The Warren invitation: Wise, clever or neither?

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I thought we’d begin this morning with Rachel Maddow’s scorching commentary about President-elect Barack Obama’s decision to ask the Rev. Rick Warren to deliver the invocation on Inauguration Day. It’s long, but some righteous anger is called for, as Obama — like so many politicians before him — has chosen to make gay and lesbian Americans the targets of his desire for political expedience.

Here’s part of what U.S. Rep. Barney Frank has to say:

Religious leaders obviously have every right to speak out in opposition to anti-discrimination measures, even in the degrading terms that Rev. Warren has used with regard to same-sex marriage. But that does not confer upon them the right to a place of honor in the inauguration ceremony of a president whose stated commitment to LGBT rights won him the strong support of the great majority of those who support that cause.

Obama shouldn’t have invited Warren. That said, there are some layers and complexities to this that are worth thinking about. In an open letter to Obama, the Human Rights Campaign asserts: “Rev. Warren cannot name a single theological issue that he and vehemently, anti-gay theologian James Dobson disagree on.” And, indeed, Warren was a leader in the fight to pass the loathsome Proposition 8 in California.

But to assert that Warren, therefore, is no different from Dobson is to overlook some inconvenient facts. Obama himself opposes same-sex marriage, though, to his credit, he also opposed Proposition 8. We can’t know what Obama is thinking beyond what he tells us. But I suspect his religious view of the world is rather more conservative than that of your typical secular liberal. In any case, I imagine that most of the very few evangelicals who voted for Obama hold Warren in higher esteem than Dobson, who isn’t just a hate-monger, but who’s genuinely weird.

What makes Warren interesting is that he may be on a journey of his own. (Or he may be talking out of both sides of his mouth. Or he may just be confused.) Earlier this week, Beliefnet.com posted an interview with Warren whose lowlights have gotten a lot of attention — that is, he compares same-sex marriage to pedophila and incest. Ugh.

Yet, at the beginning of the interview, when Beliefnet’s Steve Waldman asks Warren whether divorce or gay marriage “is a greater threat to the American family,” Warren calls the answer a “no-brainer” and says “divorce, no doubt about it.” And, as Waldman notes in the blog entry accompanying the interview, Warren appears to endorse civil unions for gay and lesbian couples, a stance for which a lesser-known evangelical leader just got cast out into wilderness.

But wait. As you’ll see, having seemed to stake out reasonably progressive ground, Warren backtracked (or clarified; take your pick), writing to Waldman that he meant no such thing:

I now see you asked about civil UNIONS -and I responded by talking about civil RIGHTS. Sorry. They are two different issues. No American should ever be discriminated against because of their beliefs. Period. But a civil union is not a civil right.

It gets worse.

Still, I’m reminded of something the late Molly Ivins once said about Ross Perot: “He’s the best right-wing populist billionaire we’ve got in Texas, so if you don’t like him, you’re out of luck.” Warren may be the best conservative evangelical minister we’ve got. So, on a certain level, it makes sense for Obama to have a relationship with Warren, who, as we’ve been told over and over, is fairly progressive on issues such as global warming, poverty and AIDS.

But you can see where this goes, can’t you? All I’m doing here is discussing the politics of it — that is, I’m taking the line that perhaps it makes sense for Obama to disappoint his gay and lesbian supporters and their allies momentarily in order to reach out to an evangelical leader, and perhaps even to push him to the center (or at least to less hurtful rhetoric) on cultural issues. Fine.

And, actually, no, it’s not fine. The problem is that it’s hard to make the case that Obama is taking a principled stand. The danger is that Obama’s outreach to Warren will be seen not as a wise move, but merely as a clever one. If Warren genuinely evolves over time, we may look back at this moment as an example of Obama’s wisdom.

If not, then it will only stand out as a moment that Obama outsmarted himself, and let down some of his most ardent supporters.

Warren photo (cc) by Kevin Cheng and republished here under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.

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48 thoughts on “The Warren invitation: Wise, clever or neither?

  1. NewsHound

    We have to be big enough that we can be kind to many expressions of life. This should symbolize that the new president is not prejudice or bias and thus represents the interest of all Americans even though we are all different one way or another. It is a time to view our nation and its people as diverse and durable, and we can do that by not viewing Mr. Warren as a skunk at a lawn party.

