Obama’s first big screwup


Everyone is bitching about Barack Obama’s ill-advised choice to ask pop-pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration. I agree. Bad move, bad choice, total pandering. Warren talks a moderate game, but his views are not basically less conservative than the more blustery evangelicals out there. Warren’s support of Proposition 8 (aka Proposition H8) in California last month sends a message to the gay community that this supposedly liberal new president may not necessarily be as friendly to their concerns as one might think.

I know that Obama and Warren likely don’t see eye to eye on every single issue, and gay rights may be one of those issues. But you know, the company you keep says a lot about you. You’d think Obama might have learned a lesson about dubious religious affiliations earlier this year, what with all the flap about Wright. But maybe not. This could just be show business and not an indicator of how Obama’s first term will play out in the big picture. But…it does seem as if Obama will bear watching. We shouldn’t take him for granted, as many of his supporters have done, as some great progressive “messiah” who will usher in a new golden age in America, not just yet.

Comments

  1. says

    He should always have been watched in my opinion, even if for signs of greatness. No one is perfect, not even Supreme Emperor Obamadeus. I hope he’ll do alright nonetheless.

  2. Martin says

    On its own I consider this a minor thing. I just hope it isn’t going to indicate the beginnings of a pattern. Must be hard being president, trying to please most of the people all of the time. Still I’m sure there are any number of “liberal” pastors he could have chosen for his invocation (not that I think he should even have an invocation), without such an outspoken and embarrassing anti-gay viewpoint, directly in opposition to the tolerant views of so many who voted for him. Warren was chosen simply for his celebrity, without care for the kind of guy they were really getting.

  3. says

    Amazing how intolerant America has become. When the republicans were in, you either believed in the war and the necessity of patriot act or you were simply unamerican. Here we have the liberal left deciding on what religious views are appropriate despite the fact that this pastor is well known and author of one of the best selling books at all times. Liberals are showing the hypocrisy and non inclusiveness republicans have shown for the past eight years.

  4. says

    How dare this Warren fellow have an opinion that not everyone shares. Thank goodness CNN made this the top story. All you wankers who have nothing better to do than look at an invocation appointment, scout out a divergent opinion of the selectee, and link it to the beginning of Obama’s descent, well “Kudos.” We need people to keep the collective eye on what really matters – a lack of uniformity. I’m simply outraged. I hope you are too. Then we’d be the same. Outrage and out.

  5. says

    Maybe the lesson he learned about dubious religious affiliations is that he’d better pander to the ones who represent mainstream Christians… and as sad as it is, that person happens to be Rick Warren. I find it interesting that all throughout the campaign, and even now, there is such an abundance of rhetoric equating Obama’s supporters with naïve, doe-eyed lemmings who see him as a “messiah”. Funny, because the only people I’ve EVER heard refer to him in those terms are his opponents…… No, Obama certainly is not perfect. He will make many mistakes. And there are quite a few of us supporters out there who are keeping an eagle eye on the choices he makes that really matter. Frankly, who is chosen to give the inaugural invocation isn’t one of them. As an atheist, I would prefer to have a president who doesn’t pander to ANY religious leader. There is no constitutional mandate for any invocation to be given at all. The fact that Rick Warren was chosen to give it doesn’t surprise me in the least.

  6. says

    I disagree. I don't know why this is an issue. I'm gay & Buddhist. I wouldn't have been represented during the prayer anyhow, so why should I care who he picks to pray? It has absolutely nothing to do with his position or policies.Do people really expect me to believe that because Rick Warren is saying a prayer at the inauguration, that all of a sudden Obama is going to be pro-life and not repeal Don't Ask; Don't Tell?If picking Rick Warren pleases million of Americans that like him, and forms alliances, regardless of how flimsy, I'm okay with that. It'll provide Obama some cushion when he pushes policies they don't agree with.It's called pragmatism people. Get used to it.

