Yep, I'm Outraged - UPDATED

I hear that Rick Warren is a nice guy in person. He offered refreshments to the Prop 8 protesters. He actively encourages members of his Saddleback Church to work with those suffering from AIDS in a hands-on fashion. I understand he is warm and very personable.

Warren is a firm believer in reducing poverty and environmental conservation. And he backs up those beliefs with actions.

He is also a bigot of the first order. His church doesn't allow non-repentant gays to join.  You read that correctly - if you are gay and don't believe that you can be cured, you aren't welcome at Saddleback.   He was a huge supporter of Prop 8 and he is on record saying that being gay is akin to being a child abuser.

"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," he said in a recent interview with BeliefNet. But later in the interview, he said the "redefinition of marriage" to include gay marriage would be like legitimizing incest, child abuse and polygamy.

I'm outraged at President-elect Obama's choice of Warren, and there's nothing feigned about it.  And while I'm not thrilled that Warren opposes gay marriage, that isn't the real problem.  Obama opposes it too, and so does Hillary Clinton. And John Edwards, and lots of others. If I opposed Warren because of that alone, I'd also have to oppose Barack and Hillary.

Here's the issue, folks: Warren is a bigot.  He thinks that there is something wrong with me because I'm gay.  He thinks I suffer from something that can be cured, and he wouldn't allow me into his church unless I believe that too. Warren thinks that I am unnatural and not much different than a pedophile:

More recently, Warren told Beliefnet that he thinks allowing a gay couple to marry is similar to allowing "a brother and sister to be together and call that marriage." He then helpfully added that he's also "opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that a marriage." The reporter, who may have been a little surprised, asked, "Do you think those are equivalent to gays getting married?""Oh, I do," Warren immediately answered. I wish the reporter had asked the next logical follow-up: If gays are like child-sex offenders, shouldn't we incarcerate them?  

A friend of mine informed me that there is also an LGBT marching band included in the ceremony, as though that would somehow even things out and make it all better. A marching band?  Really?

Obama says that he wants to engage in discourse with people who have a wide variety of viewpoints, and that's fine.  But, Mr. President-elect, you don't get a pass on this one. You have to draw the line somewhere, and doing so with a blatant bigot seems like an easy place to do it. You don't get to claim that you're a "fierce advocate" of gay rights at the same time that you're embracing a notorious homophobe by giving him a prominent role in your inauguration.

A bigot who works to end poverty is still a bigot. We all know that Obama doesn't share all of Warren's views - there's no question about that. If I thought that, I never would have worked so hard for him and given him all that money. But this isn't the first time Obama has embraced people with an anti-gay agenda while claiming to be a gay rights advocate, either. You can't balance out hate by including a marching band. One is clearly more significant than the other.

If Obama wanted to reach out to others, he certainly could have done so in a less insulting way. I'm confident that if Obama was determined to reach out to evangelicals, he could have found someone less repugnant than Rick Warren to do the job.  I'll bet Jim Wallis would have rearranged his schedule. That he chose not to do so is telling. I am enormously disappointed - this isn't the change I was hoping for at all.


I thought Rachel Maddow made the case pretty effectively over the last week or so. Here's a sample:

And this one:

Tags: Barack Obama, Proposition 8, Rick Warren, saddleback church (all tags)



Re: Yep, I'm Outraged

My shields are up.  Fire away!

by Denny Crane 2008-12-22 08:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Yep, I'm Outraged

get ready to be called PUMA. :)

by MumbaiBurns 2008-12-22 08:42AM | 0 recs
I was at Saddleback yesterday.

I actually met some nice people heading out. 53/706

It was just too bad that Rick Warren was too afraid to come down & meet us. And no, he didn't feed us donuts.

by atdleft 2008-12-22 10:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Yep, I'm Outraged

No fire here.  I share your outrage.  I think that this is a political maneuver.  It's not one I have stomach for, though it may pay dividends.  The odd thing is that if so, our outrage may indeed heighten its effectiveness.

But my outrage is also qualified, or at least includes a reticence to press a panic button that Obama has abandoned his commitments to civil rights and gay rights, though they have always fallen short of embracing marriage equality.

I think it possible, even likely, that this moment and the attention it is receiving will give him cover to move things forward on several issues.

I wish he hadn't done this to the core of my being.  But I guess I hope it works anyway.

by Strummerson 2008-12-22 08:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Yep, I'm Outraged

Then you ought to have been outraged when he threw his hat in the ring and spoke about the one America.  Barack's central message is empathy, for everyone, not just those who agree with the left. That means right to lifers, and right to bear assault weaponers and homophobes and born-again righteous fatheads who seek to criminalize all behaviors they find too tempting.  

Barack won't insult any of them, but he does not agree, and he won't put in laws that limit gay rights or reduce hate crimes. He'll be nice and disagree and in time when gay marriage is legal those ones won't feel as angry about it, because they've been given personal respect.

