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Don't Tell Me to Chill Out About Rick Warren!

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Two parts: one, an interview with Fred Karger from DumpRickWarren.com and two, additional commentary on Rick Warren from myself.

Californians Against Hate Start DumpRickWarren.com

Over the weekend, Fred Karger started DumpRickWarren.com to show that Rick Warren’s inclusion in the Inauguration is antithetical or at odds with Obama’s message of “unity and coming together.”

Karger described the situation:

The wounds are still raw from the election and the fact that he was such a prominent supporter of Prop 8. The president-elect and the members of Congress sees how angry the gay community is and we want to make sure our voices are heard and the people who were leading the effort against us are treated a little more carefully than they were before because I think this is not the message of unity and coming together that this president is hoping for.

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In July, Karger started CaliforniansAgainstHate.com. The site was used to “draw attention to the major donors to the Prop 8 campaign.” Karger’s site followed the big donors to the Yes on 8 campaign by using the report from the Secretary of State’s office and posted it on the website calling the list the “dishonor roll.”

Other citizen groups have responded to Obama’s decision to include Rick Warren.

Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese, called the invitation a “genuine blow” to the GLBT community and said “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.”

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Equality California Executive Director, Geoff Kors said recently, “I have decided to decline the invitation to attend the inauguration as I cannot be part of a celebration that highlights and gives voice to someone who advocated repealing rights from me and millions of other Californians.

People for the American Way’s Kathryn Kolbert issued a statement on the invitation:

It is a grave disappointment to learn that pastor Rick Warren will give the invocation at the inauguration of Barack Obama.

Pastor Warren, while enjoying a reputation as a moderate based on his affable personality and his church's engagement on issues like AIDS in Africa, has said that the real difference between James Dobson and himself is one of tone rather than substance. He has recently compared marriage by loving and committed same-sex couples to incest and pedophilia. He has repeated the Religious Right's big lie that supporters of equality for gay Americans are out to silence pastors. He has called Christians who advance a social gospel Marxists. He is adamantly opposed to women having a legal right to choose an abortion.

I'm sure that Warren's supporters will portray his selection as an appeal to unity by a president who is committed to reaching across traditional divides. Others may explain it as a response to Warren inviting then-Senator Obama to speak on AIDS and candidate Obama to appear at a forum, both at his church. But the sad truth is that this decision further elevates someone who has in recent weeks actively promoted legalized discrimination and denigrated the lives and relationships of millions of Americans.

Rick Warren gets plenty of attention through his books and media appearances. He doesn't need or deserve this position of honor. There is no shortage of religious leaders who reflect the values on which President-elect Obama campaigned and who are working to advance the common good.

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As Karger said, Rick Warren “came out in support of Prop 8. And, he is “part of that whole group of Christian evangelical leaders like James Dobson who came out in support of Prop 8.”

To many who are convinced that there is a difference between Dobson and Warren, Karger assertively said, “They’re made from the same cloth. They’re both pretty similar guys.”

Karger added, “They use the gay community to make money and to substantiate their power. [They’re] both bad apples.”

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for OpEdNews.com

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