Thursday, December 18, 2008

How to Handle Obama's Choice of Rick Warren to Give Inauguration Invocation

President-elect Obama has chosen Rick Warren, that clueless hypocrite and gay marriage opponent to deliver the invocation at his inauguration.

Well, I'm one Obama voter who thinks there shouldn't be a religious invocation at all. But if there is going to be one, I don't want a creep like Warren to be the one to deliver it.

Now, there's simply no way that Obama's going to go back on this choice. Once invited, the man stays invited.

But we can still express our displeasure.

So here's my solution: if you're going to the inauguration (and more than a million people may go), when Warren gets up to the podium, boo.

That's right, boo.

Boo loudly and lustfully. Boo more than once. Boo for more than just a few seconds. Drown out Warren's first sentence in a chorus of boos.

Boo Warren because you think he's an anti-gay bigot. Boo him again because he's prejudiced against atheists. Boo him once more because his book is a piece of crap.

At the inauguration, let Warren and Obama know what you think of this appalling choice.


TheEagleKeeper said...

That's a great way to show support for the man you just elected.

Boo one of the firs decisions he has made.

Alan Paul said...

What a low class thing to suggest. Have you no respect for differing opinions than your own? How about tolerance? Have you none?

Anonymous said...

WE must reach common ground, or, it's much of the same. I find all religions to be limiting and self absorbed. But politically, I see Obama making efforts to bring us together. I personally, see this as an effort to reach out, how refreshing! My eyes will be open, but listening.

Anonymous said...

I vehemently disagree with what you are proposing. Why are you suggesting meeting intolerance with more intolerance and rudeness? You solution makes you just as bad as the person you are protesting.

Anonymous said...

some more INTERESTING info connected with Rick Warren

Anonymous said...

I don't quite see the benefit for Warren in this.

Anonymous said...

Your sick. Your trying to provoke a riot at the inauguration of the new president! I think that should be charged with assault or at least conspiracy to commit a crime!
Your "race" will never get anywhere in the political arena or any where else for that matter because you simply hiss at everything that does not highlight your abhorish lifestyle. Here is a SHOE for you.

Jeffrey Shallit said...


When I vote for a person, that doesn't mean I support every choice they make. I have the right and the duty to let my elected representative know what I think.

Alan Paul:

Must I "tolerate" every person and their opinions, no matter how vile? I think booing is a pretty mild way to express one's displeasure.


How, exactly, would booing "provoke a riot"? What do you think my "race" is? And what the heck does "abhorish" mean?

Anonymous said...

Jeff, don't you get it? When Rick Warren says that gays are like pedophiles and that atheists are unfit for the American presidency, that's freedom of expression. But booing his foolish bigotry is intolerance.

Clear enough? Gays are like pedophiles = free speech. Booing a guy who likens homosexuality to pedophilia = intolerance.

Anyhow, if you get confused about this again, I'm sure the commentators above will come back to shriek you into clarity once more.

Anonymous said...

Of course you have the right to let an elected official know of your displeasure with their actions, but I hardly think booing someone--anyone--at an inauguration ceremony is appropriate. I am disappointed that you suggested this. Perhaps listing addresses where people could write to complain would be a better way to go about this?

Erdos56 said...

Secular Coalition for America is recommending sending a note of protest through the President Elect's website:

Perhaps a bit better than booing.

Anonymous said...

I don't see any problem with booing away.

There may be something ineffective -- indeed, at worst morally disgraceful -- about failing to strongly, ostentatiously, publicly voice opposition to degenerate conduct. For example, GW Bush invaded a nation and is responsible for the deaths of (at minimum) thousands of innocents; is it really the time to parade one's shocked sensibilities when someone throws a shoe at him in protest?

The civil rights movement was derided as crass and pushy by even some people who had no real truck with overt racism. Its protests were intrusive; they were obstructive; they were, by the standards of polite society, rude. Should those protesters have just written some letters instead? They'd never have accomplished anything, but at least nobody would have faulted their etiquette.

