Archive for January, 2009

Not So Purpose-Driven Rhubarb

January 1, 2009

I dunno if you guys have followed the brouhaha over Obama asking Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration, but I think Hendrik Hertzberg has it about right.  Which is to say: it’s just not that big a deal.  An entirely fair response, however, might be, “Easy for you to say.  You’re not gay.”  I might feel differently if I were a member of Warren’s anathematized group (although, I sort of am, since he also anathematizes atheists, and I’m an agnostic).

Still, I do agree with Hertzberg.  What I don’t get, though, is this throat-clearing paragraph:

Warren turns out to be somewhat worse than I thought he was back when, a few months ago, I rashly likened him to Henry Ward Beecher. I hadn’t fully appreciated that he contends Jews and atheists are automatically hellbound, for example. . . Or that, while he says gays are welcome to attend services at his Saddleback megachurch, he doesn’t let them (closet cases excepted, presumably) become members. (He doesn’t let heterosexuals who are living together in “sin” join, either.)

Are there really still people — people who, like Hertzberg, are actively engaged in this country’s political and cultural debates — who don’t know that everything Hertzberg objects to in the above is utterly mundane, bread-and-butter Evangelical doctrine?  How can anyone who even knows who Rick Warren is be surprised by anything in that paragraph?  I mean, how little do you have to know about Evangelical Christianity to be surprised by that stuff?  Dude.  That’s like being surprised that a Republican opposes Democrats.

Oh, well.  The rest of the post is much better.  Anybody else have thoughts on Obama’s choice of Warren, Warren’s views as Christian doctrine, or Hertzberg’s post?