Rick Warren, the Inauguration and the debate over morality

In the controversy over Rick Warren speaking at the Obama inauguration, once again an important point is been missed in these kinds of debates. There isn’t anything Biblical against men loving men or woman loving women, there are ancient rules of sanitation that predated the discovery of germs, that were mentioning in the Bible. One was not supposed to get manure, or each others semen or female body fluids, on each others hands, or in ones mouth. This was true in marriage as well. Maybe with careful use of a condom one could obey strict ancient rules of cleanliness, maybe not. But my guess is that if one used a condom to prevent getting any semen in one’s month one would be half way going along with the ancient rules.

Ahmadinejad in Iran said something that was translated or interpreted to be a claim that there were no Gays in Iran. He was actually saying that no Iranian puts manure or semen in their months, which may not be true. But some Iranians are proud Muslims who spend most of their time with a male friend, visiting their wife or wives every few weeks as some kind of grim chore, and are just as much a proud Muslim as someone who likes to be with at least one of their wives.

In the old days, say 60 years ago, a child might be raised by his dad and someone called Uncle Ted. If, in a schoolyard rumor, his dad and Uncle Ted were accused of bestiality or giving a blow job it would be considered extremely hurtful and the child supposed to defend his father by trying to beat the other kid up. Personally I had an evil step-mother, my first step-mother, and when another kid would give a usual taunt such as, “Your mother sucks cock,” I knew I was supposed to pretend to be mad instead of a laugh. My father lectured that my step-mother was my real mother. My original mother died of breast cancer when I was five, but I don’t remember any taunts against my father or a mother which I didn’t find funny. Anyway, in a hypothetical situation, a child today is raised by his dad and a Mr. Ted, his father’s domestic partner, it may be more traumatic than if the partner was referred to as Uncle Ted.

Today there are sperm banks and surrogate motherhood. Aunts and uncles and grandparents don’t stay around, thus children are getting more and more isolated. I remember one Catholic priest, who refused to marry a couple become one of the lovers didn’t have a functioning sex organ. The priest got a lot of people mad at him. But the priest thought he was following the Biblical definition of marriage. If Pastor Rick Warner continues to oppose the idea of gay marriage, he should encourage people to be allowed to legally adopt each other as sisters, brothers or cousins. Sixty years ago someone could call themselves a brother, and visited a hospital, she or he could and help make decisions for a dying friend. Today everything is on computer, and live-in friends are left out in the cold but the construct of domestic partner rather than a legally adopted relative is not the answer.

In the 50’s I remember when mostly church groups were lobbying for no fault divorce. I saw a study more recently that a no fault divorce where a child has to pretend to be one person during the school-year, and another during the Christmas and summer break, is the most stressful kind of family breakup from the child’s point of view.

So social change can lead to people getting hurt. Efforts should be made to study Gay marriage in European countries and Vermont where its legal and Gay divorce as well, and try to make the rules people live by encourage harmony rather than stress. Maybe marriage should be something other than two people or a minister declaring it so. Maybe annulments where two people declare that one wasn’t serious or both weren’t sincere in declaring that they would be spending the rest of their lives together and thus the marriage wasn’t ever real. And anyone who decides to temporarily get married gay or straight perhaps is disrupting the institution of marriage, and perhaps it shouldn’t be a legal marriage.

Whatever society ends up deciding, let’s stop this arguing that one side of the argument represents evil or bigotry and the other side represents goodness.

Yes there are real arguments on what exactly is right and what is wrong. But some of the argument is over semantics. It may be possible for two men or two women to get married in Vermont, or Spain yet still be a responsible members of Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, simply by agreeing to avoid all anal activity or getting each others fluids on each other. Sleeping in the same bed, even sharing each others last name. Someone might ask Rick Warren if this is so.

When it comes to adults dealings with children, the modern rules keep getting stricter. Once unless someone manipulated a child’s organs or exchanged manure or body fluids, one was being responsible in the old days. Some ancient art involving children and views of primitive tribal villages can rarely be seen on TV anymore. In Scotland a summer camp owner was accused of being a pedophile because he insisted that the boys have their shirts off in group camp photos, his camp went bankrupt when parents stopped sending their kids. There was a peace calendar where a group of woman joined hands to form a peace sign on the rocks over the Pacific Ocean. A neighbor wanted me to scan a photocopy on my computer. But the women were nude and one was younger than puberty. And I was afraid of how bad the molestation hysteria might get some day. A prosecutor might actually chop the young girl out of the picture to make computer porn charges stick better. Tony Alamo was an old man who among other things supposedly sent child porn photos on home made holiday cards. I wonder if they were photos of the same diapered babies he had been sending for the last 40 years. He and his church also claimed that anyone past puberty could marry, another area where what once was moral, now isn’t.

The technology of computer generated porn, where no child’s childhood is actually compromised, complicates going back to the old-fashioned moral values when it comes to children.

Obama is going around trying to make everyone happy. It started when he was the head of the Harvard Law Review. But he accidentally made fellow black activists unhappy. So as the future President he picked Eric Holder, a Black man, to be Attorney General.

