Saturday, December 20, 2008

Gays Need Not Apply For Membership At Pastor Rick Warren's Saddleback Church

Presumably President-elect Barack Obama and his advisors acted in the name of inclusiveness by selecting Pastor Rick Warren to deliver the inaugural invocation on January 20th. Evangelicals, after all, have long been partial to the Republican party.

Inclusiveness is a worthy goal, but the selection of Pastor Warren carries with it a certain irony, to say the least. The Saddleback Church web site explicitly excludes gays from membership:

Because membership in a church is an outgrowth of accepting the Lordship and leadership of Jesus in one’s life, someone unwilling to repent of their homosexual lifestyle would not be accepted as a member at Saddleback Church. That does not mean they cannot attend church – we hope they do! God’s Word has the power to change our lives.

So gays can get in the door, and I'm sure that the church members feel that they're being open-minded. The goal, though, is for gays to see the error of their ways, which clearly sends a message of intolerance.

Is there any other group in American to whom such a policy would apply? Can we imagine the outrage–and rightfully so–if such a barrier were presented to any other minority? Why is it accepted when it applies to gays? 

Finally, if the inauguration is a celebration that includes all Americans, does Pastor Rick Warren exemplify this spirit?

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