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    December 18, 2008

    Lowering the volume on Warren-gate

    Posted by: Chris

    Rickwarrenwp I'll admit that my initial reaction late last night to the controversy over Barack Obama naming evangelist Rick Warren to give the inauguration invocation was a bit unfair in characterizing (err, disparaging) the motives of those offended by the decision. I still believe that political correctness and ideological purity underly most of the complaints, but I have heard from some who I would never characterize that way.

    One thing they cite is how supposedly "compared" or "equated" gay marriage to incest and polygamy in explaining his support for Prop 8 in California:

    I’m not opposed to [gay marriage] as much as I’m opposed to the redefinition of a 5,000-year definition of marriage. I’m opposed to having a brother and sister be together and call that marriage. I’m opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that a marriage. I’m opposed to one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage.

    This is neither "comparing," nor "equating." In fact, Warren specifically draws a distinction between that which he does not oppose -- gay marriage -- and the parade of horribles he thinks opening up redefinition of marriage will lead to -- incest, pedophilia and polygamy.

    The proverbial "slippery slope" is used when the speaker knows his audience sees no real problem with the proposal at hand, and so must be jolted to attention by what would somehow inevitably follow:

    If you raise taxes, it will slow the economy, put people out of work, throw us into a recession and require socialist bailouts to get us back on track.

    Does that "equate" or "compare" raising taxes with socialism? No.

    Recognizing Rick Warren's argument as slippery slope and not comparison does not make his claim any more reasonable, but it does make it less offensive -- although clearly offended is what we do best on our side, rather than meet arguments head to head, with confidence that ours is the stronger position.



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    1. 'Oh, I do': The comparison couldn't get much more direct! from Good As You on Dec 19, 2008 2:27:49 PM

      It's one thing if you choose to overlook the messages that Rick Warren has sent to the LGBT community. However, it's quite another when you ignore what was actually said in order to make point. We say this after reading [Read More]


    1. Kevin on Dec 18, 2008 1:23:13 PM:

      He's also way, way, way off on the "5,000 year definition of marriage" characterization, as any first-year divinity student can attest. But hey, the First Amendment is the First Amendment, for Rick Warren, Scientologists, Mormons and athiests alike.

    1. Chris on Dec 18, 2008 1:30:18 PM:

      I'll also be the first to comment on my own post, and say that yes, I know that in the interview in question, Rick Warren said "Oh I do" when asked if he really believed the gay marriage was the "equivalent" to his silly, ridiculous parade of horribles. I'm short on time to get into that now, but I'm aware of it and would ask anyone who cares about this whole flap to actually go watch the interview. You'll discover Warren actually says he has no problem with civil unions and domestic partner benefits. The mind boggles at why we're picking this as our battle.

    1. Jim Reed on Dec 18, 2008 1:54:10 PM:

      The time has long since passed that we equate power with responsibility.

      Those in power ought to be responsible to their societies and their fellow human beings.

      Perhaps we ought to be compiling a list. Of necessity it would be a short one.

      Obama is now the virtual President. Let him begin to behave and speak as one.

      As Bluegal puts it, (I paraphrase), there is virtue in compassion, but there are limits.

      The mind does indeed boggle.

    1. Pender on Dec 18, 2008 1:57:06 PM:

      Here is a slightly modified version what I posted to your last Rick Warren thread a couple of minutes ago:


      Pender on Dec 18, 2008 1:25:58 PM:

      No, Chris, he didn't say that legalizing gay marriage would LEAD TO pedophilia, he said he opposed gay marriage JUST LIKE he opposed pedophilia, incest, and polygamy. The reporter clarified: "Do you think those are EQUIVALENT TO gays getting married?" Warren: "I DO." These are exact quotes.

      Here, have a link. The relevant portion is right at the beginning: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cdeub37MGBc

      The man is not a moderate as much as he wants to be perceived as one. He has literally said on TV that gay marriage is "equivalent to" an "older man marrying a child." How can you spin that? It's emphatically not a slippery slope argument -- the reporter expressly said "EQUIVALENT TO" and Warren expressly agreed that it was.

    1. Andoni on Dec 18, 2008 5:50:16 PM:

      I will say it again. This is a good move. He will use Rick Warren in the future most definitely to help with his agenda....possibly on HIV/AIDS matters, maybe even to help support benefits for those in civil unions (the route Barack wants to take and something Warren does not oppose).

