December 20, 2008

Augusta muses on Rick Warren

I think she was hoping for Tuna.

3 comments:

John-Julian, OJN said...

The caption must obviously be something like "Hmmmph!"

Christopher said...

Dame Augusta as it were. This is such a great picture.

I would be curious to hear your thoughts again about tolerance and intolerance, as it seems any objections or concerns are now understood as intolerant. I think folks continue to confuse tolerance with lack of any sort of boundaries.

A woman was gang-raped here in Richmond this last week on the perception that she is lesbian. The sort of speech the Rev. Warren uses to describe lgbt people, while not direct cause of such, opens way to such dehumanization and violence. His speech as I noted elsewhere has the moral equivalence of shouting "fire" in a theater or labeling Jews child-killers during Holy Week processions. And those would be right in saying I am not willing to tolerate such.

Tobias Haller said...

Thanks Fr JJ and C for the comments on HRH. She was definitely not amused.

My own feelings are mixed. Although I don't particularly like the choice of Warren, I don't regard it with the kind of outrage I am seeing elsewhere; and I think many of the expressions of outrage are inpolitic, from a purely cynical and practical perspective. It is rather like the Mirror image of the Catholic League picketing The Last Temptation of Christ.

I am not all that familiar with R Warren -- my main experience of him came from watching his "summit" with McCain and Obama. I've also seen him speak on working to combat AIDS in Africa. I have no personal experience of his anti-gay language, other than second or third hand; I have to trust that others are accurate in their portrayal of his language, while at the same time being keenly aware of what it is like to be quoted out of context or misunderstood.

That being said, obviously there are limits to what people should say publicly, especially a Christian pastor. To my mind it is a fundamental violation of one of the most important commandments Jesus ever issued for a Christian pastor to issue a "judgment" against anyone whatsoever. (Did I just do so? I don't think so, as I will explain.) A pastor is naturally free to urge his or her own flock, and others "not of his flock," to avoid things they believe to be harmful -- smoking, drinking, dancing, divorce, birth control, same-sex relationships, evangelicalism, bigotry, judgmentalism -- but I think they should stop at that point before crossing over to a condemnation of those who do not agree with their particular set of "things one ought not do." To define the limits of behavior is a pastor's task; to judge or condemn is God's.

Language of condemnation is Particularly dangerous in environments in which the objects of such condemnation are members of a class already regarded as open to abuse by prevailing societal attitude. Thanks be to God, the prevalence of homophobia is beginning to wane -- but only just. So I think it is fair to say that any language that diminishes or dehumanizes gay or lesbian persons as persons -- for instance, likening their relationships to bestiality -- goes beyond the pale of proper discourse.