  7. says

    Many conservatives were upset with Obama for saying this is not a Christian nation, but a nation with Christians in it along side of others. Now liberals seem to be upset that he is saying this is not a gay or athiest nation, but a nation of diversity. Bush promised to cross the asle, but then didn’t follow through on his promise. Obama is at least reaching across the asle to those that he feels he might be able to work with. When I was a young philosophy major my professors warned me that people who sit in the middle of the road get hit from those going both directions. Perhaps Obama hasn’t sold out. Perhaps he will be a president of depth that becomes respected and attacked from both sides. Only time will tell. It only seems reasonable that if one asks conservatives to treat liberals as intelligent people with a right to exist, one must ask the same of liberals. Obama may be more concerned with healing a nation that winning a victory for his party.

  8. says

    @jrkirkhamThere are a couple rather important distinctions between conservatives respecting liberals as a legitimate viewpoint and the opposite equivalent. First, liberalism actually is a legitimate viewpoint whereas the majority of “conservatives” are merely religious bigots(the quotes are important in this context, actual conservative governmental policies are a legitimate, though I feel wrong, stance). Second, liberals, despite being the majority in this country, are still treated as if that category is something of which to be ashamed. Conservatives do not respect liberals as having a legitimate disagreement, they attack them as anti-american. While I think this is most probably just Obama trying to shore up some early support so that he can proceed with his policies with a little bit less vitriol from the right, it is still a scary bit of pandering to a hate-monger.

  9. says

    I’m happy I saw this because it gave me a chance to bring up something….Obama as “messiah”. Jennifer’s post seems about in line with what I have noticed. She said “Funny, because the only people I’ve EVER heard refer to him in those terms are his opponents”.It was perfectly clear to me anyways he did convey an image however, which was most obvious in the inflection of his voice when he spoke. Come on, who did he sound like…Martin Luther King. Anyways, I’m white and that he conveyed that image did not disturb me in the least. In fact it helped to solidify my belief that the case for me in this election was not a choice of the lesser of two evils, but rather there was a really great candidate in place.Now regarding the choice to have Pastor Rick Warren deliver an invocation at the ceremony, I can’t say that it thrills me. I mean what is the purpose, is it just tradition honoring tradition, or then what other purpose does it have? Is Pastor Warren in this situation to be representative of a secular well wisher? Really, what is the necessity of his participation in the ceremony? Could this concern of mine make me angry…possibly. Does that make me an angry person, of course not. Assuming it does is nothing more than rhetorical slander.

  10. says

    J. K. Jones, why would you feel left out if Pastor Rick Warren wasn’t part of the ceremony?Doesn’t this mean that by choosing him and not others muslims, jews, buddhists, etc. are left out?

  11. says

    Ai Deng,I said that I felt he reached out to me, not that he snuffed others. You have restated my comment in the negative.Almost all of my political views were rejected by Obama’s platform. I feel that this is at least a token outreach.Also, having a minister from your own religion give an invocation at your own inauguration is not a snub on anyone else. You do not give away any right to express your own religious views just because you assume public office. The First Amendment guarantees that, when rightly interpreted.

  12. says

    J. K. Jones,You said that you were glad he picked Warren, and it made you felt not left out. The statement seems to clearly imply had he not been chosen, you would have felt left out. Now, I am saying that if that is the case, and were the case for all individuals of all religions (or non religions), then if those beliefs are not represented as well, that person has been “left out”. I make this interpretation of your statement not for the purpose of being negative, but for the purpose of pointing out an inequality, which I hope serves to open minds.Now of religious views in office, I wonder how you would feel if it was a muslim in office and a cleric was giving an invocation. Would you so strongly defend this invoking the 1st Amendment?I never said you give away you right to express your religious views because you assume office. However, I do say that no one has the right to use the government as a platform to express/promote those views.

