Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rick Warren: His Purpose Is Not to Make Actual Sense

President-elect Barack Obama has ticked off the LGBT community and their friends and allies (yr. blogger included) by offering the symbolically-charged inaguration invocation spot to Pastor Rick Warren of the Saddleback evangelical megachurch. Warren opposes gay marriage and campaigned for Proposition 8, the gay marriage ban in California.

While I disagree with Rev. Warren's position on the issue, I can't be the only one to find the position doubly infuriating because it's so incoherent. In a recently published interview with BeliefNet and the Wall Street Journal Rev. Warren explained -- or tried to -- his views. Below is an excerpt regarding the marriage issue itself. This follows an attempt to discuss civil unions which becomes a big mess and results in Warren submitting a number of "clarifications" after the fact. I'll try to get to the civil unions bit in a later post, but first we need to suss out the initial position.

(plain text is Warren, bold is the questioner and my thoughts are in italics.)

    The issue to me, I’m not opposed to that as much as I’m opposed to redefinition of a 5,000 year definition of marriage. I’m opposed to having a brother and sister being together and calling that marriage. I’m opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that marriage. I’m opposed to one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage.

      The polygamy bugaboo will be funny no matter how many times gay marriage opponents use it. People like Warren base their opposition on the Bible, then invoke polygamy, ignoring the fact that polygamy was foursquare within the 5000 year old definition of marriage up to and through the biblical era.

    Do you think those are equivalent to gays getting married?

    Oh , I do.

      This hurts the worst. Later he talks about having gay friends and eating at their homes. The homes of people whose relationships he equates with incest and pedophilia, apparently.

    For 5,000 years, marriage has been defined by every single culture and every single religion – this is not a Christian issue. Buddhist, Muslims, Jews – historically, marriage is a man and a woman.

      Well, a man and as many women as he can afford.

      Oh, another thing. Warren et al. rhetorically claim (or at least imply) that the definition of marriage has remained static for all those 5000 years. In addition to the above, marriage has at various times been defined as between people of the same race, as between a man and whoever his parents arranged for him, and between a man and the woman he was deemed to own. All of those definitions have been changed and the world failed to spin off its axis.

    And the reason I supported Proposition 8, is really a free speech issue. Because first the court overrode the will of the people, but second there were all kinds of threats that if that did not pass then any pastor could be considered doing hate speech if he shared his views that he didn’t think homosexuality was the most natural way for relationships, and that would be hate speech. We should have freedom of speech, ok? And you should be able to have freedom of speech to make your position and I should be able to have freedom of speech to make my position,

      At this point Warren is either being dishonest or obtuse. Nothing in the California Supreme Court's decision repealed the First Amendment. Put another way, the U.S. Supreme Court held that anti-miscegenation laws violate the Constitution. People can still legally speak out against interracial marriage. They aren't arrested for it, they just are considered douchebags.

      This argument was a staple of the Prop 8 folks and made it difficult to respect their position as simply a difference of opinion. It was a lie then and remains a lie today.

    and can’t we do this in a civil way.

      The lying and comparing political adversaries to the worst people in the world way.


Jill said...

Pho, while the media seems to be making this 99% about the LGBT community, there's a vocal and sizeable segment of a much larger community, numbers-wise, that is pissed off at this choice: women. Warren says abortion is analogous to the Holocaust and his biblically-backed ideas on the submission of women is well-documented.

The most important element of this decision remains the decision-makers - who they are and what the hell they are planning to do for the next four years. How many choices will be like this one?

I supported Obama as the Democratic nominee and that meant something to me. It's one thing to reach across the aisle, but it's a completely different thing to turn your back. Whether that's happened or not remains to be seen.

Anonymous said...

Are Obama supporters telling the rest of us they don't think their candidate is smart enough to make hollow gestures of recocilliation and leave payback to his political base in the hands of future SCOTUS appointees? What does it say when the President-elect's past opponents have more respect for his political skills than his supporters? That they always knew (or at least hoped) his rhetoric of postpartisanship was insincere?

John Ettorre said...

Simply seems to suggest that our guy Obama has already taken the Clintonian triangulation strategy to a higher level, and the guy hasn't yet taken the oath. I think it points to how right TNR columnist Leon Wieseltier was to call him an opportunist in a column published on the eve of the election. I took a minor bit of abuse for agreeing with that, but so be it.

Having said that, I also can't help but at least partly admiring anything that manages to get up the dander of the self-righteous "LGBT community." I figure they deserve a mild poke in the eye every now and then, just on general principal.