Friday, December 19, 2008

Rick Warren Vs. The Homosexual Agenda

Baptist Press is out with an article today reporting the outrage by the homosexual community at president-elect Barak Obama's selection of Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration ceremony. In Gay Activists Outraged Over Warren Invite, one might develop the assumption that both the president-elect and Rick Warren seem a bit surprised by this gross over-reaction from the homosexual community.

Kelly reports the swift response from the homosexual community this way:

"Your invitation to Rev. Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at your inauguration is a genuine blow to LGBT Americans," wrote Joe Solmonese, president of Human Rights Campaign, which describes itself as "the nation's largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization." "By inviting Rick Warren to your inauguration, you have tarnished the view that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans have a place at your table."

Commenting on this situation, Albert Mohler has written a rather extensive article chronicling, not only this situation, but a short history of Rick Warren's social sympathies that have often put him in line with many liberals. Warren has always been a "cool" pastor, but this situation has put him squarely on the fringe of "cool" and his support of Prop 8 in California has nearly demonized him among those who celebrate the normalcy of homosexuality.

Mohler writes in The High Cost of Being Cool:

The outrage directed at Rick Warren must be seen in this context. It is a genuine outrage expressed by gay activists and their liberal allies. To these Obama supporters, it is unthinkable that the President-elect could have chosen Warren for such a prominent role. As one letter to the editor in Friday's edition of The New York Times expressed the sentiment, "Barack Obama’s choice of the Rev. Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at the presidential inauguration is as if Lyndon B. Johnson had selected a pastoral proponent of racial segregation to deliver the invocation in 1965."

Here is the deep irony -- Rick Warren has devoted enormous energy toward the goal of defusing the culture war and creating common ground. He has attracted the criticism of many conservative evangelicals who have been concerned about how these efforts have been positioned and for what often appears as comments at their expense. At times, Warren has even had to issue clarifications in order to make his generalized statements more specific. If the President-elect wanted to choose a figure recognized as an evangelical in the public eye, but sympathetic to much of his stated agenda to unite, he could scarcely have chosen a more recognizable figure than Rick Warren.

But now many of Obama's own supporters attack Rick Warren as if he is a hate-driven homophobe, which he clearly is not. All that was necessary to bring on this opposition is Warren's opposition to same-sex marriage and his support for Proposition 8. Now, he is grouped along with the most strident and careless as an apostle of hatred.

It doesn't take much. We would all like to be considered cool. Cultural opposition is a tough challenge and bearing public hatred is a hard burden. Being cool means being considered mainstream, acceptable, and admirable. Believing that same-sex marriage is wrong is enough to turn "uncool" in an instant, at least in many circles.

I am not throwing Rick Warren to the wolves over this. He now finds himself in a whirlwind, and he will not be the last. Pastor after pastor and church after church will face a similar challenge in short order. No matter how cool you think you are or think that others think you are, the hour is coming when the issue of homosexuality -- taken alone -- will be the defining issue in coolness. If you accept the full normalization of homosexuality, you will be cool. If you do not, you are profoundly uncool, no matter how much good work you do nor how much love and compassion you seek to express.

With an eye to history and to the future of Warren and many conservatives like him, Dr. Mohler points out that a time comes when we often have to choose to be cool or to be true to the gospel.

Liberal Protestantism came to this conclusion long ago, and those churches desperately want to be considered cool by the elites. Having abandoned biblical authority, there is nothing to prevent them moving fast into coolness. The only barriers are outposts of conservative opposition, but they will not last long.

Many in the "emerging" and "Emergent church movements also state their intention to transcend the divisive issues like abortion and homosexuality. Some of these represent the quintessence of cool in cultural identification. But for how long? Eventually, the issue of homosexuality will require a decision. At that point, those churches will find themselves facing a forced decision. Choose ye this day: Will it be the Bible or coolness?

Both of these articles are interesting.
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