December 17th, 2008
02:09 PM ET
10 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. Abortion

    Is he the one who asks Obama questions about life and abortion? And what is Obama's answer??

    December 17, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  2. Bob Los Gatos

    He's inviting some born-again and the Grateful Dead arent playing? Sheesh . . .

    December 17, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  3. ConsciousAmerican

    I've stayed pretty neutral about the choices of President Elect Obama but I question the selection of Rick Warren. The guy is erie and I question a number of his motives? I'm not feeling all spiritual and faithful in thinking about this guy....

    December 17, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  4. John, Brooklyn, New York

    So....once again, we gay Americans are being the first to be thrown overboard after we get a new president elected. Clinton betrayed us with "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and by signing the "Defense of Marraige Act". BUT AT LEAST CLINTON PUT UP A FIGHT TO TRY TO END MILITARY DISCRIMINATION.

    I had been inspired by the election of Obama. I'm deeply saddened that he is embracing and welcoming such an advocate of division and discrimination as Pastor Warren.

    Obama has now lost me....and many others with this action. He'll have to win me back.

    December 17, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  5. kayla

    WELL DONE GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT. PRESIDENT OBAMA

    December 17, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  6. Chuck

    Where will Stevie Wonder fit in with the ceremonies, given the fact that his songs were used extensively by the Obama Campaign

    December 17, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  7. Mickie

    That's disappointing that Rick Warren will speak. I believe he preaches for money and could care less about a person soul if it is poor. I'm sure this will net him millions from his followers.

    December 17, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  8. Anton Williams

    For Obama to pick Rick Warren is a slap to the gay community. It is a "moral issue" to take away rights from a minority, and who is next?

    December 17, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  9. Family First

    Barack Obama favors special rights for homosexuals.

    Obama thinks people with this lifestyle should be allowed to adopt children, teach in schools, and engage in immoral acts.

    Obama can't fool me, he's an extreme social liberal who is shamelessly using Rev Warren to seem moderate.

    Sarah Palin 2012!

    December 17, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  10. greenfish

    This is a disappointment. Fundamentalists of any ilk may me nervous; they're so certain they have God on their side.

    Where exactly does the Bible say homosexuality is wrong? If we model marraige on practices from thousands of years ago, we should allow bigamy.

    December 17, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  11. Chuck

    Where will Stevie Wonder fit into the program given the fact that the Obama Campaign used his songs extensively.

    December 17, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  12. Yo-Yo yes!

    Yo-Yo - yay!!!

    Rick Warren – yuck, who needs this jerk!

    December 17, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  13. Jackie in Dallas

    Get a life, people, he's just giving the invocation. Too bad Billy Grahme could not...he is still one of the most respected evangilists in the world.

    December 17, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  14. Virginia

    Rick, I am surprised....

    December 17, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  15. Veronica

    Abortion December 17th, 2008 2:12 pm ET

    Is he the one who asks Obama questions about life and abortion? And what is Obama's answer??
    --

    Use the Googles on the internet tubes; that ought to help.

    While far from religious, I am glad to see that at least some evangelicals, in particular, Rick Warren, realize that there are infinitely bigger issues we must contend with than abortion and gay marriage.

    December 17, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  16. BUSH BEGONE!

    Obama, your pushing the limits of tolerance by having this backward bible thumper playing such a main role in the inaugration.

    How about a more tolerant religious spokesperson, were all the Methodists busy???

    December 17, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  17. Anne E.

    Terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad choice.

    December 17, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  18. CanIcallyouJoe

    Asking a preacher and established homophobe about his personal political views is like asking a serial killer on morals. Btw, the Catholic Church has either expunged all negative records or has denied comment on a issue that Barack Obama might find a bit interesting – slavery.

    A preacher's words on political matters should hold the weight of a feather.

    "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State."

    -Thomas Jefferson, January 1st 1802, in a letter to the Danbury Baptists

    December 17, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  19. Barbara

    This is the first real big dissappointment I have had in Obama.
    I have been a "rabid" supporter since the beginning......
    Nothing makes me more nervous than the Evangelicals...
    Their holier than thou attitude and intrusion in politics is
    running rampant.
    Sorry, but I would even have preferred Rev.Wright to this
    Pleas Barack...Do Not Pander !

    December 17, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  20. Jill American

    To John, Brooklyn, NY – It was clear from the beginning where Obama stood but you drank the kool-aid anyway didn't you?

    December 17, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  21. gt

    GREAT PICK,,, YOU ARE DOING A GOOD JOB SO FAR ,,,,,,

    December 17, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  22. Oh the shame

    Family First

    Barack Obama favors special rights for homosexuals.

    Obama thinks people with this lifestyle should be allowed to adopt children, teach in schools, and engage in immoral acts.

    ****************************************
    Oh no, not a loving homosexual couple adopting children. Not a wonderful, dedicated homosexual teacher teaching our children. The horror!

    Obama doesn't favor "special" rights, he favors "equal" rights, you know, because homosexuals are human beings too.

    Oh and by the way, many heterosexual couples engage in immoral acts on a daily basis. Get over it. Doesn't affect you what people do in their own bedrooms.

    December 17, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  23. Rob

    Excellent choice! I commend both men. I know that the invocation at the inauguration will not be Rick Warren's first or last prayer for Obama. We need more pastors like him, willing to use godly influence to help our leaders make the right decisions.

    I am impressed that Barak Obama had the courage to make this choice.

    December 17, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  24. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia in CA

    Bad choice.

    I won't be watching.

    December 17, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  25. Greg

    Family First's post pissed me off until I saw the "Sarah Palin 2012!" at the bottom then I knew it was a joke.

    December 17, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
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