Friday, December 19, 2008

Rick Warren References Multiple Partners In Laundry List of What is "Natural" but Wrong

If you've seen the news in the last 24 hours you've heard that Barak Obama has picked Rev. Rick Warren to offer the invocation at his inauguration, to no small amount of consternation on behalf of GLBTs and others who are vigilantly watching Obama's every move for evidence of inclusiveness. Marriage equality advocates are particularly appalled, due to Warren's opposition to same-sex marriage.

Interestingly, the U.S. News and World Report website says that "Warren, author of the bestselling Purpose-Driven Life and pastor of the Saddleback Church in Orange County, Calif., has sought to distance himself from Christian right leaders who frame evangelical political concerns mostly around fighting abortion rights and gay rights. At the same time, Warren opposes gay marriage and gay civil unions and has said that he objects to the homosexual lifestyle."

From a rational point of view, if, as the Time Magazine cover states, Warren is the most powerful evangelical in the country, doesn't it make sense that he would be chosen for such an honor as someone who clearly has the support and esteem of a significant segment of the population? It's a much more sizeable segment than the segment that is made up of we GLBTs. I just have to wonder about how those who seek inclusion can seriously challenge Obama's willingness for being inclusive when they aren't being inclusive of the people Obama includes. Seems kind of hypocritical to me, but don't get me wrong, I'm very supportive of marriage equality. After all, asking Warren to give the inaugural invocation hardly means Obama is in Warren's pocket,and I think it would be a mistake to read too much into this decision.

Maybe it's time to really recognize what Obama means when he promises to be inclusive ... to be a uniter and not a divider, and to be EVERYONE's president. He seems very wise to me to take that approach, and by taking it, yes, occasionally an evangelical who opposes what many of us advocate for on behalf of sexual minority groups is going to show up on the radar.

And all that said, I still have my concerns about Rev. Warren, who specifically spoke about multi-partner marriage in remarks to be aired tonight. This morning the Today Show broadcast a piece of teaser footage of Ann Curry's Dateline NBC interview with Rick Warren to be broadcast this evening. Feisty Ann challenged Warren's position on homosexuality and same sex marriage (one man one woman marriage only, if homosexuality is hard wired it must be resisted ....).

Ann asked: "Many of these gay people want to be married because they want to create families, they want to adopt children, they want to create a family that isn't about multiple partners bur about one."

Warren responded, "For 5,000 years, every single culture and every single religion has defined marriage as a man and a woman, not just Christianity, Judiasm, Islam, Hinduism, Budhism ..... Why take that word [marriage]? I even have gay friends like Al Rantel at KABC who is opposed to using the word marriage for a gay relationship. Use another term. I am opposed to marriage being used for a relationship between a sister and a brother. ... For an older man and a baby girl. .... For one man and six wives or one wife and six husbands. God said in Genesis one a man and a woman shall cling to each other for life ....

Warren also recited a laundry list of things that are "natural" to humans but must be resisted as wrong. Unfortunately that clip hasn't been posted by NBC and I can't recall all of it, but he included things like fear and other human emotions that can be problematic. What I heard was him advocating for rejecting our very humanity in the name of self-control. Sounded like horseshit to me. Would love to have your comments if you get to see Dateline tonight.


Anonymous said...

Well, I think Obama could have easily chosen another "uniter" to promote unity instead of choosing someone who promotes "dividing". He could also have chosen someone to pray who is seen as a cultural underdog, instead of someone who is a wealthy author and mega-church preacher.

Anonymous said...

Believe me, I am no fan of Obama (I voted for McCain), but I have to agree. Warren is too much of a biblical fundamentalist. I would have liked to have seen retired Episcopal Bishop Shelby Spong given the role. Spong's "New Christianity" concepts are where most mainstream Christian churches will likely be at century's end.

Anita Wagner said...

Anonymous, as the saying goes, from your mouth to God's ear. (Smile) I'm a HUGE fan of Jack Spong's, he's a voice of love, compassion of reason in a sea of fear and irrationality.