Tuesday, December 23, 2008

More on Rick Warren's invocation

I was blunt in my criticism of Obama's choice of Pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at the upcoming Inaugural.

Ta-Nehisi Coates weights in with a typically thoughtful post on the topic, well worth your time.

But I want to get back to what I think is the real problem with the choice of Warren. Intolerant and unwelcoming conservatives have become the face of American Christianity in at least the last 8 years and this has been to the determent of organized Christianity in a nation becoming more tolerant.

I'm not critical of Obama for reaching out to Warren and seeking to maintain a dialogue with him and all the other Americans with whom he might have disagreements. But maintaining a dialogue with Warren and giving him and his message of intolerance a featured role at his historic inauguration are too very different things.

The President elect had the opportunity to choose a pastor whose ministry is one of tolerance and acceptance and not associated with advocating war and the assassination of foreign leaders, for instance. By choosing such a figure, Obama would have in no way slighted Warren or those he represents.

But Obama has chosen more than just maintaining an open dialogue with Warren and his flock; Obama has chosen to exalt them at the expense of placing a new, open and accepting face on American government. And for now good reason.

Obama richly deserves all the criticism he is receiving for this very poor choice.

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