Two Things

1.  Soon enough, everyone even tangentially related to your healthcare will be able to weigh in on it.  For fun, I’m going to stand in the aisle at Walgreen’s right in front of the condoms and knock them out of the hands of people trying to buy them and shout “Baby killer!!!!”  After all, who are condom-users to decide which, if any of your sperm, lose the opportunity to take a shot at an egg.  I mean, it’s not exactly baby killing, but it’s only a step back from what Plan B does and they can refuse to hand that out of they think it might be an abortion, so let’s just have some fun with it, you know?

2.  I know I should be outraged, but I just can’t work up the effort to give a shit.  There shouldn’t be ministers invoking or benedicting or praying or asking some god’s blessing at the inaguration period.  I don’t care if it’s some rabidly homophobic jackass like Rick Warren or some old guy who looks like a peanut M&M like my dad.  Does it grate that there’s going to be some homophobic zealot jackass speaking for and to his god at the inaguration like the difference between homophobic religious zealots who want to control women and everyone else is just a difference of opinion?  Yes.  But why is any minister there in the first place?  Wake me up when we’re having that discussion.

If you’re outraged, point and laugh while he talks.  That’s what he deserves.  But he sure doesn’t deserve to be at the inaguruation.  No minister performing his pastoral duties does.

32 thoughts on “Two Things

  1. As far as the Inauguration goes, why can’t Obama have someone do some praying?

    There is a little part of that First Amendment that says “prohibiting the free exercise thereof”.

    It’s his party, he can have whomever he wants there, can’t he?

  2. I dunno … I submit that if Jackson were going around encouraging depriving the members of any group of equal rights under the law, the members of whatever group that was, and anyone who loved and supported any members of that group, would be up in arms if he were to be part of the inauguration. Warren has been encouraging just that, so you can see why some folks might be a tad peeved that he’ll be part of the festivities.

    B’s complaint is something different, though.

  3. I see your point of view, nm. But Warren has also done a lot of good in the world too. For example, I don’t think most, well many at all actually, “evangelical” churches were at the forefront of combating AIDS/HIV, for example – he pushed this issue as a priority in his ministry — where a lot of people prior had the view that this was (a) not their problem, (b) something that only happened to people with “high risk behavior” (whatever “high risk” is), or (c) it only happened to people on a distant continent.

    Warren HAS pushed that issue, that AIDS/HIV is something that affects everyone in the human race, regardless of location, sexual orientation, race, etc. I think that’s a wonderful thing and it’s high time someone in the spiritual community made it a priority.

    So, just because he holds views that don’t jive with everyone elses, does that diminish all his good works? I believe it was Abe Lincoln himself that said “you can’t please all the people all of the time” – Nobody would please everyone.

    MY point is because Jackson is a long-term supporter and member of the Democratic Party, if he were the one doing the prayer, this wouldn’t even have raised an eyebrow.

    (and I realize that Aunt B is pointing to the whole separation of church and state…)

  4. Jesse Jackson has done enormous good in the world too, too. But nobody mentions it when they want to complain about the idiotic, wrongheaded, and bad stuff. (I know that’s not what you’re doing here; I’m just pointing out that it’s the same for him and for Warren.) And, trust me, if Jackson were running around just now inveighing against gay marriage, just about everyone who’s complaining about Warren would be complaining about him. Plus all the people who complain about him all the time anyway.

  5. So, just because he holds views that don’t jive with everyone elses, does that diminish all his good works?

    Beth, you ignore the venom of the rattlesnake with this question. If Warren were to insist that the moon is made of green cheese, then I’d think him a little weird, but I’d ignore it on account of his other deeds. However, his activism here in our country includes classifying entire groups of his fellow citizens as second-class human beings. He is quite open about his anti-gay and anti-choice views, and that is more than just a view that doesn’t jive with mine. That is a view that many of my loved ones aren’t fully human. I’m all for including different viewpoints, but I won’t invite known pedophiles to my daughter’s birthday party.

    That said, Obama can put anyone he wants on the stage of his inauguration for all I care. In fact, from what I’ve seen so far, the choice of Rick Warren fits Obama’s m.o. perfectly. As far as I’m concerned– Trojan Horse surprises notwithstanding– his presidency is already plunging toward failure. Hope™ and Change™ are in full effect.

  6. CS, I am all for equal treatment and equal rights for my gay friends. And I am pro-choice. So, I’m not sitting here as a mouthpiece for Warren or anyone else who spends their time worried about sweeping someone else’s front porch.