  2. Mike F

    As an Obama supporter, nothing made me cringe more than when Joe Biden so emphatically stated his and Obama’s anti gay marriage stance in the V.P. debate. Democrats have a maddening compulsion to turn on their most loyal supporters and Obama seems to be working hard to out-do the spineless Congressional Democrats. Talk about meeting the new boss, same as the old boss.And by the way, could someone point me to the anti-bigotry party? I can’t seem to find it.

  3. mike_b1

    We don’t like religion interfering with our politics, and we have a really big law preventing the converse, so why are we even having this discussion? Did the economy suddenly get better and all the Middle East wars stop?I think gay rights activists are politicizing something for the sake of politicizing it. I’m all for gay rights, but in making such a stink about this one, those whom in the long run they have to win over will instead tune them out. Barney Frank didn’t complain this much as Wall Street was caving in. Is this really more significant?NewsHound’s second graf is dead-on. Obama clearly understands the best parts of Clintonian democracy: that saying you are open to other points of view is meaningful only when you actually are open to other points of view. It’s a prayer. Can’t we leave it at that?

  4. Sue

    It’s cliche but true, replace “anti-gay marriage” with “against races intermarrying” or “thinks marriage between – enter your minority group of choice here – is like incest” and the nation would be appalled.It’s still ok for us to accept a clear bigot in the spirit of “diversity of opinion” because my life, my family, my rights are not equal to yours. Don’t misread me – I fully support a religion’s right to express and practice. I don’t fully support the lack of outrage when a pastor is invited to represent.Plus, he broke the “false witness” commandment in California. Not a great way to kick off a year.Sue O’Connell

  5. Not Whitey Bulger

    Obama came out explicitly against gay marriage, and then gay and lesbian activists are shocked that he betrays some of his strongest supporters. So did they think he was lying when he said he was against gay marriage? Did they think he was winking to them, and that the day after he was inaugurated, he would announce a new, Gay Day national holiday? Every time I drove through Jamaica Plain and saw all the Obama signs, I had to wonder the same thing. The Obama they got is exactly the Obama who ran for office. He said he would be a different President and work with Repubilcans. He did not say that he would make gay marriage a sacrament. If gay people wanted a pro-gay marriage President, they should have voted for one.

  6. mike_b1

    Sue, you are politicizing what it for all intents and purposes religious activity. Consider all the nation’s atheists who are appalled at the thought of the invocation taking place on government property, no matter who is making it.Warren may be a bigot. Obama asking him to say a prayer — a prayer! — doesn’t make Obama a bigot. The more shrill the far left gets on this point, the more difficult they will make it for the middle to support them.

  7. Rich

    The problem is that it’s hard to make the case that Obama is taking a principled stand. ZOMG! Obama is acting like a…gasp…politician. I’m shocked, shocked to hear that.The only people this should surprise are those people who for reasons unknown to mankind yammered on about how wonderful and different Obama is and put him on some ridiculous pedestal.People who like to go about how they are part of the reality-based community shouldn’t be surprised by stuff like this.Actually, I think Obama is playing this well. Make some seemingly centrist appointments, pull some stunts like this, and then you’ve buult up some cover for a future hard-left tack.

  8. Mike F

    I just watched Milk. It ends in 1978. How long should people be expected to wait for equality before they stop asking pretty please? 40 years? 50? If it’s such a small deal why did Obama have to pick someone so publicly opposed to gay marriage, stem-cell research, and reproductive rights – silly little ideas held by, you know, the people who voted for him? No one else available? No one available who doesn’t equate being gay to being a pedophile?Oh, but the economy’s in peril and there’s a war going on, civil rights can wait until later.

  9. mike_b1

    Again, Mike F, you’re overlaying politics on religion. A little separation of church and state would serve you well.

  10. Bill H.

    I agree with mike_b1. This is making a mountain out of a molehill. Additionally, there are other, much larger, denominations that believe the same things about gay marriage, stem cell research, etc., except that their ministers couch their thoughts in more temperate language. Would there be a similar outcry if, say, Cardinal O’Malley had been invited to give the blessing?

  11. Ani

    I’ve never heard Warren pray. I like the person who leads the community in prayer to be able to model faith in a way that literally inspires, and you need an open heart to do that. So whether the selection was religiously or politically motivated, I am skeptical about the choice. But like I said, I’ve never heard the man pray, maybe he’s really good at it.

