Shock and disbelief among progressives and gay activists after it was announced evangelist and staunch gay rights opponent Pastor Rick Warren will deliver the invocation at President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration on Jan. 20.
The founder of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California—who sponsored a forum on faith and values attended by Obama and John McCain in August—was an outspoken supporter of California’s anti-gay marriage Proposition 8 and has compared same-sex marriage to incest, pedophilia and polygamy.
Warren has also touted CNN's much-discredited Proposition 8 exit polls to rationalize the social conservative position that the rights of gays and lesbians do not constitute civil rights. "This debate is not really about civil rights, but a desire for approval. The fact that 70% of blacks supported Prop 8 shows they don't believe it is a civil rights issue. Gays in California already have their rights."
And here is the good reverend appearing in a television commercial urging Californians to vote "yes" on Proposition 8. Warren also cleverly uses the talking point that Obama agrees with him on gay marriage.
The Obama inauguration will provide the conservative televangelist with an international platform and a veneer of respectability. The inauguration invocation will also be a data point for social conservatives, the anti-gay movement and the anti-choice crowd, vis a vis "Warren delivered the first black president's invocation, so, he really can't be called a bigot." It's a no-win situation for progressives and gays and becomes Obama's Sister Soulja moment—Obama has been cultivating Warren's friendship for two years and the powerful pastor will not be dis-invited. No matter how hard we huff and puff, the house ain't blowing down. And the new president stands his ground with liberals and gays.
Some Background ...
Obama and McCain Agree to Forum [R20]
"Pastor Warren, Would You Let a White Supremacist Speak at Your Church?" [R20]
"Christians" Opposed to Obama[R20]
Far-Right Not Interested in Disease [R20]
Far-Right Not Interested in Disease Pt 2[R20]
Obama: Not "Very Christian" to Criticize Gays [R20]
Obama: Hospital Visitation for Gay Couples is "Not a Special Privilege" [R20]
Behind the Gay-Friendly Faces [The Advocate + PDF]
A Tale of Two Cities [The Advocate]
I Have a Dream ... Ticket [The Advocate]