Now that a lot of Gays are screaming about Pastor Rick Warren being the invocation speaker at the inauguration, Obama is now more likely to be sensitive to Gay concerns when he picks his first Supreme Court Justice. In hindsight, when the first Supreme Court vacancy comes up, Warren might wish he declined the invitation. Though maybe something beautiful in a new age sort of way is taking place, but I fear some kind of awkward trip ups since even Jesus Christ couldn’t make everyone happy if he wanted to. My fear is over Hillary being Secretary of State rather than Rick Warren as convocation speaker. One day Obama makes a beautiful speech that America is no longer going to be a war with Muslims, and the next day a reassuring speech to Israel, as if Obama can somehow make both sides happy. If things get confusing it might give Hillary the power to do almost exactly what she wants. Anyway protesting Hillary instead of Warren, might limit her power a little. I would especially like to see an attempted filibuster before the Senate votes on confirming someone with zero foreign policy or diplomatic experience as Secretary of State.

Does Obama have any advisor that is with him in discussion the parameters of trying to make everyone happy. Or is he trying to do it all by himself without advice and discussions of the possible problems ahead. I wish Barrack Obama would put together some kind of think-tank to discuss trying to make everyone happy and scenario pit falls that might lie ahead, to prevent every cabinet member from thinking that they can decide for the President if there is a crisis over conflicting instructions in the future.

Anyway I hope we can have a rational discussion over the limits of our moral differences instead of one side thinking the other side represents pure evil or bigotry and vice-versa.

RichardKanePA (in Philadelphia PA) RichardKanePA@aol.com,


  1. silentSCREAM

    Me thinks you ask too much.

    …I hope we can have a rational discussion over the limits of our moral differences…

    Rational discussion… in a society that labels and criminalizes something as benign as public exposure of ones body as “indecent?” And now couples the charge with the stigma of registered “sex offender” too.

    A total of 12 people were charged in the Oct. 31 run, a tradition that involves pumpkin carving, alcohol and a late-night naked run down the mall. All 12 originally faced indecent exposure charges, which would have required them to register as sex offenders

    Full Story Here

    Richard, you make some excellent points. But as they say, you’re a dreamer. A man of another time… a time in the distant future. America’s bible thumping morality nazi’s have been winning their battles against freedom, liberty and equality in the eyes of the law even before the ink on the constitution had a chance to dry. Today’s purveyor’s of righteousness and piety are little different from their Dark Ages predecessors who used harsh torture techniques to purge so accused heretics of immoral afflictions. Contemporary church dogma codified by irrational and discriminating laws are more or less the same tactic reincarnated for implementation in a modern less violent era.

  2. RichardKanePA

    Silent Scream thanks for your comment. It seems that when anyone blogs something deep at CapitolHillBlue I doesn’t get commented upon, and comments spread things around.

    However, it seems to me that both Gay right’s extremists and Fundamentalist Christian extremists are trying to use child molestation hysteria against each other. Tony Alamo was an 87 year old man whose church believes that age of consent laws violate Biblical teachings. When he was arrested, a blog condemned him made him look 45 (or an old photo) as if he was in the bushes ready to pounce on a young girl passing near by. To try to prove abortion is murder, drunk drivers are now charged with double murders, if the person struck was pregnant. It used to be if a drunk driver stuck a car with one person in it,or a bunch of people in it he or she was charged with the same crime. Both sides use as long as possible advocacy of punishment to spread their ideas of what morality should be.

    I was about to post a less wordy version my original comments above but it might interfere with Silent Scream’s response, so I will post the shorter version as a comment instead following this one. By the way no one commented at phillyimc.org/en/more-rick-warren-inaugural-controversy-many-realize

    RichardKanePA (in Philly PA)

  3. RichardKanePA

    Nothing in the Bible condemns orientation

    Before the discovery of germs, there used to be ancient laws a sanitary that manure, semen, female fluids and blood, doesn’t belong in ones mouth or even on ones hands. Somehow both sides have been creating arguments and affirmations over orientation, none of this in anyway Biblical, or necessarily anti-religious.

    Trying to quote the Bible to suggest that Gay marriage advocates come from Satan is ridiculous, or from a more liberal religious perspective to suggest that pastor Warren represents evil. Common ground will be closer if the ridiculous extremes are challenged. This covers all morality including with children. Remember a Scottish summer camp owner was accused of being a pedophile just because he insisted that the boys have their shirts off in group camp photos. Though he seemed to prove he was a monster by falling apart after his camp went bankrupt, and became ostracize, and went after the teacher who first accused him, killing kids in her classroom as well. Society can decide that marriage before a certain arbitrary age say 17 or 16 is immoral. Tony Alamo is the leader of a church that disagrees, and ended up arrested because of it. But a blog condemning him makes him look 45 with an expression like he is ready to pounce out of the bushes attacking little girls. All sides in the debates over morality are exaggerating to try to make their points. Some shill advocates of new morality, and some shriller advocates of traditional values delight at any opportunity to try to paint the other side as supporting or being soft on child molesting.

    Anyway, to call pastor Rick Warren evil despite all his efforts to fight poverty and AIDS doesn’t make sense. Let’s stop creating a lot of pain in certain people’s lives with unnecessary shill comments.

    I am particularly hoping that Pastor Warren, just by the way he runs his life will put a damper on the idea that their is something Christian in ever trying to encourage Armageddon to happen.

    RichardKanePA (in Philadelphia PA) RichardKanePA@aol.com