Like a lot of you I saw Hotel Rwanda. I also had the pleasure of meeting the main character Paul Rusesabagina a few years ago. When I read his book earlier this year, “An Ordinary Man,” it prompted me to read other books about the Rwandan genocide. Though each of them viewed the tragedy from different angles, including one from the killers themselves, none proved favorable to Col. Theoneste Bagosora. Though its been more than a dozen years, one of the masterminds of the genocide has been sentenced to life in prison.
*Pictured: Former Rwandan Army Col. Theoneste Bagosora, right, arrived with his co-defendant Col. Anatole Nsengiyumva at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda on Thursday in Arusha, Tanzania. (Getty Images)
I hear liberals are in an outrage that President elect Obama chose Pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at the inauguration next month. Supposedly the most vocal resistance is coming from the gay rights movement. On the heels of the gay marriage ban in California as well as a few other states, they aren’t too keen on the idea of an evangelical Christian praying the president into office.
I have a message for my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters on this one. “Stand down and pick another battle!” Its is silly and short-sighted to raise hell over this one. For one, Rick Warren isn’t being appointed to any office here. He is a minister and author. He is not going to set forth any policies that affect the gay and lesbian communities. If you do some research on him, you will find that he is one of the most forthright, honest and fair ministers in the country. Warren is no James Dobson or Pat Robertson. Billy Graham, (the traditional presidential preacher) walked away after the election became official cause he didn’t want to deal with a black man. Warren was the only minister who could pull off a presidential form the way he did. He allowed each man to speak on his faith and not offer an opinion on who he thought was “morally right.”
Does Warren believe in gay marriage? No. But everyone who does not agree with you is NOT necessarily your enemy. Faith as well as the precepts that support that faith are a personal issue and he has a right to his beliefs as you do yours. Again if you read his works and listen to his messages, you won’t find a person preaching today who is less judgmental than Mr. Warren. He’s been on the forefront of using his influence for AIDS prevention and awareness, holding an AIDS Summit at his church, with none of the slandering or gay blaming of other ministers. Who was speaking against Warren as he reached out to Obama for support of that program? People like Dobson and Robertson who are notoriously anti gay. Additionally, he is a guy who will listen and dialogue with the gay community. If one is willing to listen, you never know what could come of it.
I did a post on Rick Warren earlier this year when he was on Meet The Press with Tim Russert. In the midst of evangelical leaders vying for position to bring more of the divide and hate tactics to the campaign, Warren’s words were so bright and encouraging, I could see the glow in Russert’s face to have a minister of the gospel speak with such love and perspective. As a man who grew up in the church, loving its virtues and hating its hypocritical and judgmental ways, I felt good about Warren’s message, and even more so his presentation. This guy has it together. Of course you should fight on for what you believe in. However, Warren is the wrong target!
**As an added feature, I am posting the participants of proceedings on January 20th. You will also notice that Rev. Joseph Lowery (a pro gay rights minister) is also speaking and giving the benidiction. Obama said this morning that the fact that Lowery and Warren do have some differences of opinions reflect why he chose them both as a reflection of our nation. Thats a good thing. What do you think would have happened with a McCain administration?