Cultural Thursday

Kyle Reed // @kylereed
A view from my desk while my students watched Rick Warren

A view from my desk while my students watched Rick Warren

This is a picture from my class today. It is cultural thursday, and on cultural thursday we discuss things going on in the culture. We watch videos, read articles, discuss important issues, and so on. Today, to kick off the new semester I thought I would bring up an issue that I knew would get my students going. Today we discussed the issue of Rick Warren praying at the Inagauration of President Elect Barak Obama. If you haven’t heard, this has been a major deal. People on both sides, Christians and the Gay Community are up in arms about this decision. Why, I really don’t know. Maybe because Christians are still stuck in the mindset of promoting one candidate based on the issue of abortion. Maybe the Gay communit because they feel threated by the views of Christians and think that Obama doesn’t support them. A popular blogger said that “if you think that Obama is for the rights of the gay community then you better sober up.” No matter where you fall on the issue the discussion and news stories have been rather interesting.

First let me show you a couple of things that we viewed and read about before we discussed this issue. If you want to take the time to watch these videos it is worth the time. Very interesting, especially the CNN story. If you only want to view one, check out the Melissa Ethridge blog (thank you Lee for this). Great story.

CNN Story on Warren:
Rick Warren’s Address to his congregation:
Article by Melissa Ethridge (famous songwriter/singer)
Obama Speaks out article:

After viewing all of these and reading the articles I asked my students what they thought. Here is what they said:

“I struggle with the idea of giving them (gay/lesbians) freedom of choice in marriage and life style” “Why would he (warren) support Prop 8 and gay rights if he was a christian?” “Is it right for Christians to tke away their choice?” “Are we founded on Christian Principles? Why would these other religions and other beliefs come here if we are a christian nation? They should stay out.” “Why are these people so passionate about this?” “Let people believe what they want and we believe what we want to believe. Keep our business to ourselves and worry about ourselves.”

These were all great questions and the responses were great as well. We were still discussing when the bell rang and I agreed to carry this conversation over to tomorrow. If anything else is said interesting I will share it with you.

I am sure that you have a lot of thoughts and responses to these questions. I would love to hear what you would say to these questions or for that matter what you think about all of this.


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Kyle Reed

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I create websites, conversations, and ideas. Advocate for the 20 somethings. Looking to connect everyone to a mentor. Married to my best friend, Ginny. I like my coffee black and my dog Jack. I currently live in Nashville and work at Sony Music/Provident in Nashville
  • Brad Nichols

    Warren wasn’t a surprise to me, and I don’t think he was much of a surprise to the rest of the Christian community. The convenient label of the “Evangelical Christian Right” is no longer effectively in place any more. It’s just a 1990’s straw man that non-Christian and Christian liberals erect for the sake of avoiding the more intellectual arguments that need to be treated. Obama received more votes from Evangelicals than any other Democratic candidate, and the rest of the Evangelical community was torn on much bigger issues than abortion. To lump even a majority of the Christian right into that misinformed category is to miss the real debate.
    Obama picked Warren along with many other homosexual activists, because it was a gesture that his administration would reach much further past the simplistic divides between conservative and liberal circles. The gesture was important though, and, understandably, people were up in arms for a variety of reasons. He’s not merely calling a Christian celebrity to pray; he’s expecting a new cultural identity to take shape between two already staunchly different cultures. For some reason, the new Christian movements want to blur all these categorizations, as if they aren’t important… And they very much are important to maintain. You can not have sanity without identity, and you can not have identity without defining yourself denominationally.

  • kylereed

    Interesting thoughts here Brad. I really do think that you are right when you talk about the blurriness of lines. It is pretty obvious that Obama is trying to “reach out” to all sides and if you watched the CNN debate that I put up was very interesting to see the argument over the fact that this idea of warren praying was not uniting the country.
    I see what you are saying about the term Evangelical Christian Right not being a label anymore. But what I have noticed here at CHS and at Harvester is that it is still in affect. I would say that Harvester was what seemed to be 80% leaning to the right side and against Obama. And yet we had a minister at Harvester vote for Obama. So the lines I really think are being blurred in the sense that the majority is switching.
    I wonder though if the “conservatives” and “liberals” will ever get along on these issues?

  • Brad

    I imagine conservative politicians will be taking up much different issues for the next election, now that they have sufficiently lost the big class of Jerry Falwell’s; Evangelicalism is no longer trendy, and it has largely been snuffed out as a blind wave of shouting with no intellectual defense. Sure we’ll still hear Evangelical voices, but the landscape is going to break up into smaller pieces. I think this gesture is just marking a much hazier future. I would suffice it to say that the political horizon is drastically changing, and we might even see a new party receive more attention than usual. Conservatives and liberals, as long as they maintain their identity as “conservatives” and “liberals” can’t get along, because their very identity depends on their ideals. I would simply expect to see some new classes pop up and for the liberal and conservative categories to take a much different form. But who knows… I’m definitely no authority on the issue.