Last night the dinner conversation came around to Barack Obama's invitation to pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inaugural. Among the six of us, we counted a gay son, a sister, a college roommate and best man, a nephew, next door neighbors and best friends — some of whom are greatly aggrieved by Obama's decision.
We could all do without Warren on stage, and truth be told, without any invocation whatsoever. Those fatuous prayers are about as deep and meaningful as the "Your call is important to us" recordings you get when a company doesn't devote enough resources to answer your call.
If you watched the Democratic National Convention's daily bookends, the invocations and benedictions were where the party paid homage to all the constituencies that would never make the main event. I remember in particular an interminable and barely comprehensible benediction from a Korean pastoral couple.
Given the fact that someone had to draw the duty, and they had to provide some doctrinal balance and contrast with the speaker at the other end, why get so upset?
It's unacceptable. A political blunder. But most importantly and bottom line, it is morally reprehensible. It goes counter to everything that Obama stood for along the road to the White House. I am more than disgusted by it; I am utterly and thoroughly disenchanted.
Really? "It goes counter to everything that Obama stood for"? Does that mean we're bombing Iran on January 21st, too? Dude, the invocation is the rhetorical equivalent of the centerpiece at a holiday dinner!
I don't agree with Warren's position on Prop. 8, but I also don't agree he's the monster some of these protests make him out to be. He's a pastor, for Christ's sake, of an evangelical church, subject to all the myopia of a man who bases his world view on the Bible.
You wonder, as with all these guys, how selectively he reads it. Warren says: "I’m opposed to the redefinition of a 5,000-year definition of marriage." Which, according to my reading of the first 3,000 years or so would indicate that marriage is a union of one man and as many women as he can get his hands on.
There's a lot of that religious mindset going around, and if you're going to president for the entire country, you might as well acknowledge it, because you aren't going to change it by calling them out. And if you're going to lead a social transformation in this country, you're going to have to involve churches, because they are one of the major non-tax-funded sources of good works we have going for us.
The premise of Obama's administration has been that he will uphold his own beliefs, while agreeing to disagree in order to find other areas of common ground. America is a very long way from electing a president who reflects my nonreligious orientation, but we've come very close to getting one that reflects Across the Great Dividism.