I have been trying to think through President-elect Obama’s decision to have the purpose-driven pastor Rick Warren speak at his presidential inauguration. This choice has inflamed both the secular and LGBT community on the web including “Andrew Sullivan”:http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/12/taking-yes-for.html and “John Hodgman”:http://www.areasofmyexpertise.com/2008/12/everything-i-have-to-say-about-rick-warren/. I too had a serious _WTF!?_ moment when I saw the announcement.
However, on further thought, I am starting to think that this is another sign of Obama’s pragmatic politics (a.k.a. what some idealists are calling “post-partisan politics”). Rick Warren is no ally of Obama, and a large portion of the American population is backing Obama. I think this is a matter of Team Obama kicking the ball downfield on the first down to wait and see whether Team Evangelist will fumble it. Obama offers Warren the chance to kiss the ring and come on board, and if Warren shoots his mouth on at the wrong time he relegates his team to the bench in the eyes of the American people (how were those last sentences for literary clichés?). If Warren plays along then Obama can continue his post-partisan policy-making without the direct opposition (an tacit support) of the evangelical movement that has so infected American politics.