Pharyngula

Same as the old boss

This is not an auspicious beginning. Guess who is going to deliver the invocation at Obama’s inauguration? None other than the smilin’ face of right-wing fundamentalism, Rick Warren.

As we’ve pointed out several times before, in 2004 Warren declared that marriage, reproductive choice, and stem cell research were “non-negotiable” issues for Christian voters and has admitted that the main difference between himself and James Dobson is a matter of tone. He criticized Obama’s answers at the Faith Forum he hosted before the election and vowed to continue to pressure him to change his views on the issue of reproductive choice. He came out strongly in support of Prop 8, saying “there is no need to change the universal, historical defintion of marriage to appease 2 percent of our population … This is not a political issue — it is a moral issue that God has spoken clearly about.” He’s declared that those who do not believe in God should not be allowed to hold public office.

Obama had a chance to set a non-sectarian, progressive tone at this event, and he has chosen to kow-tow to the wretched evangelical movement.

Comments

  1. #1 rufustfirefly
    December 17, 2008

    You mean the Messiah did something wrong? Wait until He bombs Iran. The shoes will fly then.

  2. #2 hoser
    December 17, 2008

    And you’re surprised?

  3. #3 Interrobang
    December 17, 2008

    I kept telling people I thought he sounded like a televangelist when he spoke, but oh noooo, would anybody listen to me?

  4. #4 King of Ferrets
    December 17, 2008

    Well, he’s still better than the other choice we had.

  5. #5 DireLobo
    December 17, 2008

    I agree, bad move. But to say “Same as the old boss” is to mis-judge the situation, IMO. It would have been nice to see a secular invocation, but its a small fish and Obama decided not to choose THIS fight as his first, though he could have picked many less rabid preachers then Warren. I’m willing to let it slide. How bout you?

  6. #6 matt
    December 17, 2008

    This kow-towing to blatant delusion and bigotry makes me sick.

    A great moment in history marred by having to see and listen to that fat piece of shit espouse his brand of idiocy.

    Dear Mr. Obama,
    You no longer have to put up with the fundies. This is very disappointing.

  7. #7 chris Crawford
    December 17, 2008

    Hey, if he follows a strategy of making symbolic gestures to the fundamentalists, but follows a progressive strategy on what he actually does, that’s great strategy. You’d make a lousy President, PZ: you’d have them screaming for your impeachment BEFORE your inauguration! ;-)

  8. #8 Zeno
    December 17, 2008

    I can’t get too excited about it. Obama is himself a believer, so it’s unlikely he would refrain from the usual nod in the direction of the nation’s most popular faith. The choice of Warren is not too terribly surprising either, since it’s probably an attempt to slightly co-opt one of evangelical Christianity’s most popular voices. Maybe it’ll work (but probably not).

    We’re still decades away from electing a secular humanist as president.

  9. #9 Dave
    December 17, 2008

    Obama has clothed himself in progressive rhetoric, but his economic policies and his cabinet appointments are center-right. His choice of Rick Warren should come as no surprise.

  10. #10 DGKnipfer
    December 17, 2008

    Rick Warren, Jeremiah Wright. Six of one, half a dozen of the other. Obama has to have a pastor to keep the heathen Believers from forming a lynching party. Now, if one of them gets an invite to stay over in the Lincoln Bedroom on a regular basis I’ll worry. Until then it’s more pandering to keep the unwashed masses of Xtianity quiet.

    To me the only sad part is that he feels obligated to do something to keep the Xtians quiet.

  11. #11 SC, OM
    December 17, 2008

    it is a moral issue that God has spoken clearly about

    God.

    Has spoken about.

    Clearly.

    %$^*.

  12. #12 Mike
    December 17, 2008

    It turns out Obama didn’t actually choose Warren to speak at his inauguration. Here is a quote from salon.com:

    “This time, though, the decision to get involved with Saddleback was actually not Obama’s. The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, run by the House and Senate, put together the program for the swearing-in ceremony. Congress, not Obama, invited Warren (as well as scheduling a musical performance by Aretha Franklin; here’s hoping she doesn’t reprise the 2005 inaugural performance of John Ashcroft’s “Let the Eagle Soar”).”

  13. #13 abb3w
    December 17, 2008

    Letting the Evangelicals stay in charge of praying might quiet them down some on things that actually matter, like gay marriage, continuing the War on terror By Other Means, reducing STD transmission rates, and so on. Just don’t leave them in charge of doing anything with consequences.

  14. #14 moo
    December 17, 2008

    Yes, not good, but somehow I doubt a McCain/Palin (or worse a Palin/Corpse) government would have been a better choice. The inauguration is just show, so there is still hope that the substance of Obama’s policies will reflect the separation of church and state.

  15. #15 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 17, 2008

    It’s a strange choice for sure and I’d rather there be no religious leaders involved period. It is however a tradition and Obama is religious so .. /shrug.

    The choice of Rick Warren is terrible though. He reminds me of a snake oil salesman / used car salesman. All polished and nice with a big smile but he’s still selling you a pile of shit.

    I’m sure the choice is thought to in part ease some fears of the fundamentalists. I doubt it will do that.

    Lousy choice for sure, but I’m not putting him in the same league as out outgoing leader. There’s always time to change my opinion.

    You mean the Messiah did something wrong? Wait until He bombs Iran. The shoes will fly then.

    yawn

  16. #16 Katharine
    December 17, 2008

    Fuck Congress.

  17. #17 Josiah
    December 17, 2008

    I dunno that Obama really is a believer. It’s hard to imagine a successful politician not claiming to be one.

  18. #18 Emmet Caulfield
    December 17, 2008

    I can see a reason for doing this: the McCain campaign was so divisive that, in spite of the tone of McCain’s concession speech, Obama probably feels that he has to do something to “reach out” to the extreme corners of wingnuttery where, as well as being very bitter about the election defeat, they think Obama’s a secret Muslin (sic), an atheist, a Satanist, a terrorist, a communist, the Anti-Christ, etc.

    Whether it’s a good enough reason is another matter, but I can see the rationale.

  19. #19 Jackie
    December 17, 2008

    Speaking of Obama, WingNut Daily is citing an AOL poll that the Obama Citizenship Issue has merit. We should crash it.

  20. #20 Pyrrhonic
    December 17, 2008

    This is probably the biggest problem with the democrats. They are so scared by the right, and believe so foolishly that any dissent will leave them high and dry in 2 years, that they will not change anything. They continuously alienate the left–despite the howlings of the O’Reillys and Coulters–and, in the end, wind up with muddled policies and ineffective leaders. Rational people, the skeptical and religious alike, are tired of this nonsense.

    Anyway, even if they do get creamed in the elections in two years, it’s probably still worth doing the right thing. We cannot continue to allow our electoral fears push us further in the direction of extremism.

  21. #21 Matt
    December 17, 2008

    PZ, why do you keep forgetting about your old post?
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/06/why_i_will_never_vote_for_bara.php

  22. #22 Baudi
    December 17, 2008

    I HATE to do it but I must…

    Rick Warren???

    “That’s not change we can believe in.”

  23. #23 OctoberMermaid
    December 17, 2008

    On the plus side, this might drive some of Warren’s sheep away from him. After all, he must be evil if he’s willing to have anything to do with Obama, right?

    Ah, who am I kidding? These people can justify anything in their own minds.

  24. #24 Katharine
    December 17, 2008

    Now I’m actually beginning to be horribly ashamed that I voted for either of the two major candidates.

    The United States sucks; I think we ought to just let it fall. Perhaps we should all go to Europe; they’re much more civilized there.

  25. #25 Talking Snake
    December 17, 2008

    Yeah, if you gotta go xtian, how about that Rev. Wright guy or a gay Episcopalian Bishop?

  26. #26 JP
    December 17, 2008

    noooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. #27 Evinfuilt
    December 17, 2008

    you’d have them screaming for your impeachment BEFORE your inauguration!

    Obama giving into the Evangelists won’t stop impeachment proceedings.

  28. #28 Ichthyic
    December 17, 2008

    Obama has clothed himself in progressive rhetoric, but his economic policies and his cabinet appointments are center-right.

    I thought center-right was the new “liberal”?

    Did I miss something over the last 20 years?

  29. #29 MK
    December 17, 2008

    wonder when he is going to come out as an atheist.. if ever, which I suspect he is.

  30. #30 Joshua BA
    December 17, 2008

    First off, am I the only one seeing a bunch of “?” in the quoted text? What messed up ancient encoding are they using so that I can see what it’s supposed to be? (It’s almost 2009 people, why aren’t we all using Unicode?)

    Secondly, why the hell was he complaining about Obama’s stance on gay marriage? I was under the impression, from Obama’s words and position statements, that Obama was in complete agreement there: “gay marriage = bad”.

  31. #31 davery
    December 17, 2008

    Rick Warren is a douchebag.

  32. #32 Sarah
    December 17, 2008

    Why is he even bothering to try to pander to the Right-Wingers? No matter what, they’re gonna hate him anyway. A smart person wouldn’t even waste any damned effort on them.

  33. #33 raven
    December 17, 2008

    Just god botting and god babbling. A cheap trick really, sort of like being able to leap tall curbs with a single bound. Godbotting is designed so that morons can understand it and even do it. It isn’t hard.

    This is a very old and very new form of xianity. Jesus as all purpose ammunition for rhetorical cannons. You simply load him into your weapons, aim at the appropriate targets, pull the trigger, and the jesus Mark XX warhead is launched. These days jesus hates gays, votes GOP, thinks owning firearms is a duty not a right, wears camo, and thinks the earth is flat, 6,000 years old, and the center of the solar system. He also wants everyone to send lots of money and their teen age daughters to selected old men who speak for him because he has become very debilitated over the millenia.

  34. #34 Otto
    December 17, 2008

    This really inhales vigorously.
    So far I liked Obama, but I am getting
    serious doubt about him.

  35. #35 Ichthyic
    December 17, 2008

    These days jesus hates gays, votes GOP, thinks owning firearms is a duty not a right, wears camo, and thinks the earth is flat, 6,000 years old, and the center of the solar system. He also wants everyone to send lots of money and their teen age daughters to selected old men who speak for him because he has become very debilitated over the millenia.

    The Chuck Norris fans were right?

    He really is Jesus?

  36. #36 -
    December 17, 2008

    I heard Warren is planning on doing the speech pantsless.

  37. #37 Matt Heath
    December 17, 2008

    Perhaps we should all go to Europe; they’re much more civilized there.