  13. says

    I feel so schizophrenic about Obama of late. I have a shirt that sums it up- Dare to Hope, Prepare for Disappointment.And J.K. Jones, surely there are other, better representatives from your faith that Obama could have picked to be more inclusive. Warren is a pretty hateful man.

  14. says

    Fast-growing comments thread is fast-growing.I couldn’t care less what Rick Warren believes so long as he doesn’t try to push those beliefs on other folk. Does he? I don’t know, I’d never heard his name until I read this blog post. A quick google tells me he’s enormously successful and influential and has a book out that sold a lot of copies. It doesn’t say that he advocates anti-gay thingos in his book though so I can give him some benefit of the doubt.JK Jones your continuing dedication to honest conversation is quite heartening to me. Unfortunately I must say that most of the time when you post, I disagree vehemently. (Not here though, elsewhere).However, like I said, I’m glad for your positive outlook and viewpoint towards posting. Insert famous Voltaire quote here.

  15. says

    -C,From what I have read, there are many far worse individuals that could have been chosen rather than Rick Warren. The big problem, and I was also unaware of this up until today, was that Rick Warren supported Prop 8. As a result, a large group of Obama’s supporters are understandably upset.Also, this was the pastor that hosted the debate between Obama and McCain at his church earlier this year.

  16. says

    It’s not like Warren was appointed to run the OFBCI. He was simply given a single day’s worth of ceremonial pomp. Regardless if we agree or disagree with Warren himself, the real issue is what this use of Warren communicates. Clearly Obama is using it as a ceremonial outreach to the religious right to say he is not going to exclude them simply based on his own personal conflicts with their ideology. One of the Bush Administration’s biggest failings was their extreme ostracizing of political opponents. Such a behavior is a sign of short term thinking without understanding long-term needs. Personally (as an atheist and a liberal) I think the use of a political and religious opponent in this ceremonial role to be quite ideal. To use anyone else would be to throw away an opportunity even if it is only a very small opportunity. It simultaneously presents the olive branch to the far right without giving them any foot hold. To me, this hints to Obama’s ability to utilize even the finest of political details to his advantage. It is refreshing, after a decades of either intellectual or political bankruptcy (or both in the case of our current administration), that this country has finally elected someone to the highest office that is showing early signs of having both qualities in abundance. I think it is a bit premature to label this use of Warren as a screw-up. It may pay off in political influence far greater than it hurts in terms of social messages.

  17. says

    Funny thing is, Warren loses a lot of kudo points from my side of the aisle for doing stuff like this too. Not that he had a ton of credibility before, but…

  18. Martin says

    I’ve never indicated that Obama (or any president) should only share the stage with people whose views are in lockstep with his own. But when you choose a high-profile celebrity like Warren, it would be wise to consider various things. Such as: has he been invited solely due to his celebrity status? And if so, isn’t that mere pandering? On the other hand, if celebrity wasn’t a consideration, what was? And why not then choose a minister or pastor who does not have a history of opposition to marriage equality and other gay rights issues, particularly when so many of the people who voted for you support the rights Warren opposes?Certainly this is a one-time event, and most likely not an indicator of how Obama’s policies vis-a-vis religion in public life will be played out throughout his term.But then, the inauguration is the kind of one-time event that just happens to be frickin’ HUGE. And, well, you know, appearances and all…

  19. says

    Initially, I must say I was pretty disappointed by his pick of Warren, however, after reading some of the comments here, particularly DagoRed’s, I can certainly see the utility of it. The example of an olive branch while giving no foothold is an excellent point. I have been concerned by Obama’s devoutness from the beginning. If you are going to have one (and he has to, folks, unfortunately), why not really throw a bone to the religious? While I do not approve of Rick Warren, perhaps its a good example of political capitalism; buying influence on the cheap and selling it back for a profit.I am by no means solidified in this position, which is predominantly why I chose to post it; Martin, what do you think of this line of reasoning?

