m all alienated, you just don’t understand, why don’t people help?” when someone shows interest and sympathy and gets shit on.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:37 PM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


...this isn't the first time Obama has embraced a popular anti-gay evangelical minister and this isn't the first time he's been criticized for it.

Not to mention the uproar over anti-gay gospel singer Donnie McClurkin being invited to be a part of "Embrace the Change" concert tour that was a part of Obama's South Carolina campaign in October 2007.
posted by ericb at 2:51 PM on December 18, 2008


I love it how ostensible supporters of basic human equality are constantly lecturing gay people about what they should or shouldn't do -- or else they'll decide that the whole cumbersome project was a waste of their time and effort. I don't seem to recall the same condescending lectures about anger being directed at black people, even when they formed outright armed and dangerous groups like the Black Panthers.

The modern, global gay movement was born in a bar full of angry black and Puerto Rican drag queens who decided they had simply had enough of the beatings, arrests, and humiliation.

Yes, it's not Black Panther time anymore, and we shall soon inaugurate our first black President. And it's not Stonewall time anymore, and the gay movement has necessarily matured into a movement on many fronts. One of the most important fronts in 2008 turns out to be marriage equality. I've never thrown a brick like those brave queens at Stonewall did, and I'm not inclined to do so, being a passionate believer in non-violence as the best and most humane strategy for social change.

But if you think gay people don't have a right to "brandish" their anger, and that you have the right to lecture them for doing so, you can ask yourself how you would feel if your state was suddenly blitzed with ads by church groups equating your own marriage to bestiality and pedophilia -- and then your marriage was forcibly annulled by the state. You'd be outraged.

Gay people are outraged. Is hyping up that outrage the most promising avenue for gaining basic human rights? Certainly not.

But gay people have the right to their outrage, as black people did in the '60s, and still do. I don't tend to lecture people of color about how they should feel if they expect me to continue the fight against racism.
posted by digaman at 2:55 PM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


The perception that gays are angry about this and demanding their rights will simply create backlash and entrench moderates who might otherwise be sympathetic.

Speaking of MLK, that is exactly the same thing that was said to him. And his rebuttal, speaking about "the fierce urgency of now" was appropriated by Obama during the primary campaign (as a response to people who said he needed more experience before running for president)

The idea that people who are angry about having their rights denied should shut up and wait was bullshit then and it's bullshit now. Not that I think the civil rights movement of the 60s and the gay rights movement are equivalent.

So by all means, indulge your anger. It's such a stupid blunder, it may accomplish not only the utter destruction of your own agenda, but the rest of the democratic party's agenda too.

That's just outlandishly paranoid. The anti-gay backlash has come and gone. Even people like Rick Warren and Huckabee at least claim that they support giving gays "all the rights" of marriage just not the "word" marriage.

Obama may not have supported gay marriage, but he talked about the importance of gay rights during his campaign, and he opposed prop-8 (although rather tepidly). It didn't stop him from getting elected.

Gay rights are much more excepted now then they were 10-15 years ago, and people getting angry about not being able to marry isn't going to change that.
posted by delmoi at 2:56 PM on December 18, 2008


Oh, and Flaneur -- you might check the results of the last national election. Democrats don't lose anymore. They win. I suspect that people repeating mantras like "that's why Democrats lose" is also why Democrats lose.
posted by digaman at 2:58 PM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Is there Method to this Rick Warren Madness?
“On the surface, the decision does appear a cynical political ploy to win the loyalty of hotly contested evangelical Christian voters, while taking for granted (even smacking in the face) the progressive base that worked tirelessly to elect a President Obama.

…[Obama] draws on historic precedents for contemporary political wisdom. Famously, his selection of cabinet members from the left and right ends of the political spectrum hearkens back to Abraham Lincoln's ‘team of rivals.’ But there may be another precedent at work here - that of Nelson Mandela and the Springboks, South Africa's white supremacist rugby team. In his book, PLAYING THE ENEMY: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation, John Carlin describes how Mandela sparked controversy by sporting the Springbok jersey, despite the all-white team's history of singing racist anthems at their games. Nelson Mandela's efforts integrated the team and its fan base, and helped unite the nation. In fact, in numerous arenas, Mandela embraced figures hateful to black South Africans, in order forge longer-term consensus.

Like South Africa's white elite, America's evangelical Christians are a minority, but a minority with disproportionate cultural and social sway.

…For the record, let me state unequivocally that I believe homophobia is an abomination. I believe heart and soul that the LGBT population deserve the right to marry - and deserve all requisite spousal benefits - just as black people and women deserved the right to vote before they won it. And indeed, Obama's choice to lead the taskforce for the Inaugural benediction, Rev. Joseph Lowery, a civil rights leader, agrees with me.

Pastor Rick Warren, however, emphatically does not. But he does agree with a majority of the American population. Barack Obama lies somewhere in the middle, supporting civil unions and spousal benefits, but not marriage, for the LGBT population. While I find Rick Warren's homophobia abhorrent and his creationism impossible, I recognize that he helped Obama double the number of evangelical voters in certain states from what Kerry garnered in 2004 - key states, such as Indiana, Florida and Colorado that helped Obama win the election. Barack Obama and I disagree fundamentally on certain issues, but what he achieves so spectacularly, beyond any American figure in my lifetime, is the ability to help us transcend our differences by appealing to our common values.

