Civil Liberties LGBTQ Obama

OBAMA WATCH: Warren and the Inauguration, Part 2

Another worthwhile take on the Warren situation from John Aloysius Farrell
at US News and Word Report.

(Farrell is on my good list, for among other reasons, his column about McCain’s disingenuous Bear DNA nonsense during the presidential campaign.)

Here’s a big clip:

During the last campaign, Obama and the Democrats (who are marginally better on gay issues than Republicans) reached out to Evangelical voters, and to conservative Catholics, to try to close this division. Having Warren say a prayer at the Inauguration is a small symbolic nod to these religious conservatives. Hopefully, to defuse suspicion and hatred.

This is, ultimately, a political battle. Judges can interpret state constitutions. But legislatures, and initiatives like Proposition 8, can trump judges. In the end, we are going to have to persuade the vast voting public, a lot of whom are religious, to ratify an historic change in the civic institution of marriage.

I think we can do it. I believe Americans are good, fair-hearted people. The last election certainly says so. And, among young Americans, who are growing up in a different time than their parents and grandparents, gay rights has the broad support of Mom and Apple Pie. So, in the long run, we win.

My advice: better to lay off Warren, and channel your energy (and exploit the strong and deep support of the music and motion picture industries) to drown American in a campaign of evocative Internet advertisements, like the YouTube ads that united a generation behind Obama, and touched so many of their parents as well. And get your voters to the polls.

As a tactical matter, there is surely a place in campaigns for employing grievances to enflame one’s troops and to raise the level of participation and energy. It may also serve the cause, at this moment, to sting the Democrats and the incoming Obama administration, so you are not taken for granted.

But the practical question that gay political leaders must face—with more detailed data than I have—is whether it is wiser to use this incident to rally their base, or to continue to show middle America the moderation and reasonableness that has earned such political good will for LGBT Americans in recent years.

Warren’s willingness to extend his hand to liberals is noteworthy. And moderates and conservatives, in weighing a rapprochement, will be studying the liberal response. There is an opportunity here.

Yeah, I know it is tough. Why is it always the bruised minority that has to act nobly in America?

It’s just the way things are. Until we change them. And we will. We are.

The Courage Campaign suggests a debate on same sex marriage between Warren and the Reverend Eric Lee, President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Los Angeles—time and location to be determined.

How about it Reverand Warren?


  • Obama is a brilliant politician and I’m of the opinion that this is of a piece with that. Warren is a bit of a mixed bag, as pop preachers go, but I have little love for the guy. But he’s the most influential preacher in America and if Obama can use him to deepen splits in the religious right on certain key issues like climate change, so be it.

    In truth this Warren thing is a win-win for Obama AND his gay critics. Prop 8 and Warren’s support for it were fading from memory and Obama put Warren back in the center of the controversy and made the critique of Warren very public again. I have no idea if this was his intention and it hardly matters, but at the same time Obama’s getting a symbolic “imprimatur” for his presidency from a member of the “neo-religious right” that should cause more consternation in their ranks than in ours.

    Having critics on his left is very, very useful for Obama. I would be very disturbed if his every move was praised by The Nation. We’d be on our way to a shipwreck. As it is, the right is totally disoriented and increasingly irrelevant – even on gay rights, if one doesn’t ascribe too much significance to the word “marriage” as opposed to the legitimacy of gay “unions.” Prop 8 was a predictable setback, but it was the loss of a battle in a war that’s clearly being won. Presidents governing in critical times must pick their battles and narrow their choice of enemies. President Obama has huge responsibilities to the country and the world that most of us can barely imagine shouldering. If he can bring the Rick Warren crowd along on a least some of his agenda, he’ll be a success. Consider that Rick Warren is “blessing” an event that features a gay and lesbian marching band. Who is being “punked” ?

  • Warren’s “prayer” at Obama’s inauguration seems a bit of a nod to the Evangelical and mostly Conservative demographic, but the publicity savvy Warren seems to be making nice with his recent rhetoric aimed at the pissed off Gay population.

    The whole uproar could end up being a positive for everyone concerned.
    On the other hand though, it seems Evangelical leaders have a tendency towards the freaky side concerning their own personal lives. We have the Jim Baker and Tammy Faye’s, the Jimmy Swaggart’s, and the Elmer Gantry’s seem common place in the Evangelical Movement.
    Rick Warren seems to be a solid, you get what you see, type of Evangelical Preacher but one never knows. The last “Evangelical to the President”, Ted Haggard, who directed his own Mega-Church and was President of the 30 or 40 million member National Association of Evangelists ended up getting busted and outed as a Gay man himself, who for years made clandestine visits to a homosexual Call Boy who used to score Methamphetamine for him.
    Uh Oh! I hope Pastor Rick Warren was properly vetted by the Obama people.

  • I get so tired of queers protesting for “acceptance”. Can’t they get it? Not everyone wants to accept their lifestyles and objectives, and for good reasons.

  • Rick Warren isn’t God. He’s a Southern Baptist and they have changed their “commands and principles” numerous times based on public consensus (ex. slavery & segregation, the defense of which was for well over a century the only reason the denomination existed as a distinct entity.)

  • I’m not taking up for Warren. I merely stated that I’m not part of the dead with my views, as evidenced by large ministries preaching similar issues to really live people of like minds, and my Authority is independent of Rev. Warren and consensus.

    Regarding “Southern Baptist,” that’s a term applied to just about every Baptist church, none of which are obligated to accept one theology passed down by elistist central leaders.

  • Southern Baptist refers to the Southern Baptist Convention, which was a splinter from the national Baptist curch in 1845 that affirmed the legitimacy of slavery. There is congregational autonomy, but the seminaries are controlled by a doctrinal center.

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