Initially I was disappointed in Obama’s choice of pastor to give the invocation at the inauguration next month. Then Whoopi Goldberg on an episode of The View, pointed out the following: In the spirit of the Reverend Wright controversy during the election, if you assumed that Obama listened to Jeremiah, took what he needed and left the rest behind, then we certainly should be able to do the same thing with Pastor Rick Warren.
You can like his books and not like his stance on gays. You can recognize that he’s one of the few evangelicals that actually believes, cares about and preaches on global warming and be miffed that he doesn’t support a woman’s right to choose. You can be impressed by the fact that he wants all of his congregation to focus on helping the poor and disappointed that he’s so darn territorial with the term, marriage.
I’ve watched the beliefnet video where Wareen supposedly equates incest with homosexuality and I’m not 100% convinced that was his intention. One could argue from the clip that he’s simply fighting to keep marriage as a man/woman thing and misspeaks when attempting to prove this point. You’ll have to watch it and decide for yourself.
I’m very liberal when it comes to social issues, so Rick Warren wouldn’t appeal to me as much as say Bishop Sponge (click here or here) or Jim Wallis (click here or here) for example, but if Rick Warren becomes the new face of the evangelical right, in my humble opinion that would be a huge improvement. A pastor with influence that actually listens to scientists and wants his followers to act like Jesus by helping the poor and working towards peace instead of only praying to him, works for me. And apparently it works for others as well – even singer and lesbian activist, Melissa Etheridge is on board.
I’ve got to admit that my inner cynic is rearing her ugly head and wondering if Obama is being inclusive to the religious right or attempting to manipulate them more towards the middle? Could he really be that smart or did he simply enjoy himself at The Saddleback Civil Forum and thus wanted to return the favor?
Hmm…I’ll have to think about that one some more. In the meantime, I’m going to cherry pick this guy’s beliefs like I cherry pick every other thing that has to do with religion and not fret too much about it. On a cellular level and at the core of my being I believe that gays aren’t going to hell and should have the same rights that I do. No pastor no matter how strong his following, how influential his position, how wealthy his is from his book sales nor how famous from being picked to give an invocation can sever my own personal relationship with the Divine. I’m the only one that has the power to do that.
So I say relax, take a breath and what you need. The rest I’m sure will work itself out when it’s supposed to.