People will argue that they do not share any values with Pastor Rick Warren, who compares abortion to the Holocaust and calls for the assassination of Ahmadenijad. But if we can enfold his numerous followers into our political dialogue, let them get to know us of all stripes, perhaps we can begin to wear away some of the myths and misconceptions that disconnect us. If we continue to push away those who disagree with us, we will entrench ourselves deeper and deeper in the divisions that have gotten us nowhere. Obama's campaign proved that reaching out to those with whom we differ achieves the advancement of the progressive agenda - incrementally, rather than all in one fell swoop.

In his autobiography, LONG WALK TO FREEDOM, Nelson Mandela relates how he repeatedly experienced the wrath of his own supporters, during his nearly 30 years in prison, for extending olive branches to the Apartheid government. But only through the gesture of reaching out to the opposing force was he able to dismantle it. I hope that's what President-elect Obama has in mind.”
posted by ericb at 3:03 PM on December 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Don’t want me in your cause? Don't want an ally? Don’t want my sympathy? Fine. But don’t hand me this “I’m all alienated, you just don’t understand, why don’t people help?” when someone shows interest and sympathy and gets shit on.

You said "I have to plead ignorance." So I was explaining, why prioritizing this lower is not an option for some of us, because if affects all of our other priorities too. It can't be decoupled from other things, because it impacts everything else for gay people.

I don't understand where the rest of your comment if coming from. I certainly didn't say any of those things about you not having a valid opinion or thoughts, if that full text was meant in response to me. All I did was rebut the idea that this is "politics" and lower priority than other things.
posted by Tehanu at 3:10 PM on December 18, 2008


Thank God Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks weren't daunted by a chorus of voices telling them that the grand experiment of American democracy "isn't just about you." It's about you, and you, and you, and you, and if any "you's" get left out, we are all diminished. It's about what Harvey Milk called "the us's ," and he died in an effort to gain the rights for gay people that people like Rick Warren are fervently committed to obliterating with his purpose-driven lies.

Hey, there are one hell of a lot of yous being left out in our grand experiment. (Some of them not so cuddly.) And Martin Luther King wasn't fighting JUST for civil rights for black folks in America, even though that's obviously the context of his best-known work and his greatest legacy.

Gays are not the only ones left out of Rick Warren's perfect world, either. My point was that being offended by the choice of Rick Warren is certainly legit for a myriad of reasons, but I don't agree with the assertion that it's specifically a fuck you to gays in particular.

Meanwhile, let's remember that Obama is a Christian -- a born-again Christian at that. Perhaps he is treating Rick Warren the way in which he'd like himself (and Americans) to be treated.
posted by desuetude at 3:27 PM on December 18, 2008


“So I was explaining, why prioritizing this lower is not an option for some of us, because if affects all of our other priorities too.”

I didn’t see an explanation as necessary. Nor did I see it as an explanation but rather a retort.

Since I also said “I have to accept other people at their word on this and cede those matters as to what is acceptable representation for them.”

I don’t know how that could have been more clear. I didn’t see any retort necessary. Yours struck me as condescending. The “that’s easy to say” and such.

To clairify - my statement (since I made no real assertion) was not that this is politics or this is lower priority but that whatever someone says concerning this matter who (as I alluded, but perhaps not clearly) was going through the concrete situations you described can’t really be refuted by general statements.
I was pretty much cedeing the whole matter out of ignorance so whatever someone might have to say would be more valid than something I could say with the caviat that - since I am interested as a matter of human rights, as MLK points out, your neck could be next on the block - I do want to say something since I’m not disinterested.

That said, it’d be hypocritical of me to not take you at your word that you didn’t mean to be dismissive or condescending, so - my foul. I apologise for mistaking the nature of your comment and for the vitriol.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:37 PM on December 18, 2008


Fred Rogers would have been one hell of a choice.

My disappointment is that he chose this moment to pander to a constituency that has already had too loud a voice for too long, one upon which a great many of our country's current problems can be directly or indirectly pinned. Yes, I think it's fine to engage them, to win them over, to be their president too. But to have them set the tone on Obama's first day in office?

Obama's position on gay marriage was pretty clearly stated before the election and this isn't about being surprised that he's not going to enact a sweeping liberal agenda. The idea peddled by the corporate media that he was "too liberal" to be president was laughable, especially to us liberals. His promise was that he would be a smart, straight thinking, practical person who would look beyond partisanship and ideology to make the right decisions. And this (mostly inconsequential) decision seems incongruent with that promise.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 4:14 PM on December 18, 2008


The Warren flap is a Team Obama fuck-up, pure and simple. There's no do-overs with this, it's like dropping a glass, sweep up the sharp pieces and get on with life.

But if it happens again, people (including me) will be that much less likely to call it a dumb accident.
posted by gimonca at 4:26 PM on December 18, 2008


The Warren flap is a Team Obama fuck-up, pure and simple. There's no do-overs with this, it's like dropping a glass, sweep up the sharp pieces and get on with life.

