President-elect Barack Obama has chosen Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback church and author of the bestselling book The Purpose Driven Life, to deliver his inaugural invocation Jan. 20. Warren happens to be vehemently opposed to gay rights and not believe in evolution.
In an interview with Larry King in 2005, Warren questioned the consistency of believing in both evolution and a genetic basis for homosexuality.
“If Darwin was right, which is survival of the fittest, then homosexuality would be a recessive gene because it doesn’t reproduce and you would think that over thousands of years that homosexuality would work itself out of the gene pool,” he said.
Warren sent out a video message in an attempt to rally support for banning gay marriage. He had some predictably dramatic words on the subject:
“There are about 2 percent of Americans (who) are homosexual or gay, lesbian people. We should not let 2 percent of the population determine to change the definition of marriage that has been supported by every single culture and every single religion for 5,000 years. This is not even just a Christian issue, it is a humanitarian and human issue.”
Disegarding the fact that Warren grossly underestimates the actual percentage of homosexuals in America, it is patently un-American to disregard a group’s rights based on size.
It is understandable that Obama would choose a prominent Christian figure to garner political favor among the evangelicals who shied away from him last November. However, it is unforgivable to put political posturing above eliminating divisiveness between groups. Inviting a polarizing figure flatly opposed to taking into account the opinions a minority of the population does nothing to further inclusiveness or tolerance.
Imagine if Obama were to invite Louis Farrakhan to deliver the invocation. This scenario seems both absurd and unlikely because it wouldn’t appeal to the majority. It would also be likely to anger and alienate America’s Jewish population — which happens to make up 2 percent of the U.S. population, according to U.S. Census Bureau. This begs the question: If Louis Farrakhan had penned a best-selling book, were Christian and had millions of evangelicals supporting him, would these be reason enough to overlook his anti-Semitic comments and invite him to give the inaugural invocation?
Appealing to the majority rather than applying universal principles of justice and equality is no more reasonable in the hypothetical than it is in Obama’s very real invitation to Warren.