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Web Letter

I don't get this.

First, I do not care who anyone chooses to love and, honestly, this nonsense about religion is... well, nonsense.

But the intellectual dishonesty is amazing. We spent the last eight years amazed at the narrow-minded "my way or the highway/I am glad I am not popular" approach of Bush. Now we want Obama to behave like this... from the left?

Personally this invocation to Zeus/Santa Claus/God divinity is a waste of time. But who should he have invited? Rev Wright?

The majority of the population needs religion to get through the day, so I say more power to them--but let's not get distracted from the real issues.

Obama was elected to deal with some pretty ugly economic issues--we need to concentrate on that.

Joy Cassell

Orlando, FL

Dec 18 2008 - 1:21pm

Web Letter

Earlier this month, Mr. Obama "saluted" President Bush as he was awarded the "International Medal of Peace" by Mr. Warren. See the second video on the Raw Story page for Obama's remarks.

Justin Kapacinskas

Kewanee, IL

Dec 18 2008 - 10:16am

Web Letter

Thank you for analyzing Obama's early pre-presidential choices with an eye towards objectivity. Most of the media are salivating at Obama's choice of rock-star cabinet picks, while the right-wing media is desperately trying to paint him as another corrupt politician.

Nevertheless, Obama's choice of Rick Warren for the inauguration must be condemned. It is an insult both to secular liberals as well as religious liberals. Why couldn't he choose a religious leader known for their inclusion of a wide variety of beliefs? By choosing Rick Warren he is reinforcing the incorrect presumption that to be spiritual or religious you must be a fire-breathing, Bible-thumping evangelical.

Christian Olsen

Crownsville, MD

Dec 18 2008 - 8:53am

Web Letter

Sarah Posner brings us the obligatory knee-jerk "choice and gay rights über alles" view of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. That Rick Warren is giving the invocation for the Obama inauguration is no slap to progressive clergy or bow to the religious right. It is simply another deft and appropriate symbol that the President-elect is a centrist who intends to govern from the center, both politically and ideologically.

Barrack Obama's election was determined by the moderate center of the electorate, many, if not most, of whom are not pro-choice and are not supporters of gay marriage. Moderate Republicans and anti-abortion Democrats (yes, Ms. Posner, there are multitudes of us whether you like it or not) need not rush to their Bibles to rationally consider that human life begins at conception--which I would argue is a more logical approach than considering that human life begins when a fetus is theoretically viable outside the womb, just because seven male Supreme Court justices with no medical training unilaterally imposed this arbitrary standard on the public some thirty five years ago.

If not at conception, then exactly what day does human life begin, Ms. Posner? Because if we are to abort these defenseless near-beings on the day before, it is of ultimate importance that we know this date of ascension to humanity with all certitude. Unfortunately, no medical science nor religous theology can definitively answer this literal life-or-death question. Hence it seems not so preposterous that, given the finality of abortion, persons of good will, intelligence and with good conscience may consider it prudent, if not imperative, to err on the side of conception... thus precluding the possibility of abortions being nothing more, or less, than homicide.

What Ms Posner conspicuously fails to report in her diatribe is that the Rev. Joseph Lowery, a civil rights leader and same-sex marriage supporter, is providing the benediction at the end of the event. Maybe this omission should come as no surprise, because to report such a balance would douse the cultural warfare fire that Ms Posner attempts to ignite.

With the Rev Warren providing the invocation and the Rev Lowry the benediction, President-elect Obama stands just where the American people want him--in the middle.

Kyle Johnson

Chicago, IL

Dec 18 2008 - 2:09am

Web Letter

Why is "Christan-bashing" so popular now?

Just because R.W believes the Bible to be true to the last word, he is unfit to do this. As you said, it is traditionally a "Christian" pastor who does this, and R.W. exemplifies the true meaning of what it is to be a true believer of Jesus Christ. He, R.W., does not back down from or apologize for anything in the Bible. He has said in the past that it is not his job to persuade you to become a Christan, it is his job to tell us what the Bible says. Let us take a look at the percentages of who R.W. represents. More than 80 percent of Americans profess to be a Christian, and how many profess to be gay? Less than 2 percent. What better choice than R.W. to do the job?

