To Whose God Will Rick Warren Pray?

The selection of Southern Baptist megachurch pastor Rick Warren to deliver the Inaugural Invocation raises all sorts of provocative questions. … Continued

The selection of Southern Baptist megachurch pastor Rick Warren to deliver the Inaugural Invocation raises all sorts of provocative questions.

Has Barack Obama betrayed the left by choosing someone so closely identified with the anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage positions of the Christian Right? Does this mean Warren has succeeded Billy Graham as America’s pastor? Will the 2009 Inaugural Invocation be the first in American history delivered by a man with a goatee?

I think the most interesting question won’t be answered until Warren speaks on Jan. 20. To whom (Whom?) will Warren deliver the Inauguration’s opening prayer? Will his language be inclusive or exclusive? Will he pray to the sort of generic Creator God mentioned in the Declaration of Independence? Will he pray to the monotheistic and paternalistic God the Father? Or will he, as a conservative Christian pastor, pray in the name of Jesus?

Does it matter?

Billy Graham used inclusive language when he delivered the Inaugural Invocation in 1989. “0 God, we consecrate today George Herbert Walker Bush to the presidency of these United States,” he said. But four years later, Graham ended his invocation at Bill Clinton’s 1993 inauguration this way: “I pray this in the name of the one that’s called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, the Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace. Amen.”

Do you remember anyone complaining? I don’t. It’s Billy Graham, the greatest evangelist of the 20th Century. How else would he pray?

Graham was too frail to deliver invocations for George W. Bush. At Bush’s 2005 Inauguration, Rev. Luis Leon’s prayer language used inclusive language, praying to a “most gracious and eternal God” and closing his prayer by saying, “We ask in Your most holy name.”

But at Bush’s first inauguration in 2001, the pastors who delivered the invocation and benediction created a bit of a stir when both of them prayed to Jesus. The invocation by Franklin Graham ended “in the name of the father, and of the son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit.” The benediction by Kirbyjon Caldwell ended with the words, “‘We respectfully submit this humble prayer in the name that’s above all other names, Jesus the Christ.”

Among the critics was Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz, who wrote in the Los Angeles Times that Graham’s “particularistic and parochial language . . . excluded tens of millions of American Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Shintoists, Unitarians, agnostics and atheists from his blessing . . . The plain message conveyed by the new administration is that Bush’s America is a Christian nation, and that non-Christians are welcome into the tent so long as they agree to accept their status as a tolerated minority rather than as fully equal citizens.”

So what will Rick Warren’s prayer say about Obama’s America? What should it say?

About

  • BCinIllinois

    If you invite a Christian pastor to pray, you invite a Christian prayer. To pretend that one belives that there is some other God than “One God, the Father almighty . . . and one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God . . and the Holy Spirit . . . who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified” would be to engage in prayer at the price of denying one’s Christian faith. If you don’t want a Christian prayer, then don’t invite a Christian to pray.

  • Tribe03

    As a pastor (Christian (Lutheran)) and a citizen, I would not be comfortable praying honestly on behalf of the USA at the inauguration of any president. As a Christian, I cannot faithfully pray to any God other than the specific God in whom I trust. I may use inclusive language, but who am I kidding? Any non-Christian will know that when I say “Creator” I mean the living God of Israel whom I believe I know through the grace-filled incarnation of God in Jesus.As a citizen, I don’t want to lie to my neighbors about whom I worship; and I don’t want to lie to God about exactly who they are on whose behalf I’m praying. We’re all too smart for that. Let those of specific faiths pray from their holy places. Rather than pretending to ask all our gods for support and blessing, why don’t we invite a secular humanist to invoke the support of American citizens for their elected government and to offer the blessing of the voting republic to our incoming leaders?God will not be lessened by our human support for each other.

  • perspective4

    I believe in the time we are in any Clergy will speak from the heart and be inclusive by giving Hope-which everyone needs and a message of Faith-which all of us have in one form or another. The issue that Warren should leave out Christ in his prayer is like asking a butcher to just use his hands. Jesus spoke about love for all and to help one another but he was very specific and narrow- minded and was not shy about it claiming there is but one way to the father, through me.

  • sparrow4

    tribe03- very thoughtful post, but I wonder why you would not feel comfortable asking for grace on behalf of all Americans, of which you are one? As a Jew I would not be offended if you used a generic “Creator,”- indeed I do understand what that means to you. But by you being a man of G-d, and speaking from that standpoint, not just as a Christian Lutheran, I think you would be able to include all of us, as well as your own beliefs. Those of us who at atheist or agnostic I hope would understand an inclusive prayer is made in the name of everyone, and made in good will.I hope Warren will set aside his personal religion to be for that invocation, a man of grace, and speak for all of us, not just Christians. If he does not, I will be more than disappointed in both him and President Obama.

  • annegreen

    It does not matter who the preacher is at the inauguration. The only guy there who matters is Barack. Chill. Take a trip like I will. I will be in Peru and will read about it all when I get home at the end of the month. This country is in a deep ditch and no preacher is going to make a difference one way or another. None of them are better than another.

  • rannrann

    Barak Obama ran his candidacy on being the one to unite the Nation, he want the Nation to come together, to act as one, a one for and all for one team playing approach. That is all fine and good. It becomes a problem when he takes an evangelical preacher such as Rick Warren and stands him front and center in everyone’s face and say’s “this is my choice,” “yes, there are Americans who are really not into Rick Warren or his beliefs, religious or otherwise, but it’s my party and I’m saying it is time to come together, like it or not.” Well, I think Barak Obama needs to understand that the American public are not “his students,” he, is not, our “professor, or teacher” and yes, it is “his partry” and he can invite anyone he wants but that does not mean that those who are displeased with his choice of Rick Warren will come anyway near accepting it.And the language Rick Warren uses is very important. This is an ignauguration of a President of all the people, all Americans, and there are many Americans who do not like the way the Rick Warren’s of the nation push their perspective of Jesus to the forefront of conversation. So, yes, Barak Obama can do whatever he likes, it is “his party,” but telling people they now have to come together, is absurd.People will come together, naturally, when there is something REAL to come together for. Role playing it, is not going work.

  • CCNL

    In ten short years, Rick Warren will be out of a job as the reality of the embellished simple preacher man from Nazareth hits the general population.

  • TheMazeSays

    So what will Rick Warren’s prayer say about Obama’s America? It’s not Obama’s America — it belongs to all of us. Obama is our duly elected leader, and that’s all. I suspect that Obama likes Warren’s style of prayer and have no reason to make any other assumption.What should it say? It should say whatever Warren thinks is appropriate and true! I can not begrudge a person for finding a way to relate to God in the personage of Jesus. I have a God too, but I can’t describe mine because my God is beyond description. But I have enough faith that I can still respect the Christian right wing.

  • Rich393

    This is a taxpayer funded event for all Americans. Religion should play no part in it.

  • asoders22

    Electing this man for the inauguration is a great mistake. Religion has no place then and there, and he is a symbol for exclusion. This casts a shadow over an important moment in American history. Lousy judgement and a big disappointment.

  • leibowde84

    I think it is the responsibility of the rev. to not even mention Jesus. If it was up to me I would say not to mention God either, but instead focus on the solidarity of our nation in these tough times and the importance of faith in our leaders. I hope to God (haha) that we don’t get some right wing prayer about how institutions (marriage) need to be protected, because it doesn’t belong anywhere in political converstations and especially at the inaguration where there will be millions of non-christians listening. Obama invited him, but he accepted, and thus has the responsibility to be politically correct and not offensive. And also…..God really doesn’t care if he/she/it is left out of this one.

  • Gavin082

    First, let me say that it alarms me that there is a prayer at all in ANY inauguration ceremony. Second, let me say that as an Obama voter, it alarms me that the President-Elect selected a pastor so at odds with the views held by many of those who voted Obama into office.That said, it looks like Rev. Warren will be giving a prayer on what could likely be the largest ‘stage’ any preacher ever gets. Do I think he should mention Jesus?No.Absolutely not. The prayer itself is offensive to the many millions of Americans that do not believe in a god or gods. To add to that insult by praying to a god of a very specific religion, Warren (and by extension Obama) does a profound disservice to the millions of devout Americans that hold many different but equally Constitutionally protected religious convictions.For a public occasion such as this a Christian pastor can (and I believe should) formulate a prayer that is as inclusive as possible. Sticking to ‘Oh, God…’ and ‘Our Creator…’, etc. is far better than filling a prayer addressed to a multi-religious crowd with ‘Heavenly Fathers’ and ‘Lords.’ Especially to be avoided are ‘Jesus’ ‘Father, Son & Holy Spirit’ and other Christian specific titles.Of course all of that isn’t to say that Warren must compromise on any tenet of his religion.An example:”Oh, God, we pray today for your blessings upon our new President, Barack Obama. We pray that President Obama finds the strength and wisdom to lead America our nation. We pray that through his leadership, this world moves closer to a world where all of your people live together in peace and harmony. We humbly pray for your protection and your blessings for America and for all the people of the world.”Or some such thing.(Aside from the fact that it is a prayer) I cannot imagine that any person of faith can find fault with an inclusive prayer like this.

  • stantheman1

    I am an atheist, but Boinillinois and others are exactly right. If you invite an evangelical Christian to pray at an event, that’s what you are going to get. However, it is a great shame, in my view, that this alleged moment of inclusiveness and coming together to celebrate the genius of America and all that, will be undercut by a powerful message from the incoming goverment that there IS a preferred religion in America, and it is Christianity. This is not Warren’s fault – as a presumed believer in one particular, exclusive path to heaven he presumably has no choice but to pray to his god – but it is too bad that Obama chose to invite him. But yes, his language absolutely matters. Invoking Jesus, or any one particular religion, leaves millions of people psychologically outside of this moment of “coming together.” (Not to mention the issue of Warren’s troubling stance on gays, which leaves out another big swath of the nation even before he opens his mouth.) Who knows, maybe the good pastor will surprise us. But this is not a good choice from Obama. If we have to have religious mumbo jumbo at at the swearing in of an earthly human being as leader of a constitutionally secular nation, it should at least be nondenominational mumbo jumbo.

  • globalone

    Maybe some people are being a little too sensitive? I don’t recall reading that members of the Continental Congress were outraged by Ben Franklin’s calls to prayer.If you’re not a Christian, it’s not a prayer, it’s a bunch of words strung together to form a sentence. It should have no meaning to you.

  • Robert_B1

    Is it just me, or are people on both sides if the aisle trying to invent things to be upset about? I mean, for crying out loud, we’ve had prayers at inaugurations for generations and the Republic hasn’t magically transformed into a theocracy. I understand that some will claim that that this is part of the slippery slope. All I can say is that slope must be awfully gentle.RannRann, you wrote about President-elect Obama wanting to unite the country. Perhaps this is Mr. Obama’s way of letting the left know that we need to respect the religious right even though we may not like it. Unity means unifying everyone, not just the people that you or I might find acceptable…

  • Arminius

    This topic is an all-too-typical tempest in a teapot, so often offered up by On Faith.Yes, Warren is an evangelist – but not your typical evangelist. Dobson he ain’t. He does talk the talk too much, but it is not fire and brimstone. He does, I think, try to walk the walk. (For the record, I am not an evangelist.)Perhaps Obama is more subtle than we give him credit for. I would bet that some guidelines were agreed on – we shall see.

  • Robert_B1

    Arminius:Hail and well met! It’s nice to see another voice of reason on these boards…

  • Arminius

    Hi, Robert_B1,Thanks! Your posts are good, and appreciated. I do try to be level-headed, but I tend to fly off on tangents sometimes.

  • Farnaz2

    The man is an “inclusivist”; as such, he will always disappoint a bit. I never thought he would revolutionize government, wasn’t surprised when he was caught in dishonesty (I caught him), and, although deeply disappointed, I’m not shocked that he chose a cartoon cacaracture of a clergyman for his inauguration.For his next act, perhaps he will have the Flying Wallendas.

  • smsamuel

    I hope Warren does say the name of Jesus. He is a Christian. We all have freedom of speech, right? And, he was invited to pray from his faith. I tired of all trick word play that preachers have to use when they pray. Apparently people want to be blessed by God and have their actions blessed, but the don’t want the faith that comes with that blessing. Weird.

  • coloradodog

    Get over a little diversity. It it were hateful, vicious homophobes like Dobson or the Mormon First Presidency, it would be a little different.Sometimes I think hard core gays want justice at any price including denying tolerance and diversity for others. The world is full of hypocrites of all religious, races and sexual preferences.Poor Jesus. If I were Him, I would change my last name.

  • lepidopteryx

    Why exactly do we need an inaugural invocation? We elected a chief executive, not a high priest.

  • CCNL

    BO even with RW saying a “Palin-type” freedom from voodoo prayer over him will still be the leader of the Immoral Majority gaining said presidency on the backs of 35+million aborted womb-babies and the 70+ million votes of their “mothers and fathers”.

  • spidermean2

    Stop dreaming. This has been a Christian nation and will continue to be so as stated by the prophecy. Wake up.

  • dolph924

    I am an atheist and I am not offended by having Rick Warren say a prayer at the inauguration. It just doesn’t matter to me and Warren represents the more rational and compassionate wing of the evangelicals. He is anti-abortion and homophobic, but so are ALL evangelicals. Other than that, he stays a lot closer to the Golden Rule than his fellow hucksters. There needs to be some bridges built to the evangelicals and wean them off of their one-or-two-irrelevant-issue Republicanism. Once you get to loving your neighbor in a positive, helpful way — something that Warren supports — you are getting much closer to becoming a Democrat. If even a portion of the evangelicals can agree to disagree on those issues, they can then easily make the switch to being Democrats. I see that as a positive and the issue of to which invented God a prayer is said as simply immaterial. I’ll say a silent prayer to Micky Mouse and that will have every bit as much effect as Warren’s — i.e., none whatsoever.

  • spidermean2

    Atheists have no engineering skills that’s why they can’t see a God. All plants and animals are superb engineering feats which no man can equal or fully grasp.”Im an atheist” actually means “Im clueless”.

  • marcedward1

    Just one more reason not to watch. As a former DC native who know’s Washington cannot handle 5 million visitors, the only things I will be watching for will be the riots and fires by 5 million people trying to find a working public toilet. Warren is totally worthless, another faux-Christian who wouldn’t know Jesus if he ran over him. As for Obama, I always knew he was just another centrist, now I know he’s more of a Bush-lite.

  • drnewc

    So, just curious.If Obama was Muslim, (as many fear him to be), and a Muslim cleric did the invocation concluding with a standard homage to Allah, what’s the response then?My guess is that the evangelical right obviously objects, but the liberal left would likely be less vocal than if Christ’s name was uttered. In fact, I submit that the “liberal elite” would actually LOVE to see an invocation in the name of Allah, as they would see this as a demonstration of religious diversity and a first in our country’s history. This discounts the obvious fact that praying in the name of Allah would be just as exclusive as praying to Christ.Let’s get over it. If we are going to have freedom of religious expression, then let’s let people express themselves in a way that is true to their faith.

