Rick Warren and Barack Obama

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The inclusion of Pastor Rick Warren in Barack Obama’s inaugural day activities has caused quite a stir. Warren will lead the inaugural day prayer on January 20th, 2009 as Barack Obama becomes the 44th President of the United States. This has a lot of groups up-in-arms primarily because of Warren’s position on gay marriage: He doesn’t buy it.

Warren was a vocal proponent of Prop 8, the amendment to California’s constitution that solidified marriage in the state’s eyes was between a man and a woman. He’s also compared gay marriage to adults marrying children (some call that incest), and this has gay rights groups very, very upset about his involvement in anything Obama-related. “He doesn’t think like us!” they cry. “He’s a bigot - he doesn’t agree with our way of life! He hates gays!” This is, by and large, how Warren has been portrayed by the media.

On the flip side, we have Christians in this country who openly called Barack Obama “Hitler” during the past campaign season and likened his election to the coming of the antiChrist. I was forwarded numerous emails (as I’m sure you were to) from people of faith declaring that Obama was a closet Muslim and that once he became President he would reenact Sharia law. He also was a closet homosexual, a closet crack addict, and a closet black liberationist theologian, as evidenced by his attendance (for 20 years, don’tcha know?) at Jeremiah Wright’s church. It seemed no matter what Obama did, he was always doing it under a shroud of secrecy and could never keep the Christian population happy.

Ultimately, here’s what I don’t understand: Proponents of gay marriage say, “Accept our opinion … Or else!” Opponents of gay marriage, essentially, say the same thing, “Accept our opinion … Or else!” Each side attempts to intelligently argue their rationale for holding their respective position (i.e. “it’s not a choice to be gay, I was born like this” and “the Bible says marriage is between a man and a woman.”) But when push comes to shove, each end of the argument breaks down to a grown-up version of “I’m taking my ball and going home.” In a word: Whining.

God bless Barack Obama for reaching out to Rick Warren. God bless Rick Warren for reaching out to Obama. I like what openly gay columnist Bob Ostertag said in the Huffington Post, “I am delighted that there is a new generation of evangelicals that thinks the biggest issue isn’t homosexuality but global climate change, AIDS, and poverty [...] I am so ready to make common cause with them. I couldn’t care less about what they think of gay marriage.” Amen.

When did disagreeing with someone start to mean the same thing as hating them?

Update: Want to hear a lively discussion about this very topic? Tune in on 12.22 to 98.3 WOW-FM from 2 to 3:15 pm CST. I’ll be on Bradshaw’s show in the Des Moines metro area. Otherwise, check it out online here.

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12 Responses to “Rick Warren and Barack Obama”

  1. joshconcarne December 22, 2008 at 2:11 pm #

    “When did disagreeing with someone start to mean the same thing as hating them?”

    When your disagreement becomes law and relegates an entire population to second-class citizenship, that's when.

  2. mers December 22, 2008 at 2:12 pm #

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  3. Brian VanH. December 22, 2008 at 2:19 pm #

    Great post….I agree completely.

    Someone once told me, “People never truly listen, they are just waiting for their turn to talk.”. I find some truth in that. In some of these politically charged topics, it does seem like there is no middle ground….you're either my friend, or you're my sworn enemy. I have seen some forums and other blogs that have specifically discussed Prop8 and I was amazed at the amount of mudslinging that was going on. With issues like this, people seem to only focus on THEIR purpose and only strive to force their opinions on others.

    It seems to me that if you truly want others to understand (or perhaps even adopt) your beliefs, the best way to do that is to LISTEN to what the other side has to say and try to understand their viewpoint. Simply telling them that they are wrong and harboring hostility towards them is not going to endear them to your cause. If anything, hostility adds credence to their opposition and makes them even less inclined to see your side. Seems to me that LISTENING is the first step towards inflicting any type of social or political change.

    Anyway, great article and nice blog.

  4. Seekermike December 22, 2008 at 3:51 pm #

    I wish Obama had chosen someone besides Rick Warren to lead the inaugural prayer. However, there are more important issues than who leads a prayer: the war in Iraq, the economy, the environment. As far as gay issues go, passing nationwide job protection (the Employment Non-discrimination Act or ENDA) is higher priority than choosing who prays at the inaugural.

  5. Justin Wise December 22, 2008 at 6:59 pm #

    @joshconcarne: Can you explain this a little more? I'm note sure whom you're referring to.

  6. G December 23, 2008 at 2:08 am #

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  7. MIPO777 December 23, 2008 at 12:06 pm #

    Justin,
    Read this article & immediately thought of some the things you were talking about that Christians do on the radio yesterday. I'm normally not one to go overboard for “sappy” stories but you have got to read this. These Christians “get it”.
    http://sports.espn.go.com/espnmag/story?section

  8. Justin Wise December 23, 2008 at 1:12 pm #

    @Mipo: Thank, brother. Keep doin' what you do!

  9. MIPO777 December 23, 2008 at 2:06 pm #

    Justin,
    Read this article & immediately thought of some the things you were talking about that Christians do on the radio yesterday. I'm normally not one to go overboard for “sappy” stories but you have got to read this. These Christians “get it”.
    http://sports.espn.go.com/espnmag/story?section

  10. Justin Wise December 23, 2008 at 3:12 pm #

    @Mipo: Thank, brother. Keep doin' what you do!

  11. MIPO777 December 23, 2008 at 7:06 pm #

    Justin,
    Read this article & immediately thought of some the things you were talking about that Christians do on the radio yesterday. I'm normally not one to go overboard for “sappy” stories but you have got to read this. These Christians “get it”.
    http://sports.espn.go.com/espnmag/story?section

  12. Justin Wise December 23, 2008 at 8:12 pm #

    @Mipo: Thank, brother. Keep doin' what you do!