Tag Archives: evangelicals

On Stage At Your Inaugural, Rick Warren

The news that anti-gay bigot Rick Warren will be delivering the invocation at the inauguration of Barack Obama really sucks.  Not necessarily because I think the invocation is such a powerful platform – quick, name the last ten people to do it! – but because of the likelihood that Warren will be tapped for other responsibilities when Obama becomes President, and will subsequently become the “bipartisan” face of religion in America.  And while I don’t have a problem with Democrats working with pastors, even those in the evangelical movement, on the common ground issues like AIDS prevention and poverty, Warren is not the one that they should be elevating.  He’s a snake charmer who is just as extreme as a Falwell or a Robertson in many ways.  Here’s PFAW’s release:

Pastor Warren, while enjoying a reputation as a moderate based on his affable personality and his church’s engagement on issues like AIDS in Africa, has said that the real difference between James Dobson and himself is one of tone rather than substance. He has recently compared marriage by loving and committed same-sex couples to incest and pedophilia. He has repeated the Religious Right’s big lie that supporters of equality for gay Americans are out to silence pastors. He has called Christians who advance a social gospel Marxists. He is adamantly opposed to women having a legal right to choose an abortion.

I’m sure that Warren’s supporters will portray his selection as an appeal to unity by a president who is committed to reaching across traditional divides. Others may explain it as a response to Warren inviting then-Senator Obama to speak on AIDS and candidate Obama to appear at a forum, both at his church. But the sad truth is that this decision further elevates someone who has in recent weeks actively promoted legalized discrimination and denigrated the lives and relationships of millions of Americans.

Liberals just aren’t going to see eye to eye with Rick Warren.  There’s no compromise to be made.  This is a guy who recently agreed that Iran needs to be “taken out” in language that is not discernible from a mullah.  And he supported Prop. 8, calling it a free speech issue and lying about its effects.

This guy does not need to be made the kinder, gentler face of the evangelical movement, in a cynical play for support that will not be forthcoming.  It’s a big mistake.

Tomorrow In the OC: Obama, McCain, Rick Warren

Southern California actually becomes the center of the Presidential universe tomorrow afternoon, as Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church hosts John McCain and Barack Obama at a forum.  The candidates will not answer questions at the same time (though both will briefly appear on stage together), but they will have an hour a piece to share their views.

It’s likely that both fans and critics will be watching closely when Warren plays host to the two presidential contenders at his church complex in Lake Forest, home to 22,000 weekend worshipers.

The presumptive Democratic and Republican nominees won’t debate during the Civil Forum on the Presidency. But they will make a brief joint appearance, their first of the campaign, and Warren will interview each separately about the Constitution, poverty, AIDS, human rights and other subjects.

“America has a choice. It’s not between a stud and a dud this year,” Warren said. “Both of these men care about America. My job is to let them share their views.”

Warren may represent the softer face of evangelicals, but he still holds beliefs that hew strongly to the family values conservatism you would expect.  In fact, he says that he would have trouble voting for an adulterer.  I wonder which of the two Presidential candidates he’s obliquely referring to?

WARREN: John Edwards and others like him (emphasis added) have lost the trust of America because they lied, and fundamentally beneath every affair it’s dishonesty, its deceit, its deception. They’re lying to God. They’re lying to themselves. They’re lying to their wives and they’re lying to the public. How do you trust someone who’s constantly lying? You can’t. That’s why it is a myth to say their personal life doesn’t matter. It does matter — all of leadership is built on credibility.

TAPPER: Would you have compunctions about voting for someone who had cheated on his wife?

WARREN: Absolutely I would. Absolutely I would. Because if you can’t keep your faith to your most sacred vow – “’til death do us part” — how in the world can I trust you to lead my family? My government? My nation?…Absolutely I would. I think people first need to ask forgiveness and then earn trust back over time. Can trust be re-earned? Absolutely but it takes time.

I got my credential request in a little too late, but I am going to head down to survey the scene and give some kind of report.

Religious Groups Leading The Way Toward Compassionate Immigration Reform

(cross-posted from Courage Campaign)

Steve Maviligio and Robert Salladay post today on a new coalition that has united in favor of compassionate immigration reform.

More than a dozen California evangelical churches have joined a coordinated nationwide effort, Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, to call for humane treatment of illegal immigrants, stronger border enforcement, guest worker programs and smoother paths to citizenship.

The group has begun an advertising campaign in Washington, DC this week and has sent 200,000 letters to members of congress.

This news comes on the same day as the launch of a new sanctuary program for illegal immigrants. Several churches around the country plan to take part, although it will start modestly in Los Angeles today with an area Catholic church and Lutheran church each sheltering one person from the threat of deportation, operating under one key assumption:

Organizers don't believe immigration agents will make arrests inside the churches.

Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform put this new activism on the part of churches, which actually borders on civil disobedience, this way:

"We believe in the rule of law, but we also believe that we are to oppose unjust laws and systems that harm and oppress people made in God's image, especially the vulnerable."

Maviglio takes glee in pointing out the politics of it, namely that it splits the Republican base and creates a dilemma for Republican strategists torn between the anti-immigrant base and the growing latino electorate, a tension that has already riven the party with Bush’s allegiance leaning toward the latter. But ultimately it's much bigger than that. What we're seeing is the emergence of a new coalition where the progressive view and the Christian view are increasingly merging into one. Bush et al did a great job in his first term of driving wedges between the two groups, leading conservative Christians to believe that Republicans had a monopoly on values. But the confluence of several recent developments is contributing to the destruction of that facade:

1. Progressives are framing issues in terms of values, ie Al Gore and John Edwards talking about fighting global warming and eradicating poverty as moral imperatives;

2. Prominent Republican conservatives are framing the progressive (ie mainstream) point of view in terms of faith, ie Gov. Huckabee talking about the environment in terms of stewardship over the earth at the debate last week;

3.Progressive faith groups such as Clergy and Laity Uniting for Economic Justice (CLUE) are emerging as a political force.

These developments are extremely significant for the progressive movement and for immigration reform specifically as the next few months promise to be decisive both in terms of moving the message as well as legislatively.