Democrats & Liberals Archives

Why Rick Warren?

Of all the pastors in the country, Obama chose Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration. Everybody is asking why? Everybody but members of the gay community. They are not asking anything. The gay community is screaming about how Obama double-crossed them by picking a homophobe for the invocation. Many liberals feel the same way. Why did Obama pick Rick Warren?

I must admit I was unhappy about Obama's pick. It is a slap in the face to gay people and liberals who voted for Obama because they thought he would include gay people in his fight for the civil rights of all people. But I changed my mind after Obama presented his case:

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.

Glen Greenwald doesn't like this. He points out that Democrats have for a long time tried to assume the best in Republicans, be agreeable and make compromises. Bill Clinton tried to win over the Republicans with his so-called triangulation. Where did this get him? The Republicans are more ornery than ever. Here's the way Greenwald puts it in his long article on the subject:

Bill Clinton was the ultimate non-ideological pragmatist. He was driven by the overriding desire to win over his opponents. What did all of those post-partisan, cultural outreach efforts generate? Hatred so undiluted that it led to endless investigations, accusations whose ugliness was boundless, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, and ultimate impeachment over a sex scandal. Bill Clinton was anything but a cultural or partisan warrior. He was the opposite. And that was what he had to show for it.

Glenn Greenwald as well as many other liberals don't truly understand Obama. They believe that there will always be an opposition, that it will fight you tooth and nail and it will try to undermine your agenda. Of course this is all true. But it does not mean that you can't get cooperation between rival parties. You definitely can have them work towards practical solutions.

But this cannot be accomplished in the old atmosphere of anger, resentment and ideology worship. Throwing brickbats at each other is no way to solve problems.

People differ with each other for many reasons. Some disagree because of ideology. But many are swayed by logic, emotion, friendship and habit (knee-jerk reactions). By building a cooperative environment, Obama changes the entire battlefield. He is able to persuade others to his point of view.

If the opposition becomes obstreperous - this is sure to happen - Obama has a list of millions of ordinary folks that will help change a few minds.

Why Rick Warren? Though he disagrees with Obama vehemently on several issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion, he is ready for discussion. He proves this by agreeing to give the invocation at Obama's inauguration.

Posted by Paul Siegel at December 19, 2008 8:01 PM
Comment #272454

I like what Obama said today about this, “We all have to learn that we can disagree, but not be disagreable.”

And I believe Obama mentioned that he just cannot make everyone happy.

The gay agenda is not mainstream, the just want it to be, Propsition 8 prooved it. Obama is just appealing to the masses now. Smart play. He has probablhy two years of economic woes (we hope) and then has to start running for his second term. Or perhaps we’ll be blessed without a two year camapaign.

Posted by: Honest at December 19, 2008 8:42 PM
Comment #272461

I don’t know how to feel about this…

I don’t like Warren because he’s bigoted against gays.

But I like that Obama is using him to stick it to the Wacko Left, who are bigoted against just about everyone but gays (and terrorists, of course).

Posted by: HiS X at December 20, 2008 12:31 AM
Comment #272464

I find my opinion on this matter nicely summarized at the blog: “Mega-Rev. Rick Warren in numbers.” It quantifies what he is searched in connection with in Google and computes a “progressiveness” (or lack thereof) result. Tongue in cheek statistics of course but revealing/funny for sure.

Posted by: fdeblauwe at December 20, 2008 2:11 AM
Comment #272467

Denny Crane: But if he supports a law, and then agrees to let it lapse … then that would make him

Posted by: amazing at December 20, 2008 3:53 AM
Comment #272470

Paul >he is ready for discussion

Paul, you’re right about everything you wrote here, so you won’t be hearing much from me about it (much to many people’s relief, I’m sure).

Suffice it to say that FINALLY after 8 long years of ruthless, dogmatic, right-wing ideology this nation has a fighting chance at uniting against our many problems, instead of being divided into multitudes of groups who are either in with or out of power.

Posted by: Varsity at December 20, 2008 10:10 AM
Comment #272471

Are you being hateful and intolerant toward his Christian view? Is Rick Warren entitled to his opinions?
Identities that are based on private sexual behavior are wrong headed.
Brothers, Sisters and close friends should and can form partnerships that share dowry rights and appoint conservators.
Marriages have existed for thousands of years mainly to establish a stable environment for the children that are produced as a result. It isn’t as obvious now due to birth control.
His views are logical and have no hint of intolerance.
Can you explain the logic in teaching minor children to form identies and associations based solely on the use of their sex organs?

