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Warren Argument Long

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Previous Entry Warren Argument Long Dec. 22nd, 2008 @ 08:17 pm Next Entry
So my friend posted my previous Warren rant on his forum and people didn't quite seem to get it, so as I had previously promised I wrote a more critically thought out response -- essentially making it more of an argument and less of a rant. So here it is, my argument for why Rick Warren should not have been invited to speak at the Obama Inauguration.

Again, I'd love to hear a counter-argument or why my argument is flawed.

(broken into the needed sub-arguments)

Sub-Argument One -- The Unacceptability of Warren’s Comments:

P1. Rick Warren has said that homosexual marriage is the moral equivalent of incest, polygamy, and pedophilia. (as shown in the video posted in the original entry).
P2. He offers no reasoning why this is the case, which is a fallacy of Argument from Authority.
P3. Such comments would not be publically acceptable in regard to the union of any other group in America.
P4. Homosexuals are fundamentally no different than any other group in America.
P5. Unsupported claims should not be believed and are not acceptable.

L1) Rick Warren’s claims that homosexual marriage is morally equivalent to incest, polygamy, and pedophilia should not be believed. (From P1, P2, P5)

L2) Such comments about homosexual marriage should not be acceptable. (From L1, P3, and P4)

C1) Rick Warren’s comments about the ethical nature of homosexual marriage are not acceptable (From P1, L2)

Sub-Argument Two – The Purpose of the Event

P1. The Obama Inauguration will be an important and very political public event.
P2. Important and very political public events are a time to demonstrate moral clarity.
P3. Important and very political public events are a time to demonstrate intellectual clarity.
P4. Speakers should be chosen that embody the purpose of the event.

C2) The Obama Inauguration is a time to demonstrate moral and intellectual clarity. (P1, P2, P3)

Sub-Argument Three – The Purpose of Speakers

P1. Assume Conclusion C2
P4. Speakers should be chosen that embody the purpose of the event.


C3) Only those that demonstrate moral and intellectual clarity should be invited to speak. (P4, L1)

Sub-Argument Four – The Wrongness of “Reaching Out” In This Case

P1. Assume Consequentialism (this is the harder way to argue, so I shall do it, see note below)
P2. It is morally wrong to gain favor with one group by harming another so long as the harm is greater than the gain.
P3. It is always hurtful to be described as morally equivalent to pedophiles.
P4. Warren has described homosexuals seeking marriage as morally equivalent to pedophiles.
P5. Exit polling shows Obama captured about 24% of the Evangelical vote (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/07/us/politics/07religion.html)
P6. Around 50% of Evangelical McCain supporters believe that Obama is/was a secret Muslim (http://www.beliefnet.com/News/Politics/2008/11/Beliefnet-Election-2008-Exit-Poll-Results.aspx?p=1)
P7. Evangelicals are, by definition, in opposition to other faiths -- the Muslim faith included.
P8. It is unlikely that the majority of individuals that were opposed to something can be swayed to support it in a sufficiently short amount of time.
P9. The first 100 Days tend to be when a President’s agenda is pushed the hardest and has the political capitol needed to implement it.
P10. The time from the election to the end of Obama’s first 100 days is a sufficiently short amount of time.
P11. Somewhere between 1-in-20 and 1-in-10 Americans are LGBT (http://gaylife.about.com/od/index/a/garygates.htm)
P12. Hearing people that you approve of speak on behalf of someone else is likely to give you a better approval of the person being spoken of.
P13. Around 39% of Americans are Evangelicals (http://www.wheaton.edu/isae/defining_evangelicalism.html#How%20Many)
P14. The Population of the United States is approximately 300,000,000 (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/print/us.html)
P15. In the 2008 Presidential election, Obama received around 70,000,000 total votes and McCain around 60,000,000 for a total of 130,000,000 votes cast.

