EVERYONE ELSE is writing about Barack Obama’s choice of Rev. Rick Warren to deliver an invocation at his presidential inauguration, so we know you’re all eager to learn your Curmudgeon’s thoughts on this galactically important topic.
We must begin, however, with some background, in order to place this issue in the context of our customary subject matter. During the election campaign, many of our scientific friends were gushing over Obama, behaving like typical single-issue voters, and claiming they were for Obama “because he’s pro-science.” They never lost an opportunity to bash Sarah Palin because “she’s a moose-hunting creationist.”
We endlessly pointed out that Palin’s creationism wasn’t an issue for us, because she had passed our Curmudgeonly test — twice — first as mayor and then as governor. She could have tried to insert creationism into the school curricula under her control, but she never even attempted to do so. Indeed, she specifically said she had no intent of doing so. But this had no impact on anyone’s thinking. We respected Palin, because she could keep her private religious beliefs separate from the public’s business.
Our science friends were delighted with Obama’s election victory. This was, they were certain, a great victory for science. Perhaps it was; but perhaps not. In the Kansas City Star we read Rick Warren needs to evolve. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:
It might be argued that [Rev Rick] Warren is a mainstream figure — after all, Purpose [The Purpose Driven Life] has sold 25 million copies and is the best-selling hardback book in American history, except for the Bible. Warren is listed as one of the most influential leaders alive. But he champions a worldview at odds with liberal — some would say enlightened — opinion.
We won’t get sidetracked into discussing what’s liberal and what’s enlightened. Let the journalist have her say. We continue:
Warren has equated the acceptance of gay marriage with an acceptance of incest and pedophilia.
We won’t be sidetracked by that either. The rev has his views, you have yours, and we have ours. We’ve already said all we’re ever likely to say about such matters here: Creationism and In-Your-Underwear Politics.
Let’s read on:
He [Rick Warren] has argued, “If Darwin was right, which is survival of the fittest, then homosexuality would be a recessive gene because it doesn’t reproduce, and you would think that over thousands of years that homosexuality would work itself out of the gene pool.”
What can we say here? Rick Warren is clearly an improvement over Jeremiah Wright — not a difficult hurdle to leap — so one can argue that Obama’s taste in preachers is gradually getting better. But does it matter that Obama has selected a creationist preacher for such a prominent occasion? Don’t be in doubt about this — the rev is a creationist. According to Wikipedia’s article on Rick Warren:
In a conversation with atheist author Sam Harris in Newsweek magazine, Warren spoke out against evolution and in favor of creationism …
What does this tell us about Obama and his “pro-science” attitudes? Does Obama really know anything about science? If you know something about this — raise your hand. [Curmudgeon looks, but sees no hands.] That’s odd, surely Mr. Obama’s experience as a community organizer would have provided some evidence of his scientific knowledge and attitudes. Well, okay, let’s admit that the record is a clean slate.
And that leads us to a bigger question — does anyone out there really know anything about Mr. Obama? Anything at all?
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