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I'm shocked, shocked that Rick Warren will be Obama's invocation speaker!

vastleft's picture

No one could have anticipated that a candidate who signaled — since before his campaign officially started — that he was going to cater to the Rick Warrens of the world would give a God-exploiting bigot like, say, Rick Warren a bully pulpit from day one of his presidency!

How could you not be "profoundly disappointed" when something like that comes out of left field? It's "a bit of a surprise." "This one puzzles"! "What?!" "WTF?" "Really?!?!"

It's not like Obama has promised to let faith-based groups "help set our national agenda," right?

It's "inconceivable" that Obama would make such a homophobic choice.

He surely wouldn't treat Warren's big-ass church as an essential campaign stop, would he? Well, if he did, he'd never say something like this there:

"I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman [big applause], now for me as a Christian, it's also a sacred union, now God's in the mix [applause].

I suppose I'd start to worry if he said things like

"`What role does faith play?' I say, `It plays every role.'"


"I just want all of you to pray that I can be an instrument of God...."


"I am confident that we can create a Kingdom right here on Earth."


"My job is to try to draw a connection between the values that I express to the church and the challenges and issues that we face in politics."


We first need to understand that Americans are a religious people... substantially more people believe in angels than do those who believe in evolution


...the discomfort of some progressives with any hint of religion has often prevented us from effectively addressing issues in moral terms.


Our failure as progressives to tap into the moral underpinnings of the nation is not just rhetorical. Our fear of getting "preachy" may also lead us to discount the role that values and culture play in some of our most urgent social problems.


It is doubtful that children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance feel oppressed or brainwashed as a consequence of muttering the phrase "under God;" I certainly didn't.

So, don't make anything out of this uncharacteristic decision.

Obama's got his feet on the ground, and unlike the outgoing president, he's simply not going to mix religion and politics!


John Aravosis is caught flat-footed by this shocking and thoroughly unpredictable development!

He's got huge approval ratings, after all. Maybe we're expendable now. Obama's brain trust has decided he needs new friends. So have fun with Rick Warren. If he's there on January 20th, I won't be. And, unlike Rick Warren, I actually worked hard to get Obama elected. It's weird and disturbing. I'd expect George Bush to have a homophobe on the stage. But Obama? That's not the kind of change I expected, and it's not change I can believe in.

Late-blooming Obama believer Taylor Marsh observes:

It's like Obama decided purposefully to give liberals the finger.

Matt Stoller suggests uncloseting these impulses:

Hey, I Have an Idea!

Let's keep poking liberals with a stick!

In the eye!


... I got another idea. Why doesn't Obama double-immunize telecom companies for their warrantless wiretapping? That doesn't even make any sense, but I bet liberals wouldn't like it!

No votes yet


pie's picture
Submitted by pie on

was busy that day.

This isn't a good sign, especially since the election is over. Running for 2012 already, Obama?

Submitted by lambert on

Wilbur and Orville's lost brother?

Dykester's picture
Submitted by Dykester on

I think they mean the former minister of Obama's former church that he would never leave just because some people were taking Reverend Wright's words out of context.

Auntie Meme's picture
Submitted by Auntie Meme on

WORM, anyone? Cue the Obama apologists in 3....2.....1....

We, on the other hand, recognized Obama as a fauxgressive, but our tales were dismissed as racist and unDemocratic. I admit to a teeny, tiny bit of schadenfreude watching the Hillary-haters squirm now. They bought a pig in a poke and will have to live with the consequences.

Dykester's picture
Submitted by Dykester on

as the center-right agenda of our non-progressive president-elect is rolled out in anticipation of inauguration in January.

Those of us who listened to what he said and noted what he didn't say and wouldn't address are not surprised. Obama has always said he doesn't believe queers should be treated like all other people in the area of marriage. He believes separate but disequal is fine for us. Of course he would select someone who agrees with him to deliver the invocation. Obama has been consistent in his courtship of the evangelical wing of the republican party. He never intended to win by relying on queers. Look at his campaign actions (not words): He didn't object to the use of his words in support of Prop 8. He didn't run tv ads against Prop 8 (even Di Fi appeared in an ad against Prop 8).

Obama has been courting Rick Warren for years. He appeared at Saddleback Church with Warren even before he campaigned for the Democratic nomination. This is not a new relationship.

oceansandmountains's picture
Submitted by oceansandmountains on

Because I think there's gonna be a lot of it on the table for the next four years.

I dissolve into laughter each time I read Obama's description of himself as a "fierce advocate" of gay rights (except of course, the most important and far-reaching in daily life). I have never seen Obama be fierce about anything, except getting himself elected.