  • Kiyoryu

    Robert_B1: “Is it just me, or are people on both sides if the aisle trying to invent things to be upset about? I mean, for crying out loud, we’ve had prayers at inaugurations for generations and the Republic hasn’t magically transformed into a theocracy.”Amen brother! People need to lighten up on this whole Obama and his religion thing. Obama is a Christian and he chose a Christian pastor. I doubt he would do so if he didn’t expect to receive a Christian prayer. Honestly, if we elected a Jewish or Muslim president I would expect that they get a Rabbi or Imam to say the inaugural prayer for them. I cannot for the life of me understand why people are so afraid of politicians being religious. As it is the very people who set up the whole idea of the separation of Church and state were often devout practitioners of their respective denominations themselves.Furthermore, the office of the presidency may be decided on by a majority, but it doesn’t represent the majority. It represents all Americans, whether on the political left or right, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or Atheist. While Obama may make policy decisions based that primarily cater to the democrats, liberals and progressives he cannot completely disenfranchise the republicans and conservatives, even if he disagrees with them. That’s what Bush did for 8 years and look what it did for our country.

  • wpfree

    Oh great, but not necessarily superior, being who dwells beyond this plane of existence and who is accessible only through prayer, meditation or crystals, we salute you without thereby acknowledging that you are entitled to greater respect than that accorded any other endangered species.We hope to pass through your plane of existence at some point on our psychic journey to the same exalted status as marine mammals or even snail darters. Moreover, to the extent your design for the universe coincides with the U.S. Constitution and includes low-cost access to cable, we ask you to provide us our minimum daily requirements of essential vitamins and nutrients consistent with FDA guidelines, and when judging us be duly mindful of our status as victim, which provides full justification for what might appear on superficial examination to be felonious. In the same vein, we will endeavor to excuse and forgive those who have transgressed against us, with the possible exception of our parents, teachers, policemen and clergy about whom we have just resurrected disturbing memories. We ask all of this in the name of your prophet ****. [Here on alternating weeks substitute names drawn from the consensus of the class. Some suggestions for early in the year: L. Ron Hubbard, Ayatollah Khomeni, Patricia Ireland, Mike Wallace.]This government disclaims any and all warranties of fitness for any particular purpose and will not be responsible for personal injury or death that may result from reliance on this prayer.

  • B2O2

    The irony, of course, is that regardless of whether Warren uses the J-name or not in his invocation, it would be entirely symbolic. In reality, rightwing Christians despise Jesus and everything that the man stood and spoke out for.If you put any leader of the pseudochristian right under sodium pentathol and asked him about Jesus’ political stances, this is what they would tell you:Helping the poor? Class warfare! We must support the GOP without fail in its tax policies that favor the rich. Remember when Jesus went to the Temple and found the moneychangers there? What did he do? Why, he drove into the high rent district of Jerusalem with them in a Lexus to an upscale club, and had beers with them all night. Jesus was actually totally buddy-buddy with the out-of-touch elites of Jerusalem. Healing the sick? Socialism! Who cares if 45 million here are without health care. That’s the way Jesus would have wanted it. The uninsured must just be lazy. Screw em. God only loves rich people. So did Jesus preach, I think.Love thy neighbor? Bleeding heart liberalism. We should be teaching kids in school to mock and marginalize their gay and lesbian peers, not respect and value them. Jesus would have waved a baseball bat at every gay person he ran into. Love thy enemy? LOVE thy enemy?? Hell, we love our enemies so much we want more of them! The more enemies we have, the stronger we feel. Any war is a good war, especially if it is to wipe out those people of other faiths in the middle east. That’s the Jesus these people believe existed. Jesus would have been a major stockholder in Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and Halliburton. Yep, that’s our Jesus.Of course, the real Jesus could not get a ticket into the Republican National Convention if he donated 40 million sheckles to the GOP’s victory fund. His politics were just too alien to them.The religious right hates Jesus with every fiber in its being. But they are happy to ride piggyback on his brand name. It’s very helpful for keeping the dimmer of their useful idiots – who recognize the brand if not the values – on board.So, it hardly matters who Warren prays to. It is just more political rhetoric, only in tax-exempt dress.

  • timmy2

    The US is currently a country where one can not get elected to public office if one does not profess to believe in God. That is the sad sad message of this story to me.. The US has now shown that they will elect black people, and gay people, but still not atheists. So while I certainly empathize with the Gay community, and I am most certainly on their side in this fight, I am far more concerned about an even more egregious civil rights issue, and one that has far more important ramifications to it than gay marriage. And that is the fact that atheists are ipso facto ineligible for public office. More than 3/4 of the national academy of sciences, our most brilliant minds, are ineligible for public office.If we fix that problem, trust me, the gay marriage thing will be a non issue. Let’s get to the root of this problem. Separation of church and state means nothing when more than 80% of the voting population suffer from irrational delusion and vote based on those delusions.How do we solve this problem?Embarrass people out of their primitive, irrational, delusional, society ruining, beliefs.It’s going to take some time. The internet is here to help.

  • wpfree

    I hope he gives the Irish blessing:Lord, may those who love us, let them love us.The entire fruity marching band may go lame. What exactly IS a gay marching band? A##less chaps like the Key West Festival? Prancing? Androgyny? Pink tutus for guys and mansuits for females?? If so, do the other bands need to have “traditional” attire or motions to be “hetero” bands? Bizarro. And why do liberals exclude 80-98% of Americans from “inclusiveness?”

  • B2O2

    Why can’t we simply embrace modernity? Do we have to wait another century? Here we are, right on cue, fighting over whose Volcano God we should dance to in our grass skirts at our quadrennial national political festival.Can we grow up sometime?

  • Farnaz2

    This whole Rick Warren thing is an embarrassment and I’d much rather see a two-headed woman, the flying Wallendas, and a talking talk smoking a cigar.If they’re not available, how about just skipping the religious blather and dealing with morality and government? What’cha gonna do now that prez, Mr. Prez?

  • Farnaz2

    Whoops!Meant to write “a talking dog smoking a cigar.” But a pipe would do just as well.

  • Farnaz2

    On the other hand, full disclosure of Rick Warren’s finances and those of his church might be nice to see at the inauguration.

  • Phil6

    No doubt Rick Warren will pray in the Name of Jesus, and since he was invited to pray, he should not be muzzled or banned from praying in the manner he sees fit. He was invited to pray! Let him pray.

  • Farnaz2

    Let him pray. Yes, and give equal time to the Flying Wallendas. Fair is fair.

  • Farnaz2

    Let him pray and disclose his finances and those of his church. Let him pray and explain how McCain got wind of questions during the great presidential God-a-thon. Let him pray and explain to us how the Christians, e.g., Bush, Cheney, the J.P. Morgan family, the Rockefellers, Foreclosure Phil Gramm, AIG plunge us into worldwide depression whilst genociding Native Americans, Afghan people, and spreading hate about us J people, as is evidenced on this blog.If not, please. Let the Flying Wallendas do their thing in peace.

  • johng1

    I refuse to discover anything about who this guy is because the older I get, the more I realize these guys can all be categorized as follows:1. Creepy (if they really believe that hogwash)List is not necessarily mutually exclusive.Particularity regarding specific religion not relevantBut one thing I know is true: The holy ghost can only be extinguished using the holy hand grenade:

  • spidermean2

    Freedom of religion only exists in Christian nations or in other nations where America has a big influence.If the clueless would undermine true Christianity, that freedom will cease to exist.Not only will the atheist idiots restrict you from worshipping, they will fence the whole country making it a virtual prison nation.True Christianity means true freedom and a prayer addressed to Jesus Christ on this Inaugural Invocation is a TRUE SYMBOL that America will continue to be a beacon of freedom around the world.THE IDIOTS WON’T UNDERSTAND THIS.

  • Farnaz2

    Other inauguration performer suggestions:The human canon ball

  • Farnaz2

    Fire eatersA tango

  • blasmaic

    Why not have Warren praying to Jesus?It’s not a contractual requirement that people attend the inaugeration, like it is when military service people eat breakfast. People too often conform their religious practices. It causes them to pray to an unidentified God, which is silly.There will be a lot of African Americans attending who view the election of an African American to the presidency as something deeply religious. They pray to Jesus all the time too.

  • ThishowIseeit

    President-elected Obama won the election without much support from the christian fundamentalist. But now he needs their support to promtly solve the diffucult problems. His move is calculated.

  • Farnaz2

    Another possibility in lieu of the Flying Wallendas or Rick Warren:A contortionistIf with Rick Warren, how about a three-card monte player?

  • Farnaz2

    Is the Singing Nun still around? Also, I heard there used to be a Flying Nun….

  • Farnaz2

    If we are to have Rick Warren, may I recommend that dessert be ordered from Alba’s Bakery here in Brooklyn, which is truly excellent, also owned by Italian Catholics, lest we forget that there is more than one Christian denomination?And, what specifically, should we have for dessert? Why isn’t it obvious?StollenThis pastry-like bread originated in Dresden, Germany. Its flat, folded form symbolizes the blanket of the baby Jesus, studded with candied fruits that represent the gifts of the Magi.

  • DavidinDallas

    Let’s hope for a blizzard on January 20 that keeps Warren’s airplane from landing. (I wonder if he’ll try to arrive on a private jet.)

  • remzirbarolli

    I, as a Muslim American who voted for Obama and worked for his election organization, am very disappointed at Obama for selecting Warren to give the inauguration pray. Warren in addition to being anti gay is anti Islam as well. I am sorry to say but Obama made a huge mistake in selecting Warren, Obama has no thing lo gain and every thing to loose in this case

  • Alex511

    fr Deacon777:>You folks are missing the point. The issue is NOT about Rick Warren and what he believes or disbelieves…It most certainly IS. warren likens GLBTs to pedophiles, and he is COMPLETELY wrong in that category. As a gay Christian, I’m disappointed that the President-elect would choose someone who is that homophobic to pray at the ceremony. Better that he would have asked for just a moment of silence, and skip warren completely.

  • Robert_B1

    DavidinDallas: “(I wonder if he’ll try to arrive on a private jet.)”It sure won’t be on a donkey…

  • baddabing1

    Overanalysis! If Obama is “sending a message,” the message is that there is NOT a liberal America and a conservative America, or a secular-progressive America and a Christian America, there is only the United States of America and he is its president. He is saying to the evangelical Christian Right that yes, they have valuable things to contribute (Rev. Warren’s work in Africa) – and inviting them to sit down at the table with people they disagree with and work together for common goals. Also, you can bet that Obama’s team is going to impose some pretty definite guidelines on what the Rev can and can’t say in his invocation. It’s brilliant. At one stroke he’s taken away the right’s oh-poor-persecuted-me card – they can’t claim marginalization when one of their own leading evangelists is invited to participate in the inauguration. He’s effectively muzzled the worst of Warren’s divisive rhetoric. Either the evangelicals will have to sit down at the table with the rest of us and recognize that public policy must serve ALL people, not just conservative Christians, or they are the ones who end up looking divisive and obstructionist. Am I the only one who thinks Barack Obama is not the guy I want to be across a poker table from if I want to leave with my shirt?

  • edpsteph1

    People, this is “much ado about nothing”! May whichever God guide and direct Obama in his mission to help the problems we are facing and in the future.

  • wooflix

    Why couldn’t it just be the House Chaplain?

  • hypocritebuster

    My answer is, there shouldn’t be any prayer at all at the inauguration. It’s an irrelevant, unnecessary exercise in medieval mysticism, when what’s called for today is a heavy dose of rationalism and facts.

  • Robert_B1

    Badabing1:That’s my view as well. Anyone who voted for Mr. Obama expecting to see all their policy dreams come true is bound to be bitterly disappointed. Whether the Left likes it or not, the Right is not going to pack its bags and move to Vancouver. The fact that Mr. McCain still received 46% (?) of the popular vote after eight years of Bush II proves that. Much as would like that it were otherwise, Obama does not have a mandate.We’ve had enough “my way or the highway” leadership over the past eight years to last the rest of the century. If listening to a few minutes of Rick Warren is what it takes to start building some consensus, so be it. We have to start somewhere…

  • politicallyincorrectworldcitizen1

    Pastor Rick Warren has been a Christian who accepts that each one is free to approach God in any way they please. He does not preach that everyone who does not attend his Church and believes in his interpretation of the Bible and Christianity are headed for hell. That should be enough. He has proved his credentials by working on humanitarian projects with people of all faiths and none. But the separation of Church and State does not demand that Pastor Warren is not allowed to acknowledge the path he has chosen to approach the one God. It is somewhat ridiculous to expect someone to deny his own religion in the name of political correctness. As long as he is willing to openly acknowledge that there is only one God and each one is free to approach that God through any religion, it should satisfy all. For if he is forced to choose a prayer to satisfy absolutely everyone, he should have to leave God out of it for fear of offending 15% atheists. Does political correctness demand a public denial of one’s faith? Don’t forget President Obama is a Christian who openly acknowledges his faith. As a President he is only expected to be a secular leader and president to Americans of all faiths and none. He is allowed to exercise his constitutionally given right to openly acknowlede his own religion. He is NOT expected to invent a religion to satisfy all. A President is allowed to practice his religion openly, just as Pastor Rick Warren. Only if either of them ban the religions of others are they in violation of the Constitution.

  • Farnaz2

    maitamhe should devote his legal intellect in pointing out the scumb bags that brought the crisis of our financial system and while at it, look into the sub-prime mortgage titans that made millions of Americans loose their homes.I’d think you’d want to leave that to one of your Christian lawyers, given that J.P. Morgan (Christian) Countrywide (Christian), the Rockefeller family (Christian), Foreclosure Phil Gramm (Christian), Born Again Pouslson, Secretary of Treasury, etc., etc. not only benefited to the tune of billions, but are now bilking the rest of us dry, have sent the world into a depression.And while you’re at it, how about some of you Christists explaining why the CEO and board of AIG isn’t in jail and instead is collecting humongous compensation packages paid for by a lot of us nonChristians, while we nonChristians are bailing them out.But hey, anyone who deals with these “scumb [sic] bags,” regardless of said dealer’s religion is fine with me. I think that the Rockefellers (Chase Bank), J.P. Morgan and all the rest of the Christians who control the world economy and are trying to squeeze every last drop out of the rest of us need to be dealt with by someone.

  • mstratas

    As one poster said, much ado about nothing. Have we become a nation of whiners? Warren is going to give a 1min. or 3 min. prayer. What inanity! I’m Catholic so I say my own praayer. Get a life people.

  • destinysmom

    The Trinity in whom I believe would have no objection to being addressed in an inclusive manner and if Warren chooses to exclude segments of the US populace by his choice of words, he will have to answer to God for doing so.

  • OHREALLYNOW

    What I find so funny is that the majority of you neo-cons posting to this discussion don’t even know what it is to be a Christian. Sure, you go to Church on Sunday (some of you) and you invoke the name of Jesus but you treat your fellow man (those who don’t share your political views) like dirt. All during the presidential campaign you prayed that God would send a leader to heal our country, help fix our economy, bring our sons and daughters home from an unjust war. Well arter all your prayers, why is it so hard for you to believe that God did answer your prayers in the form of President Elect Obama? Silly me, he’s not white like you so he could not be the answer to your prayers. Such hypocricy. He chose Rick Warren, a man of God who may not share your views, but the good Lord knows, you would have had a hissy fit had he selected Rev. Wright. But I know you have been AOK with Rev. Haggey(sp?), or James Dotson (sp?). Get over yourselves and act like true Christians.