Arguably, when you allow bigotry an honoured place in prominent proceedings, you sanction it. Booing or turning one's back is a powerful and entirely legitimate social rejection of something or someone beyond the pale. It is non-violent, legal, and very expressive. The worry that it would be less than perfectly polite may well be a triumph of unreflective etiquette over moral judgement.

Alex said...

I agree, booing him would just be wrong. You'd get much better results by standing up and yelling:


or something to that effect, anyway ...

libhom said...

Larry Lough: Having a fanatical misogynist and heterosexist bigot like Warren play such a prominent role in the inauguration is a vicious and divisive personal attack against women and lgbt Americans. This is the politics of Karl Rove, which pushes Americans apart.

cody said...

Tim Kenyon, I think both your comments are very well said. Jeffrey Shallit, I almost want to go to the inauguration just to participate in your proposed protest. I probably won't though, so I suppose I will try to write a letter expressing my disagreement.

For everyone who is turned off by this, Karl Popper said this about what he called "the paradox of tolerance": Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. — In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.

Obviously Jeffery's suggestion, as well as Rick Warren's intolerance, are not nearly so extreme, but it should be understood that atheists and homosexuals humans, not choices, and intolerance of these 'traits' cannot be tolerated.

Junkster said...

Intolerance of the intolerant, eh? Some see Warren as intolerant for his opinions, whereas others would see hostility toward Warren's opinions as intolerant. It all depends on which you see as the "correct" opinion. So who gets to decide that one opinion is superior to another? The religionist? The irreligionist? The brutish majority? The downtrodden minority? The intelligent and wise? The humble and lowly? The one with superior skills of communication, persuasion, or argumentation? One line of reasoning may be satisfactory to some but seem completely lacking to others -- mostly in accord with previously internalized presuppositions. I say boo to the idea that one would make value judgements regarding the value judgements of another, apart from an objective, universally recognizable, and supreme standard.

Anonymous said...

When it was discovered that Obama attends whatshisname's "black power", whites-are-devils church, his supporters fell all over themselves claiming that it means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about his own views about White people. Well, then, same standard applies: his association with Warren should be seen as meaning ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about his views about gays, too.

I'm not being cynical, or gloating. I REALLY DO think both Obama attending whatshisname's church and his inviting Warren do NOT tell us anything about Obama's views. Obama is a shrewd operator: he gives the nuts on both sides what they want -- sybolic gestures -- and then can govern from the middle.

If he had nominated Warren (or the loony black-power priest) to a government post, that would've been worrying. But this symbolic gesture is merely intended to show the right-wing fringe that he isn't a socialist commie Muslim (or the equivalent). Means nothing more, if you ask me.

Jeffrey Shallit said...


We all make decisions based on our own experiences and makeup; what else could we make our decisions on?

Everytime you decide to be friends with person A rather than person B, or vote for person C instead of person D, you're making a judgment. Those who claim they are not judgmental are fooling themselves.

Jeffrey Shallit said...


I do think Obama's choice to attend Reverend Wright's church does say something about him, and something rather negative. I voted for him anyway. So I can protest his current association with Warren without being tarred by your brush.

sliver said...

Booing isn't intolerance. It's showing a personal viewpoint.

Calling Alan Paul a lowlife shithead isn't called a personal subjective viewpoint. It's called objective intolerance.

I think booing is a great idea.

Junkster said...

Yes, what else indeed?

Jeffrey Shallit said...


I'm glad you see the light now.

Junkster said...

Light is prerequisite for sight.

I see no disagreement between what I originally said and your response to it.

Anonymous said...

>>>>Booing isn't intolerance. It's showing a personal viewpoint.

Booing certainly isn't "intolerance", but booing a president on the day he is inagurated because someone you don't like is given a minor ceremonial post in the procession is juvenile.

But I don't think we should be angry about Obama's choice. I think people don't understand his intent.