  12. Sue

    I didn’t say Obama is a bigot. I understand the inside baseball nature of the choice.What I have a problem with is the lack of understanding around why this choice is an insult to the gay community.Why aren’t you outraged? What would Warren have to do our say that would make you outraged?

  13. Neil

    Per mike_b1, As an atheist I am outraged, outraged! that they’re doing a prayer. Get out of here with that stuff!

  14. Doug Shugarts

    Christopher Hitchens goes after Obama today on his choice of Warren for the inauguration: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.Amen.

  15. Rob

    Obama is smarter than anyone commenting on this blog and almost everybody in America. He understands that Warren is the leader of the non-lunatic evangelical movement now. By putting him up there, he is taking the logical step of bringing the evangelicals who don’t preach hell, fire, and brimstone into the fold on pretty important issues like climate change. Does Warren believe in things that many of us find wrong? Absolutely. But is he a hell of a lot better than Falwell and Dobson? I would say unquestionably so. Obama knows Warren is the best he’s gonna get and is bringing him into the fold now. Keep your enemies closer yadda yadda yadda.

  16. Tom Cook

    This whole discussion is a ridiculous waste of time.If the left wants to attack Obama for even the slightest departures from far-left ideology, then it’s going to be a long four years for the super majority. The man is reading a prayer at the entirely ceremonial inauguration. He was not given an influential cabinet position.Liberals often fall into a trap of overanalyzing the symbolism behind every move in politics. This explains their giddy willingness to play identity politics at every turn.In the real world, Rev. Warren will have no impact on Obama, and forcing this much debate over a ceremonial issue when far more pressing decisions are being ignored is dangerous.

  17. Rob

    TCook, don’t disagree with your overall point that people need to calm down on Warren. But please don’t pretend that only progressives take symbolism very seriously and often too seriously. Simply turning on Bill O’Reilly during his “War on Christmas” segments disproves that. It is not an ideological thing, it’s a human condition that way too many people on both sides engage in.

  18. mike_b1

    Sue, I simply don’t find the teachings of priests and other religious people outrageous. It’s their code, and if they want to live with their words, fine. What I often find outrageous are their actions, such as the child abuse scandal and (attempted) coverup. But I see that as less a scandal of a religious nature than it is a scandal of human nature. The gay community is insulted by lots of things. I often think the gay community needs a better sense of proportion. If I were gay (I’m not), this isn’t the battle I’d pick to fight. It’s unwinnable. Even if Obama were to change his mind (which he won’t), the real accomplishment would be the alienation of millions of moderates whose help gays will need on much bigger issues, such as marriage. No one has unlimited bullets. I’d save mine for the biggest prey.

  19. bostonmediawatch

    Was this choice made after the proverbial nationwide search?The more I think about it, the less I like it, and I have been 99% ignoring politics between the election and the Inauguration.It’s a needless tone-deaf slap to the gays.

  20. Mike F

    Mike_b1, I’m baffled as to what your idea of separation of church and state is.I think saying that homosexuality is the same as incest and pedophilia is pretty lunatic. Or is that centrist?This is an overt slap in the face to those who support gay rights, and Obama and his team know so, they just felt it was worth it. Part of keeping your enemies closer, is keeping your friends close.And just because I’m not surprised doesn’t mean I’m not disgusted. I knew full well that he was against gay marriage, which makes it all the more revolting that he picked Warren for this national moment.

  21. mike_b1

    If Obama is against gay marriage, then there’s no foul, no hypocrisy, no nothing. That established, how is it a slap in the face when it has been known all along that he doesn’t agree with your position.As someone else said it better than I, the far left wants to find outrage and play politics with everything. I don’t like what I’ve seen from Warren, and I support gay rights. Like many in the middle, I get tired of the Rush clones shouting the world is ending every time they don’t get their way. But I’m equally tired of those on the far left complaining about EVERY SINGLE LITTLE THING that comes along. And this is a very little thing, whether the far left sees it that way or not.Cry wolf enough, and one day the wolf will eat you.

  22. io saturnalia!

    Caving in on FISA.Supporting the Bush-backed bailout of Wall Street with absolutely no oversight.Embracing Warren and, by extension, his anti-gay views by inviting him to participate in the inauguration (apparently there are only two or three clerics in this country).This isn’t the “change” I believed in when I voted for Obama twice.

