Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Rick Warren, hypocritical invocator, in Jesus' name

AOL News says Rick Warren got a "tepid" response for his invocating skills at Obama's inauguration.

AOL News also says that some folks appeared to be moved emotionally, standing with arms outstretched and tears in their eyes.

To each his/her own.

While I thought it was suffocating and boring, Warren's invocation (prayer) was what I expected: an overly-long sermon as to what God should do and Obama should do and all of us should do.

A major problem is that Warren may speak of inclusiveness, about treating one another with respect, but he doesn't mean it. We know how he treats homosexuals (e.g. they cannot be members of his church; he opposed Proposition 8 in California); we know what he thinks of those who are pro-choice (he opposed Obama for president on the grounds he was pro-abortion); we know he believes that all people who have not accepted Jesus will burn forever in hell. We know these things because he has said these things with no qualification or equivocation. When he says [God] "is loving to everyone" he has made, the unspoken qualifier is always that, in spite of God's loving nature, those who chose not to accept Jesus are doomed forever.

We also know that the god he prayed to today is the Christian god. Atheists, agnostics, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhist, etc., were excluded. This was a christianist prayer based on the wrong-headed assumption the United States is a Christian nation.

Some of what he said was indeed appropriate, such as his prayers for President Obama and his family and our nation as a whole. But, again, it was very much a sermon, reminding us and God of our mutual responsibilities.

And he just couldn't help "humbly" asking all this of his god in the name of Jesus and then reciting the specifically Christian "Lord's Prayer."


It was a predictable, utterly unnecessary and inappropriate nod to God, and likely indicated to people of other faiths and to unbelievers all over the world that we are hypocrites, rewriting our Constitution to serve our own prejudices. In other words, to those without knowledge of our Constitution, Warren's invocation would leave the clear impression that we have established the christianist religion in our land.

Here's the text of the prayer:

Let us pray.

Almighty God, our Father, everything we see and everything we can’t see exists because of you alone. It all comes from you. It all belongs to you. It all exists for your glory.

History is your story. The Scripture tells us, “Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God. The Lord is One.” And you are the compassionate and merciful one. And you are loving to everyone you have made.

Now, today, we rejoice not only in America’s peaceful transfer of power for the 44th time. We celebrate a hingepoint of history with the inauguration of our first African American president of the United States. We are so grateful to live in this land, a land of unequaled possibility, where the son of an African immigrant can rise to the highest level of our leadership. And we know today that Dr. King and a great cloud of witnesses are shouting in heaven.Give to our new President, Barack Obama, the wisdom to lead us with humility, the courage to lead us with integrity, the compassion to lead us with generosity. Bless and protect him, his family, Vice President Biden, the cabinet, and every one of our freely elected leaders.

Help us, O God, to remember that we are Americans, united not by race, or religion, or blood, but to our commitment to freedom and justice for all. When we focus on ourselves, when we fight each other, when we forget you, forgive us. When we presume that our greatness and our prosperity is ours alone, forgive us. When we fail to treat our fellow human beings and all the earth with the respect that they deserve, forgive us. And as we face these difficult days ahead, may we have a new birth of clarity in our aims, responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches, and civility in our attitudes, even when we differ.

Help us to share, to serve and to seek the common good of all. May all people of good will today join together to work for a more just, a more healthy and a more prosperous nation and a peaceful planet. And may we never forget that one day all nations and all people will stand accountable before you. We now commit our new president and his wife, Michelle and his daughters, Malia and Sasha, into your loving care.

I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life, Yeshua, Isa, Jesus [Spanish pronunciation], Jesus, who taught us to pray:

“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

9 comments:

moleboy said...

"A major problem is that Warren may speak of inclusiveness, about treating one another with respect, but he doesn't mean it."
This is actually why I have more respect for some of the fanatics I blog about. At least they are honest when they say that they are right and everyone else is pathetically wrong.

Also, you left out his feelings towards women. I've been bringing this up as often as I can because many people seem to not be aware of it. If you go to his website, there's a FAQ of some sort that has audios of Warren answering questions. One of the questions is whether or not divorce is OK in cases of spousal abuse. Warren says, in short, NO.
If thats not misogyny, I don't know what is. Women are, quite obviously, work animals, like horses.

