Friday, December 19, 2008

Rick Warren and Barack Obama - Los Angles Times Parses Words or “How the Press Turns”

With all the brouhaha surrounding Obama’s choice of Rick Warren to give the inaugural invocation, especially from gay activists and those who opposed California’s Proposition 8, it is curious that those who decry intolerance are themselves intolerant – especially when it comes to opposing viewpoints. What is interesting is that Obama’s choice of spiritual leaders is being dissected by the press, more than his association with Reverend Wright. The problem that Gay Activists and the left have with Warren is that he opposes Gay Marriage, and defines Marriage as that between one man and one women (additionally he is an evangelical Christian Leader – strike one, so to speak), a sentiment that is shared by the President-Elect.. However, theses detractors assumed that since the President Elect was in favor of gay rights, his opinion would transfer to the issue of marriage – there is a difference between civil unions (which offer all the benefits of marriage, and is an option that most American’s would approve) and traditional Marriage (which has religious connotations).

The basis of an article posted yesterday was an article from the LA Times, which closed as follows;
Earlier this month, in an interview with reporters from the Los Angeles Times, Obama answered a question about his current spiritual advisor by telling reporters he had found inspiration in a "prayer circle" of supportive clergy leaders who include Bishop T.D. Jakes of the Dallas-based mega-church the Potter's House, the Rev. Joseph Lowery of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Warren.

From that article, one would surmise that Mr. Obama specifically chose three clergy to be his spiritual advisors. This is not the case. From a transcript of the L.A. Times original interview one understands that Obama is not specifically choosing these three men as his advisors, rather, they are part of a larger group of spiritual leaders who have “prayed for him”.

Q: Do you have a spiritual advisor now? Many presidents have had them.

O: You know, one of the wonderful things that we did during the campaign was to set up sort of a prayer circle across the country, of pastors who, from all denominations, all religious faiths, who would every morning, a few of them would get on the phone and pray for me.

Sometimes I'd get on the phone. And, you know, they're made up of people as diverse as, you know, T.D. Jakes, Rick Warren, Joseph Lowery, just a wonderful collection of people and, by the way, across the political spectrum. I'm not even sure that all of them voted for me.

But they were willing to pray for me. And that's something that was wonderful.

The Times, whether intentionally or not, changed the entire meaning of the first interview, giving an impression (isn’t that always the way), of something more “dubious” in Obama’s choice of “Warren” (additionally they chose not to use the Pastors first name, dismissively.)

Now, as the “Warren Controversy” is being played out on every Network and Newspaper, Blog or otherwise across the country, it is important to put into context the following: Obama had stated from the beginning that he was a Christian, his choice of Reverend Wright aside, (as well as his views on abortion), never wavered. When the “Wright” controversy exploded, Obama, as a candidate was in no haste to name a new spiritual advisor, being human, it is a personal choice that takes time. Additionally, should he have chosen Jakes, Lowery or Warren, for that matter, it would be his personal choice, one that is a guarantee of the Constitution.

Therefore, those that feel they have “bought into” the Presidency by way of support (whether financial or by the pen), feel they are owed some sort of allegiance from the President, and somehow have the ability to affect the choices he will make. They are not disillusioned, they are delusional. As the President Elect has made additional choices that have angered left leaning activists (including your local daily paper’s editorial board), prior to his inaugural, it is apparent that should he continue on this centrist path, the romance that once was, will become an assault. The only possible good that could come from this is job security for those employed by a media who has, up until this point, been losing readers and viewership faster than residents are leaving California and Massachusetts. (Those states can’t blame the Internet) Perhaps the 50 percent of the country who are consistently incensed by the editorial content within the main news of the aforementioned, and have cancelled subscriptions or tuned out, will have a change of heart. It is certainly not fair to Barack Obama, nor was it fair to “name the Republican”, that said – Prediction: Shocking Headline 2010: “New York Times Now Accepting Applications!”

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