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. Disheartening

    I reluctantley voted for Obama, but now am feeling the first pang of regret. This choice is very insulting to gay Americans who are still recovering from the sting of Prop 8 in California and the removal of rights in several other states. There were so many other choices, to pick someone as divisive as this for this important role on inauguration day is very disheartening and is making me re-evaluate my view of President-Elect Obama.

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

    Rick Warren!! Really!! So much for supporting the LGBT communtiy.

    December 17, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  3. Douglas, Los Angeles California

    I don't agree with this choice, but I can see where President Elect Obama is trying to get this country together as a people, we have been seperate way to long. Perhaps one day Mr. Warren will see and understand that being gay, or different, is not a bad thing. We are all children of God and God does not exclude any of us and we shouldn't exclude one another.

    December 17, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  4. Rita

    Honestly, I am taken by surprise and greatly disappointed by the choice of Rick Warren. With the many good people that our President-elect could have chosen for this most important moment, he choses someone who does not follow the idea of truly loving and accepting one another.

    December 17, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  5. Francisco Cardenas

    Warren did not want to get involved with AIDS because he saw it as a "homosexual disease" ... and his support for Prop 8 clearly shows he has no problem legislating religious dogma on those who don't share his views. Obama is not making a smart move here at all. I am sadly disappointed in this choice.

    December 17, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  6. Cathy Agu

    Where is J Wright?

    December 17, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  7. INDEPENDENT

    WHAO I GUESS THERE REALLY ARE EXTREMES ON BOTH SIDES. WOW GET A LIFE PEOPLE HE IS AN AMERICAN TOO

    December 17, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  8. JT from Missouri

    This proves that Obama is willing to accept all religions, no matter if they are for him or against him. He is not willing to hold a grudge against any people. Obama believes in the constitution, and that accounts for the freedom of religion. Obama himself is a Christian.
    For all people who are impatient about this Blagoveich scandal, the prosecutor said for Obama to withhold information until next week. Obama is just following orders, which proves he is NOT arrogant.
    Obama's choice is not because he wants to divide America, it is because he is willing to give the guy a chance to help all people come together. Furthermore, John, Obama's choice for this DOES NOT mean that he is for Military discrimination. I hope you win him back because you losing him because of that choice is, no offense to you, but kind of arrogant to do. God bless the USA and the world.

    December 17, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  9. Matt

    Indeed. What better way to show there's a separation between church and state than to work people regardless of their religious beliefs? We have to learn to live with each other somehow people. We can't just say "haha, we won" and start snubbing everyone who disagrees with you. That would be more of the same.

    December 17, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  10. OBAMABOT? MAYBE NOT!

    If this move is an effort to bring evangeicals into the Democratic party, good luck.

    This may win a few bible thumpers, but lose a whole segment of who thought they had been marginalized into the Republican party!

    December 17, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  11. LIP

    Still waiting for the multi ethnic administration that I believe many people thought they would see with Obama President. After all, the Democrats claim to be the party of the people. So far George W. Bush has Obama beat hands down.

    December 17, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  12. Jeff

    Regarding Madoff a Major Democratic Donor

    $370,000 of $50 Billion major? MADEoff is just another in a line of white collar criminals that the elite from both the Democratic and Republicans have either not regulated, looked the other way, or are in cahoots with. So mostly the rich got taken by this guy, so what...that's the way the thunder rumbles. What is terrible is the trusts and endowments that benefit the underpriviledged are affected...meaning families in need will have to look elsewhere. When will we start making white collar crimes punishable by death too?..."Blue collar" crimes are, right? Well, they didn't kill anybody you say. I say they do...it not through heart attacks it's a slow death...from health problems, et al. Bottom Line: There has to be a better deterrent to white collar crime than large sum fines and half way house country club "prisions" (see Michael Keating, Leona Helmsley, and Martha Stewart, et al). I say put them with other criminals and/ or executive them for heinous crimes like this.

    December 17, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  13. Angi's mom

    Give Bill Maher equal time.

    December 17, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  14. Ken in Dallas

    Hey, "Family First," for you, I recommend a meditation on the immorality of coercive moralism.

    December 17, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  15. Lady From Texas

    It not that big of a deal to me when I know he support gay rights. Come on guys lets not buy into the rep. bull. We not who we voted for and we should still be proud because I would be worst with McCain and his gang......

    December 17, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  16. Not too Happy

    You people need to get a grip! Rick Warren is not in Obama's cabnet. He is speaking at the inauguration. After all, Obama is a Christian and did say that he believes in marriage between a man and woman. Although he respects everyone's choice, Obama still has his own beliefs.

    Warren does not represent Obama. Are there any religious people on this blog? I'm starting to get worried here. It sounds like a bunch of religious bashers are out here on this blog.

    December 17, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  17. FreeNLovIt

    It's cold in IL. I"m by my computer and I see a COLD rabbit, resting outside my backyard. I always want to throw it, a peice of carrot. I wonder, what is it eating? Does it have enough to eat? Oh, about Rick Warren, I say, excellent choice. People, we cant all be gay, there will be no kids or no future. You got to be crazy to think gay is the future.

    December 17, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  18. Willis, TX

    Bad CHOICE!

    All this Bridge the Gap is getting on my nerves - people like this will never come around - hypocrit!!

    December 17, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  19. FreeNLovIt

    Come on! where's the next generation if we are gay.

    December 17, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  20. Jerome

    A very bad decision....hopefully his only one.

    So far everything he has done is right there at the top except this one.

    December 17, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  21. Paul Rubell

    I am very disappointed in the selection of an anti-choice minister.

    What happened to Barack, the candidate of inclusion?

    Warren opposes choice for gays. What else does he oppose? What a scary specter.

    December 17, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  22. Matt

    @ Family First

    WRONG. Those rights aren't special rights...they would make people equal. That's what this country's founding documents guarantee, so you're going to have to live with it when us crazy leftist liberals beat your dogmatic religious agenda to a shiny pulp. It's "OUR" country, not "YOURS" or "MINE" and it was never the intent of the founding fathers that our government be used as a means of enforcing religious tenets and morality choices. Cry to God about it...but free will was His idea in the first place.

    December 17, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  23. JT from Missouri

    By the way just to let you know I am a Methodist. I forgot to say that before in the last post.

    December 17, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  24. No Hillary = No Obama

    Here come the men – another 4 years of same old. I am sick and tired of these men thinking they are the all knowing authorities on God & country.

    December 17, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  25. Marc

    @ Mike, Syracuse NY:
    Just to be on the safe side here, which 'right that never existed' are you talking about?

    December 17, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8