Here's what I wrote on my blog last night at about 10:30
The outpouring of angry twitter comments on Rick Warren giving the invocation has begun. Actually, I just learned of this late last night as I got home from a long day of working and starting the holiday shopping.
The name Rick Warren does not immediately get me up in arms. I know he wrote that Purpose Driven Life book and along with the fact he is pastor of the mega-church called Saddelback Church. I only know about the book from the Brian Nichols rampage in Atlanta. The Nichols captor that turned him in had been reading the book and I remember seeing an interview with Warren about how it affected him.
At the end of my diary, I give you my thoughts after "sleeping on it" and allowing some feedback to come in on my diary from last night.
Warren is not somebody that gets me all hot and bothered. I understand the criticism of his support for Proposition 8. However, I have yet to see him as this hateful guy in the mold of past well-known televangelists.
Here's a good diary on Daily Kos about how Obama cannot be completely blamed for picking Warren. The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies has a lot of power in planning the agenda for the inauguration ceremony. I also remind you to be calm and temperate about this situation.
Obama has not appointed Warren to the chaplain in chief or anything more serious. In my opinion this symbolic invocation simply says I'm reaching out to conservatives and those that I may not agree with on all social issues. This selection does not scream that Obama hates gays or that we have a reason to be worried about his social views. I'm sure I will get lambasted on this, but those were just my initial thoughts.
Update from this morning around 7:45
I was shocked to find out that I did not get criticized for my comments that promoted reconciliation, temperance and what could even be regarded as more than passive acceptance of Warren's role in the inauguration.
Most of the feedback I received also agreed that we should not have knee-jerk reaction on this situation. I also got a comment from a gay man who said
HOWEVER, I'd like to see gays, lesbians and straight allies take a breath on this one. Obama didn't appoint Warren head of faith-based programming, nominate him to even a minor under-cabinet position, or pluck him from obscurity and elevate him into national prominence by way of a vital executive office.
Obama invited this widely respected man to do nothing more than give a prayer asking for God's help and inspiration on the first day of an historic Presidency. An Invocation is, simply, a prayer. Besides, given that an overwhelming majority of Evangelicals do not identify as Democrats, and framing this choice against Warren's popularity and influence with Evangelicals, perhaps this one small gesture will help to remind them Obama recognizes their importance and contribution to the American experience.
Perhaps this selection could even be more unifying that it will be divisive. Imagine that for a second. Regardless of how you feel about those that may not hold your progressive views, they are people and may actually be good people who just come from a different station in life. Alienating them will certainly not change their views. I do not accept hateful views, but I can accept those that may simply be misguided.
I also read this morning that Joseph Lowery will be giving the benediction. Quite a contrast in my opinion.