December 17th, 2008
02:09 PM ET
12 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. John, Brooklyn, New York

    Specific to "Family First".

    You certainly wouldn't consider marrying, adopting a child, keeping a job you are qualified for, remaining in an apartment when you've paid rent on time, or being approved for a car loan when you have great credit to be "special rights" if you were discussing them for straight people. WHY, then, would you take a 180-degree turn and consider these – and countless other "basic rights" that apply to everyone in this nation – to be "special" only when they apply to gay people?

    The term "homophobia" is too good for people like you. It implies a neurotic condition that you have little control over. No...the best term for you is "Bigot".

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

    This is hilarious...every Obama supporter knew he wasn't telling the truth about something and every one of them thought it was somebody else's main issue! The poor sod hasn't even taken office yet...I didn't vote for him but even I have to at give him a chance to do the job since, like it or not, he's going to be the President of the nation I love.

    December 17, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  3. Frann Altman in CA

    I would rather see President-elect Obama have a few religious leaders, not one, participate in the invocation for inauguration. This is really where it's important to see community joined together.

    I want more people in the aisle that we reach across to connect with.

    He needs to rethink this decision.

    December 17, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  4. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Anton, you can't take away a 'right' that never existed.

    December 17, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  5. Otanes

    No reverend wright for inaugural or Bill Aires for department of education! That’s very disappointing.

    December 17, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  6. BS not Maverick

    Wow, Gosh I hope he brings his cone of silence!

    December 17, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  7. Laverne

    I can't beleive some of you guys. He is not appointing the man to a cabinet position. It is does not matter which pastor he chooses to perform his swearing in ceremony as long as they are a man or women of God. Listen up, Obama has all the long said he is a Christian with strong faith. He should not abandon that to please the far left. This man is being pulled in so many directions, it is not funny. He is making the last call on his decisions as he should and if you really support someone then you won't demand their head off every time they make a decision you don't agree with and don't think this will be the only decision President Elect Obama will make that you don't agree with. If Pastor Warren had any reservations or got some kind of revelation to not participate in this event, I think he would have declined right away. I also think it is a dangerous place to go when we start crucifying people who have been ordained to do God's work including the Rev. Wright. We were not put here to decide what punishment pastors should get when you disagree with their values. LIfe is too short to be so petty about every single thing!

    December 17, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  8. John, Brooklyn, New York

    Specific to David Goldman...

    A president of "all of the people" would not include those who would actively and work to exclude other members of the society from the public forum. There are reasons that Obama has not invited neo-Nazi's, the KKK, or the John Birch Society to be part of his inaguration. These are also representative of "all of America". Using your logic, should we lengthen the invitation list to invite these folks too? Hmmm?

    Sounds like you are content as long as the people who might hate YOU aren't there.

    December 17, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  9. BS not Maverick

    What is wrong with Gerahmia Rite. They can do the Chickens coming home to roost gig. You know, the WhiteHouse was built by Black Slaves so finnaly our chikens have come home to roost, HAAAAAAAA. gotta love it!

    December 17, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  10. Matt

    [Insert irrational whining here]

    December 17, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  11. Dan

    This is most unfortunate. I thought the end of the Bush era would liberate the country from the grips of these Evangelical nutballs, with their thoughtless, emotive mega-churches and mega-herd instincts, and return us to a mainstream of more thoughtful religious practices. President-elect Obama, why are you inviting this kook to speak? I no longer plan to attend inauguration. I'd have preferred even Jeremiah Wright to speak; the Evangelicals are like America's version of Hamas - fundamentalists with political ambitions that involve first and foremost a confusion of church and state. So much for Obama's alleged trust in Emerson, I suppose...

    December 17, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  12. Alben

    To select a businessman who runs a Wal-Mart church is the heigth of stupidity. There are so many fine clergy in this country. It makes me resent the money I donated to his campaign.

    December 17, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  13. Jiles Samson

    It is obvious from the comments that most people don't really know who Rick Warren is. He is evangelical. He is not a prosperity preacher and doesn't preach for money. He is considered a suspect by many on the Evangelical Right and the Evangelical Left. He is against redefining marriage from the globally-universally-throughout history position of one man and one woman, He is against abortion. However, he is for the church being more active to help the poor, homeless, orphan, widow, aid, etc. (all of the above being what the Bible teaches). Some conservative Evangelicals are suspicious of him and think he is too liberal and if he agrees to be a Obama's invocation, they will be even more suspicious. He is really kind of center-right in his politics. Oh, and to greenfish on where the Bible says homosexuality is wrong, here is just ONE references (from the New Testament). Romans 1:21 – For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened....26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion."

    There are plenty more references. Please, really read the Bible before you start to comment about that which you don't know.

    December 17, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  14. fred

    i dunno Obama, having this guy speak might be above your pay grade hahahaha. jk, good choice to give the invocation. :)

    December 17, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  15. fefe

    Let me just say this, PRESIDENT OBAMA , is for the people by the people i'm not a homophobic but i think people can do as they please i just strongly believe that stop trying to push your immoral views on others yes i said immoral. What did you think that PRESIDENT OBAMA was just gonna relinquish his views i think he put it as polite as he can lighten up people.

    December 17, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  16. Dave, Santa Barbara

    Way to go, Mr. Obama!

    Rick Warren gave you the time of day when much of the evangelical world called you the Antichrist.

    December 17, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  17. Heifer

    Blowhards need representation, too.

    December 17, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  18. chuck

    I AM NOT A RICK WARREN FAN.HE HAD JOHN MCCAIN LISTENING TO THE QUESTIONS IN THE HOTEL WHILE BARACK WAS ANSWERING HIS.THAT WAS GROSS. RICK WARREN MADE THE OLD FELLOW LOOKED GREAT BUT QUICKLY SARAH PALIN BROUGHT HIM DOWN.

    December 17, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  19. Face of reason

    Poeple just relax.... Obama told you all in his speeches that things would be a changin..... and so far he hasn't lied... he has picked some most interesting people to have stand with him and now he is proving he is Christian..... thats all....

    December 17, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  20. sonny c.

    Attention all Christians: Where in the Words of Jesus in the Four Gospels, does Jesus, the founder of Christianity, say that homosexuality is a sin?

    December 17, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  21. karen-phoenix

    Obama has to pick someone for the invocation. All you people that think Warren is wrong, look beyond the gay and abortion issue. Warren is trying to bring religion out of the dark ages(and I'm Lutheran) and at least start with feeding the poor, helping AIDS patients, help the homeless. Warren may even change on his gay and abortion issues if given a chance. DId all want the POPE?!!!

    December 17, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  22. Brenda C

    Great choice Obama. Sure to upset the gays and abortionists across the country. haaaaaahaaaaaaaa

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

    Obama's tolerance towards the intolerant is his best known character flaw. He still doesn't get that you can't build an inclusive society with the help of bigots.

    December 17, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  24. T_Head

    President Obama is being the Change he wants to see in all of us. We can coexist just fine people.

    December 17, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  25. Arkansas Undertaker

    Lord I cant wait until January 20th.

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