I tend to see it mostly the same way. A lot of Warren's outrageous statements seem to have been made in the past year or so, while Obama was campaigning. Obama probably didn't spend much time thinking about it all.
posted by delmoi at 4:34 PM on December 18, 2008


Obama was elected for many reasons by many people. Change is probably the main one. I don't see this as change. But if you read Obama's books it's pretty clear he is Liberal and a Democrat but one that really wants to bring everyone together. We can see this as a slap in the face or a place to start a discussion. Consider that he is President for all of America. Not just the Liberal Americans.
At the very least gay marriage rights are on the table with an Obama administration and with Democrats. With [most] Republicans this issue isn't even in the room. Consider that. Obama is not Bush. Obviously, his actions and appointments will tell us more.
posted by Rashomon at 4:41 PM on December 18, 2008


The Rick Warren choice has a lot of plusses. It costs him nothing in terms of policy, and counts as a good reciprocating gesture towards someone who gave Obama time over a pulpit, despite not agreeing with every political position Obama stood for.

don't call him a homophobe: He even eats dinner with gays.

This commentary seems to reject the idea that someone might genuinely both see gays as human beings and have problems with the idea of wanting to change the definition of marriage to include same sex couples. If so, you're certainly not alone, but it'll be interesting to see how far that gets the LGBT community. Personally, I expect it'll be roughly as effective as the ministries of Dawkins and Harris.
posted by namespan at 4:52 PM on December 18, 2008


Wonkette tells shit like it is.
Hey gays, here’s your least favorite person in the world, Noobama, who had been introducing some new economic slobs at a presser until the Q&A, when everyone asks him why he picked Chunksy McLardtits to deliver the Christian speech at his inauguration. Obama responds, “UHHHHHHHHHHHHHH” and then offers a series of actual words that basically carry the same weight as “UHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.”
Then Newell breaks it down. If that blog was a news channel, I would abandon The Daily Show.
posted by mullingitover at 5:03 PM on December 18, 2008


But if you think gay people don't have a right to "brandish" their anger, and that you have the right to lecture them for doing so, you can ask yourself how you would feel if your state was suddenly blitzed with ads by church groups equating your own marriage to bestiality and pedophilia -- and then your marriage was forcibly annulled by the state. You'd be outraged.

Not a single person on this site has mentioned what anyone has the "right" to do. That is a product of your imagination. What I in particular have spoken of is what is wise for you to do to advance your agenda. You are picking fights with people who share your basic views because you're angry and hurt. This only underscores that you are speaking out of emotion instead of the desire to be politically effective. Emotion is fine. I'm saying use it productively.

Speaking of MLK, that is exactly the same thing that was said to him. And his rebuttal, speaking about "the fierce urgency of now" was appropriated by Obama during the primary campaign (as a response to people who said he needed more experience before running for president)

The idea that people who are angry about having their rights denied should shut up and wait was bullshit then and it's bullshit now. Not that I think the civil rights movement of the 60s and the gay rights movement are equivalent.


This equivalency is patently false given the context of the current discussion. MLK was an advocate of non-violent protest. He was a moderating voice, and quite expert at picking his battles for maximum political effectiveness. In other words, MLK was a strategist as well as a fighter. He knew the value of generating sympathy and appealing to people's sense of decency. And he knew it was more effective to do so than simply giving in to outrage.

No one is saying to do nothing. No one is saying "shut up". Again, you're taking this to extremes because you're trying to demonize anyone who disagrees with you even mildly. Again, this kind of behavior comes from anger, not wisdom, and it won't help you. When you speak this way, think about who you sound like. It's useless demagoguery, pissing in the wind. The best thing you can say about it is that it probably makes some people feel better.

That's just outlandishly paranoid. The anti-gay backlash has come and gone. Even people like Rick Warren and Huckabee at least claim that they support giving gays "all the rights" of marriage just not the "word" marriage.

Obama may not have supported gay marriage, but he talked about the importance of gay rights during his campaign, and he opposed prop-8 (although rather tepidly). It didn't stop him from getting elected.

Gay rights are much more excepted now then they were 10-15 years ago, and people getting angry about not being able to marry isn't going to change that.


Delmoi, I have to give you credit. You sure do know how to concede a point, but only when you're arguing with yourself. If people are not that far apart on this thing, then isn't the outrage doubly counter-productive, and doesn't this make Obama's invitation to Warren look even more intelligent than before?

Oh, and Flaneur -- you might check the results of the last national election. Democrats don't lose anymore. They win. I suspect that people repeating mantras like "that's why Democrats lose" is also why Democrats lose.

I disagree. The Democrats won with Obama precisely because they managed to dodge every temptation to divisiveness. By and large, this was because Obama ran an uncharacteristically disciplined campaign for a Democrat, and because the country was so desperate to get rid of Bush. In point of fact, Democrats lamented their propensity to lose the whole time - HuffPo did columns on the perennial worry-wart nature of the party, and CNN commented on it on election night.

In other words, what distinguished this last election was discipline and unity, plus a stacked deck against the Rethugs. The "Democrats always lose attitude" was in full effect, as ever. Democrats would be wise to continue to live in fear of losing. It holds sloppiness at bay.
posted by macross city flaneur at 5:26 PM on December 18, 2008


Hate to break it to y'all, but Mr. Rogers is dead.
posted by designbot at 5:28 PM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Even if Obama turned out to be a big, lying shitbag, I'll still take him over McCain/Palin any day. Consider me a single issue voter: No Palin in the White House.
posted by eener at 5:28 PM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, let's remember that Obama is a Christian -- a born-again Christian at that.

