Your blogstress is still wrestling with the decision of Barack Obama (whom her feminist self supported all the way back in the primaries) to anoint the right-wing, anti-gay, anti-woman Pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at the presidential inaugural ceremonies. Mon Dieu, mes amis! How to make sense of it?
One hopes that Mr. Obama has a trick or two up his sleeve in bestowing this honor on one who has compared pro-choice people to Holocaust deniers, equated gay marriage with polygamy and marriage between an adult and a child (and later denied having done so), and preaches that wives should submit to their husbands.
To many liberals, Warren's words are hard not to take personally, especially if you're a woman and/or a member of the LGBT community. This is no mere game of "dozens"; reports come in daily of LGBT people assaulted or killed for no other reason than being queer; meanwhile the terrorism of anti-choice forces has reduced abortion, in many areas, to a right that exists only on paper. (Abortion is available in only 14 percent of U.S. counties.)
Seeking to find a beacon of light in this disheartening pick, your blogstress has penned a piece for The Huffington Post, "Transcendental Invocation". Here's a taste:
[T]he predictable back-and-forth between left and right around this issue leads me in moments when my worser angels -- you know, the less-than-angelic angels -- of my nature have my ear to wonder whether or not we just got Souljahed out. Would Obama step on our tails to make us squeal in order to look "normal" to the pro-America parts of the country?CLICK HERE TO READ ALL OF "TRANSCENDENTAL INVOCATION" Sphere: Related Content
Let's consider another alternative -- please. Like any council of chiefs, the leadership of the religious right is often riven with jealousy and competition, as well as ideological differences between purists and pragmatists. Mainstream media have latched onto Warren's AIDS-fighting work in Africa and his preaching on environmental responsibility as evidence of his ostensibly kinder, gentler biblical Christianity though, by his own admission, the difference between Warren and authoritarian right-wing media mogul James Dobson is merely one of "tone". Yet Warren isn't really of the clique of religious-right leaders as we've come to know them: the Dobson mob, the Robertson cabal, the Falwell gang. (These form the syndicate that holds the rights to the GOP's electoral ground game; it is through their churches and associations that grass roots activists and voters are turned out.)
With his 25 million books sold and four megachurches with congregations in the tens of thousands, there's likely a bit of resentment against Warren among the council of elder pooh-bahs. (In his e-mail to followers, Tony Perkins snipes, "Let's hope that Rick Warren will use his channel of communication to the new President to press him for more pro-family policies-rather than simply being used by Mr. Obama to make political inroads with evangelicals.")
If the campaign revealed anything about the president-elect, it is his use of existing dynamics to his own advantage, knowing when to get out of the way of -- or lend a hand to -- Nature as she takes her course. The leaders of the religious right are far less dangerous to the rest of us when sniping among themselves. Could it be that, in elevating Warren so high above the rest, Obama has tossed an apple of discord over the right fence, a clever bait of distraction?
Perhaps I think too wishfully as I look to find a reason to believe.