    Ugh, American liberals and there visions of Eurtopia! Don’t make me drag out a long list of stuff that sucks here in Europe. Here’s a start: Silvio Burlusconi is prime minister of Italy (think Rupert Murdoch as President); gay pride parades regularly get the shit kicked out of them in the Baltic states; you can’t go anywhere in London without being CCTVed…

  38. #38 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    December 17, 2008

    I got no problem throwing the fundies a bone by distracting them with bread and circuses and mouthing support for their point of view as long as their wingnuttery doesn’t continue making it into actual policy decisions anymore. *gasps for air*

  39. #39 jj
    December 17, 2008

    Disappointing, to say the leased. I grew up in the Saddleback Valley, and had numerous friends fall into the Cult of Saddleback church, all to eventually leave the it for good (I actually think most the friends I had who attended only did so to meet chicks). That place is scary. when the schools in the area would get out for summer, they’d hold an “undergrad night” which always resulted in a bunch of brawls, between kids from rival High schools. They ended up having to cancel it in the future because kids were “grinding” (the term they used) on the dance floor (ya’ know high schoolers shouldn’t be dancing so provocatively!) I did have some pretty conservative friends hold protests out front of the ‘church’ in support of no on 8, I was surprised to see that… Happy to be far away from there now, that’s for sure.

  40. #40 Ichthyic
    December 17, 2008

    Whatever you do, don’t even think about emigrating to NZ until I’ve had a chance to take care of the massive zombie sheep problem there…

    here’s a documentary detailing just how bad it’s gotten:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0779982/

  41. #41 Matt Heath
    December 17, 2008

    “their visions” I mean. It’s a dyslexia thing

  42. #42 Glen Davidson
    December 17, 2008

    This just goes to show that association is how people judge others, no matter how many times that fact was denied when the association was Wright or Ayers.

    My point is not that too much was not made of some of Obama’s assocations on the right. Of course it was. But the denials that association matters is and always was a crock, as may be seen when Obama has Warren give the invocation.

    Seriously, you can’t deny the importance of associations, and then tar him for certain assocations, and be seen as consistent.

    It all has to be understood contextually. For instance, one cannot fault Obama overmuch for having some association with corrupt Illinois politicians, since it’s very hard to be an upper-level politician in Illinois without having some such associations. But if it turned out to be too close and/or intertwined, it could be a problem.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  43. #43 raven
    December 17, 2008

    Why is he even bothering to try to pander to the Right-Wingers? No matter what, they’re gonna hate him anyway. A smart person wouldn’t even waste any damned effort on them.

    Obama isn’t pandering to the right wingnuts, who will hate hime anyway, no matter what he does. They are still blaming all Bush’s mistakes on Bill Clinton.

    He is pandering to moderate and fundie evangelicals and pentacostals who are not necessarily right wing. Some in fact are rather leftish. It is dawning on the younger and brighter that just because some demagogue moron is “prolife” doesn’t mean he can govern well or has their interests at heart.

    They don’t want their kids and friends to die for zero reasons in pointless wars. They don’t want greedy crooks from the banks and WS to loot the US treasury and wreck the economy. They don’t want to live in a former superpower heading towards a fascist banana republic state while chanting “jesus loves you, hate the gays, hate the moslems, hate the atheists, hate the catholics and so on.

    25% of evangelicals voted for Obama. There is way more to life than being prolife and believing the earth is 6,000 years old. People have bills to pay, houses to buy, jobs to go to, kids to raise, cars to buy and run, and so on.

  44. #44 Tim Fuller
    December 17, 2008

    He spaketh with Bush often and never asked about the torture.

    Enjoy.

  45. #45 varlo
    December 17, 2008

    In general I am in agreement on matters politic with both PZ and most posters (trolls excepted, of course). It does seem to me, however, that there is an occasional tendency toward both early judgment and hyperbole at times, with this thread being a case in point. I have no idea whether the unfortunate selection of Warren was Obama’s, that of an Obama underling, or of Congress (or for that matter of a congressional underling)as one poster stated. I do believe that Obama is too intelligent to attempt to micromanage every detail the inauguration and in all likelihood delegates much of the planning. I for one am willing to wait until we really know how he will govern, rather that speculate based upon conjecture.

  46. #46 Jonathon
    December 17, 2008

    I am sick about this and will definitely be writing the Obama Transition office about it. Rick Warren does not deserve this honor. There are many, many other religious leaders who do not preach a message of hate and intolerance that are more deserving and much more appropriate speakers than Warren.

    Warren and his ilk have no place in polite society.

  47. #47 Janine, Insulting Sinner
    December 17, 2008

    Is Rick Warren the new Billy Graham?

  48. #48 Orac
    December 17, 2008

    Why are you in the least surprised? He had already announced that he was going to beef up the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives. True, he said he was also going to rename it and promised better oversight, but it was clear that he was going to funnel more money to religious groups.

  49. #49 Rey Fox
    December 17, 2008

    “That’s not change we can believe in.”

    I think it is. I always found that slogan to be a rather sneaky one. As in, he’s not going to enact the change we actually want, because that’s not believable.

  50. #50 Chris Klemens
    December 17, 2008

    I still think all the evidence points to Obama being an in the closet atheist trying to cover his ass with showy and pointless displays of faith. Even if he is actually a Christian, when he talks about religion he talks about it as the most liberal Christian I have ever heard. Yes, this choice disappoints me and it means I almost definitely won’t be watching the inauguration but I don’t think it means anything at all about Obama as a person or speaks to the way things are going to be run in the coming years. It’s merely him trying to shore up his facade of religious credentials some more so that he doesn’t have the religious right foaming at the mouth on day one.

  51. #51 CaptainKendrick
    December 17, 2008

    I’m sick.

    I voted for Obama for pure entertainment value. I always held scorn for both the Kool-Aid drinkers who thought he was the Messiah, as well as the Palin’esque fucktards who thought he was the Arabian Satan.

    But I at least hoped by pushing that irresistible shiny red button for Obamba, I would at least get one of the following: either A) A good president who would actually change things for the better, or B) Lots of mayhem and carnage (figuratively or literally, doesn’t matter).

    Seems I’m not going to get either. Just more of the same of fucktard political pandering and bullshit.

    Change we can believe in. Phah.

  52. #52 Rey Fox
    December 17, 2008

    By the way, what exactly is an inaugural invocation anyway? What are we invoking? The whole thing sounds like a bad idea. How about if we just swear the guy in?

  53. #53 moo
    December 17, 2008

    Re: Ichthyic@40

    I’ve been keeping at least the possiblity that I might move to NZ to teach in the back of my mind, so your post had me worried for a second. I can deal with bloodthirsty, mutant, killer sheep, but religious nuts really get on my nerves. Whew …

  54. #54 Sili
    December 17, 2008

    I think people are in denial if they say that Obama’s just playing at religion.

    He seems to be the real deal. An atheist who chose god of his own free will after deep introspection and deliberation.

    I do not like his choice, but I have no doubt that he’s honest.

    I can only hope that this is only windowdressing. In that case we can answer the fundies when they complain about Obama’s policies: Well, if he really is the antichrist, then why did your beloved Warren invocate him? Is RW in cahoots with the devil, too?

  55. #55 Ichthyic
    December 17, 2008

    I can deal with bloodthirsty, mutant, killer sheep, but religious nuts really get on my nerves. Whew …

    then you might find this even scarier than zombie sheep:

    http://www.destinychurch.org.nz/

    I do plan on spending significant time attempting to slay this REAL dragon (as opposed to the imaginary – but fun – zombie sheep).

  56. #56 BobC
    December 17, 2008

    Mike (#12):

    The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, run by the House and Senate, put together the program for the swearing-in ceremony. Congress, not Obama, invited Warren

    OK, no problem. Obama had nothing to do with this decision.

  57. #57 HooHaw
    December 17, 2008

    That sir, is politics.

  58. #58 GaryB
    December 17, 2008

    What do you expect? Obama has stated he wants to build bridges between groups and apparently that includes the trolls under the bridge.

  59. #59 Jeeves
    December 17, 2008

    Deep breaths, everyone. Deep breaths. This is a ceremonial gesture on Obama’s part. It’s one thing to invite God to the inauguration, its quite another to imply that he’s your most trusted advisor. If Obama starts making decisions that sound like Jesus has his own cabinet seat, then we can worry. We all know you can’t be a viable presidential candidate without making cute with Christianity so let’s just wait this one out.

  60. #60 moo
    December 17, 2008

    Ichthyic@55

    That is scary — you probably have a better chance of reasoning with zombie sheep. We have our nutters here too (I’m Canadian), so don’t feel bad.

  61. #61 GaryB
    December 17, 2008

    God.

    Has spoken about.

    Clearly.

    %$^*.

    SC, shouldn’t that be spelled “fuckin’goddamnidiotfuckin’movewhatwashethinking”?

  62. #62 Socker
    December 17, 2008

    Don’t make me drag out a long list of stuff that sucks here in Europe.

    I wish some of you would more often. I have family in Europe and hear about much of the nonsense. Some people don’t realize it’s stupid everywhere. *Humanity* is a pack of idiots, not just one country or another.

  63. #63 Nick Gotts
    December 17, 2008

    Mike@12,
    Salon says the The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies picked Warren, but according to commenters on Daily Kos – and they are surely right – Obama could have objected.

    While this is hardly the great betrayal it does, with his cabinet picks, confirm that Obama is buttering up the right in a rather vomituous manner. Whether this will make any difference to how he governs, I doubt: that will be largely determined by the logic of the situation, which I think will force him to be considerably more radical than his views and temperament would suggest.

    rustfirefly@1,
    Can you actually produce a single example of anyone referring to Obama as “the Messiah” other than in a sneer such as yours?

  64. #64 DGKnipfer
    December 17, 2008

    Do we have the money to waste on Troll Bridges?

  65. #65 SHV
    December 17, 2008

    Obama has said as a Christian that he is against Gay marriage…he had Donnie McClurkin and Kirbyjon Caldwell campaigning in SC…Roy Romer and Doug Kmiec were the leaders of the end of campaign “Values” tour for Obama. Why is anyone surprised.

    Ken Salazar as Sec of Interior Interior??? Jeebus!!!

  66. #66 Bill Dauphin
    December 17, 2008

    On a happier note, apparently Aretha Franklin is going to sing.

  67. #67 Quiet_Desperation
    December 17, 2008

    *BOOM*

    OK, you people owe me a new kneejerk reaction detector.

    Geez, a chunk of it went through six inches of concrete.

    By the way, what exactly is an inaugural invocation anyway? What are we invoking?

    Aphoom-Zhah, Ghatanothoa or one of the other Great Old Ones, I think. If they finally do it correctly, the secret Masonic symbols embedded in Washington, D.C. will resonate, and the entire city will be rotated away from this reality and replaced by the ancient and non-Euclidean city of R’lyeh.