Um, no. Far from it.

His denomination is United Church of Christ which "has historically favored progressive, or liberal, views on gay rights, women's rights, and other issues."
posted by ericb at 5:40 PM on December 18, 2008


Meanwhile, let's remember that Obama is a Christian -- a born-again Christian at that.

In fairness to the discussion, there is this (from January 19, 2007):
“At the time, Obama said he was a Christian, that he has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, that he reads the Bible regularly and prays constantly. He described his conversion experience in his mid-20s, how he walked the aisle at Trinity United Church of Christ one Sunday in a public affirmation of his private change of heart. But we didn't talk labels, I didn't ask him for one, and he didn't offer.

A few weeks ago, during a visit to the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board, I had a chance to ask Obama that lingering question: ‘Are you an evangelical?’

Surrounded by members of the editorial board, editors, our publisher, and a couple of his own aides, this was Obama's answer:

‘Gosh, I'm not sure if labels are helpful here because the definition of an evangelical is so loose and subject to so many different interpretations. I came to Christianity through the black church tradition where the line between evangelical and non-evangelical is completely blurred. Nobody knows exactly what it means.

‘Does it mean that you feel you've got a personal relationship with Christ the savior? Then that's directly part of the black church experience. Does it mean you're born-again in a classic sense, with all the accoutrements that go along with that, as it's understood by some other tradition? I'm not sure.’

He continued his answer: ‘My faith is complicated by the fact that I didn't grow up in a particular religious tradition. And so what that means is when you come at it as an adult, your brain mediates a lot, and you ask a lot of questions.

‘There are aspects of Christian tradition that I'm comfortable with and aspects that I'm not. There are passages of the Bible that make perfect sense to me and others that I go, 'Ya know, I'm not sure about that,'‘ he said, shrugging and stammering slightly.

It would have been easier for the senator-cum-president to answer, simply, ‘Yes,’ to the evangelical question.

But for Obama, as for many of us, faith is complicated, messy, a work in progress.

And, if we're honest about it, the standard labels just don't fit.”
posted by ericb at 5:48 PM on December 18, 2008


Meanwhile, let's remember that Obama is a Christian -- a born-again Christian at that.

Um, no. Far from it.

His denomination is United Church of Christ which "has historically favored progressive, or liberal, views on gay rights, women's rights, and other issues."


From that exact same Wikipedia link, "The UCC uses four words to describe itself: "Christian, Reformed, Congregational and Evangelical."

The religious right does not own the phrase born again, despite their efforts to brand anything they please as their own jargon. It generally refers to an adoption or a renewal of a commitment to the belief of Jesus as Savior. You can be born again and not be ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE.

And as a Christian of any flavor, he could still be demonstrating some golden rule, here. That is supposed to be a guiding principle.

For a devout agnostic, I sure feel like I spent a lot of time pointing out that not all Christians are loudmouth jerks.
posted by desuetude at 6:36 PM on December 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Rick Warren believes he and Dobson are both Christians (a belief I don't happen to share)

I can choose to not believe in the moon all I want, but whoop, there it is.

Yes, they are Christians. By the only possible sane criteria -- they call themselves Christians -- they are Christians.

No other criteria makes sense. You, most certainly, do not get to judge them or decide who is worthy or not.
posted by rokusan at 6:56 PM on December 18, 2008


Best thing America can do to save itself is to start shunning those social retards. It's time to get the fuck over inequality based on race, religion, sex, or whatever. The only thing that counts for shit in this world is love and compassion, and it's high time we lived up to that idea.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:59 PM on December 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


I call myself a Jew. Does that make me a Jew?
posted by five fresh fish at 7:07 PM on December 18, 2008


I've always understood that the categorical criteria for Christianity is the Nicene Creed.
posted by amuseDetachment at 7:51 PM on December 18, 2008


Rick Warren And The Ex-Gay Movement
posted by homunculus at 7:58 PM on December 18, 2008


5. Rick Warren's statements about "redefining a 5000 year tradition" are an out and out steaming pile of rancid, disgusting, hoked-up bullshit propaganda about the true evolution of the institution of marriage over time.

I don't think this has been emphasized enough. Besides his positions being disagreeable, he should be unacceptable for not arguing them in good faith by repeating this 5,000 years of one man one woman bullshit. He is a liar. Even if we ignore all other historical research and go to the one document he pretty much has to accept, THERE IS POLYGAMY IN THE BIBLE. Have you read your Bible, Rick Warren?
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:13 PM on December 18, 2008


I call myself a Jew. Does that make me a Jew?

It sure as hell makes you a better judge than me.
posted by rokusan at 9:16 PM on December 18, 2008


I was down about Prop. 8, but that eased up a lot in seeing how many of my straight friends have made a point to show support and share how generally fucked up they think the whole anti-gay-marriage thing is; not that this is necessarily everyone's experience, but it feels pretty neat.

So I'm happy to be gay and all, but there's other important stuff in the world that you can't just ignore until you get taken care of. I think an effort to get more people on board and cutting down on the magnitude of the polarity between opposing groups--at least getting to civilized conversation--is an important step in making progress on issues that are more personal to me, like marriage.

And I don't see how people would feel slighted by Obama on this. We know the guy is on our side, so why not give him some room for a while.
posted by troybob at 10:12 PM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Let's be clear. Warren comes with bowed head to pay fealty to Obama.

Things are not as they were. We have the power now. This is acting like it. I like it.

As for Prop 8, in 2010, the pro gay marriage people will run their own amendment and win. Time to start accepting that the pendulum has swung our way and act like we are in charge, because we are.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:27 PM on December 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


"In other words, what distinguished this last election was discipline and unity, plus a stacked deck against the Rethugs. The "Democrats always lose attitude" was in full effect, as ever.

Really? Because the election I saw was "yes we can." Last I checked the winners of things usually displayed "discipline and unity" and the losers did not. Nor did Obama "run to the center" at any time. He's pretty liberal. He ran on the most liberal democratic platform since, well since ever. Its not like we snuck in by playing Republican-lite. Obama ran on an "end the war in Iraq" plank.

Plus, there's one thing that you're not talking about which totally puts the lie to the idea that we got lucky with a stacked deck. Barack Obama is black.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:36 PM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, my President, when he walks, treads upon the ground.

A grassroots movement fixated upon a bright shining star is a grassroots movement in name only. If President-elect Obama can lead us into the Promised Land, someone else can lead us out again. What's the phrase so near and dear to the hearts (and email sigs) of so very many Barackis?

"Be the change you want to see in the world."

I spent the last ten months of my life living, eating, breathing the election of Barack Obama, to the detriment of all else. I wept when I cast my ballot, and I wept when we won on election night.

But the election is over.

Change does not equal Barack Obama, change cannot be found at change.gov.

WE are the change we want to see in the world.

The sooner everybody figures that out, the sooner we can get on with the business at hand.
posted by halcyon_daze at 12:38 AM on December 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


His denomination is United Church of Christ which "has historically favored progressive, or liberal, views on gay rights, women's rights, and other issues."

so a person who believes all that can't be born again? says who? jesus said "you must be born again", he didn't say anything about having to join the republican party, attending a conservative church, or having a gun rack in your pickup truck next to the american flag decals

conservatives DO NOT OWN THE BIBLE

they DO NOT OWN BEING BORN AGAIN

they DO NOT OWN GOD

quit letting them
posted by pyramid termite at 1:07 AM on December 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


For starters, I think that gay people should be able to get married. I agree that it's a basic human rights issue.

Taking kind of a historical perspective, I don't think it's very surprising that laws are being passed against gay marriage. I think that for the population of most states are not ready for gay marriage. And the thing that will change that is the outrage of the gay community and the people who support them and time for attitudes to change.

The issues of gay civil rights versus the civil rights of black Americans is kind of a complicated one, and I do wish that people who use arguments that relate the two would put a bit more thought into the analogies they use.

On the one hand, gay people need to think about the fact that during segregation there were actually signs put up all over the place related to discrimination. If you're gay at least you don't have to worry about which water fountain or rest room you can use.

On the other hand, the outlawing of gay marriage isn't like black people not being able to marry white people. It's more like black people not being able to marry other black people.
posted by jefeweiss at 7:49 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Rick Warren: Gay people are immature.
posted by ericb at 8:28 AM on December 19, 2008


Jeff Lutes, Executive Director of Soulforce, talks about how Warren and his staff tried to pull out of a promise to meet with him and other gay families.
posted by ericb at 8:30 AM on December 19, 2008


If you're gay at least you don't have to worry about which water fountain or rest room you can use.

Right. All you have to do is worry about getting beaten, murdered, raped in prison, denied hospital-visitation rights when your life partner falls ill, or having your adopted children taken away from you if fundamentalists get a law passed in your state.
posted by digaman at 9:16 AM on December 19, 2008


In related news: "Tape shows Rick Warren praising Israel-hating terror state Syria as a 'moderate country' that treats its Jews great!"
posted by ericb at 9:23 AM on December 19, 2008


If you're gay at least you don't have to worry about which water fountain or rest room you can use.

And, according to Mike Huckabee, gays haven't yet crossed a violence threshold.
Said Huckabee: "People who are homosexuals should have every right in terms of their civil rights, to be employed, to do anything they want. But that's not really the issue. I know you talked about it and I think you got into it a little bit early on. But when we're talking about a redefinition of an institution, that's different than individual civil rights. We're never going to convince each other...But here is the difference. Bull Connor was hosing people down in the streets of Alabama. John Lewis got his skull cracked on the Selma bridge."

No doubt Harvey Milk, Matthew Shepard, Teish Cannon, and the thousands of other victims of anti-gay hate crimes would beg to differ, if they could. As Think Progress notes, "Huckabee's lame violence threshold is nothing more than a shoddy attempt to conceal his deep and fundamental homophobia."
Video -- "Huckabee: Gay Rights Movement Hasn't Met Violence Threshold."
posted by ericb at 9:28 AM on December 19, 2008


Really? Because the election I saw was "yes we can." Last I checked the winners of things usually displayed "discipline and unity" and the losers did not. Nor did Obama "run to the center" at any time. He's pretty liberal. He ran on the most liberal democratic platform since, well since ever. Its not like we snuck in by playing Republican-lite. Obama ran on an "end the war in Iraq" plank.