      Folks, why is it that we can only focus on today, and have no ability at all to imagine the possibilities for the future?

    1. Hawyer on Dec 18, 2008 6:26:42 PM:

      While Chris, Andoni, et al are slobbering all over themselves that Obama avows to give this ignorant and inflammatory bigot a place of honor at the inauguration - out of some altogether unexplained political strategy - I am remain steadfastly appalled at Obama's stupefying lack of judgment in this regard.

      You know, I boycotted (i.e. didn't watch them on TV) the last two inaugurations out of contempt for George W Bush. If Warren remains on the dais, I intend to boycott this one too. But Obama has already shit in his mess kit. No way he can uninvite this guy. The Religious Rights' heads would explode.

    1. Lucrece on Dec 18, 2008 6:33:17 PM:

      Andoni rivals Bilerico's Crawford in his politician-groveling skills?

    1. Wes on Dec 18, 2008 9:26:38 PM:

      Hawyer you made me laugh. "Slobbering all over themselves"....Ok. Well first, who do you think voted for Obama? Answer: An overwhelming portion of the black population (as close to 100 perct as it will ever get) that are probably NOT in agreement with Warren either. Most of those voters probably don't even want us to have civil unions or domestic partner benefits (has anyone asked them?). So I would say, oddly enough, Warren is a moderate compared to many of those voters. And he is probably middle of the road compared to the entire population if you look at how we get trounced at the polls.

      Do we gays pick pretty pitiful battles or what? This is ridiculous. Frankly, I think the headline ought to be "Rick Warren Supports Civil Unions and Domestic Partnership Benefits". Is this guy someone I would want to have a beer with (and yeah he probably drinks beer)? NO. But I could not care less where he is praying. Once again the holy shiners pushing for "gay marriage at the altar" repress any progress on our side of the battle. And God forbid looking for a hole to dart through to reach progress.

    1. Lady Olive on Dec 18, 2008 9:31:40 PM:

      Considering that 1/3 of gays voted Republican for the first time ever in a presidential election, I'm confused as to why those who voted for McCain/Palin have not directed the same fury towards their chosen leaders (who lost) who boast an even more conservative stance towards gays. I guess that's just something we'll file under "Hmmmm...how odd..."

    1. Matt Kailey on Dec 18, 2008 11:45:19 PM:

      At first, I was upset when Obama chose Warren to appear at the inauguration, and then I was furious at his response that "a variety of viewpoints" would be represented. My reaction was that he had reduced the fight for the civil rights of an entire population to a "viewpoint." But then I calmed down and thought about it, and I realized that one of the things that impressed me most about Obama to begin with is that I think he is a brilliant and astute politician who knows just what he wants and how to get it. He's building a machine and he knows the parts that he needs and how to put them together in the way that will make the machine run for him. When he started choosing his cabinet and people started making noises, I told myself to wait and see. After my initial round of fury over Warren, I'm settling back into "wait and see." Obama's not stupid. He knew the backlash he would get from this. He's got something else in mind. I'm going to wait and see and reserve the right to be furious again later on.

    1. Brian Miller on Dec 19, 2008 12:50:55 AM:

      It's ironic. Those who presented Obama as the anti-Clinton are now using Clintonian triangulation and "depends on what your definition of 'is' is" rhetoric to justify Obama's VERY Clintonian move here.

      The more things change...

    1. Ron on Dec 19, 2008 4:15:36 AM:

      I thought, initially, the Warren decision might simply be a Sister Souljah moment, but the more I analyze it the more dire it becomes. O's decision to include Warren sends a dangerous message. The message affirms anti-gay sentiment despite O's deft denial. Sorry Chris, I feel this was a strategic error on O's part that will require vigilance on the part of gay activists to hold O's feet to the fire!

    1. Hawyer on Dec 19, 2008 9:14:52 AM:

      ... more to the point. While most agree that Obama is an uber-strategic thinker -- I think this blunder shows:

      1. He did not have his ear to the ground on the festering rebuff gays harbor after the Prop 8 debacle.

      2. Civil rights is something you triangulate on at your peril.

      3. As Matt Kailey so aptly put, gays are sick-to-death of having their constitutional protections reduced to a viewpoint ... a, well, highly offensive defense mounted by the inclusiveness crowd.