  20. Martin says

    Yazbec: Only that I had hopes Obama is going to be the kind of president above the old practice of “buying influence on the cheap and selling it back at a profit.”It’s been noted that another pastor, the far more tolerant Rev. Joseph Lowery, will be delivering the benediction at the inauguration. Don’t see why he couldn’t have been chosen for the invocation as well. I just can’t see a reason for Warren’s presence other than his celebrity status. Again, it’s just strange bedfellows: a progressive president and an anti-gay, anti-reproductive-rights pastor? Does not compute…bzzt…As Rhology has noted, if Warren’s a sop to the religious right, someone on Obama’s staff failed to note how much they hate him too. Search for articles on Warren over at the Christian Worldview Network, and enjoy the rants over his watered-down, touchy-feely Christianity Lite. That goes over with the wailing-and-gnashing-of-teeth crowd about as well as Clay Aiken opening for Metallica.

  21. says

    That goes over with the wailing-and-gnashing-of-teeth crowd about as well as Clay Aiken opening for Metallica.I think I would pay to see that! The first concert I ever saw was Judas Priest at Nassau Coliseum in 1986. Dokken opened for them and I remember people were firing bottlerockets at them. I can’t imagine what they would do to poor Clay Aiken.

  22. FrodoSaves says

    The weird thing is that screw ups generally come because politicians blunder into something without thinking about one or two significant angles, but this seems different. Warren wasn’t an obvious choice, so it makes it seem like a calculated more.

  23. Martin says

    Tommy: A nightmare to leave you with tonight…Clay Aiken and Rob Halford dueting on a metal cover of “Up Where We Belong”.

  24. says

    Ai Deng,Yes, I would support a Muslim’s first ammendment right to pick an Imam to pray. Further, I would have more respect for that person than I would for an Evangelical who prayed a non-sectarian prayer which left out the name of Christ. You would find many Baptists like me throughout history who would support such.No one has the right to force their religious opinions on other (here I speak on matters of faith, not matters of ethics). But no one has the right to take away a public person’s right to speak as he wishes. Speaking in public is not forcing religion on someone. Holding a gun to their head and forcing them to convert or die is.

  25. says

    -C,Thanks for your comment. I greatly enjoy frank discussion, and I have benefited greatly from discussions here and elsewhere.spajadigit,Warren is not hateful just because he takes a particular stand on certain ethical issues. His church’s work worldwide and with those dying with AIDS are examples. Further, he has a first-amendment right to express those ethical opinions and argue for them. You can argue against him; that is your right as well. But you should argue the ethical issue, not call him names (hateful, etc.).There are religious matters in which I disagree with Warren, and I have discussed those issues elsewhere.Would I have picked someone different? Yes, but I am not elected to public office.

  26. says

    JK Jones wrote, “Warren is not hateful just because he takes a particular stand on certain ethical issues.”Ummm, sorry, wrong. Major Logical Fallacy Alert. That is precisely why he (and many Christians) are rightfully considered hateful. Our moral character cannot be judged as a zero-sum game! Simply because you know of examples where Warren’s acts were not hateful, or may have even beneficial, does not excuse Warren (or any Christian) from the hateful ideas that he both supports and preaches. A priest who molests children is not excused from this horrible act simply because he did such great things for the poor in the community. I realize that such moral reductionist thought is perhaps fundamental to the Christian belief system (Jesus absolving me and you for our sins, for example) but it does not make such thinking either right or moral. The rightful question here is whether Rick Warren can be considered a good person who has committed some hateful acts, or is he rotten to the core and rightfully a mostly hateful person. Either way, Warren has been and continues to be undeniably hateful in his stances against homosexual marriage.

  27. says

    Hateful towards whom? Even when he explicitly says he DOESN’T hate homosexuals, he’s hateful?It couldn’t just be that he disagrees with same sex marriage for other reasons besides hatred?You’re quite a bigot yourself, my friend.

