Crunchy Con

The purpose-driven hissy fit

Thursday December 18, 2008

All hail Mighty Favog for coining that phrase to describe the reaction gay activists are having to Obama's choosing Rick Warren to pray at his Inaugural. Says Favog:

But to believe what mankind has held fast for more than 5,000 years -- as does Pastor Warren, who backed California's constitutional ban on gay marriage -- is now to be labeled a bigot. Be seen as unfit to appear at the inauguration of an American president.

It is to be declared an ideological leper.

How utterly Stalinist -- both in its intolerance of dissent from an accepted party line and in its radical upheaval of tradition.

No longer is "tolerance" of gays and lesbians enough. No longer is it acceptable to treat homosexuals as brothers and sisters with whom we, as Christians, take issue on one area of their lives.

To treat those with whom we differ fairly and with charity is no longer sufficient. Now we must approve. Affirm. Or else.

No, it would appear that how, with whom and in what context they achieve orgasm is how gays and lesbians define themselves -- that sexuality is the be-all and end-all of their humanity. Apparently, everyone else must so define them as well.

Because, you know, it's all about them. It always is.

Except as Rick Warren would say (and did in the first line of his book): It's not about you. The narcissism of some gays really knows no bounds. If Obama, who has long worshiped in a liberal Christian church, had chosen a progressive pastor who supports gay marriage to pray at his Inaugural, what would have been the big deal? I certainly wouldn't have cared, and would have considered it small-minded and petty for anyone to complain. Do we now have a litmus test for who is allowed to pray in public with politicians without censure? Favog is right: for gay activists, this thing is not about tolerance, never was about tolerance, and never will be about tolerance. It will be about driving anyone who doesn't agree with them from public life. Better get that learned right now.

Anyway, Steve Waldman ably defends Rick Warren and Obama's choosing him to deliver the Inaugural Prayer. I especially liked this part of Steve's piece:

First, Warren has used his fame and fortune primarily to help the most destitute people in the world. He reverse tithes, giving away 90% and keeping 10%. Please contemplate all the religious figures who have gotten rich off their flock and pocketed the money. Who among you reverse tithe or would if you were rich? I know I don't, and every time I think about what Warren has done it makes me question whether I'm giving enough. That is a Christ-like example.

Read the whole thing. Rick Warren, as Steve points out elsewhere in his piece, has never been much of a culture warrior. He's not led the charge against gay marriage. He is about as uncontroversial and mainstream a popular American religious figure as we have. I don't agree with him on some things, but I recognize that he's as good a representation of the national civic religiosity as we're going to get. That gay activists are raising a big stink about this says far more about the spiteful little bubble they live in than it does about Rick Warren or Barack Obama.

Anybody remember that George W. Bush had the Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell, a black Protestant pastor from Houston, deliver the invocations at both his inagurations -- and that Pastor Caldwell endorsed Obama? I applaud Bush for his outreach on religious diversity regarding his Inaugural prayer. I also applaud Obama.

Max Schadenfreude
December 23, 2008 11:02 AM


I have little to add here, except to thank you for the discussion.

Oh, I will add, you're right about everyone having issues, I would just say that those issues become greater to further one is on that continuum from the natural norm. I think it fair to say we differ on what "nature" means and what that norm is. That is a whole 'nother conversation.

So many times people say, "Let's agree to disagree."

I hate that saying.

I agree that "we" (genericly, and specificly here) disagree. I even allow that it's okay that we disagree. But when someone throws out that canard it's always in an attempt to simple move on.

When I argue (in the Socratic sense of the word) with someone I disagree with, my HOPE is not necessarily to convince someone they are wrong, or even to "win" the argument regardless of the truth of the matter as if it were some kind of game.

Rather, I seek to distill down and learn WHERE the disagreement lies. To define exactly WHAT the disagreement is. That provides the common ground I think you mentioned earlier.

Unfortunately such discussions rarely get past a case of two talking past each other.

In this case I think it fair to say we've found that we agree on much, quite a bit actually, but disagree on what certain things mean.

Thank you for pitching in here and not going off on emotional tirades as many do. Thank you for taking me at my word, as many don't.

You've made my Christmas a better one. Hope your season is downright jolly. If I had a Festivus Pole I'd invite you over for some Jameson Irish Whiskey and cigars. ;-)

God bless.

Max Schadenfreude
December 23, 2008 11:06 AM


Wanted to thank you as well for articulating far better than I could essentially the exact things I've been trying to say. You bigot! ;-)

Franklin Evans
December 23, 2008 11:19 AM

Max and rr:

You honor me with your good will and sincere approach. If I am to be praised in offering my views in kind, then you are to be credited with sharing our common ground in that spirit.

To rr's points: we are tasked in our time with completing a cycle, one that repeats endlessly and pushes us to reinvent wheels over and over again. An issue arises, we work to understand it and appraise it according to our circumstances and beliefs, and at some point it reaches a threshold, as if to say: you've discussed me long enough (for some, ad nauseum), so get off your duffs and resolve me for pity's sake. The more intensely felt the issue, the more difficult the process is, even painfully so. For an issue as large and longstanding as human relationships, we are also challenged to maintain our perspective. We can find resolution for ourselves and our visible heirs, but they and theirs will also be tasked with it, as it evolves.

Max, I would gratefully welcome the Jameson, but I'm not so keen on cigars. May we find ourselves with the opportunity some day, nonetheless. One thing, though, about "Let's agree to disagree." With my background and experience in mediation, it serves as a rest stop in the process. Truly, it can be abused, an excuse to avoid dealing with the worse parts of the issue at hand. But it is no less valid as a tool of faciliation, if used well and properly.

May you both, and all still reading this, be safe and well in this season and beyond. Sol Invictus.

Max Schadenfreude
December 24, 2008 3:04 PM

"Max, I would gratefully welcome the Jameson, but I'm not so keen on cigars."

Yipee!! More for me!!

And yes, you are right about the "agree to disagree" thingie. It can and does serve a very useful purpose, only in my experience I would estimate that 99% of the time it's used to shut down discussion.

Franklin, wasn't it you with whom I had a protracted (and beneficial) exchange months ago about natural law and natural reasoning?

We must have that Jameson sometime.

Franklin Evans
December 24, 2008 4:46 PM

I quietly confess that I don't remember the exchange on natural law et al, but I'll loudly take credit for it anyway. ;-)

The Jameson exchange is hereby set in the stars. We just have to await the right conjunction.

(and, or)

Be well, Max. See ya in the other funny papers.

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About Crunchy Con

Rod Dreher is an editorial columnist for the Dallas Morning News, and author of "Crunchy Cons" (Crown Forum), a nonfiction book about conservatives, most of them religious, whose faith and political convictions sometimes put them at odds with mainstream conservatives. The views expressed in this blog are his own.

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