      4. And most importantly --- Obama is a babe in the woods when it comes to the treachery of chicken-fed for-profit preachers. Warren will stick it in Obama's back and twist it. You'd think after the Jeremiah Wright flap, he'd steer clear of these pompous self-important jackasses.

    1. Hawyer on Dec 19, 2008 9:45:37 AM:

      Thought this quip was priceless - post from The Stranger blog:

      ... quit bitching about a prayer. That's all Warren does. It's like Aunt Ethel saying the fucking grace. Then the bitch shuts up and gets to listen to all the other people there, who actually [have something to say].

    1. Bradley on Dec 19, 2008 10:19:30 AM:

      If one accepts the premise that Warren holds significant credibility/influence with the tiny-brained Christianista Right...Obama has, at the onset, put to rest the whole Muslim-Arab, Koran-swearing terrorist mantle which they've so arduously tried place on him.

    1. jpeckjr on Dec 19, 2008 11:27:40 AM:

      We should know by now that Mr. Obama has a long view of his actions, a sense of where he wants to go over time, not just where he wants to be tomorrow. We should also know by now that he invites and enjoys broad input on public policy matters. Someday, I predict, he will make a public statement on a matter of public policy. Mr. Warren will respond by saying the President is wrong. Mr. Obama will stand his ground, noting that he appreciates the input of his friend Rick Warren and has taken those views into consideration, but has concluded that his own position is what's best for the country.

      This approach, in itself, is a refreshing change after the last eight years. And those of us who favor marriage equality, or repeal of DADT, or passage of a federal civil unions bill need to take advantage of Mr. Obama's stated desire to have that broad input. Do we really want to communicate that we won't play at all if we don't get our way on every single thing?

    1. Strict Scrutiny on Dec 19, 2008 11:31:38 AM:

      The mind boggles at why we're picking this as our battle.

      We are not picking "this" as our battle. However, Obama's selection of Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration shows shocking insensitivity to gay folks, especially for those of us in California who just had our marriage rights ripped away by Prop 8, which Warren vigorously supported.

      Discrimination is not a mere "difference of opinion" -- it's morally wrong. And someone who supported Prop 8 should not be given this kind of platform. Period. You do a disservice to all of us by giving Obama cover on this issue.

    1. Lucrece on Dec 19, 2008 12:35:04 PM:

      The guy runs an ex-gay 12-step program at his church. The upcoming Ann Curry even shows that biological origins to sexual orientation would not sway him. He went on it again to paint "gay friends" (I doubt he has any; it's simply a calculation to make himself seem tolerant) as capriciously promiscuous and ingenuous.

      Then again, this blog is not unknown for its blind love of Obama.

    1. Chuck on Dec 19, 2008 1:40:14 PM:

      Kevin, do you ever stop to engage your mind before putting mouth in gear? Yet once again, you have opened your mouth and inserting your foot into it by making a thoughtless and unfounded remark. Almost every statement you make, somehow manages to insult someone or provoke their ire.

      You wrote: "But hey, the First Amendment is the First Amendment, for Rick Warren, Scientologists, Mormons and athiests alike.

      I and a number of my friends both str8 and gay, are "atheists" that you so condescendingly dumped into the mix. I can readily understand your contempt for people like Rick Warren, Scientologists and Mormons, but would you please explain what it is that we atheists have said or done to the gay community to induce you to lump us in with a group of bigots, haters and homophobes who see LGBT people as vermin to be exterminated/eradicated from the planet?

      Not a single one of my atheist friends has any problem whatsoever with gay people, and contrary to your dumb, uncalled for comment, all of them, without exception, are supportive of civil-rights for all people, the LBGT community included.

      If you feel the need to bitch-slap and denigrate your fellow gays, which seems to be your style, fine. Do it on your own time and with people who support your biting tongue. But please, try to refrain from using Citizen Crain as a platform for your own particular bigotries. The LGBT communities already has enough enemies from without. We certainly do not need more from within.

      It's not in keeping with the tone of this site.

    1. G-A-Y on Dec 19, 2008 1:51:37 PM:

      Chris: It is completely unfair and of you to ignore the "Oh, I do" part of the BeliefNet interview. That is the part of the interview where he confirmed that he does, in fact, consider those other forms of marriage equivalent to same-sex unions.