    And there will be a totaling of sums, followed by swift and horrific passing of judgment upon the lowly hairless apes who have usurped this world, mark my words!

  68. #68 Tulse
    December 17, 2008

    And there will be a totaling of sums, followed by swift and horrific passing of judgment upon the lowly hairless apes who have usurped this world, mark my words!

    Excellent — I’ve been doing all the appropriate rituals to ensure I get eaten first. Ia! Ia! Cthulhu F’taghn!

  69. #69 Lago
    December 17, 2008

    I was wondering if I would cry on inauguration day like I did on election day.

    Now I am certain of it, but maybe not for the reason I first thought…

  70. #70 God Retardent
    December 17, 2008

    WTF Rick Warren? author of “The Purpose-Driven Lie”,Americas number one con-man and hoodwinker,the Grim Rapture Reaper.I can imagine the shit that will spew from his lying lips at Obama’s inauguration.
    The Fundies will lap it up like the mindless cretins that they are. I’m PISSED OFF !!!!!!

  71. #71 bigjohn756
    December 17, 2008

    Obama hasn’t even started yet, just wait and see if y’all are still happy you elected him after six months have passed. Alas, as bad as it’s going to be, it is probably going to be better than the other guy would have been. That’s the problem we get when the choice is between two losers.

  72. #72 cyrano
    December 17, 2008

    Here’s hoping Warren doesn’t drop trou on stage and take a big, messy dump right on Obama’s lap.

  73. #73 Robert Byers
    December 17, 2008

    From canada
    I am a evangelical christian and agree Warren should not give legitamacy to Obama.
    Obama is pro-avortion, pro-gay, pro-Israel, and pro-Identityism. That he and his supporters/part deny the right of the American man to any and all that he can get in his country by his abilities. Obama is for interference by affirmitive action, quotas, and a whole culture of watching who gets what. A great betrayal of the American people to raise, to the loss of true americans, africans, Mexicans and so on, As long, at the moment, it does not interfere with the Jews and others over representation in the same areas of gain and reward.
    yet what can Warren do. He’s the new Billy graham and must for the faith be above politics.
    Obama is of coarse playing a game. he’s saying YOU PEOPLE don’t need to feel you lost out. The election was almost a draw and secreatly it might be said many evangelicals sat on their hands. Also many blacks voted for Obama for bigoted identity, bigoted, reasons but are quite conservative on social issues. Satisfaction with a black as prez can fade under disatisfaction with liberal agendas. Blacks don’t want to look too desperate and lame about identity and many can switch to voting on issues and not identity.

  74. #74 Marc Abian
    December 17, 2008

    Some people don’t realize it’s stupid everywhere.

    Actually I don’t think it’s too bad here in Ireland really. Shame about the weather though.

  75. #75 Ichthyic
    December 17, 2008

    Obama is of coarse[sic] playing a game. he’s saying YOU PEOPLE don’t need to feel you lost out. The election was almost a draw and secreatly[sic] it might be said many evangelicals sat on their hands.

    first, you’re too stupid, as usual, to learn how to spell, Byers.

    second, almost a draw??

    LOL

    take off, hoser.

  76. #76 raytheist
    December 17, 2008

    Would have been better to bring in Carlton Pearson or Bishop Gene Robinson.

    On the other hand, at least they didn’t call on Joel Osteen!

    And, realistically, it is just the invocation, not a full time Cabinet Seat!

  77. #77 Wowbagger
    December 17, 2008

    From the rest of the world
    Robert Byers is a barely-coherent moron and we should ignore his posts.

  78. #78 Nerd of Redhead
    December 17, 2008

    Ah, what would we do without Robert Byers and Pete Rooke to tell us what is right. They’re such fools we have to invert their opinions to know what is right, but once that is done, all is well with the world.

  79. #79 Wowbagger
    December 17, 2008

    Nerd,

    I’d rate Pete Rooke higher than Robert Byers, if simply for the reason his posts are written in coherent sentences – though often sans coherent logic.

  80. #80 Ed Darrell
    December 17, 2008

    Where is Forrester Church these days? What’s he up to?

  81. #81 Ichthyic
    December 17, 2008

    we have to invert their opinions to know what is right

    since I’m bored at the moment…


    I am a evangelical christian strict secularist and [dis]agree Warren should not give legitamacy to Obama.

    Ok, that kinda works…

    Obama is pro-avortion (what’s avortion, btw?), pro-gay (except he says he is against gay marriage), pro-Israel, and pro-Identityism (again, wtf?).

    it’s hard to directly reverse those opinions, since they simply don’t make sense at all on the face of them.

    assuming these aren’t opinions …

    man this is just too much work for what it’s worth.

    I’m going back to poking sticks at the crazy monkey.

  82. #82 room101
    December 17, 2008

    I echo most people’s disgust. But Mike’s post (#12) above indicates that this perhaps wasn’t entirely Obama’s decision.

    What is upsetting is this sense that Warren will be (or seems to be vying for) the new White House “spiritual advisor” – the new Billy Graham, if you will.

  83. #83 Nick Gotts
    December 17, 2008

    Phewwww! What’s that stench? Oh, it’s Robert “Hatemonger” Byers.

  84. #84 varlo
    December 17, 2008

    Rating Byers “barely coherent” is overly kind to him and quite unkind to those who love our language.

  85. #85 JStein
    December 17, 2008

    What makes me angriest is that I can’t even pretend to be surprised.

    Rick Warren is a bigot. I’ve said it before, and so has everyone else.

    Obama needs to set a precedent with this, but he doesn’t want to leave the conservative christies feeling isolated. Instead, he’s going to isolate us. That, I’m not so happy about.

  86. #86 Blake Stacey
    December 17, 2008

    Every once in a while, it really pisses me off that you can get a national soapbox for being an expert in shit that doesn’t exist.

  87. #87 dieselrain
    December 17, 2008

    Considering the fact that he will be the president of the entire country and considering the fact that a majority of the citizens in this country are “believers,” it is correct for him to recognize this part of the country by including some of their representatives in the ceremonies on Jan 20. Why should he exclude them? Why make them mad right from day one? He needs their cooperation, not their revolt. Yes, this is placating them and that’s sometimes necessary. The problems of this country are so great that the new president can’t afford to create more problems by insulting the majority of the nation by excluding them from the Jan 20 ceremonies. Cool it, folks. Help the new president succeed. Don’t expect to win everything you want on day one. I agree that Rick Warren is dispicable. But having Rick Warren pray, which is a waste of our time, is a small price to pay for gaining a bit of cooperation from the religious.

  88. #88 Prof MTH
    December 17, 2008

    PZ and other scientists need to be on Obama’s ass demanding a complete overhaul of the President’s Council on Bioethics.

    The Stupidity of Dignity by Steven Pinker

  89. #89 Rick R
    December 17, 2008

    room101 @ #82- “I echo most people’s disgust. But Mike’s post (#12) above indicates that this perhaps wasn’t entirely Obama’s decision.

    What is upsetting is this sense that Warren will be (or seems to be vying for) the new White House “spiritual advisor” – the new Billy Graham, if you will.”

    Since we seem stuck with having some sort of “invocation”, I’m wondering who would have been a better choice. Think of it politically- you’d want someone who the christianists would relate to, but isn’t an out-and-out bigot lunatic. Is there any such christian leader out there?
    Just curious. Are we just too polarized these days? (I suspect we are.)

    (And don’t give me Jim “christian left” Wallis. He’s a douche. And I’m against the whole idea of an invocation anyway, if anyone is wondering.)

  90. #90 Ichthyic
    December 17, 2008

    Is there any such christian leader out there?

    frankly, why even have the invocation done by a xian to begin with?

    I’d like to hear a grand introduction by Neil deGrasse Tyson myself.

  91. #91 Prof MTH
    December 17, 2008

    dieselrain | December 17, 2008 5:45 PM

    Considering the fact that he will be the president of the entire country and considering the fact that a majority of the citizens in this country are “believers,” it is correct for him to recognize this part of the country by including some of their representatives in the ceremonies on Jan 20.

    The appropriate thing to do is to chose someone who can speak in neutral terminology in a manner where people can find common ground. Theists and non-theists share many points of potential agreement (like aiding the poor and sick), so speak to those points without using overtly religious language. Rick Warren is not the type of person for finding common ground. He is a plague carrier.

  92. #92 CSBSH
    December 17, 2008

    What good has this Rick Warren ever done to the world? Why the fuck is someone spreading falsehoods allowed to play with the big boys?

  93. #93 Jeeves
    December 17, 2008

    @Rick R,

    Maybe someone like Garry Willis. I don’t think he could be considered a Christian “leader” but still, he is a progressive Christian academic.

  94. #94 tomh
    December 17, 2008

    dieselrain wrote: considering the fact that a majority of the citizens in this country are “believers,” it is correct for him to recognize this part of the country by including some of their representatives in the ceremonies on Jan 20.

    Of course he’s going to have a religious figure give the invocation at the inauguration. Does it have to be a wild-eyed, fundamentalist wacko? There are any number of other, milder choices he could have made. And anyone who thinks having this nut case on stage will suddenly bring the crazed evangelicals into “cooperation” with Obama is delusional. Warren says abortion and stem cell research are non-negotiable issues – that kind of ends the cooperation right there.

  95. #95 CSBSH
    December 17, 2008

    What good has this Rick Warren ever done to the world? Why the fuck is someone spreading falsehoods allowed to play with the big boys?

  96. #96 ndt
    December 17, 2008

    I’d like to say I’m surprised, but I’m not. This is a calculated play by the Democrats to get evangelical voters. Gays and lesbians who have been supported the Democratic party and candidates for years should put on their figurative leather bodysuits, because they’re about to be thrown under a bus.

  97. #97 Norman Doering
    December 17, 2008

    I’m certainly no fan of Warren, he’s been a subject of several of my blog posts, one example:
    http://normdoering.blogspot.com/2008/08/when-is-question-lie.html

    However, I never thought that Obama was perfect, just a better choice than McCain. Nothing about this changes my opinion about my choice. We’ll still, I believe, get a saner economic and military policy.

    In the end this only sets Warren up for a bigger, and inevitable, crash and burn.

  98. #98 12th Monkey
    December 17, 2008

    I am a evangelical christian and agree Warren should not give legitamacy to Obama.

    A purely hypothetical argument since Dickie Warren doesn’t have any legitimacy to give.

    Obama is pro-avortion

    Avortion. Obviously Byers is anti-avortion.

    pro-gay

    i.e. not a fucking bigot like Byers

    pro-Israel

    Something tells me Byers isn’t all worked up over legitimate Palestinian rights issues but more over the “fact” that the damn Jews run the banking system and are putting microchips in the brains of Christian children.

    and pro-Identityism. That he and his supporters/part deny the right of the American man to any and all that he can get in his country by his abilities. Obama is for interference by affirmitive action, quotas, and a whole culture of watching who gets what.

