War on Warren

Michael McAlister Blog Leave a Comment

I must admit that I was surprised when I saw this story glide across my computer screen this morning. Certainly there were individuals of the cloth that might have been picked that could have reflected a deeper sense of post-fundamentalist spirituality than Rick Warren. Wouldn’t another choice allow for an introduction into a more integral approach to faith? Or am I putting too many expectations on Obama?

Michael Tomasky, over at the UK’s Guardian says:

Some folks on the left are, in my view, suspicious types, always on the lookout for signs of apostasy and ready to scream “Sellout!” the minute Obama (or any mainstream liberal pol) does some small thing they don’t like.

I agree with this. Then again, such is the nature of attachment. What’s most interesting is that I wonder how picking Warren really helps America evolve.

… Warren’s endorsement by Obama, which this very high-profile invitation in essence is, really is a slap in the face to some of his core constituencies, as Sarah Posner argues in this fine Nation piece.

The Huffington Post’s Steven Waldman sums up his defense of Obama’s pick of Rick Warren by saying:

For Obama, picking Warren for the inauguration is a smart move. George W. Bush chose Franklin Graham, a hard-right evangelical to do his prayer. Instead of retaliating by choosing a liberal preacher, Obama opted for spiritual bipartisanship. The move helps to depoliticize prayer — which, of course, is very politically shrewd.

Politically shrewd? I don’t really see how picking Warren is politically shrewd except in the most superficial ways.

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