Rick Warren is NOT Change We Can Believe In

Sun, December 21, 2008


Rick Warren has gotten more than his share of attention over the last week since Barack Obama announced that he would give the invocation at the inauguration. Not surprisingly, this has spurred a lot of conversation about whether Obama is just trying to be inclusive of those who opposed him in the election or whether the president-elect is pandering to those whose votes he’ll want in 2012.

It’s hard for me to find room in my heart or my brain for the inclusiveness argument. People don’t like to use the word, but “bigot” seems to fit the way Warren operates. It’s his way or the highway when it comes to religion — his version of intolerance declares that some of my family members are going to hell. And Warren isn’t exactly embracing the gay community. Does Barack Obama really want this guy standing up there representing him on the first day of Camelot II?

Aside from the members of my family that Rick Warren thinks aren’t worth “saving,” I also have family who are more like Warren than I care to think about. I’ve had to look that face of intolerance in the eye and have been told that I’ll be prayed for because my family is different from the one version of family many evangelicals believe in. I don’t need that kind of prayer and I don’t want to see that faux tolerance staring back at me on the morning of January 20, 2009.

Reaching out to others is admirable and I get what Obama is trying to do. But extending a hand to those who pretend to be your friends and who will pull the carpet out from under you if it’s to their benefit is risky and naive. When we’re young and innocent, it’s hard to tell one type of “friend” from another. We’ve all been there and have regretted putting our faith in someone we thought was a friend, only to learn their true opportunistic character. I expect my president, at the age of 47, to be able to tell the difference.

Of course, while we’re all focusing on the Warren Trojan Horse, the Bush administration is doing it’s stealth thing by taking away rights women have for health care providers to do their jobs without inserting religion into the mix. You’re not hearing a lot about that on the news, and I suspect the Sunday shows will be filled with more debate about The Purpose Driven pastor than the efforts of Bush to toss women back into the dark ages of reproductive care with a little something called the Medical Conscience Rule, which would allow doctors and nurses and other health care providers to refuse to provide full reproductive medical care or information if it conflicts with the provider’s religious beliefs.

The funny thing is this — Warren and his millions of followers are on board with this change, as well. So can we really expect that President Obama will do his utmost to reverse these last-minute changes when they’re supported by the ones he’s giving high profile props to on Inauguration Day?

We all know the worn out phrase “the more things change the more they stay the same.” If Obama’s current version of change looks like Rick Warren, I don’t want it if it means that those of us who want a tolerant society that respects all people must wait while our new president reaches out to those who laugh at such an idea.

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14 Responses to “Rick Warren is NOT Change We Can Believe In”

  1. Jessica Gottlieb Says:

    Oh my gawd.

    We agree. But you say it with so much more spunk than I can muster…

  2. anniegirl1138 Says:

    I never believed that Obama was about change. Change was his buzz word of choice but he was/is the same old thing just newer.

    We are never going to have a pro-women president until we actually elect a woman and I am afraid our daughters will be old women when(if) that ever happens.

    Isn’t it interesting how the Warren thing is mostly being played on the gay angle and the his beliefs about women (more threatening really because women’s real, existing rights are being threatned whereas gay marriage is barely a reality in the legal sense) aren’t mentioned much or at all?

    Is there any place in the world where women are equal? It’s not the U.S. that’s for sure.

  3. Lezzymom Says:

    Thanks for writing about this. I’m trying to move on from the sting of being slapped in the face. I’m trying to focus on Rev. Lowery who I believe is a good choice. I think we should give him some more attention. I wrote about it here http://lezgetreal.com/2008/12/is-warren-just-grand-balancing-act-by.html

  4. Holly Says:

    “Does Barack Obama really want this guy standing up there representing him on the first day of Camelot II?”

    Instead of giving Warren 5 minutes of your time, take a look at the new nominees on the science front. These are the folks who are going to make a difference. These are the men and women who will hold positions of power in the administration.

    Steven Chu, PhD and Nobel Prize co-winner) as his Sec. of Energy position. One of the most politically significant things Chu has done was to engineer an agreement between UC Berkeley and BP Oil. He has proven ability to work with both scientists AND big companies. He’s a bridge. He’s a change maker. And he is a damn smart guy. His degrees are in physics.

    John Holdren (Director of the Program on Science, Technology, and Public Policy at the Kennedy School) as his director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. He is simply impressive. An intellect. A scientist. Holdren, holds MS and PhD degrees in aerospace engineering and plasma physics from MIT and Stanford.

    Dr. Jane Lubchenco (environmental scientist and marine ecologist, received her Ph.D. from Harvard University in marine ecology) for the Administrator of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Again, look up her credentials. This is a WOMAN who impacts those around her. She has practical experience as well as research experience. She is also a bridge between academics and the general public. She founded the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program.

    Co-chairs of the Council of Advisers on Science and Technology,

    Harold E. Varmus, who also is a Nobel prize winner and the recipient of many many academic awards.

