Rev. Rick Warren, the Purpose Driven Life guy who is one of America's more prominent evangelical leaders, is hosting a conference on Christianity and HIV/AIDS at Warren's SoCal church. In my opinion, he rightfully believes that Christian morals dictates that he do something about fighting the spread of a disease that has decimated African populations.
Warren invited over 60 speakers to his event. I suppose he figured that he needed someone who a) was intimately acquainted with the African continent and the problems of the AIDS epidemic there, b) is an openly religious Christian, and c) is a face people could recognize. This is presumably why he invited Illinois Sen. Barack Obama to speak. And not entirely unpredictably, he was met by a group of angry people. Led by Rob Schenck, they believe that Obama's pro-choice stance disqualifies him from any knowledge about AIDS and the role of Christianity in fighting it.
Apparently, a certain point of view on abortion is necessary to understand the AIDS crisis. Funny, I didn't think the two were related.
I'll add Schenck and his ilk to people who need to shut up. Reasonable people can disagree on the morality of pro-choice vs. pro-life stances. But disagreement on one issue should not preclude an alliance on A TOTALLY UNRELATED ISSUE. Send these people a memo on my behalf, please: you and Obama both want AIDS to go away. You are both Christians. You both have a place at a conference on the Church's role in fighting AIDS. Duh.
This highlights a disturbing trend in modern politics - the belief that because someone has certain disagreements with you they are therefore your enemy, and you should always oppose them. This is completely untrue. I don't know if there are too many people in American politics with whom I disagree 100% of the time. Or with whom I agree 100% of the time. Alliances form one issue at a time - bitter enemies on one issue can be allies on others. Generally I oppose what the Christian Coalition stands for, but I'll happily stand alongside them on a certain issue if they agree with me on that issue. But the idea that politics makes strange bedfellows seems to be lost on most political activists nowadays. If Hillary Clinton and Bill O'Reilly can find the time to work together on children's issues, pro-life conservative evangelicals can find it in their hearts to work with Sen. Obama on AIDS. Come on, folks - which is more important? Ideological purity, or getting stuff done? So applause to Warren for keeping his eyes on the prize. The rest of you - and I don't say this often - follow the pastor.