Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christopher Hitchens on Rick Warren

So Obama has picked super-pastor Rick Warren as the guy to swear him in on inauguration day. Christopher Hitchens isn't happy about the choice, but his reasons are a bit silly. He apparently thinks that Warren is a bigot because he doesn't think Jews and Mormons are going to heaven. I would call that "being a denominational Christian". What Baptist thinks Jews have made the cut?

Here are Hitchens' three questions about Rick Warren's role in the inauguration:

  • Will Warren be invited to the solemn ceremony of inauguration without being asked to repudiate what he has directly said to deny salvation to Jews?
  • Will he be giving a national invocation without disowning what his mentor said about civil rights and what his leading supporter says about Mormons?
  • Will the American people be prayed into the next administration, which will be confronted by a possible nuclear Iran and an already nuclear Pakistan, by a half-educated pulpit-pounder raised in the belief that the Armageddon solution is one to be anticipated with positive glee?

That last point is a bit better than the other two. I don't think I've ever seen a poll question along the lines of "Would you support a nuclear war if you knew it would be closely followed by the return of Jesus to Earth?" I'd like to see some results from some variants of such a question.

Anyway, yes Warren opposed Proposition 8. According to Wikipedia he called removing Terry Schiavo's feeding tube "an atrocity worthy of Nazism". He's strongly against abortion rights. These are all consistent with his belief system.

Obama is obviously pandering to evangelicals. I think he's trying to show inclusiveness, but it's not a great symbolic start to the Obama Presidency.


Gay Orange County said...

I, like so many of my gay friends, gave a lot of money to Obama's campaign. We worked tirelessly to get him elected. Now Obama decides to invite Rick Warren, who equates gays to rapists and child molesters; and who excludes gays from being members of his church to do the invocation? How many of Warren's followers do you think gave as much to the campaign as gays did? How many of Warren's followers worked as hard to get Obama elected as gays did? Warren is to gays what a Grand Wizard of the KKK is to African Americans. Obama has made it perfectly clear with this invitation how he feels about the gay community.

Do you think Obama would have had as much of a landslide if it wasn't for the gay community? I don't think so. I hope for his sake that all the evangelicals he is pandering to move over to his camp come reelection time; gays will be voting for a third party candidate from now on. It's been made perfectly clear that the Democrats don't want us. Good luck to Obama with his presidency. I don't support him any longer. I, like so many fell utterly betrayed.

Kenny Wyland said...

I feel you, I'm a huge Obama supporter. I went out of state and volunteered for the campaign for more than a month in a battleground state. I would rather kick Warren in the nuts than see him on Inauguration Day... however...

Many times during his campaign he talked about crossing the aisle, or engaging the "other side." He has been consistent about his stance that engagement with "the enemy" is the best way to forge a middle ground and a better future. He said many times since the election he assured the "other side" that he would be their President too. That he would represent all Americans.

When I heard the news about Warren, I was pissed. However, I sat down and thought about it. He told us that he wanted to heal the rifts in the country. No red america, no blue america, just the United States of America. He told us that he felt the best way to fix the problems with Iran was to engage them in direct dialogue. We heard all of these things and we said, "Yes, give us that!" If we are willing to include and have a dialogue with Iran, why can't we do the same within our own country? I didn't feel this way before. I would have been incredibly pissed, but I have to admit that he's doing exactly what we asked him to do.

Philip said...

There's a big difference between engaging one's opponents in dialog and sharing a stage with them. There's is no question he is lending his political capital to Warren with this move.

Kenny Wyland said...

What about Rev. Joseph Lowery who is also part of the inauguration? He is a pro-gay rights preacher.