...TAPPER: Would you have compunctions about voting for someone who had cheated on his wife?
WARREN: Absolutely I would. Absolutely I would. Because if you can't keep your faith to your most sacred vow - "'til death do us part" -- how in the world can I trust you to lead my family? My government? My nation?...Absolutely I would. I think people first need to ask forgiveness and then earn trust back over time Can trust be re-earned? Absolutely but it takes time.
I don't know where we got the idea that a monogamous president is a good president, but it's out there. This man has sold tens of millions of books and he spouts idiocy like this.
Pam makes the connection to John McCain, but we all know that he automatically gets off the hook. It doesn't matter how many wives he has and if he cheats on all of them with hundreds of women, it's OK because it's John McCain.
Warren above was actually referring to John Edwards, not McCain. Heaven forbid he actually apply his reasoning across the board.
Both men also share political skills of a high order. Like Graham, Warren allowed himself to get too close to the Republican Party. In 2004 he supported Bush behind the scenes, taking part in White House conference calls and informing thousands of pastors that they should regard issues such as abortion and gay marriage as "non-negotiable."
Apparently, adultery is an issue of trust that the entire country should be invested in. Lying to us all about WMD's in Iraq, it's connection to September 11th, and the cost of the war, in the end killing around a million people, all to get some oil, well, that's just peanuts. Didn't you see? Edwards slept with a woman who wasn't his wife!!!
The fact that he's buying into that framing is what bothers me most about this new ad for Obama:
He kept his rocket in his pocket? Oh my! Let's make him president right away, I'm sure he'll use his Power of Fidelity to create peace in the Middle East and get us all health care.
That's the inherent problem with turning issues far more complicated than a simple "Did he cheat or not?" into litmus tests for real jobs that require real leaders with real ideas: people commit adultery for many reasons, not simply because of a moral failing, and relationships end not just because people "fail," but also because of personal growth, a need for change, a realization that the relationship isn't serving their needs, and changes in circumstances. An up or a down on the monogamy question is meaningless in the job arena.
Reducing all of that complexity down to over-simplified morality and then saying that it's the most important issues is one of the most brilliant strategies that the Religious Right uses. Not only do they have a quick justification for distracting us with same-sex marriage and whatever other silly "moral values" issue of the day comes up (like Terri Schiavo, my God, that was lame), but they also have a capricious weapon to use against politicians they don't like. John McCain's still a good guy, but we should seriously worry about John Edwards. Mm-hmm.
But even if our guy is the one who ends up on top of the moral values pie-fight, it doesn't help us in the long-term. Remember, all sexuality, relationship, love, and sex questions are simple goods and bads - that's how this system works. And under such a system it's hard to make "gay" end up with "good" for most people. Consider how Rick Warren is a complete homophobe:
WARREN: Now people ask me all the time what do you think about homosexuality, OK? Well, I don't approach it -- I approach it like this. When you look at a female body and you look at a male body it seems that naturally certain parts go together.
KING: It seems that way, therefore how do you explain why someone is homosexual?
WARREN: I don't explain it. I don't explain it.
KING: Well, then that doesn't suffice.
WARREN: Well, and...
KING: Do you know why women, why you like women, just because the body is shaped differently?
WARREN: Oh, no, I'm sure I know why I like women.
KING: You do?
WARREN: I think -- I think I was wired by God to like women. I think they...
KING: So, what did he do to the gay person, God?
WARREN: I don't know that God did that. I really don't.
KING: You mean he did it to you but he didn't do it to them?
WARREN: You know, Larry, we all have instincts and we all have urges and we all have desires. That doesn't necessarily mean that I fulfill all of them. In other words, as a heterosexual man I might desire to have sex with 100 women. That doesn't mean I do it because that wouldn't be the right thing.
KING: All right, but if you desire another man and you're a man and you're an adult, who are you harming if the two of you agree and it's your life?
KING: It's not Rick Warren's life or Larry King's life. It's their life.
WARREN: Well, again, I would just say I think to me the issue is, is it natural? Is it the natural thing? I mean here's an interesting thing I have to ask. How can you believe in Darwin's theory of evolution and homosexuality at the same time? Now think about this.
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.
KING: So, we take the reverse. The creator then approves of it.
WARREN: Well, I believe...
KING: Darwin's wrong. The creator is right. Gays are right.
WARREN: Yes well, of course, I believe that God created one man for one woman for life. A lot of the problems -- as a pastor I've notice that when God gives certain rules they're really for our benefit. They're not because God's capricious or just "I think that I'm going to make your life miserable."
Warren's the leader of the newer, more moderate Religious Right, and he's really making the plumbing argument? Jeez.
Under these arbitrary rules, LGBT folks aren't going to win. That's probably what bothers me most when I see queer people throwing this same sort of morality back in the faces of the right when they commit adultery, when our guy is the one who's monogamous, when they're caught lying about an affair: that entire system was created, in part, to oppress us. Why would we grant it legitimacy?
Anyway, tonight Rick Warren is going to interview both Obama and McCain. Will he ask McCain about his adultery? Doubt it, but I could end up being surprised.
Warren has promised to ask about their personal faiths. I also have a problem with a person's religion, or lack thereof, being used as a test to see if they're fit for the presidency. But this is modern America, and we play fast and loose with the line between theocracy and democracy.