Live with it, he's our prez and he plans to be nice to lots of strange people.  

by anna shane 2008-12-22 09:36AM | 0 recs

Can one have empathy for a bigoted oppressor and the oppressed at the same time?  Isn't that emotionally incompatible?  Don't you ultimately have to choose one or the other if you are truly being empathic?  And if you can be empathic to both, doesn't that make you an emotional sieve?  I ask sincerely because it seems to me that when you empathize with a bigot you can't at the same time empathize with the bigot's target.  Hence, I don't think there's much empathy going on at all here- it's pure political calculation.  

by orestes 2008-12-22 12:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Empathy

that's his message, you can disagree without being disagreeable, this is what that looks like. I don't know, but I'd like to find out.  I know the evangelicals are as pleased as I was when he asked Hillary to be SoS, and for them he's really giving just a gesture, he didn't put this guy in his cabinet.  

It's easy to empathize with those who agree with you, and very hard for people like me to empathize with those that hate, or want to limit women's reproductive rights, but, if I hate them, even if I hate them back, will that change anything?  

It's an experiment, that I always found interesting, even when I was donating money to Hillary and blogging for her, and I dare say she's also interested. Will it work? Will this defuse some future bombs, will everyone get to think that their take on the world is respected cause Barack has some empathy?  We'll find out.

It's not about right and wrong, it's about the one america that we all need to get along in.  I sincerely hope it works. I hope that when he gets rid of don't ask don't tell and makes it illegal to discriminate in the military, that the evangelicals will accept it better because Barack does not feel contempt for them, he just disagrees with them on limiting rights for certain Americans?

Stay tuned?  

by anna shane 2008-12-22 12:32PM | 0 recs
I was being sincere

and not challenging your use of the word empathy, but Obama's (in light of this Warren debacle).  I don't see how you can feel empathic towards the oppressor and oppressed at the same time.  You may be able to feel sympathy, but that is not the same as empathy.

I have always believed that all people should be treated with basic respect.  But that does not mean that I give equal weight or value to everyone's actions/statements/beliefs.  We also make moral decisions.  I think on this one, Obama has made an immoral, but politically expedient, decision.

by orestes 2008-12-22 12:46PM | 0 recs
Re: I was being sincere

To throw Warren in with the Falwells and Helmses of the world isn't right though.

Yes, he is against gay marriage and other rights for homosexuals. But that is an opinion he has come to through his faith. Do I agree with it? No. Do I understand that for some people that is part of being a Christian? I do.

I believe, to the core of MY being, that all consenting adults should have the right to marry however they want (as long as it is truly consensual,) but you know what? Not everyone feels that way and there are many, many reasons for that.

More importantly if we reduced our party, or our President, to only dealing with the most forward thinking, tolerant, and progressive individuals and groups we would find our selves in very small tent. There would be a lot of love in that tent, and none of the things we care about would ever, ever happen.

by JDF 2008-12-22 01:36PM | 0 recs
Re: I was being sincere

How is Warren different than the Falwells of this world? I'm not asking this to be argumentative -- as a non-Christian myself, I view all evangelical mega-church leaders the same way. I'm curious what makes Warren's prejudices (in the name of religion) more acceptable than Falwell's.

by LakersFan 2008-12-22 02:17PM | 0 recs
I'd like to hear the answer to that question

by orestes 2008-12-22 04:36PM | 0 recs
Re: I was being sincere

Tell me what makes your hate different then Warrens?

by venician 2008-12-22 04:54PM | 0 recs
Can you support that claim?

by orestes 2008-12-23 05:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Well for one thing

I suppose that caring about poverty is something, but Warren doesn't get "extra credit" for that because it should be a given for any religious person (but maybe it makes him less of a hypocrite). Caring about poverty certainly doesn't give him a pass to use religion to discriminate against others.

by LakersFan 2008-12-23 10:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Empathy

Can one have empathy for a bigoted oppressor and the oppressed at the same time?

Yes, one can.  It's quite possible.  We often forget that oppressors too are trapped in the system of oppression, just as are the oppressed.  Those who are bigoted against gays aren't so because of something in their nature - they're bigoted against gays because they were taught bigotry against gays, because there have been a lot of (necessary but abrupt) social changes over the last 50 years and they need someone to blame, because it's easier to hang onto an authoritarian religious viewpoint than it is to have to find one's own way in the world.  Even as we stand against them and their bigotry - and we should never cease to do that - we should always remember that there but for the grace of God go us.

This is why I have a lot easier time accepting antigay bigotry from a Boomer like Rick Warren than from a Gen-Xer or Millennial like that guy in Seattle.  Boomers spent their formative years in one world, and saw that world completely remade.  That is a psychologically jarring experience and (in my opinion) is the source of the culture wars.  Some Boomers accepted those changes, but more rejected them.

There are two other reasons I think we need to try to empathize with the bigots.  One is that quite simply the more we understand how it works, the more effectively we can fight against it.  If we know that some people are motivated to bigotry by a feeling of loss of control over their lives, for example, there are other things we can use to give them control - like, say, improving Americans' economic security - that could lead to change.

