2013-04-07 – To most people, especially parents, the death of a child is a secret, but ever-present dread. So when I saw the headline that Rick Warren’s 27-year old son had taken his own life, I clicked to read the story.
Rick Warren is the popular evangelist who gave the invocation at President Obama’s first inauguration. Obama was criticized for this because of Warren’s stance on gay rights. He clearly did it, though, to reach out to the part of the nation that stood against him.
People have warts. Who do you know that you fully approve of? We have things that draw us together and things that push us apart. If the things that push us apart trump the things that draw us together — we have no one.
Oddly, this view has been a key component in the struggle for gay rights. Closeted gays had plenty of friends in the straight world, but the question was whether we would recognize their humanity once we knew of their “wart.”
So people started coming out of the closet. At first, their “wart” was tolerated (not everywhere, but in many places). But then the “wart” stopped being seen as a wart. This was a huge cultural shift.
And so, Rick Warren has a different kind of wart. But he’s a father like I am. And he’s lost a son.
Obama reached out to the Christian right by inviting Warren to give a prayer at his inauguration. And in the years since, he’s reached out in other ways. In some cases, his acts of reaching out have been tactical disasters. His budget proposal this week could be such a case, with give-ups on Social Security and Medicare. (I’m not debating policy here. I’m just talking about the negotiating position.)
These things take time and there are bumps in the road. But did you notice who was re-elected President? Did you notice that a fair amount of the Democratic agenda has become law, in spite of the opposition?
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