  • Farnaz2

    First class relics as defined by the RCC would also be a nice touch: hair, blood, bones.I personally am fond of Dali’s “Crucifixion” and wonder if we could get it on loan. Also, I liked the way Dali looked, so maybe we could bookend his “Crucifixion” with life-size photographs of the artist. (True, Dali supported the Vichy government, but we’ll let that pass for the moment.)Finally, I’d like to have the College of Notre Dame Band playing “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

  • Farnaz2

    There are several under-represented Protestant snake handling congregations, who really should have an inaugurational role, lest they get venomous.And what would an inauguration be without somebody speaking in tongues?Tsk. Isn’t anyone seeing to the details?

  • Farnaz2

    What?! No faith healers? Hello???

  • JKJ88

    spidermean2 wrote: “Im an atheist” actually means “Im clueless”.

  • medogsbstfrnd

    It would be best if Rick Warren would listen to the God in whose name he prays. Jesus included everyone, did not say one word about “homosexuals” and yet, this man will stand before the nation as an activist against human rights and dignity. Shame on him, but most of all, shame on Obama for selling out. And don’t b.s. us about how shrewd a move this is to include everyone. Nonsense. This is about power and political strategy at the expense of persons’ human dignity.

  • DeepClue

    What is the big deal? I, for one, think it’s a great way to signal that this is an inclusive, rather than exclusive, administration. If we had to veto any person whose ideals do not fully match ours, we would be very lonely and very duped.

  • EnemyOfTheState

    “The left has truly mastered how to villianize anyone who disagrees with their views.”I don’t feel like tolerating the Klan, either. If that makes me a hypocrite, oh well.

  • Arminius

    Badabing1:I agree with Robert – thanks for a well-reasoned post. Nice to know that there are a few of us here who are not foaming at the mouth about something. Yes, too, I believe that Obama invited Warren for the reason you presented – we’ve ALL got to sit down together to solve the mess inherited from Bush. We need the Republicans there too. Last I heard, that’s called ‘democracy’.

  • wkorn

    As to whether or not there should even be a prayer, you could refer to the book by one of the co-moderators of this blog — Jon Meacham — entitled “American Gospel”. It talks about the difference between “public” and “private” religion. It is (or should not be) a problem for any Christian but the most rabid fundamentalists that Pr. Warren invokes God without invoking Jesus. As for those who don’t believe in God, they’ll have to live with it. The invoking of God or the concept of God as “Providence” has been a part of public life since the there has been a public life in the U.S.It would not surprise me in the least if Pr. Warren has very specific “suggestions” from the President-elect on exactly how inclusive he should be when he makes his Invocation.

  • jrzwrld

    Rick Warren represents a large segment of the population with regard to his religious beliefs. THis is a small gesture where Obama is reaching out to them – it is an act of inclusiveness. I think many of Warren’s views are silly. I’m an agnostic who believes in strict separation of church and state.

  • Roism007

    Let the first man or woman or child who has not sinned deliver the Inaugural Invocation Its a joke where we the American people are sowing the seeds of destruction in this country by promoting integration of Church to the State; pretty much in continuation of Bush’s policies and of launching a Christian Army into Middle East to free Babylon…We have already seen the mess religion creats in middle eastern and middle western (Europe.. if American continent is the continuation of West…right duh) and we have seen Bush policies on religion in past eight years…..America needs to quit this practice to preserve the consitution ..or our cherry picking the consititution will come back to bite us hard

  • EnemyOfTheState

    The message of Rick Warren and evangelicals in general is broader in its implications than simply gay marriage: It is a denial of equality.Either we are all equal or we are not – it’s that simple. Tart it up with theology if you wish, but, like the proverbial lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig.Warren (and Obama) have decided, based on their understanding of their invisible friend in the sky, that two people who happen to be of the same sex are to be denied the rights enjoyed by heterosexual couples. Pretty much the same type argument has at various times in our history been applied to: slavery, interracial marrriage, segregation, property rights, denial of women’s sufferage, genocide of Native Americans and…well, you get the picture.

  • Robert_B1

    Robfried –Thanks for the link! It’s a very interesting article; you gotta love science!

  • OHREALLYNOW

    destinysmom wrote :

  • timmy2

    WKORN:”The invoking of God or the concept of God as “Providence” has been a part of public life since the there has been a public life in the U.S.”So was slavery until we smartened up.

  • wkorn

    Tony_in_Durham_NC wrote:someone wrote:One of the things that makes America “better” than Afghanistan is that while Afghanistan has only one Taliban, we have two — the rabid right and the rabid left.The only things the absolutists have done for the body politic is to marginalize themselves or — if they get close enough to the levers of power — destroy the political party in which they reside (see the Democrats in 1968 and the Republicans of 2008).I prefer the positions of the rabid left to those of the rabid right, but I don’t prefer the unwillingness to accept that there may be some point to listening to other points of view.Obama says he’s trying to break through the BS of doing politics in an atmosphere where people talk but do not listen. If having the egregious Pr. Warren deliver the invocation will help Obama do that, more power to him.

  • OHREALLYNOW

    “Thine” = God, not Jesus.Don’t you know they are one and the same?

  • destinysmom

    from Ohreallynow:Just my point. You can pray to Christ without having to mention His name. And I do think that if, for example, someone would pray something like “Oh, Jesus, please inflict AIDS upon all the gays”, that person would have some ‘splainin’ to do when his or her time comes.I’m Catholic and I’ve seen many public events where Catholic clergy pray to God/Lord/Creator without mentioning Christ or the Holy Spirit. It’s part of loving all of God’s children.

  • AJBF

    Warren’s choice is an affront to glbt people and to anyone who cares about justice and equality. I’m stunned and angry. Obviously Obama and his handlers think they can absorb the fallout from this – I for one will work very hard to prove them wrong.

  • captiolhillmom

    destinysmom wrote : —————-Why do you say “not true”? She didn’t say that she doesn’t think that Jesus is part of the Trinity– that would be absurd! the fact is, you agree with her. When you address the Trinity in an inclusive manner you are addressing Jesus without saying Jesus. That’s what Destinysmom said! Assuming that is true, what is the point of saying Jesus if it offends people and “just” saying God gets the job done without offending? And what makes you so sure that God is OK with praying in the name of Jesus? Our God is a jealous God He specifically states in the First Commandment that there shall be no other Gods before Him. a lot of Chrsitians worship JEsus, rather than God and that violates God’s law.

  • wkorn

    @ TIMMY2″So was slavery until we smartened up.”True enough, but no one’s putting you in restraints like in “A Clockwork Orange” and forcing you to listen to Pr. Warren or anyone else. There’s this neat thing on TVs called a volume control. If you’re offended by invocations to God, use it.Invocations and benedictions do not violate the doctrine of the separation of church and state. That doctrine prohibits the state from establishing an official religion or supporting religious institutions. It’s a doctrine I happen to agree with very strongly.There is nothing in the Constitution, as amended, that prohibits a person from saying something that might offend someone else. If there was, given the diversity of thought in the U.S., we’d all be mutes.Read the book I referenced in my earlier comment. It’s very well researched, well-balanced, and is INFORMATIVE. You do want to be INFORMED, don’t you TIMMY2? Or do you just like to make snappy comments without thinking too much about them?

  • Robert_B1

    You know, I’ve seen both anti-theists (Timmy2) and fundamentalists (Spidermean2) post on these boards. and I’ve come to the conclusion that both extremes suffer from “Chicken Little Syndrome”.Guys, the universe will not collapse in on itself if gay people are allowed to marry or if we briefly mention God in an inauguration ceremony. Believing that it will simply paints you as irrational and eliminates any legitimacy from your argument. Calling each other “stupid” or “delusional” doesn’t win you any points either.

  • Robert_B1

    Timmy2: “So was slavery until we smartened up.”You do know that the abolitionist movement was inspired in part by the Second Great Awakening, right? Apparently, religion isn’t all bad, after all…

  • captiolhillmom

    Posted on December 19, 2008 14:29 OHREALLYNOW : Don’t you know they are one and the same?—————you know, since Jesus wasn’t certain He was the same as God, you can’t blame me for doubting it to! Anyway, I have personal experience that God is God. No intermediary or incomprensable theory about the Trinitarian nature of God necessary.

  • Robert_B1

    CapitolHillMom: “you know, since Jesus wasn’t certain He was the same as God, you can’t blame me for doubting it to!”Can you point to the verses of the Gospel where Jesus admits this? I do not doubt the sincerity of your belief; I’d just like to know where it comes from…

  • mightysparrow

    “Invocations and benedictions do not violate the doctrine of the separation of church and state. That doctrine prohibits the state from establishing an official religion or supporting religious institutions.”You should read the 1st amendment more carefully. Religious invocations do indeed violate the 1st amendment– however, the courts have allowed them to continue, in violation of the Bill of Rights. The express wording of the 1st amendment refers to “religion,” not A PARTICULAR RELIGION. The framers clearly intended to keep government out of religion entirely. That’s why the word God is not in the Constitution, even once. This is not a matter of the world ending if God is mentioned, as one poster asserted. It is a matter of respecting the diverse religious views of all Americans- especially all Americans who pay taxes. I personally am offended when a member of the clergy leading such “prayer services” invokes the name of Jesus or Christ, or both. That clearly sends a non-inclusive message out from government- which sends the wrong message to the governed and spends public money in a way that is unfair and unconstitutional. I don’t want my tax money spent on prayers to God, and I should not have to pay to support such activities- that is supposed to be what separates America from the Taliban and Iran. I guess many people on the board would prefer a society in which there were more religious coercion, but that is a very unAmerican concept to me.

  • sm98yth

    I HAVE YET TO MEET A TRUELY HOLY PERSON. RICK WARREN IS AS GOOD AS ANY. ALL AMERICANS ARE PROTECTED UNDER THE BILL OF RIGHTS. THE RIGHT FOR SAME SEX MARRAGE SHOULD NOT BE DETERMINED BY GOVERNMENT. WHAT SHOULD BE DETERMINED BY GOVERNMENT IS PARTNERSHIP. PARTNERSHIPS SHOULD NOT BE RELATED TO SEXUAL PREFERANCE BUT TO LIFE. MANY SENIOR CITIZENS DO NOT MARRY BECAUSE THEY LOOSE BENEFITS. THEY WOULD BENEFIT FROM A PARTNERSHIP. IT’S AN ECONOMIC THING. YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO PARTNER WITH WHOMEVER YOU WANT IN ORDER TO BENEFIT FROM WHATEVER IS PROVIDED TO OUR CITIZENS WITHOUT DISCRIMINATION. I PERSONNALY WOULD NEVER HAVE AN ABORTION BUT I HAVE TAKEN CARE OF MANY WOMEN WHO HAVE HAD ABORTIONS. WOMEN DO NOT TAKE ABORTION LIGHTLY AND THE DECISION IS PAINFUL. I HAVE TAKEN CARE OF MEN AND WOMEN WHO ATTEMPTED SUICIDE BECAUSE OF THE INTOLERANCE AND HATEFULNESS SHOWN TO THEM BY ANTI GAY FOLKS. I HAVE GONE TO THE FUNERALS OF MANY OTHERS. AS A PUBLIC HEALTH NURSE I HAVE PROTECTED THE RIGHTS OF PATIENTS WHO HAVE BEEN THE SPOUSE, DAUGHTER, GIRLFRIEND OR BOYFRIEND OF PUBLIC OFFICIALS WHO HAVE BEEN GAY OR WHO HAVE ABORTED. THESE SAME PEOPLE YELL THE LOUDEST ABOUT THEIR BIGOTRY. I AM A BLACK WOMAN AND I HAVE LEARNED OVER THE YEARS THAT PEOPLE WHO ARE MOST DIVISIVE ARE THOSE CLOSEST TO THE PROBLEM. FOR EXAMPLE, THOSE WHO ARE AGAINST BLACKS MAY HAVE AFRICAN ANCESTORS, SOME PEOPLE WHO ARE ANTI GAY MAY BE UNCOMFORTABLE ABOUT THEIR OWN SEXUALITY. THERE ARE OTHERS WHO CLAIM TO BE RELIGIOUS WHO HAVE NOT READ THEIR BIBLES SO DON’T KNOW THAT IT IS JUST AS BIG A SIN TO LIE, COMMIT ADULTRY AND THE REST OF THE TEN RULES. I EXPECT THEN THAT THOSE DEMONSTRATERS FEED THE POOR, CARE FOR THE SICK, VISIT THE PRISONS, SHELTER THE HOMELESS, ALL IN THE NAME OF JESUS. I SURE WOULD LIKE TO MEET ONE OF THOSE FOLKS.

  • Norrie

    He should call upon our “Creator” as the authority to which we ask for support.That is all inclusive of religions and eliminates any reference to anyone’s particular “God” or “Prophet” or whatever.

  • bem629

    He should begin to apologize for equating gay marriage with incest and pedophilia.

  • dummy4peace

    So Rev. Warren is too conservative and Rev. Wright is too liberal. Why don’t we just cancel this part in the inauguration altogether so nobody is offended by Obama’s choice? We are really a nation of whiners.

  • timmy2

    Robert_B1″Guys, the universe will not collapse in on itself if gay people are allowed to marry or if we briefly mention God in an inauguration ceremony. Believing that it will simply paints you as irrational and eliminates any legitimacy from your argument. Calling each other “stupid” or “delusional” doesn’t win you any points either.”Great. Now you just have to show where anyone suggested that the universe will collapse if Rich Warren speaks, for you to have any point at all. Best of luck.

  • Robert_B1

    Timmy2–Yes, I do know that religion was also used to support slavery. My point was that religion also created a positive effect in many minds. This is a point which, I see, you carefully ignored.It is a fact of life that the evils of religion make front page news; the good it does in millions of lives usually languishes untold. People like you don’t help yourselves by preferring to see what you wish to see rather than seing the balanced truth.Go back to my post about “Chicken Little Syndrome”. The limited view of religion that you profess is also a sign of it…

  • NYC45

    I cannot express how disappointed I am that Barak Obama has selected Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration. I am equally dumbfounded at his explanation that this is a decision of inclusion. While I will not equate evangelicals to the KKK or Islamic terrorists, the rigid inflexibility of their beliefs and their devout intolerance toward certain oppressed segments of our society have painful similarities. This event is supposed to be the culmination of a 150-year war against hatred and intolerance, the wounds of which I thought might finally be healed by this president.I fear that Barak feels comfortable with the views shared by many of the church’s (black & white) in this country; church’s that teach intolerance and the “sins” of homosexuality. It is ironic that, as a black man in America, Barak is still able to act like the old white guy he ran against and impart this same intolerance on the GLBT community. I donated to Obama’s campaign, I voted for him. I got everyone I knew to vote for him. Now his Presidency has all but lost its appeal to me. After eight years of Compassionate Conservatism’s war on the gay community, this is our reward??? If Barak goes ahead with this and doesn’t immediately do something to show that he actually believes the rights of ALL Americans (including GLBT), he will forever lose my respect, my support, and my hope. His next book,: “The Audacity of Intolerance”.