The other reason is quite simply this: to understand them is to understand ourselves.  I think we all have hidden bigotries - I know I do - prejudices that operate subconsciously.  When we actually engage the source of others' bigotry, we also have to engage our own prejudices.  This makes us healthier human beings.

That said, I do think Obama's choice of Warren was not motivated by this primarily, but was a combination of this empathy factor, political calculation, and a bit of naivete.  However, we should see this as an opportunity... not as a negative experience.

by mistersite 2008-12-22 07:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Empathy

I don't think you understand the meaning of empathy because that is not what you are describing.  What you describe is sympathy or understanding, but not empathy.  I don't have a problem with that, although I think one should be careful not to go so far as to seemingly explain away or justify bad behavior.  For example, I could never say that whites who lynched black people deserve empathy because they were caught in a world that was changing.  Do you believe that?  To me, that behavior is reprehensible, regardless of motive.  Yes, they may have felt threatened, but that never justifies oppression.  To me the danger is that in justifying bigotry you allow to prosper.  

I, too, think we all have our prejudices and should challenge them when they rise to the surface.  I do this by observing and monitoring my behavior (eg, impulses, reactions, etc.) and reflecting upon it.  I don't find anything to reflect upon in this Warren fiasco.  Finally, I find the focus on "understanding" Warren bothersome because it comes at the expense of understanding the impact he and Obama's invitation have on those who Warren would oppress.  What happened on the supposed left that turned things upside down like this?  Why the identification with the oppressor instead of the oppressed?  Is it a generational issue?  I pose these questions sincerely because I simply don't get it and am really bothered by this tendency.

by orestes 2008-12-23 06:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Yep, I'm Outraged

So, NoVocks, with what about this post did you disagree?

by Khun David 2008-12-22 03:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Yep, I'm Outraged

Imagine that, KnoxVow providing an inappropriate troll-rating AGAIN...

Uprated as minor compensation.

by JenKinFLA 2008-12-22 05:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Yep, I'm Outraged

I have no doubt it's a political maneuver.  I just don't buy that Obama really needs political cover at this point for anything he wants to do. He doesn't have some radical agenda planned, and he already has huge support.  So what's the point of this?

by Denny Crane 2008-12-22 09:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Yep, I'm Outraged

the point is that the evangelicals love him, buy his books. remember that Christian meth user who talked the guy who'd shot up a courthouse into surrendering using that book?  Warren is a motivational speaker and he has a huge following, just not anyone (probably) here.  Barack is giving respect to evangelicals and he'll keep doing just that, as well as respect everywhere else, it's his schtick, empathy, not marginalizing anyone. He thought that the Clinton divisiveness might have been averted had Bill had kissed up, I mean shown respect, to those that sought his downfall. He thinks respect is what people need, not agreement, he thinks the empathy deficit is bigger than the national debt and he's said so, and from the get go. When he legislates for gay rights he'll have paved the way by showing respect to those that disagree.  

by anna shane 2008-12-22 09:54AM | 0 recs
Major props

...for using the term "empathy deficit."

That is my favorite Obama speech by far.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-22 11:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Major props

remember which day he gave it on, and in which church?  

He got away from that in the primary, where he showed no empathy for me, or for Hillary, but, he's trying to make up for that too.  

by anna shane 2008-12-22 12:35PM | 0 recs
I do remember

Ebeneezer Baptist on Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday.  

The primary was hard on everybody.  We all got through it however we could.  Nearly everybody made it out in good faith, though, including your girl and my guy.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-22 01:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Major props

Nobody had much empathy in the primary. Hillary and Obama both had no empathy for one another; That is what it looks like when two people want to win that badly.

It went beyond that though. The people on either side did not, for the most part, have empthay for one another. You had no empathy for me. I certainly had no empathy for you... and I REALLY had no empathy for the people who went on to call themselves "PUMAs."

Thankfully all of us, for the most part, have moved on and are all friends, or at least family again.

As to the whole Warren debacle, I think so much of this is the fact that we do, and we should, hold Obama to a higher standard. I just happen to disagree with the people who feel that way about this particular issue.

by JDF 2008-12-22 01:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Yep, I'm Outraged

"Barack is... not marginalizing anyone"

In what way are gays and lesbians NOT being marginalized by Obama?  He passed up two very qualified gay people for Labor and Interior.  He's against gay marriage.  He tours with Donnie McClurkin.  Now, he's inviting a guy, Rick Warren, who is not exactly loved on the right because he has to audacity to think doing something about poverty and the environment is God's will, to the show.  Meanwhile, that invitee believes gays are akin to child abusers.  Lovely.  No marginalization there!

And before some reprobate labels me a PUMA or accuses me of refighting a primary war, I didn't support Clinton.

by IssaquahIndie 2008-12-22 09:59AM | 0 recs
For christ's sake

I can't believe that you're still on the McClurkin thing.  Talk about ancient history.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-22 11:59AM | 0 recs
Re: For christ's sake

How so?  It fits a pattern of his feelings towards gay people.