Posted by: Kruser at December 20, 2008 10:29 AM
Comment #272476

Does it really matter who gives the inaugural prayer? I doubt it means much to Obama anyway.
Sense Obama doesn’t dare use his real religious mentor (Wright) I reckon Warren will do just as well.

Posted by: Ron Brown at December 20, 2008 1:14 PM
Comment #272493


Obama doesn’t DARE use wright??? Why on earth would he want to? Obama has stated, for public record, that he abhors many of the things Wright was preaching. Wouldn’t it be more foolish for him to pick Wright, rather than daring? I surely don’t understand the undertone…??? If you are hinting that Obama still reveres Wright, it would be a stretch since Wright embarrassed him publicly.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 20, 2008 4:24 PM
Comment #272514

I think you are missing a key point here. The problem with Rick Warren is not about policy. Disagreeing with the policy position of gay marriage is one thing, but using hateful and extreme rhetoric to express those views is quite another. Equating gay marriages with polygamy, incest and child abuse is the kind of rhetoric that contributes to anti gay hate and violence. I wonder exactly how extreme someone would have to be in their anti gay language for Obama to decide that they are inappropriate to share this important moment with him and with all of the nation. Its not about policy- its about tone and this tone is way off the principles Obama supposedly stands for.

Posted by: milosarah at December 20, 2008 8:28 PM
Comment #272517

>Its not about policy- its about tone and this tone is way off the principles Obama supposedly stands for.
Posted by: milosarah at December 20, 2008 08:28 PM


Okay, it is about tone rather than policy…Obama’s policy is opposite of Warren’s…but, Obama’s tone is about unifying our country. So…??? He has selected a gay person as part of his team and a bigot as part of his inaugeral…what is more unifying than that?

Posted by: Marysdude at December 20, 2008 8:56 PM
Comment #272539

Its all so clear. The homophobic Warren is finally ,after much soul searching,is going to come out of the closet at the inaguration. We all know that anti-gay bigots are just having difficulty dealing with their own unresolved homosexual tendancies and this will give him a national stage to lead others out of the darkness of self loathing.

Posted by: bills at December 21, 2008 6:36 AM
Comment #272551

I’d be more inclined to believe Obama’s rationale if it were more personal, say, it were a holy dude openly supportive of the KKK and against biracial marriages… you know, Strong Thurman’s pastor, or George “Macaca” Alan’s holy dude…

Willing to talk is one thing, putting them on the national stage at the birth of your administration is quite another. There’s a fine line between compromise and compromiseD

Posted by: M@ at December 21, 2008 11:27 AM
Comment #272603

I like my theory better.

Posted by: bills at December 21, 2008 8:59 PM
Comment #272623

Well…we’ve all got to admit one thing…he ran on a platform of ‘change’, and he’s certainly changing the national scene, even before he’s inaugurated…

Posted by: Marysdude at December 22, 2008 7:52 AM
Comment #272630

I did some poking around re:Warren: He believes in man-made global climate change and believes in helping the poor. He also believes addressing these problems is a moral/religious task. Because of the regard the still powerful ,wacko religious right has for him he might be able to bring them around on these pressing issues. This is valuable.

Posted by: bills at December 22, 2008 9:33 AM
Comment #272752

“The gay community is screaming about how Obama double-crossed them by picking a homophobe for the invocation. Many liberals feel the same way.”

Why? They didn’t seem to have a problem with “homophobes” playing a big part in getting Obama elected.

Funny how the left just ignores black Americans on this issue and concentrates all their so-called concern and hate on the “wacko religious right.”

Posted by: kctim at December 23, 2008 1:36 PM
Comment #272754


You may be overstating the case. I’m still doing some local ‘home meetings’, etc., for the Obama camp. Among those to whom I’ve spoken, the selection, while a bit of a surprise, was not all that unwelcome. Most who come to the meetings think ‘O’ is just trying to be inclusive.

I understand the disappointments of some gay people, and I empathize with those disappointments, but I think the stink is coming from a vociferous few and a media in a panic to get anything going against Obama’s grain.

It is very hard for the media to get anything tangible against Obama or his leadership selections, so they jump on anything they can to fill their twenty-four hour demand for ‘breaking’ news.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 23, 2008 2:04 PM
Comment #272755


Sorry, I did not see the quotation marks around the first part of your quote. I did track back to find it came from Paul.

