December 17th, 2008
02:09 PM ET
11 months ago

Rick Warren to give inaugural invocation

Rick Warren hosted a presidential forum in August.
Rick Warren hosted a presidential forum in August.

(CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama's swearing-in ceremony will feature big names like minister Rick Warren and legendary singer Aretha Franklin, the Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies announced Wednesday.

Warren, the prominent evangelical and founder of the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, will deliver the ceremony's invocation. The minister hosted a presidential forum at his church last summer that challenged both Obama and Arizona Sen. John McCain on a host of faith-related issues. Warren did not endorse either presidential candidate.

His public support for California's Proposition 8 - the measure that successfully passed and called for outlawing gay marriage in the state - sparked the ire of many gay rights proponents, who seized on a comment in an October newsletter to his congregation: "This is not a political issue - it is a moral issue that God has spoken clearly about."

But Warren has long sought to broaden the focus of the evangelical agenda to include issues like the reduction of global poverty, human rights abuses, and the AIDS epidemic.

Also included in the inaugural program are cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the United States Marine Band, and other performers.

soundoff (203 Responses)
  1. Juge

    It better be an ecumenical invocation – including all religions, ethnicities, colors and sexual orientation. I strongly suspect that Rick Warren is incapable of doing this. OY as they say in French.

    December 17, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  2. SAD SAD

    It still shows how gracious President Elect is...After hoe Rev Warren treated him at Saddle back stting him up for Sen McCain to look good over him. How on eath will this Rev tell all Americans that Sen McCain is in a cone of silence which the state security service later said Sen McCain was in him motorcade listening to all the interview.
    Same Rev came out last week to give president Bush P.E.A.C.E. award.....
    It will take God for me to forgive this man but well i am not President-elect

    December 17, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  3. MikeH

    I think the phrase "Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer" is apporpriate for what is at play here.

    December 17, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  4. Change - Yeah Left

    At least he's not a hate filled anti-American bigot like Obama's regular pastor!

    December 17, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  5. Once You Vote Black

    Wait a min. You can't turn against Big Daddy O just because he makes a pick that you don't like. We must ask what does this choice say about Brother Hussian. It says he wants to work with all the people. People you like and people you don't like. He is not forcing anything on anyone. We have to stop trying to make blanket statements on every pick he makes. He just picked a gay women from NJ to lead something yesterday. What does that say about him. Let him do his thing.

    December 17, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  6. NY republican

    Bush Begone – It sounds like you have no tolerance to "push the limits" of. It's obvious right off bat from your alias. Then we have the lack of titles ("Obama" without even a "PE"). Then there is the "backward bible thumper " comment. I see no "tolerance" what so ever.

    December 17, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  7. Matt

    @ Mike, Syracuse, NY

    This is the problem with you people: you've got the question wrong, so your answer is irrelevant. It's not a question of whether gay people should be "given" rights. It's a question of whether their God given rights should be recognized. You're afraid to admit that's the question because there's clearly only one answer: YES.

    Got a problem with it? Take it up with God...free will was his idea...it's not your place to take it away.

    December 17, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  8. Cindy

    Obama is showing us he is going to be the President for "all" people, not just his people. Regardless if he and Warren see eye to eye on somethings but not others, if he's a decent man, a principled man.. then why not him? Even Mike Huckablee, as strong a Conservative as he is, said he'd support an Athiest, if he was a good person. We all need to be able to work with different people, not against them.

    December 17, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  9. kent

    Is this the intial material for "The Purpose Driven President"?

    December 17, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  10. Jozee

    Rick Warren-not a good choice in my opinion. This guy is two-faced and duplicitous who set PE Obama up during the Saddleback so-called debates. I have no respect for the man, but if Obama includes him, then so be it. I will not allow it to ruin the Inauguration festivities for me.

    ONE NATION

    December 17, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  11. Terry from GA

    I think some people are blowing things out of proporation. Obama and Rick Warren may not agree on every issue but I think they can find common values as a basis for their relationship.

    December 17, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  12. Marc in Virginia

    Welcome to the real world, Obamabots. He's not the liberal, progressive champion you hoped for. Obama is just another slick, Chicago politician who duped many of you young dummies into voting for him. Well played.

    December 17, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  13. Holy Mary

    The Rev. Al Sharpton wasn't available? LOL!!

    December 17, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  14. Abyssinian Lion

    He has to be the President for the people that dont agree with him and the President for the people that he doesnt agree with either. This is symbolic,ok?

    December 17, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  15. cardron

    I am a gay man and a progressive Christian minister. Although I disagree with much of what Warren on issues such as abortion and gay marriage, I think Obama asking him to say the invocation is both brilliant and appropriate.

    We do not have to agree with each other on every single point to work together. We should seek common ground where we can find it. Warren is concerned about AIDS, poverty, and human rights. Can’t progressives work with him and others like him on these issues, even while we disagree about other issues?

    Inclusion doesn’t mean only including some, it means including all who desire to work together for positive change. Imagine what our country and our world would be like if we all spent as much time working with each other in those areas where we agree as we do battling each other in those places where we disagree.

    Obama inviting Warren to offer the invocation shows good will and a desire for unity in spite of differences. It is a clear indication that he sees himself not just as a Democratic president, or as a progressive president, but as President of the entire country. As such, he must speak to the entire country. Warren’s selection shows the President-elect reaching out beyond the typical constituencies of the Democratic Party and embracing all people of good will. This is change I can believe in!

    December 17, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  16. Once You Vote Black

    Its simple homoisum is an ObamaNation. Just kidding. Obama wants to work with everyone. How do you talk to people if you don't interact with them. There is nothing wrong with having homophobic friends. How else will you change there mind. I have gay friends but they were my friends before I knew they were gay. Now that I have found out my position on gays has changed. It would have never happend if we did not work out our issues verbally. Now I accept them. Perhaps if you can see Warner as a reasonable person and he can see you as the same things might change. But that will never happen without a bridge.

    December 17, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  17. Ted

    Obama has officially thrown the gays and lesbians who voted for him under the bus. I feel sick to my stomach.

    December 17, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  18. Philadelphian trapped in Texas

    Politics does make strange bedfellows, doesn't it?

    December 17, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  19. Dr. Stoner

    Will we ever end the campain obama was elected, period. The preacher is a book seller, hooked up with a word weaver. I still say he has not done a GD, thing yet, but make everything sound like 1932. He ain't no FDR, I'll give him credit, he has given African Americans Pride in this country. He is going to make speeches and more speeches that will wear thing within the year. When he starts lecturing on civil rights that will just push moderates away but fast. I'll give him time and moderate support, but he has to remember he needs to have a successful 1st term before he runs for a 2nd.
    ps.

    And the press stop being afraid to say or ask the hard questions just because he is not a white guy.

    December 17, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  20. Alan in SF

    Awesome - we'll get to have a homophobe lecture us about morality. That's change we can believe in!

    December 17, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  21. JerryK

    Barack Obama will be President of the "United States" of America not just president of the Democratic Party.

    December 17, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  22. smokesignals

    ENOUGH!

    As much as I support Obama....I have to say....

    the separation of church and state should truly begin here. Right now. No benedictions, no invocations, no prayers, no religion. When are we going to get it? IMAGINE!

    December 17, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  23. Noah

    Chuck- You are either completely dumb or intellectually dishonest. Where is your proof that McCain was listening to Warren's questions? You are pathetic. Anything that makes your Annointed Leader look poorly you have to make excuses for. This is also hilarious because all you hard-line liberals are just going to be more disappointed at how Centrist Obama is becoming. This is hilarious to me. You did not vote in the same guy you thought you were voting in

    December 17, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
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