    Yeah, like the right of rich white kids with the best tutors and opportunities to take all they can get due to their “abilities” (chief among them the ability to chose their parents well).

    Fuck you Byers, and fuck your god, fuck his chubby little servant Dickie Warren and fuck your little dog too.

  99. #99 Norman Doering
    December 17, 2008

    CSBSH wrote:

    What good has this Rick Warren ever done to the world? Why the fuck is someone spreading falsehoods allowed to play with the big boys?

    Because he can sell more books than Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens combined. Because he influences voters. Because the politicians want to use him to influence voters in their favor.

  100. #100 Jeeves
    December 17, 2008

    @12th Monkey,

    Hey, lay off the dog. He can’t control who his owner is. Besides, dogs are atheist.

  101. #101 Kel
    December 17, 2008

    Because he can sell more books than Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens combined.

    OT, I went into a bookstore yesterday and it had a sign up on the shelf saying “The God Delusion, Dymocks Book Of The Year 2007″

    Quite surprising really

  102. #102 Quiet Desperation
    December 17, 2008

    pro-avortion

    What’s an avortion? Sounds like some sort of alien race.

    and pro-Identityism

    I don’t even know what that is. Did I miss a memo? He supports mathematical identities? Is that bad?

    From canada

    Oh, well, that explains it. You people claiming to come from this “Canada” thing… We all know there is no such place. Sheesh! Stop it!

  103. #103 cyan
    December 17, 2008

    and fuck your little dog too.

    a little dog owned by a god/man dominionist is already
    screwed

  104. #104 Greta Christina
    December 17, 2008

    Hey, people. Don’t mourn — organize. Box Turtle Bulletin has a list of email addresses of people in the Obama transition team and on the Inaugural Committee, where you can write and express your — um, feelings and opinions.

  105. #105 Ichthyic
    December 17, 2008

    ah, a quick search on “identityism” suggests byers is following the meme of Obama as “muslim”, perhaps?

    If I hadn’t seen his insane rants before, I’d seriously think he was trying for Poe.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Identityism

  106. #106 Ichthyic
    December 17, 2008

    … and before you go into it, YES i realize that it refers to a sect of hinduism, and really has nothing to do with Islam.

    I doubt byers does, though.

  107. #107 tsabhira
    December 17, 2008

    I wonder how long before PZ thinks it’s ok to throw shoes at Obama?

    Did you miss the prayer-spam at the DNC? Obama’s promises to expand faith-based initiatives? This isn’t… new.

  108. #108 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 17, 2008

    Byers, I know it has been covered ad nauseum, but you Sir are an idiot.

    Please stop saying you are from Canada as someone might mistake your idiocy as something normal from our northern neighbors.

    Your idiocy is all your own.

    Idiot.

  109. #109 Capital Dan
    December 17, 2008

    Robert Byers | December 17, 2008 5:13 PM

    From canada
    I am a evangelical christian and agree Warren should not give legitamacy to Obama.
    Obama is pro-avortion, pro-gay, pro-Israel, and pro-Identityism.

    Do you always make a habit of announcing your stupidity whenever you enter a room?

    I mean, you could easily shorten that to, “Hi. I’m Robert Byers. I’m from Canada, and I’m a fucking moron.”

  110. #110 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 17, 2008

    I’d like to hear a grand introduction by Neil deGrasse Tyson myself.

    seconded.

  111. #111 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 17, 2008

    Secondly Byers are you from Quebec?

    My typos are purely carelessness and my misspellings are usually the same. You seem to be working on some sort of artistic misspelling masterpiece every time you post here. And it’s not just misspellings, it is using a word that sounds like the correct word in the place of the word that is actually correct. Constantly.

    Is English not your first language, which then I apologize, or are you just an idi…

    never mind

    You are an idiot. I’ve already answered my question.

  112. #112 Sigmund
    December 17, 2008

    If he needed an extremist right wing christian bigot then why not get the one preacher who is uniquely qualified to work with both conservative evangelicals and with the Gay community.
    Ted Haggard, your time has come.

  113. #113 Ichthyic
    December 17, 2008

    uniquely qualified to work with both conservative evangelicals and with the Gay community.

    don’t forget the crack-addicted community too!

    what IS old Ted up to these days?

    Isn’t it about time for his flock to have forgotten his transgressions and accept back as fearless leader again?

  114. #114 Varlo
    December 17, 2008

    MY dog is not an atheist, but, sadly, she is mistaken about me.

  115. #115 Ichthyic
    December 17, 2008

    Haggard is starting an insurance agency in Colorado Springs, CO.

    LOL insurance for what, I wonder?

    evidently he gave up recent plans to earn an online degree in psychology (I kid you not), and also abandoned the crew hired to “rehabilitate” him for re-entry into the NAE.

    Well, unlike Jim Bakker, I have to give the man credit for making a clean break and not trying to resurrect himself into his former shysterness.

    I wonder what he would have to say to Dawkins these days, as opposed to when Dawkins interviewed with him for the filming of “Root of all Evil”?

  116. #116 Derick S
    December 17, 2008

    I think that Obama is probably the best thing a scientifically minded individual could have hoped for in our current political atmosphere. Like it or not (and I don’t like it), our country is highly religious. To combat this, we need figures like PZ and Dawkins to lambaste the religious zealots, because there really are a surprising amount of people in this country who should probably be quiet. We also need rational people who can make decisions without religion. In the case of Obama, I see a “religious” person who makes political decisions not based on what God thinks, but what he respects about the world and the law (e.g. abortion rights – he says it must continue to be legal even though he himself would never want his own family to exercise it). It is only from this rational decision making process that atheists will be “born” (if you’ll forgive my religious reference there). Once people start making day to day decisions without religion, hopefully they will see that religion is not only unnecessary, but harmful. Obama is a smart politician. When he chooses someone like this guy to give a speech, he’s winning the ears of all of the other religious nut-jobs in America. I think we should wait to here what Obama has to say (specifically, what he does as prez) before we start casting aspersions on his secularism. PZ and Dawkins can rant (rant correctly usually) all they want, but if the people we want to change aren’t listening, what’s the point?

  117. #117 Norman Doering
    December 17, 2008

    Kel wrote:

    I went into a bookstore yesterday and it had a sign up on the shelf saying “The God Delusion, Dymocks Book Of The Year 2007″

    What does being a Dymocks Book Of The Year mean? Does it mean it’s the biggest seller in the Asia Pacific region that year?

    As far as how the best selling atheism compares with Warren’s sales — I was under the impression that Warren out-sold all three atheists by something like 10 to 1. It may not show up in standard book sale figures because Warren’s books don’t sell through standard book stores alone – there’s a Christian subculture with its own shops, books and music unseen by secular eyes.

    I was trying to check this out on Google but could not get the exact sales figures for them all.

  118. #118 God Retardant
    December 17, 2008

    Posted by: Blake Stacey | December 17, 2008 5:35 PM

    “Every once in a while, it really pisses me off that you can get a national soapbox for being an expert in shit that doesn’t exist.”

    All one has to do in the United States is to stick the title Pastor or Reverend in front of your name to gain instant credibility and respect.Most of these charlatans pretend to know things they can not possible know,and convince others THEY know whats best for them.
    Rick Warren, like all church leaders, lie over and over again.Rapture,end of times,what a crock of shit!!

  119. #119 Jimminy Christmas
    December 17, 2008

    I’d like to hear a grand introduction by Neil deGrasse Tyson myself.

    Not only would I like to hear this, but it should be a federal law! Although I am still a tiny bit annoyed with him about the whole Pluto thing ;)

  120. #120 Ichthyic
    December 17, 2008

    I was trying to check this out on Google but could not get the exact sales figures for them all.

    it wouldn’t tell the whole story, as you say, but did you try running an Amazon.com sales search on them?

    it hardly would surprise me if indeed warren outsells atheists by an order of magnitude.

    hell, Anne Coulter outsold Dawkins when her book was hot off the presses.

    …just more fuel for the plane taking me away from this nuthouse.

  121. #121 Joe M
    December 17, 2008

    I’m not sure if anyone will read this wisp of a comment….but I wanted to write something about this. As bad as the loss with Prop 8 was, at least we could take some comfort that Obama would be president. But now he takes one of the architects of hatred in America….and gives him a speaking role at his inauguration. Disgraceful.

    And for Rick Warren to say he loves gays and lesbians is a laughable lie. He wants us to have no rights in this life, (at least not the same as straights) and to have a pretend “Hell” in the next. What love! What a fraud.

  122. #122 Steven Dunlap
    December 17, 2008

    Did anyone else notice the factual information (with source attribution) that this was not Obama’s decision? This is the Congressional committee in charge of the arrangements throwing a sop to the right or sticking a boney finger in Obama’s eye – depending on how you look at it. But it’s not Obama’s decision.

    I am a bit puzzled as to why the thread attributing the decision to him continued after Mike pointed this out at post #12.

    As for the AOL poll, I just returned from there with a measly 43% no with 6% not sure and still holding at 51% : yes (?!)

    This is the lie that will never die.

  123. #123 Allen N
    December 17, 2008

    O.K> folks – get a bloody clue. Oboma did not select Warren, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies made that choice.

    Take a deep breath, a couple of ‘ludes, and smooth out. BTW, I live in Bible Puncher Central, (Colorado Springs) but I’ve not heard that ol’ Ted (I’m Cured) Haggard is in business. No doubt the fundies will “flock” to him, sheep that they are.

  124. #124 tomh
    December 17, 2008

    Oboma did not select Warren, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies made that choice.

    Do you actually think that Obama could not veto this selection if he wanted to? If he’s really that powerless than there is real trouble coming.

  125. #125 debaser71
    December 17, 2008

    People like Rick Warren need to be marginalized. Propping him up at the inauguration only serves to legitimize the religious right.

    What a terrible mistake by Obama.

  126. #126 Nerd of Redhead
    December 17, 2008

    Do you actually think that Obama could not veto this selection if he wanted to? If he’s really that powerless than there is real trouble coming.

    I’m not sure on what the actual protocol is, but Obama is not President until after he is sworn in. Since the ceremony, IIRC, is at the Capitol building, the Senate and Congress may dictate how the ceremony goes, based on historical precedent.

  127. #127 CalGeorge
    December 17, 2008

    Obama’s choices for Ag (Mr. Monsanto Vilsack) and Interior (National Mining Association pal Salazar) are also very bad.

    Way to go, Barack.