  23. NewsHound

    There are so many that could be asked and we all have different opinions about almost everything.If it had been me, I would not have chosen someone so controversial. Instead, I would have asked George Bush as a layman and former president, to lead with the prayer. This doesn’t mean anyone has to believe in much of anything other than a few symbolic and optimistic words expressed for us as a People, our country as a nation and wishful thoughts of success for those charged with leadership.

  24. Patricia of Trakai

    Ummm, as a progressive, the LAST person I want speaking at Obama’s inauguration is George W. Bush in his last few minutes as president. I have been cringing at the sound of his voice since he “won re-election.” He can’t get out of there fast enough for me.I’m not thrilled about the choice of Warren, but I suppose it will mollify the folks who still think Obama is a Muslim.

  25. Dan Kennedy

    Mike B1: You make it sound as though Obama and Warren hold identical stands on gay issues, when that’s hardly the case. They differed on Prop 8, and they certainly differ on whether gay marriage can be compared to incest or pedophilia.I think it’s a stretch to say that this could have been anticipated. On the other hand, I do think many liberals believe Obama secretly supports gay marriage. Why?

  26. O-FISH-L

    As a McCain voter and donor, if I knew then what I know now, I would have enthusiastically supported, donated to and voted for Obama. The elevation of Rev. Rick Warren to such a position of prominence at Obama’s inauguration is just the icing on the cake for conservatives who’ve had our best December since 1984.As for the “loathsome” Proposition 8, even though the tiny Mormon population has been targeted for much of the pro-homosexual hatred and violence, recall that it was actually Obama’s fellow African-Americans who ensured the protection of marriage. Of course the gays wouldn’t dare mess with the blacks. With Rev. Wright too hot to handle right now, it’s no surprise that someone like Rev. Warren has a place at the head table.To my fellow Republicans, if this keeps up, let’s concede 2012 now. We can’t improve on perfection.

  27. NewsHound

    The incoming president I think is attempting to lead this nation into an acceptance that we don’t have to agree to be nice to each other. The Rev. Warren I don’t believe is representative of Mr. Obama’s thinking. Instead, I am hopeful that Mr. Obama is trying to demonstrate that all Americans are important regardless of their expressed opinions, within reason. Let’s face it, this isn’t FDR asking Hitler to say the prayer.

  28. Mike F

    Obama is against gay marriage. As far as I know, he doesn’t equate homosexuality with incest and pedophilia. But that’s not even my point. There’s is a difference between being opposed to gay marriage and actively promoting someone who is leading the fight against it and who’s views go far beyond opposing gay marriage.Barack Obama is legitimizing Warren’s views and thus legitimizing the views of people who see homosexuality as sexual deviance. Yes, this is only symbolic, but symbolism means a great deal here, because it’s people’s perceptions, fears, and beliefs that are dictating law.I’d hardly say this is nitpicking.And why are equality and civil rights some kind of far-left ideology?As far as crying wolf, well, it’s not crying wolf if it is a wolf. And Rick Warren is very much a wolf, he’s just wearing sheep’s clothing.

  29. Rob

    Can we please retire the already boring and overused phrase “that’s not the change I believed in” to criticize anything one disagrees with Obama on?

  30. mike_b1

    Mike F, Obama isn’t legitimizing Warren’s views. The 25 million people who bought his book already accomplished that.What I’m hearing here is one group that’s outside the tent crying about a group that’s marginally inside it. O-Fish: It’s been great fun watching Bush demonstrate he’s so dumb, he doesn’t even know what the proper conservative position is on the economy. I can only imagine that you too, were against the bailout before you were for it.

  31. Bill Baar

    Obama is against gay marriage and stuck it out with Rev Wright at Trinity UCC when Wright was critical of the UCC for allowing UCC Churches to marry same sex couples.

  32. itchy

    With all that is going on in the world, will someone please answer some basic questions: (1) Why is giving gays the right to marry an urgent policy issue? (2) why are gays considered somehow such an important segment of the Democratic constituency (as compared with the remaining 96% of Democrats)? (3) why the president-elect has a special obligation to gay voters? We are living in a time of incredible change and economic chaos and this marginal issue is front and center on a lot of people’s radar.

