Turn Back Hate sign now

We the undersigned declare our intent to turn our backs on Pastor Rick Warren during the Inauguration ceremony for President-elect Barack Obama on January 20th, 2009. While we support the Obama message of change, hope, and national unity, Pastor Warren embodies a politics that divides, degrades, and insults ordinary, patriotic Americans.

President-elect Barack Obama recently invited Pastor Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California to deliver the invocation at the Inaugural ceremony. Although the United States was founded on a principle that separates church and state, the delivery of the invocation at the Inaugural ceremony is an historic tradition that honors the spiritual growth and progress of this great nation. As such, the religious and spiritual values of the person chosen to deliver this invocation are of great symbolic significance.

While the beliefs espoused by Pastor Warren are far outside the mainstream of American opinion, what we find most offensive are the means he has used to express those beliefs. Through his words and deeds, Pastor Warren has repeatedly and unapologetically insulted, demeaned, and belittled members of the gay and lesbian community, women, Jews, Holocaust victims, and many other ordinary Americans who disagree with his point of view. We respect the right of any religious leader to dissent and to preach their views to their congregation, but we oppose the hateful rhetoric that has been so hurtful to so many people.

We reject the notion that a minister of hate should be offered a national platform to represent the spiritual progress of the nation. All we ask is that our leaders, both religious and political, treat ordinary Americans with the same respect, dignity, decency, and compassion that they themselves expect.

We the undersigned are committed to a new kind of politics, the kind of politics President-elect Barack Obama envisioned in his campaign: a politics that treats every human being with dignity and respect no matter their gender, race, religion, income, sexual orientation, disability, gender-identity, or political viewpoint. In turning our backs on Pastor Warren, we hope to send a message to our leaders that we are ONE nation, ONE people, and that we refuse to tolerate individuals and leaders whose message is one of hate, fear, division, and intolerance.

President-elect Obama demonstrated profound courage, vision, and wisdom by campaigning on a message of unity, dignity, and tolerance. We agree with that message and strongly support President-elect Obama. We hope that he will choose an individual to deliver the invocation who has demonstrated a deep and abiding religious commitment to the principles of dignity and respect, principles that are shared by Americans of all faiths or of no faith.

Whether you are watching the Inauguration on television or online, listening on the radio, or attending the ceremony on the Mall, we the undersigned ask you to join us in turning our backs on hate by silently and non-disruptively turning away from Pastor Rick Warren as he delivers the invocation at the January 20th, 2009 Inaugural ceremony.

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Delia OwensBy:
City LifeIn:
Petition target:
President-elect Obama, Members of Congress, and Fellow Americans

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