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    December 19, 2008

    Rick Warren vs. Ann Curry

    Posted by: Chris

    This Rick Warren interview with Ann Curry of the "Today" show is making the rounds as further proof the evangelical mega-church pastor is unfit to give the invocation at Barack Obama's inauguration:

    Let me be clear. Warren's viewpoint about the nature of sexual orientation, at least of the homosexual variety, is cramped and mean-spirited.  He has to "reign in" his desire to sleep with every beautiful woman he sees, and we have to "reign in" ever having at any point in our lives any romantic, loving, sexual relationship with the gender with which we are attracted to biologically.  How apples and oranges.  How unfair and how cruel.

    Also, however, how typical. Warren's viewpoint is shared by the Roman Catholic faith and most mainline Protestants -- except for Southern Baptists who are worse, and Mormons who are even more worse. Don't even get me started on Islam, which rejects the whole idea of homosexuality as a Western perversion.

    AnncurrySo faith leaders from all these traditions should be excluded from the inauguration on our behalf?  The Constitution prohibits "a religious test" for public office, but we gays sure do want one for important public ceremonies!  We're on the wrong side of this issue, folks.

    On a lighter note, you gotta love the NBC edit on the video, specifically the look Ann Curry cuts Rick Warren when he claims it is his "natural inclination to sleep with every beautiful woman" he sees.




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    1. Mad About Megachurches on Dec 19, 2008 5:26:37 PM:

      My objection is not as a gay man but as a secularist. This credulous, perverted and obese mullah doesn't deserve to be given a teaspoon of respect. Besides, the election is over. Why choose Rick Warren if not as a sop to the Christian right-wing? We could have the inauguration and get on with it but Obama's turned this into an act of political "triangulation" that makes me sick. And that people who get paid to think about these things (read: you) are telling the rest of us *not* to think and shut up is intellectually dishonest. The nation's foremost salesman of contemporary suburban American voodoo magic and sky worship is getting the spot as Pastor in Chief. Horrible!

    1. the troll on Dec 19, 2008 5:31:41 PM:

      Is this little missive another attempt to get the gays to you? We think you are thuper.

      But you really don't get it. What you are really arguing is that Obama could not have chosen anyone who would "work" for the invocation, yet this has never been a problem before. There any number of Catholics that would due. You see many of them have no history making statements about gays. Just who gave the invocation last election? Who the hell really has a clue?

      How about these two choices.
      T.J. Jakes and Jefferts Schori

      It wouldn't have even made the news. Shure Schori is liberal, but she is the presiding bishop. This has been done before.

    1. the troll on Dec 19, 2008 5:49:53 PM:

      Hitchens, the last word. He gets it. You can't enthrall everyone but you can bore them all equally. A very good strategy.

      ...I would myself say that it doesn't need a clerical invocation at all, since, to borrow Lincoln's observation about Gettysburg, it has already been consecrated. But if we must have an officiating priest, let it be some dignified old hypocrite with no factional allegiance and not a tree-shaking huckster and publicity seeker who believes that millions of his fellow citizens are hellbound because they do not meet his own low and vulgar standards.

    1. Chris on Dec 19, 2008 6:51:55 PM:

      I think you mean T.D. Jakes, the black Dallas mega-church pastor who calls homosexuality a "brokenness" and has said he would not hire a sexually active gay person. He's better than Warren?

      And then Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Episcopal bishop, who is currently presiding over a denominational schism. She would be a unifying choice? In what alternative universe?

    1. Aatom on Dec 19, 2008 7:01:24 PM:

      I love how one of his "many gay friends" views homosexuality as a biological inclination to have multiple sex partners. No red herring there...

    1. Chuck on Dec 19, 2008 7:18:11 PM:

      Chris, you may not see it, but your question So faith-based leaders from all these traditions should be excluded from the inauguration on our behalf? is clearly a Godwin's rule comment. It shuts down the conversation much like the statement, Would you rather have Hitler deliver the invocation?

      Why not Dawson? Why not Pat Robertson? Indeed, why not even the infamous and radically homophobic Fred Phelps himself? He only advocates the criminalizing of homosexuality with death as the penalty. I’m sure he could deliver a very heart-warming invocation that would make everyone, especially the Christian right, the Mormons and the Muslims very, very happy.

