OK, for the past week I’ve listened to my friends – staunch Obama supporters all – complain about President-Elect Obama’s choice of conservative pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration. (I’m not even going to discuss why there’s an invocation in the first place – that’s just a waste of time.)
I can understand why they’re pissed. They campaigned for Obama, they voted for him, they drove others to the polls on election day, some even worked directly for the campaign. And then he turns around and gives a big, public, virtual hug to a guy who believes the opposite of them when it comes to gay marriage, abortion rights, evolution, and a bunch of other issues.
In 2004 Rick Warren had this to say to his congregation about whom they should vote for (I found it on his Wikipedia page):
Despite Warren’s progressive image and focus on social issues, he is closely aligned with conservative evangelical viewpoints. On the eve of the 2004 presidential election, Warren sent an email to his Saddleback congregation telling them that there were five non-negotiable issues that should determine their vote.
- What does each candidate believe about abortion and protecting the lives of unborn children?
- What does each candidate believe about using unborn babies for stem-cell harvesting?
- What does each candidate believe about homosexual marriage?
- What does each candidate believe about human cloning?
- What does each candidate believe about euthanasia—the killing of elderly and invalids?
Warren chose not to overtly endorse a candidate, however the message clearly was an encouragement to vote for George W. Bush.
Let’s start with the fact that the country would be in a much, much better place right now if ALL voters in 2004 had concentrated on what the candidates would do for the economy, what the candidates would do about Iraq and Afghanistan, what the candidates thought about the handling of emergencies and crises…but I digress. Rick Warren is obviously against some things that I think are very important. And it’s safe to assume that most of the people who like him and listen to him and buy his books are also on what I would absolutely consider to be the wrong side of many issues. But that’s all obvious. My initial reaction when I heard about Rick Warren taking part in the inauguration was the same as my friends: WTF?
Then I started thinking about Barack Obama, and what he claims to be about. And now I realize the genius of this plan. The country is not doing well. Here in my crunchy Brooklyn neighborhood everybody seems to be on the same page about a lot of issues, and it’s easy to forget that the country is so very divided about abortion, about the wars, about stem cell research, about gay marriage, and about many other things that determine who people vote for. So what happens in four years? Conservatives lick their wounds for a while, and then regroup and get people pissed off and fired up and Republicans win back the White House in 2012.
Or, we do something different. We don’t just talk about working together, we actually do it. And believe me, the thought of working together with people like Rick Warren repulses me. But the alternative is worse. Isolating conservatives for the next four years will not achieve anything productive. It will just reinforce what they already believe about liberals. But by bringing people like Rick Warren into the fold, people who would have ignored the inauguration may watch for Rick Warren but stay and hear what Obama has to say. People who are against gay marriage may start talking to people who are for it, instead of yelling at them, and some minds may be changed.
What we’re doing now isn’t working. It’s time for something different. And Obama is walking the walk. His supporters have to get used to it, and trust him, and remember why they voted for him in the first place.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom