This is unbelievable. Just when you thought the era of insane right-wing pastors having the president on speed-dial was over, Obama goes and shows that it's not:
Aretha Franklin and Dr. Rick Warren, an evangelical minister of the Saddleback Church, are among the select group of people who will participate in Barack Obama's inaugural swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 20.[...]
Dr. Warren, author of "The Purpose Driven Life," will deliver the invocation. He will be followed by Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, who sang "Someday We'll All Be Free" and "Respect" at a concert for Bill Clinton in 1993, but not at the inaugural ceremony.
Rick Warren is the charlatan behind The Purpose-driven Life, and when it comes to politics, his game is to be the media-adored centrist. But his politics are right there with James Dobson, he just sounds nicer when he says it. In fact, Warren said about as much himself.
Some hits of his wingnut bat-shittery are after the jump. But, seriously, Obama? Were there absolutely no left-wing pastors available that day? Was there absolutely no one with a clue who could have penciled in the inauguration?
Just this morning, I posted Rick Warren saying that he has gay friends:
I have many gay friends, I've eaten dinner in gay homes, no church has probably done more for people with AIDS than Saddleback Church. Kay and I have given millions of dollars out of "A Purpose-Driven Life" helping people who got AIDS through gay relationships. So they can't accuse me of homophobia. I just don't believe in the re-definition of marriage.
Not just anyone with AIDS - just those who got it through "gay relationships"! Or does he think that everyone who gets HIV gets it through
homosexual sex gay relationships?
He also thinks that prohibiting same-sex marriage is non-negotiable, unlike peace, fighting poverty, improving education, or improving people's lives. That's what led Warren to back Bush in 2004:
Both men also share political skills of a high order. Like Graham, Warren allowed himself to get too close to the Republican Party. In 2004 he supported Bush behind the scenes, taking part in White House conference calls and informing thousands of pastors that they should regard issues such as abortion and gay marriage as "non-negotiable."
In fact, he spelled it out while he was telling everyone on his email list to vote for Bush in 2004:
But for those of us who accept the Bible as God's Word and know that God has a unique, sovereign purpose for every life, I believe there are 5 issues that are non-negotiable. To me, they're not even debatable because God's Word is clear on these issues. In order to live a purpose-driven life - to affirm what God has clearly stated about his purpose for every person he creates - we must take a stand by finding out what the candidates believe about these five issues, and then vote accordingly.
Here are five questions to ask when considering who to vote for in this election:
1. What does each candidate believe about abortion and protecting the lives of unborn children?
2. What does each candidate believe about using unborn babies for stem-cell harvesting?
3. What does each candidate believe about homosexual marriage?
4. What does each candidate believe about human cloning?
5. What does each candidate believe about euthanasia - the killing of elderly and invalids?
Yup. I don't see anything there about peace. But maybe that peace thing isn't that big of a deal in the Bible.
Or, maybe, just maybe, Rick Warren is full of shit and cares about as much about the Bible as anyone who'd abuse it for political gain would: pick out the parts that support his beliefs and then pretend like the rest doesn't exist. Because how could he give his religious opinion in support of Proposition 8 if he didn't pick and choose?
But his hatred of the homos isn't just Biblical. He has some interesting ideas about biology. Because, you know, science.
WARREN: Now people ask me all the time what do you think about homosexuality, OK? Well, I don't approach it -- I approach it like this. When you look at a female body and you look at a male body it seems that naturally certain parts go together.
KING: It seems that way, therefore how do you explain why someone is homosexual?
WARREN: I don't explain it. I don't explain it.
KING: Well, then that doesn't suffice.
WARREN: Well, and...
KING: Do you know why women, why you like women, just because the body is shaped differently?
WARREN: Oh, no, I'm sure I know why I like women.
KING: You do?
WARREN: I think -- I think I was wired by God to like women. I think they...
KING: So, what did he do to the gay person, God?
WARREN: I don't know that God did that. I really don't.
KING: You mean he did it to you but he didn't do it to them?
WARREN: You know, Larry, we all have instincts and we all have urges and we all have desires. That doesn't necessarily mean that I fulfill all of them. In other words, as a heterosexual man I might desire to have sex with 100 women. That doesn't mean I do it because that wouldn't be the right thing.
KING: All right, but if you desire another man and you're a man and you're an adult, who are you harming if the two of you agree and it's your life?
KING: It's not Rick Warren's life or Larry King's life. It's their life.
WARREN: Well, again, I would just say I think to me the issue is, is it natural? Is it the natural thing? I mean here's an interesting thing I have to ask. How can you believe in Darwin's theory of evolution and homosexuality at the same time? Now think about this.
If Darwin was right, which is survival of the fittest then homosexuality would be a recessive gene because it doesn't reproduce and you would think that over thousands of years that homosexuality would work itself out of the gene pool.
KING: So, we take the reverse. The creator then approves of it.
WARREN: Well, I believe...
KING: Darwin's wrong. The creator is right. Gays are right.
WARREN: Yes well, of course, I believe that God created one man for one woman for life. A lot of the problems -- as a pastor I've notice that when God gives certain rules they're really for our benefit. They're not because God's capricious or just "I think that I'm going to make your life miserable."