Are you gay?  As a gay male, I am highly skeptical of Obama's true feelings about homosexuality.  I think I have some cause for that concern.  True, he's not some far right wing nut, but I'm damned sick and tired of being marginalized by mainstream Democratic politicians.

by IssaquahIndie 2008-12-22 01:03PM | 0 recs
It doesn't matter what I am

I could be a panda bear stuck in a puma's body, for all it matters.  The truth is that some people are claiming that Obama is against gays because he's not necessarally radically against the people that gays don't like.

This is false, and it creates a paradigm where we're aspiring to be as exclusive as the Republicans were during their "Permanent Republican Majority."

by Dracomicron 2008-12-22 01:11PM | 0 recs
Re: It doesn't matter what I am

PURITY OR DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

by JDF 2008-12-22 01:44PM | 0 recs
Re: It doesn't matter what I am

Real change happens because people stand up. When Rick Warren and his ilk want to tell the world that people like me are no different than pedophiles, we stand up and tell them they're wrong.

We can have conversations with anyone. But giving this hate monger a plum like the invocation at the inaugural isn't going to change anyone's mind.

by Denny Crane 2008-12-22 02:33PM | 0 recs
Re: It doesn't matter what I am

It's just a prayer.

For christ's sake, it's not policy.  It doesn't hurt you.  And it proves that someone on our side (Obama) is a bigger person than his opposite numbers on the other side.

The Republicans really did a number on us.  Many of us can't get past the "us vs. them" that they so dearly crave.  They spent years trying to slice and dice the electorate so that 51% of us can't stand the other 49%.  Looks like it worked.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-22 06:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Yep, I'm Outraged

I am not thrilled about his pick for interior...but there was no more qualified person for labor than get over it.

I am so sick of people looking at the cabinet choices and saying there are not enough of whatever subset of people in it. He picked the people he thought would be best capable of doing the JOB; which, by the way, is the only barometer he should use.

So I am sorry that you are upset that we don not have a gay labor secretary to advocate for EFCA; I guess it just won't mean as much to you because of that.

by JDF 2008-12-22 01:43PM | 0 recs
by IssaquahIndie 2008-12-22 10:01AM | 0 recs
Warren seems willing to work with

Obama on some "progressive" causes. He is not the only voice that will speak at the ceremony.  I think that this whole debate is giving him more attention than he deserves.

by activatedbybush 2008-12-22 10:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Warren seems willing to work with

But giving him attention is a good thing. It exposes how radical his beliefs are turns off moderates. In the end Warren will be seem as nothing but a hypocrite and hate monger.

by venician 2008-12-22 11:03AM | 0 recs
The truth shall set him free

by activatedbybush 2008-12-22 11:29AM | 0 recs
This is my favorite inverted logic-

It's good to give a bigot a platform because then people will hear his bigotry and change their views!  Except that apparently scores of people scramble to get a seat to hear his bigoted views every week.  This false logic implies that he will actually say something at the inauguration to turn people against him.  I betcha he doesn't say a word about gays and lesbians and our unhealthy lives.  No, we'll get the Obama-endorsed touchy-feely Xianity to draw people in.  Later Warren can show them the way on those sick homos.

by orestes 2008-12-22 12:32PM | 0 recs
Re: This is my favorite inverted logic-

No he won't say a word about us, but then again he doesn't have to. The nightly news repeats his hate every night so that hundreds of thousand get to view his hypocrisy first hand. But hey if you think fighting hate with hate is going to win us anything, go for it.

by venician 2008-12-22 01:26PM | 0 recs

the public hears his hate on the evening news and thinks, well, they must be making him to be worse than he is because Obama likes him.  

by orestes 2008-12-22 04:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Warren seems willing to work with

Calling poverty a progressive cause shows just how watered down liberalism has become in the post LBJ environment.

by IssaquahIndie 2008-12-22 01:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Warren seems willing to work with

Your signature line, I hope, is written as ironic.

by JDF 2008-12-22 01:45PM | 0 recs
Who is thrown under which bus?

I'm less that thrilled by the choice of Warren to give the invocation. On the other hand, it's only an invocation. Let's not read too much into it.

Further, what does Warren's willingness to give the invocation say to his followers? Is it that Obama is embracing Warren's positions? Or is it that Warren is embracing Obama's positions? I have to say that I'm less outraged than I imagine many of Warren's followers are, because the message they get is that the left is worth working with, and that we're not, in fact, dangerous sociopaths.

By the way, thanks for dissing my band. We're not there to be a counter-offset to Warren. But it is quite an honor for us, and we're pretty excited about it.

by fsm 2008-12-22 11:10AM | 0 recs
Warren would be...

"blessing Obama's Presidency", and this would probably christen Warren as "America's Pastor". That's the problem. It legitimizes bigotry. It allows Warren to continue his "I'm not a fundie wingnut, even though I really am" kabuki theater. It sends the message that it's OK for "America's Pastor" to equate loving gay relationships with incest, polygamy, and bestiality.

It feels like LGBT people are being thrown under the bus again, and I'm not liking the additional skid marks on me.

by atdleft 2008-12-22 01:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Warren would be...

