Monday, December 29, 2008

"The Politics of Prayer"

This guy (not Obama) keeps appearing in the newspapers like Brittany Spears appears in traffic court. Nobody understands why either keeps happening.

Who is Rick Warren and why is it such a big deal Obama 'saddled' him with the job of giving the invocation at his inauguration in a few weeks?

The Reverend Rick Warren is the founder of the Saddleback Church in California. Some people compare him to Billy Graham in that he's immensely popular and appeals to a wide range of people. The only other time I've heard of him is when he held that 'friendly' forum for both McCain and Obama before the election, in which he asked supposedly unscripted faith-based questions to each of the two candidates separately. (Unscripted means McCain answered the questions so well - and he went second on the program - I was sure he got to hear them first.)

Warren supported California's Proposition 8, not very well according to some conservative Christians, who from what I've read continually complain he's is not 'conservative' enough, whatever that means. They say he's not made these hot topics the cornerstone of his ministry. He apparently tithes 90 percent of his considerable income to charitable causes. (So he gets 10 million instead of 100 million. Hmmm...) I wonder how much he gave to the Prop 8 campaign?

He says he's against gay marriage. But wasn't Obama as well? What did Biden say in the VP debate, that they - meaning he and Obama - are for civil unions but not gay 'marriage'? During his campaign Obama said that he believed marriage to be the union “between one man and one woman,” but when Prop 8 passed didn't he say he was disappointed? Ah, typical politician.

By inviting Rev. Warren to be part of his inauguration, he's trying to have it both ways, and that's what all the hullabaloo is about. Some of his ardent supporters aren't happy about it.
Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen accused Obama of condoning a man who “dehumanizes” homosexuals. NPR talk-show host Diane Rehm called some of Warren’s comments on gays “ugly.”

In light of some of these reactions, what exactly is Obama's motive in selecting Warren I wonder? Is Obama just trying to build bridges to a greater good? Or is it a calculated political move to further his rockstar status?

Perhaps he is trying to compile an inauguration that embodies the diversity that is America today. His choice for closing prayer, or final blessing, in some religious traditions the most important prayer of all, is the Rev. Dr. Joseph E. Lowery. An African-American, 87 years old, a Methodist well-known for his civil rights work with Martin Luther King. A gay rights supporter and some say a "lifelong champion of equality for all."

In all honesty, I think it's both. A calculated move and an olive branch. So I will add my words to what's already been said, brilliant move Obama.

*****A side note - in the picture above, which one is cute as a button?? contest I'm afraid.)


Bryce and Mandy said...

To me it seems he is trying to play all angles. Trying to please everyone. He is a politician after all. Or maybe he just likes the guy. It is amazing how people can turn everything into something. For me I don't care who he chooses to say the prayers. I care more about what he will say during it.

okbushmans said...

Does anyone remember the inauguration prayers after the "Amen"? I couldn't tell you any part of Bush's, Clinton's or Bush's inaugurations, except when they have MOTAB. I think when there is no news they have to make no-good news. I thought it was a good move by Obama as well.

Jen said...

I think that it was smart of Obama. The only question I have is why you seem to have such a negative opinion of Rick Warren. He's a pretty good guy, especially compaired to a lot of the ministers who have big congragations. Maybe he's getting paid well, but at least he's doing some good with the money instead of hording it all for himself. Why are you all over him? And that whole fiasco regarding the interview, my understanding is that Obama ended up getting a heads up on one of the questions that McCain didn't get. Obama won because McCain sucks (happend to have a big conversation about McCain today so it's all fresh in my mind), but McCain was better at unscripted questions than Obama. Obama kicked McCains butt in just about every other forum, but these types of forums is where McCain shined. It was on of the few, and it's not because he got a heads-up and Obama didn't. I guess in all, I just don't understand why you are such a Warren hater--or so it seems.

Lula O said...

Whoa, I never said I was a Warren hater! I made the snarky remark on tithes because that number seems like an over reach. It says, in my eyes, "Look at how spiritual I am. I give 90 PERCENT of my income to charity." I'm trying to find out if he actually said that. Whatever happened to humble servants? Are we supposed to think he's poor because he gives sooooo much of his income??

Other than that I thought this post was pretty Warren friendly. Coming from my cynical typing fingers anyway.

Sorry, but I still think McCain had a edge in that forum. Not that Warren had anything to do with it. It's not like they had McCain in a sound proof trailer.
His answers were just too quick and easy off the tongue for him to not have been given a quick scoop, probably by an aid listening in.

Not that in matters now anyway.

okbushmans said...

I think McCain's 'senior moments' happened in majority of the debates. Came off kind of grumpy, stumbled over words, everyone remembers. But in interviews, talk-shows, or the Rick Warren forum, McCain usually did well. If I remember correctly, McCain didn't even show up until right before he went on, so he wasn't in a listening area. Plus, he'd have to turn up his hearing aid, I doubt he heard.

Water under the bridge, and it appears that is what Obama is trying to do in inviting Warren to pray. Water under the bridge, water Obama walks on!

Jen said...

Oops. I didn't realize how brash I sounded. I didn't really mean for it to come across that harsh. It did sound like you were anti-warren, but I wasn't feeling as defensive as my fingers sounded when they typed. I still default that McCain is naturally better in those settings and I don't believe he had any sort of a heads up. But like Bushmans said, water under a bridge. Who really cares at this point anyway....I sound like I do, but I really don't, just trying to keep the record straight.