  28. Martin says

    Rhology, a lot of homophobes claim not to hate homosexuals. Just like alcoholics claim not to have a drinking problem. And just like you often hear racists say “some of my best friends are black!” Just because people like to wear a smiling face when spewing ignorant and hateful views doesn’t mean they’re not hateful.Warren has been supportive of the bogus “ex-gay” movement, which tries to promote the idea that gay people can be “cured” through some kind of 12-step program, which is, of course, just as ridiculous as suggesting heterosexuals can be similarly “cured.”

  29. says

    Hateful towards whom? Even when he explicitly says he DOESN’T hate homosexuals, he’s hateful? This is a case of actions speaking louder than words. How can someone fight vehemently to take away a civil liberty from an entire group of people, without a justifiable objective cause, without also implying a certain level of personal disdain, or bigotry, for that group? Provide a viable objective reason why same sex marriage is wrong while marriage between men and women remains correct and I will happily recant.It couldn’t just be that he disagrees with same sex marriage for other reasons besides hatred? Sometimes to disagree is synonymous with being a bigot. I am all ears — how can someone “disagree” with allowing a group to retain their civil liberties, without being called a bigot?You’re quite a bigot yourself, my friend. Bigotry means intolerance, not critical analysis for a particular philosophical view. You mistakenly conflate my legitimate criticism of the Christian faith with your own (incorrect) inference that I am also intolerant of Christians themselves. I suggest you learn a little bit more about what I think before lobbing the “B” bomb at me.

  30. says

    Rick Warren is a complete homophobe, but he, and the millions of people like him, are still Americans and I think it’s insane when I hear LGBT people (of all people) who think that the Right should be shut out in any way, when we know how it feels to be ignored. People aren’t going to agree with us, or like us, but guess what? We aren’t going away and THEY aren’t going away. So we need to learn how to come together on issues where we can and build from there.Ignoring people we don’t agree with, for whatever reason, is the same as using Bush’s foreign policy: Ignore everyone until they agree with us. It doesn’t work.

  31. says

    Oh, so even though they might SAY they don’t hate homosexuals, you know better. Apparently you can read minds. Pretty cool super mutant ability.And just like you often hear racists say “some of my best friends are black!”And some non-racists say that too. But thanks to your special mind-reading WonderTwin powers, you can get around that nuisance obstacle that afflicts everyone else.the bogus “ex-gay” movementHere you show your assumptive commitment to the idea that it’s bogus. Many people have been changed by stuff like that, but nnnnoooo, to you it just can’t happen. I thought you were all about evidence here. Apparently not when it countermands your preconceived notions.DagoRed said:This is a case of actions speaking louder than words.When I said “for other reasons”, this is what I meant. Warren believes that homosexuality is a sinful *and destructive* lifestyle, and loves homosexuals enough to ask them to consider leaving the destructive lifestyle behind. And he’s caught flak for it, but he still does it. Trying to help people in the face of being pushed back on is a sign of sacrificial love.How can someone fight vehemently to take away a civil libertyIt’s neither a civil liberty nor a right.Besides, even if it were a civil liberty, the law is now changed, so I suppose your argument is gonna change, right? Now that the law is different, YOU’RE now in favor of violating civil liberties. Provide a viable objective reason why same sex marriage is wrong Done and done.Sometimes to disagree is synonymous with being a bigot.You disagree with me. You are a bigot….Now, how empty and worthless is this epithet?Seriously, you should learn to save it for when it’s really true. Bigotry means intolerance, not critical analysis for a particular philosophical view.You’re being pretty intolerant of Warren’s position. I guess you’re a bigot.Again, it’s empty.I suggest you learn a little bit more about what I think before lobbing the “B” bomb at me.Hahahaha. Pot, kettle.

  32. says

    Rhology, If you care to try again — and respond to the words and ideas I expressed, rather than taunting me with your own slothful misguided inferences, I will reconsider engaging you further in this discussion. Otherwise, I do not wish to waste my time talking with someone who responds in such an insecure and childish manner, exemplified by you herein.