Do you momogram all your clothes with V for victim or just the bleanket of hate you wrap yourself in?

by venician 2008-12-22 01:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Warren would be...

That was meant for Issaquah

by venician 2008-12-22 01:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Warren would be...

Not to put too fine a point on it, but Warren is giving the invocation, which is not "blessing Obama's Presidency".  More of a call for divine help or presence.

The fellow giving the Benediction is Rev. Joeseph E Lowery.  He'll be doing the Blessing.

by thoughtfully ebullient 2008-12-22 09:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Who is thrown under which bus?

It's not my intention to dis your band. It certainly is an honor for you, and you should be proud of it.  But I feel pretty confident that my point wasn't missed.  This had little or nothing to do with your band.  It's about Rick Warren and the hate that pours out his mouth.

by Denny Crane 2008-12-22 02:37PM | 0 recs
Warren sucks

and inviting him was a mistake.  It certainly takes some of the shine off the inauguration.  But he'll be forgotten in a few months.

by JJE 2008-12-22 11:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Yep, I'm Outraged

While I dislike Warren, this is the sort of "One America" type of thing that I expected all along (as both an Obama supporter and a gay man, I should add).  Warren is a big deal in evangelical / red state circles, and I see this as a way to temper a lot of the crazier fears about Obama.

by Dreorg 2008-12-22 11:44AM | 0 recs
Yes, so political calculation

trumps morality then?  Better to win points by standing with a bigot than to stand on the side of human rights.

by orestes 2008-12-22 12:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, so political calculation

Do you want a President who will talk about how important Gay rights are non-stop, and refuses to deal with anyone who thinks differently? Or do you want a President who puts himself in a position to actually DO something about it?

Purity gets us nowhere. It creates a small tent, and causes those who disagree with us to hate us. The problem is that many of those who are screeching about this choice are ignoring this fundamental truth of politics because they too are filled with hate.

by JDF 2008-12-22 01:48PM | 0 recs
You are confusing the issue

I have never advocated not speaking to those who think differently about gay equality- and I bet most of the people p-ed off by this feel the same way.  This is an honorary position Obama has bestowed on an avowed bigot.  Is that distinction too subtle for you to see?  Also, are you saying that somehow this action puts Obama in a better position to champion the equality of gay Americans?  How is this so?  What I find very interesting about those of you who defend this action is that many of you feel the need to blame or denigrate the gay community about this.  Why do you feel the need to say that those who oppose this action are "screeching" and filled with hate?  How dare you.  If I criticize the promotion of a prominent public person because he's a bigot, that means I'm hate-filled and screeching.  This is topsy-turvy world where the bigot is the victim and the targeted are the hate-filled.  Yeah, that's real political progressivism you've got there.

by orestes 2008-12-22 04:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, so political calculation

I don't consider dialogue and political calculation to be the same thing.  The Warren invocation creates potential for dialogue.  I've already seen some in my own family.

by Dreorg 2008-12-22 05:48PM | 0 recs
This is largely a symbolic act

And the symbol is:  bigots are welcome here and their targets should just shut up and take it or, better yet, kill the bigot with kindness.  It is not intended to nor will it spur dialogue.  Obama has already shut down the dialogue by telling those upset about this to get over it.  

by orestes 2008-12-22 06:02PM | 0 recs
Re: This is largely a symbolic act

Which part of "I've already seen some dialogue within my own family coming out of this" did you miss?  

by Dreorg 2008-12-22 06:10PM | 0 recs
But you know what?

It doesn't work. President Clinton tried it in 1997 by inviting Billy Graham to give the invocation at his second inauguration. And what happened? All President Clinton got were The Starr Report & a lame-ass impeachment attempt.

No matter how much Obama tries, the fundie wingnuts still won't accept him because "He's a Moslem! He was born in Indonesia! Barky Hussein Osama Soetoro wants to take our guns away!!111111!!!!!1 Osama Soetoro will make Islam the official religion of America & force everyone to learn Mexican & marry illegal aliens!!!!111111!!!1"

Whatever evangelicals that are reachable are already moving to our side & Rick Warren doesn't do much of anything for him.

by atdleft 2008-12-22 12:50PM | 0 recs
Re: But you know what?

You're right.  It doesn't work.  It's completely insanity to think the anti-gay, pro-life, Obama's a socialist, etc. crowd is going to warm to him because of bones like this.

If Obama moves to make gays more marginalized, makes abortions even harder to get, and puts the 10 commandments on every public square, they'll warm to him.  Else, it's just a bone toss that does NOTHING to warm over the nut case crowd, but infuriates a significant number that helped elect you.

by IssaquahIndie 2008-12-22 01:06PM | 0 recs
Re: But you know what?

You forget that there is a very large crowd just to the left of the crazies. THOSE are the people Obama is trying to reach with moves like this. He is looking to assuage right leaning moderates who are concerned about the fact that we are entering a new era in American Politics. If he can reach those people the only group that winds up marginalized at the end are the true crazies.

by JDF 2008-12-22 01:50PM | 0 recs
Re: But you know what?

