Monday, December 22, 2008

On Rick Warren

via Andrew Sullivan, this post by Mellissa Ethridge's wife.

So you should read it. Go ahead. I'll wait.

Okay, so I don't have any reason to doubt what she says, but this leaves me wanting to say a few things to Rick.

The comparison of marriage to a religious thing that other people shouldn't claim would be a whole lot more convincing if the religious people weren't saying, "All the people who are similar to us in a way that makes us comfortable, get to participate in our religious insitution, even if they totally reject everyone of our religious values and beliefs, but people who make us uncomfortable because they are different, even the ones who hold our religious values and beliefs, can't participate."

Once you have opened your religious institution to everyone, you cannot with any consistency deny it to one group because they violate one of your religious principles.

Consider for a moment those religious groups that have a form of marriage restricted to their own: Mormons and Catholics for instance. If I were to convert to either of these groups, they might very well ask me and Roland to get re-married. My marriage doesn't meet their standards. However they have never tried to pass a law, much less a constitutional amendment, saying that I can't use the word "marriage" to describe my relationships. They have never said that all those laws the government has passed don't apply to me because in their eyes "marriage" only refers to their relationships, the ones blessed (as they see it) by G-d.

They couldn't get away with saying that because in this country we believe in religious freedom. The government does not represent one religious view.

So maybe the post above is right about Rick Warren. Maybe that makes him more educable or less offensive on gay rights. Maybe. It makes him more disturbing on other levels though. He doesn't hate gays, he just thinks that the government should reflect his religious views.

Oh, I feel MUCH better now.


  1. Here in Holland churches are not allowed to marry people. Even the catholic churches aren't. Of course some will call their churchwedding the wedding but in fact one marries legally in the town hall and in church you will receive a blessing upon the marriage. Churches decide for themselves if they bless marriages of people of the same gender (I am not liking the word gay marriage lately, it still sounds like it is meant as the lesser marriage).

    My uncle married on friday to the love of his live and I am in a mood to strike down anybody who would argue their marriage is les special or legal then mine is.

  2. My brother took Government in summer school so that he could graduate a year early (this is going somewhere, really, I promise). It was taught by a coach who spent most of the class time reviewing the video from the last year's football games, and gave tests where he asked: what are the three branches of government? and the correct answer (I kid you not) was: "the Legislative, the Executive and the Senate."

    Anecdote is not the singular of data, but it's not exactly like we're a nation who's really "up" on our civics curricula. A lot of people have trouble separating in their minds the difference between a thing being permissible legally and that thing being morally right by whatever moral yardstick any particular one of us happens to be wielding like a +3 Broadsword of Holy Might. And that gets even crazier when you mix in the folks whose theology says that failure to legislate morality is an invitation to the wrath of G-d - and some of those folks have their own television networks and universities and law schools, lord help us.

    So yeah, there's a lot messed up here. First, there's the fact that a whole religious movement has found its raison d'etre in being vicious to gay people and people who want to have abortions (and just be grateful that the crossover between those groups is minimal). Second, there's the bad news that a lot of people don't seem to get that there's a real benefit to all of us, themselves included, in the drawing of boundaries between religion and government. And third, there's the problem that our schools don't turn us all into political philosophers, because it would be really cool and solve the first two problems if they did. However, nobody would ever invite us to parties anymore. So there is a downside.

    Just take a deep breath and tell yourself that he gets his three minutes of talking to G-d, and you're going to get a pretty decent four years of actual governance by somebody who is not, in fact, Rick Warren. He gets three minutes, you get four years. I know it's hard to trust after the last eight years of everything going as crazy and as wrong as you could possibly imagine, but it's all going to be all right. Really. Promise.

  3. BTW - I read Three Little Words this weekend and it described about what I expected (although I hope Virginia isn't as shoddy about their social work as Florida has been, but it's hope without reason). I'm trying to figure out how to pick an agency now. There's the one that the dept. directed me to, but there's also another one I found online. I wasn't thrilled by the length of time the first one took to get back to me, but I can't find any kind of reviews or groups online who can advise me about their experiences with fost/adopt in the Richmond, VA area. I have seen scraps of info saying that the right agency/social worker, etc, really makes a big difference, but how do I find the right one? Any advice?

  4. Jenniebee,

    I'm not really worried about Rick Warren's influence on the government. I read an article over at The New Republic that made a pretty good argument that Warren's acceptance may do more to protect Obama from criticism from the evangelicals than anything else.

    And I do believe in engagement with those who disagree, which is one of the reasons that I like Obama.

    So, not worried. Annoyed though.

    Can I come live with you in Holland? And how DO you pronounce "Mijk"?

  5. Jenniebee,

    I just found your new blog. I will see if Ican send anyone knowledgable about Virginia too you.

  6. You are most welcome!!!! I think you would be a lovely neighbour! I am going to find an audiolink to my nick.

    By the way this was my kids first marriage and I lvoe how naturally the whole thing is for them. They are 6 and 3 and tonight my daughter told me that if she married a girl when she was big they could both have a baby in the belly! So I told her indeed they could but they needed a man to give them some semen. She tilts her head and says: Do you think daddy has some left over mom?

  7. If you go to this site : and type Kijk. You here the sound of the ij. Kijk means look!

  8. Mijk,

    I want a Dutch speaker, right?


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