He’s done it again: miffed his progressive ideologue left wing frenemies while appealing vaguely to conservative ideologue right wing enemies and directly to middle-of-the-road Americans who want to see the conflicting sides on every issue shut up, come together and actually get something done. Problem is, no one’s happy.
Is this analogous to a hamburger-loving husband and a vegan wife who agree to get sushi? Or is this a case of the best-of-both-worlds?
1. Salazar, in charge of Keeping Amerca Beautiful! Unlike any real cowboy, he trots about wearing a hat indoors, a bolo tie to DC functions and boots to the gym (okay, I made that part up)…and generally does everything he can to reassure ‘ordinary Americans’ he’s one of them. It’s smart politics, but doesn’t add up when, from time to time, he sides with the good ol’boys. He’s a Democrat, but environmentalists don’t know what to think about his pro-mining, Mother Earth-is-just-okay tendencies.
2. Vilsak, in charge of our food and farms! Guess Obama wasn’t such a close reader of Michael Pollan’s Farmer-in-Chief article, after all. Vilsack, a friend of GMOs (if you don’t know what they are, you should) and biotech, cares about small farms about as much as a 12 year old cares about visiting the Natural History Museum: it’s a fun idea, I guess, but it’s kinda boring…can’t we go play with Monsanto, pullllease!
3. And now Rick Warren is one of two religious figures appearing at the Inauguration. Rick is widely loved, considered a moderate evangelist, a nice guy, he’s deeply involved in AIDs work and is all about acknowledging, even fighting, Climate Change. So what’s not to love? Oh, this [*see excerpt, below]: he thinks gays are akin to polygamists and cradle-robbers. The move, intended (one would assume) to invite American Christians and conservatives into the Obama tent, infuriated the blogosphere, and my facebook page, and kick-em-while-they’re–down opponents of the recently passed Prop 8. So why’d Obama let him appear so prominently at his Inauguration
At his news conference Thursday, the president-elect said that he, Obama, had been invited to speak at Warren’s church, despite their disagreements, so it was only reasonable that Obama include Warren in the inauguration. And besides, Obama said, Rev. Joseph Lowery, the civil-rights legend, will deliver the benediction, so “there are going to be a wide range of viewpoints that are presented.”” The issue is on the cover of Republican standard, the National Review: http://nationalreview.com/
*Rick Warren excerpt, via Beliefnet:
BELIEFNET: Which do you think is a greater threat to the American family – divorce or gay marriage?
WARREN: [laughs] That’s a no brainer. Divorce. There’s no doubt about it.
Here’s an interesting thing. The divorce statistics are quite bandied around. People say half the marriages end in divorce. That’s just not true. 40% of first time marriages end in divorce. About 61% of second time marriages end in divorce and 75% of third time marriages end in divorce. So the odds get worse and what’s balancing this out…when you hear 50% end in divorce, that’s just not true. The majority of marriages do last….
BELIEFNET: So why do we hear so much more – especially from religious conservatives – about gay marriage than about divorce?
Oh we always love to talk about other sins more than ours. Why do we hear more about drug use than about being overweight? Why do we hear more about anything else than about wasting time or gossip? We want to point that my sins are perfectly acceptable. Your sins are hideous and evil.
BELIEFNET: One controversial moment for you in the last election was your support for proposition 8 in California. … Just to clarify, do you support civil unions or domestic partnerships?
WARREN: I don’t know if I’d use the term there but I support full equal rights for everybody in America. I don’t believe we should have unequal rights depending on particular lifestyles so I fully support equal rights.
[Clarification from Pastor Warren 12/15: I now see you asked about civil UNIONS -and I responded by talking about civil RIGHTS. Sorry. They are two different issues. No American should ever be discriminated against because of their beliefs. Period. But a civil union is not a civil right. Nowhere in the constitution can you find the “right” to claim that any loving relationship identical to marriage. It’s just not there. ]
BELIEFNET: What about partnership benefits in terms of insurance or hospital visitation?
WARREN: You know, not a problem with me.
[Clarification from Pastor Warren 12/15: I favor anyone being able to make anyone else the beneficiary of their health or life insurance coverage. If I am willing to pay for it, I should be able to put a friend, partner, relative, or stranger on my coverage. No one should be turned away from seeing a friend in the hospital. But visiting rights are a non-issue in California! Since 1999, California has had a domestic partnership law that grants gay couples visiting rights and all the other rights. Prop 8 had no -zero -effect on those rights.]
The issue to me, I’m not opposed to that as much as I’m opposed to redefinition of a 5,000 year definition of marriage. I’m opposed to having a brother and sister being together and calling that marriage. I’m opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that marriage. I’m opposed to one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage.
BELIEFNET: Do you think those are equivalent to gays getting married?
Oh , I do. For 5,000 years, marriage has been defined by every single culture and every single religion – this is not a Christian issue. Buddhist, Muslims, Jews – historically, marriage is a man and a woman. And the reason I supported Proposition 8, is really a free speech issue. Because first the court overrode the will of the people, but second there were all kinds of threats that if that did not pass then any pastor could be considered doing hate speech if he shared his views that he didn’t think homosexuality was the most natural way for relationships, and that would be hate speech. We should have freedom of speech, ok? And you should be able to have freedom of speech to make your position and I should be able to have freedom of speech to make my position, and can’t we do this in a civil way.
Most people know I have many gay friends. I’ve eaten dinner in gay homes. No church has probably done more for people with AIDS than Saddleback Church. Kay and I have given millions of dollars out of Purpose Driven Life helping people who got AIDS through gay relationships. So they can’t accuse me of homophobia. I just don’t believe in the redefinition of marriage.
[Clarification/addition from Pastor Warren 12:15:
1. God, who always acts out of love and does what is best for us, thought up sex. Sex was God’s idea, not ours. Like fire, and many other things God gave us, sex can be used for good, or abused in ways that harm. The Designer of sex has clearly and repeatedly said that he created sex exclusively for husbands and wives in marriage. Whenever God’s parameters are violated, it causes broken hearts, broken families, emotional hurt and shame, painful memories, and many other destructive consequences. There would be so STDs in our world if we all played by the rules.
2. God gives me the free choice to follow his commands or willfully disobey them so I must allow others to have that same free choice. Loving, trusting, and obeying God cannot be forced. In America, people already have the civil right to live as they wish.
3. If anyone, whether unfaithful spouses, or unmarried couples, or homosexuals or anyone else think they are smarter than God and chooses to disobey God’s sexual instructions, it is not the US government’s role to take away their choice. But neither is it the government’s role to classify just any “loving” relationship as a marriage. A committed boyfriend-girlfriend relationship is not a marriage. Two lovers living together is a not a marriage. Incest is not marriage. A domestic partnership or even a civil union is still not marriage.
4. Much of this debate is not really about civil rights, but a desire for approval…for the rest, click here—and be sure to watch the video.
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