Just came across an op-ed from Monday’s Kansas City Star written by Mary Sanchez. It’s excellent. She calls out Rick Warren for his homophobia and his blatant dishonesty about Prop 8. Basically, Warren keeps saying he could be charged with a crime if Prop. 8 didn’t pass (and Warren is lying about that). No legitimate constitutional scholar (including, I suspect, former University of Chicago Law professor Barack Obama) would ever validate Warren’s “hate speech” interpretation of Prop. 8. But, being a liar, a homophobe and a person who thinks non-Christians are going to hell means Rick Warren gets top billing at the inauguration. What a funny world it is:
One of the reasons so many Obama supporters are outraged by Warren’s role in the inauguration is that in the last election campaign, the preacher lent his weighty support to Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative to place a constitutional ban on gay marriage. Warren has said he supported Prop 8 because he fears being charged with hate speech for preaching against homosexuality. That’s another argument in bad faith. Warren knows he can preach whatever he likes, protected by the First Amendment.
I suspect what Warren really fears is that the public will recognize him for what he is: an old-time religionist with old-time beliefs about issues on which American attitudes have, so to speak, evolved. In recent days Warren has said: “I have many gay friends. I’ve eaten dinner in gay homes. No church has probably done more for people with AIDS than Saddleback Church,” referring to his megachurch and the many efforts it has made to aid HIV suffers in Africa.
How is that different from saying, “I have a few black friends, but I still believe in segregation“?
And can a minister retain a tax-free status, a podium at the presidential inauguration, and his bigotry as well?
I hope Warren uses the days left before the inauguration to reflect and pray and usher in a transformation — of his own attitudes toward those whom God has made different from Warren.
Maybe he can surprise us by admitting that his own religious convictions should not be a bar to the civil rights of others who, using their God-given powers of reason, arrive at different beliefs. That would be quite a transformation, perhaps one of biblical proportions.
Don’t expect that transformation. Warren is already being richly rewarded for his bad behavior.
Ms. Sanchez makes the key point that no one in the upper echelons of the Obama camp seems to get (or worse, they get, but don’t think it’s a problem): Discrimination and intolerance are just unacceptable, even if the target is “just the gays.” I was traveling over the weekend so just got around to reading what David Axelrod said on Meet the Press. His words were really quite astonishing:
“This is a healthy thing and a good thing for our country. We have to find ways to work together on the things on which we do agree, even when we profoundly disagree on other things.”
Um, I don’t think it’s all that “healthy” and “good” when Warren equates my relationship with pedophilia and incest. Axelrod thinks this is some kind of policy discussion. It’s not. Warren’s words are an invitation for more hate and vitriol to be spewed at the gay community. But, to David Axelrod and Team Obama, Warren was a savvy political move. It’s probably tough being the smartest people around. Sometimes the rest of us dumbbells just don’t grasp the brilliance of these savvy political moves.
Even in these very precarious times and even with an electoral mandate, it won’t be easy to enact the change we were promised. The Republicans are already gearing up to obstruct the stimulus package. The economy is teetering so the stimulus package should be a no-brainer, but it’s not. Imagine what the GOP will do to health care, global warming and getting out of Iraq. But, team Obama decided they need Rick Warren for some reason — even if it pissed off the base. But, soon enough the Obama brain trust will realize Rick Warren and his followers aren’t going to fight for Obama’s agenda. A lot of that ilk will be leading the fight against the new administration’s top priorities — even after Warren gets his moment in the inaugural spotlight.
One last thing: Paul Krugman has Warren’s quote on evolution. The inauguration speaker doesn’t believe in it.