Plus, there's one thing that you're not talking about which totally puts the lie to the idea that we got lucky with a stacked deck. Barack Obama is black.

So that's two false dichotomies, several straw men, and one restatement of my own points.

False dichotomies:

1. A "yes we can" attitude and "democrats always lose" attitude are not necessarily oppositional. In this last election, one fed the other.

But let's not lose the thread here. The point is not that having a "can do" attitude or that acting on your agenda is a bad thing. I never argued that (straw man). The point is that a healthy fear of division in the Democratic party is a good thing, and sacrificing large chunks of Democratic unity over Rick Warren is the definition of mountains-out-of-molehills.

2. The "stacked deck vs. a black president" things is also a false dichotomy. A major reason we were able to elect a black president is because of the stacked deck against the Rethugs. This is Wanda Sykes joking around on Jay Leno: "President Bush has done more for black people than anybody else in the history of this country... If he wasn't such a screw up, this never would have happened."

Restatement of my own points:

Last I checked the winners of things usually displayed "discipline and unity" and the losers did not.

That's correct. That's what I wrote. We agree on that, apparently.

Yet our initial difference was over whether we could afford the disunity being sowed over Rick Warren. Your posts implied that Democrats could afford disunity - that we were riding high on a mandate for our agenda, and that Democrats could therefore afford to throw their weight around vis-a-vis a progressive agenda. I say this is an enormous misreading of what just happened in this last election, and if Obama starts trying to throw his weight around on, for example, the gay marriage issue, it will cost the Democrats dearly. Thankfully Obama is too smart for that.

Straw men:

Regarding Obama's liberalism, you don't parse things very carefully. Obama ran a sophisticated campaign with nuanced positions. By the time the primaries began, "end the Iraq war" was hardly a "liberal" position. On some issues, like poverty, education, and jobs, Obama staked out fairly progressive territory. On other issues, like health care and FISA, Obama staked out moderate positions that at times angered the Democratic base. And on other issues, like abortion and gay rights, Obama staked out progressive positions but indicated a willingness to work with Republicans on those points over which there is agreement. This stance could yield real, tangible gains for gay rights in this country if you simply give Obama time to let the strategy work.

In any case, the point is that Obama's positions are subtle, and this election hardly constituted a mandate for broad enaction of progressive policies. Hopefully those policies will become reality - but it won't happen through screaming and futile attempts at bullying.

We need to do fundamental work to transform America's attitude towards gay marriage. It's an awareness issue. It's a public relations issue. It's a sympathy issue. It's not going to be quick or easy, but until this fundamental groundwork is laid, it's no use expecting any Democratic politician who wants to be elected president to take up the cause of gay marriage in an uncompromising way. It's simply too politically volatile.

Please recognize that the Republican party has already identified gay marriage as one of the key social issues they can use to shave off large chunks of hispanic and black voters from the democratic base.

The future of the Republican party in some sense hinges on their ability to alienate working-class voters from the Democrats using social issues. This is the "southern strategy" of the new millenium. The only way to circumvent it is to work at a low level to change the attitude of every American on issues like gay marriage.
posted by macross city flaneur at 9:32 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Rachel Maddow kicks ass on the Warren issue.
posted by digaman at 10:35 AM on December 19, 2008


Whoops, sorry, pasting error.

Rachel Maddow on Warren.
posted by digaman at 10:36 AM on December 19, 2008


Petition on the HRC site if you want to sign.

Here's the petition text:

I am disappointed by the invitation to anti-LGBT and Prop. 8 supporter Rev. Warren to give the invocation at your inauguration next month.

But I am writing to you today as a Human Rights Campaign supporter urging you to turn the corner on this controversy by officially committing to HRC's Blueprint for Positive Change -- a concrete plan for LGBT equality:

-- Issue an Executive Order within the first 100 days that reaffirms protections for federal workers based on sexual orientation and expands them to also include gender identity;

-- Work with Congress to sign Hate Crimes legislation into law within 6 months;

-- Support only a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA);

-- In the first 100 days develop a plan to begin the process of eliminating the failed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy; and

-- Work with Congress to end unequal tax treatment of domestic partnerships benefits.

Yesterday, you defended your selection of Rev. Warren by saying "I am a fierce advocate for equality for gay and lesbian Americans."

I ask you to restore my trust by pledging to support HRC's Blueprint for Positive Change.
Signed by:
[Your name]
[Your address]
posted by inconsequentialist at 10:52 AM on December 19, 2008


If you're gay at least you don't have to worry about which water fountain or rest room you can use.

Right. All you have to do is worry about getting beaten, murdered, raped in prison, denied hospital-visitation rights when your life partner falls ill, or having your adopted children taken away from you if fundamentalists get a law passed in your state.


I hesitate to respond to this, seeing as it might just be throwing fuel on a fire. I'd like to say that I think that attacking, degrading, and doing of these other bad things to someone because of their sexual orientation is completely wrong. The way that you respond to my comment makes me think that you are assuming that I think that these things are ok.

