Intolerant position: Rick Warren does not have the right to speak at the Inauguration of Barack Obama, and his name must be withdrawn. Fie! Withdraw in shame, Rick Warren! Go live in a hole!
Liberal position: Rick Warren has the right to say whatever he wants, and if Barack Obama wants to invite him to speak at the presidential Inauguration, I can’t stop him. But when Barack Obama — known for his thorough vetting — invites a man he’s had multiple contacts with to speak at his inauguration, and when that man has repeatedly expressed support for policies of bigotry along lines of gender, sexual orientation and religion — plus the whopper of God-Sanctioned Holy War — and when Barack Obama explains his choice with a reasonable-people-can-agree-to-disagree-reasonably argument, then such a choice sends a message that these bigotries are reasonable. It communicates to Americans that even if he does not exactly agree with Rick Warren’s positions, Barack Obama finds them to be within the realm of the reasonable. Americans like myself who believe religious discrimination, sex discrimination and anti-gay discrimination are unreasonable therefore find themselves distraught and dismayed, not just with the behavior of Rick Warren but with what Barack Obama’s choices reveal about his political compass. Considering Obama’s ever-lengthening list of concessions to political forces aligned against freedom in America, Barack Obama should not be surprised that he is losing the benefit of liberals’ doubt.