Richard Ash

Orange, CA

Dec 18 2008 - 1:10am

Web Letter

President-elect Obama's choice of the doctrinaire and bigoted Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration would not be a problem if all Christians were right-wingers and we needed to placate them or face armed revolt. But there are so many progressive Christians out there. If Obama wanted to reach out to evangelicals, he could have chosen the Reverend Jim Wallis, a bridge builder if there ever was one, and a man whose religious views are close to Obama's own. And I still wish there could be a reconciliation between Obama and the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, in private if not in public. This man is an unjustly maligned progressive and also a bridge builder.

I believe Barack Obama makes a serious tactical blunder when he simply accepts the right wing's image of himself as a left-winger and tries to counteract it by associating himself with right-wingers. As president, Obama should repudiate the notion that he belongs to the left at all. He belongs to the center. He needs to reinforce this image by associating himself not only with people to his right but also people to his left. That way, he can govern between them. But if all of his associates are to his right, he has only one way to go.

During the Clinton years, it was our misfortune to be governed by a president whose reputation always appeared to the left of his actual policies. A more successful president--even one who explicitly governed as a centrist--would implement policies to the left of his reputation. But Obama will not become a successful centrist of this kind if he lets the Christian right draw the lines on the playing field, rather than boldly redrawing them himself.

Eric Paul Jacobsen

West Saint Paul, MN

Dec 18 2008 - 12:31am

Web Letter

Rick Warren may be the right choice after all.

Coming from my perspective, that of an evangelical right-winger, I would have presumed that progressives would be happy about the choice of Rick Warren performing the invocation for our new president.

In your article, you ridiculed his pro-creation, sanctity-of-life and sanctity-of-marriage views, but with respect to Pastor Warren, these views are among the few to which I subscribe. I object to his self-improvement-centered evangelism and his Calvinistic doctrine disguised as mainstream Christianity. Pastor Warren is opportunistic, irreverent, non-traditional and molds his beliefs to serve his purpose. In other words, he is a progressive.

President-elect Obama has impressed me greatly with his knack for selecting people that don't sit well with either extreme. His tactics, however, don't strike me as those of a centrist--he is not looking to find compromise in his selections, he appears to simply be looking for the right person for each position. This thoughtful process will necessarily upset ideologues of every stripe.

Mr. Obama is a leader, that much is clear. Let's hope that he turns out to be the best leader we've had in a century--our country is surely in need of it. Leaders don't make ideological choices, they make the right choices. Since so many people seem to be unhappy with the choice of Pastor Warren, he is probably the right man for the job.

My sincere hope is that extreme progressives and conservatives alike become sorely disappointed with their new president, as he seeks to serve America's needs instead of pandering to its politics.

Jeffrey Gackenheimer

Danville, IN

Dec 18 2008 - 12:12am

Web Letter

How can you fault Warren's claims when they are consistent with the Bible? Anyone claming to be Christian must believe the Holy Bible is the infallible Word of God. It is the primary reference source for Rick Warren, along with us other Christians, who happen to read it and believe it.

Dwain Wheeler

Tenino, WA

Dec 18 2008 - 12:06am

Web Letter

Dear Sarah Posner, I strongly disagree with your take on Rick Warren. You write about inclusion, yet are not willing to include. You rail about choice, but despise choices made that differ from yours. I am a progressive, I am pro-choice and pro-life. Obama has run on a theme of our being one country, not red and blue states, not us and them. Your whole article is filled with ridicule and derision for a president that supports your basic positions. Tone, which you referred to, is very important in the marketplace of ideas. Warren stands by his convictions but is open to others. Leadership that can help unite a nation will ultimately be a blessing to all of us, straight and gay, believers and non-believers. Would you have Obama have an openly gay, ordained abortion doctor give the invocation? Come on. Let all that pray, pray for compassion, understanding, and humility. And if Obama wears a cowboy hat and asks Sean Hannity to speak, then, then I will have you continue your rant. But calm down a bit.

Clay Wallace

Boise, ID

Dec 17 2008 - 11:30pm

Web Letter

In her quest to vilify religious conservatives, Ms. Posner has cast Rick Warren as a extremist firebrand that only represents a fringe minority. This could not be farther from the truth. Warren's stance on gay marriage was showcased in this article, as if he is a hate-monger. Recent Newsweek polling shows that approximately 55 percent of Americans are not comfortable with legally sanctioned gay marriage.

Barack Obama has never condoned slander, and would not endorse this kind of liberal extremist slander. The fact that a person who holds views the complete opposite of evangelicals can be elected President of the United States should prove that America is not controlled by some vast right-wing conspiracy.

Joe Price

San Angelo , TX

Dec 17 2008 - 11:22pm

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