David Waters asks an interesting question at On Faith (Washington Post/News Week) today: To Whose God Will Rick Warren Pray? Although he mentions the left’s sense of betrayal by Obama’s selection of an anti-gay, anti-choice pastor to give his inaugural invocation, Waters avoids responding to the heartrending cries of exclusion arising from the GLBT community.
Waters addresses issues of inclusion/exclusion primarily as they pertain to the various religious traditions represented in today’s culture. He writes:
“I think the most interesting question won't be answered until Warren speaks on Jan. 20. To whom (Whom?) will Warren deliver the Inauguration's opening prayer? Will his language be inclusive or exclusive? Will he pray to the sort of generic Creator God mentioned in the Declaration of Independence? Will he pray to the monotheistic and paternalistic God the Father? Or will he, as a conservative Christian pastor, pray in the name of Jesus?
“Does it matter?”
Waters compares Billy Graham’s inclusive inaugural prayers to that of his son Franklin Graham (invocation) and Kirbyjon Caldwell (benediction) who prayed to Jesus at George W. Bush’s inauguration in 2001.
‘“Among the critics was Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz, who wrote in the Los Angeles Times that Graham's ‘particularistic and parochial language . . . excluded tens of millions of American Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Shintoists, Unitarians, agnostics and atheists from his blessing . . . The plain message conveyed by the new administration is that Bush's America is a Christian nation, and that non-Christians are welcome into the tent so long as they agree to accept their status as a tolerated minority rather than as fully equal citizens.’”
From the public pronouncements Rick Warren has made concerning gay rights, the impression is unavoidable that he considers the GLBT community to be among those non-Christian, but tolerated minorities rather than fully equal citizens.
As a Unitarian-Universalist whose first principle asserts the inherent worth and dignity of every person, I find Warren’s position indefensible.