L1) The popularity of Obama by Evangelicals will likely be greater than 24% (From P5, P12)

L2) Only around 50% of the McCain Evangelicals are NOT even open to supporting Obama, due to their belief that he was/is a secret Muslim. (P6, P7)

L3) The gain made to Evangelicals will be less than 38% because McCain received 76% of their support, at most Obama can win favor with 50% of them. (P8, L2)

L4) The approval Evangelicals have for Obama, if he allows Warren to speak, will likely be greater 24% but less than 62%. (L1, L2, L3, P12)

L5) The number of LGBT Americans is likely between 5-10% for a total of 15,000,000 to 30,000,000 (P11, P14)

L6) The total number of Evangelicals Obama can hope to increase happiness will be greater than 12,500,000 but less than 88,000,000. (P13, P14, L4)

L7) Allowing Warren to speak is an insufficiently short amount of time to help Obama sway Evangelicals in his meaningful first 100 Days (P8, P9)

L8) The LGBT community is more likely to be hurt, and hurt more deeply, by anti-gay remarks than the Evangelical community is to be made happy by Warren (P3, P4, P6, L7)

L9) The harm done by allowing someone with strong anti-gay remarks to speak is greater than the possible gain, in violation of consequentialism’s core tenants. (P1, L5, L6, L9)

C4) It is immoral to allow Warren to speak. (P2, P4, L9)

(NOTE: By similar argument, one could argue a Kant deontology by tweaking the argument to run along the lines that gaining favor with a group at the expense of another cannot be the categorical imperative, thus making it immoral. And by Randian Objectivism one could argue that allowing one group to prop you up at the expense of another, is allowing the groups to be means rather than ends, thus making it immoral. Both of these would be the far easier way to argue, and require far fewer statistics and steps, which is why I specifically chose consequentialism)

The Sub-Arguments can combined to this:

P1. Rick Warren’s beliefs and public statements are antithetical to intellectual clarity. (From C1)
P2. Rick Warren’s beliefs and public statements are antithetical to moral clarity. (From C4)
P3) The Obama Inauguration is a time to demonstrate moral and intellectual clarity. (From C2)
P4. Only those that demonstrate moral and intellectual clarity should be invited to speak. (From C2)


L1) Rick Warren’s views are antithetical to the purpose of the Inauguration (P1, P2, P3)

C) Rick Warren should not be invited to speak. (From P4 and L1)


There is, of course, a corollary here which is the notion that of all the “moderate” conservatories out there Obama picked Warren. It seems more than a little silly to assume that Warren alone could reach out to the Right and create the big tent that Obama wants. Certainly there are high profile Evangelicals that do not feel this way about homosexuals. Now, I cannot name any, but I find it statistically unlikely that none exist.
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Date:December 24th, 2008 04:57 am (UTC)
Other than the possible argument that morals have little or nothing to do with politics I really rather agree with you.
Date:December 26th, 2008 11:55 pm (UTC)
I applaud the rigorous layout of your argument there. Within the scope of your argument I largely agree with you. I might question Sub-4 P8 (and consequently P10) - that full support, or "support of Muslims" (P7) is what is required. Or that Evangelicals will necessarily continue to believe Obama is secretly Muslim once elected (P6). But those are minor quibbles. Were Warren's remarks the only consideration, I think your arugemnt is overwhelmingly correct.

As far ase those who support the logic of Warren's choice, my understanding is that there are other factors your argument ignores. Namely (and these are tacit, unresearched knowledge - I'll point vaguely to the last paragraph of this post: http://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2008/Pres/Maps/Dec18.html )...

P16. Warren, in contrast to most evangelical pastors and notable among conservatives, is a strong advocate for Christians to work on poverty and AIDS issues.
P17. It is important that Obama make at least a token invitation to a conservative speaker for a prominent role in his inauguration.
P18. Most conservative/evangelical preachers have made strong remarks of a severely objectionable sort about some fundamental rights issue close to most liberals' hearts.
P19. The closing prayer for Obama's inauguration is by a more liberal pastor, providing balance.

Therefore, given the importance of inviting someone conservative (P17) and the impossibility of inviting a notable conservative who _hasn't_ said something grievously insulting (P18), choosing Warren gives prominence to issues advocated by a conservative which Obama also supports (P16).

So I guess I'm saying that "reaching out" for the inauguration is inevitable, and Sub-argument 4 would likely exist with varied details for any conservative speaker choice (substitute appropriate aggrieved group).

In an attempt at being thorough, I would argue that Sub-argument 2 (specifically P2 and P3) are nice but idealistic/unrealistic assumptions on your part. Realistically I think P2 and P3 are something along the lines of "shoot for historical significance" and "play politics", respectively. It's an inauguration, not a policy event.

You'll have to forgive my sloppy form; it's been ages since I've laid out a proof.
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