    Eric S. Lander, PhD, Professor and Associate Professor of Biology at the MIT and a Professor of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School. He was was the Director of the Whitehead/MIT Center for Genome Research. He has his degrees in mathematics. For those who read your blog, mathematics at this level are light years away from what most of us can do. This guy is another over achiever.

    Many, if not all of the choices Obama has made are also teachers of one level or another, and this speaks to me. It is one thing to *have* knowledge, it is another entirely, to be able to *impart* that knowledge to others. It is a skill, one the B. Obama has a gift for and one that I think he looks for in others.

    Warren? He’s a pig, but a temp one and if 30 minutes of my time is all he takes up….ppfffttt!

  5. margalit Says:

    Just so you know, Jews don’t believe in an afterlife. No heaven or hell. The Torah doesn’t mention a hell or heaven or an afterlife, except that the dead go to Sheol and can’t praise Yahweh there, so if Yahweh saves them from death, they can continue to praise him for a while longer.

    So what Warren said, although moronic at best to say to another human being regardless of religion, is based upon HIS belief of HIS religion, which does think that those not “saved” are going to Hell. That would be Jews, Muslims, Catholics, Hindus, and anyone else that isn’t a fundamentalist Christian.

    I don’t like the guy, but at least I understand WHY his response was literally worthless. He’s telling someone that doesn’t believe in an afterlife that they are going to have an afterlife. Like he knows personally. Snort.

  6. Kelley Irish Says:

    As a Catholic I find his views disheartening to say the least. Wouldn’t it be nice is we could have a representation from a number of different religions and viewpoints at the innvocation?

  7. PunditMom Says:

    Holly, you are right that there is much to be thankful for when it comes to many on Obama’s cabinet. I’m just worried about the slippery slope he may find himself on if he gets too chummy with the likes of Rick Warren, not because of his religion but because of his intolerance.

  8. Jessica Gottlieb Says:

    @margalit actually Jews do believe in an afterlife and we are awaiting the messiah.

    Discussion of the afterlife would distract us from the many mitzvot we could be accomplishing here and now.

    Men over 40 in groups of 10 are permitted to study Talmud.

    All of this is really neither here nor there. I’d like religion out of the White House. My father landed on American Shores to escape religious persecution and Pastor Warren can wrap himself up in as many biblical verses as he likes, but he still spews hatred and intolerance.

    The decision to stand by him terrifies me.

  9. Holly Says:

    Science and the likes of Rick Warren must be diametrically opposed. He works out of a base of fear, science works from a base of fact and proof.

    From his last weekly address:
    “Because the truth is that promoting science isn’t just about providing resources—it’s about protecting free and open inquiry”

    you can’t have free and open inquiry with Warren’s base in the same discussion.

    Warren will have no sway with a President who upholds science the way Obama does and he will have precious little influence.

    I think we don’t have to worry about intolerance with this one as we have with the last one. This is a progressive president elect, a smart man overall so I think the selection of Warren was something else and we probably won’t see him again.

  10. Holly Says:

    From his last weekly address:

    that should have had some point where I mentioned WHOSE weekly address. It was from our president elect, sorry!

  11. mommapolitico Says:

    Amen, Pundit Mom. There’s inclusion, and then there’s pandering. There’s allowing other opinions t be heard, and there’s selling out. Obama steped too far over the line with this one, and his base is going to recoil. Does he think he has another four years to work this one off? He’d better be careful, ’cause the reelection clock is already ticking…

  12. Malnurtured Snay Says:

    Except … that this IS change. Can you imagine George W. Bush inviting pro-gay minister to deliver this address?

    Obama made it clear during his campaign that he was going to be a president for ALL Americans … not just the ones who voted for him. I don’t agree with Warren’s ideology, but I’m not going to fault Obama for trying to bridge the cultural divide.

  13. Amy@UWM Says:

    HUGE Obama fan, but so very disappointed with this choice. I simply don’t get it. I don’t get how this is political astuteness. And while I get the notion of reaching out to those with whom we disagree, including someone who is not in favor of inclusion in a ceremony celebrating the election of the first African American President feels just so very wrong to me.

  14. fudgelady Says:

    I absolutely agree with you, PunditMom.

    If there’s anyone who should understand that symbolic moments have power, it’s Barack Obama. And the idea of his Presidency beginning by turning over the ‘bully pulpit’ to someone determined to demean many Americans is just plain wrong.

    What part is Rick Warren of “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”?

    Dr. King called that the “creed” of our nation, and his dream was that, one day, America would live out that creed.

    I guess (as if we needed another reminder) we’re not there yet.

    I worked my butt off for Obama and I still hope he will be a huge improvement over the current administration, but putting Rick Warren front and center was a completely unnecessary move that gives the forces of hate in America just that much more ammunition.

    There must have been pastors who affirm ALL God’s children and could have been chosen instead.

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