    I just think it’s counter-productive to cut ones nose off despite the face, so to speak. So what if he holds views that are different from mine. I have lots of friends that hold the same views as Warren. They aren’t horrible people… they just have a different take on thing and haven’t exposed themselves to the plights of how other people live. Abortion, for example, has never touched them b/c they have resources like birth control. Like Aunt B said in a post not long ago, these people are pro-life until the issue lands in their lap. I don’t shun these people – I’ve known them all my life. And I hope that by knowing people like me, who are tolerant of people’s choices and/or lifestyles, that I can be some sort of window into the way the other half lives. That being pro-choice and supportive of equal rights won’t “plunge a person into hell.”

    Last time I checked, this country still had a First Amendment – and that allows all people to have their own viewpoints and their own rights to speak their mind – even if you or I don’t like it. That’s what makes the world go round. And it also helps to enlighten one another on the plights we each go through.

    For the record, I don’t care who is at the inauguration either. He can have a dancing bear wearing bunny ears and a tutu on stage for all I care. I have bigger fish to fry. However, I do remain optimistic about the future – despite all the doom and gloom that’s thrown my way every single day via the media.

    The fact is, we remain in this boat together as Americans. I just wish we’d all start focusing on our similarities and how we have common goals rather than tear one another down on talking points.

  7. Beth, I do not ridicule your desire to live in peace and harmony even with those with whom you disagree on fundamental issues. I share that desire. But there is an old saying about bringing a knife to a gunfight. This isn’t about talking points, this is about who gets to be a full citizen and who does not. It bears mentioning that a few short decades ago, my marriage to my wife would have been illegal in much of this country. My voting rights– hell, my human rights– would not have been subject to full protection of the law in about the same percentage of the U.S. This situation didn’t improve itself, and it wasn’t accomplished by people sitting quietly and waiting for bigots to see the light. It took years of agitation and direct confrontation to get to where we are today.

    And make no mistake: for all his self-promotion and attempts to paint himself as a moderate, Warren is a bigot with an awfully big platform from which to sell his poison. He is entitled to his beliefs, and his bigoted followers are entitled to theirs. But they aren’t content with theoretical disagreement; on the contrary, they are actively trying to curtail the freedoms of people I love (Warren was active for Prop 8, for example). This is more than just the speaking of minds, this is activism against their fellow human beings, and Rick Warren is at the center of it. Barack Obama is no fool, and he knows that his selection of Rick Warren is giving legitimacy to this bigoted activism. If Obama is truly about moving the nation away from discord, there are far better symbolic choices out there than Rick Warren. Unfortunately, Obama– like most Democrats– is acting as though pandering to bigotry will create harmony. Either he’s soft in the head (which I don’t believe) or he’s playing the House of Saud’s game.

    This is a losing gambit, because the bigots will never be satisfied. They can only be sidelined or crushed (politically speaking). Then, when most people see that not giving in to the bigots is beneficial to everyone, the bigots will lose their political capital. They will never go away, but they will shrink in number and strength and we can all go on about the business of civilization. Obama is giving them capital at a very dangerous time: the nation is sinking fast into the kind of crisis that is like gold to professional Christians and other megalomaniacal religious hucksters the world over. If Obama is serious about guiding the nation through this crisis, then he is offering an olive branch to the wrong people. But I digress.

    Here is an article about the real Rick Warren. If we’re going to move forward as a nation, this is not the kind of asshole we need to be placing anywhere near the levers of power.

  8. Thanks for the links – I read every word. Interesting…

    I don’t get it though – the Dems have put at the forefront the gay card – i.e. Bill Clinton with gays in the military – so why now throw Warren into the limelight? I don’t think Obama is stupid… why Warren and why now?

    Was all the gay rights stuff just dangling a carrot – and are they now dangling the same carrot at the religious right?

  9. I don’t know, Beth. My guess is that the Religious Right has more in common (strategically if not philosophically) with some of the more powerful (and often dangerous) elements of our society. Our nation’s military command structure isn’t exactly populated with DFHs, for example. Also, some of our most rapidly growing ‘industries’– privately run prisons, mercenary firms, and just about anyone profiting from the ‘war on terror’– are hotbeds of reactionary conservatism. So I think Obama, being a smart and pragmatic politician, might be thinking that solidifying his power will depend on catering to these powerful players’ cultural base. He may be attempting to steal the Republicans’ thunder. The question, then, falls back to what you ask.

