One of today's big news stories is that Prez-elect Obama chose Pastor Rick Warren to handle the invocation at his inauguration. There is, justifiably, outrage among liberals and particularly GLBT groups that a conservative religious leader who fervently backed Proposition 8 should be given a place of honor at the swearing in of our new leader. To pop in some NYT quotes, this sums up why this is a "bad" dude:
"The choice of Mr. Warren, pastor of a megachurch in Orange County, Calif., is an olive branch to conservative Christian evangelicals. Mr. Warren is an outspoken opponent of abortion and same-sex marriage — litmus-test issues for Christian conservatives."
and yet he does seem to have some positive aspects:
"But Mr. Warren has also been one of the most prominent evangelical leaders calling for Christians to expand their agenda and confront global problems like poverty, AIDS, climate change, and genocide in Darfur."
I poked around Warren's website and they do seem to have some non-stereotypical christian right agendas, which is refreshing, but he is, nonetheless, an evangelical preacher. Which brings me to the real question:
WHY is there ANY polarizing religious figure at this event? The basis of the inauguration is a swearing in, by the Chief Justice, of the new president. If there is a peace blessing to be offered or something like that, it should be utterly free of any religious bias or overtones. Yes, the bible has been used in these ceremonies forever, but our "melting pot" nation does not need ANY intolerance up on that podium. I understand that Mr. Obama is appealing to the right, to bring people together, but I don't think this is a good idea. ----
----You know, I hit this point in writing and realized I'm about to launch into an atheist rant...which never fetches wide support and probably needs its own blog. But the CRUX of my feeling is that I don't want attention drawn to INTOLERANCE or RELIGION at this inauguration. I want it to be about progress, growth, change...all that campaign bullshit we are "praying" comes to fruition. I'm disturbed that there's a discussion or even a selection of a preacher to do this. How bout having a rabbi do it? Or an Imam? Or a buddhist? Offer a prayer for a peaceful and productive four years...without the baggage. So, you know what...LAME choice Obama.