  128. #128 costanza
    December 17, 2008

    I am still amazed by the naivete of intelligent, educated people. I cut my teeth during the dark days of Vietnam and the presidency of He Who Shall Not Be Named. Having attained the office by appealing to a particular demographic, it comes as absolutely no surprise that Obama is going to moderate towards the mainstream, no matter what he’s promised. After all, what’s to stop him? His word? Oh, I forgot…presidents are all honest and never lie.

  129. #129 MarkMyWords
    December 17, 2008

    Maybe, with a bit of luck, somebody will come to their senses and either withdraw Warren’s invitation, or he will bow out before January 20.

    But we don’t have to be silent in the face of this insult. And I mean it literally.

    I plan on being in DC for the inauguration. And if Warren winds up actually giving the invocation (too bad we can’t just skip it altogether) nothing will prevent me from making a lot of loud noise during his portion of the program (an air horn or something equally effective). Hopefully, everyone else in attendance who will be equally offended by this pustule on the body politic will also be making as much noise as we can.

    Spread the word to anyone and everyone who might be there on the Mall in January. Bring their noisemakers from New Years; anything they can get their hands on. And let’s make our own form of public prayer.

  130. #130 Ichthyic
    December 17, 2008

    Obama’s choices for Ag (Mr. Monsanto Vilsack) and Interior (National Mining Association pal Salazar) are also very bad.

    indeed.

    far more concerning than Warren, even if Obama had nothing to do with that particular choice.

    *sigh*

  131. #131 AtheistAcolyte
    December 17, 2008

    WTF? On Jan. 21st, Warren will be the same sack of shit he was before. Meanwhile, Nobel Prize-winning Dr. Steven Chu will be Secretary of Energy.

    Perspective, people.

  132. #132 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 17, 2008

    Chu is obviously top of the line scientist in teh appropriate field. Unfortunately the position isn’t only about the science, it is about dealing with big energy companies. How will he be as as an appointee in an Political position?

  133. #133 AtheistAcolyte
    December 17, 2008

    It’s also about advising the President. I, for one, am thrilled there’ll be a brilliant scientist in the Cabinet meetings and a phone call away. Especially when this President has undertaken extreme pains to show his policies will be based on fact and support science.

  134. #134 Badger3k
    December 17, 2008

    After reading through Dr Price’s book on Warrens, I got the feeling that he is far from a Fundamentalist, although still highly delusional. But, looking through some of the comments, maybe I am thinking of someone else (Osteen, perhaps). Either way, it’s still a screwed up choice to have any invocation at all.

  135. #135 Moses
    December 17, 2008

    It’s funny to read the Obama-bots on the Intertubes crying about his Republican appointees and reaching out to the most hateful and vile people in America for some bullshit unity. The only unity those assholes want is everyone living their fantasy of Ward and June Cleaver while anyone not married, white, straight and Christian can go to hell.

    It’s times like these I’m glad my state went red. I’m not responsible for this fuck-stain, even if he was the better of two bad choices.

  136. #136 SHV
    December 17, 2008

    ” Posted by: CalGeorge | December 17, 2008 8:35 PM

    Obama’s choices for Ag (Mr. Monsanto Vilsack) and Interior (National Mining Association pal Salazar) are also very bad.

    Way to go, Barack.”
    ************
    How about Ray La Hood…Progressive Punch score of 13%…Even the worst Dem Gene Taylor,D-MS scores a 53%. If you want to get sick, read ‘ol Ray’s voting record a Progressive Punch.

  137. #137 donna
    December 17, 2008

    It opens the door for him to speak about being inclusive of all people in his speech. I am hoping it’s a sly move, really.

  138. #138 QrazyQat
    December 17, 2008

    This isn’t new; Obama had a homophobic ranter of a preacher opening for him at many of his primary appearances.

  139. #139 Everbleed
    December 17, 2008

    I told you so.

  140. #140 CW
    December 17, 2008

    As bad as the loss with Prop 8 was, at least we could take some comfort that Obama would be president.

    So having lost the battle to prevent the banning of gay marriage in California we should “take comfort” in the election of a president who also opposes gay marriage? You want to walk me through the comforting part of that one?

    Really, has eight years of Bush skewed things so far that people perceived Obama as some kind of liberal? If it makes you feel better to call him “center-right” go ahead, but it’s the “right” that you need to remember. He’s a right-wing Christian prez, don’t expect miracles.

  141. #141 Kel
    December 17, 2008

    He’s a right-wing Christian prez, don’t expect miracles.

    So he’s not a social Muslim?

  142. #142 gypsytag
    December 17, 2008

    #107
    I wonder how long before PZ thinks it’s ok to throw shoes at Obama?

    I think Obama will need to start an illegal war that kills 500,000 innocent people, 3000+ american soldiers, destroys our credibility and prestige in the world,
    have 2, count ‘em two cities destroyed on his watch, and preside over policies of greed and fear that creates the greatest redistribution of wealth from the poor and middle class to the wealthy, and finally destroys the economy creating the greatest mess since the great depression.

    then the shoe throwing, i would imagine, would be fair game.

    Did i miss anything, there was so much damage GWB did in 8 years it hard to keep track.

  143. #143 hyoid
    December 17, 2008

    The God you can believe in doesen’t exist either.

  144. #144 tomh
    December 17, 2008

    Nerd of Redhead wrote: I’m not sure on what the actual protocol is, but Obama is not President until after he is sworn in.

    Official or unofficial, Obama is head of the Democratic party and he can call the shots if he wants. I don’t think this means he’ll be a lousy president, I’m actually a big fan, I just think he doesn’t care much about this issue.

  145. #145 obamaFantasy
    December 17, 2008

    I have a fantasy, and it is that Obama is a closet atheist. He knows how to play the system and that’s what he’s doing.
    He’s just pandering to people cause that is what is required to get the job done. As Reagan said, being a politician is the second oldest profession, and it is very similar to the first. or something like that.
    And finally Obama after presiding over the best 8 years in the history of the USA, he will retire and announce that he has always been an atheist.
    It makes me horny just thinking about it.

  146. #146 Ichthyic
    December 17, 2008

    Obama is head of the Democratic party

    nope.

    that would be Howard Dean, Chairman of the DNC.

  147. #147 hyoid
    December 17, 2008

    Hey Ichthyic, if Neil deGrasse Tyson was playing? That, my friend (and I don’t know you all that well) is a very wonderful thought. If only it could be.

  148. #148 tomh
    December 17, 2008

    Ichthyic wrote:
    nope. that would be Howard Dean, Chairman of the DNC

    You missed the part where I said “Official or unofficial”?

  149. #149 Twin-Skies
    December 17, 2008

    The only experience I had of Warren was when my mom insisted I read a copy of Purpose-Driven Life. I was reading Go Rin no Sho and Jaques Dupuis’ writing at the time, which should imply how much contempt I developed for Warren’s drivel. Blech.

  150. #150 mandydax
    December 17, 2008

    I foresee an elaborate Rickroll.

  151. #151 Maria
    December 17, 2008

    I think the Kronos Quartet should deliver the invocation. Or Kraftwerk. Kraftwerk could give the coolest invocation ever, and all they’d need is four laptop computers.

  152. #152 Ichthyic
    December 17, 2008

    If only it could be.

    someday, maybe.

    You missed the part where I said “Official or unofficial”?

    doesn’t matter.

    Obama as President actually only has a voice in the DNC, just like any other member.

    The Chairman makes the final decisions.

    so, officially or unofficially, you’re wrong.

  153. #153 Chris P
    December 17, 2008

    Well I wrote my piece to the transition team.

    Go for it.

    Chris P

  154. #154 Nerd of Redhead
    December 17, 2008

    Tomh, you greatly overestimate the power of politicians where protocol and tradition is concerned. Things like the inauguration ceremony are scripted out well in advance. And if it takes place on the Capitol steps, who is really in charge? I suspect that the Senate and Congress have a huge say except for minor details like which book Obama will swear the oath on, and the content of his speech. IIRC, the President has to ask and receive permission to enter the House chamber in order to give his state of the union address. So the President, or President-elect, does not have total power in our society. In spite of what Cheney might think.

  155. #155 DLC
    December 17, 2008

    Of all the people to pick.
    Perhaps an alternative Inaugural party, with non-invocation by someone like Richard Dawkins ?

  156. #156 Jeeves
    December 17, 2008

    @Nerd of Redhead,

    “So the President, or President-elect, does not have total power in our society. In spite of what Cheney might think.”

    I think Cheney reserves that honor for himself. Remember, he said that the vice presidency is beyond the three branches of government, beyond indictment or prosecution. I think he thinks he’s a Highlander. Of course, after openly admitting to the authorization of water boarding (a war crime offense) on a major news network and the national response is largely crickets…Maybe he is.

  157. #157 JStein
    December 17, 2008

    @155 If we’re going to have a non-Innaugeration, then we need to have Hitchens give the non-address. After all, he’s American.

  158. #158 tomh
    December 17, 2008

    Obama as President actually only has a voice in the DNC, just like any other member. The Chairman makes the final decisions.

    That seems a bit naive. You do realize that new presidents typically install a close associate as the chairman of the party. When Dean steps down in January the next chairman will be chosen according to directives from Obama and aides, perhaps McCaskill from Missouri, co-chair of his campaign. Saying he has just a voice in the DNC just ignores political reality.

  159. #159 Ichthyic
    December 18, 2008

    You do realize that new presidents typically install a close associate as the chairman of the party

    you do realize you haven’t the slightest clue what you’re talking about?

    you might want to learn a bit more before spouting off again:

    http://www.democrats.org/a/party/aboutDNC.html

    just to cut to the chase, the position is an elected one, not an appointed one.

    yes, you too can learn about civics post high school.

  160. #160 Twin-Skies
    December 18, 2008

    @DLC

    I’d prefer Colbert. He is a devout Catholic after all – which solves the issue of Obama speaking out to the right-wngers, and certainly a helluva lot more popular than Warren.

  161. #161 Ichthyic
    December 18, 2008

    speaking of comedians as politicians… what’s the latest with Al Franken?

    I seem to recall something about a recount?

  162. #162 Bill Dauphin
    December 18, 2008

    Ichthyic (@161):

    Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight.com became my go-to site for politics during the election, and it’s remained so for runoffs, recounts, etc. Here’s the latest on the MN race. The outlook is (very cautiously) optimistic for Al.

  163. #163 Ichthyic
    December 18, 2008

    holy crap!

    thanks for the tip. that’s an excellent site.

  164. #164 Teleprompter
    December 18, 2008

    Folks, please read all the comments before posting!!

    Wow.

    Especially read comments #12, #56, #122, and #123.

    This wasn’t Obama’s decision.

    Relax.

    Wow, sometimes I wonder about people. Read the posts before commenting, before whipping yourselves up into a phony hysteria.

