Sunday, December 21, 2008

Who's afraid of Rick Warren?

I believe some of my fellow liberals are shortsighted and hypocritical for condemning Barack Obama's choice of Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration.

Make no mistake, I also believe the conservative pastor is wrong to oppose reproductive choice and gay marriage -- his stances on these issues, in my view, are not only loathsome but also un-Christian -- but this doesn't mean I think he's wrong in fighting poverty, global warming, AIDs in Africa, and in educating the downtrodden. He's against some things I'm for, but he's also for many things I'm for.

We have to look at him that way, as Obama suggested -- our country is a big tent of ideas. We have to be inclusive, to reach out to others with whom we might disagree on specific issues. (I disagree with Obama, for instance, on rescuing Detroit.)

Otherwise we will ride down the same road we accuse the religious right of traveling -- hobbyhorse fixation on single issues, like abortion or gays, rather than seeing and dealing with the larger world. We have many more problems than one preacher who doesn't see eye to eye with us on everything.

Asking Warren to participate in the inauguration is a smart -- Lincolnesque, even -- way of reaching out to one's opposition and enlisting its efforts in a larger cause, the broad welfare of the United States and the world.

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