Obama Tries To Explain Rick Warren

(h/t FDL)

Here's what Obama had to say about Rick Warren:

Mr. Obama himself responded to the growing controversy when prompted by a question during a news conference today designed to announce a trio of financial regulators. The president-elect stressed that he is a "fierce advocate for equality for gay and lesbian Americans," but said it was also important for Americans to come together despite disagreements on social issues.

Mr. Obama said the inauguration would include people with a wide variety of viewpoints represented and "that's how it should be."

He also pointed out that he was invited by Warren a few years ago to speak at his church, despite his disagreement with Warren on those issues. "That dialogue is part of what my campaign has been about," he added.

The Left in this country has been tormented and assaulted for eight years under Bush, conservatives and religious-right leaders like Rick Warren. We were called traitors, America-haters, and Socialists who didn't support the troops -- everything that they called Barack Obama during his presidency run. Well, we got that too and fought as hard as we could against it.

What Rick Warren represents is something that is dark and ugly in American culture. He is given a huge platform to disparage groups of people to the media under the guise of his religious beliefs. And he is also celebrated for it. During the whole Brian Nichols/Ashley Smith hostage and murder saga back in 2005, the media gave more attention to Rick Warren's book than to the actual victims of the crime.

Segment after segment these shows paraded every minister, preacher, evangelical, and man of faith they could find to bath the segments into "how the goodness of God" or "the power of Jesus" entered into the heart of Brian Nichols by Ashley Smith’s faith and convinced Brian Nicholls to turn himself in.

The real hero that most of them are touting is the book "The Purpose Driven Life" written by Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, a megachurch south of Los Angeles. It has sold more than 21 million copies and has been near the top of best-seller lists for more than two years. Publishers Weekly says it is the best-selling hardcover non-fiction book in U.S. history.

Ashley Smith said that she read part of "The Purpose Driven Life" to her captor, Brian Nichols who formed a bond with his captive, calling her "his angel" and gave himself up.

Of course, it later turned out that Ashley also gave Nicholls crystal meth from her own stash during the standoff.

So far there hasn’t been one segment done on the victims of Nicholls rampage. It's almost like they are an after thought to the story. The preachers throw around a blanket statement like " this is an awful tragedy" then get back to what they really want to talk about. As long as the right leaning shows can prove somehow that God had a hand in Nichols surrender, then "praise the lord" because God is the real hero in this mess. Jerry Falwell says that Nicholls must have been exposed to the lord somehow when he was a child " I don't know for sure" Why would he know? He wouldn't have bothered to look.

If I went on any of the shows to discuss the story with anyone of these TV hosts, I'll bet you a thousand bucks, not one of them could name all the people who were killed. I'm going to now again. Fulton County court reporter Julie Ann Brandau, Judge Rowland Barnes, Sheriff's Deputy Hoyt Teasley and federal agent David Wilhelm.

I understand that Obama wants to "reach out" to the other side, and that's fine in certain circumstances, but when you reach out to the other side, usually there is another hand to grab hold of. The reality that he seems oblivious to is that the Rick Warrens of the world hate Obama, and all his voters will never change because there is too much money to be made when your flock is angry. The Christian Right will always find something to be angry about and the target of that anger will be Obama and us, including the gays and lesbians who are being deprived of basic civil rights.

Bring out the accounts and ask Jerry Falwell and his crowd how much money they made on the phony "War on Christmas."

I saw a hack on MSNBC this morning who said that it was good for Obama to get his base angry. Really? Why doesn't the media ever talk that way about the right-wing religious base of the Republican party? It seems it's always "good" to kowtow to them.

Sarah Posner:

There was no doubt that Obama, like every president before him, would pick a Christian minister to perform this sacred duty. But Obama had thousands of clergy to choose from, and the choice of Warren is not only a slap in the face to progressive ministers toiling on the front lines of advocacy and service but a bow to the continuing influence of the religious right in American politics. Warren vocally opposes gay marriage, does not believe in evolution, has compared abortion to the Holocaust and backed the assassination of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Warren has done a masterful job at marketing himself as a "new" kind of evangelical with a "broader agenda" than just fighting abortion rights and gay marriage.

{snip}

Warren represents the absolute worst of the Democrats' religious outreach, a right-winger masquerading as a do-gooder anointed as the arbiter of what it means to be faithful. Obama's religious outreach was intended, supposedly, to make religious voters more comfortable with him and feel included in the Democratic Party. But that outreach now has come at the expense of other people's comfort and inclusion, at an event meant to mark a turning point away from divisive politics.

Jane writes:

It was a very divisive choice, as Team Obama knew it would be after their Donnie McClurkin experience. "Inclusiveness" does not meaning putting whatever hatemonger you can find onto the program, if it did we'd have the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan delivering the invocation.

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