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. Jonathan

    "Asking a preacher and established homophobe about his personal political views is like asking a serial killer on morals."

    Joe, religious leaders, just like everyone else in our country, have the express right to share their religious views. Be careful about painting too wide a path with saying that a preacher's views on politics are as twisted and invalid on face as a serial killer's views on morality. Even if it's in the name of tolerance and inclusiveness, intolerance is still intolerance.

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

    It's about inclusion people. Stop saying that Barack has "lost you" because you don't like a single decision he has made.

    In the big scheme of things how much difference does the person giving the invocation make. I'd much rather have gay and lesbian members of the cabinet (which Obama has) than have a GLBT-friendly person giving the invocation. Having Warren there is important to evangelicals and irrelevant to the rest of us.

    December 17, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  3. Rick Warren

    It's OK, I have plenty of gay friends.

    December 17, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  4. John - Fairfax, VA

    Looks like the honeymoon is over!

    December 17, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  5. Tyler

    Obama's a pragmatist, moving center. The problem with "change" is you have to play from the middle. The left's agendas (I don't mean that in a negative way) are all going to be thrown under the bus in this first term. Cultural issues, for better or worse, are going to be taking a back burner.

    December 17, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  6. Steph

    It's about inclusion people. Stop saying that Barack has "lost you" because you don't like a single decision he has made.

    In the big scheme of things how much difference does the person giving the invocation make. I'd much rather have gay and lesbian members of the cabinet (which Obama has) than have a GLBT-friendly person giving the invocation. Having Warren there is important to evangelicals and irrelevant to the rest of us.

    December 17, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  7. Lynn in NM

    What about the family pastor for many years – Rev. Wright? Wouldn't he want the person that was like an uncle to him?

    December 17, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  8. Becky

    I love you Barack but why THIS GUY WHO JUST GAVE BUSH A "PEACE" AWARD?????

    December 17, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  9. Lifelong Democrat Lorna Hanson Forbes

    I cannot believe Barack Hussein Obama, Junior is having Warren – what a loser.

    December 17, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  10. Joe Hussein McCain

    Does anybody remember the Rev. billy Graham? The presidents pastor... You'll find this a bit shocking, but he like any real Christian believes that the bible is the Inspired Word of God!

    December 17, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  11. Dianne

    This demonstrates forgiveness & reconciliation on Barack Obama's part. Wow! A President that continues to display true Christian values as taught by Jesus Christ. How many times has Barack Obama shown by example. He has truly "turned the other cheek" on so many occasions.

    The Saddleback Presidential Forum was fixed in John McCain's favor. John McCain obviously knew the questions in advance of the forum & evaded the "cone of silence" & heard Barack Obama's responses in advance, in the car on the way to the forum.

    And, yet President-elect invites Rick Warren to do the Invocation. God Bless the President-elect.

    December 17, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  12. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    IT'S A INVOCATION PEOPLE AND NOT YOUR LAST RIGHTS.

    December 17, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  13. Gene

    I don't really care because Warren is just going to be speaking at an inauguration, not being part of his cabinet or political team in general.

    That being said, I have to say that Warren completely lost my respect when he knowingly lied about the "Cone of Silence" that McCain was supposedly in during the debate.

    December 17, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  14. williefloyd

    greenfish, if you own a Bible, read the book of Leviticus-it's in the old Testament.

    December 17, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  15. starwinde

    An unfortunate choice, in my opinion – while Mr. Warren has attempted to be somewhat inclusive, his decision on proposition 8 was a disappointment. I'd rather have seen a unitarian provide the invocation.

    December 17, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  16. Annie, Atlanta

    I would have prefered a gay minister from a churce of inclusion, not exclusion. Now that would be change we could believe in.

    December 17, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  17. barackobama4prez

    i'd rather have rev. wright than rev. warren.

    December 17, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  18. david

    I believe there are exactly 2 references to homosexuality in the Bible, one in the old and one in the new testaments. They repersent the Jewish cultural view of that practice. What is oft ommited by Evangelicals is what attitude they are to have concerning those engaged in the homosexual lifestyle. It is considered a sin in the eyes of God as is murder, stealing and the rest of the do nots from the 10 Commandments which is sometimes condoned by these fundamentalists. I am not an apologist for their lifestyle but they are people, someones son or daughter, or brother or sister, and their right to seek love and happiness should not be abridged. Many people do not agree with the Evangelical positions on other matter as well. Please stop trying to shove your religion down my throat, I don't think you are any more moral than the rest of us.

    December 17, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  19. Jamaica Nice

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

    December 17, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  20. cynthia

    People get a grip!!

    December 17, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  21. sensi johnson

    This presidency is all about U-N-I-TY.

    December 17, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  22. Mike in Vancouver

    While I understand that "evangelicals" are not without fault and viewed with suspicion and even contempt from the more liberally influenced, to paint all evangelical, conservative Christians that way is just ignorant and INTOLERANT (yes the word usually reserved for this distinguished group).

    As an enthusiastic Obama supporter myself, I am disappointed with most of the posts of this group because you can substitute Rick Warren's name for just about any evangelical; I was hoping that people would more follow Obama's example and make an attempt to look beyond labels and into the person themselves, to see both the good and the bad.

    For those of you afraid of any evangelical, that's about as closed minded as conservatives being afraid of Obama because his middle name is Hussein (for example) – let's go beyond labels!

    December 17, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  23. cynthia

    People get a grip!!

    December 17, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  24. David

    Warren is a puppet.

    December 17, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  25. Mike

    What? You gotta be kiddin' me!!! Barack Obama's Change.Gov webpage 'Civil rights area' seems to be in total contradiction to this preacher's viewpoints. On Obama's website, it seems clear that all of the LGBT issues (minus marriage) will be resolved to make LGBT citizens equal in this society as never before. I am dissapointed by this choice since it seems to contradict Obama's idea of inclusivity. This preacher represents divisiveness in his viewpoints and represents an individual who wants to take away the rights of others (he voted Yes on Prop 8). This is certainly not what Obama has represented in his speeches in the past.

    December 17, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
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