An Open Letter to Barack Obama (Rick Warren)

The following letter was sent to Barack Obama, and has been sent to my local newspaper. If we all wrote letters to the President-Elect, and sent them to our local papers, maybe visibility of this issue would pass some threshold inside the transition and help get Rick Warren booted off of the Inauguration platform.

Dear Mr. President-Elect:

Please reconsider asking Rick Warren to give the invocation at your inauguration. you’ve made a mistake. It makes no sense to assert you are fiercely for gay and lesbian rights, only to invite a man to represent Americans of faith at your inauguration who refuses to allow gays and lesbians in his church! He considers gays to be equal to pedophiles and those who commit incest. The charter of his church excludes gays from joining. This is wrong. It’s not true Christianity, and it surely isn’t what America should be about, either.

I’m glad you preach tolerance and respect for conflicting points of view, and promise to be President of all Americans, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore basic intolerance so virulent that it demands gays must deny who they are to be accepted in America. That’s what Rick Warren preaches, and he wants us all to be converted to that view.

It’s really beginning to look to me like you really don’t “fiercely” support gay rights. If you did, you would quit inviting people into your campaign that fiercely oppose gay rights, like Ronnie McClurkin, and now this. Asking Rick Warren to give the invocation is not a demonstration of your tolerance. It is an unwitting signal to the whole world of American intolerance.

You often invoke Harry Truman’s famous saying, “The Buck Stops Here.”  Well, when you asked Rick Warren to be the most visible symbol of American religious faith in front of the whole world at the beginning of your Presidency, you failed to notice the “buck” representing American intolerance had landed on your desk. You allowed it to slip onto the floor, where it remains unstopped and trampled underfoot, giving the wrong impression of what your Presidency and our country actually represent.

By all means ask Rick Warren to help your administration deal with the issues of poverty and AIDS, and come to agreements on other roles for the faith community that will improve the quality of peoples’ lives here and abroad. But, please, do not allow a man of complete intolerance to represent American faith in front of the world at the dawn of what should be a new day.

You are right. There is no Red America nor Blue America, but there is, unfortunately, a bigoted, intolerant America and an ideal America that embraces everyone as equal before the law and before God. Please find a religious leader to represent that better, more hopeful, more decent America at your inauguration.

The world is watching.

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  • This is cross-posted from Daily Kos

    Forgot to put that in the text….

    • thanks for the cross-post

      I fully agree with your sentiment.

      My sense is that Obama is unwilling to change course once he has made and announced a decision. Pressure from the left only seems to work (occasionally) if a rumor about Obama’s plans is leaked without being officially announced.

      Chris Bowers wrote a good piece on this not long ago:…

      This one on how progressives can hold elected Democrats accountable is also good:…

      Apparently Atrios has suggested that those attending the inauguration turn their backs as a sign of protest while Warren is speaking. I don’t think that would be very effective–seems like that would make Warren into the martyr to “intolerant” Democrats.