I absolutely love seeing "progressive" blogs in a tizzy over this. Those same blogs that provided a warm and comfy home for vicious cruel bigotry (most notably misogyny) now feel left out in the cold. They think this is an aberration? They are in for a very very long four years.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

even those of us who knew all along do not want to hear such utter bs continually -- he's a fierce advocate of haters, not us.

he's a bigot but says it's about "dialogue" -- let him have the KKK speak then.

he believes in equal rights, but not for us.

he will work for us, but not -- ever.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

in his address that that day -- i bet he even mentions "gay" in it -- big fucking deal.

he's happy people are shouting about this -- he can't run away from actual Democrats and actual Americans who believe in opportunity and the Constitution fast enough.

Dykester's picture
Submitted by Dykester on

My very dear friend, who will be 70 this week, saw the new Harvey Milk film and called me up to talk about it. She loved the film and Milk's fierce advocacy for queer civil rights. She lamented that we don't have more people like Harvey, then she said: "You know, I think there's a clear line connecting Harvey Milk and Barack Obama because they are both fierce advocates for the rights of all."

If she weren't one of my very dear friends, we would have fallen apart as friends during the primary because of her unwillingness to see anything but good in Obama and anything but bad in Clinton. But she's my friend and I love her, so that's what I'd told myself every time she opened up with the latest kool-aid propaganda. And that's what I told myself on Tuesday when she explained how Harvey and Obama were kindred spirits, with Obama picking up where Harvey left off. I didn't have the heart to tell her that Harvey would no more accept Obama's equivocation and milque-toast propositions than he accepted Brigg's attempt to force queers out of teaching. Harvey would have forced Obama to confront him and queer civil rights head on. And I'd like to think that, just like so many others here in SF in 1978, Harvey would have recruited Obama to stand in favor of civil rights for all and against the bigotry of people like Rich Warren.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

Obama on Warren

.. "It is no secret that I am a fierce advocate for equality for gay and lesbian Americans, it’s something that I have been consistent on and something that I intend to be consistent on during my presidency," he told reporters in Chicago. "What I’ve also said that it’s important for [American] to come together, even though we may have disagreements."

He noted that he was invited to speak at Saddleback "despite [Warren's] awareness" that Obama disagrees with him on abortion.

“There are going to be a wide range of viewpoints that will be presented, and that’s how it should be. . .That dialogue I think is part of what my campaign’s been all about," he said. ...

oceansandmountains's picture
Submitted by oceansandmountains on

"I have always said..." "I have consistently argued..."

Every time he prefaces a policy with that, he's now jumping on some new bandwagon. The guy is just a moral and political coward.

I was always shocked at LGBT client and friends who ardently worked for Obama's election. To me, that was one area in which Obama and McCain were pretty much the same. Rightwing (thus not very reliable) news sources are reporting that Obama's fierce and boldly progressive commitment to rescinding DADT is now being put off until 2010. I won't put a lot of stock in it until I see it from a more reliable source, but I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if it's true.

Davidson's picture
Submitted by Davidson on

Yes, let's have a dialogue over whether my cousin--a gay!--wanting to marry is on par with those who commit incest or child rape. Next: a dialogue over whether Obama being the offspring of a black and white is on par with treason against God or other acts of severe immorality. What's the harm? FOX "News" does this fair and balanced thing all the time. Hey, let's make it part of our school curriculum: "What's 2 plus 2? Some say 4, others say 22. Let's talk about the wide range of viewpoints!"

Honestly, I believe Obama chose Warren not because they disagree with each other, but the opposite. This is not a ploy, but a sincere expression of what he believes. Look past what he says to what he does.

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

I'm a bit bothered by the fact that the outrage and belated realizations here are focused almost entirely on the fact that Warren is anti-gay. Of course there should be outrage (it IS outrageous), but what about all the other anti-what-should-be-progressive-values values Warren holds?

Where did the driving, disgusted, and almost obsessive outrage go that was directed at Palin for her anti-abortion views? Where did it go?

Where did the driving, disgusted, and almost obsessive outrage go that was directed at Clinton for her AUMF vote go? Where did it go?

Only the feministing and shakespearesister links even mention that Warren is also anti-woman (ok, to be fair, TM, who seems to have sprung a Kool-Aid leak lately, also raises the issue).

CNN concentrates almost entirely on the anti-gay angle, although possibly because no major women's group seems to have weighed in, or if they have, have weighed in with pretty tepid opposition.