  33. Martin says

    Oh, so even though they might SAY they don’t hate homosexuals, you know better. Apparently you can read minds. Pretty cool super mutant ability.You don’t need superpowers to understand common human behaviors like dishonesty, hypocrisy, denial and self-righteousness. Seeing as how commonplace they are. Here you show your assumptive commitment to the idea that it’s bogus.Maybe, but I’d rather have that kind of assumptive commitment than one that told me gay people were evil hellbound sinners who needed my righteous intervention to save them from themselves.Many people have been changed by stuff like that, but nnnnoooo, to you it just can’t happen.Not just according to me, but to pretty much the entire community of mental health professionals and the American Psychiatric Association. The “ex-gay” movement merely exploits people wracked with feelings of fear and guilt about discovering their homosexuality, and uses that to peddle religion. Pretty sleazy, really, especially as many of the folks leading the movement seem truly convinced that there’s a “disease” there to “cure,” and are sincerely deluded that they’re doing what’s right. That’s what’s really contemptible about the whole charade: it makes good people do bad things thinking they’re doing good things. Considering how frought with controversies and the embarrassment of supposedly “cured” “ex-gays” (like John Paulk) very publicly falling off the wagon, it seems to me that the whole charade is about Christian wishful thinking and self-validation, more than anything else. Of course, perhaps your mutant superpowers of perception are better than mine on this regard.

  34. says

    I look at Rhology, then I look at everyone else in the thread (excluding Tommy, what a insufferable arrogant wad) and I see the superiority coming off in waves from him rather than others. Even JK, who I have said I disagree with on various points, all the time, frames his commenture in a way that I find respectful. I disagree with him, so I think his commenture is also mistaken and misguided, but I don’t call him a bigot or imply that he’s an idiot through the use of language like ‘nice cool super mutant powers you have there.’I glean two things from the way you talk (type):1. You have little to no interest in actually engaging in debate.1.5. because you’re convinced your position is right and won’t back down for anything2. You come off as way more condescending and stubborn than anyone else here.If you were genuinely trying to make a point, you would back off from techniques like ad hom and attempt to examine your arguments for holes before repeating them. Constantly holding the mindset that you could be wrong, and retaining the criteria of ‘wrongness’ or ‘rightness’ as the available evidence from both sides is crucial to advancement of discussion. Two walls don’t go anywhere.

  35. says

    I look at Rhology, then I look at everyone else in the thread (excluding Tommy, what a insufferable arrogant wad)‘scuse me? My lone contribution to this thread until now has been:I think I would pay to see that! The first concert I ever saw was Judas Priest at Nassau Coliseum in 1986. Dokken opened for them and I remember people were firing bottlerockets at them. I can’t imagine what they would do to poor Clay Aiken.Maybe it’s just me, but those comments aren’t exactly oozing arrogance, unless of course you are just being facetious.If I rub you the wrong way, I’m certainly sorry about that. But hey, we can’t please everybody, right?

  36. says

    The “ex-gay” movement merely exploits people wracked with feelings of fear and guilt about discovering their homosexuality, and uses that to peddle religion.And I wonder if there is any data on which gays are more likely to buy into this stuff. Gays who are in stable, longterm relations, earn a decent income, have their own house and so forth, are probably going to be like “Cure me of what? How about curing all of those straight people in revolving door hetero marriages?”And -C, I apologize in advance if you find the comments above to be arrogant and insufferable.

  37. says

    -c,All very fine points, many of which also occurred to me. Rhology makes me wonder if it has been so long since I was a Christian that even a moderate amount of humility (or civility) has become passé among the faithful.