  • Robert_B1

    Timmy2: “it is just in our nature to be altruistic.”Oh yes, I can just feel the waves of altruism flowing from your posts.If you’re going to make statements like this, you should really start by practicing what you preach…

  • timmy2

    WKORNYou said: “True enough, but no one’s putting you in restraints like in “A Clockwork Orange” and forcing you to listen to Pr. Warren or anyone else. There’s this neat thing on TVs called a volume control. If you’re offended by invocations to God, use it”This is an excellent argument for why we should not complain if the KKK were asked to speak a few words at the inaugural. So now we have to see if you have any arguments as to why a Christian who hates gays should give prayer at a government ceremony?We know we can turn down the volume, if he invites an Amway salesman to speak. But why should the Amway salesman speak?I think you should read the constitution. You do want to be INFORMED, don’t you KORN???

  • mwcob

    Nobody forced this choice on Obama. I think it’s exactly what he promised all along – a truly inclusive approach to healing the United States. If we’re going to change Washington, it means including people we don’t always agree with. More importantly – it’s Obama’s Innauguration. It’s his choice. He should get whatever prayer he darn well pleases.

  • CCNL

    Again, BO even with RW saying a “Palin-type” freedom from voodoo prayer over him will still be the leader of the Immoral Majority gaining said presidency on the backs of 35+million aborted womb-babies and the 70+ million votes of their “mothers and fathers”.

  • timmy2

    ROBERT_B1″Oh yes, I can just feel the waves of altruism flowing from your posts. If you’re going to make statements like this, you should really start by practicing what you preach…”I do.Now you need to show examples of me being non altruistic, as opposed to just stating it like it’s a fact. So get out your little quote marks, and quote Timmy being un-altruistic.You might want to look up that word first. I think you are going to have trouble with this exercise. Are people who speak out against the KKK being un-altruistic?

  • wkorn

    @ MIGHTYSPARROWYou said: “You should read the 1st amendment more carefully. Religious invocations do indeed violate the 1st amendment– however, the courts have allowed them to continue, in violation of the Bill of Rights.”Indeed, I have read it very carefully, Mr. Sparrow. And I find your insinuation that I haven’t to be insulting and offensive. Do I therefore have the right to prohibit you from making your comment? That’s what this wildly overemotional debate seems to be all about, isn’t it? Giving offense?As a matter of fact, the First Amendment is splendidly vague on what it means concerning religion. The interpretation of what it means kept the Founding Fathers on both sides of the argument very busy when it was written, debated and ratified. That debate has continued in the courts and in public opinion to this day, as you point out.As for your taxes going to Rev. Warren or Rev. Crowley, I believe you are mistaken. While I’m sure the government is paying for some aspects of the inauguration (like crowd/traffic control, policing, etc.), the bulk if it is paid for by Obama’a Inauguration Committee. Having contributed to Obama campaign, I know this because I am getting email requesting donations to the Inauguration Committee hourly. You’ll have to take up the matter of the opening prayers in the House and Senate with your Congresspersons.

  • JPRS

    Rick Warren will say:”My book is available for sale on Amazon.com and at my church store XYZ.Please reserve an advanced copy too of my upcoming book ‘Lose weight overnight and get rich quick purposefully-driven’.”Warren is a charlatan and a partisan.Bill Graham was a man of God. That’s one key difference.Btw, Warren, in reality will be inoffensive and accessible in the substance of his invocation remarks at the inauguration. Perhaps he’ll get a dig in at minority groups just to rub Obama’s face in it — although I think this is unlikely.Did I mention that Warren is a con-man and a charlatan? He’d make a pretty decent southern fried politician. The money and “perks” are still probably much better though on the whole “religion” circuit.It’s guys like Warren that make people cynical about Christianity.

  • Archarito

    No one can deny there is good and bad. There is good and bad in a spiritual sense too. Even as we respect our secular government, we also respect the spiritual government. The leader of the spiritual government is God. There is one leader in secular government and leader in the spiritual realm and we refer to Him as God.The good know God. The bad do not.The primary aspect of a pastor’s responsibility is to support and defend God. The bad try to undermine God. When people try to undermine pastors who in all good conscience work to support and defend God, they can be considered as bad people working as anti-God antagonists against good. Not Good! Worse than bad.

  • DupontJay

    Those who have served in the military know that, when military chaplains give an invocation at an official function, they always always always give a non-denominational prayer. At a military ceremony, even an evangelical Baptist chaplain would never ever close his prayer with a mention of Jesus. It’s sad to see that in this respect, the military is more progressive than our politicians and society at large.

  • deacon777

    I wonder how many of you would still be upset if the clergyman giving the invocation was not Rick Warren but the openly gay (and married) Episcopalian bishop Gene Robertson? Would his invocation to the monotheistic Jewish/Christian God be as exclusive as Rick Warren’s presumably would be to liberal ears? Or would he get a pass because he is a gay man?There are multiple issues here. Some folks want no mention of God period. Some folks want only a reference to some sort of fill-in-the-blank God reduced to the level of sheer meaninglessness.To me, the issue is whether to have an invocation at all in the public square. I’m betting NO president wants to be the 1st president who opted NOT to have an invocation at his inauguration.That may get a standing ovation from the “No God” crowd, but it will surely make the incoming president unpopular with the “God” crowd – still the majority of Americans if we are to believe the polls. I think an invocation can be produced that calls on “God” (however you image it) in a way that doesn’t offend or marginalize various religious beliefs. I’m not sure you can appease the Atheist though. When people disagree so profoundly about ultimate reality, whatever they think it is, it is not surprising that nothing will suffice except absolute silence on the matter.

  • wide-eyed1

    I think they said it all in the article above:Having Rick Warren praying to Jesus, will have “excluded tens of millions of American Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Shintoists, Unitarians, agnostics and atheists from his blessing” (Warren’s that is).We are inaugurating a President, not a Pope! Whatever happened to separation of church and state? Obama will be promising to uphold the Constitution, not the Bible. And, he was elected to be the president of all Americans, not just the Christian ones. I find myself secretly hoping that Warren’s prayers will be disruptive and that there will be spontaneous demonstrations of displeasure.

  • Intellectual

    I think you all are making a mountain out of a mole hill. This man is going to give a short prayer that will more than likely go down in history just like all the other iniagural prayers, and by that I mean it will be forgotten. He can pray to whomever he wants to, all you guys are saying that it would be wrong if he was not inclusive of everyone else but then say that he cant say the name of Jesus. Why should he be inclusive of everyone and exclusive of what he believes? I dont agree with his homophobia, but it is just a prayer that is meant for positivity. Once he finishes, that will be it. All you GLBT and atheists and agnostics need to get ver yourselves and focus on bigger issues. Instead of whining about this man praying at the inaguration, how about thinking of ways to do away with his ideals and views that you disagree with instead of getting all up in arms over a prayer? Maybe you guys should start trying to reach out to people like him. It amazes me how when the whole prop 8 thing went down, it was Black people’s fault, but you all know people like him are the root of your problem. GLBT’s need to organize and get their minds right and focus on creating change and not attacking everyone who does not like their lifestyle. If Blacks did that during the civil rights movement there would not have even been a civil rights movement. It was a movement headed by people with a inclusive mind state (racially at least). I am sure there were people who became vry vital to the movement who were racist or at least prejudice at some point in their lives. They probably would have stayed that way if it werent for people on the other side reaching out to them to show them the light. All you GLBT’s rally with eachother and preach to the choir. Its about outreach not accusation. You can’t keep living your lives in the dark, being too afraid reach out and expect other to accept you.

  • hgheiss1

    It makes about as little sense to have a religious invocation/benediction at a secular presidential inauguration as it would to have a government official preside at a religious investiture or ordination.Thomas Jefferson and the rest of the Founders were spot-on when they envisioned total separation of church and state. But in the ensuing 200-plus years—and indeed for the entire history of mankind—nothing has so poisoned the village well as religion has.

  • clintatl

    The website for Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church explicitly states that “unrepentant” homosexuals are not welcome as members in the church. And yet he and his supporters are claiming that gay Americans are being hateful for not accepting his bigotry and fighting back against discrimination. And this man has the gaul to suggest that he is following in Christ’s footsteps. Christ would NEVER exclude ANYONE from his teachings for any reason. Mr. Warren DOES NOT SPEAK FOR GOD. He is just another sham preacher stroking his own ego and impressed with his own perceived importance. Like all the other bigoted pretenders before him, he too will fade away or be engulfed in scandal.

  • Paladin7b

    mightysparrow : You should read the 1st amendment more carefully. Religious invocations do indeed violate the 1st amendment– however, the courts have allowed them to continue, in violation of the Bill of Rights. The express wording of the 1st amendment refers to “religion,” not A PARTICULAR RELIGION. The framers clearly intended to keep government out of religion entirely. That’s why the word God is not in the Constitution, even once. ————–First, if a court “allows” them to continue, the acts are CONSTITUTIONAL, not unconstitutionalSecond: The founding fathers did not intend a strict separation fo church and state. Indeed, a separation of church and state requires the state to neither support nor hinder the religious freedom of citizens. It must show a benevolent neutrality towards those of religious, agnostic, or atheistic beliefs when it comes to religious practices. A state cannot forbid funds to students in a public university from taking religious courses, but it can also not require such students to take such courses.It is only where the government’s action allow for an excessive entanglement of religion that the action is subject to sanction.

  • coloradodog

    IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST, stop defiling the name of Jesus Christ. If I were He, I would change my last name.PS Happy Birthday, Jesus

  • timmy2

    Robert_B1YOU: “My point was that religion also created a positive effect in many minds. This is a point which, I see, you carefully ignored”No I addressed it. I told you that religion brainwashes people into thinking that the natural goodness in their heart is God. There were many atheists also involved in the abololitionist movement. How is it that they were able to be good without religion? Why can atheists be good without religion but religious people need it to be good?You state it as though it were a fact that religion creates a positive effect on people’s minds, but you have no evidence of this. Science has shown that altruism is in fact an evolutionary selfish trait. It is a natural state for all humans. What good? You keep talking about the good, but atheists are good too, so you need to show more than “look at the good things that some religious people do”. You need to show how believing in a God who does not exist actually helps people be good more than not believing in an imaginary God. I think you have difficulty with this exercise. YOU: “People like you don’t help yourselves by preferring to see what you wish to see rather than seing the balanced truth”People like me? You mean people without irrational beliefs?YOU: Go back to my post about “Chicken Little Syndrome”. The limited view of religion that you profess is also a sign of it…”Until you can show me the “good” that religion does I’ll have to assume that it is your view of religion that is limited. Remember, good things that religious people do is not and example of good that comes from religion because atheists do good things too. What you need to show is why belief in God is necessary for people to be good. I think you will have some difficulty with this exercise.

  • BeowulfthePolitician

    Hey I have an idea. Let’s make a mountain out of a molehill!

  • timmy2

    Paladin78″It is only where the government’s action allow for an excessive entanglement of religion that the action is subject to sanction”Christian prayer at an official government ceremony IS “an excessive entanglement of religion” and government. Unless of course all religions and points of view, are allowed to pray at said ceremony.

  • stevenpitzel

    Reminds me of a favorite bumper sticker…JESUS!

  • Robert_B1

    Well, folks, it’s been surreal. I’ll be off-line for a while celebrating Christmas and New Year’s, so Happy Holidays to all and to all a good night.:)

  • Smarra

    I received an amazing e-mail speaking of how God uses all sorts of people to spread His word-at the end of it was this saying:Amen, I trust the maker of all to care for me through all my daily walks, not just in my leadership and laws.

  • CCNL

    As part of his invocation, RW should say “And God bless all the mutual masturbators, their defects make them blameless on Earth and in Heaven.”

  • wkorn

    @ TIMMY2That’s WKORN to you, TIMMY2. Only my friends call me KORN. ;pWhy do folks like you and MIGHTYSPARROW assume that if someone doesn’t agree with you it means they haven’t read the relevant documents? Since you can’t know who’s read what, it says more about you than it does about those who you criticize. It also is not a good strategy for convincing people you’re correct in your opinions.You say “The word ‘God’ is not in the constitution even once.” So it isn’t. Neither are the words “Fruit Loops”. Does that mean public officials can not say “Fruit Loops” in a public setting?Since we’re on the subject of non sequiturs, the words God and Creator ARE in the Declaration of Independence. So what? How is this relevant to the discussion at hand? Or Amway, for that matter?The issue at hand is whether your rights as one who apparently doesn’t believe in God (or at least in religion) are being trampled on if someone chooses to invoke God in a public setting. I don’t see how they are. You are free to complain (as you have been), and to feel offended by it, and say so. But since it is Obama’s party (and as I mentioned to MIGHTYSPARROW, it is his party — he’s paying for it), he has the right to ask for a blessing from God if he wants to.By the way, what’s your position about the Rev. Joseph Lowrey giving the benediction? He co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Council with Rev. Martin Luther King, and is well known to be a friend of the LGBT community? I’m sure he might let the word God slip out. Is that also offensive to you?It would have likely offended far fewer people if Obama had chosen someone else to give the invocation, particularly someone who didn’t have such f*cked-up opinions about gays and abortion as Rev. Warren does. But I trusted Obama enough to vote for him, to give him money, and to work for his campaign. So I’ll trust that he knows what he’s doing this time, and I’m happy he hasn’t backed down in the face of such heated disagreement.

  • timscanlon

    God forbid people just appreciate the gesture and get on with life…All these magaevangelical pseudocult types are very tiresome, and in too many cases downright scary.

  • lepidopteryx

    If we must have an invoactaion, address it “To whom it may concern.” That will cover any deities worshipped by the speaker, the attendees, those watching or listening via electronic media, and those who worship not.-

  • politico5

    Granted, Rev. Warren has done a lot of good, which has been recognized. What I find so offensive about him being chosen includes: his blatant and appalling homophobia; misogyny; and impertinent opposition to equal rights. Choosing him to give the invocation is akin to choosing someone who is an overt anti-semite or racist. It is not so much about Warren the man but about what he symbolizes and advocates. There are many ways to bridge divides and build alliances that are not so sensational or public in nature. Why couldn’t Obama have chosen Steven G. Souter, a Supreme Court justice to give the invocation? He is erudite, well-spoken and beyond reproach. Justice Souter does not let his personal opinions interfere with his objectivity at a jurist and I am confident he would deliver a meaningful, eloquent invocation. Besides, choosing Souter would not be offensive to any group (excepting those who would excoriate, punish or hang someone for their color, ethnicity, creed, or sex). In addition, reverends/ministers/prelates/priests/rabbis are not the only people who have a direct line to the Almighty/Universal Essence/Great Spirit/Yahweh and can thus give a benediction. President-elect Obama and his transition team dropped the ball on this one…there is still time to MAKE CHANGES!

