Zero Tolerance on Intolerance

I’m going to bump my fun question out of the way because I read this story and just could not avoid comment. Many gay rights groups are angry at Obama because he’s going to let Rick Warren pray at the inauguration. From CNN:

Warren, one of the most influential religious leaders in the nation, has championed issues such as a reduction of global poverty, human rights abuses and the AIDS epidemic.

But the founder of the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, has also adhered to socially conservative stances — including his opposition to gay marriage and abortion rights that puts him at odds with many in the Democratic Party, especially the party’s most liberal wing.

“[It’s] shrewd politics, but if anyone is under any illusion that Obama is interested in advancing gay equality, they should probably sober up now,” Andrew Sullivan wrote on the Atlantic Web site Wednesday.

This is so unbelievably frustrating. Does Andrew Sullivan really think that because Rick Warren will pray at the inauguration that Obama is not going to advance gay equality? Really? I have grown so unbelievably weary of slash and burn mentality. Rick Warren is wrong about gay rights. He is wrong about preemptive war. But he is right about poverty, climate change, and global AIDS epidemic. He is right about encouraging the evangelical community to stop being single issue focused.

Earlier in the article American Way President Kathryn Kolbert said, “There is no substantive difference between Rick Warren and James Dobson. . . . The only difference is tone. His tone is moderate, but his ideas are radical.” That is such B.S. When was the last time James Dobson said we should do something about climate change. I have lost my patience for this unhelpful all or nothing attitude. I can’t stand liberal fundamentalist fanatics anymore than I can the conservative variety.

2 replies on “Zero Tolerance on Intolerance”

You know, I support what you have said so much, Jim. And as yesterday wore on and I heard many more references to Obama’s choice of someone to say the prayer at Inauguration, I had a few other thoughts.

We listen with such biases, interpreting through our own values that it will surely take a while for all of us to understand how Obama will interpret his own words. We have heard him repeatedly talk about loosening our tight grip on the differences that divide us. I think he’s demonstrating it. By choosing Rick Warren to participate in the Inauguration he is showing respect for the faith of a man whose interpretation of that faith bears some distinct differences from Obama’s own. I see Obama demonstrating that the differences in practice don’t negate either man’s faith, and there’s room on the same stage for a progressive and an evangelical.

The beginning of justice is not to make us all alike, but to cultivate respect for our differences.

I’m just sad that Barack couldn’t invite his old pastor, Jeremiah Wright, to bring the invocation. How sad is that, that we took that relationship away from him?

We suck.

p.s. I also think there is obvious political wisdom in Obama’s pick of Warren.

Another great possibility would have been Jim Wallis — the only progressive evangelical who has made himself fairly public. However, I am very sad to admit that his name and face recognition may not be on a par with Rick Warren. I AM SO VERY SAD TO SAY that there is no progressive Christian leader who has reached the iconic status that several fundamentalist evangelicals have reached. We need to do some serious work on that.

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