No.  Obama doesn't reach that crowd with this choice. If that really were the group he was aiming at, then he really made the wrong selection. Those folks aren't going to respond to Rick Warren. Warren is one of the true crazies - he's just wrapped in a more pleasant package.

by Denny Crane 2008-12-22 02:10PM | 0 recs
Re: But you know what?

Anyone who reaches as large an audience as he does indeed has an audience in the crowd I spoke of. Just because he IS one of the crazier ones does not mean that all those who listen to him or read his books are.

by JDF 2008-12-22 07:32PM | 0 recs
Re: But you know what?

I firmly believe that marginalized populations make changes through dialogue and through living open lives.  Does the Warren pick bother me on a personal level?  Yeah, it does.  But it also gives me an opportunity to have conversations with the less-open portions of my fundamentalist family that I wouldn't have otherwise.

I would have preferred someone other than Warren giving the invocation, but I don't think that railing against it will accomplish anything other than remove opportunities for dialogue.  And it isn't a pick that that Obama could take back, even if he wanted to.  So instead of getting outraged, I'd rather figure out ways to make it work to my advantage.

by Dreorg 2008-12-22 05:54PM | 0 recs
Melissa Etheridge disagrees. heridge/the-choice-is-ours-now_b_152947. html

I received a call the day before to inform me of the keynote speaker that night... Pastor Rick Warren. I was stunned. My fight or flight instinct took over, should I cancel? Then a calm voice inside me said, "Are you really about peace or not?"

I told my manager to reach out to Pastor Warren and say "In the spirit of unity I would like to talk to him." They gave him my phone number. On the day of the conference I received a call from Pastor Rick, and before I could say anything, he told me what a fan he was. He had most of my albums from the very first one. What? This didn't sound like a gay hater, much less a preacher. He explained in very thoughtful words that as a Christian he believed in equal rights for everyone. He believed every loving relationship should have equal protection. He struggled with proposition 8 because he didn't want to see marriage redefined as anything other than between a man and a woman. He said he regretted his choice of words in his video message to his congregation about proposition 8 when he mentioned pedophiles and those who commit incest. He said that in no way, is that how he thought about gays. He invited me to his church, I invited him to my home to meet my wife and kids. He told me of his wife's struggle with breast cancer just a year before mine.

When we met later that night, he entered the room with open arms and an open heart. We agreed to build bridges to the future.

Brothers and sisters the choice is ours now. We have the world's attention. We have the capability to create change, awesome change in this world, but before we change minds we must change hearts. Sure, there are plenty of hateful people who will always hold on to their bigotry like a child to a blanket. But there are also good people out there, Christian and otherwise that are beginning to listen. They don't hate us, they fear change. Maybe in our anger, as we consider marches and boycotts, perhaps we can consider stretching out our hands. Maybe instead of marching on his church, we can show up en mass and volunteer for one of the many organizations affiliated with his church that work for HIV/AIDS causes all around the world.

Maybe if they get to know us, they wont fear us.

This is a smart lady.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-22 01:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Melissa Etheridge disagrees.

He believed every loving relationship should have equal protection.

BULLSHIT he does.

He said he regretted his choice of words in his video message to his congregation about proposition 8 when he mentioned pedophiles and those who commit incest.

I'm sure he's really torn up about that.  So torn up, he's gone into every gay ghetto and issued an apology?  Maybe done an interview with the Advocate or Out to say as much?

He's a phony.  And Etheridge is ridiculous for buying his bullshit.

by IssaquahIndie 2008-12-22 01:09PM | 0 recs
You need a hug.

It must be rough, thinking the worst of people all the time.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-22 01:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Melissa Etheridge disagrees.

Why should he bother? You have already judged him.

If your behavior here is any indication of what he could expect if he tried to reach out he would be crazy to even consider it.

by JDF 2008-12-22 01:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Melissa Etheridge disagrees.

Yes, Melissa Etheridge is smart.  But so is Maya Angelou: "When people tell you who they are, believe them. They know themselves better than you will ever know them."

Well, Rick Warren has been telling us for years who he is.  I think we should believe him.

by Denny Crane 2008-12-22 02:58PM | 0 recs
This is one of those rare comments

that shifts my perspective. Well said.

by Neef 2008-12-22 04:57PM | 0 recs
Re: This is one of those rare comments

I'll thank you on behalf of Maya Angelou. If I were half as bright as she is, I'd do a little dance.

by Denny Crane 2008-12-23 04:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Yep, I'm Outraged

If Rick Warren is the man that Obama wants to deliver his invocation, then Obama cares more about appeasing evangelical bigots than he does about gay rights.

Put me down as outraged too.

by liberalj 2008-12-22 01:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Yep, I'm Outraged

I guess when he moves to repeal DOMA and DADT it won't mean anything to you then because if he really meant it he would be unwilling to be in the same room as people like Rick Warren.

by JDF 2008-12-22 01:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Yep, I'm Outraged

If Bill Clinton invited a racist pastor to give his invocation, would you of been this relaxed about it?

