President-elect Barack Obama has asked Rick Warren to give the invocation at the inauguration in a month. Not surprisingly, liberal bloggers like Atrios, FireDogLake, AmericaBlog. and Steve Benen have been vocal in their frustration with the choice.
There is a line in what Obama says "We Can Disagree Without Being Disagreeable" that is positively revolutionary in the crossfire world that America has seemed stuck for much of the last 20 years. He suggests that civic and releigious leaders might actually focus on what we have in common as Americans, rather than rip each other up - sometimes in he name of "Jesus" or "our Christian nation" or the "unborn" or even "the poor".
It is clear to even a casual reader of this blog that I like Obama as a politician. My feelings about Rick Warren are a bit more complex - his theology is not my own, his celebrity scares me, but many of the things he has chosen to do with other people is admirable to me. Plus, I am a sucker for any other chubby white guy who looks like he dresses from Costco.
The aftermath of this election has been odd from a faith & politics POV. There is no resurgent "religious left" to celebrate - most of these organizations can barely pay their rent in a good year, let alone in a time like now. The "religious right" seems perplexed, wondering what political tack to take. For me, the most moving voices are folks like Joseph Lowery or TD Jakes, who have lived struggles much like Obama's.
I am glad that Obama made this choice, one that is smart for the country and smart politically. It confirms my hope that he might continue to reach for what Wilcox describes in his new song Piece of Me:
Against the Christians on the right
See ‘em comming at each other
With the bloody truth in their teeth
They’re fightin’ like the devil For the prince of peace
You want a piece of me
Take it out back. Get a piece of me,
Snip and you snap to cut a piece of me
What you lack is just the - peace of me