Saturday, December 20, 2008

Coming Together

Kudos to President-elect Obama for choosing Rick Warren, noted pastor of Saddleback Church, and Rev. Joseph Lowery, civil rights activist, to pray at his inauguration.

These choices, representing two strong leaders who represent different factions of Christianity, demonstrate Obama's commitment to bringing together opposing forces for the greater good. When questioned about the picks, he said, "we can disagree without being disagreeable and then focus on those things that we hold in common as Americans."

The "Amen" you hear is coming from this Republican.

Unfortunately, the Gay Rights extremists are shouting their criticisms of Obama for picking Warren, who is a supporter of California's Proposition 8, banning gay marriage. Warren is no homophobic, having spent untold time and resources on fighting the spread of AIDs around the world, an issue which, of course, has a huge impact on the gay community. But he still has strong beliefs in how marriage is to be defined and he is not backing down.

Obama, reiterating his commitment to "agreeing without being disagreeable," has stood by his choice. Obama remembers that Warren invited him to speak at his church a couple of years ago at a conference on AIDS. Warren was at that time strongly critized by his parisioners and other conservative followers but refused to budge, reminding his critics that Obama had done much in the AIDS battle and deserved to be heard. Obama and Warren forged a friendship which has lasted.

Now Obama is taking the heat for extending the invitation to Warren.

In his wildly popular book, The Purpose Driven Life, Warren's first admonition to readers is: "It's Not About You." Those words are simple yet profound, words that would be well taken to heart by those so quick to criticize.


Redlefty said...

I respect both men in unique ways, and also disagree with both men in other unique ways. To see them stick together like this is very encouraging.

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Bob Barbanes: said...

When I first heard that Obama had picked Warren (who I like) to pray at the inauguration, my first question was, "Why?" Why is a minister of any stripe PRAYING at a government function? To me it just seems...wrong. And I say that as a baptized Catholic who thinks that the government should not be influenced by religion.

If religions want to keep their sacrament of marriage as something that happens between a man and a woman, fine. No problemo! But if two guys or two women want to get married in a civil ceremony at City Hall without any religious affiliation, then how exactly do religions have any say in the matter?

A little while back, a friend of mine named JB got married to the first girl who let him sleep with her. I'm dead serious - guys do this sometimes. He pretended that they were in love, but to all of us it was transparent as Saran Wrap.

Inevitably, he cheated on her, she found out, and they quickly divorced. The girl he cheated with eventually got pregnant (big surprise!), just as JB is now going on a sightseeing tour of Iraq courtesy of the U.S. Army.

JB, this paragon of virtue, knowing that he could be killed, and not wanting his son to be without benefits wants to marry the girl before he ships out. This time, there isn't even any pretense of love. Or committment. Aww, the sentimentality just makes you want to well up with tears, no?

So...HE gets to be married, twice to women he doesn't love, in ceremonies that no church on the planet would sponsor or endorse. And that's okay. Because that's what marriage is all about to straight people.

But two guys who love each other and want to share their lives together? Oh no! Heaven forbid! That'll open the door to polygamy, sheep-marriages and, well, the end of the world!

Yeah. Right.

Bob said...

A couple of things and then I'm not saying anything else about this (and how in the world did I get spam in the middle of my comments, 'MoneyBonanaza,' above?! Yuck.)

The President-elect is having a prayer, or prayers, at his inauguration because he is a man of faith and he would not think of going forward with this daunting job he is about to undertake without invoking the blessing of his Creator and making that a central part of the ceremonies. It poses absolutely no threat to those who choose not to believe (see your previous post about the atheists and the Nativity), nor does it threaten any type of separation of church and state. It's his first amendment right.

I appreciate your thoughts about gay marriage but that's not the point. Warren has a deeply held conviction in opposition to it. You and I might disagree with him but he's not over-imposing about it or hateful toward gay people like some of the tiresome members of the Religous Right. He has certainly shown his willingness to find common ground with those who don't share his beliefs. But again, this is a conviction he has and he should not be excluded from praying at the inauguration because of it. And his critics, in my opinion, need to lighten up.

Pam said...

Redlefty expressed my feelings exactly.

I'm ever more hopeful with what I'm seeing of our newly-elected President.

Perhaps much of his 'change' is what's needed at this time in our country.

I pray for his successful Presidency.

Kelly said...

I, too, pray for Obama and his presidency. Still... I have to say I haven't seen much evidence of what I'd really call "change" taking place. I like some of his picks, but a few really concern me.

Bob, you can delete that spam comment.

Debby said...

I think that it's very important to learn to work together despite our differences. Period.

Like, for instance, Bob, still respect you despite the fact that you rooted for the wrong team today. Even though the Steelers played one crappy game, I was hoping that they'd win. But they didn't. And I'm not bitter. Much.

Hal Johnson said...

Debby, youse best stick to politics and religion when you comment. People can get doggone heated when it comes to their sports teams.

Debby said...

You're correct, Hal. Politics (and religion) is much less likely to incite heated debate. No offense intended, sports fans. Unlike the Titan blowing his nose on the sacred 'terrible towel'.


Merry Christmas, everyone!

Bob said...

Unfortunately we do have some rogues playing for the Titans and I hate it when they do stuff like that. Believe me I am not bragging about anything yet. There could be a rematch before the playoffs are over.