Or is homophobia just more acceptable to you than racism?

by liberalj 2008-12-22 04:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Yep, I'm Outraged

You may not like what I am about to say, but there are a multitude of people out there who believe that being a homosexual is a choice and not an unchangeable trait.  Because of this ignorance, peope who are afraid of teh gay or do not understand it feel justified in their views because to them it is not technically bigotry, because it isn't a hatred for an immutable characteristic.  That's why comparisions to racist/sexist/anti-semitic people don't quite fit perfectly.

We need to reach out to those people to help them understand that homosexuality is not a choice, and thus their view on abolition of gay marriage and the like is truly discrimination.  

We are not going to get there by calling them bigots and denouncing them as idiots.  We need to embrace them and make them realize/help them understand that homosexuals are not freaks, are not just denegerates choosing a salacious path of life.  Yes, many are so entrenched in their beliefs that change of a point of view is impossible, but not all of them.  Those with the capacity to understand logic should be addressed to get them on the right side of the issue.  That is progress.

I do not know if Obama's use of Warren will work, or have any effect at all, or even a reverse effect, but change also happens through experimentation.  But holding fast and hard in our divided nooks screaming for persecution of all others doesn't seem to have worked, like, ever

by KLRinLA 2008-12-22 05:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Yep, I'm Outraged

But why reach out and achieve understanding when you can scream, whine, denounce, and hate every one of them, and every one who doesn't treat them the same way you do?

It seems to me that we have become very good at embracing the behavior, if not the attitude, of the other side.

by JDF 2008-12-22 07:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Yep, I'm Outraged

You have a point, but I understand why people in the gay community are upset.  It's a tough time, and the Warren symbolic gesture elicits a lot of knee jerk reactions.  We have to help each other out by listening to our people and coming up with a way to educate the other folks so we can come to a consensus (or at least a solid majority), one that provides equal rights for all.    

by KLRinLA 2008-12-22 09:01PM | 0 recs
Re: That's the core problem

I remember reading an article a couple of years ago that stated that being a homosexual was a chemical imbalance in the brain and that they found a drug to correct this imbalance.

by selfevident 2008-12-22 10:58PM | 0 recs
This same assinine argument

has been used in the past with regard to racial inferiority.  Yes, not all people believed that there was no difference in native intelligence between blacks and whites.  You are never going to get all people to agree.  Hell, there are people who believe that gays and lesbians should be slaughtered.  What does that have to do with this discussion?

by orestes 2008-12-23 09:54AM | 0 recs
Re: This same assinine argument

Because of two reasons.  One, some here like to throw up "What if Obama brought the head of KKK to give a prayer.." to make a comparison to Warren. It doesn't fit because some people believe that homosexuals are gay by choice, thus they are not being bigoted about an immutable trait, rather they disapprove of a choice.

Two, we need to educate those who hold the above ignorant view so they understand that being gay is not a choice, thus voting to withold rights is discriminatory and violates equal protection.  We need more people on out side, we need at least the majority of the people on our side to ensure equal rights for all people.

That is relevant to this discussion because there is conflict within our group as to the pick of Warren, and some of us believe this could be a path to finding a common ground with which to espouse our views in hopes of, among other things, generating understanding to the plight of homosexuals and hopefully gaining support for the cause.

As I said before I don't know if it will work, or if Warren is the right tool to use, but condemnation seldomly gains attraction and acceptance.  

by KLRinLA 2008-12-23 04:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Yep, I'm Outraged

"If Bill Clinton invited a racist pastor to give his invocation, would you of been this relaxed about it?

Or is homophobia just more acceptable to you than racism? "

He kind of did, at least if you consider hatred towards Jews to be racism.  What's not in question is Billy Graham's homophobia.

by Jess81 2008-12-23 03:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Relaxed about it?

If I can extrapolate from liberalj's question AND nrafter's response, I think the answer is that had it been Bill Clinton, people would be so unfazed that they wouldn't even remember it had happened.

by Jess81 2008-12-23 03:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Relaxed about it?

Not so much a problem with the LGBT movement but a problem for the LGBT movement.

by liberalj 2008-12-23 04:26AM | 0 recs
He did

Billy Graham gave the 1996 invocation.

Billy Graham on "the Jews": their "stranglehold" on the media "has got to be broken or this country's going down the drain".

He also suggested AIDS was God's judgment on gays.

This is why Clinton worshipers have no credibility on Warren and making it hard for those of us who criticize Obama for this while retaining our sanity.

by JJE 2008-12-23 06:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Yep, I'm Outraged

It sucks, no doubt about it, and I respect both your position and the way you've presented it.  At this point, I hoping something good comes of the whole thing.

At a minimum, it's exposed Warren (and his ridiculous views) to the cleansing light of the sun.  Before the Saddleback "Meet the Candidates" forum, I didn't even know who this Warren asshole was (and I live in California).  Before the Inauguration schedule was announced, I didn't know how big an asshole he really is, or anything about his role in Prop H8.

