Thursday, December 18, 2008

Obama’s Inaugural Invocation Pick: Why All the Surprise?

In an announcement outlining some plans for Barack Obama’s historic inauguration as President of the United States, the bit of news of an evangelical minister, Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in Southern California managed to gain the attention of gay rights activists.

Warren, it seems, is going to deliver the opening invocation.

This has sent the GLBT community on its ear and many activists are calling for Obama to retract that choice.

Warren, you see, although becoming known for his moderation in all things rightwing, was on record as supporting Proposition 8, a law that actually takes away rights, the right of gays to wed. And, it seems, he was being a real stinker about it, comparing homosexual love to all sorts of banned fornication.

Gay community reactions run the gamut between a "genuine blow against LGBT rights" and "a grave disappointment."

But here’s the thing: In the campaign, Barack Obama promised that he was going to do just things like this in his presidency.

So what’s the big surprise?

Recall that Obama appeared on stage with Rick Warren at his Civil Forum on religion. In that forum Obama agreed to disagree with socially myopic views of Warren.

Recall that Warren invited Obama to speak at an earlier forum on AIDS, and this move earned Warren the enmity of older evangelicals.

They know each other.

And of late, Obama has been shopping around for a new spiritual leader, having thrown his old one under the bus. He couldn't really invite his own minister, as he is between spiritual advisers at the moment

So I reiterate, this should not be a big surprise, and I would expect more of the same in the future.

So what do I think about his choice? I think it’s a little insensitive, and I think that he just thumbed his nose at the gay community. But listen, that’s politics. And that’s religion. In either case, there’s no pleasing everyone.

Frankly I’m a little disappointed. Not with his choice, but that he didn’t invite an Indonesian Imam to conduct the invocation. Can you imagine the reaction to that?

The right wing evangelicals would come absolutely unglued and book one-way passages on steamships to New Zealand and the like.

And America would be a better country for it.


Anonymous said...

Obama needs to learn a lesson Bush never did. Don't try to "grow the size of the tent" if it's going to alienate your base.

Bush, at Rove's urging, tried to convince Hispanics he was "their guy" (by his stances on immigration). In the end, he atracted no Hispanics and alienated much of his conservative base.

Obama is off to the same start with the ultra-liberal and gay base of the Democratic party.

Clark Bowers said...

It's funny how you 'ALREADY'have to defend the first decision Obama makes even before he is sworn in!
It starts with who is swearing him in with the bible?!!!

One word, "WOW".

Again, you complained about Bush, but he defend the democrats on the bailout to the border. He wasn't even a conservative, but you disagreed on what? The iraq war? Obama wants a new full fledged war in Afghanistan.

You will have to defend Obama so much, because he my friend will be far worse then Bush ever was. In both reality and the distorted mind of the obtuse democrats.

Im going to enjoy putting up my new 'half qualified blog'for the Obama administration. I already have the new graphic created. You'll love it.

I hope you enjoy.


Anonymous said...


The only people who are upset at this choice is the GLBT community. While it is understandable, you can't please everybody. The point is to upset the least amount of people possible.

Furthermore, people generally still support our efforts in Afghanistan. It just got lost in the shuffle of the unjust and illegal war in Iraq.

I find it funny that you have to justify the actions of Bush five years after the fact. See, it works both ways!

Keep up the good work at Half Empty.

Clark Bowers said...

one word more word to describe your rebuttal, weak.

Anonymous said...


You are correct. It was a weak rebuttal. Allow me to make a stronger one.

1) Only a small minority are vocally upset about Obama's choice... a very small minority. As such, I hardly see Half Empty as "defending" Obama since, as stated, so few actually have a problem with this.

2) Once again, the war in Afghanistan is far more just than the war in Iraq. Of course, the question now isn't whether we should have gone in, but what is the best method for getting out.

3) My rebuttal might have been weak, but it relied on my opinion (and the opinion of about 70% of Americans) that Bush was a terrible president. Your argument breaks down to "I can see the future and Obama will be far worse than Bush."

Whose argument is weak again?