      But, would it be appropriate and in keeping with our Constitution of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, which seems as of late, to have been trampled in the dirt, is what we need to be asking ourselves here?

      Is this all the swearing in of a new president amounts to? This is the “change” we have been promised? To me, it sounds like the same old same old with the ongoing insulting and slapping the face of an exceedingly large majority that we have become so accustomed and inured to.

      Yes, Martha, we are an even bigger majority than either the Jewish or the Latino communities, who gave tirelessly of their time, effort and money to help get Mr. Obama elected. So much so, in fact, that No on Proposition got short shrift as the religious right raped us of our rights behind our backs while we were busy campaigning for Mr. Obama.

      Inviting this son-of-a-bitch (forgive my French) to deliver the invocation would be as equally reprehensible and unacceptable as inviting a Zionist would be to the Jewish community.

      Inviting Mr. Richard Dawkins, a self-proclaimed Atheist who makes a strong case against God, religion and the flock that follows such idiotic dogma would as equally reprehensible and unacceptable to every faith-based preacher and Evangelical leader in the Nation. They would be storming the White House with protests.

      And how would the Muslims and Latino communities feel if Divine, the dressed-in-drag epitome of queerness, had been invited to the invocation? I personally wouldn’t have a problem with it (it would be divine camp) but I can just hear the hue and cry coming from everyone… Christians, Evangelicals, Mormons…even the very Pope himself.

      So I ask the obvious? Where is the propriety? Where is the sense of common decency? Where is the concern for sensibilities? But most of all, where is the appreciation for the support that the LGBT community threw behind this man to help get him elected?

      Our government is a secular institution for crying out loud, not a Church, not a synagogue and not a Mosque. Our founding forefathers meant this to be a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Read, all people, not just the chosen few. If we are going to insist on having a faith-based person deliver the invocation, that someone like Bishop Spong, a humanist with a heart and a man who absolutely no problem with homosexuality, would have been an excellent choice.

      I have to keep asking myself, over and over, why hateful, mean-spirited, homophones like Rick Warren are given free license and a public podium, paid for in part with gay dollars, to practice their right to what they consider free speech, even if it is mean-spirited, bigoted and hateful, while we are told, by our own no less, to can it, zip it up, show respect and refrain from showing our displeasure and upset with the hate mongers, lest we offend them and make a “bad showing” of ourselves. Say what?

      It is as angering and outrageous as telling a Muslim woman being stoned to death in the public square for having been raped, to hold the screaming down, because it is upsetting the rock throwers and causing them to miss the target.

    1. mademark on Dec 19, 2008 7:56:33 PM:

      The days of Obama apologists are quickly coming to an end. His selection of Rick Warren to give an invocation to an imaginary god at the inauguration of what will be a one-term presidency will be remembered as a milepost. 2012, here we come, and do not count on my gay vote. I will honorably abstain, or write in the name of someone not so cynically determined to take my money and run. I do not owe my vote to the lesser of my oppressors.

    1. Mark in Colorado on Dec 19, 2008 9:00:12 PM:

      So that black eye wasn't enough for you Chris. Be careful what you hope for. Obama is choosing to lie down with a dog that is infested with flees. The kool-aid drinkers are akin to horses running towards a burning barn. The results are predictable.
      Obama isn't even in office yet and things are starting off eerily Clintonian.

    1. Mark in Colorado on Dec 19, 2008 9:09:50 PM:

      A litmus test for President = an invited speaker at an honorary and traditional public event. Black eye Chris -- YOU are on the wrong side of this issue.

    1. Hawyer on Dec 19, 2008 9:55:38 PM:

      Chris ---

      Article VI, section 3 of the Constitution, does, in fact stipulate that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

      However, Warren is not running for public office; so your caveat that "We're on the wrong side of this issue" is erroneous.

      The issue is that Warren, under cover of the establishment clause (1st Amendment), has overtly and with aforethought inserted himself into the political process by funneling tax-exempt dollars into the Prop 8 issue - as, of course, did the Mormon church!

      Now by all rights, both should have their tax exempt status summarily yanked for operating a political action committee (PAC) - BUT that's not gonna' happen.

