June 19, 2021   8:55am
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The Rick Warren inauguration invocation thing …

I’ve been trying to [dispassionately] figure out how I feel about Rick Warren giving the invocation at Obama’s inauguration:

My 1st impulse:  Understanding —  OK, so Obama’s reaching out …

My 2nd impulse:  Disappointment & Disgust —  WHAT?!  How can Obama reach out to a church whose website basically states “no gays”?  What if instead the site said: “no African Americans” … “no American Indians” … “no Jews” … “no Muslims” … no _____.”  That’s the lowest form of discrimination, and there’s no excuse for Obama making any excuse!

My 3rd impulse:  Implausibility — If he wants to reach out, why not have a Jewish Rabbi, a Muslim Mullah, and other religious leaders along with a Christian. (There are two Christians actually, as Joseph Lowery, a co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Martin Luther King Jr., will be delivering the benediction.)

My son’s impulse:  Viability  You’re wrong on all counts.  Obama’s just pandering and trying to avoid getting shot by the far right …”

While pondering “pandering” (and whether it was valid), I was going through some op-eds on a different subject and came across  “A Natural Alliance” by David Brooks published in The New York Times on May 26, 2005.  Writing during a year of “the bubble” about the need to join forces to fight poverty, Brooks says things of a kind that still have meaning today:

” … we can have a culture war in this country, or we can have a war on poverty, but we can’t have both. That is to say, liberals and conservatives can go on bashing each other for being godless hedonists and primitive theocrats, or they can set those differences off to one side and work together to help the needy.

The natural alliance for antipoverty measures at home and abroad is between liberals and evangelical Christians. These are the only two groups that are really hyped up about these problems and willing to devote time and money to ameliorating them. If liberals and evangelicals don’t get together on antipoverty measures, then there will be no majority for them and they won’t get done …

Serious differences over life issues are not going to go away. But more liberals and evangelicals are realizing that you don’t have to convert people; sometimes you can just work with them. The world is suddenly crowded with people like Rick Warren and Bono who are trying to step out of the logic of the culture war so they can accomplish more in the poverty war.”

My fourth impulse:  Cynicism and Hope — Whatever the war is that we’re fighting, we can’t win by minimizing others; we can only win by building upon our efforts together.

I sure hope Obama knows what he’s doing 

Harriett

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