December 17th, 2008
02:09 PM ET
1 year 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. Anonymous

    No way! We have not forgotten how Rick lied about John McCain being in the 'cone of silence'. Warren has no place doing the invocation.

    December 17, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  2. NYC Native

    Rick Warren emphatically DOES NOT BELONG at the Obama inauguration. Seems like Obama's kissing up to the intolerant just to look conservative. They're not your base, Barack! They're horrified you got elected for God's sake.

    December 17, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  3. Jazzi

    No way! We have not forgotten how Rick lied about John McCain being in the 'cone of silence'. Warren has no place doing the invocation.

    December 17, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  4. jd

    According to the Bible..marriage is between an man and a woman Anton...and of course that fact has been disputed..but without the teachings of Bible...I personally believe that marriage is between a man and a woman....I have gay friends and I respect their choices, but I still have my own beliefs....

    As far as different groups being thrown under the bus...minorities have always been thrown under the bus in this society...that's why it's so hard for "some" americans to accept Barack Hussein Obama as our 44th President...but I welcome him & his family to the White House, which was built with the blood & sweat of my ancestors, who are probably dancing in their graves right about now....

    December 17, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  5. John

    Very disappointed in this choice. Any supporter of Proposition 8 is an enemy of mine. Barack, you screwed up on this one.

    December 17, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  6. Scott NYC Independent

    All I can say is CLEVER

    December 17, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  7. Ian Minneapolis, MN

    "This is not a political issue — it is a moral issue that God has spoken clearly about."

    Yeah ok, when I hear the words come from either Jesus Christ or God himself...I'm going to keep thinking that some random guy wrote what he thought god wanted. I think Kingdom of Heaven put it best. I've seen the word of god in the eye's of too many murderers. I've seen the word of god in the eye's of too many corupt. God is only in your mind and your heart.
    Oh I don't think Jesus would like the site of price tags on bibles either....or does God plan on making a profit on this whole religion thing.

    I doubt CNN will post this, but we'll see.

    December 17, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  8. Daniel

    I am surprised that Obama would choose an outspoken bigot like Rick Warren to open the inaugural cermeony. Would a president-elect ever invite a member of the Ku Klux Klan to open a public ceremony? I think not. So why choose someone who has extreme views on minorities? Rick Warren is nothing but a bigot, and Obama has done a great harm to his country by inviting him to speak at the ceremony. Very bad judgment on his part.

    December 17, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  9. Jane Barrett

    Wrong choice Mr. President Elect...he definitely doesn't speak for "the people" who elected you.

    December 17, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  10. NY republican

    I still want a ticket to this party. It should be one heck of a good time if 9.74 MILLION dollars is not enough.

    December 17, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  11. Barbara

    I am sorry for the Gay population and now worried myself about Barack staying true to his own convictions..

    My wish list for the inauguration included Stevie Wonder, Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfry and Ted Kennedy right there next to the
    Obamas' on the podium..
    Don't tell me we may have another 8 years of war and born agains..

    December 17, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  12. Scott NYC Independent

    Barbara – this is only one thing in an event that will take about 15 minutes, yet it will drastically reduce the support the republican base has among evangelicals without attaching policy or politics to the olive branch. Think long term.

    December 17, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  13. G

    I think its great and will probably confuse the right LOL.

    December 17, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  14. Mike Dallas

    Warren has his warren of hate, it is called the Republican party!

    He does not deserve to participate. If there has to be a rabid bible thumper, Onsteen from Houston would be preferable to this clown.

    December 17, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  15. Stacy from Leesburg VA

    Pastor Warren uses the Bible as a book of hate and that is just wrong. I am strongly against these "mega-churches" as they de-personalize your connection to God and feed into the easy, fast food, fall into the herd mentaility that we Americans are so easily prone to.

    December 17, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  16. ChicagoSuz

    Memo to Pres-elect Obama:

    You won... didn't anybody tell you?

    December 17, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  17. Culture bearer

    This Rick Warren has gotten stinking rich from selling his religious beliefs–cleverly packaged as self-help jargon. Christ said rich people should give all their money to the poor. This guy just uses it to build a bigger platform from which to incite hatred against gays. He says he has gay friends, but likens them to people who have sex with their siblings or sex with children. Really? Does he count those people among his friends as well? What a hypocrite. Shame on Obama for courting the gay vote while embracing those who use their riches to hurt gay people. Shame. I just hope Warren reveals his true feelings when he's on the inauguration stage, so gays will stop expecting anything from this new administration.

    December 17, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  18. David Goldman

    THE PRESIDENT OF ALL THE PEOPLE

    INCLUDES ALL THE PEOPLE & HE IS.

    WE HAVE A NEW MINDSET IN OUR NATIONAL CONSCIENCE.

    WE CAN DISAGREE WITH EACH OTHER AND LOVE

    AND RESPECT EACH OTHER AT THE SAME TIME.

    December 17, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  19. Ian Minneapolis, MN

    Also, how many nationally known evangelical minister's have been arrested for drug abuse/sexual misconduct? Waiting for something to happen to Mr. Warren.

    December 17, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  20. David Goldman

    THE PRESIDENT OF ALL THE PEOPLE

    INCLUDES ALL THE PEOPLE & HE IS.

    WE HAVE A NEW MINDSET IN OUR NATIONAL CONSCIENCE.

    WE CAN DISAGREE WITH EACH OTHER AND LOVE

    AND RESPECT EACH OTHER AT THE SAME TIME.

    December 17, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  21. President Obama

    Yo-Yo is a good pick. Rick on the other hand...I can't support you on this one O.

    December 17, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  22. Dan, TX

    Obama is for a women's right to choose abortion. And Rick Warren is there to point out that this may not be the best view for evangelicals, but it is not a deal breaker for evangelical support of Obama.

    Obama is for legal unions of gay couples and adoption by gay couples. Rick Warren is there to say that it is not his choice, but it is a choice people make and it is not a deal breaker fore evangelical support for Obama.

    Obama will win the majority of evangelical support in 2012- this is the first step in making it happen.

    December 17, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  23. richard

    Can't wait till Obama gets in office so I can throw my shoe at him.

    December 17, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  24. David Goldman

    THE PRESIDENT OF ALL THE PEOPLE

    INCLUDES ALL THE PEOPLE & HE IS.

    WE HAVE A NEW MINDSET IN OUR NATIONAL CONSCIENCE.

    WE CAN DISAGREE WITH EACH OTHER AND LOVE

    AND RESPECT EACH OTHER AT THE SAME TIME.

    December 17, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  25. Dan, TX

    Obama is for a women's right to choose abortion. And Rick Warren is there to point out that this may not be the best view for evangelicals, but it is not a deal breaker for evangelical support of Obama.

    Obama is for legal unions of gay couples and adoption by gay couples. Rick Warren is there to say that it is not his choice, but it is a choice people make and it is not a deal breaker fore evangelical support for Obama.

    Obama will win the majority of evangelical support in 2012- this is the first step in making it happen.

    December 17, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
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