    What does he think he will accomplish with this radioactive political capital? As Clinton made a point of doing early on, Obama appears to be hurling reliable liberal voters and their concerns under the bus without much hesitation. The difference between the respective carrot danglings you mention is that the lefties get vague, empty promises and the righties get policies they can build on. We’re moving backward by leaps and bounds.

    This is why I didn’t vote for Obama. He was playing this right-reaching game with his choices of campaign advisers, and it made his lofty and nebulous talk about “hope” and “change” seem laughable and tragic. The Democrats in both houses of Congress still aren’t lifting a pinky to against Bush in his final weeks, and given what we’re seeing from Obama so far I’d say we’re in for a tough and disheartening four years.

    If there’s any silver lining to this developing disaster, it’s that no one will be able to blame it on Ralph Nader’s voters. (And they can’t blame me, either; I voted for Cynthia McKinney.)

  10. CS… regarding some of our most rapidly growing ‘industries’– privately run prisons, mercenary firms, and just about anyone profiting from the ‘war on terror’– are hotbeds of reactionary conservatismsome of our most rapidly growing ‘industries’– privately run prisons, mercenary firms, and just about anyone profiting from the ‘war on terror’– are hotbeds of reactionary conservatism – a friend loaned me a book this week which hits on the topic of large corporations which are sucking the life out of this country, and are huge supporters of the right wing agendas – Screwed – The Undeclared War On The Middle Class by Thom Hartmann… interesting read so far… I have to put it down when my blood pressure rises, but you’d probably enjoy it…

    I don’t get the left pandering to the right and I don’t get the Dem Congress and their continued inaction — not at all. And I’m middle of the road (& all for balance)

    After 8 years of Democrat bitching, pissing and moaning – now that they have a chance, why the f**k are they just sitting there collecting a paycheck (and building their pensions?)

  11. Aunt B, I see where you are coming from, but I still think if Obama or anyone else wants an invocation at their ceremony, they should be allowed to. Government involvement shouldn’t keep a person from practicing their religion.

    Besides, my taxes pay for a lot of things I don’t like. I won’t list them here for fear of hijacking the thread. =)

  12. Well, true enough. I don’t like it, but like I said, I don’t give a shit. I understand why people are pissed off and I find it annoying. But I also know that the only thing more troublesome than people of Warren’s ilk in the public spot-light is having them pushed to the side.

    The worst of evangelical Christianity thrives on the belief that they are secretly persecuted members of a loyal opposition to the secular world. Doing things that make it obvious that they are a part of the world and do have a role in it makes sense, I think.

    I don’t know. The whole thing is very hard for me because I always have the impulse and appreciate the impulse in others to “show you how it feels.” And so, for me, the idea of electing a gay-friendly president who will then show those exclusionary homophobic assholes how it feels to be marginalized is very satisfying.

    But it’s not necessarily the best strategy for governing a diverse population.

    And the other thing is that change only comes when everyone is willing to do something wackadoo, usually. It’s a big gamble for Warren to show up–he has, after all, compared abortion to the Holocaust, which, by the terms of his own analogy (and an analogy widely accepted in America) means his even showing up for the inauguration makes him an appeaser.

    So, then, now, either his little metaphor has less power or he’s not the noble man he claims to be. That’s good for us.

    And yes, I am unhappy that a man who works to actively strip Americans of rights that they have (as happened in California) is being given a national spotlight, but let’s not be naive. He already has a national spotlight. Obama shining one on him doesn’t newly illuminate him.

    And I refuse to act as if Prop 8 is the end of this fight. It’s a devastating set-back, for sure, but it’s a setback that has better illuminated the contours of the fight.

    And I know that in 50 years people who oppose gay marriage are going to be seen for the stupid bigots they are. So, yeah, it sucks for now, but my goal is in sight, if not within my reach.

  13. B, what do you mean by “an analogy widely accepted in America”? Do you think that it’s widely accepted that zygotes = Jews?

  14. I think the analogy is accepted widely because it isn’t thought through. Like most comparisons to All Things Hitler, it isn’t intended to be thought through. It is a morally bankrupt analogy that carries weight because of the moral bankruptcy of the arguments it supports and the intellectual laziness of its intended audience.

  15. Well, obviously I don’t hang out in circles that make such comparisons all that frequently. But I have to say I’m surprised that the consensus seems to be that others do. You really think this is a widely used analogy? I mean, clearly some people do use it; clearly Warren does. But when I first heard about it, I took it to be an oddity.

  16. NM, I have to say that learning here today that you have no idea how ubiquitous this analogy is among Christians makes me deeply suspicious that they DO get how potentially offensive it is to Jewish people.

