Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Of Course You Realize This Means Warren

... bloggers ... really need to get a life. A lot of people think that because they can sit in the quietness of their own home and hide behind a screen, they can hurl all kinds of bombs at people and get away with it.
-- Rick Warren

Shown below: Rick Warren, blogging vlogging these very words.

Rick Warren vlogging

He can say what he wants on the YouTubes, but there's a case to be made that those in the life-devoid community have already had some effect on him. According to Mike Rogers, speaking on Hardball, Warren's web site has just been scrubbed of all its anti-gay screeds.

Or maybe this was demanded by Obama? Either way, the Warren pick is looking more and more like a smart move.

I have agreed in spirit with everyone who's been outraged by the Rick Warren choice, but I have to say, I have failed to care that much, even if Michael Bérubé almost made me wish I had a time machine so I could go back and support his argument when it might have had some chance of succeeding.

Obviously, the ideal for me would have been for there to be no preacher at the Inauguration at all. Since that's not a realistic option, I think of it this way: It is my sense that Obama knows a lot more about politics than any of us, and if he thinks this is a useful gesture to make as far as reaching out to some of the conservatives in this country, fine. Symbols matter, but accomplishments matter more, and he's going to need either some help from the right or at least a diffusion of their anger against him to get done what we'd like to get done.

I could even look at this cynically -- as a way to compromise Warren in the view of the more extreme of his flock. It seems to be the consensus among the Angry Left that there's no way any of Warren's followers are going to like Obama as a result of this invitation. This is a point I do not agree with -- you always get some movement by some followers as a result of their leader's actions. But even if I'm wrong about that, it may well turn out that Warren loses 5 or 10% of his most wingnutty attendees, and that'd be a good thing. Divide and conquer, I say.

Now that we've seen this move by Warren to clean up his website, and doubtless, he's been forced to "clarify" his views on TV numerous times already, I'm thinking it suggests Obama has pulled Warren a little closer to his views, at least in terms of a public face. And that matters, at least as much as his symbolism in the first place. If Warren's web site is live with no homophobia for the next month, that's not nothing. It will bear re-examination after 20 January 2009, of course. But in the meantime, there's a good chance that Warren's dialing down of his homophobia has already sent some of his more hate-filled followers father out into the wilderness.

Or who knows? Maybe Warren really will have a change of heart from this experience. It's a time of hope, after all. And there's a new sheriff in town.

Obama in cowboy hat

(pic. source)

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