I didn’t want to comment on the choice of Rick Warren to do the invocation at Barack Obama’s inauguration. I really didn’t. Several other bloggers had already mentioned it, and I figured I could consider myself safely off the hook.
I was wrong.
Seeing the level of invective surrounding this choice, I need to point out a few things.
But first, my personal feeling.
I don’t think that Rick Warren, pastor of mega-congregation Saddleback Church in Orange County and author of the Purpose Driven Life books, is a great choice. It’s unclear to me whether Obama truly picked him, or whether some Congressional folks in charge of organizing the event picked him (and Obama chose not to overrule them). But I would have preferred to see a pastor or preacher more toward the middle end of the spectrum instead of someone who has, apparently, compared homosexuality to incest and pedophilia, and someone who was an early and vocal supporter of Proposition 8 in California.
That said, I cannot sign on to the sheer outrage I’m seeing from so many people on the left or the left-leaning middle of the political scene. I just can’t.
There is too much at stake in this country for me to worry about who gives a brief prayer at any event, even the inauguration of Obama. This doesn’t give Warren some extra bit of legitimacy. Those who liked him before will still like him; those who don’t, won’t. This isn’t some sign that Obama wants to be in bed with the Christian right-wingers. People are bitching and moaning that Obama isn’t gathering enough people around him, and at his events, who represent “change.”
So, the fuck what?
I mean it.
I would like to see more “outside the box” choices, sure. And I hope I will in the weeks to come. But this man has to drag this nation out of a cesspit, and he can’t do it with a huge load of people who lack connections and pull. He can’t do it by focusing on just one end of the ideological spectrum. We’re in this shit together, and we need people and strategies that will get all of us out of this mess as soon as possible.
John McCain and Sarah Palin ridiculed Obama when he suggested that…*gasp*…we actually talk to world leaders who do nasty things. They talked about how irresponsible it would be to do so “without preconditions” because that would legitimize these leaders. And so many Obama supporters decried that notion as unfair and stupid. Now, we have people who voted Obama in and are complaining about, “How could he have a man so against gay/lesbian/bisexual/transsexual issues and a woman’s right to choose on a national stage like this?”
So, you don’t mind if he talks to murderous despots without demanding that they make changes before talking, but you’re willing to burn Obama at the stake for letting a right-leaning preacher say a quick prayer at his invocation.
Let’s stop worrying about silly shit and start dealing with our problems. Worrying about what pastor Obama has near him for a hot second on stage isn’t productive. What a fucking waste of time. I was hoping we were past this crap about pastors after the Rev. Jeremiah Wright fiasco.
What next? Do I have to worry now that the left wing will become as oppressively obnoxious as the right wing has been for years, and that MSNBC will devolve into the left-wing version of FOX News and descend to the lowest common denominator of liberalism?