  33. Tom Cook

    Dan,Obama (like most democratic politicians that need to be viable statewide and especially nationwide) is walking a tightrope on gay marriage. If you want to watch some of the funniest political contortion in modern political history, watch the Democratic primary debate sponsored by Logo.The gay community (a very politically active bloc of the Democratic party) is outside of the mainstream on the issue of gay marriage. Democratic politicians are in a tough position because of this.Although he is probably in favor of gay marriage, Obama doesn’t want to support it outright because the majority of the electorate, as proven in California, is still against it.If he was actually opposed to gay marriage, he would have no reason not to support Proposition 8. That’s why many liberals believe he secretly supports gay marriage.Proposition 8 about as black-and-white as it gets on gay marriage. And he refused to support a gay marriage ban.

  34. NewsHound

    What difference does it make whether or not Mr. Obama is for or against gay marriage, or even has an opinion about it. What matters is that he is stepping up to a diverse nation of people an accommodating diverse style. What more could we ask for?Like I’ve said, if it were me I’d have President Bush give the prayer for a lot of reasons, one of which is that he owes the new administration and the country a blessing going forward and further, to show a dignity and unity in the changing of the guard.The departing president out of tradition leaves town after the swearing in but I see no problem in being kind and respectful to Mr. Bush. It is time to overlook the past and move on. In public opinion Mr. Bush is riddled with serious mistakes of judgment, but mistakes in fact will need the test of time, and regardless, we should be nice to him and others, including the Rev. Warren. When Eisenhower was sworn in Harry Truman had is bag packed and thought he and Bess might have to walk to the train station, which he was determined to do, but at the last minute found out he was to be given a ride which he gratefully appreciated and I suspect Bess did, too.

  35. Esther

    This is a very disappointing choice and I’m not in the mood to put a good spin on it. I’m not interested in parsing it. Simply, the humanity, the civil rights, of my friends, of people I love and admire, is not up for debate. Warren compares same sex marriage to pedophilia and incest. Warren’s church says that gays are not welcome as members unless they “repent their homosexual lifestyle.” He can believe whatever he wants but I don’t want him up there taking part in the inauguration of the president.

  36. Ani

    Warren probably wasn’t saying this, but I started thinking of ancient Egyptian pharaohs marrying siblings and cultures in which child brides are not unusual, and how culturally contingent many of our notions about marriage are. I wouldn’t have called what the ancient Egyptians were doing incest, nor marriage with child brides pedophilia (which is also not to say I endorse them). But of course they are. Similarly, other cultures have a variety of categories of marriage, with different bundles of rights and responsibilities parceled out for each. Which I guess is my way of saying that there are other ways of parsing the marriage issue than the way our current political discourse is breaking down the issue.

  37. O-FISH-L

    Ani, just curious why you would even consider labeling marriage with child brides pedophilia? Pedophilia involves sex with pre-pubescent children. Child brides, while under 18, are preyed upon because of their ability to bear children. Of course the term pedophilia has also been grossly misused locally and worldwide with the gay priest child molestation scandal, wrongly labeled “pedophilia” by the Globe and other rags, desperate to avoid the direct link to homosexuality. As Rev. Charles Fiore, a priest for 42 years so eloquently told World Net Daily on March 24, 2002, “Strictly speaking, pedophilia is the sexual molestation of a pre-pubescent child of either sex,” but the overriding problem is the abuse of older children from 12 to 18. “More than 90 percent of the cases,” Fiore observed, “involve the clerical molestation of teen-age young men.” “In reporting clerical abuse, ‘the grand taboo in U.S. culture is to focus on homosexuality,’ Fiore stated.”

  38. fenwayguy

    Am I offended by Obama’s choice of Warren for the invocation? Yeah, kinda — I fault Rick Warren for campainging to rescind marriage equality in California. I’m repelled by his smarmy persona and his hostile social politics; but then I felt the same way about the Franklins, and Billy Graham, and I would about a high-ranking representative of the Roman Catholic church. Duh, they all judge and disrespect us (and the feeling is often mutual).Obama having invited Warren to say a prayer at the inauguration just isn’t worth getting all over-heated about. In both general and specific terms, Obama is committed to gay equality under the law — not 100% (civil marriage) but way more extensively than any president before him. So I say give it a break.High-tech Harvard philosopher David Weinberger makes the same case more articulately than I. Journalist and pundit Chris Crain makes it quite vociferously. Obama’s reaching out to people we don’t like. It stings. But that’s life in the big tent.

