Friday, December 19, 2008

I respectfully dissent

Since President-Elect Barrack Obama named evangelical pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration, there has been no shortage of ire. The decision has been called “Appalling” by gay-rights activists. Others in the blog lines and a variety of media sources have suggested that the choice is antithetical to the idea of an inclusive administration, or that it is divisive. While I'm on the subject of Pr. Warren's positions, I disagree with him on a few points. So, apparently, does Mr. Obama.
But, I applaud this choice. Far from “divisive”, this choice suggests a legitimate commitment to a dialog between dissenting opinions. It could also be regarded as a statement to those who voted against Obama that he plans to work for them as well as his supporters. Ending division isn’t accomplished by squashing dissentors (see US political history, 1776-present).
Only time will tell whether the Obama administration will actually part with the tradition of banishing and scapegoating those who disagree with the reigning party, and exacting four years of blind revenge on the leaders of other parties and ideologies. However, Obama’s invitation to Rick Warren suggests that the President-Elect acknowledges that a diversity of opinion and belief exists, and that disagreement on one issue doesn’t preclude cooperation on another. Moreover, this selection recognizes the plain truth that leaders from across the ideological spectrum can and must work together to realize meaningful change.

4 comments:

Chris Crawford said...

I too believe that this was a prudent decision on his part. It's pure symbolism, and it costs nothing. Give the far right some symbolic nothingburger stuff to keep them happy, and continue to pursue a progressive agenda.

twster55 said...

Who is hurt by this decision? I highly doubt the benediction will include a statement against gay marriage. That and Warren isn't being chosen for a position of power but merely to say the benediction at inauguration. I see it as a lot of fuss over nothing, when anger would be better directed at Proposition 8 or something worthwhile.

Pat Jenkins said...

i see by neither of your readers comments erd that they share in your desire for "diversity"...... now while on the subject i have a question for you. what do you see the gay movement, or agenda, being about? is it human rights? well as individuals they share in the same "freedoms" of others, no? is it civil rights? as individuals they share in the ability to proper and have opportunity like the rest of mankind, yes? what kind of sense, or feeling do you have for their motives?

E. R. Dunhill said...

PJ,
I've never been involved with any gay-rights advocacy groups, so it's not a subject I'm hugely familiar with. However, simply based upon what advocates are saying in the media and what I hear friends involved with the issue saying, many groups couch their effort as a civil rights issue. I don't understand the legal basis for secular governments denying same-sex couples the right to marry, nor why people see another person's legal right as an affront to their religious practice.
For faiths that regard themselves as solely true, exclusive of all other faiths, is there a theological difference between the state permitting same-sex couples to marry, and the state allowing people of other religions (or non-religious people, or atheists) to marry? Another way to put that is, if a particular church organization professes that only marriages within its institution are true marriages, why doesn't that church also seek to bar people in other religions from marrying? From that church's perspective, those other unions aren't real marriages either. I don't see a huge difference from the religious perspective.
I also think that people outside of California should let California settle the Prop 8 issue. It's an issue that certainly foments debate, and people should feel free to talk about it, but there's been a lot of money and effort spent by outsiders in an effort to engineer CA law one way or the other.