N.O.W = nada. Emily's List, nothing. Planned Parenthood, also nothing (although they did "applaud" Daschle's appt to HHS Secretary).California NOW had this to say:

We aren't the only ones disappointed in Barack Obama's choice of anti-marriage-equality and anti-choice Rick Warren to speak at his Inauguration. And while we'd love to think this is an example of keeping enemies close to control them, it sends a dehumanizing message to incorporate someone with these kinds of views into the start of the Obama presidency.

followed by 4 paragraphs criticizing Warren's pick because he's anti-gay. (CA NOW's tepid first paragraph is one of the reasons I actively support very few 'mainstream' women's or feminist organizations).

Eleanor Smeal, as President of the Feminist Majority Foundation issued this stinging rebuke:

Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation, expressed feminist concern saying "America is coming together for the historic Inauguration. Providing a visible ceremonial leadership role to a man who has chosen to use religion to divide rather than unite people is deeply troubling and disappointed." Warren, a prominent opponent of reproductive rights, has referred to legal abortion as a holocaust." He has taken the extreme position that efforts to reduce abortion rates are merely "a charade."

("expressed feminist concern"? are you freakin' kidding me?)

This list may not be entirely fair, as I've noticed it often takes some of the bigger orgs several days to react to news items, but:

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm perfectly capable of being disgusted and outraged by several things simultaneously. I can be (unsurprised but) outraged that Obama picked Warren because he's anti-gay AND anti-woman AND pro-war AND a creationist
AND 15 more reasons I can't even come up with right now because I'm so ticked off.

Plenty of feminist blogs are all over this, and discuss both the anti-gay and anti-woman views of Warren, but elsewhere, a big nada.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

we don't have anything for him to take away since we don't have anything nationally at all -- like choice or contraceptives or doctors who prescribe them or pharmacists who sell them, etc...

and he believes in wives submitting to their husbands in all things too.

oceansandmountains's picture
Submitted by oceansandmountains on

will give us a spittle-flecked "Special Comment" about this? No? No takers at all??

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

You know, Hillary had a prayer group that were neck deep in ties to dominionists. You need to fear that country bumpkin.

And Sarah Palin? Don't get me started with her and dominionists. She is such a dominionist that she is going to be used by them and she doesn't even know it. A hick like that has to be feared and there should be no concern for consequence in attacking her.

anniethena's picture
Submitted by anniethena on

Dear John (Aravosis)
I am saddened and disappointed to hear that you are saddened and disappointed. I've always found you likeable enough but now is not the time for the claws to come out of the closet, even if you find yourself feeling on thedownlow.
I hope you will attend my inauguration and refrain from throwing the kitchen sink and your entire collection of Liza Minelli and Barbara Streisand albums at me. I wouldn't want to have to brush those discs off my shoulder.
I would love to meet with you to discuss your concerns but expect no photo-ops - just ask Gavin.
I promise that LGBT rights will be a top priority for me and I will veto anti-gay legislation just like I promised to filibuster FISA.

Yours, hopeful and in faith-based initiatives

P.S. Donnie McClurkin was just a fluke - that's not the ex-gay I thought I knew...

P.S.S. Unity Ponies are on back-order and Rainbow Unity Ponies are wa-a-a-ay back-ordered - expect delivery to be attempted in my lame-duck second-term session.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on


... The going explanation for Warren's presence on the inauguration podium is that "this aims to be the most open and inclusive inauguration in history," as Linda Douglas, a spokeswoman for the inauguration committee, told Politico. It's a peculiar definition of "open and inclusive." Warren, after all, is the only preacher giving the invocation. He will not share the stage with a rabbi, an imam, a monk, and an episcopalian. And Warren is not being chosen because he himself is open and inclusive. He thinks abortion a "holocaust" and urged his flock to vote for Prop 8. He compared gay marriage to incest and polygamy and pederasty, and when asked if he really thought those things "equivalent to having gays getting married," he replied, "Oh, I do."

The tolerance Obama is asking for, in other words, is not from Warren. It's from the LGBT community, and women. He is asking them to be tolerant of Warren's intolerance. It's a cruel play, framed to marginalize the legitimate anger of those who Warren harms and discriminates against.


Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

No, because that would be more evil, yes?

Seems to me that when someone is overwhelmingly admired as the greatest man/president-elect/progressive/bowler/whatever evah finds no problem or danger in the symbolic value of including a pro-war, homophobic, misogynist hatemonger in his inaugural Triumph, the effect is far more legitimizing than when, say, known bigots do something similar.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

and it presents that person -- simply by giving him this honor and official seal of approval -- as 100% mainstream and 100% acceptable.