For those who either interpret The Office of the President-Elect Barack Hussein Obama's invitation to the Rev Rick Warren to deliver the inauguration invocation as; a) by the left/liberals, a cynical betrayal of his standards and beliefs in a desperate attempt to drag in the right and the conservatives to his side; or b) by the right/conservatives, a futile outreach in a desperate attempt to drag in the right and the conservatives to his side.
Apparently all misunderstand Obama and how his past experiences and background underlie his reasoning argues John McWhorter of the Manhattan Institute in the New Republic.
Black he is not, but at the inauguration ceremony next month, Rick Warren will be every bit as much in line with the black American soul as Aretha Franklin.
Warren opposes gay marriage; 70 percent of black voters in California supported Proposition 8. (against gay marriage, ECF) Warren is pro-life; in 2004, a Zogby poll tabulated that while about half of Americans overall were pro-life, 62 percent of blacks were.
Guilt ridden white and especially the financially secure liberals seem to believe that blacks share all their beliefs and are surprised when they don't. Usually both their experiences and real communities are often vastly different. As with other communities, liberals are not monolithic and although there is much overlapping agreement, the sub communities of black and white liberals experience differing realities.
As a result Obama--and the black community--are not suffering from cognitive dissonance in this instance but are responding to what works constructively in their lives.
Take his support for faith-based initiatives: for Obama to come away from community organizing in South Chicago with an aggressively secularist position while turning a blind eye to the potent role of religion in transforming poor black people's lives would have been almost willfully unfeeling. Obama was not, as is often supposed, cynically seeking votes from the right in saying that he'd retain an office of faith-based initiatives: He was embracing a conduit to personal redemption that no truly concerned black leader could disavow.
So yes, clinging to their religion can often mean they don't cling to the tragedies of clinging to their guns. And Warren, for all his unsettling beliefs for many ie, insistence on only creationism, is a bit more multi faceted than anyone would believe, insists McWhorter.
However, on gay marriage, Warren is in favor of partnership rights including insurance coverage, and he has long been dedicated intensely to relief for AIDS victims in Africa. Obama assumes that his disagreements with him on certain issues are outweighed by Warren's general commitment to helping the poor.
McWhorter supplies an interesting analysis with useful background information plus an important reminder that often when many belief systems and behavioral practices are seemingly superficially inconsistent there are important underlying consistencies.
And that is true all along the political and social spectrum.