Metro State Atheists

Promoting Science, Reason, and Secular Values

Obama Selects Rick Warren for Invocation

So, I just read an article, linked here, about how Barack Obama has selected evangelical pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration.  Now Obama is all about change, so lets take a look at some of the changes Rick Warren would like to see.

“Many Rwandans would identify themselves as Christians, but for most of them it’s just a label. Their Christian religion didn’t keep the 1994 genocide from happening, and it left horrible spiritual scars on the country. More than 800,000 people died and maybe 2 million were forced to flee the country. They have made some good progress in the last 10 years, but the only thing that will heal Rwanda’s scars is the love of Jesus Christ.” -Rick Warren, in an interview with the Women’s Missionary Union

While I disagree Warren on this, I can understand were he is coming from.  I don’t have a problem this, in and of itself.  What bugs me is that fact that said genocide is the product of a nasty little thing called intolerance.  Now, intolerance manifests itself in a lot of ugly ways, of which racism is only one.  Some people are intolerant of religion, others of certain ethnic and cultural groups, and some of sexual diversity.  However, the main culprit is always the same: intolerance.  To be anti-gay is no different than being anti-Jewish or anti-black.  Rick warren is clearly opposed to such bigotry though, seeing as he seems as disgusted with the Rwandan genocide as I am.  Or is he?

What you will find in the video above is Warren comparing gay marriage to incest, polygamy, and statutory rape.  He claims to be against gay marriage, and against altering the definition of marriage, a stance which he justifies by invoking religious tradition.  I might of missed this in my civic class, but I’m pretty sure that religious tradition, no matter how old and how many religions ascribe to it, doesn’t play a role in determining laws in America.  Warren’s stance is basically that becuase religious tradition regarding gay marriage has been intolerant all these years, we shouldn’t go changing it now.  He claims to believe in equal rights, but supports thousands of years of intolerant tradition.  That fact that same-sex marriage is a religious tradition is irrelevant, and has no bearing on the legal definition of marriage.  Warren claims this is not a Christian issue, but he does indicate that it is a religious one.  Whats the difference?  Why should me refrain from abolishing intolerance and embracing equal rights based on religious tradition?  Polygamy is and was a tradition once too.

At the beginning of this, Warren claims to be a supporter of the separation of church and state.  But, in the previous video, clearly stated that he is opposed to altering the definition of marriage based on religious tradition!  This all seems a bit inconsistent to me.  I’m pretty sure that opposing legislature based on religious traditions violates the principle of church state separation.

I have more I could say about Warren, but I’m done for now.  I’m extremely disappointed in Obama’s decision to associate himself with someone so anti-change, and pro-tradition.

– Chalmer

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December 18, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

13 Comments »

  1. To quote Sarah Silverman from the “Jesus is Magic” album, what the cock is that shit?!

    Comment by Arkle | December 18, 2008

  2. I’m extremely disappointed in Obama’s decision to associate himself with someone so anti-change, and pro-tradition

    have you ever looked into what you are talking about. why don’t you chatise the Cathloic chruch for not wanting to change. why are you mad because people want to live free from people telling them how to live. if you are one of the people that backs Obama for change this country is in for a longr haul than they thought. it is time ot get over yourselves.

    Comment by Shawn Thornton | December 18, 2008

  3. I do chastise the Catholic church for not wanting to change. Did you imagine I could fit my opinion about everything into a single blog? And I’m not mad becuase people want to live free, I’m mad becuase Obama is associating himself with people opposed some of the very things he talked about changing. Gay marriage is about essential freedoms! Your just putting words in my mouth.
    – Chalmer

    Comment by Metro State Atheists | December 18, 2008

  4. Rick Warren is someone like Obama should be trying to stir clear from, rather than befriend. Rick Warren is a representation of the religious tyranny we have experienced over the passed 8 years under the Bush Administration. I, for one, am tired of the Religious Right (who are usually wrong) attempting to instill what they call “morals” on the rest of the non-Evangelical society. As for the Catholic Church; it may be the single most corrupt and outrageous organization of cartel-like animals in the western world. I see the pope as being no better than the leaders of large terrorist organizations.

    Joel

    Comment by Metro State Atheists | December 18, 2008

  5. Barack Obama is free to choose whomever he wants to work with, and to be a part of his inauguration. It is a true disappointment that he has selected Rick Warren to be a part of the celebration, when Warren clearly espouses conservative and discriminatory viewpoints from his church in Southern California and in public interviews. This is a nation open to differences of opinion and Obama has stated that he wants his administration to include diverse opinions. Let’s see if he can truly embrace that or just give it lip service.