  38. says

    Rhology makes me wonder if it has been so long since I was a Christian that even a moderate amount of humility (or civility) has become passé among the faithful.The thing about Rhology is to just not take him so seriously. I have to admit I used to get pissed off at him, but I realized it’s not worth it. It was wrong of me and I regret it.Now, I just see him for what he is, an obviously bright guy who embraced the religious views that he has because something happened to him that made him believe that it was necessary in order to turn himself around. Does he come off as rude and arrogant? Yes, sometimes he does.But if he wants to believe that we are going to burn in hell when we die or that we have no basis for condemning child abuse because we are atheists, why the heck should any of us really care? It doesn’t stop us from going out there and living our lives according to the values we hold dear. He’s just another guy with an opinion.

  39. Martin says

    In all fairness, I’ve been known for my share of incivility and snark too. Vide several past exchanges with Rho, Dan Marvin, and the legendary Yomin episode. I’d like to think, however, that I couch my sarcasm and taunts in the context of a well supported opinion. (Like Carlin often explained when people asked him why he used so much profanity in his standup: “It’s the spice in my stew.”) Rho just seems like he’s in an especially pissy mood at the moment.

  40. says

    Hey all,Look, it’s not my intention to make you mad, esp not thru snark. But it’s also quite rich for *atheists* to complain about someone being insufferable, arrogant, and things like that. Why don’t we get on with the actual argument? The way I see it, you could’ve been responding to my numerous arguments rather than complaining about what a mean guy I am. You’re acting like weak Christians usually act when the village atheist comes around, and I see you mock that mindset all the time. -C, this means you.Martin said:common human behaviors like dishonesty, hypocrisy, denial and self-righteousnessAnd so how do you know these behaviors are taking place on Warren’s side and not yours?I’d rather have that kind of assumptive commitment than one that told me gay people were evil hellbound sinners You have been challenged many, many times to provide any decent answer as to why said commitment would be morally preferable. The best you’ve yet done is to say “well, I prefer it that way”, which is a tautology and doesn’t even answer the question. So pardon me if I don’t see any compelling reason to accept your assumption absent an argument as to why I should.Not just according to me, but to pretty much the entire community of mental health professionals and the American Psychiatric Association.1) They have not ALL fallen off the wagon. not even close.2) Even if they all did, that falls totally within the range of the Christian worldview. EVeryone is a sinner and is tempted to do evil. Sometimes we do better than other times. B/c of your assumptions, you can’t even accept the possibility that this is a hard thing, but it’s worth doing. Sometimes things are worth fighting for. DagoRed, Martin at least attempted to respond substantively. Were you planning to give it a go?

  41. says

    But if he wants to believe that we are going to burn in hell when we die or that we have no basis for condemning child abuse because we are atheists, why the heck should any of us really care… He’s just another guy with an opinion.Tommy, I can’t agree. Salvific exclusivism is a belief so obscene that it ought to be considered beneath the dignity of a human being to believe it. People like Rhology are perfectly comfortable with the idea of billions of their human sibling suffering unimaginably for all of eternity; as long as they can have the ontological security blanket for a few brief decades – that’s all that matters to them. It is the absolute height of selfishness.Whether or not we should bail out the auto industry – that’s an opinion. Conservative evangelical Christianity isn’t an opinion, it’s a belief system – and, as such, it’s an abomination.

  42. says

    I get what you’re saying Cipher. What I meant was that his opinion has no power over us. I am not barred from living my life on my own terms because Rhology hates me or what I stand for.

