Free-Floating Hostility

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Rick Warren is an asshole, but I can't seem to get angry about it

Rick Warren is an asshole. There are bigger assholes, especially if you're looking in the realm of evangelical leaders, but none whose microphones carry quite as far. So, no, I don't like that Barack Obama has chosen Warren to give the invocation at the inauguration in January. But, I also don't like that there's an invocation at all. But I've spent the last few hours trying to get worked up over the Warren choice and am finding that I just can't.

We moved to Wisconsin before Prop 8 really heated up, so I can't really speak to his role in its passage. Warren was clearly on the wrong side of that. And he's compared abortion to the Holocaust, which is so offensive to me that I want to kick him. But my understanding of Warren is in totality is a little less cut-and-dry. When it comes to evangelical politics, he's basically the nicest guy in a room full of misanthropes. His politics are exactly what you would expect, but he's at least willing to entertain that notion that abortion isn't the only important issue in the world.

It's strange to be on this side of the argument. I've spent the last eight years feeling oppressed by the White Protestant "majority" that foisted George W. Bush on the country. The election results are different now, but the makeup of the country hasn't changed all that much. And it does behoove Obama to reach out to the people in Warren's orbit. I may find some of Warren's views repellent, but it's not we woke up on November 5 and he was out of the mainstream. He has his supports have to be accounted for. And actually, neutralizing some of the anger over Obama within Warren's extended congregation (20 million copies of The Purpose Drive Life have been sold) is actually something of an indeterminate valuable. This is a very public way to do that.

My fear with Obama is he's being too clever by half on this choice. The transition has generally been masterful over the past six weeks at breaking with the left symbolically without actually agreeing to sell out on anything substantive. It's annoying, because I thought him winning by such a large margin meant we didn't have to do that any more. But Obama never campaigned as a progressive, I was just was projecting. And I think in the Washington world the perception will make it easier to pass things like stimulus and health care. It is wrong to completely disdain symbolism in politics. And this pick feels dirty to me, but, I still can't work up the anger. Warren's positions on gay rights are ultimately doomed. Prop 8's supporters badly outspent a terribly disorganized anti campaign and still only managed 52 percent. They won this encounter, but it only means they are losing more slowly. Rick Warren is still an asshole, but if his presence on stage January 20 makes it easier to address core economic and health care issues, I'm willing to wear it. I certainly understand why other people are not.

2 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Anonymous Daily Candor at January 24, 2010 10:07 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Great post. I searched "rick warren asshole" and yours came up at the top. :)

    Prop 8 supporters were outspent, actually, by Prop 8 opponents (something like 40-43) but yes, there is clear movement towards marriage equality. Step by step.

    And agreed Rick Warren is not the biggest asshole among evangelicals, but unfortunately he is still a well-known and rich one.

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at September 20, 2012 10:55 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Nah, he is a huge asshole.. trust me

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