Friday, December 19, 2008

Memo to Liberals: Cool it!

We have gotten so sensitive in this country that every group across the ideological spectrum dares anyone to offend them. So my message is: cool it, calm down, take it easy, get a sense of perspective.

The latest example is the liberal furor over the Obama choice of Rick Warren to give the inaugural invocation. It would not have been my choice, and I am on record as an advocate of gay marriage and have performed one for my son. Granted, some of Warren's acts and comments have been despicable. But he has also broadened the evangelical agenda and has devoted enormous energy to fighting poverty, AIDS, and global warming.

The liberal criticism magnifies the significance of this prayer all out of proportion. Did liberals not hear what Obama said repeatedly throughout his campaign -- that he intends to cross ideological and political boundaries?

Anyway, the bigger story is that Rick Warren has agreed to pray at the inauguration of a pro-choice, pro-gay rights president.

Ignored is the fact that Joseph Lowery-- a civil rights hero and an advocate of civil unions -- is giving the benediction.

No one could get elected who ran on my agenda regarding cultural, political, and social values. But Obama's aim is to govern effectively not to be doctrinally pure. After eight years of government cronies who were ideologically correct but sometimes incompetent, we should welcome Obama's more ecumenical approach.

My main concern would have been that Warren and Lowery not give a sectarian prayer in the name of Jesus and would have made that a condition of appointment.

So, Americans, calm down, develop some tolerance for others while vigorously pursuing causes dear to you.

Would I have made the same argument if the appointee had been a vicious racist? Probably not, unless he or she had overwhelming countervailing values on other vital issues backed up by deeds -- an ulikely possibility. Lines must be drawn between the tolerable and the intolerable. Knowing when and where to draw them is the challenge to social wisdom.

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