Deliver the invocation at the president-elect’s inauguration ceremony
“You don’t have to see eye to eye to walk hand in hand. … Three years ago I took enormous heat for inviting Barack Obama to my church because some of his views don’t agree [with mine]. Now he’s invited me.” —Saddleback Church’s Rick Warren, on accepting an invitation to .
Not surprisingly, Warren has been derided by gay-rights activists for his opposition to same-sex marriages, and most major news outlets have been quick to point out his recent comments in a BeliefNet interview in which the pastor compared the “redefinition of marriage” to include gay marriage to legitimizing incest, child abuse and polygamy. Even those who agree with Warren’s stance on same-sex marriages have questioned his acceptance to speak at the ceremony. Troy Newman, president of the pro-life group Operation Rescue, says the move is “tantamount to placing [Warren’s] stamp of approval on Obama and his policies that stand in direct opposition to biblical truths.”
In response to his critics, Warren stated: “Hopefully, individuals passionately expressing opinions from the left and the right will recognize that both [President-elect Barack Obama and I] have shown a commitment to model civility in America. … I am honored by this opportunity to pray God’s blessing on the office of the president and its current and future inhabitant, asking the Lord to provide wisdom to America’s leaders during this critical time in our nation's history.” [latimes.com, 12/18/08; charismamag.com, 12/19/08; AP, 12/21/08]