December 24, 2008

Ask Obama To Uninvite Bigot Rick Warren

I have been fairly clear in expressing my disappointment here over Obama's choice of Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration, and I have tried to explain why I think it is a mistake to sweep this one under the rug. However, I may have made a mistake in suggesting that there was little we could do to change Obama's mind. Even if not, the last thing I want to do is discourage anyone from trying to have Warren uninvited. I sent the message below, adapted from the Secular Coalition for America, to Obama's transition team last week. If you'd like to do something similar, here is the form.

December 19, 2008

Dear President-elect Obama,

I am writing to urge you to reconsider your decision to have Reverend Rick Warren deliver the invocation at your inauguration. Sure, it can be argued that such a gesture is merely symbolic. However, your choice of Warren alienates the millions of American atheists, not to mention the gay community. Sometimes symbolism matters greatly.

You already know what Warren has said about gay people and reproductive freedom. But Warren is also on the record (Larry King) saying that he would never consider voting for an atheist presidential candidate. He has also stated that the only reason atheists can act ethically is because his god makes us so and that not believing in his god is intellectually dishonest. This sort of bigotry has no place at the inauguration of a president planning to unite America. Would you even consider a speaker who expressed similar views about Jews, women, or African Americans? Of course not!

Who on your inaugural dais will express the viewpoints of the tens of millions of us who do not believe in any gods, not to mention the majority of Americans who believe there is now too much religious influence in our politics and government?

By choosing someone known for bigotry to open your presidency, you are not creating change, but rather following the dismal tradition of your predecessor. Please reconsider.

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