    I had always thought “Oh, well, they must just not get what they’re saying.”

    But if they know enough not to say it in mixed company, then that blows that assumption.

  17. I guess I’ve heard of it, but I always figured that it was sort of fringey. I mean, I’ve heard of Amerikkka and Dhimmocrats and the Illuminati, too, but I don’t consider any of them mainstream.

    So you’re telling me that I’m wrong about all of those? Or just about being so subhuman to most Christians in the US?

  18. Well, nm, I wouldn’t say subhuman. But it does seem to me that Jewish Americans have two options when it comes to a certain–somewhat large–segment of evangelical Christianity: either they don’t quite get that you are real people and not just characters in stories they heard (not so much subhuman as not quite real) or they get that you are real and cannot wait for y’all to rebuild the Temple so that Jesus can come back and show you.

    Not that those are good options either.

  19. Oh, I know about those. Of course, when I think of USian Christianity I don’t usually think first off about the evangelicals, who are a minority within the larger group. And I think I prefer to go right on thinking that those who equate the Holocaust and abortions are a smaller group yet.

  20. NM and B.:
    Could the comparison be (at least in some cases) just a rhetorical device designed to shove as much negativity as possible on the pro-choice side? That’s not to suggest that a lot of people don’t convince themselves of its qualitative validity, but maybe that’s not the primary purpose.

    If the last 16 years or so have taught me anything, it’s that right wingers will say anything. It doesn’t matter how nonsensical or offensive it is; it doesn’t matter if they told you the exact opposite thirty seconds ago. As long as it fits the rhetorical purpose of this moment, it is acceptable to spit it out. The only danger to this dynamic is that too many people construct serious belief systems out of the nonsense and the contradictions.

    Holy shit, Batman. We are in trouble.

  21. CS, what you say in your first paragraph is how I’ve generally understood the trope, which is why it’s hard for me to see it as something “generally accepted” in any meaningful way. Because, if it’s something that’s both meant and thought about, I’ll have to get angry about it in even more ways than I do now. And I’m too lazy to want to get that angry that much.

  22. CS, I believe that is the purpose. And I believe it’s possible because the vast majority of Christians who accept that seem (at least to me) to not understand Jews as non-mythical creatures. I could be wrong, but that to me seems to be a real part of it–at some level they just don’t quite get that they’re talking about real people who are (and were) really alive.

  23. European and European-descended Catholics do. Some hate us, some love us, but they pretty well all know we’re real and real-time. At least, that’s been my experience living in places where there are lots of Catholics.

  24. But it does seem to me that Jewish Americans have two options when it comes to a certain–somewhat large–segment of evangelical Christianity: either they don’t quite get that you are real people and not just characters in stories they heard (not so much subhuman as not quite real)

    I grew up in an area of MS where we didn’t have any Jews – wait, strike that – we had 1 in my hometown. I grew up Southern Baptist and I remember hearing at a young age “Jesus was a Jew” and not knowing what that meant. And the Sunday School teacher – or whomever – explained that Jews were merely another race of people “like Mr XXX, that owned the clothing store on main street.”
    I remember finding the whole thing fascinating. That, there was this man in town that had more of a connection to Jesus. I never saw Jewish people as “just characters” — it was honestly “there aren’t really any around.”

    I didn’t have any more “real” contact with a Jewish person until college when my advisor was assigned to me. LOVED HIM. One of the best professors (art history) I ever had and just a completely hysterical guy.

    Now, I have wonderful neighbors next door and they’re Jewish. So I get to ask them all the “what’s that about” questions – like why does Hannakah have 2 or 3 spellings?

    oh, & I’ve never understood anti-semitism – especially when it comes from people who claim to follow Christ. I just totally don’t get it.

  25. I have cousins who grew up in Asheville, NC. Their father owned a lamp store, one of two in town. Their family name was unusual for the area, recognizably “foreign,” but maybe didn’t “sound Jewish” to the locals. But the Anglo owner of the other lamp store was surnamed Israel, so my cousins frequently had people come in and tell them “we’re shopping with you instead of the other store because we heard that one of the lamp stores is owned by a Jew, so that’s clearly the Israel guy, and we don’t want to shop there.”

  26. nm, that’s horrible (as well as completely stupid)!

    The man in my hometown had an unusual name (in that I’ve never heard of another person that shares his name before or since), but I wouldn’t say it “sounded Jewish” — whatever that means. Regardless, he had one of the three clothing stores in town, and I can’t recall anyone not trading with him b/c of his being Jewish. It was a non-issue as far as I could tell.

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