Wow! Thanks, Pastor Warren! Now I get it! I'm gonna go find me a woman to marry now that you've shown a complete mastery of the theory of evolution! Yee haw!
It's not just the gays, though. Warren, as he said in a quotation above, is lock-step with the Religious Right in all their issues: preventing women from having the freedom to carry a baby or not, stopping science, and eliminating people's autonomy by writing his interpretation of the Bible into law. He also believes in lower taxes for the rich, like a good little right-wing ideologue.
Not only that, he pulled a Pat Robertson moment the other day by calling for the assassination of Ahmadinejad:
HANNITY: Can you talk to rogue dictators? Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust, wants to wipe Israel off the map, is seeking nuclear weapons.
HANNITY: I think we need to take him out.
HANNITY: Am I advocating something dark, evil or something righteous?
WARREN: Well, actually, the Bible says that evil cannot be negotiated with. It has to just be stopped. And I believe...
HANNITY: By force?
WARREN: Well, if necessary. In fact, that is the legitimate role of government. The Bible says that God puts government on earth to punish evildoers. Not good-doers. Evildoers.
HANNITY: I'm just gotten, thanks to my wife, who you know, you know, been reading the Old Testament. Because as a good Catholic growing up, I studied more the New Testament.
WARREN: Just ignored that part.
HANNITY: I ignored the Old Testament. But what about King David? What about the -- all the battles, all the conflict, you know, going back - - you know, Abraham -- Adam and Eve and their children, going forward?
WARREN: The point is, there are some things worth dying for. There's no doubt about that. And I would die for my family. I would die for my freedom. I would die for this country.
HANNITY: If somebody broke into your house, you would be justified to kill them?
WARREN: I would be justified to protect my family. Absolutely.
HANNITY: And if it took killing them?
HANNITY: But it's not murder at that point?
WARREN: No. Murder is not self-defense.
That's so Christian, calling for the heads of specific people. I suppose he'd like to have it served on a silver platter and to drink the blood afterwards?
This is absurd. This man should be about as close to Obama's presidency as Dick Cheney. Or as anyone else who thinks assassination of heads of state is a good idea.
Both Obama and McCain were running on versions of the "post-partisan" message. But I thought that Obama's version was that he was going to bring people together under progressive policy, not just put up the banner of guns, God and gays and hope no one asks that many questions.
Update: Rick Warren doesn't like Christians who disagree with him.
Rick Warren, cloaked in his public image as a "new" kind of evangelical, took aim at non-evangelical Christians this week, saying in an interview with Beliefnet editor Steven Waldman that "social gospel" Christians believe that they "don't really need to care about Jesus' personal salvation any more. You don't really have to care about redemption, the cross, repentance. All we need to do is redeem the social structures of society and if we make those social structures better then the world will be a better place. In many ways it was just Marxism in Christian clothing."
The Beliefnet interview led associate dean of Religious Life at Princeton University Paul Raushenbush to write on his blog that he is "sick of Rick." About Warren's boasts of awakening evangelicals to God calling them to help the poor, Raushenbush writes "duh!" and asks the celebrity preacher "to have a little humility about the work of his church on AIDS ('my church has done more than any other church helping people with AIDS' -- please! Try talking to Glide Church in the Tenderloin area in San Francisco)."
And HRC has a statement out:
Dear President-elect Obama -
Let me get right to the point. Your invitation to Reverend Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at your inauguration is a genuine blow to LGBT Americans. Our loss in California over the passage of Proposition 8 which stripped loving, committed same-sex couples of their given legal right to marry is the greatest loss our community has faced in 40 years. And by inviting Rick Warren to your inauguration, you have tarnished the view that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans have a place at your table.
Rick Warren has not sat on the sidelines in the fight for basic equality and fairness. In fact, Rev. Warren spoke out vocally in support of Prop 8 in California saying, "there is no need to change the universal, historical definition of marriage to appease 2 percent of our population ... This is not a political issue -- it is a moral issue that God has spoken clearly about." Furthermore, he continues to misrepresent marriage equality as silencing his religious views. This was a lie during the battle over Proposition 8, and it's a lie today.
Rev. Warren cannot name a single theological issue that he and vehemently, anti-gay theologian James Dobson disagree on. Rev. Warren is not a moderate pastor who is trying to bring all sides together. Instead, Rev. Warren has often played the role of general in the cultural war waged against LGBT Americans, many of whom also share a strong tradition of religion and faith.
We have been moved by your calls to religious leaders to own up to the homophobia and racism that has stood in the way of combating HIV and AIDS in this country. And that you have publicly called on religious leaders to open their hearts to their LGBT family members, neighbors and friends.
But in this case, we feel a deep level of disrespect when one of architects and promoters of an anti-gay agenda is given the prominence and the pulpit of your historic nomination. Only when Rev. Warren and others support basic legislative protections for LGBT Americans can we believe their claim that they are not four-square against our rights and dignity. In that light, we urge you to reconsider this announcement.
Human Rights Campaign
This is a big "Fuck you" to the left and the groups that make up the Democratic Party.
This is only going to feed those "Democrats divided" stories, even though it's nothing of the sort. If anything, I see the entire left coming together to call this idea just terrible.