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Obama's inaugural pastor pick, Rick Warren, displeases the left

August 16, 2008 Democrat candidate Barack Obama and Dr. Rick Warren at the Saddleback Forum in Lake Forest California

(UPDATE added below.)

Well, it took long enough. Here much of the political nation has been sitting and standing around waiting for Democrats to get annoyed with their new standard-bearer for not standing way over there. And start howling.

But instead Barack Obama has consistently positioned himself since Nov. 5 in the center, where the new White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, learned the hard way in the Clinton era is the best place to be for a new administration. All these centrist Cabinet members. Nary a peep.

But yesterday's announcement of the program for his official Inauguration Jan. 20 was the last straw. Now the howling.

It seems Obama has OK'd Sen. Dianne Feinstein's idea of having Dr. Rick Warren actually give the inaugural invocation. As in the prayer. In front of the Capitol. On international television. Just before the Democrat takes his presidential oath as No. 44.

(UPDATE: Gil Duran of Feinstein's office has been in urgent touch to correct, change and expunge the impression that she had anything to do with picking a prayer-giver such as Warren with whom she disagrees on issues affecting the gay and lesbian community. He says she merely "respects the President-elect's prerogative to select the cleric to deliver the invocation."

(So it sounds like she is running for governor in 2010.)

Rick Warren. THE Rick Warren from the mega-church Saddleback with four-campuses and some 20,000 members in Lake Forest. The one who supported the successful Prop. 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California.

Gay rights activists are not supporting the inaugural program, to say the least. Some calling it a "genuine blow against LGBT rights."

The Huffington Post this morning has a hard-hitting, satirical, fictitious conversation on the choice between Obama and Feinstein.

People for the American Way called Warren's choice "a grave disappointment."

Warren, you'll recall, held the widely viewed Saddleback Forum last August, interviewing each candidate separately on a variety of moral questions. Here's The Ticket's live-blog that day.

The left has little choice now the election is over and its apparent angry reaction may actually help solidify support for Obama elsewhere as he appears to reach across the church aisle too.

Bill Clinton had his Sister Souljah moment. This could be an Obama Brother Rick moment.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (3)

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Sorry, but I'm not left, I'm a moderate and Warren being the choice pick for the inauguration address religiously does not please me, His words describing GLBT is offensive to me, family, and friends. Sensibilities are just as important as meeting on common ground. If Ithe great Minister would apologize for his abominable comparisons to GLBT he would gain my respect back.

Mr. Obama said- Disagree without being disagreeable. Rick Warren is disagreeable- equating gay families with incest and pedophilia is about as disagreeable as you can get.

Homosexuality is not a choice people make. People say it is only because they don't understand, or don't want to understand, factors of science and the environment. Did heterosexual people choose to be "straight?" I don’t think so.

Homosexuality exists in all life forms and what is beautiful about the universe is that apparent symmetry is actually asymmetry, in other words, life evolves through change, and change is only possible through divergence. In geologic time, there is no such thing as "normal."

To compare gay people to pedophiles and incest is naive and lazy thinking because there are "straight" pedophiles and straight people having sex with family members. I think to take advantage of the vulnerable for self gain is wrong whether the perpetrator is gay or straight.

The problem is that people are following a moral compass established by the ancients 2000 years ago. Hello! These folks didn't understand much of why things happened to them and so described their feelings through fear and superstition, enforced by a "higher being," which was actually just people (apostles.) Well, my parents told me there was no Santa Claus when I was seven... People need to use their brain.

And just because Obama is black doesn't mean he is in support of gay people. But this is all good, it will teach people that we are all unique individuals and we can't categorize each other. To vote for someone because they are black is actually a form of racism. But far be it from me to say…


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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