Religious bigot Rick Warren to give invocation at Obama inaugural

Boy do I feel like a bit of a schmuck. After praising Barack Obama’s commitment to science and facts in policy decisions, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies announced that Dr. Rick Warren, Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, CA would give the invocation at the inaugural on January 20th. Warren is not someone a progressive person would invite. Basically, to me, he is a right wing religious tool.

As the People for the American Way put it:

It is a grave disappointment to learn that pastor Rick Warren will give the invocation at the inauguration of Barack Obama.

Pastor Warren, while enjoying a reputation as a moderate based on his affable personality and his church’s engagement on issues like AIDS in Africa, has said that the real difference between James Dobson and himself is one of tone rather than substance. He has recently compared marriage by loving and committed same-sex couples to incest and pedophilia. He has repeated the Religious Right’s big lie that supporters of equality for gay Americans are out to silence pastors. He has called Christians who advance a social gospel Marxists. He is adamantly opposed to women having a legal right to choose an abortion.

I’m sure that Warren’s supporters will portray his selection as an appeal to unity by a president who is committed to reaching across traditional divides. Others may explain it as a response to Warren inviting then-Senator Obama to speak on AIDS and candidate Obama to appear at a forum, both at his church. But the sad truth is that this decision further elevates someone who has in recent weeks actively promoted legalized discrimination and denigrated the lives and relationships of millions of Americans.

Rick Warren gets plenty of attention through his books and media appearances. He doesn’t need or deserve this position of honor. There is no shortage of religious leaders who reflect the values on which President-elect Obama campaigned and who are working to advance the common good.

People For the American Way ‘Profoundly Disappointed’ that Rick Warren Will Give Invocation

And Greg Sargent over at Talking Points Memo added:

After all, the decision really gives Warren an extraordinary platform — not to mention yet another data point supporting the bogus notion that the radical Warren is some kind of “moderate.” If the first black president doesn’t mind him giving the invocation at his historic inaugural, how bad and bigoted can he really be?

Top Liberal Group Hammers Decision For Rick Warren To Deliver Obama’s Inaugural Invocation

This is also a slap to the GBLT community so soon after the tragic passage of Prop 8 in California which Warren supported.


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  1. Glenn Roberts
    December 18, 2008

    Why not invite the KKK to participate? Would that not, also, reflect spirit of inclusion? We progressives have battled these right wing religious bigots for years on issues as diverse as the teaching of evolution in our schools, stem cell research, abortion rights, and equality for our gay/lesbian citizens. I am dissapointed in the decision to introduce an agent of hatred and ignorance into the people’s inauguration.

  2. December 19, 2008

    I agree but I will say that unlike some people on the right, who in the past have held their leaders to one issue litmus tests, I am not holding this mistake against Obama for all time. He will have plenty of opportunity to show better judgement on other issues of concern about diversity and religious tolerance.

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