Remember Rick Warren? This mega-church pastor (whom I once referred to as “Jerry Falwell in a Hawaiian shirt” during a cable news interview) has been working hard to make himself a national figure, with mixed results.
In 2009 when President Barack Obama was first inaugurated, many of us were puzzled as to why he invited the right-wing evangelical pastor Rick Warren to offer the invocation.
As I told MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann at the time, Warren is “Jerry Falwell in a Hawaiian shirt.” I expressed dismay that a prominent Religious Right figure was being included in the ceremony and said that after eight years of George W. Bush, we had surely heard enough from that crowd.
The nation is still trying to come to grips with the recent mass shooting of movie-goers in Aurora, Colo., where a deranged gunman killed 12 people and wounded 58.
The carnage is unfathomable. At a time like this, our often-divided nation yearns for a sense of unity. In light of that effort, certain comments just aren’t helpful.
Every day, Americans United staff members read numerous secular and religious publications, check out TV and radio preachers and drop by various Religious Right Web sites and other sources. We monitor the theocrats, so you don't have to. (No, there's no need to thank us.)
Here's a roundup of some recent tidbits you might have missed:
I hadn't planned to attend the Inauguration of Barack Obama on the National Mall, since I'm not a huge fan of big crowds and cold weather. But yesterday morning at 9 I found myself on the Mall, surrounded by 1.5 million others, staring at a jumbo screen.
The controversy over Barack Obama's decision to ask Pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration refuses to die down. Discontent over the matter continues to simmer around the Web, and now the pundits are weighing in.
This morning, two Washington Post columnists commented – coming to radically different conclusions.
So Pastor Rick Warren has been invited to deliver the invocation during Barack Obama's inauguration?
What disappointing news! Warren, an increasingly prominent evangelical who penned the successful book The Purpose-Driven Life, likes to portray himself as above the partisan fray. But he's not. Warren is a kinder, gentler Jerry Falwell in a Hawaiian shirt and blue jeans with better P.R. – and he's slick enough to know how to play both sides of the political aisle.
Tomorrow, the 2008 election will be over, and the staff at Americans United can finally breathe a sigh of relief.
That relief won't be based on the election's outcome, but rather from no longer having to advocate constantly against the excessive use and abuse of religion in this presidential election -- an abuse committed by both the political left and right.
Right-wing Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity got all cranky on the air the other night about Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn's complaints regarding the recent presidential forum at Saddleback Church.
"Who cares what Barry Lynn says?" he blustered, after cohost Alan Colmes, in an exchange with Pastor Rick Warren, cited Lynn's take.