The Odd Couple

I don’t know if you saw this, but our President-Elect Barack Obama is proving that he wants to work with conservatives (and evangelicals) by asking Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration. We are happy for Rick Warren, who has come under too much fire of late. Our post yesterday on fundamentalist flip-flopping helps explain the hue and cry against Obama by those in the Democratic Party. Inauguration Day is a day to demonstrate national unity, not partisanship.

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  • Luke

    No doubt the neo-fundamentalists will say this is a political ploy to make Obama look bi-partisan, but it’s more the “calm before the storm.” I don’t understand why some, even if we disagree with the guy policy-wise, have to act like there is this hidden agenda beneath everything Obama does to try and increase gay-marriages and abortion.
    The rhetoric is truly disturbing, and frankly, just downright embarrassing. To see other Christians talk like this about a noble and honorable gesture makes me embarrassed to be associated with Christians. Many of them just need to read the “Prophesies of Godlessness” book you blogged through a while back to help them see that the eschatological rhetoric has been going on for quite a while, and we’re no worse now than we were then. There was never a golden age.

  • Michael Krahn

    Sometimes support for Warren comes from unexpected places… Mark Driscoll:

  • Rick

    Luke #1-
    What are you talking about? Have many come out and said such a thing? If not, it seems like you are setting up a straw man to knock down.
    The only people really upset with this (at this point) appears to be homosexual rights advocates.

  • Jim Martin

    I hear this news regarding Warren yesterday and was very glad. I have great respect and admiration for Warren. His manner and integrity have endeared him to so many. I’m glad and grateful that he will be in this very visible role on Inauguration Day.

  • jason

    interestingly, i hadn’t heard of this until this morning. i was driving my daughter to school and switched on NPR, catching the commentary about this bit of news between two correspondents. i missed the initial announcement, and they never referred to actual headline during the portion of the discussion i heard, but they referred several times to the significance of other Obama cabinet appointments and spoke with such highly charged inflection that i seriously thought the news was that Warren had been appointed to some sort of official post in Obama’s administration!!
    i was mildly alarmed (for what kind of cabinet post could Warren possibly be qualified?). imagine my relief, and bewilderment, that all the hubbub was simply about an invocation.

  • qb @ 6,
    Thank you for proving Luke (@1) correct.

  • Karl

    Interesting that this move has angered people on both the left and the right. A current story on Yahoo news discusses the anger of gay activists over Obama’s choice of Warren, as Warren supported the California ballot initiative banning gay marriage.
    “The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay rights organization, said Warren’s opposition to gay marriage is a sign of intolerance.
    “We feel a deep level of disrespect when one of the architects and promoters of an anti-gay agenda is given the prominence and the pulpit of your historic nomination,” the group said in a letter to Obama, asking him to reconsider.”

  • Scott C.

    As an Anabaptist, what do you think about the potential dangers of this practice of having a Christian minister pray at the opening of a ceremony to install the leader of a nation-state? Whether the person asked is a conservative evangelical or not, does this practice harm either the church or the state?
    IMO, bipartisanship is nice for what it’s worth I guess, but isn’t it a little scary that the presence of an evangelical Christian minister at the installation of a Democratic president counts as “bipartisan”?
    (I don’t want to assume anything about your theology of church-state relations, much less your political views just because you locate yourself in the Anabaptist stream of Christianity. But I do assume that as an Anabaptist you care a lot about church-state issues, whatever position you may take on them. For me, at least, “anti-imperialism” is pretty central to my self-consciousness as a Christ-follower in the Anabaptist tradition. But I know from my own community Anabaptism takes all kinds! :))

  • Steve A

    Karl 7 and others–I also saw the story reporting the unhappiness and invective of the Human Rights Campaign. It is VERY troubling when permitting someone to speak who disagrees with you is labeled “intolerant.” As someone who thinks he is basically liberal, the intolerance and (well) facism of the left can be very scary and depressing. We have to be able to talk about issues like opposing redefining marriage (something that clearly most Americans currently oppose) without being labeled “haters” or “bigots” or “fundamentalists” (see Newsweek’s editorial). This is very depressing–thank God that the president elect seems to resist it.

  • I think it is a great choice. Obama has relationships with plenty of ministry leaders – from the Christian Right, Center and Left. Choosing someone that many would consider on the right – mainly because of his pro-life stance – lends itself to promoting unity. This is the crux of Obama’s presidency. And, although it has been referred to as a bi-partisian move I think that characterization is a little off, if anything it is bi-ideological, which transcends the notion of party. This move is one in which I see as Obama being true to himself and his campaign promises. Obama and Warren don’t have to agree, that isn’t the point. The point, is to exemplify unity.

  • joanne

    I think Obama’s actions need to be set within his own philosophy. He always seems to be seeking to include others in his mission and vision for the nation. Part of that is to include those who oppose him on certain matters. I think he is being very true to character and am surprised that there is so much outrage.

  • Your Name

    This little episode has been very revealing. Those who have supported Obama primarily out of their own agendas obviously haven’t been paying attention. He is doing exactly what he said he would do with his appointments, and now with the Warren invitation. I am sure that had McCain won and done something similar, there would have been a hue and cry from a different set of limited agenda type folks. Fact is this has been the nature of American politics for some time (Dobson on the one side, Gay Activists on the other – all playing by the same rules, just different sides of the issue), and Obama obviously seems to be serious about changing the rules of the game, a formidable task….maybe impossible. If he succeeds, it will be perhaps one of the greatest accomplishments of his presidency. But a fragile one.

  • Renschi

    ‘God bless America’ and Obama for doing the right thing.

  • Your Name

    This is a great day in America. Leadership is what the new President-Elect is offering. Christian leadership to get us past our divide and into the future as children of God! To love each other as God so loved. Politics cannot be an excuse for hate … somewhere, some one must stand for the truth. FEAR GOD and love each other!

  • Learn, Dan

    Great choice.Obama continues to surprise me. Excellent choice.Cp2998