    Cue the concern trolls en masse…he’s not George W. Bush.

  165. #165 tomh
    December 18, 2008

    @ Ichthyic
    I didn’t mean to offend you, just trying to point out that politics is not quite as cut and dried as the regulations make it. For instance, here’s a
    typical story after Obama won the nomination, including,
    “In a situation like this, it is Obama’s prerogative to bring in the DNC chairman of his choice, no matter how high profile Howard Dean has been lately. But the news out of the Obama camp is that Dean will in fact be staying on as chairman.”

    Or a recent story on Dean stepping down, including,
    “In sheer political terms, the choice really wasn’t Dean’s to make. Indeed, any decision on who will serve as the next DNC chair will come with directives from Obama and his aides.”

    In 1999 Bill Clinton appointed Joe Andrew as DNC chairman, which is why it was
    big news when he switched from Hillary to Obama last May.

    It may not be written in the bylaws of the party, but it’s well known that the president is realistically the head of the party and controls who the party chairman is.

  166. #166 Ben
    December 18, 2008

    Settle down, folks. No need to resort to the “believers'” error of attributing motives without justification. It may very well be that “O” (a much better letter than “W”, don’t you think?) is applying the “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” strategy. By extending this kindness to Warren, he opens a dialog that goes both ways. Who can say that Obama won’t influence Warren’s world view in a rationalist-favorable direction and, by doing so, create a powerful new advocate for his policies in the evangelical community?

  167. #167 Ichthyic
    December 18, 2008

    I didn’t mean to offend you

    I’m not offended, I just come off that way.

    and no, the DNC is not controlled by the current president.

    bylaws are quite clear about this, regardless of how it might seem.

    surely you can figure out why?

    you’ve caught the fact that publicly, the democratic party would be seen strangely if it disagreed with the suggestion for chairman of the residing pres, but in reality, the DNC IS independent of whoever is president at the time, and WILL make decisions that occasionally are contrary to the wishes of the sitting president.

    it is an elected position, that’s a fact.

  168. #168 Rey Fox
    December 18, 2008

    Again I ask: What is an invocation? And why are we doing one at this presidential inauguration? It sounds terribly medieval to me.

  169. #169 Ichthyic
    December 18, 2008

    What is an invocation?

    a blessing, with all that entails.

    It sounds terribly medieval to me.

    me too, but then so does the pledge of allegiance.

  170. #170 tomh
    December 18, 2008

    it is an elected position, that’s a fact.

    Yes, of course, but in practice this line from the
    New York Times story about the DNC election after Bill Clinton’s first win describes it perfectly, at least in modern times. “Mr. Wilhelm, whose selection by Mr. Clinton must be formally endorsed by Democrats in a virtually preordained vote,”

    Enough examples, I’ll say no more.

  171. #171 Ichthyic
    December 18, 2008

    Enough examples, I’ll say no more.

    good, I suppose.

    thanks for missing my point, tom.

    and for not admitting you mischaracterized how the DNC works to begin with, and apparently continuing to do so even after you were twice pointed out to be incorrect.

    moving on.

  172. #172 tomh
    December 18, 2008

    While many here claim that Obama had no say in choosing Rick Warren, it’s interesting that the New York Times leads
    their story with, “Barack Obama has selected the Rev. Rick Warren, the evangelical pastor and author of “The Purpose Driven Life,” to deliver the invocation at his inauguration,” followed by, “Inauguration programs follow a traditional outline but also allow a president-elect to put his stamp on the proceedings and set the tone for his administration.”

    The idea that he didn’t personally select Warren is laughable. The Times describes it as an “olive branch to conservative Christian evangelicals.”

  173. #173 hje
    December 18, 2008

    Will that mean Obama won’t be sworn in using Jefferson’s copy of the Koran? ; )

    Or based on ex-SNL member Victoria Jackson’s pre-election rants, would Rick Warren be to Barack Obama, as Leon Fortunato is to Nicolae Carpathia? ; )

  174. #174 John C. Randolph
    December 18, 2008

    Obama’s choices for Ag (Mr. Monsanto Vilsack) and Interior (National Mining Association pal Salazar) are also very bad.

    Oh, he’s done worse than that: Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State, and Timothy Geithner (president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank) for treasury secretary.

    Warren at least isn’t going to have an ongoing role in the administration.

    -jcr

  175. #175 Simon Scott
    December 18, 2008

    Why not let Barack know how you feel?

    http://change.gov/page/content/contact/

  176. #176 Terry Small
    December 18, 2008

    Everyone, please take a moment to send a letter to Obama now to ask him to rescind the invitation to Warren. Several groups appear to be doing letter campaigns, and if you don’t have another group yet, consider Equality California.

    http://www.eqca.org/actioncenter

  177. #177 peter
    December 18, 2008

    Ichthyic @ 171
    you lost that one with bad grace.

  178. #178 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 18, 2008

    Will that mean Obama won’t be sworn in using Jefferson’s copy of the Koran? ; )

    very nice

  179. #179 Allen N
    December 18, 2008

    For those few still on this thread – looking back you know what many of the posts sound like? Something the fucking creotards would say/did say about Obama in general. Obama is a bright politician. If politics is the art of the possible, he appears to have that clearly in mind. The sky is not falling.

    “Laws are like sausages. It’s better to not see them being made.” There are going to be appointments and compromises that are going to piss us all off. I think this Warren twit is a sop to the right. Unlike Nancy Reagan’s astrologer, he most likely will not be helping formulate policy. It is a battle not worth fighting.

  180. #180 Brian Coughlan
    December 18, 2008

    Lets be realistic people. All politicians pander. The key question with respect to any act of pandering is : Does it have substantive real world consequences? This doesn’t. Other than maybe pacifying some fundies, and putting a major fundy leader squarely in Obama’s debt. This is all good.

    If he doesn’t shut down gitmo, fund stem cell research, withdraw from Iraq or overtly promote alternate energy, then we’ll have a complaint. He’s given firm undertakings on one, two and three, and recently delivered substantively on four.

    Chill. Obama is still “The One”. Just sneakier than you might have expected:-)

  181. #181 j.t.delaney
    December 18, 2008

    There are no shortage of religious leaders in this country, so why are they going with this guy? Secularists aren’t really going to go for any sort of invocation, but I think there would be a lot fewer complaints from the progressive base (you know, the folks who got him into office) if he had gone with an articulate Quaker or Unitarian. Oh well…

  182. #182 Will E.
    December 18, 2008

    I remember being pissed off when Billy Graham did the invocation for Clinton in ’96, so even though I loathe Rick Warren as well, I just have to remind myself, like others here, that this nation is a long way from truly being secular. If Obama wants to have this snake-oil salesman/witch doctor “bless” his inauguration, well, I have to hope it’s just for show and nothing more will come of it.

  183. #183 Bill Dauphin
    December 18, 2008

    To provide a bit of a counterpoint with a pick that’s actually consequential, it appears that Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D, CT-03) is one of two finalists for Secretary of Labor. Rosa’s not my congressperson (her district includes New Haven) and I haven’t studied her voting record in detail, but it’s clear she’s the polar opposite of a right-winger, and I can tell you that my most liberal liberal political friends all loooooooooove Rosa.

    Of course she’s not picked yet, but the fact that she’s apparently in the top two ought to put at least a momentary brake on the runaway “Obama’s secretly a right-wing nut” meme that been bugging me recently.

  184. #184 debaser71
    December 18, 2008

    Of course this pandering has real world consequences. It legitimizes people like Rick Warren. IMO these people need to be marginalized not legitimized.

  185. #185 dirk
    December 18, 2008

    Gawd, I’m tired of hearing from/about these people!

    They say marriage, abortion . . . etc is non-negotiable — who is negotiating??

    If they want to marry fine — if they don’t want to abort, fine — but they need to be (figuratively) punched in the nose until they stay the fu@k out of other people’s business.

    I grew up in the household of one of these people — most of them will never change. They are dogmatic, and know what is right for everybody else. They stretch my tolerance levels to their limits! They operate on the basic premise of . . . “I’m right, therefore I needn’t be honest”.

    To give them this level of prominence at Obama’s swearing-in is really disappointing. Instead, they should be marginalized into irrelevance.

  186. #186 pauly
    December 18, 2008

    Check out Rev. Rick’s knowledge of evolutionary theory:
    “If Darwin was right, which is survival of the fittest then homosexuality would be a recessive gene because it doesn’t reproduce and you would think that over thousands of years that homosexuality would work itself out of the gene pool.”

    Apparently recessive genes code for good things, and dominant for bad things.

  187. #187 Norman Doering
    December 18, 2008

    dirk wrote:

    Gawd, I’m tired of hearing from/about these people!

    That’s not going to make them go away.

    http://normdoering.blogspot.com/2008/12/is-obama-real-change.html

    It’s pretty silly to get upset about the idea of Rick Warren doing a few lines of prayer at Obama’s inauguration. Warren isn’t making policy or even giving a sermon. He’s just saying a prayer and then going to one of hundreds of inaugural parties. Sure, Warren is dead wrong on gay marriage. But a lot of voters in California agreed with him. A majority of Americans agree with him and many more states have made marriage equality unconstitutional than have ratified it.

    So Warren isn’t out of the mainstream. We are. It’s still not a sign that Obama agrees with Warren’s political positions, I doubt he does.

    You can’t get real change with a vote for a candidate. Real change comes when you change the minds of voters. And it doesn’t come by pissing on the people you disagree with — it begins by finding common ground.

  188. #188 dirk
    December 18, 2008

    Norman —

    While I agree with some of your comments — I don’t know if there is any common ground.

    Having lived in Europe and the UK and Canada (but primarily the US), I have to say that the US is where I most feel imposed upon by fundamentalists who want to rule my life . . . because they know better.

    If there is any common ground, it starts with people “allowing” other to believe what they want, and to not meddle with others who believe differently. The fundies meddle with other people because they know they are right, and their faith affirms it. I’d be interested to hear where your middle ground is in that equation!

  189. #189 Norman Doering
    December 18, 2008

    I’d be interested to hear where your middle ground is in that equation!

    Common ground, not middle ground.

    What we have in common with some fundagelicals:
    1) Disgust with George Bush’s policies. Their favored candidate tortured people and started an unnecessary war. An increasing number of people agreed and some were fundagelicals.
    2) … ahhh two… maybe I’ll come up with something eventually.

  190. #190 Dan
    December 18, 2008

    Well, as an outsider (in Canada), what I’m seeing from Obama is actually that he is trying to unify the USA. He choses people from both sides to work with him. It is not a bad thing. Of course, as an atheist, I would prefer all leading people to be atheist people with a sense for reality. Sadly, most americans are believers and Obama can’t go against that. He must include these people in his decisions.

