So Barack Obama is reaching across the isle, he is evaluating experience and personalities and making calculated decisions about the right kinds of people to surround himself with. And, as that happens, true colors are emerging on all fronts. Rick Warren is going to deliver the inaugural invocation on January 20, and there is a ruckus in the stands. What is all the fuss about? Have we been listening? Can we remember back to June of 2006 when Obama appeared in an article for Sojourner’s Magazine? In that article, he says:
Such strategies of avoidance may work for progressives in some circumstances. But over the long haul, I think we make a mistake when we fail to acknowledge the power of faith in the lives of the American people, and I think it’s time that we join a serious debate about how to reconcile faith with our modern, pluralistic democracy.
…More fundamentally, the discomfort of some progressives with any hint of religion has often prevented us from effectively addressing issues in moral terms. If we scrub language of all religious content, we forfeit the imagery and terminology through which millions of Americans understand both their personal morality and social justice. Imagine Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address without reference to “the judgments of the Lord,” or King’s “I Have a Dream” speech without references to “all of God’s children.” Their summoning of a higher truth helped inspire what had seemed impossible and move the nation to embrace a common destiny.
To date, the Obama engine has been fueled by a rhetoric of change and hope. The “change” part of that language is not referring to a change in the political party in charge of ruining the government, it is a change in the fundamental way that we approach all of the decisions that we make fromt he top down. Rick Warren invited Obama to speak at his church, and Obama has invited Rick Warren to speak at his innauguration. Some say that this will alienate progressives, and I think that, to some degree, that is true. But let me ask you this: What is more progressive than going beyond sitting around a table together, but removing the table entirely and finding a way to stand together?
I am not a fan of Rick Warren, and I don’t like a lot of his social positions. I am glad that Obama has made his choice and that he stands by his decision, because he is proving to us all that he has a larger picture of what his administration will look like than any of us had imagined.
Barack Obama is not just building a team and planning a party. He is taking a stand and making a statement. There is a new man at the helm of this country, and if you think that he will make decisions because they will make you feel good, including the liberal progressives, then you have picked the wrong guy. You don’t have to like where he goes, but you should give him some space, because he is going to go far.