    1. Dave on Dec 19, 2008 2:13:04 PM:

      I watched the interview from beliefnet above, and this is what I heard/saw:

      interviewer: "Just to clarify , do you support civil unions and/or domestic partnerships?"

      Rev. Warren: "I, you know, I don't know about...I, 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 that we should uh...uh...have equal...er...unequal rights depending on particular lifestyles, or whatever, stuff like that, so I fully support equal rights."

      I do not take that statement to be the same as "I support full equal rights for gay civil unions/domestic partnerships." If that's what he believes, why can't he just say that? He's on a slippery slope indeed. He wants to appear to be moderate by saying he supports "equal rights for all." but cannot say, point blank, "I support gay civil unions."

      Which is something Obama will have to address as well. Although Obama clearly states he supports gay civil unions, something is going to have to change. But part of the problem is that the definition of marriage has legal connotations. If you support gay civil unions and full equality of gays in society, in every aspect, you need to either change the definition of marriage, to include LGBT marriage, or take away the relevance of the term marriage in law to make it only have a religious connotation, and replace it with the term civil union for legal purposes.

      We'll have to wait and see.

    1. Josh on Dec 19, 2008 2:37:56 PM:

      What about Rick Warren's comments while he was in Uganda, a nation that criminalizes homosexuality...

      "Dr Warren said that homosexuality is not a natural way of life and thus not a human right. "We shall not tolerate this aspect at all," Dr Warren said."


      Also his Church only allows gays who have repented of and stopped engaging in their homosexual lifestyle.

      His church has run "ex-gay" programs in the past and the only gay they want at his church are the "ex-gay" ones.

    1. Kris on Dec 19, 2008 3:17:57 PM:

      Obama considers us second class citizens, just like all the presidential candidates. At least John McCain was a man of his word....You are all a bunch of suckers for voting for him, he fooled you, he fooled you! Wait till he raises your taxes next, you will love it!
      I guess instead of saying YES WE CAN, get used to saying
      OH NO HE DIDN'T!!!!!

    1. Chuck on Dec 19, 2008 8:17:16 PM:

      Thank you, Josh. I can see that you are a man who does his homework. I have the greatest of respect for that.

      I went to the link you posted and read the article. Just in case the point get missed by Chris, I have copied and paster, verbatim, the exact same comment made by Dr. Warren on his visit to Uganda that you posted. I sincerely hope that Chris catches it.

      "Dr Warren said that homosexuality is not a natural way of life and thus not a human right. "We shall not tolerate this aspect at all," Dr Warren said."

      Emphatic. Succinct. Short and sweet and right to the point...or should I say jugular?

      No beating around the bush. No batting at butterflies. No qualifications. No umm, ah, err, well, clearing of the throat or shifting around in the chair in order to slither out of giving a direct answer to a direct question. He spoke directly from his mean, hateful heart and I am certain that he got a rousing round of applause, which is what media-whores like Rick live for.

      What part of that very clearly stated position would you like for us to clarify for you, Chris? It don't get no plainer than that. Is there there we should be examining? Was he winking his eye when he said it? Did he have his fingers crossed under the table? Please, inquiring minds need to know.

      I am not a politician. I am not a cleric. I am not a man of the cloth and I am certainly no rocket scientist. I am simply a gay man who absolutely refuses to have the wool pulled over my eyes when bad shit is coming down and I dislike very much to have to say "thank you, that was good; may I have another one", when someone is putting their booted foot up my ass, like Dr. Warren just did.

      Rick Warren is a two-faced prick who speaks with a forked-tongue. He says one thing to one person, and something completely different to another person. Defining this back-biter as being on a "slippery slope" is a misleading and untrue as saying that a rattle snake won't bite you if you happen to step on its tail.

      I am a sane, logical and rational man who is having a very difficult time trying to understand why you are going so far out of your way to cover for a man who would just as soon turn you over to the Nigerian authorities for sentencing to death just for being gay.

      I will be waiting with baited breath for your response.

    1. Chuck on Dec 19, 2008 8:25:57 PM:

      A Post script to my post.

      The headline of this blog is a conundrum.

      "Lowering the volume on Warren-gate"

      We should be going over to our windows as Howard Beale urged us to in the film Network, opening them up and shouting down into the street at the top of our voices...

      "I am madder than hell and I am not going to take it anymore."

      Do I hear a peep...anyone?

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