I’m a little bugged by all the hits Barack Obama is taking on inviting Rick Warren, the admittedly repugnant fundie from Saddleback Church, to give the invocation at his inaugural.
First off, when explaining his decision Obama spoke to us like we were intelligent adults. He rationally explained that all opinions would be welcomed in his administration — that alone makes a huge change from the current administration, where only one viewpoint is allowed. Still, Warren is a divisive and hate-mongering figure.
So here’s the way I look at it. Obama began his explanation by reiterating his support for gay and lesbian equal rights, something which to my memory has never been so consistently and clearly stated by a president-elect (or president). That alone was significant. Meanwhile, people are up in arms about a 2 minute symbolic utterance on one day — this is completely inconsequential. I am more interested in who Obama will appoint to the Supreme Court; the people he places in positions of power and policy development.
Rick Warren is not being given any kind of power, he’s simply giving an invocation for a minute or so, and while some people think this legitimizes him in some way, I don’t see that it makes any difference at all after he steps back from the microphone. Obama doesn’t agree with the man, and for Obama supporters to feel let down somehow is silliness.
The thing I like about our next president is the idea that he’s not going to do the strict bidding of any one group, and that includes any group that I may be a part of. The only group that matters is “all of us.” Together, diverse, disagreeing and messy and open and American.