Obama’s Consensus Building : Rick Warren and, Say, Bull Conner?

Birmingham Police Commissioner Eugene (Bull) Conner called out the dogs on civil rights demonstrators in 1963. Surely he wouldn’t have been included under President-elect Barack Obama’s umbrella.

‘Using an evangelical mega-church fence-straddling homophobe and anti-abortion champion to offer an inaugurating prayer as he takes the reins of leadership of America is a political cop-out.’
By Larry Ray
/ The Rag Blog / December 19, 2008

OK, a real short line or two here from the gut. Barack Obama proposes to, “. . . build relationships with people of opposing views, and wants his inaugural to reflect that goal.” So, I have to ask, if he had been running for president in the 60’s would he have presented such a seemingly equalizing forum to Bull Conner, Bubba and Billy Bob in Jackson, Mississippi and the followers of George Wallace so we could all somehow get along better?

If this is a preview of Obama’s idea of consensus building and healing, I must wonder if his ideas for improving other things are going to be this delusional and divisive. Using an evangelical mega-church fence-straddling homophobe and anti-abortion champion to offer an inaugurating prayer as he takes the reins of leadership of America is a political cop-out. Is he is trying to build a bridge from reason and acceptance to homophobes and haters with some two-moves-ahead chess ploy to the Right? I fear he has just run off the road big time before his motorcade even gets started. After all the A+ moves the Obama campaign has made from its beginnings to just a day or so ago, this has to be the most mistaken, confusing and contradictory. Why? Where does the politically expedient pandering stop? What am I missing here? Short change we can believe in?

The Rag Blog

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4 Responses to Obama’s Consensus Building : Rick Warren and, Say, Bull Conner?

  1. Devra says:

    Rick Warren is a pig. A spokesperson for Americans United for the Seperation of Church & State descibed him best; “Jerry Falwell in a Hawaiian shirt”.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I like the analysis contained in this article.

    #
    Washington Post
    Obama’s Inaugural Mistake
    By Joe Solmonese
    Friday, December 19, 2008;

    It is difficult to comprehend how our president-elect, who has been so spot-on in nearly every political move and gesture, could fail to grasp the symbolism of inviting an anti-gay theologian to deliver his inaugural invocation. And the Obama campaign’s response to the anger about this decision? Hey, we’re also bringing a gay marching band. You know how the gays love a parade.

    Yes, the Rev. Rick Warren, pastor of the humongous, evangelical Saddleback Church in Orange County, Calif., has a sound message on poverty. And certainly, in the world of politics, there is a view that Barack Obama owes Warren for bringing him before fellow evangelicals, despite fierce opposition during the heat of the presidential campaign.

    But here’s the other thing about Warren, the author of the bestselling book “The Purpose Driven Life”: He was a general in the campaign to pass California’s Proposition 8, which dissolved the legal marriage rights of loving, committed same-sex couples.

    For that reason, inviting Warren to set the tone at the dawn of this new presidency sends a chilling message to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. It makes us uncertain about this exciting, young president-elect who has said repeatedly that we are part of his America, too.

    We understand that the Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, a civil rights icon and a dear friend of LGBT Americans, will close the inauguration ceremony. But would any inaugural committee say to Jewish Americans, “We’re opening with an anti-Semite but closing the program with a rabbi, so don’t
    worry?”

    It is likely that one of two scenarios played out during behind-the-scenes inaugural planning, both of them equally troubling. The first possibility is that it was suggested that Warren is the correct voice to lead the inauguration because his selection would send a message of inclusion to evangelicals. And when someone at the table said, “Gay America will be offended by that choice,” the quick answer was, “That’s fine, we’ll deal with it. We invited the gay marching band.”

    The second possibility is that no one at the table had a clue about Warren’s anti-gay views and that the Obama team has been stunned by the broad and loud objections to the choice. That’s not encouraging, either.

    What the Obama team needs to understand is that for many LGBT Americans, this November was bittersweet. We were thrilled with Obama’s victory and, in fact, many of us worked the phones, pounded the pavement and wrote checks to make that happen. But the next day, we learned that Proposition 8 passed in California, and our hearts sank. It was the biggest loss our community has faced in decades.