    Comment by Bill | December 19, 2008

  6. Thanks Bill, and I agree.

    Comment by Metro State Atheists | December 19, 2008

  7. It’s right to support freedom of speech, and that right includes opinions we find offensive–which it seems the radical right has quite forgotten as they for the most part want to hear only speech they agree with [just look at control of the networks, censorship in Hollywood, control of the textbooks by the radical right Texas state school board, interference with public policy attempting to interject religion and shut down atheist sites, etc.].
    In choosing Warren for his inauguration, ignoring any openly gay artists, politicians, members of any of the liberal churches for participating, Obama sends a message beyond being open to “listening.” It begs the question, how big can a diverse and open tent be before you lose the very values that define it in the first place? How far can tolerance embrace intolerance before it becomes intolerance? Warren and those who follow his irrationality do not agree to disagree; if that were the case, they would not be working to change the laws to impose their beliefs on everyone else and denying gays the rght to marry. Tolerance is practicing your belief but not shoving it on others. It also means being aware that your one specific “definition” of God’s will does not give you the right to impose it on others; Warren forgot to mention all the religions and cultures that have lasted much longer than Christianity that have included gays–oh, and the Christian sects today that do not agree with his position (he does not speak for all Christians). His justification holds only for those who want to follow his Brand of Christianity, not to be enshrined in law. And his knowledge of government is incorrect. The will of the people does not have the right to run over the rights of minorities; the Justice System is there for the very purpose of protecting the minority from the will and whim of the majority, and the court does have the final say; the will of the people does not. I thank our majority non-Christian founding fathers for wisely realizing that mob rule must also have a check put upon it.

    Comment by riki | December 23, 2008

  8. You know what the most interesting part of this is? Rick Warrens taking it from both sides. Liberals hate the choice because Rick Warren’s intolerant. Conservatives are mad at Rick Warren because he’s taking the offer from Obama, who they find very liberal.

    It’s interesting because it’s kind of intolerance from all angles, isn’t it? There’s really not too many ways to be tolerant of everything because there’s some stuff that you’re just not going to like. Being an atheist, are you tolerant of Christian evangelism? Me being a Christian, same question but reversed. You know?

    There’s no real way to get away from being called “intolerant” if you feel passionately about something. It’s a sticky situation, and I would say you’re completely right that it’s the bottom line of most conflicts or problems. It’s very unfortunate, but, I think it goes hand-in-hand with opinions and convictions. If we had neither, what would we do?

    There definitely wouldn’t be as many bloggers without opinions! Right?

    Comment by Bman | January 9, 2009

  9. I’m intolerant against the intolerant, and I have no problem with that.

    Comment by Metro State Atheists | January 9, 2009

  10. It depends also on the definition of intolerance, which has most certainly changed; tolerance is letting people practice and believe what they want as long as it doesn’t harm others! It’s when their belief becomes what others who disagree must do that it is intolerance. You don’t believe in abortion? Don’t have one. Don’t believe in gay marriage? Don’t marry someone of the same sex. Don’t believe in birth control? Then don’t use it. That is private choice based on belief. When you force your belief, making everyone follow it whether they want to or not, that is intolerance–claiming yours is the only way, based on “faith.” Finally, some of what Rick Warren has really been doing in Africa is coming out. He has been defending himself by touting his work on preventing AIDS when in fact, he’s been enforcing programs destroying condoms and birth control as well as supporting Anglican bishops upset over the appt. of the gay bishop here in the US, encouraging them to withdraw from the Anglican church. Care about torture or genocide? No. He’s more concerned with promoting anti-gay laws in Africa. Evangelicals think he’s liberal? Really? He himself has said the only difference between himself and those like Pat Roberson is his “tone.” So much for “liberal” or “tolerance.”

    Comment by riki | January 12, 2009

  11. WHO DECIDES THE DEFINITION OF RIGHT AND WRONG? IS IT WRONG FOR ME TO HAVE SEX WITH A TWO YEAR OLD? NO! THAT IS WHAT A PEDIPHILE WOULD SAY? IS IT WRONG FOR ME TO MARRY A TWO YEAR OLD? WELL, THAT ALL DEPENDS. IT DEPENDS ON WHAT YOUR DEFINITION OF MORALITY IS. BUT WHEN DOES IT END AND WHERE DOES IT BEGAN? IS IT WRONG TO GIVE A FIVE YEAR OLD ALCOHOL OR DRUGS? WELL, THE LAW HAS DEFINED THESE MORES AS WRONG. EVEN HOMOSEXUALITY IS UP FOR GRABS AND OTHER ISSUES WILL BE UP FOR GRABS AS WELL WHEN WE ALL DECIDE THAT WE CAN DETERMINE OUR OWN MORALITY AND REWRITE THE LAWS TO FIT OUR DESIRES AND WHIMS. THEN WHAT YOU GET IS A COUNTRY OPEN FOR WHATEVER PEOPLE SAY IS RIGHT FOR THEM. YOU WILL EVENTUALLY HAVE A DYSFUNTIONAL, TYRANNICAL SOCIETY. WE ARE ALMOST THERE.

    Comment by gwen | March 5, 2009

  12. Gwen,
    Morality may be subjective, but that doesn’t mean you can’t support some kind of legal system. It only becomes an issue when you equate morality with law. This concept of law, that it represents some kind of moral absolutism, has nearly always been detrimental to the well being of society.
    – Chalmer

    Comment by Metro State Atheists | March 6, 2009

  13. What Chalmer is trying to say Gwen is that, all those examples are ludicrous. I don’t intend on expounding on the examples you list, but I will only say is that society has an agreement about why your examples are wrong. They are reasoned and sound. One need not god to figured it out.

    Joel

    Comment by Metro State Atheists | March 7, 2009


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