Friday, December 19, 2008

Warren is not an issue

The “Warren controversy” doesn't have anything to do with pro-choice or gay rights. This is about a president-elect exercising his prerogative to choose whomever he wants to deliver the blessing at his inauguration. It's about pulling America together which means no one will get their way all the time. It’s about compromise. It's about -- as President-elect Obama noted this week -- Americans learning to agree to disagree without becoming disagreeable. It’s about most Americans being in the middle, neither far left nor far right

The gay-rights people speak about respect, demand respect, insist that they are not given respect. Someone should remind them that it works both ways. If they want respect, they have to give it. They can start by respecting the wishes of the president-elect to plan his inauguration as he sees fit.

These anti-Warren protestors are insisting that the selection of the pastor must mean that Obama isn't interested in advancing gay rights or preserving abortion rights. They say that he just used those groups to get elected and has now thrown them under the bus. That shows a lack of reasoning ability on their part. They are gleaning more than what’s there from the simple act of asking a famous evangelical preacher to deliver the invocation. Obama has said that he wants to pull everyone together – to work together on common ground. This includes the evangelicals. Why not let Obama get sworn in and have a chance to govern before issuing judgment on being abandoned?

Even as Obama takes fire from liberals on the left, Warren is being bombarded with criticism from conservative supporters on the right who can't believe he is even associating with Obama, let alone appearing at his inauguration. Have they not heard Obama say that he wants to pull America together? This means compromising on some issues, or setting them on the back burner so that issues held in common can be solved.

What do these two sides expect anyway? Those familiar with the evangelical movement in America should already know that Warren is a moderate on some issues. And, if gay rights activists are surprised that Obama would share the spotlight with an opponent of gay marriage, they need to do more research. Obama has stated many times that he believes marriage is between a man and a woman, as do most Americans, a view that also happens to be shared by Vice President-elect Joe Biden. Obama never promised to allow “gay marriage.” Obama did promise that he would try to the best of his ability to bring all Americans together – to be inclusive.

Having Warren speak at the inauguration makes sense for Obama. The idea is to signal that Obama will be a president for all Americans, whether or not they voted for him on November 4. This is not new. Obama and Warren have often used each other to demonstrate that they are willing to listen - even when it makes their friends angry.

We have had enough of divisive politics. It has torn America apart into groups hating other groups. Us against them. This needs to stop. Just because Obama and Warren disagree on certain issues should not disqualify the pastor from blessing the inauguration.

Get over it. Obama choosing Warren is not an issue.