Again, I'm not saying that one is "better" or "worse" discrimination then the other. If you see my comment as minimizing the discrimination that is faced by gay people, then I apologize and I'd like to say that that's not my intent. I'd also point out that if you take that single part of my comment out of context it makes it seem much more like that then if you quote the next part. "On the other hand, the outlawing of gay marriage isn't like black people not being able to marry white people. It's more like black people not being able to marry other black people." Those two comments were intended to be taken together as an example of the differences between the two cases of discrimination.

Again, I'm not saying that one is "better" or "worse" discrimination then the other. I'm just saying that they are different. And if you want to make the argument for one based on the other it might be advisable to think about the way that they are different and the way that they are the same.
posted by jefeweiss at 11:09 AM on December 19, 2008


Good point, jefeweiss.
posted by digaman at 11:15 AM on December 19, 2008


I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.

But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America - to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.

The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we've never really worked through - a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.

posted by EarBucket at 11:39 AM on December 19, 2008


“...go to the one document he pretty much has to accept, THERE IS POLYGAMY IN THE BIBLE.”

See, but that was pre-shag carpeting and vans, so I don’t know that it counts.

I gotta 2nd the biblical crap. I respect religion. Where I draw the line is where someone else’s bible tries to run my (or anyone else’s) life.
Especially in matters of state.
Perhaps ‘marriage’ should be amended to ‘religious marriage’ and the secular term should remain the same.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:03 PM on December 19, 2008


Why Are Rick Warren’s Views Acceptable And Jeremiah Wright’s Not?
posted by homunculus at 1:44 PM on December 19, 2008


Faith is fine.

Religion is where the troubles begin.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:57 PM on December 19, 2008


The Power Of Prayer -- "Is the firestorm over Barack Obama's choice of Rick Warren to deliver the inaugural invocation warranted? Two gay writers debate."
posted by ericb at 12:43 PM on December 20, 2008


Prop. 8 Sponsors Seek To Nullify 18,000 Gay Marriages
posted by homunculus at 1:01 PM on December 20, 2008


You know the Oppression Olympics, in which we set oppressions against each other to see which is biggest and baddest? Let's not compete.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:30 PM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


conservatives DO NOT OWN THE BIBLE

they DO NOT OWN BEING BORN AGAIN

they DO NOT OWN GOD

quit letting them


That may be the first time I've ever seen pyramid termite use caps.
posted by oaf at 9:57 PM on December 20, 2008


A very thoughtful post from Juan Cole on Rick Warren, Melissa Etheridge, and the current state of evangelicalism.
posted by EarBucket at 11:05 AM on December 21, 2008


Melissa Etheridge's wife comments on meeting Rick Warren.

*spoiler* she likes him *spoiler*
posted by empath at 6:41 PM on December 21, 2008


Deepak Chopra: We Don't Need Rick Warren's Blessing, Or Anyone Else's
posted by homunculus at 12:45 PM on December 22, 2008


Pope Benedict XVI has said that saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behaviour is just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction.
posted by homunculus at 1:22 PM on December 23, 2008


Pope Benedict XVI has said that saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behaviour is just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction.

Thanks mate, maybe you should go back to making the nazi pope a saint.
posted by Artw at 1:25 PM on December 23, 2008


"The Bible's picture is that dinosaurs and man lived together on the earth..."
posted by homunculus at 12:19 PM on December 25, 2008


I'm not sure why believing that is any worse than the other 80,000 nonsensical things that Christians belive.
posted by empath at 5:44 PM on December 25, 2008


Christopher Hitchens:
“I think we are all entitled to ask and to keep asking every member of the Obama transition team until we receive a satisfactory answer, the following questions:

Will Warren be invited to the solemn ceremony of inauguration without being asked to repudiate what he has directly said to deny salvation to Jews?

Will he be giving a national invocation without disowning what his mentor said about civil rights and what his leading supporter says about Mormons?

Will the American people be prayed into the next administration, which will be confronted by a possible nuclear Iran and an already nuclear Pakistan, by a half-educated pulpit-pounder raised in the belief that the Armageddon solution is one to be anticipated with positive glee?

....As Barack Obama is gradually learning, his job is to be the president of all Americans at all times. If he likes, he can oppose the idea of marriage for Americans who are homosexual. That's a policy question on which people may and will disagree. However, the man he has chosen to deliver his inaugural invocation is a relentless clerical businessman who raises money on the proposition that certain Americans -- non-Christians, the wrong kind of Christians, homosexuals, nonbelievers -- are of less worth and littler virtue than his own lovely flock of redeemed and salvaged and paid-up donors.

This quite simply cannot stand. Is it possible that Obama did not know the ideological background of his latest pastor? The thought seems plausible when one recalls the way in which he tolerated the odious Jeremiah Wright. Or is it possible that he does know the background of racism and superstition and sectarianism but thinks (as with Wright) that it might be politically useful in attracting a certain constituency? Either of these choices is pretty awful to contemplate.