      More importantly, Warren, et al, are perfectly free to harbor any sort of crackpot, bigoted ideas they please - and to persuade others to comport with their ideology - so long as such pursuits are NOT in the course of commerce and accommodation.

      That is where we draw the line when it comes to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - universally considered the gold standard in Constitutional interpretation.

      Warren [and his ilk] wants it both ways: protection under the establishment clause and impunity to engage in political activism.

      But more egregiously, when Warren trumped up his infamous 08/16/08 Saddleback debate -- he subjected both candidates to a religious test - to which both candidates cravenly obliged. And on top of that, Warren brazenly lied to Obama about McCain's "cone of silence" - when, in fact, McCain was listening to Obama's responses in his limo.

      Check it out >>>

      All that to say that Warren is a reptilian huckster on the make for whatever capital he can glean. Obama ought to know better than wrestle with this pig -- as they say: the pig loves it and the defendant only gets muddy.

    1. Chuck on Dec 19, 2008 10:40:42 PM:

      Hawyer, your closing comment is right on the money.

      There is another marvelous old axiom that bears much truth as well.

      "When you lie down with pigs, you get up smelling like one".

    1. Steve Kass on Dec 19, 2008 10:47:04 PM:


      You ask "So faith leaders from all these traditions should be excluded from the inauguration on our behalf?"

      Of course not. It's not Warren's viewpoints that disqualify him from giving the benediction. It's his complete dismissal of gays and lesbians as deserving to be part of a dialog. Dialog and respectful disagreement are what Obama stands for. Warren is interested in none of that on this issue.

      Nor on the issue of abortion, I suspect, though fortunately, women's right to choose is better protected than gay marriage rights. We're picking at this issue because Warren was a cruel participant in the fight to vote away civil rights.

      Would you have welcomed Obama's choice of Warren had he been on television last month equating abortion with the Holocaust, and women who choose abortion with murderers, adding that what they really want is to force Christians to approve of their criminal lifestyle. And if not, why would it be any different? The only answer I can think of (and please offer another if there is one) is that you don't think gays deserve civil rights as much as women, or Jews, or blacks do.

    1. Lady Olive on Dec 20, 2008 12:19:04 AM:

      And hence the beginning of the tail-chasing, circular argument "discrimination against Blacks (and Jews)" is the same as the fight for gay rights is the same thing.

      Aren't you dizzy by now?

      More importantly, why do you insist on shoving this hackneyed argument down the throat of minorities who have made it obvious that they disagree with this logic? Furthermore, why do you think that they don't have the right to reject this argument (but white straights do)?

    1. Samantha on Dec 20, 2008 1:45:49 AM:

      I am not gay. I am Democratic activist. I worked hard - to the point of exhaustion - to insure the election of Barack Obama in Virginia. I am appalled that he would select Rick Warren to have any role during this inauguration. To pick someone who worked so hard to deny equal rights to gays is beyond belief. To pick someone whose ideas are so far from what is believed by many rank and file Democrats is just horrendous. My children and my former leaning right husband believe that such views are not views that should be supported in this country. If Mr. Warren espoused such views about Latinos or African Americans I am certain we would not see him on Inauguration Day and he would be properly characterized as a racist. To select him rather than a more acceptable choice is scary and makes me wonder what in the world Obama is thinking. Mr. Warren did not earn and does not deserve the podium opportunity on election day. This is a shameful choice to pick such a bigot. Pick a person who espouses your principles...or are these your principles? I am truly saddened by this choice. What a ruin to what should have been a day that all who cared to be included could feel that they are proud of each of the day's events. Mr. Warren may be the most acceptable Christian du jour - but he is still a bigot. There have got to be better choices out there.

    1. Chuck on Dec 20, 2008 2:02:08 AM:

      It isn't "gay-rights", Lady Olive, it's civil-rights. Equality for all America Citizens, not just certain ones. That's what the Constitution guarantees...in writing.

      Keep repeating that to yourself, civil-rights, until you get it and truly understand what you are saying.

      Gay-rights imply that these right would only for them, and no one else. Gays are not asking anyone to give up their rights and gays are not trying to deny anyone their rights.

      What gays are asking for, is the same civil-rights that Jews and black have, nothing more, nothing less.