  • tbarksdl

    A quick reply to those commentators whose defense of Rev. Warren’s praying to God or even Jesus is some variation of the theme that Warren has a right to pray whatever way he wants, end of story. This outlook was most strongly postulated by politicallyincorrectworldcitizen1. To paraphrase a Supreme Court justice on a case involving the question of whether a policeman’s constitutional rights were violated by laws restricting public servants’ political activities: Mr. Smith may have a right to express his political opinions, but he does not have a right to be a policeman.Rev. Warren has a right to pray any way he pleases, but he does not have a right to pray at a presidential inauguration. His participation is a matter of choice. That choice was made by an individual. The American people have a right to reach a collective judgment as to whether that choice was correct.Time for the Ku Klux Klan test. Anyone has a right to be a member of the KKK. That person has a right to declare his KKK doctrines in public. That KKK member does not have some constitutionally guaranteed right to appear on a presidential inaugural platform and espouse his KKK philosophy. Turning Rev. Warren’s appearance into a question of freedom of speech is pure horse manure.

  • kase

    Why do we need anyone praying at all?

  • dem4life1

    It’s sad that so many people lack the ability to live life without the crutch of religion. Are your lives so empty that you can only get through it by falsely promising yourselves that something better awaits you when you die? How pathetic.

  • timmy2

    You said it Kase.I’ve not heard anyone give a good answer to your very valid question.

  • sirach

    Speakings as a life-long, 2 or 3 times a week churchgoer, I think we just eliminate the prayers. We never had a prayer at a presidential inauguration until FDR asked a clergyman to give an invocation. Never had a problem before then. Hasn’t been a big problem most of the time since. Now it is a problem. Let’s just get back to the way the Founding generation did it.

  • Farnaz2

    Equal time should be given to a bisexual atheist who has had an abortion. I am in absolute earnest.

  • willemkraal

    pastor rick the prick should stay home! this dude helped pass prop8 which took legal rights AWAY from many of our fellow americans! more proof that religion poisons everything it touches!

  • mikemc3b

    If Rick Warren wants to attack sinners, why not pick on adulterers? It’s worse according to bible–there’s a commandment against it–and unlike Warren’s claims about homosexuality, adultery actually is a threat to families. Oh, wait a minute–picking on adulterers would stop the massive flow of money into his church, so forget it.

  • furtdw

    Rev. Warren is a member of the Christian clergy. Obama fully understood this obvious detail when he invited him. Warren should remain loyal to his basic core convictions and not compromise on them. I encourage Warren, as a Christian minister, to invoke the name of the Father (or Creator), Son (or Jesus) and the Holy Spirit. VIVAT JESUS.

  • timmy2

    Farnazz gets it.The case for Rick Warren praying at the inaugural is identical to the case for Farnazz’s bisexual atheist who has had an abortion also talking about their ideology at the inauguration. Neither have any relevance to the business of government.

  • Farnaz2

    Timmy2Well, then, how about an ethicist who is also an atheist, and who is known to support gay marriage and choice?The atheist, assuming he has no Saddleback God n’ Politics Fiasco to account for, assuming their is no suspicion about his finances, would help set the moral tone for the inauguration, in ways that the Christian fool cannot.

  • Farnaz2

    Otherwise, I vote for A bearded ladyA tango

  • timmy2

    An atheist, well aware that Christianity is a myth, can make positive use of that myth, by evoking the some of the inspirational words of the mythical character “Jesus” to inspire all of us, without being exclusionary. The Christian can only evoke these words in an exclusionary way, because of his beliefs that Jesus was real and the only path to salvation. The atheist can use these inspirational words because the atheist knows full well that these words came from a human mind. That is truly inspirational. And unlike the Christian, the atheist can separate the truly inspirational words of the mythical character of Jesus, from, say… these words.1 Timothy 2:11-12Atheists have access to all of the good and inspirational batches of wisdom that our ancestors wrote down in their myths, without being married to all of the political horror that comes with the doctrinization of those myths into a religion.All of the good, and none of the bad.It’s good to be an atheist.

  • slenon

    I see no reason to have an invocation at the inaugural. I particularly see no reason to hand the unofficial evangelical chaplaincy to Mr. Warren and his financial operation designed to allow the separation of money from his flock for the greater glorification of Warren. Warren should re-read the bits of his holy text about praying in private and about cleansing the temple of money-changers and merchants. As an American citizen I am offended that he is being elevated to semi-official status as was Billy Graham Inc. I’m embarrased at the view of our nation this choice presents to the modern world.

  • angeladoolin

    Timmy2 says “If we fix that problem, trust me, the gay marriage thing will be a non issue. Let’s get to the root of this problem. Separation of church and state means nothing when more than 80% of the voting population suffer from irrational delusion and vote based on those delusions.”How do we solve this problem?”Embarrass people out of their primitive, irrational, delusional, society ruining, beliefs.”It’s going to take some time. The internet is here to help.Believe it or not, Timmy2, there are Christians, many of us, who support full gay rights, fervently believe in the separation of church and state, and would gladly elect a thoughtful atheist to public office if s/he were the best candidate for the job. Shame on YOU for lumping us all in the same “delusional” category.As for Rick Warren, I’m deeply troubled by what the choice says about the importance of gay rights in this country. But if Warren has to be the “invocator” he should pray an inclusive prayer, to the extent that that’s possible. I realize the very fact that he’s praying may exclude folks like Timmy2, and I am truly sorry about that–it does strike me as odd to me that we should have public, institutionalized prayer at a federally-sponsored event. Still, if the prayer is humble and delivered by a humble person of faith who lives his/her LIFE inclusively (herein lies the problem with the Warren pick), I would hope that even a person who does not profess a faith would be somewhat okay with that. The fact is, Timmy2 and I arrived at very similar conclusions regarding inclusiveness and church and state. But what Timmy2 can’t seem to accept is that my own path to those conclusions came through the non-mutually-exclusive route of common sense AND Jesus, who created a powerful social revolution simply by asking us to love our neighbors as ourselves.

  • wkorn

    @ TIMMY2YOU: Why can’t we be friends?ME: No reason at all. Did you not see the wink?YOU: Could you be just a little more hypocritical please?ME: I’ll try, but it’s really hard work.ME AGAIN: Then you have read it? Wonderful! What did you think of it? And let me be the first to apologize for assuming you hadn’t.ME (less sarcastically): I invited you to read it because the opinions you were expressing with considerable asperity were, in my view, misinformed.YOU: No, that would be bad reasoning.ME: Great! We agree on something.YOU: But we do have very good reasons why they should not evoke God.ME: We do? I haven’t heard anything convincing from you yet, except that it somehow disenfranchises those who don’t believe. I guess we’re going to have to disagree on that.YOU: Now can you tell me why we should evoke God via a Christian evangelist who hates gays at a government ceremony?ME: That’s an admittedly tougher question, because I happen to think Rick Warren is a jerk. The weak answer would be that he’s not being hired to promote his views — he’s being hired to make an invocation. The only other answer I have I gave before. I believe Obama knows what he’s doing, and for the time being, I will go with that.ME again: What’s really important to me is whether or not Obama follows through on his pledges to get rid of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and rolls back of all the Bush-enacted crap against gays and the right to choose, not to mention purging the federal bureaucracy of the extreme right-wing religious types Bush put in who have been very quietly religifying said bureacracy. If he doesn’t do those things, Obama won’t have my vote in 2012. If he does, I could not care less whether or not there was an invocation and who did it.YOU: The issue at hand is what business is it of a secular government to evoke prayer at an official government function.ME: Then you have bigger problems than the invocation, I should think. What book is it that the President puts his hand on when he takes the oath of office? And that is the only “official government” part of this function. The rest, as I’ve said more than once, is the business of the YOU: We don’t do things because there is no reason not to do them. We need good reasons to do something.ME: Then you’re a better man than I, Gunga Din. I sometimes do seemingly pointless things because I like to, like engaging in this colloquy even though I don’t expect to change your mind.YOU: In a country where one can not get elected to public office unless they profess to believe in the Christian God…ME: Utterly preposterous. There are several dozen electees of the Jewish faith, a couple of Buddhists, at least one Muslim, and a few Unitarian Universalists, who by their own creed are atheists. Without wishing to be hypocritical again, better you should be informed before you make claims like that.YOU: I’m glad that you are comfortable with the fact that only people who believe in God are eligible for public office.ME: If I believed your statement is true, I would be very UNcomfortable, but I don’t. As a matter of fact the very notion is unconstitutional, as I’m sure you know — see Article VI.YOU: Do you not think that perpetuating the God myth at government functions is a contributor to this on going madnessME: Not really. If it helps Obama to ask for help from God, Buddha, Socrates, Mohammed, Rene Descartes, the Great Pumpkin, or the Spaghetti Monster, I really don’t care. He’s gonna need all the help he can get. If you choose to ask for help from your fellow human beings exclusively, that’s fine, too. There are a great many human beings that don’t believe in God that are very admirable indeed. And, believe it or not, there are a great many human beings that do believe in God that are also very admirable, despite their “delusions”.

  • ZZim

    Well he had better pray to Whoever or Whatever he normally prays to. It would be an obscenity to force him to do otherwise.

  • Farnaz2

    wkorn:Let’s look at what he’s not doing. He’s not taxing the upper income bracket like he said he would. Instead, he’s letting the current tax law expire.That famous commercial, obviously a lie, in which he promised to bring back jobs to the US and heavily tax those who ship them abroad he has admitted was a lie. Sadly, almost pathetically, many, many people believed that ad which he approved.He is a politician. He chose this clown because he wants some other Christian clergy know they don’t own him.He’s a centrist politician. Always was. A Bill Clinton, not a Hillary Clinton type.I voted for Obama and would again if my choice was the same.But this silly cartoon figure doesn’t belong at the inauguration. I’m curious, btw., at what it’s going to cost.

  • Farnaz2

    A jugglerThe aria from Madame Butterfly

  • Farnaz2

    A snake charmer

  • yameenzusnet

    To reinforce our secular constitution that has been trampled on in recent times, I nominate Ralph Nader or Nelson Mandela to offer the invocation and thanks to God. I would prefer Bertrand Russell but he is dead.All those who are not Christians would welcome such a non-provincial personality.

  • ryanc1

    I really don’t think this is the appropriate question to be asking about Rick Warren. How about, Why is Obama supporting a hate-monger?

  • captiolhillmom

    Isn’t the first Commandment “thou shault have no other God’s before me?” So doesn’t it violate this to pray to Jesus, rather than God? I grew up Methodist and this always confused me. The idea of the Trinity seems too complicated– you should just pray to God. He will hear you. you don’t need Jesus as your intermediary or a priest. that what the Bible says.

  • michaelfairbanks

    The Trinity doesn’t need to be confusing.Jesus is not a middle man to God. Jesus was a man on earth with the spirit of God in Him. God came to earth in the form of a man (Jesus) to make a new agreement with people.Look, the Old Covenant wasn’t working. People refused to obey God, so He came as a person (as the Old Testament said would happen) to form a new covenant with his people.The fact that people can, on an individual basis, be saved is the reason we call Jesus the savior. He saves you.If you deny Christ, then you deny the fact that God made a new agreement with mankind. And if you deny Christ, then you have to adhere to the Old Testament rules of sacrifice. Better go get some goats and sheep, etc.

  • csintala79

    If a pastor that will give an invocation without evoking the name of Jesus is wanted, then Rick Warren or any other evangelical or fundamentalist Christian minister isn’t the right choice. While not agreeing with his beliefs, I would question his integrity if he didn’t call on Jesus. The Obama team needs to find a good Unitarian Universalist minister if they want to have a non-specific, universal benediction. Any Christian minister that avoids referring to Jesus hasn’t read his scripture; true orthodox Christian belief demands, if one subscribes to sola scriptura, adherence to Christ as the only way to reach God. A secular event needs a reformed Christian or a universalist; however, this will not avoid offending the dogmatically religious. Any choice they make is sure to offend; true politicians will elect to make a selection that will offend the least number of future voters. Since liberal Christians are not likely to jump on the Republican bandwagon, the choice of Warren with the hope that will attract more evangelicals to the fold is politically astute. Sorry, but saints don’t do well as secular rulers; Machiavelli is the patron of rulers, not Christ.

  • quipooh

    Look, Obama is a Christian and has every right to have a person of his faith pray to Jesus during his Inaugural Invocation. This has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the nation or anyone else in attendance. The purpose of an invocation is to asking the God that you believe in to protect you and guide you in all that you do. He has a big job ahead of him and he is going to need God to do it successfully.

  • deacon777

    You folks are missing the point. The issue is NOT about Rick Warren and what he believes or disbelieves. The issue IS Barrack Obama asked him to deliver the invocation. Obama is at heart a political animal. He saw what happened in California. And if it happened there, it probably represents the majority opinion of Americans across the country. Obviously the next president takes this “We the People” stuff seriously. He actually thinks he is the president of ALL the people and not just those on the left. Gee, what a concept.

  • Alex511

    fr gamiller:>…Dude, you mean that, you like don’t understand that the people of California VOTED for marriage to be between one man and one woman? Whoa, man, like get a clue. I mean, like, obviously the majority said that anal sex and fur trading are not what they want to condone for marriage, or aren’t you cool with what the MAJORITY wants?…Dude, realize that those who voted for Prop H8 were brainwashed by the likes of “dr” jimmy dobdumb and his purple kool-aid pourers.Oh, and just for your information, straight couples also use anal sex.

