On Rick Warren

Mass behavior is a very interesting phenomenon and one interesting manifestation of it was the liberal reaction to the announcement that Rick Warren would be on the program for Barack Obama’s inaugeration.  For a sample, here is an arbitrary list of the reactions from several high traffic liberalish/Obama-supporting blogs and sites:

Balloon Juice
Michelle Goldberg
Current top recommended diary on DailyKos
Matthew Yglesias
Ezra Klein

The list could go on.

To me, symbolism is empty unless it ends in a real change in policy, and to me, it is not clear that this does anything close to that. In fact, it’s pretty clear that this is entirely symbolic, since this is not coupled to some grand statement of our President-Elect’s agreement with Rick Warren on issues of policy towards minorities like the GLBT community or atheists. This is Obama’s statement when prompted on the issue:

Basically, this seems like a disagreement over ettiquette, which I think is pointless. Obama’s ettiquette is to associate with and give voice to lots of people regardless of their ideology, while pushing his own agenda behind the scenes (This is why he’s called “No Drama Obama”). It seems that the prefered ettiquette of those criticizing this decision would be for Obama to shun all but a select few people whose view conform to some magical standard.

In fact, this whole thing seems reminiscent of the reaction to the Obama-Donnie McClurkin controversy, where a lot of over-the-top words were used by some in the LGBT community that Obama would dare tap someone with strange views to help him raise money. Except that in light of the fact that it was a campaign and people pressing this issue were largely Clinton supporters who had a real incentive to do so and in this case, the campaign’s over.

So, as an atheist and a liberal who supports same sex marriage, let me say that this pick, while perhaps a bit irksome, is essentially meaningless and not worth the inordinate amount of time that the news media and the blogosphere has spent on it (that includes this post).


About Meng Bomin

Real name Benjamin Main, I am a graduate of Grinnell College with a degree in Biological Chemistry.
This entry was posted in Current events, Opinions, Politics, Religion. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to On Rick Warren

  1. When Obama invited this “christian” to his speak at his inauguration, he invited a man who believes the Q-community are INFERIOR; “less than”. Let’s quit sugar-coating these turds! Being asked to “respect other’s opinions” doesn’t fly when those “opinions” are harmful lies about an entire segment of the population. Those “opinions” are tantamount to the extremely offensive beliefs and ideas our country once had about “negros” and “wives”, words and ideas that would NEVER FLY TODAY at an inauguration.

    Words and ideas that would incite riots today.

    When Rick “defined” our entire Q-community, it became clear that HE was the one suffering from immaturity, since he clearly limits his entire WORLD VIEW of homo-lovin-ality to 20-something, single and horned-up gay men.

  2. Meng Bomin says:

    You know, I think that part of the reason I don’t care is related to the fact that I’m an atheist and don’t think that an invocation is worth a dash of salt, which ironically is also a view that contributes to a dislike of Rick Warren.

    But I would also like to point out that Rick Warren is a bit of an attention whore so in giving him the spotlight, the LGBT community, atheists, liberal Christians, people of other religions, etc. are actually giving him what he wants, though it’s unclear that anything will change, precisely because all this angst among the gay community and liberals gives Obama precisely the political capital with evangelicals that he wants.

    This is a major collective action problem and the two men at the center of it Warren and Obama have a lot to gain from it. Warren the attention of adoring masses of evangelicals as well as a broad speaking platform and a framing of debates to be about issues he wants it to be about and Obama gets more leeway in issues like the environment.

    But we’ll see where the chips fall. I suspect my view is shaped by my aversion to outrage–I think it’s kind of silly–but I should also take into account that whining often, though not always, gets you some of what you want in politics.

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