Now first let me apologize to all my Muslim friends for appropriating a legitimate word that describes a Shiite religious leader who also has political power. I'm using the word in quotes to denote it's unorthodox use. But make no mistake, I MEAN to evoke the memory some of us have to the radical cleric Ayatollah Khomeini who was prominent in Iranian politics through the 1980's. He supported the taking of Western hostages who were held for months in Iran ostensibly in reaction to the United States allowing the deposed Shah of Iran exile. He understood the culture of the West as evil and corrosive to the values of his country and his religious views. He viewed the West with disdain and considered people who did not conform to his religious views as evil. He wanted an Islamic revolution to sweep clean the more tolerant parts of the tradition and force his fanatical views of theocratic governmental power even on his fellow Muslims in other countries. And he certainly had no mercy for those of the Jewish or Christian persuasion, they were just dead wrong. Evil actually. And so they were characterized as evil-doers.
Enter Rick Warren. It's 2008 in early December. He is being interviewed on Fox "News" by Sean Hannity. In the interview Hannity asserts that since the current President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, "....denies the holocost, wants to wipe Israel off the map, is seeking nuclear weapons..." that the Iranian president should be "taken out," assumedly a euphemism for assasination. Hannity publicly seeks Warren's blessing by asking him if he's "... advocating something dark, evil or something righteous?" To which Warren responds in true "Ayatollah" fashion by agreeing in saying that stopping evil is the "...legitimate role of government. The Bible says that God puts government on earth to punish evildoers.” Ok so we just have the right to assassinate the leader of a sovereign country because he's a loud mouthed, arrogant, nutwing who scares us and says nasty thing about our friends? Is it just me? Is this not religious fanaticism on the order of say... Khomeini?
Now look, I'm not happy Rev. Warren has likened my relationship with my lesbian partner to incest and child abuse. And I think it's terrible that he needs to compare a woman's right to choose to genocide or the Holocaust. It does not make me happy that President-elect Obama, from whom some of us have rekindled hope of a decent America, has chosen to give a platform, a pulpit really, to give Warren's dominant hate filled views even more credibility. And let's give Warren his due, he works to aleviate poverty, he had Obama visit his church during one of his AIDS events. He does good things. I won't quibble with that. But really, really good lies have a kernal of truth in them as well. And this guy's good works are good works to be sure and people are helped. But does that offset the pain and anguish caused by his other views?
So here's the question... Would it be OK with President-elect Obama if the President of Iran had a cleric do a public prayer at the biggest party in the country in the view of ALL of the press of the world by a guy who had publicly OK'd the assassination of the President of the United States? I'm thinking no. But maybe it's just me.