  • timmy2

    WKORN,YOU: “Then you have read it? Wonderful! What did you think of it? And let me be the first to apologize for assuming you hadn’t”No, but I will add it to my long list of things to read.Now, is reading it a prerequisite for discussing this issue?ME: But we do have very good reasons why they should not evoke God.YOU: We do? I haven’t heard anything convincing from you yet, except that it somehow disenfranchises those who don’t believe. ME AGAIN: Disenfranchise is your word. I used the word exclusionary. It holds true. And given that there is no reason for it, this is good enough reason against it. And there are many many more. I have already mentioned a few. I can go on ad nauseam if you like. But as I said, humans don’t go around doing things because there’s no reason not to. There are millions and millions of things we could do and say at the inaugural that there is no reason not to do, but we only do the things that we have a good reason to do. Why any religious invocation at all is the main question?YOU: The only other answer I have I gave before. I believe Obama knows what he’s doing, and for the time being, I will go with that.He believes in a magic sky ferry. That is why he is doing it. YOU: “What’s really important to me is whether or not Obama follows through on his pledges to get rid of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and rolls back of all the Bush-enacted crap against gays and the right to choose….”Me too. Have you ever thought about how we would never have had to endure 8 years of Bush were it not for the delusional religiosity of the US populous? Most certainly we would never have elected such a dufus were it not for the power and sway of the evangelicals? Shouldn’t we begin to deny them of their power and sway that they never should have had, for that reason alone? And here you act as their lawyer pointing to constitutional backing for their continued influence in governmental ceremonies and procedures? I think you deserve another 8 years of Bush. YOU: Then you have bigger problems than the invocation, I should think. What book is it that the President puts his hand on when he takes the oath of office? And that is the only “official government” part of this function”Oh I know. Don’t get me started. Are you saying that I should forget this Rick Warren nonsense and worry about the Bible in hand thing instead? They are part in parcel. Both are wrong wrong wrong. YOU: The rest, as I’ve said more than once, is the business of the Not with tax payers money it isn’t.YOU: Then you’re a better man than I, Gunga Din. I sometimes do seemingly pointless things because I like to”Not at an official government ceremony you don’t. Could you please get real.YOU: (with me in parenthesis) Utterly preposterous. There are several dozen electees of the Jewish faith, (same god) a couple of Buddhists, (name them, and at what level) at least one Muslim, (same god) and a few Unitarian Universalists, who by their own creed are atheists”Wow, how inspirational. So it is fine by you that a president could never get elected to office who does not profess to believe in God, because there are two Buddhists and a few Unitarian Universalists elected to low level offices? Man you are a push over. YOU: Without wishing to be hypocritical again, better you should be informed before you make claims like that”I was well aware of the couple of exceptions to this very rigid unspoken rule. You can’t really be serious thinking that these few exceptions mean squat. Your apathy has me dumbfounded.YOU: If it helps Obama to ask for help from God, Buddha, Socrates, Mohammed, Rene Descartes, the Great Pumpkin, or the Spaghetti Monster, I really don’t care”1) it doesn’t help him. The Christian God is not there. Believing that he is there helps no one. (I can back this statement up in a whole other debate if you like)2) If he thinks it does help, it is a personal thing for him to ask for that help in private, not to bring his religion into our secualr Government’s (the peoples) business.YOU: And, believe it or not, there are a great many human beings that do believe in God that are also very admirable, despite their “delusions”On this we agree. Barack Obama is one of them.I am just voicing my opinion about a mistake that I think he just made. The sky will not fall, it will have virtually no effect on the country, but it is spitting in the face of gay people, who are currently in a struggle for basic equality, that blacks were granted 40 years ago, but that gay people are still been denied. Barrack Obama has stated that he is not in favor of Gay marriage. There could only be one reason for this. (If he is telling the truth and he truly is against it) His delusional religion.Step 1 to helping America get over it’s God delusion, is to stop mentioning it, and invoking it in government ceremonies. Maybe one day, a president will be elected who is not a functional delusional, but a functional rational. Maybe. One day. I work tirelessly for that day. It is an important day. More important than a black president. Much more important, and on a grander scale. Your apathy disappoints me. However, merry Christmas.

  • Farnaz2

    Clark Kent, a mild-mannered reporter.

  • wkorn

    @ FARNAZ2YOU: Let’s look at what he’s not doing. He’s not taxing the upper income bracket like he said he would. Instead, he’s letting the current tax law expire.ME: I was never quite clear as to whether he was going to do that in 2009 or just let the current tax break expire. As you know, McCain wanted to extend the tax break forever. I would prefer he end the tax break now.YOU: That famous commercial, obviously a lie, in which he promised to bring back jobs to the US and heavily tax those who ship them abroad he has admitted was a lie. Sadly, almost pathetically, many, many people believed that ad which he approved.ME: I’m sorry. I missed the part where he admitted it was a lie. Can you point me to chapter & verse? I do think it would be tricky to implement, but I certainly hope he tries.YOU: He is a politician. He chose this clown because he wants some other Christian clergy know they don’t own him.ME: Was there ever any doubt he was a politician? Personally, I think he chose this clown because he was the least offensive of the well-known evangelicals. It could have been much, much worse (see, for instance, Pat Robertson).YOU: He’s a centrist politician. Always was. A Bill Clinton, not a Hillary Clinton type.ME: After 40 years of voting for liberal Democrats and watching them lose, I’ve come to the conclusion that someone who isn’t center-right or center-left doesn’t have a dog’s chance of becoming president. Maybe that isn’t so bad. Look at what the zealots of the last 8 years have done. BTW, what makes you think Hillary is any more liberal than Bill or Obama? She’s certainly a member of the Democratic Leadership Council, which is about as centrist as you can get without becoming a Republican.YOU: I voted for Obama and would again if my choice was the same.ME: Glad to hear it. I voted for Clinton twice even though I thought he was a Republican in drag. Sometimes all the choices are less than optimal.YOU: But this silly cartoon figure doesn’t belong at the inauguration. I’m curious, btw., at what it’s going to cost.ME: *sigh* I know, I know. But like I said before, I hope Obama doesn’t back down. Even if it turns out it isn’t the best decision he ever made. That would really send the wrong message. As for the cost of the inauguration, I don’t know. If you take a very large number and multiply it by an extravagant number you’d probably be pretty close to the mark.

  • Farnaz2

    A celebrated Transylvanian hematologist.

  • n_mcguire

    If Obama had invited a non-Christian, and the invocation required the clergy person to dress up in skins and feathers and shake a rattle to drive away the demons, would you object? If Obama invited someone who invoked his own personal deity to smite his enemies and slaughter the infidels, would you object? So why is a homophobic megachurch CEO who practices rituals designed to appease a supernatural being any less objectionable? Maybe because he’s praying to YOUR deity? Will the pagans in the audience be allowed to burn sage during pastor Warren’s invocation of his deity? If not, why not?

  • Farnaz2

    I’m sorry. I missed the part where he admitted it was a lie. Can you point me to chapter & verse? I do think it would be tricky to implement, but I certainly hope he tries.WKORN:No, sorry. It was admittedly a bit of a stretch on my part. What he did say was that he could do nothing about the “problem.” Pretty disgusting, huh? That add with the man halfway between heaven and earth, holy in the sunlight, with crowds of workers cheering. Many, many poor souls fell for that. You know, no matter how I try to look at it, it was deplorable. A lotta folks on this very blog believed him.The Tax thing: No, he was going to get to work on it right away.

  • captiolhillmom

    i don’t deny Christ, i just know from personal experience that God will listen to your prayer even without “invoking ” Jesus. The glory of God was personally revealed to me without Jesus as an intermediary.God is supreme over all– including Jesus. The prayer that JEsus taught us to say does NOT include reference to Jesus– it starts “Our Father . . . ” and does NOT end with “In the name of Jesus Christ” but “For Thine is the Kindom and the Power and the Glory for ever and ever. Amen.” “Thine” = God, not Jesus.That is how Jesus taught us to pray and I think it would be wise to follow that instruction!

  • Farnaz2

    Hillary Clinton: She was more liberal on health care. Obama said mandating health care would be like mandating that all homeless people own homes. She was serious. She would have done it.She was to the left of both Bill and Obama on immigration–all the way down the line.She was to the left of both on education.Bill and Barak are neoliberals (Republicans of an earlier age). What could you do but vote for them? Who else was there?I’ve heard there are a couple of black clergymen, politicos of a sort, as most clergy seem to be nowadays, notwithstanding tax exemptions, to whom he wants to “gently” say “I’m my own man.”

  • smeesq

    I’ve changed my plans to attend the inauguration, I’d really been excited about it and even had transportation and a place to stay all arranged. I’m a 63 year old white heterosexual married grandmother, and I worked really hard to elect BO, and was so proud when my state, NC, turned blue.But I have to now consider that Rick Warren places me, a pro-choice woman, in the same moral category as a Nazi mass murderer of Jews. Its obvious that Warren (and Obama who asked him to give the invocation) would not want me, or others like me, attending the inauguration. I mean, if someone believes that a whole group is guilty of supporting mass murder, you don’t invite that group to a party, do you? So I’m staying home. Maybe Barak Obama can find Rick Warren congregants to canvass for him and donate to his next campaign. I’ll be busy with the group of mass murderers protesting the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

  • csintala79

    Michaelfairbanks, sorry, but the doctrine of the trinity is confusing. If it weren’t, why would Luther have said he accepted it but didn’t really understand its logic? Your statement indicates that you might not be clear on the doctrine either. According to orthodox Trinitarian belief, Christ does not have the spirit of God in Him: He is God. Christ is an amalgam of God and man, and Christ is eternal and co-equal to the Father, sharing His substance and nature. In Western Christianity this view is so strong that the Holy Spirit is considered to have come from both the Father and the Son (refer to the filioque controvery). There were two primary heresies that competed with orthodox Christianity (the Trinitarian belief is called orthodox because they won the dispute). The Docetist heresy hold that Christ was only spirit, and His humanity was an illusion due to the fact that matter is evil, therefore true spirit can not coexist with a material body. The other main heresy in regard to the nature of Christ is Arianism, which holds that Christ is not eternal (although it occurred before the beginning of time, Christ was created by the Father and is thus inferior to Him) and is not co-equal to God, the Father. Arianism holds that created by the Father through Christ, i.e., essentially this heresy believes Christ has the spirit of God, the Father in Him, from which it follows they do not share the same nature. From the foregoing, it appears that you hold the heretical Arianist belief concerning the nature of Christ, not the orthodox Trinitarian belief. In the early history of Christianity, this issue was a really big deal, especially in the East. Current Eastern Christian liturgy is replete with references to the trinity and the victory of that belief over the heretical views on Christology.

  • dgblues

    “He [Obama] has a big job ahead of him and he is going to need God to do it successfully.”Oh, you mean like the current Bible-Waver in Chief? I thought that he was God’s right hand man. At least that’s what General Pace told us as he slaughtered Muslims in Iraq to get control of their oil. Bush himself said God told him to do it.So we seem to have arrived at an impasse. If indeed God told Bush to spend a trillion dollars occupying a weak nation halfway around the planet, and Obama seeks the help of that same God, where’s the change gonna come from?Oh, I forgot! His middle name is Hussein! He’s really a Muslim! Different God! Or at least a different service manual. I get it!!If there need be an invocation, let’s avoid confusion. Let’s have a humanist invoke common sense and well-reasoned citizenship, and for our new President, invoke both the wisdom to select his battles carefully and the will to fight tirelessly, to be inclusive where possible but not capitulate on every issue with which Mitch McConnell and his band of merry wackos disagrees.That “kumbaya” nonsense only goes so far. Sometimes somebody’s gotta deliver an elbow to an eye socket to get the ball into the hoop. Warren is obviously a man who reads Leviticus very selectively, a hypocrite like those he leads to hypocrisy. Obama tossed the Christo-fascist hypocrites a bone. So what?! He’ll need Warren to get some things done with the Biblohypocrite crowd. Just don’t look to Warren for help on getting equal civil rights for all citizens regardless of who they love, that’s all. That’s called “politics,” the reason a church like Warren’s (and Sharpton’s and Robertson’s and so many others) should be taxed.

  • slowe111

    Warren or any other theistic / religious speaker SHOULD NOT be there to begin and end with. A Secular government is offended by the inclusion of sectarian / religious speakers in the program or on the podium of this very sacred moment of our secular government’s process. Any mention or allusion to any supernatural power or figure is offensive to the millions of naturalists (non-theists) citizens. What does Jerusalem, or Mecca, have to with Athens or Washington?

  • ThishowIseeit

    Obama wants to be a unifier. He already got the left now is working to get the right in. A calculated move.

  • roewert

    There’s a plus and a minus to all this. On the plus side, during the inauguration, when the professional religionist is called upon to hale the invisible man in the sky and the big myth, that is just enough time to go to the kitchen for a cup of coffee. On the down side, once again one of our leaders is playing the religion card. People argue of the pros and cons of this preacher over that one, or this denomination over that one, but what really needs to be looked at is the issue of why do we need this religious nonsense here at all? If Obama is a religious man, that’s his right. He can pray to whatever mythological being he chooses in the privacy of his own surroundings prior to the ceremony. If any of the viewers think that appealing to their invisible friend in the sky will make a difference in the proceedings, then they too are free to pray, chant, dance, play with snakes, do the hootchie-kootchie, whatever, in the privacy of their own space. Why does it need to be made public? America is a diverse nation. Not everyone believes in the same god that Rick Warren, or Obama believes in. Not everyone believes that there even is a god. As President of the United States Barrack Obama is obligated to represent each and every citizen. The Baptist, the Catholic, the Jew, the Wiccan, and the Atheist. To best do this he needs to leave his personal religious believes at home and demonstrate complete neutrality when in public. Prayers, invocations, preachers, ministers, “holy” books, and the like, should be left out of public ceremony and function.

  • dgblues

    “Jesus is not a middle man to God. Jesus was a man on earth with the spirit of God in Him. God came to earth in the form of a man (Jesus) to make a new agreement with people.”Hmmm…kinda like Hank Paulson.

  • ender2

    I’m not a christian and I voted for Obama and worked for his election. I would rather he did not have a christian specific invocation and particularly by a Reichwing Fundy like Warren. That said, I knew up front that Obama has always seemed to take christianity seriously.More than that, I think I understand Obama’s need to make a statement to the Fundies that have and do opposed him vehemently. If he really is going to unite the nation, throwing a bone to those boneheads probably doesn’t hurt, as long as it is an effort at unity and not a policy statement.There is about 30% of this nation that still think Mama’s Little Cocaine Cowboy is/was a great president, and that Obama is a Kenyan citizen, a Muslim, a Socialist and a (lots of luck figuring this one out) follower of a racist christian sect. So if this shuts up the f’n Rove Clones and gets them to pull their heads out of FatBoy Limbaughs arse and stop fighting every Obama initiative and give him a chance, it will have been a great move and not a capitulation to the madness of the Bush League.

  • hyjanks

    “Does it matter?”

  • caroleatlarge

    Anyone who is familiar with the New Testament knows

  • probashi

    Voted for Obama but re: his selection of Pastor Rick Warren for the invocation at his inauguration, I find it difficult to give him the benefit of the doubt.It appears to be a cynical, calculated move to win the so called “Christian Right”. Since his victory Obama has disappointed many of his supporters but, then,he never explicitly talked during the campaign about his plans and objectives. He hinted, yes; the theme was CHANGE. The devil was in the details. Now we know. Since Obama selected Pastor Warren, it would be fair to ask whether he believes in Armageddon (Second Coming)? Chances are that if faced with the question he will “yes”. And so it goes.

  • edallan

    Rick Warren shouldn’t be delivering the imprecation [intentional] in the first place. It’s insulting to well over a hundred million Americans that the only “religious” people selected both come from a particular flavor of Protestantism, let alone the fact that Rick Warren rejects the civil rights of tens of millions of Americans, rejects a great many domains of science and medicine, and rejects the rights of people not of his belief to control their lives. This is even apart from the reality that at the time, a very large number of Southern Baptist preachers would have rejected — and did reject — the legitimacy of the marriage of Barack Obama’s parents.But, in honesty, even if Rick Warren were to use the occasion of the imprecation to call down the wrath of Jesus as expressed in Matthew 25 on his fellow “compassionate” “conservative” “born-again” “Christians” who have spent the past eight years trashing our formerly great country, he would be the wrong person.

  • coloradodog

    God, this debate is about as boring and retarded as Dobsonites praying for rain at Obama’s nomination. Who cares if Warren is a jolly, rotund, intolerant, white, homophobic neochristian or whether or not he prays for a few minutes to pander to the same in the name of Christ they hijacked for their social fundamentalistic and corporate socialistic political agendas. Simply ignore his ignorance and his prayer and free your souls from this lament.I just want to hug and hold poor old Jesus to console and comfort him for the hurt and pain he must feel for how his “followers” have hatefully and greedily used his name.

