Rick Warren to give invocation at Obama's inauguration; Update: Gay groups go ballistic

I was hoping for someone a little more, shall we say, audacious, but audacity’s always been unwelcome at The One’s biggest events. Enter Warren, one of the most politic choices available, who’s been courting Obama for more than two years notwithstanding his highly nuanced voting record on life-saving treatment for babies delivered after botched abortions. For his trouble he’s got a spot on the dais on Inauguration Day, just after Dianne Feinstein and before Aretha Franklin. Jackpot.

It makes a whole lot of sense. Even though Warren and Obama disagree on the life issue, they do see eye to eye on many social justice issues. This move is also classic Obama because it is a signal to religious conservatives that he’s willing to bring in both sides to the faith discussion in this country. Obama has never shied away from that.

I’m far from well informed about this, but isn’t Warren’s reputation among religious conservatives that of a bit of a squish? Bryan used to inveigh against him here from time to time; just yesterday, he reminded Beliefnet that he’s okay with domestic partnerships for gays, albeit not marriage. Predictably, the perpetually aggrieved are agitating for Obama to boot him. Exit question: Isn’t the only difference between Warren and Obama on gay marriage that one supported Prop 8 while the other tepidly opposed it?

Update: Lefty outfit People for the American Way lowers the boom:

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.

Update: Cometh the outrage. Obama’s got no choice but to sit there and take it; he’s not going to alienate Christians or jeopardize his new centrist rep by uninviting Warren.

“Your invitation to Reverend Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at your inauguration is a genuine blow to LGBT Americans,” the president of Human Rights Campaign, Joe Solomonese, wrote Obama Wednesday. “[W]e feel a deep level of disrespect when one of architects and promoters of an anti-gay agenda is given the prominence and the pulpit of your historic nomination.”…

“It’s a huge mistake,” said California gay rights activist Rick Jacobs, who chairs the state’s Courage Campaign. “He’s really the wrong person to lead the president into office.

“Can you imagine if he had a man of God doing the invocation who had deliberately said that Jews are not going to be saved and therefore should be excluded from what’s going on in America? People would be up in arms,” he said.

The editor of the Washington Blade, Kevin Naff, called the choice “Obama’s first big mistake.”

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John Sexton 10:40 PM on May 30, 2023