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.
Below is an e-mail we received the Coalition For Secular Government "MEDIA RELEASE: COALITION FOR SECULAR GOVERNMENT Nearly 40% of Colorado Voters Seek to Destroy Reproductive Rights Sedalia, Colorado / October 7, 2008 Contact: Diana Hsieh, co-author of "Amendment 48 Is Anti-Life" and founder of the Coalition for Secular Government, Diana@SecularGovernment.us or 303.304.0689 A poll of likely voters shows strong support for Amendment 48, the ballot measure that would grant the full legal rights of persons to fertilized eggs. The survey, conducted on September 28th by Rasmussen Reports with 500 likely voters, shows that 39% plan to vote for the measure, 50% to vote against it, while 11% are unsure. (See <http://tinyurl.com/4huary>.) Such strong support for Amendment 48 should surprise anyone familiar with the barrage of criticism published in Colorado media in recent weeks. Critics of the measure have warned voters of its destructive effects on Colorado's laws if passed and enforced. They have shown that it would usher in a near-total ban on abortion, outlaw the birth control pill and in vitro fertilization, and subject pregnant women to police controls. Yet these latest poll results are basically unchanged from a June poll, also by Rasmussen. (See <http://tinyurl.com/4mm59r>.) Diana Hsieh, founder of the Coalition for Secular Government and co-author of "Amendment 48 Is Anti-Life," argues that the broad support for Amendment 48 is driven by a deeply-held faith pretending to be "pro-life." The most recent Rasmussen poll showed that 41% of Colorado voters believe that "life begins at conception." That number explains the strong support for Amendment 48, despite the media barrage against it. "People who endorse that slogan regard a fertilized egg as a new, whole person with a right to life," Hsieh said. "They regard the enormous sacrifices forced on real men and women by the measure as insignificant -- or even ennobling. Their vote is based on faith, without regard to the real-world requirements of human life and happiness. It's not 'pro-life' at all." "To effectively combat measures like Amendment 48, the whole 'pro-life' ideology must be challenged at its root," Hsieh said. "A mushy slogan like 'it simply goes too far' is unconvincing, even misleading. It doesn't speak to the fundamental dispute. Worse, it suggests that some compromise -- like banning most abortions -- would be acceptable." "Instead, reproductive rights must be defended on principle, based on the objective facts of human nature. With regard to abortion, the fact is that a fetus or embryo is only a potential person so long as encased within and dependent on the woman. Once born, the infant is a new individual person with the right to life. That view ought to be the basis for the laws of a free society. Any alternative -- any attempt to grant rights to the embryo or fetus -- would violate the rights of pregnant women." For a principled defense of reproductive rights, see the Coalition for Secular Government's issue paper, "Amendment 48 Is Anti-Life: Why It Matters That a Fertilized Egg Is Not a Person," available at <http://www.seculargovernment.us/docs/a48.pdf>, particularly the section "Personhood and the Right to Abortion," pages 10-13." - Chalmer