Paul, how deep and wide is the rift? The folks I’ve spoken to directly, don’t seem to be all that upset.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 23, 2008 2:10 PM
Comment #272758

I don’t doubt Obama’s intentions here at all. I also don’t doubt its coming from few or that media is trying to drum up a story.

I believe this anti-gay issue has more to do with our country as a whole rather than just the “wacko religious right.” They are nothing more than an easy target.

We have to change minds, left and right, if we ever expect to get equal rights for gays and I think Obama knows that.

Posted by: kctim at December 23, 2008 2:29 PM
Comment #272771


You had me right up until you said the ‘whacko religious right’ were an easy target. They are as Teflon as Reagan ever was…nothing ever said has any impact on them at all…they are impervious to insult, reasonable argument, hell fire…anything. Easy target??? Hardly…well…maybe…they are easy to hit…it just somehow doesn’t stick…

Posted by: Marysdude at December 23, 2008 7:06 PM
Comment #272785

Too many people in our country are against gays for this to be layed in the lap of one group. This issue is not bound by political beliefs, so we must acknowledge its not only the “wacko right” that is holding us back and work for what is right from all sides.

Posted by: kctim at December 24, 2008 9:32 AM
Comment #272808


Have you ever heard the phrase, “the squeaky axle gets the grease”? The lunatic fringe right may not be the absolute cause, i.e., apathy on the part of the general public, bad policy moves on the part of the gay community, etc., but, you do see who’s getting the grease…

Posted by: Marysdude at December 24, 2008 3:37 PM
Comment #272810


The squeaky axle gets the grease…right? The squeakiest axle in this case has been the ‘whacko right’…apathy on the part of the general public and some missteps on the part of gays have factored in, but the noisiest by far has been you-know-who…

Posted by: Marysdude at December 24, 2008 4:56 PM
Comment #272821


Apparently I can’t say this enough times…kctim, I don’t really think you’re that thick…

Posted by: Marysdude at December 24, 2008 7:30 PM
Comment #272828

For those that have a problem with Warren, you might want to read this;


Posted by: Rocky Marks at December 24, 2008 9:01 PM
Comment #272957

“The squeaky axle gets the grease…right? The squeakiest axle in this case has been the ‘whacko right’…apathy on the part of the general public and some missteps on the part of gays have factored in, but the noisiest by far has been you-know-who…”

I realize who gets the most press, but look at actions.
Do you think black Americans, one of the Dems and Obama’s largest voting blocs, are part of this “whacko right?” Upwards of 70% of that group voted against gay marriage rights when those amendments were put on ballots and roughly the same percentage voted as such on Prop 8.

The “squeakiest axle” is loudest only because it is the one most publicized, while the other squeaky axle is ignored for politics.

Progress on this issue will only come when we face the whole problem, not just part of it.

Posted by: kctim at December 30, 2008 11:54 AM
Comment #273023

“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.”

By this logic, ought not the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan give the invocation? No, of course not. Obviously, the best choice is Rick Warren - as he seeks not the President Elect’s death, but only the deaths of some of the President Elect’s strongest supporters. Thank you, Mr. President Elect. Your lack of concern for my life is illuminating.

Posted by: Owen Broadhurst at January 1, 2009 2:19 PM
Comment #273087

>Obviously, the best choice is Rick Warren - as he seeks not the President Elect’s death, but only the deaths of some of the President Elect’s strongest supporters. Thank you, Mr. President Elect. Your lack of concern for my life is illuminating.
Posted by: Owen Broadhurst at January 1, 2009 02:19 PM

Owen Broadhurst,

Obama also chose a gay person for his cabinet. Sometimes the best way to change society, is to lead by example. If the lady meets or exceeds expectations, what better way to influence that change?

If this country is not big enough for gays, straights, blacks, whites, atheists, christians, Hindi, Islamics, bigots and liberals, why would we bother to call it free?

With the selection of Warren, he has been about as inclusive as it is possible to be…if there is room in America for gays, there is also room for bigots. That, to me is Obama’s statement to America.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 3, 2009 1:32 PM
Comment #273146

Very well said Dude.
To be inclusive, he must include even those he may disagree with.

Posted by: kctim at January 5, 2009 2:18 PM
Comment #273151


He has shown almost too much inclusion…Richardson…I’m not sure he should have included someone from the ‘dark side’…:). Crooks need not apply…

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