    One of the biggest reasons for that hurtful outcome was the Rev. Rick Warren, who publicly endorsed Proposition 8 in late October. He told his parishioners and reporters alike that “any pastor could be considered doing hate speech if he shared his views that he didn’t think homosexuality was the most natural way for relationships.” But civil marriage rights for same-sex couples had nothing whatsoever to do with religion.

    President-elect Obama must now, as my mother used to say, put some meat on the bone.

    We’ve seen appointment after appointment of talented Americans who come from constituencies that are part of this country and helped win his election. Well, we’re one of those constituencies who actually worked and voted for Obama, unlike Warren and probably most of his 21,000 parishioners. Yet, we’re the ones left waiting for some real evidence of inclusion.

    So, are we angry about Rick Warren? You bet we are. And including a gay marching band in the inaugural festivities doesn’t heal this wound. It only serves to make us question the promises that Barack Obama made in his historic quest to be president. We pray we weren’t misled.

    The writer is president of Human Rights Campaign.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The Human Rights Campaign offers an opportunity to communicate with the Obama team on gay issues in a very positive way — its Blueprint for Positive Change – a concrete plan for LGBT equality. Ask Obama to adopt this Blueprint. Here’s the background:
    On Wednesday, the Presidential Inaugural Committee invited anti-LGBT and Prop. 8 supporter Rev. Rick Warren to give the invocation at the Presidential inauguration.

    Within hours, this announcement unleashed a deservedly loud cry from the Human Rights Campaign and the community at large. Indeed, our frustration has been voiced on blogs, radio, TV and print news across the country (check out HRC’s Harry Knox on NBC Nightly News and my editorial in the Washington Post below).

    Today, I am writing to you because we have a chance to turn all of our energy and outrage into action. Make no mistake – this is a moment of opportunity we must not squander.

    President-elect Obama may not change his mind on Rev. Warren, but he can turn the corner on this controversy by officially committing to HRC’s Blueprint for Positive Change – a concrete plan for LGBT equality.

    Ask President-elect Obama to support HRC’s Blueprint for Positive Change — a Five-Point plan for LGBT Equality in America.

    Our community worked tirelessly for Obama’s election. We staffed the phones. We walked the neighborhoods. We talked to our families and friends.

    Obama’s election night victory filled us with great pride and joy. But the following day, our community was hit hard when we knew that Prop. 8 had passed and Californian’s legal marriage rights were dismantled.

    Yesterday, President-elect Obama defended his selection of Rev. Warren by saying “I am a fierce advocate for equality for gay and lesbian Americans.” That makes me believe Obama can restore our trust by taking action and hearing from all of us.

    Ask President-elect Obama to support HRC’s Blueprint for Positive Change.

    Once you send your message to President-elect Obama, please forward this e-mail to your loved ones urging them to join you.

    I am so grateful and so honored to work with you every day. And in these troubling times, the support we give to one another is a tremendous comfort and blessing. I look forward to the hard, but critical, work ahead as we fight for equality for all Americans.

    Warmly,

    Joe Solmonese
    President

  4. Anonymous says:

    Rick Warren’s positions leave a lot to be desired. But he is the left wing of the evangelical movement. “Next Right” , a right wing blog dedicated to rebuilding the conservative movement, has a good analysis of the Warren selection and Obama more generally. They say Obama is center right in appearance and rhetoric, but progressive in essence (they advise right wingers to not buy Obama). In other words, Obama gives the right crumbs in places where it doesn’t matter– Warren is saying a prayer. I am not sure it is a slap in the face better have Warren saying prayers then making policies.

    I think that progressives have to get a lot more serious. Obama’s posture is correct. We should be moderate in rhetoric and radical in reality. Usually the left is the other way around. We run around yelling about “offing pigs” while accomplishing very little. We have to buidl a majority for our politics. Obama has to go two to the right to the extent that we fail to build a strong left (ie., lots of people who are well organized). The more we organize the left the less he has to rely on the right.

    Keith Joseph

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