Sunday, October 28, 2007

Remember Rick Warren?

This is a fantastic and much needed post by Think on These Things (a pro-Obama blogger) regarding Barack Obama and the Donnie McClurkin scandal. McClurkin was the anti-gay pastor who was invited to participate in a gospel singer campaign swing through South Carolina. Unsurprisingly, it aroused a furious reaction among many liberals who find McClurkin's views on homosexuality appalling (as, it bears mention, do I).

Rick Warren, by contrast, was the pro-life, anti-gay pastor who invited Obama to speak in front of his congregation on the topic of AIDS. For this, Warren was blasted by his evangelical fellows, who could not stand the thought of standing side-by-side with a "pro-death" (their words) leader like Obama. And liberals, for their part, derided this reaction as proof of conservative intolerance (I wrote a brief blog post on this at the time).

Juxtaposing these two events together, TOTT writes:
There is no way to unify this country if people on both sides refuse to be in the same space as those with whom they disagree. It is fine to disagree and be vocal about your disagreement, but you absolutely can’t make progress without even talking to each other. Both sides need to stop being intolerant and threatened by those who are different from them. We need more Rick Warrens on the conservative side and Barack Obamas on the progressive side.

Via Sully


PG said...

Obama's recent interview in The Advocate addressed all this quite capably.
1) McClurkin isn't acting as a spokeman for Obama; he's a performer.
2) More importantly for the general issue of how to cope with the homophobia among some Christians: If advocates of equality don't interact with their opponents, there is no chance to convince them. If the message of equality never comes to Rick Warren's congregation in a congenial form (i.e. from someone invited to address them and who identifies as a Christian), they are unlikely ever to accept it.

Obama has been building his "one America" theme for several years now. As long as he isn't selling out equality in his positions (e.g. by backing off support for NJ-style civil unions that are legally the same as marriage), I don't see why he should have to cleanse his support base of people who may disagree with those particular positions.

If cross-dressing, thrice-married, pro-choice, promising-to-perform-the-ceremony-for-his-gay-roommates Giuliani can be the front-runner for the GOP, I think Democrats need to have a big enough tent to include people who are not supportive of sexual orientation equality.

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