Lotsa buzz about this Rick Warren dude giving the invocation at Obama’s inauguration. Much as I dislike evangelicals, mega-churches, and gay-bashers, I’m not so sure this isn’t a clever move on Obama’s part. Here’s what I wrote over at Ed Brayton’s place (edited some for here):
Who presents the stupid invocation just doesn’t matter. If Obama continues to invite Warren to the White House regularly, I’ll be a lot more worried. If he starts taking advice from Warren, I’ll be pissed. But this is a meaningless gesture.
I’m not understanding the concern about pissing off the LGBT community. What’s the downside? Obama is officially in favor of everything we want short of marriage, and my reading of his text is that he’s really just holding back on that as a political convenience. Okay, found it. Here’s his official statement.
Barack Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples equal legal rights and privileges as married couples, including the right to assist their loved ones in times of emergency as well as equal health insurance, employment benefits, and property and adoption rights.
So, why not just call it marriage? Well, I would prefer that, and I will be surprised if we don’t end up there. But to get there from here we needed Obama to beat McCain as step one. (Okay, to get there as quickly as possible.) And I think omitting the word “marriage” was a good choice in a pragmatic sense. I see a pretty big nod and wink in those words.
Okay, so my point is his plan involves some pretty major, and pretty contentious legislation, with some big changes for a lot of people. (Remember when the entire state of Massachusetts exploded from teh Gay? Oh. Okay then, big-seeming changes.) He already has the support of the LGBT and friends community; what he needs is the support of the religious middle. I think Warren can help him with that.
And here’s a thought: what if it works the other way? From what I’ve read, Warren has been a little iffy on some of his anti-gay stances. What if he does get to know Obama a little, and Obama influences him? It could happen. There’s a word for that, what is it now…? I haven’t heard it in a long time, it’s kinda fuzzy. Oh yes, “leadership”. Not too likely, I know, but if I were going to try to bring some evangelicals back from the dark side, Warren would be on my list. Hey, I can hope.
And now I return to my usual cynicism.