Now, I do.  He's on my target list.  If we can harness the outrage, and direct it where it's most deserved (on Warren, not Obama), we might just get somewhere.

by fogiv 2008-12-22 01:17PM | 0 recs
I love turning this

one against them.  You can love the bigot and hate the bigotry.

by Ellinorianne 2008-12-22 02:06PM | 0 recs
Re: I love turning this

You're right. And with most people spewing hatred at Warren the battle is already lost. They've turned into, and are no better then, him. We should learn from him NOT become him.

by venician 2008-12-22 02:28PM | 0 recs
Grow up

Rising in opposition against someone who demeans you and would deny you equal treatment under the law is not the same as being a repressive right wing bigot who spews hate and wants to deny those rights.  So, those who fought in the civil rights movement were no better than Bull Connor, Wallace et al. because they said negative things about those obstructionist racists?  Do you really believe that?  

by orestes 2008-12-22 04:51PM | 0 recs
It's true to some degree

There's a reason why MLK, Malcom X, and Louis Farrakhan are viewed differently. They were/are all ardent supporters of civil rights, but displayed widely varying levels of inclusiveness.

by Neef 2008-12-22 05:00PM | 0 recs
Re: It's true to some degree

did their inclusiveness include preachers that likened blacks to pedophiles or bestialists? don't think they were that inclusive.

by swissffun 2008-12-29 02:44PM | 0 recs
Re: I love turning this

Well said.

by fogiv 2008-12-22 02:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Yep, I'm Outraged

Thank you for this great diary. REC

by KnoxVow 2008-12-22 03:04PM | 0 recs
Why Not Turn Back Hate?

If you all are outraged, then I am too. I've started a petition and a website called, and I'm asking people to join me in turning their backs on Pastor Warren when he delivers the invocation. If enough of us do it, we'll send a clear message to our leaders that ordinary Americans are tired of the hate speech in our politics. Show your support by signing my petition at

by astrodem 2008-12-22 03:32PM | 0 recs

I wish I could take back every penny donated to this man.  Obama has proven to by all hype- and NO EXCUSES will change this.  Substitute racism or anti-semitism for Warren's Homophobia/Hatred- and NO ONE would excuse Obama's choice to "open his inauguration".  Discriminating against Gays is the last form  of acceptable bigotry.  Nice going Obama!  Not even President yet and throwing us under the bus!  

by easyE 2008-12-22 08:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Disgusted

Funny.  Is it just me, or does anyone else imagine a small, bitter brigade of PUMA's running around searching for a bus to dive under?

by fogiv 2008-12-22 10:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Disgusted

Honestly you've been singing the same tune for months and you never donated a penny.  You're making people who are legitimately against this look like PUMAs.

by Jess81 2008-12-23 03:15AM | 0 recs
Sorry, but Clinton fluffers

have no credibility on this because of Billy Graham.  You are hurting the anti-Warren cause.  Please leave the Warren critique to those of us who aren't batshit loony.

by JJE 2008-12-23 06:26PM | 0 recs
Same old

I feel as though we're back in 2004 again and trying to hold back our rising lunches as John Kerry "report[s] for duty"...let the pander-fest begin.

I realize that Washington Democrats throwing the progressive movement under the bus is not a novel observation, but that it repeatedly warrants complaint on our side begs for remediation. Like battered spouses, we faithfully return to our tormentors each time they demand our allegiance--and promise they can change--while they continue their dalliances with the enemy. An infinite number of cheeks we have to turn, it would seem.

Well, it's pathetic. The wingnuts are masters of doublethink; they will never see things our way, and no amount of wheedling will change their minds. If anything, moves like Rick Warren and Ken Salazar only convince them more that we're moving rightward en masse as a country. As it is, I feel as though we're back in 2004, desperately in swing-state mode...painfully swallowing highfalutin rhetoric about protecting the country as cover for outrage on torture and civil liberties violations. As for the Jim Leaches of the world, I think it will be far more effective in the long run to win them over by showing the fruits of a successful progressive regimen. At least the moderates tend to be more susceptible to persuasion by reality.

by pennquaker08 2008-12-23 01:51AM | 0 recs
Re: this isn't the change I was hoping for at all.

Are you being glib? You seem to be suggesting that we should just accept whatever our leaders give us and be quiet about it, whether we like it or not.  That doesn't work for me. At what point are we allowed to tell people (especially those on our side) that we don't like what they are doing? Is that even possible now without being called a purity troll or a Puma?

by Denny Crane 2008-12-23 04:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Yep, I'm Outraged - UPDATED

Why are people surprised? Obama has always been against gay marriage. Nothing like sharing a stage with a bigot to get that point across to the GLBT community.

by KnoxVow 2008-12-23 07:06AM | 0 recs
Bring back Reverend Wright!!!

he's better than Warren!!! Why does Obama have such a problem picking preachers? Jeez - there are non-controversial, basic ones that don't teach HATE - why can't he pick one of those?

by nikkid 2008-12-23 09:44AM | 0 recs
cuz Billy Graham died

by JJE 2008-12-23 06:17PM | 0 recs


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