Warren is there as a representative of a group, not as a person. Obama chose Warren precisely BECAUSE he is popular and he disagrees with him. The idea is to send a signal to evangelists and other religious Americans: "you know I disagree with you, but I will not exclude you". If Obama had chosen a liberal but less popular priest, the message to evangelists would have been, "stay out!". Not the message Obama wants to send.

That Obama is no "secretly" agreeing with Warren can be seen in his choice for the benediction -- Rev. Lowery, the civil-rights-era hero. Obama can hardly be claiming to agree with both Lowery and Warren at the same time. Lowery, too, is chosen as a symbol -- as an "antidote" to Warren, so to speak, saying to America that people of all kinds of views and opinions can unite behind him.

Unknown said...

I don't know Skeptic. For me the fact that Rev. Lowery will participate in this stupid religious ceremony (which I don't believe should exist in the first place) is not enough of a balm for the sting of having Warren there.

I'm sure everyone is correct in some measure about why Obama made this choice of Warren. The thing is, I wish he hadn't done so at the expense of a group of people whose rights were recently stomped upon in California and other states, where the gay community suffered major setbacks.

About the booing. It's a no-brainer. If I were there, I would feel I had no choice. It's done all the time in other countries. Why are Americans so into decorum? The whole world will be watching and they should know that not all of us support this bigot.

Anonymous said...

Boo away! Others are planning to wear white knots, and still others are planning to stand and turn their backs.

I say have at it. Mr. Obama and Mr. Warren do not support equal human and civil rights for all people, so it is important that all Americans who do support equal human and civil rights for all let their voices be heard.

Although, it seems to me that we should be booing and turning our backs on Obama for inviting Mr. Warren rather than on Mr. Warren. My grievance isn't against Mr. Warren for his opinions. My grievance is with Mr. Obama for bestowing upon Mr. Warren an honor he doesn't deserve.

Although, it would be sweet to see the entire audience stand and sing "We Shall Overcome" and drown out Mr. Warren's remarks completely.

Unknown said...

The only way Obama can lessen the damage done besides canning Warren, which he won't, would be to have a prominent person from the LGBT community take a prominent role in the Inauguration. Since that won't happen. PROTEST!
The only way to be inclusive is to exclude the gays????? I don't think so. If you were to substitute Gay with Black, Mexican, Jew, Arab or Asian etc., trust me that man would not be invited to this event. It's ok to bash the gays.

Anonymous said...

How about just Turning Your Back?

Anonymous said...

Great idea!

To Alan Paul,

The man is a public figure at a public event plundering his intolerance. He deserves the boos, plain and simple. So does Barak on this point. I think Barak might learn, I doubt Rick will.

I tolerate Rick's right to say what he will. I also say we can disagree with a load chorus of boos.

Anonymous said...

I wish I were going to Washington. If I went I'd boo my ass off.

I'm so sick of being told by folks here and elsewhere that we have to be more tolerant. The guy compared my relationship to incest, polygamy and pedophilia. Is that tolerance? I want every gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered person reading this (plus all of our straight allies) to be more vocal about this. I'm 43 years old. I've been dealing with homophobia (internalized and external) my whole life and I'm sick, SICK of playing nice. I've been playing nice my whole life. I've listened patiently, I've bitten my tongue, I've been the peacemaker, I've done outreach, I've tried to build bridges.

My HERO invited a big teddy bear of a homophobe to bless this big day of change. Damn. I'm so angry, sometimes I scare myself.

May everyone GLBT reading this unleash your furor. This is truly an opportunity to tell America that homophobia is not cool. I'm a devout Christian; this is where you visualize Jesus turning over the tables in the temple. Yep, even the Prince of Peace gets angry, and he turns over the tables in the temple. Boo your heart out queer/queer allied America. Let the boos be heard from the Mall in Washington to Castro Street in San Francisco. Boo with all your heart. "Justice, Justice you will pursue!" (Deuteronomy 16:20)

Unknown said...

It would be better if everyone had a small rainbow flag to wave. Turning of the backs might not be visually noticable.