  43. says

    Tommy, thanks for being a good sport. I picked you to call insufferable and arrogant because of everyone in the thread, your comments were the most harmless.If I had said Martin, or Ai Deng, I might have been taken seriously.I’m glad that the thought that I may have been taking the piss, which I was, crossed your mind. I’m highly amused at your comment responses too =]So yes, to get it all out of the way in clear language: I don’t think you’re insufferable, or arrogant, or a wad, not one jot or tiddle. I’m glad you took the joke well.’But it’s also quite rich for *atheists* to complain about someone being insufferable, arrogant, and things like that.’ -Rhology.There’s a preconceived assumption there that atheists are insufferable and arrogant. I don’t preconceive Christians to be fundamentalist and hateful. I was at a carol choir this afternoon, helping a friend take a video and singing along to Silent Night, Felis Navidad and O Come All Ye Faithful. The Christians I then had dinner with were nice people, especially the pastor, who I thought was a lovely man and whose response to learning I was an atheist was to attempt to engage me in conversation, not about the merits of christianity versus the pitfalls of atheism, but rather about our shared values: Community, friendship, love, human relations, etc. Me as a secular humanist and he as a Baptist could both get behind these ideals.I’m not trying to affect some kind of moral superiority above Rhology (lest I prove his point, hey.) I just wanted to share a story about interfaith kindness and respect I experienced today.As to why I don’t address your arguments; it’s cause I know Martin or others in this thread will do it, way more articulately than me. Diffusion of responsibility aside, if I have anything to add to the arguments, I’ll do so

  44. says

    JK: I don’t think you hate people. I just think you may hold some ideas which have planted seeds of hate in people.Because I don’t know you very well I can’t speak to any degree of accuracy specifically what those ideas are, so please feel free to tell me I’m wrong.

  45. says

    JK wrote: Again, just because I think an action is morally wrong does not mean I hate the people who commit that action.You are correct. If such a belief remained strictly a belief, you can honestly absolve yourself of wrong doing here. The problem is when beliefs are used to back actions that affect people who do not share such beliefs. Such action subjects people to harm and, to repeat my earlier point, actions speak louder than words. You cannot simultaneously work to abjectly harm a group of people (which prop 8 does) and say you love them at the same time without sounding duplicitous or insane. So, when people like Rick Warren find it morally correct to impose their beliefs, through laws like Prop 8 in California, on people who do not share such beliefs, they cross a line of decency because their actions result in damage and harm. I am willing to accept your defense of Warren here, and agree that this damage may not truly be an act of ‘hate’ exactly, but however we wish to categorize such actions, one thing is for certain, Warren was acting immorally when he chose to support prop. 8.

  46. says

    Rhology said: DagoRed, Martin at least attempted to respond substantively. Were you planning to give it a go? Yes, well Martin is much more the master of diplomacy than I, I have no doubt. I am fine with giving it a go, but you so badly missed the mark in your response to me, I can only really pick a part your many mistakes (and I do not mean to deride you here — but much of your response was merely a diatribe rather than something someone placed effort behind). It seems hardly worth the effort at this point to continue this particular discussion. Rather I say lets forgive each other for our current body of ‘sins’, and simply remember how badly our first attempt at communicating went, and use the lesson to better our future efforts at communication with one another.

  47. says

    That sounds fine, DagoRed. One thing I need to request clarification on:I can only really pick a part your many mistakesShall I expect that, or was it rhetorical? It hasn’t taken place yet, so I am unsure what you mean.

  48. says

    Shall I expect that, or was it rhetorical? It hasn’t taken place yet, so I am unsure what you mean.Sorry for being unclear. No, I have nothing left in this thread for you. I just mentioned it as my passing observation, really, and hoped it might provide encouragement for you to, perhaps, address what I write and not drift off into inference so easily (though, now that I have explained this subtle intention openly, it likely comes of as condescending and not very persuasive).

  49. says

    I think a quote from “The West Wing” would be apt:“… there aren’t very many unnuanced moments in leading a country that’s way too big for ten words. I’m the President of the United States, not the President of the people who agree with me. And by the way, if the left has a problem with that, they should vote for somebody else.”I’ve been on the receiving end of an administration that catered to half of the country before, and I didn’t care for it. So long as my disappointments are balanced with my satisfactions I call it a win.Oh, and I want an end to pointless wars and a balance on the Supreme court. Is that to much to ask?- Jack

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