Many people throughout the world are about to celebrate the birthday of the greatest Christian of them all. The celebration is about peace on earth and good will toward men (sick) (sp). In the midst of all those preparations, some of us are taking note of Barack Obama’s decision to ask Pastor Rick Warren to give the “invocation” at his Inauguration. I’m taking note of the argument being made by Obama and his transition team and swallowed uncritically by many of the followers of the “hope” and “change” President that defends the spirit of Obama’s choice – reaching out to people with whom he disagrees, the “big tent” of inclusiveness and the notion that chatting up Warren might lead to some sort of American consensus under Obama’s leadership.
It was truly awful to watch Roland Martin defend Obama’s choice on CNN, in conversation with Hilary Rosen and Robert Zimmerman. He made the critical error of insisting that the “issue” before us now is Warren’s disagreement with many of us (though probably not Roland Martin) about the issue of same-sex marriage. Hilary Rosen made it clear that disagreement over same-sex marriage isn’t, is not, what people are angry about right now. Warren certainly has a right to take a stand against same-sex marriage and it’s no surprise that doing so would actually unite him with Obama, who doesn’t believe in it either.
The problem with Warren is that he has compared gay and lesbian unions to polygamy, pedophilia and incest. He is a man who believes that at least 10% of his fellow citizens are sexual perverts who commit crimes, not just a sins. Not only does Warren believe that gays and lesbians should not be allowed to marry, he also believes they should all be in jail. Not just hell. Jail. That is what follows from polygamy, pedophilia and incest. If he doesn’t mean that, he ought to clarify.
But he won’t, because Rick Warren is a bigot. Rick Warren is an “out” bigot. Roland Martin appears not to notice the bigotry – a failure he shares with many supposedly liberal people who continue to defend Obama’s choice and tell people to quit whining. For me, Obama’s choice is the equivalent of inviting the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan to do the invocation. Two flaming bigots, Warren and the Grand Wizard, who believe that a fraction of the population is not only entitled to fewer rights than their fellow citizens, which is bad enough, but who also believe that something that’s part of the humanity of those citizens is, in itself, threatening to the point of criminality. Gay and lesbian people are beaten in the streets by citizens who listen to guys like Rick Warren.
Warren’s position is indefensible. So is the Grand Wizard’s. And so is Obama’s. The decision to invite Rick Warren into the tent will contribute nothing towards unifying the people within. I cannot be united with a homophobic bigot.
On the terms of his own Christianity, Warren is a hate-mongering hypocrite. By association, so is Barack Obama. And Baby Jesus weeps.