It’s doesn’t seem to matter to folks that a wide swath of people voted for President-Elect Obama in the presidential election – some folks seem to have seen it as a mandate on who can and cannot participate publically in his inauguration. The announcement of Rick Warren as the pastor giving the invocation is creating a stink. Sigh.
Look, I’m not the biggest Rick Warren fan. I respect a number of things he’s done and is doing. When The Purpose Driven Life became a runaway best-seller Rick Warren paid his church back all the salary he had ever been given, and to this day doesn’t take a salary from the Church (he also has kept his lifestyle at the same level it was before he made an insane amount of money). Pastor Warren has also become heavily involved in combatting the AIDS pandemic, even though many Evangelicals still see AIDS as a non-issue. He has also been soundly condemed by true Evangelicals™ for having people from the “wrong” political beliefs come to his church to speak on various issues. For all these things I do respect Pastor Warren.
Yet, I’m not a “fan.” Cedar Ridge has replaced Willow Creek as the lastest generator of Evangelical™ fads, and the two books I’ve read from him have left me wondering, “Is this as deep as we can get, really?” I know his books have a lot of advocates, but even as primers for Spirituality they leave a lot to be desired (that’s another post). I also don’t think that his comments that have been quoted on Proposition 8 were ridiculously bad and people have every right to question him on it.
Still, after the ways that Pastor Warren has been able to set aside the culture war mentality to work with people he has “issues” with, it would be nice to see the favor returned by people towards him. Alas, that’s not happening – Pastor Warren’s been being cast as a hateful fear-mongerer by those who seem to think President-elect Obama’s election was a “victory, ” rather than an armastice, in the culture wars. Thankfully, thus far, the President-elect doesn’t seem to have gotten that memo.