More On Rick Warren

4 comments December 18th, 2008at 07:20am Posted by Eli

Pastordan’s take from the liberal, non-rabidly-homophobic religious perspective:

On a strictly professional level, this is a goddamn embarrassment. Nobody likes Warren. The Religious Right think he’s a flake because he’s too liberal, and everybody else thinks he’s a flake because he’s a shallow idiot. From where I’m sitting, as the victim of an extremely expensive and extremely rigorous theological education, Obama could have gotten a better invocation from Stuart Smalley. It would have as much depth, and at least it would be doing a Democrat a favor.

Stemming from that point, this is particularly galling to people like myself. Mainline Protestant pastors are opinion leaders in their communities, and they tend to appreciate their GLBT friends and not appreciate slick weasels like Rick Warren. I was hardly the only pastor to support Obama, or to stick up for his vision of hope and reconciliation. Obama just spat in our eyes, and it’s going to take a while to get over it.

And Nick Cargo sums up the LGBT community’s reaction:

“This is a horrific insult to the thousands of LGBT Americans who worked to elect Barack Obama president,” said Oxdown Gazette‘s Teddy Partridge, “and the millions of LGBT Americans who voted for him.”

“This is more than a serious faux pas; this is an insult to all the queers and non-believers that worked their asses off to elect Obama-Biden,” added blogger Mike Tidmus. “We need to let the President-Elect know that parading a homophobic bigot at his big parade rains on ours.


“Obama inaugural team, this is a big f*ck up a la Donnie McClurkin,” added Pam’s House Blend’s Pam Spaulding. The President-elect, in late 2007, came under fire for his choice of Grammy-winning gospel singer and professed “ex-gay” Donnie McClurkin to perform at a gospel concert. Then-Senator Obama later said McClurkin wasn’t vetted “to the extent that the people were aware of his attitudes with respect to…LGBT issues.” Obama also said in a November 2007 blog entry that McClurkin espoused beliefs “that I completely reject.”

People For the American Way and Human Rights Campaign have strong statements as well.

The Obama team released some talking points to try to justify/sugarcoat the decision, but they are insultingly weak. The money quote:

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.

In other words, Obama knows Warren is a raging homophobe – he just doesn’t think it’s very important.  Awesome.

Entry Filed under: Obama,Religion,Teh Gay


  • 1. Spear and Magic  |  December 18th, 2008 at 10:25 am

    Typo in the header–you misspelled “Moron”

    I remember being really angry about the McClurkin appearances, too. But part of the campaign’s response was, “Well, what would you have us do: shame him and just kick him out of the tent? How are we ever going to change anyone’s views or achieve “hope and reconciliation” if we don’t take them seriously and build connections with them?” I saw some wisdom in that—indeed, so long as the campaign was unequivocal in its support of LGBT issues, I thought it was part of this admirable trait of Obama’s of wanting to challenge others’ and be challenged by theirs. But this Warren offer seems to epitomize everything else that’s going on in the transition: Obama seems to welcome challenge from his right but not from his left, and he’s allocating prominent positions accordingly. If Warren were one among many clergy, balanced out by, say, Peter Gomes (or Stuart Smalley!), I’d say fine. But to single him out as the big Preacher Man is cynical and unacceptable.

  • 2. Eli  |  December 18th, 2008 at 10:33 am

    Well, he *does* have the black preacher who basically smacked Bush down to his face at Coretta Scott King’s funeral giving the closing benediction, which is pretty cool.

    But you identify Obama’s problem very accurately, and it is the same problem that the entire Democratic establishment has – standing up courageously, even pugnaciously, against progressives, while being super accommodating to conservatives.

    I get the sense that centrism is an end in itself, rather than the means.

  • 3. Anonymous  |  December 18th, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    > I get the sense that centrism is an end in itself, rather
    > than the means.

    I coming to fear that it’s a means. And the end is “See how Lincolnish I am? Everybody love me! For I am truly a Great Man, what with a Team of Rivals and all.”

    On the plus side, if that means war with the South, I’m all for it. (Sorry, Codename V. Just kidding. Sorta.)

  • 4. Spear and Magic  |  December 18th, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    That last one was me. I didn’t mean to hide behind the anonymous tag. I respect Codename V. too much for that, and welcome her righteous wrath should it be visited upon me.

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