Influential evangelical pastor Rick Warren, pastor of Southern California's Saddleback Church and author of the top best seller, The Purpose Driven Life, is defending his invite by Barack Obama to give the invocation at the Jan. 20 inauguration.
Obama’s choice of Warren last week drew the ire of far left liberal groups and gay rights activists. According to the Associated Press, some gay rights activists claim that Obama’s “choosing such an outspoken opponent of gay marriage was tantamount to endorsing bigotry.”
Many gay rights activists are very upset with Obama’s choice and fear that Obama is caving in to the religious right. Warren publically “supported California's Proposition 8, which amended the state Constitution to ban gay marriage.”
Both Warren and Obama have defended the choice because there will be many diverse viewpoints presented during the inaugural festivities. Warren, who is defending the traditional Christian viewpoint on marriage, says that Obama is returning a favor.
"Three years ago I took enormous heat for inviting Barack Obama to my church because some of his views don't agree (with mine)," he said. "Now he's invited me."
Obama has also invited Joseph Lowery, “a Methodist minister and civil rights leader who supports same-sex marriage and gay rights, to deliver the benediction.”
Obama is confident in his choice of Warren because inaugural festivities are balanced and representative of a wide range of viewpoints.
"During the course of the entire inaugural festivities, there are going to be a wide range of viewpoints that are presented. And that's how it should be, because that's what America's about. That's part of the magic of this country ... we are diverse and noisy and opinionated," Obama said.
Gay activists are intent on politicizing this event to the fullest. Nothing that Obama or Warren can say in defense of the Warren choice is likely to satisfy. When Warren told NBC’s Dateline on Thursday that his church served the gay protesters “water and doughnuts,” one gay right advocate suggested that supporters needed to “return the favor” and send Warren gift cards to Dunkin’ Donuts.
The gift cards, which cost a minimum of $10, can be personalized with pictures of gay couples and supporters.
At least that’s a good form of protest that really does return the favor!