      It doesn't matter what Jews or blacks "think"about that, whether they approve or whether it agrees with their religious teachings. Separation of Church and State. It's not up to them, no more than black civil-rights should have left up to them.

      There was a time, not that long ago, when str8 whites didn't think blacks should have their civil-rights either. How quickly we forget.

      LGBT people will get their rights. It's just a matter of time. Count on it.

      The only problem I forsee for you is, who will you wipe your feet on next?

    1. Chuck on Dec 20, 2008 2:22:32 AM:

      Samantha, I am sure that I speak for many of my brothers and sisters when I say that we all appreciate the hard work you put into the Obama campaign in your homestate of Virginia. Many of us in the LGBT community, in all of the states of the union also put our best efforts into it as well and many of share the disappointment you expressed about Mr. Obama's choice of Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration on January 20, 2009.

      As you so adequately pointed out, one has only to substitute the word Lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender for some other minority group in this country, to see the outright and blatant bigotry discrimination going on here. It makes a mockery of our cherished American Constitution.

      Until every last person in America has full equality and those rights are protected under the law, the civil-rights of no one are guaranteed. As a poster on another blog site said, "If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention."

      Thank you, Samantha, for coming onto a gay blog and sharing your views and feelings with us. We sure could use more frinds like you.

    1. lkirk on Dec 20, 2008 3:42:59 AM:

      What is he thinking? The greater circle is better than the individual circles. It is what he has been thinking all along. All you have to do is look at where he places himself. He puts himself in a position to get the most push, and once it no longer works, he moves on to the next greatest circle that will keep him where he is or advance himself even further. He has accountability to know one, which is where he will keep himself. He has no firm position in regard to anything. His position is the flavor of the day. And, it has been so transparent for so long. That is what is confusing to me. Where is the vision of the American public? My mother always taught me that if it looks to good to be true, beware.

    1. Mitch on Dec 20, 2008 11:20:39 AM:

      Chris, I agree with your POV.

      I love how people think that reaching out to Warren is giving him a pulpit. News flash people; Warren already has a pulpit. He is one of the most influential leaders in the evangelical community. He's been on Oprah. He has two best-selling books. This man is so powerful, he actually got two presidential candidates to debate in his sphere of influence. Obama is not bestowing upon Warren a title. Warren already has one. Obama is acknowledging that he will need to deal with the likes of Warren to get things done. What Warren believes is really no different than MOST evangelicals as well as other major Christian faiths. I'd rather debate Warren than Palin, the Queen of evangelicals.

      We need to focus on the bigger picture here, people. We have an economic meltdown that could destroy the U.S. as we know it. There is a crisis at all levels of the economy, which is leading to widespread poverty that could rival the Depression. For those posting on this channel, the winds of a bad economy may not be impacting you, but it certainly is decimating communities around the country.

      We forget many of those in Warren's camp feel Obama is the anti-Christ, not really American etc. They are just as appalled that Warren is working with someone who is an illegitimate president, in their eyes.

      And for those who think that Hillary would never have done such a thing are fooling themselves. I think you posted the Logo interview where she couldn't even say the word gay and only spoke in broad generalities of tolerance. On LOGO! Hell, people are calling this slight 'Clintonian,' which is says it all.

      Obama's position regarding LGBT rights is very clear, even if people seem to forget it right now. Obama has mentioned the importance of LGBT rights in front of the most hostile crowds and called us out by name in his victory speech. It's amazing how quickly we forget.

      We NEED to heal the divisions in this country to solve very real problems. We have big fish to fry and need all hands on deck. Gay hands and straight hands. Rich hands and poor hands. Hands of all colors, shapes, sizes, and persuasions. We are Americans first, and hyphens second.

    1. jomama on Dec 20, 2008 8:07:14 PM:

      Warren stated that it took courage to pick him. Not so much. What would have taken courage would to have picked Bishop Robinson of Vermont. In what way would this educated acomplished priest not be qualified? The Episcopalian church is the closest thing to an established church that the US has. The National Cathadral is an Episcopalian church. I denomination that is not Catholic and not Protastant (only formally protastant).

    1. Chuck on Dec 26, 2008 7:15:42 PM:

      Mitch, John Glen was the first man to orbit the earth.

      So what?

      He didn't support gay rights either. I have a letter from him to prove it.

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