    I actually thought that it was intelligent of him. He can’t just neglect them and do everything like we would want him to do. He most move slowly and bring those people to their sense to make them understand his future decisions (like maybe, authorizing stem cells research, etc.)

    But then, I could be wrong about him. Only future will tell…

  191. #191 Chris
    December 18, 2008

    If this crap keeps up until even I’m out of medical school, Italy or Canada is looking quite nice, no matter how much I loathe moving out of America.

  192. #192 Bill Dauphin
    December 18, 2008

    It legitimizes people like Rick Warren.

    Take a look at his book sales; he’s already legitimized in the eyes of tens of millions of Americans, whether we like it or not.

    Look at it from another generation: Warren’s presence on the program may get some fraction of that audience — which might not otherwise want anything to do with a “libruhl socialist Muslim” president — to tune in, giving Obama a chance to talk to them about the values that made us want to elect him in the first place.

    Did y’all not believe him when he talked about reaching out and unifying the country? You reach out to and unify with people who don’t already agree with you.

  193. #193 Norman Doering
    December 18, 2008

    Bill Dauphin wrote:

    Warren’s presence on the program may get some fraction of that audience — which might not otherwise want anything to do with a “libruhl socialist Muslim” president –

    Yes, and right now a lot more people are willing to listen to a “libruhl socialist Muslim” than they are to that now purely regional party of the non-thinking southerners who have declared war on any member of the working class that can afford a car and send a kid to college and who think democrats should be barred from communion:

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/behind-the-numbers/2008/12/trust_in_gop_reaches_record_lo.html

  194. #194 Bill Dauphin
    December 18, 2008

    Norman:

    I don’t think you meant to be disgreeing with me (but don’t hestitate to let me know if I misunderstood), but just to put a finer point on it… the fact that folks have stopped trusting the GOP doesn’t mean we (by which I mean liberals and Democrats) don’t have to work to affirmatively win their trust for our side and its agenda. Sometimes that might mean including people they trust in our public events, even when those people are not our people.

    Shorter me: There’s nothing about Rick Warren on the stage on 20 January 2009 that means Obama isn’t still the same Obama I voted for.

  195. #195 dahduh
    December 18, 2008

    So much for Obama’s political inerrancy. This poncing poser will detract far more the party than he can possibly add; there are surely more thoughtful candidates to reach out to.

    Obama’s one blind spot seems to be religion; it’s his only significant moral flaw. What else would lead him to say ‘marriage is a union between a man and a woman’, and overlook the inevitable harm? I wonder how long it will be before he wises up – oddly enough, I think he just might, eventually. He could write another memoir, and entitle it “My Long Walk to Freedom.”

  196. #196 Lynn
    December 18, 2008

    I read something in a magazine (I think Harpers) a few years ago about some religious right conspiracy to influence or take over the U.S. government. I think some guy lived with this group for some time. Can’t remember source. Anyway, perhaps Obama doesn’t want to make these guys angry and rile them. Perhaps his heart is in another direction, but he has to throw some tidbits to these guys.

    Does anyone here know anything about a conspiracy or a RR group that has influence/power in gov?

  197. #197 Norman Doering
    December 18, 2008

    Lynn wrote:

    I read something in a magazine (I think Harpers) a few years ago about some religious right conspiracy to influence or take over the U.S. government.

    Was it “Feeling the hate with the National Religious Broadcasters” By Chris Hedges?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Fascists:_The_Christian_Right_and_the_War_on_America

  198. #198 Lynn
    December 18, 2008

    Norman, no, it was about this actual institute/home in or near DC. They recruit up and coming RR Christians and prime them for public office. The younger ones have to serve the older ones. They have good contacts with the country’s RR politicos, who help them get into government or run for office.

    They got really angry with the guy who was there undercover, who wrote the story about them in some mainstream or leftist magazine.

  199. #199 Bill Dauphin
    December 18, 2008

    Re my earlier comments (@183) about Rosa DeLauro…

    <litella>Never mind!</litella>

    OTOH, Hilda Solis seems sufficiently progressive/liberal to prove my original point, and this means we Nutmeggers get to keep Rosa.

  200. #200 AtheistAcolyte
    December 18, 2008

    Of course this pandering has real world consequences. It legitimizes people like Rick Warren. IMO these people need to be marginalized not legitimized.

    You mean like how talking to our enemies legitimizes their regimes? Come on, folks, what do you think “compromise” and “post-partisan” means? Liberal rule? Progressive despotism? It means getting past these pointless Two Minute Hates on both sides and actually trying to find common ground to move forward on.

    Marginalizing people is not what this country is about.

  201. #201 Bill Dauphin
    December 18, 2008

    Obama has now addressed concerns around this issue. Key quote:

    “A couple of years ago I was invited to Rick Warren’s church to speak despite his awareness that I held views that were entirely contrary to his when it came to gay and lesbian rights, when it came to issues like abortion,” he said. “Nevertheless I had an opportunity to speak, and that dialogue I think is part of what my campaign’s been all about, that we’re not going to agree on every single issue, but what we have to do is to be able to create an atmosphere where we can disagree without being disagreeable, and then focus on those things that we hold in common as Americans.”

  202. #202 tomh
    December 18, 2008

    AtheistAcolyte wrote: Come on, folks, what do you think “compromise” and “post-partisan” means?

    We hear this “post-partisan” phrase a lot, implying that the past eight years have been filled with partisanship, but nothing could be further from the truth. The Democrats in Congress have supported the Bush agenda almost without exception, from funding his wars, allowing the Patriot Act, tax cuts for the wealthy, to probably the most harmful and long-lasting of his excesses, packing the appellate courts with right-wing idealogues, without a whimper of protest. The list goes on and on. When the Democrats had an opportunity to actually be a loyal opposition party, they just rolled over and let Bush run roughshod over them.

    So when I hear how we have to excuse this horrible Rick Warren decision, or just hope for the best with all these “centrist” cabinet appointees, all in the interest of unity, I have to laugh. We’ve had nothing but unity for the last eight years. Can we really take any more?

  203. #203 AtheistAcolyte
    December 18, 2008

    You’re advocating running roughshod over conservatives because they did the same to us. That’s called revenge, and it’s never good grounds for policy, IMHO.

    I’m willing to grow up and forgive those who fucked us over so that we can quickly and smartly un-fuck ourselves. GWB will face his court in history, as will everyone else. I don’t think division is the right way for these post-Bush years to be remembered. If you’re upset about the last 8 years (and not many would blame you), go scream into your pillow, or take a kickboxing class and work off your frustration in more constructive ways. Then come back to be a part of the solution, and not a part of perpetuating the problem.

    As for cabinet posts, left, center, right, I don’t care about their politics as long as they’re rational and can be counted on to implement the President’s decisions.

  204. #204 tomh
    December 18, 2008

    You’re advocating running roughshod over conservatives because they did the same to us.

    I’m not advocating anything of the sort. The Democrats are incapable of such a thing anyway. I’m saying that the idea that there has been this big partisan divide for the last eight years is a huge myth. As for Cabinet posts, I agree with you that we should wait and see how they play out. That being said, I think putting Warren center stage is an awful decision that could have easily been avoided.

  205. #205 AtheistAcolyte
    December 18, 2008

    Perhaps I misread you earlier. Apologies.

    I’m saying that the idea that there has been this big partisan divide for the last eight years is a huge myth.

    And I disagree. I’m saying there’s been this big partisan divide for the past fifty-plus years, with Republicans snubbing Democrats and Democrats snubbing Republicans with the ultimate result being that not much substantial gets done unless one side gathers just enough power to kick the other in the balls. The Congressional equivalent of “NO GURLZ ALLOWD” signs on both the clubhouses.

    Warren is a minor character in the political scene, and offering him a symbolic speech that will probably be forgotten within the week, if not the day (especially after Obama will assuredly pull out all the rhetorical stops in his inaugural address) shows he’s able to make nice with people who vehemently disagree with him and openly campaign against him. Left outrage on this is sorely misplaced, and accomplishes very little.

    In terms of strategy, ending the culture war (or bringing it to a very low boil) is the best way to enact real progress in this country at this point. This is a good tactic to defuse it. The Democrats have the ability to set the tone for the next 2 years, and they need to make the most of it.

    “Every once in a while, declare peace. It confuses the hell out of your enemy.”

  206. #206 tomh
    December 18, 2008

    In terms of strategy, ending the culture war (or bringing it to a very low boil) is the best way to enact real progress in this country at this point. This is a good tactic to defuse it.

    Well, honest folks can disagree. I don’t think that such a thing, (ending the culture war, or bringing it to a very low boil), is possible. Since virtually every position of the evangelical is non-negotiable, all the compromise comes from the other side. But, obviously, Obama’s no dummy. Maybe he can keep them at bay while he accomplishes other stuff.

  207. #207 Arnosium Upinarum
    December 18, 2008

    “Obama had a chance to set a non-sectarian, progressive tone at this event, and he has chosen to kow-tow to the wretched evangelical movement.”

    Yes. But wtf can he do without appearing alarmingly contrary? Especially the way it is now, with everybody’s nerves on a raw edge?

    The “event” – that “INVOCATION PART” which has to do with having some god-guy speak to throw in the counterfeit 2-cents pretending to make the occasion all proper and rosy and chipper with all those who still think a president is a king who needs to be ordained by such godly ministration – upon an occasion that has absolutely no friggin’ bearing or constitutional place is JUST another lousy tradition. That tradition is so friggin’ entrenched that he can’t do anything else without incurring the wrath of a huge population of lunatics that are still part of this country.

    It’s JUST a lousy tradition. Traditions can be changed, of course. But if you over-push it, at what cost?

    Picking a non-sectarian route? What was he going to do? Pick an atheist to deliver the invocation?

    Yeah, he “had a chance” to select somebody who was far less squirrely. He almost certainly fantasized about it. But there’s a CULTURAL INERTIA to overcome FIRST.

    Obama has been selecting cabinet positions for awhile now. The inevitable boo hoos over this or that choice from many in the liberal, or progressive, or democratic, or atheist, or gay, or whatever non-constipated ideological camp says much more about the most crucially important difference between the two: at least the constipated type knew how to form a unidimensionally robust consensus of support behind their leadership. The non-constipated side fragments into a sprayed pile of disconnected bits of feces every time…because they don’t even know how to talk to each other in order to form a common strategy based on a common set of interests. They just haven’t developed the knack…which is precisely why that valuable diversity is so vulnerable to the influence of any particular ideoligical group.

    It’s not that they don’t play poker well. They don’t even PLAY the poker. And think it lofty to disdain it. Here poker = politics.