  • globalone

    Riddle me this: Both formal prayers (such as Obama’s inauguration) and informal prayers have been offered up by Presidents and Congress alike since our FOUNDING FATHERS. Are we any closer to a theocracy now than we were then? Were the prayers of Benjamin Franklin during the drafting of the Constitution inclusive of Muslims, Buddhists, and others?The people that have so much anxiety and anger over this issue need to take the stick out of their arse and get over it.

  • captiolhillmom

    Ok, then riddle me this– if Billy Graham was able to give an invocation during a Presidential inauguaration that use inclusive language, then why can’t rick warren? I don’t see anything in the bible that requires a prayer to invoke Jesus. As I pointed out before, when Jesus instructs how to pray in the Gosples, he does not say “you should invoke my name”.

  • coloradodog

    globalone wrote:The people that have so much anxiety and anger over this issue need to take the stick out of their arse and get over it.______________________you and your intolerant, judgmental neochristian theocrats are the sticks in our arses – go primp, pose, pretend, posture, pimp and pray with your own on Sunday and leave the rest of the hell alone including trying to jam your social fundamentalism down the rest of our throats

  • memyselfI1

    In the NAME of JESUS CHRIST, Rick Warren can pray to JESUS CHRIST anytime, anywhere and for any person. And YES, PASTOR Rick Warren should and will invoke the NAME OF JESUS CHRIST on worldwide television at President Barack Obama’s Inauguration. To not do so will make Pastor Warren the biggest hyprocrit to the world JESUS came to save.

  • wildfyre99

    I don’t care if he prays to Mickey Mouse. Prayers are man’s attempt to fool himself that there is someone out there listening. Warren and Obama are free to delude themselves however they see fit as long as they don’t try to force their religious views on those of us who hold different or even NO religious beliefs.

  • wp1123

    As a Pastafarian and member of the church of the flying spaghetti monster, I would be insulted if they did not reference his noodley appendages.

  • fguilarte

    A question for those who so adamantly oppose Obama’s selection of Pastor Warren:

  • Robert_B1

    wp1123: “As a Pastafarian and member of the church of the flying spaghetti monster, I would be insulted if they did not reference his noodley appendages.”On an unrelated subject, you will be pleased to know that your deity received at least one vote in the interminable Minnesota Senate race… :)

  • ender2

    memyselfI1: “And YES, PASTOR Rick Warren should and will invoke the NAME OF JESUS CHRIST on worldwide television at President Barack Obama’s Inauguration. To not do so will make Pastor Warren the biggest hyprocrit to the world JESUS came to save.” You mean sorta like when Europeans SAVED 40 MILLION NATIVE AMERICANS TO DEATH IN THE NAME OF MANIFEST DESTINY AND JESUS?

  • harveyh5

    Come on wildfyre99. Prayer can be, like the words in the Declaration of Independence, an acknowledgement of the all encompassing universe, of a greater force than any individual or group of people. But, other than that, you’re exactly right.

  • Arminius

    Hi, Robert_B1,More power to wp1123! I am Christian – Episcopal, liberal – but in the recent election, I was sorely tempted to write in His Noodliness for a bunch of judge races with only one candidate.

  • Robert_B1

    fguilarte: “If not Warren, who should Obama have selected?”My old professor at CUA, Father John Lynch.Hey, you asked… :)

  • jmounadi

    It is really funny reading comments from people who accuse Rick Warren of being intolerant due to his positions in life.So basically anyone who’s principle’s that differs from someone who supports a different view is intolerant? There was a time when that was called freedom of choice. But clearly the leftist mentality is to pat themselves on the back as “tolerant” so long as you agree with THEM.What hypocrisy. Every nation has an ultimate God they turn to. The Saudi’s praise Allah, Israel praises their God, and China praises its state government. America was built on the Christian foundation, therefore all are welcome. To say that we must NOT praise any one particular God is like saying we shouldn’t have a set core of principles based on the Constitution because it may insult someone who doesn’t agree with the Constitution.The left must truly be careful in how far they challenge other individuals freedoms. It borders on communism as it is clear and evident that if you do NOT agree with homosexuality you are a homophobe, and attacked publicly. If you choose not go to church, then we just pray for you and hope that you feel and witness what we have witnessed. We don’t hide behind a PC agenda which villianizes you if you choose not to believe in Christ.The left has truly mastered how to villianize anyone who disagrees with their views.

  • Robert_B1

    Arminius:Hey there! Just trying to do my part to dial the rancor down a notch and inject some sorely needed humor… :)

  • DWinFC

    I am very disappointed that Obama selected Warren, but if Obama fixes the economy, gets us health care, and starts building a green energy system, I’ll find a way to get over it. My daughters went with me to canvass our neighborhood for Obama. So the hardest part will be explaining to my daughters, if Warren prays in Jesus’ name, why Obama picked someone to make that kind of prayer even though my Jewish daughters, lots of other Jews and people of many other religions worked so hard to get him elected.

  • Cass3

    Gavin082 suggested this prayer: “Oh, God, we pray today for your blessings upon our new President, Barack Obama…. We humbly pray for your protection and your blessings for America and for all the people of the world.” He then commented: “(Aside from the fact that it is a prayer) I cannot imagine that any person of faith can find fault with an inclusive prayer like this.”While this works for those who believe in a single male deity, a “person of faith” who believes that the Goddess is the only deity would not find it inclusive. Nor would those “people of faith” who revere several deities. However, Mr. Obama is a Christian. He chose a Christian minister to pray and he’ll take the oath while placing his hand on a Christian bible, most likely a Protestant version. (John Kennedy used a Catholic version. Three presidents didn’t use any holy book.) Because of Mr. Obama’s religious beliefs, one presumes a ceremony that includes an oath taken on his holy book and a prayer to his God will have greater meaning for him than a ceremony without the religious aspects.Since he’s the one taking the oath, why not let him decide how best to do it?

  • homer4

    So tired of religion being forced upon us. Rev. Warren is a bigot. He equates law-abiding homosexuals to child molesters and polygamists. We might as well have David Duke speak at the Inauguration too.Obama has fallen hard off the pedastal.

  • maitami

    I am always disgusted with Mr. Dirshwoitz’s antics trying to be the patron of all that are not Christians. America is a Christian nation since more than 50% of its inhabitants and almost all of its founding fathers were Christians. America, unlike Israel welcomes people of all religions and is tolerant of their beliefs.Mr. Dirshwoictz is always silent when people like Madoff shame their ethnicity. Since law is the profession of Mr. Dirshwoictz, he should devote his legal intellect in pointing out the scumb bags that brought the crisis of our financial system and while at it, look into the sub-prime mortgage titans that made millions of Americans loose their homes.

  • wkorn

    @ TIMMY2Continuing this loooooooooong conversation…YOU: No, but I will add it to my long list of things to read.ME: Fair enough.YOU: … is there some secret information in there that one could not pick up over 7 years of studying and debating this issue at great length as I have done…ME: So sorry. Your depth of study into this matter was not known to me. Nor did your approach to the issue, which even you might admit was a little bit combative, suggest it. In answer to your question – no, reading the book is not a prerequisite.YOU. I used the word exclusionary.ME: That’s a far weaker argument than disenfranchised. There’s endless possibilities for SOMEone to feel excluded in relation to virtually anything anybody does in public life. I expect the reason for your sense of being excluded will change, but not for some time yet (see below).YOU: But why any religious invocation at all is the question?ME: Why a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue? What does that do for anyone? I’m mystified by your belief that “We don’t do things because there is no reason not to do them. We need good reasons to do something.” I’ve not noticed humanity behaving that way. If I was prone to making wild assertions (which I am, sometimes) I’d say your were a devotee of Ayn Rand and Objectivism. Your arguments are very reminiscent of an Objectivist I debated with about 600 years ago when I was in college.ME again: The fundamental disagreement we have is not whether it is NECESSARY to have an invocation (I don’t believe that it is), but whether or not it should be ALLOWED. You say no, it’s harmful. I say yes, it isn’t harmful. (See more below).YOU: He believes in a magic sky ferry.ME: I take it you mean “magic sky fairy”. But then, so do I. Although I suspect my conception of said fairy wouldn’t exactly be revered by the members of my church, as mine is more in line with Jefferson’s and Adams’ Deist beliefs than those of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. Nonetheless, I see the value of the church, especially the one which I attend, as a positive (and progressive, believe it or not) force in the community and that has a lot to do with why I joined it.YOU: Have you ever thought about how we would never have had to endure 8 years of Bush were it not for the delusional religiosity of the US populous?ME: Not really. But I have thought a lot about (you should pardon the expression) the unholy alliance the Republicans made with the extreme right-wing evangelical Christians back in the ’70s, based on similarities in their mutual views on certain social issues. The alliance was all the more unholy because I have no doubt the Republicans of that time were cynically trying to co-opt the evangelicals for strictly political reasons, and the Republicans got co-opted instead. Under different circumstances it would have been amusing.I also think a lot about how the Democrats managed to throw away 30+ years of dominance in national politics for much the same reason –trying to keep the more doctrinaire and absolutist members of their base satisfied while kind of forgetting about the other folks.YOU: Shouldn’t we begin to deny them of their power and sway that they never should have had, for that reason alone?ME: They seemed to have thrown away their power all on their own, which is a far better way for it to happen than to suppress them. Heaven forbid (sorry) we should make martyrs out of them.YOU: And here you act as their lawyer pointing to constitutional backing for their continued influence in governmental ceremonies and procedures?ME: This is unworthy of your other arguments. I’m not defending the evangelicals at all.YOU: I think you deserve another 8 years of Bush.ME: Thanks for the offer, but I’ll pass. You might like it though. “Better the enemy you know…”YOU: Don’t get me started.ME: Oops. Statement retracted. I have to get some sleep in here somewhere.YOU: Not at an official government ceremony you don’t. Could you please get real.ME: I don’t do anything at official government ceremonies. I’ve never been invited. No, wait, I do recall saying “I do” to the oath that jurors take. You know, the one that ends with “so help you God”. I didn’t object to that either, although I imagine you would.But seriously, I am being quite real. I will now be more explicit. I think your philosophy of “we don’t do what we don’t need to do” is a very silly one that flies in the face of human experience. See above. That human beings may someday act with complete rationality (always assuming we don’t kill ourselves off first) is not something I can argue with, but I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you.YOU: (name them, and at what level)ME: Maizie Hirono in Hawaii, Hank Johnson in Georgia (Buddhist), Pete Stark in California (Unitarian-Universalist, and a publicly avowed nontheist). All in the U.S. House of Representatives.YOU: So it is fine by you that a president could never get elected to office who does not profess to believe in God.ME. How on earth did you get that out of anything I said? Everything has to start somewhere. I totally expect that a nontheist will be elected president someday, and I have no problem with that at all, even as a deluded fairy-believer. I just don’t think it’s going to happen for a generation or two.YOU. Believing that he is there helps no one.ME. Absurd. If it helps him get through the day, no matter how deluded YOU may think he is, then it helps him get through the day. See rationality, above.YOU: On this we agree. Barack Obama is one of them.ME. Better and better. Two things on which we agree.YOU. it is spitting in the face of gay people, who are currently in a struggle for basic equality, that blacks were granted 40 years ago, but that gay people are still been denied.ME. Actually, blacks were granted basic equality over 140 years ago. It merely took 100 years of political and moral struggle before they began to enjoy the fruits of that equality, and Obama notwithstanding there is still a hell of a lot of discrimination against blacks in this country.It could be said that the organized effort for LGBT equality began in the aftermath of the Stonewall Riots of 1969. They’ve achieved a great deal towards their ultimate goals, and far faster than did black or women.ME again. As you say the LGBT community certainly has reason to feel aggrieved at Obama’s choice. But although it’s off the main subject, let me say one thing. I live in Southern California, and didn’t need any convincing to vote against Prop 8. But the sad fact is that the LGBT community did not lose this battle because of atavistic delusions of religious folks. They lost it because they did a royally crappy job of getting their point of view across to the general public. The LGBT community has considerable resources, but did not use them well at all, at all. When Prop 8 is thrown out as unconstitutional, which I’m sure it will be, one can only hope the next Proposition down the line will be fought more effectively. In the meantime, I am of the never-humble opinion that some of their rage is misdirected.YOU: Barrack Obama has stated that he is not in favor of Gay marriage. There could only be one reason for this. (If he is telling the truth and he truly is against it) His delusional religion.ME. So he has. And yet he not only opposed Prop 8, but put out an ad expressing his opposition to Prop 8. Can you wrap your mind around the fact that a religious person can hold a belief and yet act in his public life against that same belief? THAT, as far as I’m concerned, is the finest expression of what the separation of church and state is all about.YOU. I work tirelessly for that day. It is an important day. More important than a black president. Much more important, and on a grander scale.ME. I’m sure you’re right about your hopeful vision of the future. I’m equally sure I won’t be around when it happens. All the same, it’s been a pleasure having this discussion with you, and a may your holiday season be happy, healthy and safe.

  • hakafos44

    I believe Warren was asked because he held the forum with Obama and McCain this summer that explored issues of faith. I do not believe there is a polticial motive. This will never sway conservative evangelicals: they love Sarah Palin. It will not sway the moderates: they love Huckabee.Obama is a shrewd man, he knows this is not going to change anyones political opinions. He is merely returning a favor to someone who gave him a forum.

  • CCNL

    Farnaz, Farnaz, Farnaz,The simple preacher man was gay?? Attestations to support that comment??

  • Farnaz2

    CCNL X 3According to the US Biblical scholar, Morton Smith, of Columbia University, a fragment of manuscript he found at the Mar Saba monastery near Jerusalem in 1958, showed that the full text of St. Mark chapter 10 (between verses 34 and 35 in the standard version of the Bible) includes the passage:”And the youth, looking upon him (Jesus), loved him and beseeched that he might remain with him. And going out of the tomb, they went into the house of the youth, for he was rich. And after six days, Jesus instructed him and, at evening, the youth came to him wearing a linen cloth over his naked body. And he remained with him that night, for Jesus taught him the mystery of the Kingdom of God”.

  • timmy2

    Pardon my grammar, it’s late, I’m sleepy. That last line should read: There is not a non-religious person standing in their way.

  • timmy2

    The deist says, “well of course I don’t believe in “Puff” the magic dragon. I’m afraid it does.