Jacob said...

You are exactly right...and I knew that, too, as I had just read about the divorce re: abuse thing.

Thanks for pointing that out.

Jacob

Anonymous said...

Your argument is a bit silly. Would you expect a Muslim to pray to the Christian God? Should a Hindu pray to Allah? Would an atheist even pray? Could an agnostic decide if he/she should pray?

"We also know that the god he prayed to today is the Christian god. Atheists, agnostics, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhist, etc., were excluded."

Warren could only pray according to HIS faith. Anything else WOULD have been hypocritical.

Jacob said...

That's why he should never have been asked to invocate in the first place. If one is going to nod to god at an event that wraps around the US of A, then do an inclusive prayer. If you can't do that, decline the invitation.

Warren believes that all who don't believe as he does will burn in hell. This is not a man to be praying at an inauguration!

But, again, as I said, no one should be "officially" praying at an inauguration.

Jacob

Bob Poris said...

I thought God was God. For Christians, that includes His son but for others it excludes them. God is universal. The use of other names like Allah, Jesus, etc exclude many that think there is but one God regardless of what others call Him.

Anonymous said...

Just because Pastor Warren is holds Christian values does not mean he is hypocritical.

"A major problem is that Warren may speak of inclusiveness, about treating one another with respect, but he doesn't mean it."

With maturity comes the ability to respect people even though we disagree with them. We should indeed treat all people with respect and dignity. Just because we disagree with something that someone is doing does not mean we should act disrespecfully to them. Pastor Warren is absolutely right when he talks about respecting all people. He is a Christian pastor. He stands on his values. He is unafraid to say that he is right and others are wrong, that believing in Jesus is the only way to heaven, and all nonbelievers are destined for eternal seperation from God. To say that every way is the right way is totally contradictory. That is like saying that murdering someone or not murdering someone are both equally correct and deserve no consequence. That is like that commercial where someone walks into a laundermat and asks for his shirt to be both starched and not starched. Those things are mutually exclusive. Both cannot exist simultaneously. For the world's religions, there has to be one right answer and the rest are going to be wrong. It is an impossibility to say that all religions are right. This is logically impossible. So Pastor Warren believes he is right. I would suggest if you have no belief system to start really seeking some answers. If one religion is indeed the right one, you had better hope you believe in it.

Jacob said...

You, anon, must have a hard time understanding. I wasn't speaking of his Christian values, although I think his values are anything BUT Christian! I said Warren speaks of inclusiveness....BUT his words and actions are clear that he does NOT mean it. That's being a hypocrite. You can't go around saying you just looooove gays, and then keep them out of your church and fight to deny their civil rights.

And what makes you think you've got the ONE right religion of all the thousands that infest our earth? And even if you think Christianity is the "right," religion, what makes you think your particular version, out of all the thousands of variations, is the RIGHT one?

I'd suggest you go back and read some books other than fundamentalist christianist pap. And then try to reason like a human being.

Oh, and stop trying to scare people into heaven. That doesn't work! As Jesus said, "It's one hell of a thing to do!"

Bob Poris said...

Anonymous is wrong.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, believing in a loving God that would torture someone in hell for an eternity for merely sinning a few insignificant years really questions me what kind of God, Mr Warren believes in. Obviously with all my respect, he doesn't really understand his own loving Creator which is why many folks would raise their eyebrows at how some professed Christians understand their own religion and profess it to others. Another awkward statement was to say that Dr. King was rejoicing during the inauguration. How can that be possible? Didn't he die at least a few decades ago? Jesus himself testified that if one dies he/she goes to the grave until the resurection day. I'm not aware of any resurections lately, least that of Dr. King that supposely was rejoicing at the inauguration event. I would also agree that Mr. Warren should have thought about many things he did/does including that of allowing various individuals with certain orientations and beliefs to attend his church, etc. Jesus whom Christians believe is God didn't condemn anyone, so why should any of us?

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