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I guess I am surprised at the anger still being expressed over the choice of Rick Warren to give the invocation at Obama’s inauguration. I left a comment over at Elizabeth Keaton’s blog, Telling Secrets a few days ago. It represented my belief that although I despise a good deal of the garbage that Warren spouts, I thought it was a valuable lesson in Obama’s determination to reach out to those we disagree with vehemently and seek cooperation in areas where we are not so torn.

In all, my argument was that although we don’t like Warren and his venomous crap, it was important to reach out to the evangelical right which he represents. Hopefully some of the more moderate voices would be suitably affected.

Apparently, I have seriously misjudged the level of anger this decision has caused. I say that because I was just at American Street and found out that our very own Quaker Agitator has started a new site for alternative invocations! It is called the Alternative Invocation, and welcomes anyone who wishes to write their own invocation in place of that of Mr. Warren’s.

I’ll be excited to see what is produced by the progressive blogosphere to counter the rhetoric of Mr. Warren. As I said, I still don’t feel the anger that is being expressed here. Perhaps I am not being sensitive enough, I’m not sure.

One of the issues that is present in much of the interfaith ecumenical movement is the insistence by some that they cannot work with folks whose theology they don’t agree with. To them, that is “condoning” beliefs and behaviors they deem sinful. I argue rather severely that this is not the case. One need not condone any belief that another has simply by working with them on other issues which in and of themselves are worthwhile and not controversial.

Additionally, it is this kind of interaction which can lead to learning and listening to other points of view which can in the end lead to real changes in thinking. I often think that the reason why some are so vociferous in their objection to this, is the very fear that their notions won’t hold water in the ensuing discussions. My response would be that if you are scared of that, your beliefs are pretty flimsy in the first place. All truth stands the test of time and debate it seems to me.

I feel bad in some sense that I seem to be at some difference of opinion with some of you. But I feel that that is not a bad thing. We should not always agree with everyone else who is in the general group progressive. We should have differences. And the joy of blogging is that we can disagree and discuss without great animus being expressed. I certainly welcome your thoughts and opinions, and I respect our differences in thinking. We are, after all, after the same basic ends, though we may not always agree on the most useful means of achieving them.

I, for one, will be eager to read the invocations that are posted. I may even offer one myself if I feel so moved. My deepest respect to Dave for pushing us to think again on this subject, and more deeply. My only concern is that anyone might think that I don’t care as deeply as I actually do about GLBT issues. That is simply not true. I am simply unsure that Mr. Obama has erred here. I am more convinced that, like a good teacher, he is pushing us beyond our comfort zone and asking us to examine what it really means to love one’s enemies.

I know that I am thinking again, and questioning my conclusions. Whether I come to a different result this time around, remains to be seen. I wish all of you well in this endeavor of re-examination.

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