Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday Sermon: Donuts and Water

The big controversy over Barack Obama's choice of Evangelicanl megachurch pastor Rick Warren has pretty much any sensible liberal pissed off. Obama snubbed the gay voters that helped him get elected to pay off a religious fundamentalist who's gotten flack from his far rightwing followerers as well. As lesbian TV commentator Rachel Maddow said, "It's a lose-lose situation."

Warren's church actively seeks to "convert" gays, and doesn't let out gays even be members. He's compared gays to bestiality and incest. Yet he considers himself a nice guy. After all, he bragged in one interview, he gave Proposition 8 protestors "donuts and water."

And although every LGBT "leader" and organization has vocally expressed outrage and disapointment, I'd rather quote from another religious leader, it being Sunday and all, from a faith that doesn't adhere to Warren's ideology.

Presbyterian Bishop John Bryson Chane had this to say:

I am profoundly disappointed by President-elect Barack Obama’s decision to invite Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church to offer the invocation at his inauguration. The president-elect has bestowed a great honor on a man whose recent comments suggest he is both homophobic, xenophobic, and willing to use the machinery of the state to enforce his prejudices—even going so far as to support the assassination of foreign leaders.

In his home state of California, Mr. Warren’s campaigned aggressively to deny gay and lesbian couples equal rights under the law, relying on arguments that are both morally offensive and theologically crude. Christian leaders differ passionately with one another over the morality of same-sex relationships, but only the most extreme liken the loving, lifelong partnerships of their fellow citizens to incest and pedophilia, as Mr. Warren has done. The president-elect’s willingness to associate himself with a man who espouses these views as a means of reaching out to religious conservatives suggests a willingness to use the aspirations of gay and lesbian Americans as bargaining chips, and I find this deeply troubling.

Mr. Warren has been rightly praised for his efforts to deepen the engagement of evangelical Christians with impoverished Africans. He has been justifiably lauded for putting the AIDS epidemic and global warming on the political agenda of the Christian right. Yet extravagant compassion toward some of God’s people does not justify the repression of others. Jesus came to save all of humankind, and as Archbishop Desmond Tutu has pointed out, “All means all.” But rather than embrace the wisdom of Archbishop Tutu, Mr. Warren has allied himself with men such as Archbishop Henry Orombi of Uganda who seek to “purify” the Anglican Communion, of which my Church is a member, by driving out gay and lesbian Christians and their supporters.

....But in honoring Mr. Warren, the president-elect confers legitimacy on attitudes that are deeply contrary to the all-inclusive love of God. He is courting the powerful at the expense of the marginalized, and in doing so, he stands the Gospel on its head.

More at the LINK.

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