I voted for Barack Obama and made the reasons clear why I would vote for him over the course of the summer and fall. Is Pastor Rick Warren someone I would walk across the street to meet or speak to? No. But, if I did meet him I would be polite and maybe even thank him for the good things he does for people.
Would I go to his church if I spent a Sunday morning in Lake Forest, California. Probably not – we’re both Christians but I ascribe to a different theology than Warren.
Consider some other questions. Have we spent about the last 30 years in this country watching faith being used as a very worldly, human political tool? Has faith been turned into something especially divisive by being used as a wedge in the political affairs of people? Has this not perverted what faith is about?
Didn’t Barack Obama wage an inspirational campaign based on change and rooted in civility? Didn’t he also pledge to be president of all Americans?
OK, enough navel gazing. After eight years of half or more of America being ignored by the Bush-Cheney White House, I think it’s a great gesture to have a fundamentalist preacher give the invocation at the inauguration. Warren is not one of the idiots who use their pulpit as a blunt instrument and pronounce whacky things like Hurricane Katrina was a punishment from God. He comes from a certain perspective biblically yet does not seem to have totally lost sight of the messages of love and forgiveness in the Bible. There are millions of people who follow Warren through his books and media involvements. I’m glad that for the faith portion of the inauguration, those people will feel represented. I also believe that as a pastor, Warren will recognize to whom he speaks on that day and the message will not be fundamentalist dogma, but a prayerful, uplifting message.
I’ve gotten eight years older during the Bush Administration, and perhaps a bit wiser. I don’t like it when the right wingers shout me or my fellows down, judge my entirety as a human being based on a particular political view I may carry or judge my faith based on their dogma. I can handle Rick Warren on Inauguration Day if it’s one more step toward civil discourse. Rick Warren is fine with me to say a blessing for America and President-elect Obama if it takes us closer to reconciling our faith with our politics.