A president may by all means use his office to gain re-election, to shore up his existing base, or to attract a new one. But the day of his inauguration is not one of the days on which he should be doing that. It is an event that belongs principally to the voters and to their descendants, who are called to see that a long tradition of peaceful transition is cheerfully upheld, even in those years when the outcome is disputed. I would myself say that it doesn't need a clerical invocation at all, since, to borrow Lincoln's observation about Gettysburg, it has already been consecrated. But if we must have an officiating priest, let it be some dignified old hypocrite with no factional allegiance and not a tree-shaking huckster and publicity seeker who believes that millions of his fellow citizens are hellbound because they do not meet his own low and vulgar standards.”
posted by ericb at 5:22 PM on December 29, 2008


Frank Rich: ‘You’re Likable Enough, Gay People’
“As we saw during primary season, our president-elect is not free of his own brand of hubris and arrogance, and sometimes it comes before a fall: ‘You’re likable enough, Hillary’ was the prelude to his defeat in New Hampshire. He has hit this same note again by assigning the invocation at his inauguration to the Rev. Rick Warren, the Orange County, Calif., megachurch preacher who has likened committed gay relationships to incest, polygamy and ‘an older guy marrying a child.’ Bestowing this honor on Warren was a conscious — and glib — decision by Obama to spend political capital. It was made with the certitude that a leader with a mandate can do no wrong....

There’s no reason why Obama shouldn’t return the favor by inviting him to Washington. But there’s a difference between including Warren among the cacophony of voices weighing in on policy and anointing him as the inaugural’s de facto pope. You can’t blame V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop and an early Obama booster, for feeling as if he’d been slapped in the face. ‘I’m all for Rick Warren being at the table,’ he told The Times, but ‘we’re talking about putting someone up front and center at what will be the most-watched inauguration in history, and asking his blessing on the nation. And the God that he’s praying to is not the God that I know.’

....But we’re not there yet. Warren’s defamation of gay people illustrates why, as does our president-elect’s rationalization of it. When Obama defends Warren’s words by calling them an example of the ‘wide range of viewpoints’ in a ‘diverse and noisy and opinionated’ America, he is being too cute by half. He knows full well that a ‘viewpoint’ defaming any minority group by linking it to sexual crimes like pedophilia is unacceptable.

It is even more toxic in a year when that group has been marginalized and stripped of its rights by ballot initiatives fomenting precisely such fears. ‘You’ve got to give them hope’ was the refrain of the pioneering 1970s gay politician Harvey Milk, so stunningly brought back to life by Sean Penn on screen this winter. Milk reminds us that hope has to mean action, not just words.

....When Obama defends Warren’s words by calling them an example of the ‘wide range of viewpoints’ in a ‘diverse and noisy and opinionated’ America, he is being too cute by half. He knows full well that a ‘viewpoint’ defaming any minority group by linking it to sexual crimes like pedophilia is unacceptable.

....McCarthy added that it’s also time ‘for President-elect Obama to start acting on the promises he made to the LGBT community during his campaign so that he doesn’t go down in history as another Bill Clinton, a sweet-talking swindler who would throw us under the bus for the sake of political expediency.’”
posted by ericb at 5:25 PM on December 29, 2008


‘You’ve got to give them hope’ was the refrain of the pioneering 1970s gay politician Harvey Milk...

FYI .. The Academy Award winning documentary The Times of Harvey Milk is currently available for (free) online viewing at Hulu.com: link.
posted by ericb at 5:28 PM on December 29, 2008


Gay Bishop Giving Obama Inauguration Prayer

New Hampshire Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson, a vocal gay rights leader, will open President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration with a prayer on Sunday's kick-off event at the Lincoln Memorial.

"I am writing to tell you that President-Elect Obama and the Inaugural Committee have invited me to give the invocation at the opening event of the Inaugural Week activities, We are One, to be held at the Lincoln Memorial," Robinson wrote in an email to friends.

The announcement comes after weeks of outcry from the gay community over Obama's choice of evangelical, anti-gay pastor Rick Warren to deliver the inaugural invocation.

"It's important for any minority to see themselves represented in some way," Robinson said in an interview with the Concord Monitor. "Whether it be a racial minority, an ethnic minority or, in our case, a sexual minority. Just seeing someone like you up front matters."

Robinson is the first openly gay diocesan bishop in the Anglican Communion. "God never gets it wrong. The church often takes a long time to get it right. It is a human institution, but one capable of self-correction," Robinson told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "I believe in my heart that the church got it wrong about homosexuality. There is great excitement in my heart to be living in a time when the church is starting to get it right."

Robinson said he would love to sit down with Rick Warren but believed that the California pastor has "perpetrated lies about the gay, lesbian and bisexual community."

posted by MythMaker at 12:06 PM on January 12, 2009


Rick Warren cited Hitler Youth as model for Christian activism.
posted by ericb at 10:41 AM on January 16, 2009


But we've already had our Pope snark in this thread!
posted by Artw at 11:08 AM on January 16, 2009


To follow up the Hitler reference, "Follow Jesus Like Nazis Followed Hitler, Rick Warren Tells Stadium Crowd." Admiring the dedication of Nazis, then a surprising quote:
Beyond 'spiritual poverty', egocentric leadership is the next most oppressive 'global giant', according to Rick Warren, and thus a higher priority than HIV/AIDS, poverty, and other material afflictions. "The world is full of little Saddams," he observed, "they're in every country, they're in every church, they're in every business, they're in every homeowner's association. They're everywhere. You give a guy a little power and it goes to his head."
posted by Pronoiac at 2:45 PM on January 16, 2009


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