Listening to some of those on the left you'd think that Barack Obama had suddenly announced he had changed parties and enrolled as a pro-life Republican, while over on the right some malcontents worry that he has abandoned genuine Christianity and become a member of a heretical sect.
All of this hubbub just because he invited Pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at his coming inauguration ceremonies.
That's right. Rick Warren, pastor of a mega-church, author of an inspirational best seller, "The Purpose Driven Life," that many testify helped renew their Christian faith, a man who unapologetically defends the root tenets of that faith, has thus become a target of the so-called gay community who prefer clerics who blithely ignore Biblical teachings.
According to its press materials, Dr. Warren's Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. averages "22,000 weekly attendees, a 120-acre campus, and has more than 300 community ministries to groups such as prisoners, CEOs, addicts, single parents, and those with HIV/AIDS. He also leads the Purpose Driven Network of churches, a global coalition of congregations in 162 countries." Time magazine named Warren one of "15 World Leaders Who Mattered Most in 2004," and in 2005 one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World."
Why is he a scoundrel? How did he offend them? By supporting California's successful Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage, and by saying such things as, "I'm opposed to the re-definition of a 5,000 year definition of marriage. I'm opposed to a having brother and sister be together and call that a marriage. I'm opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that a marriage. I'm opposed to one guy having multiple wives and calling that a marriage."
To them, having such beliefs disqualifies him from taking part in Obama's inaugural ceremony despite the fact that Obama himself expressed the same beliefs at the presidential candidate forum at his Saddleback Church during the campaign, saying "I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian -- for me as a Christian -- it is also a sacred union."
In view of his views on the subject as shown above, and the demands of the gay community regarding Rick Warren, should not Barack Obama also be disqualified from appearing at his own inauguration?
On the right, some of my fellow conservatives are aghast over the thought that pro-abortion Barack Obama, who at best they abhor anyway, would slap them in the face by asking Warren to do the honors at his inauguration, and that -- Heaven forbid -- Warren would accept the invitation, thus in their view somehow putting his stamp of approval on baby-killing.
In a statement, Operation Rescue -- a militantly pro-life but usually sensible organization -- charged that Warren had attempted "to excuse his act of support for Mr. Obama, an ardent supporter of abortion, by saying, 'The Bible admonishes us to pray for our leaders,' which of course it does."
For Operation Rescue that doesn't cut it. Taking part in Obama's moment of glory is somehow "tantamount to placing his stamp of approval on Obama and his policies that stand in direct opposition to Biblical truths."
They quote Holy Scripture (Ephesians 5:11) as admonishing that as Christians we should have "nothing to do with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them."
In other words, by praying at the inauguration, the mere act of praying for the new president amounts to backhanded support of abortion because Obama is pro-abortion.
President Eisenhower had a term for that kind of reasoning. He called it "rot-gut thinking."
I expect to see rot-gut thinking from the gays, but not when it comes from conservatives as well.
God bless Rick Warren and God help his critics, left and right.