  • Farnaz2

    “Hillary Clinton: She was more liberal on health care. Obama said mandating health care would be like mandating that all homeless people own homes. She was serious. She would have done it.It’s not ‘more liberal’ to simply demand the poor ‘just buy something.’ That’s silly, is what that is. (Not that there wasn’t more to Hillary’s plan, too, but you seem to be mischaracterizing Obama’s point there.)”Not at all. You’re being too literal. How can a homeless person buy a house? THEY ARE HOMELESS. They have nothing. LIke the thousands who lined up for care at a two-day free clinic in this country last spring, started lining up two days before because they don’t have medical insurance.They included children with mysterious lumps that wouldn’t go away, women who had breast cancer surgery two or three years ago but had no follow-up.He opposed and still does oppose “mandatory” health care. “Mandatory” means affordable. “Reaching across the aisle, my A.” This is political. He’s sending a political message to certain black clergy politicos. Many clergy are openly political now, notwithstanding the provisos of their tax exempt status.Always said, “theology = ideology.” Thus spake me.Sorry the man’s a neo-liberal. Would vote for him again, but that’s what he is and that’s all what he is. Note the Clintonite cabinet.Human Pincushion (who sticks needles through the flesh)A tango

  • Farnaz2

    For CCNL:Jesus was gay. At that time, it was all the rage with prophets influenced by Greek thinking. Nobody much minded. Live and let live said the other illiterate Jewish peasant hallucinators.We still do.

  • CCNL

    from answers.com”Secret Gospel of Mark refers to a non-canonical gospel which is the subject of the Mar Saba letter, a previously unknown letter attributed to Clement of Alexandria which Morton Smith claimed to have found transcribed into the endpapers of a 17th century printed edition of Ignatius. The authenticity of both the Mar Saba letter and of the Secret Gospel itself are disputed.”The Young Man in the Linen ClothMark 10: 34 and 35 have been studied carefully by many contemporary historic Jesus exegetes. The conclusion was that the passage was not historic but another add-on/embellishment of the simple preacher man’s life. Google it!!Ditto for Mark 14:51-52.

  • timmy2

    WKORN,YOU: “Personally, I think he chose this clown because he was the least offensive of the well-known evangelicals. It could have been much, much worse”Oh but it could have been so much better.He could have not chosen an evangelical at all.Or better yet, no religious invocation at all.I forgive him for the latter.Not for the former.

  • Paganplace

    Well, Farnazz, that’s why I think you’ve got it backwards: Hillary’s plan was to make everyone buy corporate insurance… You cant criticize Obama for pointing that out.

  • wkorn

    FINAL @ TIMMY2YOU. I do not believe that it is the gay communities obligation to have to fight for their basic rights to be treated as equal to all other human beings.ME. If I run into Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Elie Wiesel, Cesar Chavez, and millions of others known and unknown, I’ll let them know that they were wasting their time because TIMMY2 thinks holding the moral high ground is all it would have taken to achieve their goals.Of COURSE the LGBT community shouldn’t be obligated to fight for their basic rights. But if they don’t fight, they ain’t gonna get them. It’s time for you to get real.I hesitate to add to your already extensive reading list, but if you haven’t read Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, you ought to. If you have, you might try reading it again.YOU. [Quoting Deuteronomy]ME. Good for you. You can cherrypick the Bible as well as a doctrinaire evangelist. See below. What’s your point? That some people in the Bible behaved badly? I won’t dispute that. Other people acted very well. I’ll spare you the cherrypicking for my side, as a Christmas gift.YOU. There is only one reason people vote against gay marriage. Religion. There is no other reason. ME. Balderdash. There are many reasons people are hostile to gays, all of them as silly the one you put forward. See Sigmund Freud, for example.YOU. Because religion a lie, and lies are bad.ME. I can’t argue your first point, because it can’t be proven one way or the other. I could dispute the latter, but that’s not the point I want to make.What I find disappointing in your position is that it is just as limiting as that of the evangelical who rejects all science because it doesn’t appear in the first two chapters of Genesis.To be sure, a great deal of evil has been done by human beings who claimed to be acting in the name of God. A great deal of good has also been done by human beings who claimed to be acting in the name of God. Great evil and great good have also been done by people who don’t believe in God.I agree with you that the evil should be scorned and rejected no matter what the motivation. I totally disagree that the good that is and has been done through religious belief should be trivialized or rejected just because it is based on religious belief. In our painful and faltering journey towards the ultimate apotheosis of mankind, I’ll take good wherever I can find it.

  • CCNL

    From Google and Wikipedia:”The Secret Gospel (of Mark) is known only from the Mar Saba letter, which is itself only known from the copy discovered by Morton Smith. Therefore at least three questions of authenticity arise:whether the Mar Saba letter is a genuine letter of Clement whether Clement’s quotations are accurate whether the excerpts quoted reflect a genuine Marcan tradition In 1982 Morton Smith summarized the state of the question as follows:Attribution to Clement was accepted. The authenticity of the Mar Saba letter itself has long been the subject of controversy. The manuscript and the book where it was found have disappeared; all that remains are photographs made by Professor Smith in 1958 and by other scholars in 1976.[3] Morton Smith’s discovery was for long never scrutinized by other experts, because the copy of the letter had been seen by no other scholar than Smith. In 1976, G.A.G. Stroumsa and three other scholars relocated the document and took color photographs. The book was taken from Mar Saba to the library of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem in 1977, where the letter (a manuscript) was cut from the book (a print) as part of the library’s scheme to house such material separately; it was again photographed, by librarian Kallistos Dourvas. The manuscript cannot now be relocated and the second and third photo series were only published after 1999. Thus, the letter is presently only documented in the three sets of photographs, at least one photo of which shows Smith’s initials written on the page. The ink and fiber was never subjected to examination.[4]In addition, prior to Smith’s discovery of the Secret Gospel, he had written about Mark’s mystery of the Kingdom of God and forbidden sexual practices, which coincidentally were a key part of the Gospel that he then discovered.”

  • Farnaz2

    CCNL:Re: Your postLooks like a lot was done to denounce, conceal and/or destroy the manuscript, etc.,Scary stuff. Next time the Catholics, et al, should just list it in their Index Verbum Prohibitorum.It would appear less thuggish, I would think.

  • Farnaz2

    UKBA:If Jesus were gay, in what way would that be “negative”?

  • ukba

    “Jesus were gay, in what way would that be “negative”?” I think the ramification is clear. If Jesus as a Jewish man of God was supposed to have obeyed the 613 mitzvahs as required by the Jewish laws then he was clearly breaking one of them as it is written is Leviticus 20:13, which says “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.” And also in Leviticus 18:22 “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” So yes, if he was gay the way you put it, he was definitely breaking a commandment and that would be negative on his person.

  • timmy2

    Also, If I say that Harry potter was gay, it in no way means that I think that Harry Potter was a real person. One can cal fictional and mythical characters gay, without believing that they are real people.

  • CCNL

    Farnaz, Farnaz, Farnaz,”The Index Librorum Prohibitorum (“List of Prohibited Books”) was a list of publications prohibited by the Roman Catholic Church. It was abolished on June 14, 1966 by Pope Paul VI.[1]“Morton Smith must have been related to Joseph Smith, another but more famous con artist.

  • ukba

    “So when Farnaz says that Jesus was gay, he is in no way insulting Jesus.”I think the answer was clear enough even for a five year old to understand. Again, in the context of Jewish religious milieu, if he were gay, Jesus would be breaking the Law, and here I mean the Torah. And what’s more important to a Jewish person than the Torah itself. And if he broke a commandment he is in no way a man of God. In other words he was a liar and a pretender. I am not addressing the issue of gay rights and the like in the modern context. I am simply referring to the ancient Jewish context.

  • ukba

    As luck would have it, I just finished reading the book ‘Lost Christianities’ by Bart Ehrman and he discusses at length the issue of the letter in great detail. In one place he indicates:On a different matter: What is one to make of the dedication of Smith’s two books? The learned volume is dedicated to Arthur Darby Nock, the brilliant scholar who thought that the letter was a ”mystification for the sake of mystification.” The other volume, strikingly enough, is dedicated to “the one who knows.” As one reviewer has asked, “who is ‘the one who knows’? And what does he know?” —- end of comment by EhrmanEhrman is not sure what to make of the letter either. Was it a forgery or was it the real thing by Clement of Alexandria?

  • timmy2

    UKBA”I think the answer was clear enough even for a five year old to understand”It was wrong.If you or Jesus are offended by that comment, it is only because you have irrational beliefs that are bigoted.

  • ukba

    Timmy,Errr…You sound like any other atheist who doesn’t know his ars from his elbow. By the way, Farnaz is a qutie from New York by way of Iran. Her husband may not be quite happy with you referring to her as a he. adieu nuckle head

  • Arminius

    Ukba,Good posts, I agree. The ‘Jesus is gay’ thing is stalled in a hung jury, and Timmy is totally out to lunch.

  • Farnaz2

    CCNL X 3:I know. I was referring to Index Verbum Prohibitorum. Also no longer extant. Google it!!!(Did I include the right number of exclamation points?)F

  • Farnaz2

    “Google it!!”I did. Like a said, the illiterate hallucinating Jewish peasant was gay, often the case with prophets of the period, who fell under Greek influence. This didn’t bother the other illiterate hallucinating Jewish peasants, who said live and let live.We still do.

  • Athena4

    The problem with Rick Warren is not just that he’s equated homosexuality to incest and pedophilia. It’s that he’s called for the assassination of Ahmenajad (sp?). It’s that he says that non-believers are unfit to hold elected office. And, that he’s a snake-oil salesman who re-packaged stuff from Alcoholics Anonymous and other self-help groups and put it in a “Christian” wrapper.

  • Farnaz2

    Look, the bottom lime is that doing good begins with not doing harm. If your religious beliefs, if any of your beliefs, involve restricting civil rights, then there is something profoundly wrong with your thinking. Bigotry says nothing about the targets, everything about the bigots.

  • timmy2

    Farnazz said:”Look, the bottom lime is that doing good begins with not doing harm. If your religious beliefs, if any of your beliefs, involve restricting civil rights, then there is something profoundly wrong with your thinking.Bigotry says nothing about the targets, everything about the bigots.”It was worth posting a third time.

  • timmy2

    UKBA”You sound like any other atheist who doesn’t know his ars from his elbow”Nice. insults instead of argument. Another one who’s faith serves him well I see. “By the way, Farnaz is a qutie from New York by way of Iran. Her husband may not be quite happy with you referring to her as a he. adieu nuckle head”Nuckle head? How very Christian of you. And Farnaz seems to be more offended by your irrationality than my mistake on her gender.

  • CCNL

    Tis equal time night:For the benefit of Rick Warren as he plans is invocation: (only for those eyes that have not seen): 1. Abraham founder/father of three major religions was either the embellishment of the lives of three different men or aCurrent crisis:Realization that the Jews are not god’s chosen people. http://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/ConservativeTorah.htm 2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a mamzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). Analyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, On Faith panelists) via the NT and related documents have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus’ sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects. The 30% of the NT that is “authentic Jesus” like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus’ case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hittites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics. For added “pizzazz”, Catholic/Christian theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the “pew people” to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the “filicider”. Current crises:Pedophiliac priests, atonement theology and original sin!!!!3. Luther, Calvin, Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley et al, founders of Christian-based religions, also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of “pretty wingie thingie” visits and “prophecies” for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immaculate conceptions).Current crises: Adulterous preachers, “propheteering/ profiteering” evangelicals and atonement theology.

  • Farnaz2

    UKBA, Arminius:Here is a post of mine from Bishop Spong’s thread.CCNL,This has nothing to do with gay marriage, just an afterthought.December 19, 2008 11:25 PM | Report Offensive Comments

  • Farnaz2

    UKBA, Arminius,Timmy is correct on all points except for my gender. (I’m a woman.)As I suggested to you before, UKBA, following your last unprovoked accusation, concerning Thomas Baum, as it were, if you are going to quote translated Tanakh, use the Steinsaltz translation, since whatever it is you’re using is inaccurate.Second, scroll down for the post I pasted from Bishop Spong’s thread. My rabbi is openly gay.Judaic “scriptures” minimally comprises Tanakh and Torah. It is interpretive, beginning, in fact, with the Tanakh; it internally questions and itself. Nobody, not even the Kairites, although they would deny it to a person, reads Tanakh in isolation.So, while few, if any Orthodox Jews would accept the contemporary definition of what it means to be gay, Conservative Egalitarian, Reformed, Reconstructionist all do. Gay people are ordained.Biblical figures including the formerly blond blue-eyed Jesus are continually reinterpreted. The missing text in the Christian testament is interesting, and still controversial.The bottom line, is what difference it could make except possibly to open the heart to people whose sexualities may be different from your own. Timmy is right. All the way down the line. And let me repost something I wrote earlier on this thread.Look, the bottom lime is that doing good begins with not doing harm. If your religious beliefs, if any of your beliefs, involve restricting civil rights, then there is something profoundly wrong with your thinking.Bigotry says nothing about the targets, everything about the bigots.December 21, 2008 12:35 AM | Report Offensive Comment

  • Farnaz2

    UKBA, Arminius,Meant to write “minimally comprises “Tanakh and Talmud”

  • Farnaz2

    CCNL, Son of Crossan,In which category are we to place you?

  • TroyOi

    “It’s Billy Graham, the greatest evangelist of the 20th Century. How else would he pray?”My goodness, what an incredibly disingenuous question, considering that you just answered it in the previous paragraph! How else would he pray?? Well, how about by NOT invoking Jesus, as he had no problem doing – which you duly noted – in his address 4 years prior.It would be very interesting to read all of the invocations and benedictions of our presidential inaugurations throughout our 220 year history. (If anyone knows a good source, please do share it.) Why is it that I would not be at all surprised to learn that the invocation of Jesus Christ (by name or reference) was either nonexistent, or a rarity, prior to the rise of our modern day evangelicals? Aren’t we supposed to be more enlightened today? More diverse? More pluralistic? Why is it that it was not rocket science for our founding fathers to be content to invoke the simple name of “God the Creator” when citing a supreme being?Here is one more point that I think bears some contemplation: I have found four presidential inaugural invocations/benedictions over the past 20 years that reference Jesus Christ: Rev. Billy Graham’s 1993 invocation, Rev. Franklin Graham’s 2001 invocation, Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell’s 2001 benediction, and Rev. Caldwell’s 2005 benediction. Each is sprinkled with generic references to “God”, “Lord”, and “heaven”. Now, if we ignore the final call to say “Amen”, then in each of those sermons, any direct (“Jesus Christ”) or indirect (“King of Kings”, “Prince of Peace”, “Redeemer”) reference to Christ occurs no earlier than the last or 2nd to last sentence. That’s a remarkable consistency. If you’re going to mention a supreme being throughout your speech, and intend to invoke Jesus, why always the postponement to the final few words of the speech?I’m actually not going to draw a conclusion from this, because I’m really not sure how to interpret it, except to say that it’s not a simple coincidence. Perhaps these men of the cloth wanted to have it both ways: to appeal to a broader audience, while feeling, in the end, the need to assert their belief in the preeminence of Christ. Or perhaps it was somewhat more pernicious: drawing us all in with words of love and hope, and then letting some of us know that all those pretty words really don’t apply to us. All I can say for sure is that anyone who claims that it wasn’t a calculated decision – a political decision – is not being forthright.

  • kengelhart

    “To Whose God Will Rick Warren Pray?”Whose god is not the question. The question is which church the government is promoting by alowing Warren to advertise for it. Subsidizing or advocating for a particular church is unconstitutional in the US.

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