    Yeah, Obama had to choose somebody in SOME “position” that could reassure a very large population of nitwits. The fact that he chose THIS particular guy in THAT “position” is strategically brilliant. It means nothing, keeps idiots from frothing overmuch at the mouth, and he even gets to tout the FACT that he has continued to open a “dialog” between the folks who elected him and those who are still smarting so hatefully that one wonders whether many of them are seeking to wreck it all. As he said all along he would. Remember: that “position” is a near-nothing. It’s just a show – a show that can very effectively soothe the bruised egos of many an evangelist, no matter how “wretched”, WITHOUT having put the country at any additional risk.

    So far, from what I’ve seen, that man is entirely cognizant of the hazards of instability.

    I don’t know whether the non-constipated sort are yet capable of unifying themselves in any meaningful way, or are able to reserve judgement or a conclusion unless they can appreciate a bigger, all-inclusive picture, but I do know this: if they keep looking at issues materializing out of some symbolic thin air rather than actual deed, they’re as imbecilic as the run-of-the-mill evangelistic yokel.

    Relax. Yes, we are citizens and therefore the putative agents of change. We’re supposed to be the people in charge, right? That pesky cultural inertia problem (= cumulative selection, etc) says it all. But if evolutionists know ANYTHING, it is that change BASICALLY occurs under the aegis of small steps. Or are we to accept the proposition that we all here are hopeful over a catastrophist turnover or even a miraculous one? Or is it maybe some here hold out a hope that the application of a kind of directed “punctuated equilbrium” can be induced in cultural evolution?

    But I suppose none of that will bring much consensual unity, will it?

  208. #208 Arnosium Upinarum
    December 18, 2008

    dahduh #195 says, “He could write another memoir, and entitle it “My Long Walk to Freedom.” ”

    Well, it IS a long walk! It often requires us to get up and CRAWL after frequently getting knocked down.

    You paste a fictitious “political inerrancy” label on Obama, call him a “poncing poser”, then declare that his “one blind spot seems to be religion; it’s his only significant moral flaw”.

    What the fuck do you want, a miracle from a messianic figure?

    IDIOT.

  209. #209 DrFish
    December 18, 2008

    I guess I need to reconsider dating some of those Log Cabin types I have rejected in the past. Their previously maddening statements about Democrats throwing us (gay Americans) under the bus first seem oddly prophetic after Prop 8 and Rick Warren. The thing that is worse to me is when I hear multiple hosts on Air America justify this as coalition building or slowing the swing of the political pendulum in this country and seem to be scold gay Americans for being too vocal about this.

    I have to give Obama credit for playing up the “Change We Need” message in such a way that everyone could project their own vision of change onto his candidacy without ever really knowing just how much their vision overlapped with his. I knew that he didn’t support federal laws on gay marriage (pro or con), but in every other issue of concern to the community he fell on my side. That is why it is so upsetting that he would choose Rick Warren to give the invocation, someone who not only clearly craves the position of “pastor to the country”, but used that position to vehemently oppose gay marriage at both the state and federal level. Surely there was some non-political religious figure that could have served this purpose, perhaps even a military chaplain or a group of figures from several religions.

    When you bring the view of Saddleback Church on evolution into the mix (the website’s author, presumably Rick Warren, claims to have known the science very well before reading the Bible, which convinced him that evolution is false), this move is a complete slap in my face from Mr. Obama, who appears willing to let our country continue dumbing down for the sake of political capitol. I guess its time to start applying for Canadian jobs again as opposed to only jobs in my home state, Massahcusetts, and Connecticut. I know that such statements sound like overblown hysteria to some people, but as a 30 year old gay man in my second postdoc (the first one in rural Oklahoma), I have come to the conclusion that it is worth it to me to walk away from a decade of schooling and hard work in order to be in a place where I can actually have a chance at a fulfilling personal life, maybe just teaching high school and never reading a journal or writing a grant application again. I had hoped that America would become such a place before I was too old to enjoy it, but time is running out and nothing since November 5th has made me feel particularly encouraged about the future.

  210. #210 dirk
    December 18, 2008

    OK — I have followed much of this thread from the beginning (I suppose I should get a life(!)), and I’m still convinced Obama is NOT doing the right thing.

    If he is going to invite a self-proclaimed bigot (Warren) to the party, is he going to also invite some racists/homophobes to speak? How about Tom DeLay (criminal, not bigot, I suppose!)? Louis Farrahkhan? Am I reaching too far here?

    In my opinion, inviting any of these people to speak is tacitly endorsing the bigotry that they represent. Trying to be inclusive feels good at some level, I suppose. But,next thing you know you’ll have James Dobson/Rick Warren demanding a say in, you know, things like judicial appointments. My advice (not that he asked for it) is to marginalize them now, and you won’t have to put up with them later. But I’m not a politician, so my calculus may differ.

  211. #211 _rs_
    December 19, 2008

    Actually, it might be a case of sweet and subtle revenge on Obama’s part. Warren had made it clear that he would not have voted for Obama, now he has to give him a congratulatory speech.

  212. #212 Jeeves
    December 19, 2008

    Yesterday I wrote that I would like to see someone like Garry Willis do the honors (if we’re keeping this to well known Christians) but I would like to add Cornel West. That would be something to watch.

  213. #213 tomh
    December 19, 2008

    Warren had made it clear that he would not have voted for Obama, now he has to give him a congratulatory speech.

    More likely a prayer that God shows him the light and sets him on the right path.

  214. #214 Bill Dauphin
    December 19, 2008

    Warren had made it clear that he would not have voted for Obama, now he has to give him a congratulatory speech.

    More like a brief prayer. Obama, on the other hand, has the opportunity to give a long and meaty speech laying out his vision for the country (which seems likely to include, for example, a gay Secretary of the Navy)… and because he’s thrown Warren a bone, the audience will include millions of purpose-driven Warrenheads, some of whom may actually be reachable or persuadable on at least some of the issues we care about.

    Nobody can change the country by talking only to the people who already agree with him. Jus’ sayin’…

  215. #215 Matt Heath
    December 19, 2008

    Come on, folks, what do you think “compromise” and “post-partisan” means?

    I know the answer to this, because Tony Blair did the “end of narrow party politics” things. It means a nominally left of centre leader will build a “big tent” government hat goes a long way to his right but contains as few people from the left as his party will let him get away with.

    They will then govern with the sole purpose of keeping centrist swing-voters happy, because if they piss off the left what are the left going to about it? All the while the right-wing press (and the republican PR machine) will be carefully working on shifting the Overton window so the “centre” is further to the right.

    After 8 years Obama will be enacting rightist policies that even Bush wouldn’t have dared try. Also, the difference between the parties will be so negligible that barely anyone will bother voting.

    That’s if he means the “post partisan” shit. Hopefully it’s just campaign talk.

  216. #216 Art
    December 19, 2008

    First, it isn’t going to be that bad. The guy gets two minutes to sound out a bland and generic ecumenical prayer.

    Second, Obama gets two payoffs:
    He throws the right a purely symbolic bone which throws them off balance, and, because Warren is not far enough right for half the Christian right, Obama gets to wear him and his flock like a raincoat. He in effect takes the moderate wing of the right hostage. If they want to come after him they have to advance over their own people.

    He weakens the right by shifting the break from left-right to far right-middle right. He feeds the conflict between Warren and the far right Christians. As long as the right is fighting with itself it can’t focus and organize against him and form up into the the infamous ‘vast right-wing conspiracy’ formation.

    A smart move.

  217. #217 John Morales
    December 19, 2008

    As an outsider, I’m more amused than anything else by this.

    Even D&D is more rigorous than this; an invocation and an evocation are different, though in this case the invocation is a benediction, apparently. Heh.

    It’s just ritual – pomp & circumstance. Nothing more.

  218. #218 bob
    December 19, 2008

    “He’s declared that those who do not believe in God should not be allowed to hold public office.”

    I think it should be “his” god. You’re giving the notion of a defacto American god more power when you don’t point it out. I think one of the best ways to undermine rhetoric about god is to say “which god?”.

  219. #219 Distal
    December 19, 2008

    Yikes. This is a problem? What about the universal noisy noise problem? All the underbrains should sit quietly for a while and let he overbrain relax.

  220. #220 Matt Heath
    December 19, 2008

    I know this thread is deadi-ish, but:
    Matt Nisbet approves of this choice. Thus, it must be wrong.

    Also check out that video; Nisbet is the worse public speaker ever. It’s a minute and a half and it’s to camera not from a lecture so he can rerecord and yet “errrrm…”

  221. #221 Nick Gotts
    December 19, 2008

    According to today’s Guardian, Obama defended his selection of Warren at a Chicago press conference yesterday, saying he wanted the inauguration to reflect the diversity of the US and include people he disagreed with. So why not the Rev. Jeremiah Wright?

    Obama included this fine lie in his defence:
    “It is no secret that I am a fierce advocate for equality for gay and lesbian Americans”.

  222. #222 SC, OM
    December 19, 2008

    I’m putting you on notice, Matt Heath. I’m violently ill, can’t stop the nausea, and you send me there?

    Nisbet:

    …Obama understands the importance of focusing on commonly shared goals and values, in the process reaching out to unconventional allies to frame issues in a way that connect to the worldviews of hard to reach audiences. The latest example is the choice of Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at Obama’s inauguration.

    Back during the Expelled flap, he was emailing people whose remarks he didn’t like to, I don’t know, scold them and tell them he found their comments unacceptable. After hearing this, there was no way I would ever comment on his site. Seriously creepy. I’m surprised Sb even allows it.

  223. #223 Sven DiMilo
    December 19, 2008

    *shrug*
    The guy’s just the celebrity preacher du jour.
    Obama sez forthrightly that he doesn’t see eye to eye with Warren on important issues x, y and z.
    I can certainly understand why, if issue x, y, or z is the single most important issue to you, you would interpret this choice as a slap in the face.
    But I agree with others above that it’s a calculated strategic PR move, completely inconsequential in the long run. Two minutes of blah-blah godbotting and we all move forward.

  224. #224 Sven DiMilo
    December 19, 2008

    I’ll just add that, like Chris Clarke, I’m far more concerned about Obama’s choice for Interior Sec.

  225. #225 tomh
    December 19, 2008

    I’ll just add that, like Chris Clarke, I’m far more concerned about Obama’s choice for Interior Sec.

    To me this has been his most puzzling choice yet. Politically, it removes a Dem Senator, and even though the Colo gov’r will appoint a Dem, there is no guarantee that the person appointed will win the next election in 2010, whereas Salazar apparently would have been easily reelected. That seems like too big of a risk when there was another Hispanic, Grijalva, available.

    About all I can see is that he and Obama came to the Senate together in 2004 and live in the same apt building, so maybe Obama picked him because they are friends. Every other explanation makes even less sense.

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