  39. O'Reilly

    But a civil union is not a civil right.Of course Rev Warren is wrong about this because there were laws that prohibited man and women of different color from marrying, so what was denied them if not liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Two of our the three most important god-given rights that are in the main body of the Constitution, not the Bill of Rights. Warren is a political leader whose authority is premised on his religious righteousness. He is savvy in the way of a popular evangelists are savvy but he is not an intellectual, I would even say, he doesn’t think about these issues, instead its unexamined dogma.

  40. O'Reilly

    Obama has successfully co-opted every constituency on his way to the transition including the strong military conservatives, moderate right, Clintonites, progressives, LGBT, and the left. Now he wants to coopt the evangelists. What we’re learning is that everyone is worthy of his company except people that can keep him from being elected or being successful – Bill Ayers and Rev. Wright (the former holds no grudge.) You are being optimistic to think that Warren will come out and say 1. LGBT deserves equal protection under the law and therefore full marriage rights but not called marriga2. I apologize and rebuke myself for my absurd comparison of homosexual relations with pedophilia and incest. Got think its ok, inside marriage… i mean, civil unions3. I was wrong when I said only evangelists can go to heaven. at anytime in the future, except maybe on his deathbed.

  41. O'Reilly

    Here is what I would offer to people who think the LGBT community does not have a good reason to be upset with Obama for choosing Rev Warrren.Warren compares homsoexual sexual relations with pedophilia and incest. Can you see how Warren is characterizing these most intimate relations as a perversion, against societal norms and perhaps criminal in nature, at least in the eyes of god? If Obama invited a minister who believed that heterosexual sex between loving adults was a perversion, against societal norms and criminal in nature, you too would wonder how Obama could choose someone when an important part of his constituency would be extremely offended by the choice. Also, Warren campaigned against marriage rights for Prop 8 in California and married gay couples lost their marriage rights as a result. It would be like a state wide binding constitutional amendment to remove marriage rights from all left-handed people. Also, Bill Clinton was faced with an anti-gay rights legislation just prior to his second term. It was a trap by the f*cking republican majority in the house and senate. He signed to get reelected and his gay supporters got kicked again by the party they support. Do you understand why LGBT community is upset with the choice? Because it seems like a choice between politics and values and politics wins and Obama-supporting LBGT community loses. In Obama’s calculation, Obama’s consideration of them/for them was outweighed by the benefit he accrued by putting the judgmental minister center stage. Center stage is an honor. LGBT ants to know why Obama is honoring Warren.

  42. Ani

    O-Fish-L,I think I was actually trying, perhaps unsuccessfully, to make a point similar to what I think you are saying. If Maddow’s claim that Warren is equating gay unions with pedophilia is based on the Warren clip she includes (in the Maddow clip Dan has included), then I don’t think that’s a necessary interpretation (though if a marriage with a pre-pubescent child bride is consummated I would think that could be thrown into the category of harming children with sex).My general point is that lots of different kinds of marriages exist, and while categorizing them according to sexual orientation may reflect prejudice and bias, and, in addition, may not be helpful to society, categorizing them by other factors across the board makes some sense to me. And other cultures have done it (including the ancient Romans — the most obvious issue there was inheritance rights, whether the woman would inherit from her father or from her husband) or still do it (e.g., the French). I think our current American discussion has become remarkably simplistic, to the point of obscuring real ways of resolving the issue.

  43. bostonmediawatch

    The only “good” reason to do it, from a left point of view, is to taint/compromise Warren in the event that Obama pursues pro-gay policies down the road.

  44. fenwayguy

    O’Reilly wrote:it seems like a choice between politics and values and politics winsUmm, the inauguration IS politics, a game that Obama plays like a master. The gay left (of which I usually consider myself a member — the leftie part, that is) knew going in that Obama is a centrist, a mediator. Grumble and mumble, ok, but save the big drama for the big deals.”If I cannot pray with Rick Warren, I realize, then I am not worthy of being called a Christian. And if I cannot engage him, then I am not worthy of being called a writer. And if we cannot work with Obama to bridge these divides, none of us will be worthy of the great moral cause that this civil rights movement truly is.”- Andrew Sullivan, Taking Yes For An Answer, 12/19/08

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